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Book review: The Whaler and the Girl in the Deadfall

Book cover: The Whaler and the Girl in the Deadfall, by Mahlon E. Kriebel.Influenced by real events of fall 1998 to spring 1999, when the Makah harvested their first whale in seven decades and made headlines worldwide, Mahlon Kriebel (’58 zoology) blends fact with fiction and explores the history of the whale hunt as well as complex cultural issues and tensions past and present. He provides historical context peppered with references to Native works of art, fiction, films, museum exhibits, and more. » More …

Sociologist’s new book examines changing rural economics

Jennifer Sherman holding her new book, Dividing Paradise: Rural Inequality and the Diminishing American Dream.Even before COVID-19 prompted thousands of city-dwellers to seek new lifestyles in the country, sociology professor Jennifer Sherman had been researching and writing about a remote place she calls “Paradise Valley,” where efforts to revitalize the local economy with an influx of restaurants, cafes, hotels, and souvenir shops dramatically changed the community.

Her new book, Dividing Paradise: Rural Inequality and the Diminishing American Dream tells the story of » More …

Wildfire changes songbird plumage

Red backed fairywren.Fire can put a tropical songbird’s sex life on ice.

Following habitat-destroying wildfires in Australia, a team of researchers led by WSU biology doctoral student Jordan Boersma found that many male red-backed fairywrens failed to molt into their red-and-black ornamental plumage, making them less attractive to potential mates. They also had lowered circulating testosterone, which has been associated with their showy feathers. » More …

Radio program connects NW past to present

Keren Phoenix and Brenna Miller.A Spokane resident whose invention transformed the shipping industry;  a woman who passed as a man and worked as a bartender, bronco buster, and longshoreman; plus preachers, prisoners, ranchers, immigrants, cowgirls, and soldiers are among the myriad people whose stories illuminate the history of the Northwest in Past as Prologue, a new radio program created by WSU historians Karen Phoenix and Brenna Miller. » More …

Toxin-adapted fish pass down epigenetic mutations

Two sliver fish on a white background, top fish is larger with orange highlights on its fins, bottom fish is smaller with some blue tones.You can take a fish out of toxic water, but its epigenetic mutations will remain for at least two generations.

A research team led by Washington State University scientists analyzed the epigenetics—molecular factors and processes that determine whether genes are turned on or off—of a group of Poecilia mexicana fish, or Atlantic molly, that live in springs naturally high in hydrogen sulfide, which is normally toxic to most organisms. » More …

Measuring greenhouse gas emissions from water reservoirs

Artificial dam.A new study in Global Biogeochemical Cycles shows per-area greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s water reservoirs are around 29% higher than suggested by previous studies, but that practical measures could be taken to help reduce that impact.

According to the analysis by Washington State University and University of Quebec at Montreal scientists, much of the increase in » More …

Workplace protocols impact overall behavior

A person working at a laptop.Employer COVID‑19 safety measures influenced worker precautions even when they were not on the clock, according to a new study led by WSU psychology professor Tahira Probst.

Researchers found workplace cultures that adopted COVID‑19 prevention measures, such as daily health checks and encouraging sick workers to stay home, resulted in less “sickness presenteeism” or going places when feeling ill. The effect was found both inside and outside of work – meaning fewer employees with » More …

Seeds of economic health disparities

ndigenous adult man on typical wooden canoe chopped from a single tree navigating murky waters of Ecuadorian Amazonian primary jungle.No billionaires live among the Tsimane people of Bolivia, although some are a bit better off than others. These subsistence communities on the edge of the Amazon also have fewer chronic health problems linked to the kind of dramatic economic disparity found in industrialized Western societies.

“The connection between inequality and health is not as straightforward as what you would see in an industrialized population,” said Aaron Blackwell,  associate professor of anthropology and lead researcher on a study » More …

Plastic waste has some economic benefit for developing countries

Plastic waste in shrink wrapped bags.For decades, wealthy nations have transported plastic trash, and the environmental problems that go with it, to poorer countries, but WSU sociology researchers have found a potential bright side to this seemingly unequal trade: plastic waste may provide an economic boon for the lower-income countries.

Yikang Bai (’15 MA, ’19 MS, ’20 PhD) and former WSU faculty member Jennifer Givens analyzed 11 years of data on the global plastics trade against economic measures for 85 countries. » More …

Hatchery conditions linked to lower steelhead trout survival

Steelhead trout.Alterations in the epigenetic programming of hatchery-raised steelhead trout could account for their reduced fertility, abnormal health and lower survival rates compared to wild fish, according to a new Washington State University study.

The study, published May 18 in Environmental Epigenetics, establishes a link between feeding practices that promote faster growth, as well as other environmental factors in fish » More …