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College of Arts and Sciences Published research/scholarship/creative work

Researchers estimate magma under supervolcano

Washington State University researchers "spike" a Yellowstone hot spring with deuterium, a stable isotope, to calculate water and heat flowing out of the springs and estimate how fast magma is recharging beneath the Yellowstone supervolcano. The material had no environmental impact and was done with a permit from the National Park ServiceWSU geologists have found a new way to estimate how fast magma is recharging beneath the Yellowstone supervolcano.

Scientists now have a better understanding of a key factor of what’s underneath the massive caldera: a pool of basalt magma continually recharging the system.

“It is the coal in the furnace that’s » More …

Coho salmon die, chum salmon survive in stormwater runoff

Coho SalmonWSU scientists have discovered that different species of salmon have varying reactions to polluted stormwater runoff.

In a recent paper published in the journal Environmental Pollution, scientists found that coho salmon became sick and nearly died, within just a few hours of exposure to polluted stormwater. But chum salmon showed no signs of ill-effects after prolonged exposure to the same water.

“It really surprised us,” said Jen McIntyre, an assistant professor in WSU’s School of the Environment. “Not that the coho were » More …

Assessing how cannabis affects emotional well-being

Marijuana in a prescription bottle In a first-of-its-kind study, Washington State University scientists examined how peoples’ self-reported levels of stress, anxiety and depression were affected by smoking different strains and quantities of cannabis at home.

Their work, published this month in the Journal of Affective Disorders, suggests smoking cannabis can significantly reduce short-term levels of depression, anxiety, and stress but may contribute to worse overall feelings of depression over time.

It marks one of the first attempts by U.S. scientists to assess » More …

English professor returns to History Channel

Promotional title for the History Channel showNarrative historian and English professor Buddy Levy is making a return to the History Channel.

Levy, the author of a 2005 biography about early American adventurer Davy Crockett, is among the experts interviewed in the cable network’s latest documentary series “The Men Who Built America: Frontiersmen.”

The new series by executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio explores the formative period » More …

Historical detective story traces Indian Ocean slave saga

Illustration from book coverA detailed family saga set against the broader context of South Asian slavery, plantation life, Parisian society and French colonization, “Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets, and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies” by history professor Sue Peabody traces the multigenerational biography of a slave family and their legal battles for freedom.

Peabody is one of the world’s leading authorities on slavery in the French Empire. The research took her to » More …

eDNA: An early warning system for deadly pathogen

A mountain yellow-legged frog. Photo credit: Michael Hernandez A new technology being developed at Washington State University could help save amphibians around the world from deadly pathogens like Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a particularly nasty type of fungus that attacks the skin of frogs and salamanders.

The new tool, know as environmental DNA, or eDNA, detects telltale bits of genetic material that living creatures shed into their environment, and enables wildlife scientists to confirm the presence of a wide variety of aquatic organisms without the hassle of finding them. » More …

Professor’s research to help choral conductors in India

Dean Luethi video stillDean Luethi, associate professor in the WSU School of Music, has been asked by the National Association for Music Educators (NAFME) to produce four levels of choral conducting instruction to be offered via online videos so choral conductors in India can earn a mini-credential by the Western Music Educators Association (WMEA) in music instruction.

The NAFME began the WMEA in India three years ago to help music teachers by offering resources which will prepare them for the classroom. » More …

Life always finds a way

Dirk Schulze-Makuch and team in the Atacama Desert

For the first time, researchers have seen life rebounding in the world’s driest desert, demonstrating that it could also be lurking in the soils of Mars.

Led by Washington State University planetary scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an international team studied the driest corner of South America’s Atacama Desert, where decades pass without any rain. Scientists have long wondered whether microbes in the soil of this hyperarid environment, the most similar place on Earth to the Martian surface, » More …

Nicotine identified in ancient dental plaque

A 1945 picture of a Yokuts Native American woman smoking a pipeA team of scientists including researchers from Washington State University has shown for the first time that nicotine residue can be extracted from plaque, also known as “dental calculus”, on the teeth of ancient tobacco users.

Their research provides a new method for determining who was consuming tobacco in the ancient world and could help trace the use of tobacco and other intoxicating plants further back into prehistory.

“The ability to identify nicotine and other plant-based drugs in ancient dental plaque could help us answer longstanding questions about the consumption of intoxicants by » More …

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