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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

Showcase faculty, staff award winners announced

Eight members of CAS faculty were among faculty and staff selected for University-wide, Showcase 2020 awards, which recognize their scholarly achievements and professional acumen. They are:

Katie Cooper.Association for Faculty Women Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award
Catherine “Katie” Marguerite Cooper
School of the Environment

 

Donald Matteson.Emeritus Society Legacy of Excellence Award
Don Matteson
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

 

Kimberly Christen.Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award
Kim Christen
Digital Technology and Culture Program/Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation

 

Janet Peters.
Peters
Chris Dickey.
Dickey

President’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Instructors and Clinical Faculty
Janet M. Peters
Department of Psychology
Chris Dickey
School of Music

Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award – Leadership
Stephen Bollens
School of Biological Sciences and School of the Environment/Meyer’s Point Environmental Field Station

 

Cheryl Schulz.Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award – Outreach & Engagement
Cheryl B. Schultz
School of Biological Sciences

 

Greg Yasinitsky.Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award – Research, Scholarship & Arts
Gregory W. Yasinitsky
School of Music

 

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WSU Insider

 

Ask Dr. Universe: How are seashells formed? And why are they different colors? Can seashells live or die?

Seashells come in an astounding variety. Some are curved and round, others long and tube-like. Some are smooth, others bumpy. Some are large, others small. Plus, they come in a rainbow of colors: red, green, brown, purple, pink, and more.

All that variety comes from the same source: little animals called mollusks, with a mighty muscle called a mantle.

Richelle Tanner.
Tanner

I found out all about them from my friend Richelle Tanner, a postdoctoral research associate in biological sciences at Washington State University. She is very curious about the ocean and knows a lot about mollusks, a type of animal with a soft, moist body.

Unlike humans, cats, and other animals with backbones, mollusks don’t have skeletons inside. Many move through life with just their soft bodies. But some grow shells for protection, as a kind of traveling armor.

That’s where seashells come from, Tanner explained. “A seashell is a protective outer coating secreted by the animal’s mantle, which is one of their muscles,” she said. The mantle forms the soft outer wall of their body.

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Dr. Universe

 

Science & Technology Scientists look to public to help migratory monarch butterflies bounce back

Researchers are recruiting members of the public to help recover the western monarch butterfly, whose migratory populations have plummeted to less than 30,000 in recent years, about 1% of their levels in the 1980s.

During the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge, which starts on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, and runs through April 22, Earth Day, California residents are asked to report sightings of monarchs. The data they collect will give much-needed insight into the butterflies’ habitat needs during the spring months, so researchers can better target conservation efforts.

Cheryl Schulz.
Schulz

“We are already receiving sighting reports, which is very exciting,” said Cheryl Schultz, a Washington State University biology professor and a lead researcher on the project. “The reports show the enthusiastic interest by our community, and their deep connection to western monarchs.”

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Santa Cruz Sentinel
Better Homes & Gardens
WSU Insider
KSBW

KEYT

Smithsonian Magazine

Dr. Universe: Why won’t a female sea turtle lay her eggs in the ocean?

How do baby turtles know where the ocean is when they hatch from their eggs?

Frank Paladino holding a mature leatherback turtle.Sea turtles spend almost their entire lives in the ocean. Even as babies, sea turtles’ bodies have special traits for living at sea, helping them glide and paddle through the water. After emerging from their eggs, baby sea turtles (called “hatchlings”) scramble to the ocean to live the rest of their lives. Only female sea turtles return to land as adults, to lay eggs and begin the cycle again.

I talked with my friend Frank Paladino to learn more about sea turtles. He completed his Ph.D. in zoophysiology at Washington State University. Today he is a professor at Purdue University-Fort Wayne and former president of the International Sea Turtle Society. He is especially interested in leatherbacks, the largest living turtle.

I learned that a female sea turtle must return to the beach to lay eggs, even though she is most comfortable in the ocean. This is because her eggs can only survive on land.

Baby sea turtles breathe through their eggs before hatching. Oxygen passes through the eggshell and membrane, a thin barrier surrounding the turtle. Even buried in sand, the turtle can still breathe through the egg. But they cannot breathe if the egg is in the water.

Sea turtle eggs also need warm temperatures to grow properly. Beaches provide the right conditions to help eggs develop. Mother sea turtles bury their group of eggs (called a “clutch”) in sandy nests to protect them until they are ready to hatch.

But when lots of humans are around, a beach can be a difficult place to lay eggs. “Normally, female turtles do not lay their eggs in the water. But if disturbed when on the beach and distracted multiple nights from returning to the nest, they will dump their clutch in the ocean,” Paladino said.

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Ask Dr. Universe

Microscopic partners could help plants survive stressful environments

Tiny, symbiotic fungi play an outsized role in helping plants survive stresses like drought and extreme temperatures, which could help feed a planet experiencing climate change, report scientists at Washington State University.

Stephanie Porter.
Porter

Recently published in the journal Functional Ecology, the discovery by plant-microbe biologist Stephanie Porter and plant pathologist Maren Friesen sheds light on how microbe partners can help sustainably grow a wide variety of crops.

While some microscopic fungi and bacteria cause disease, others live in harmony with plants, collecting water and nutrients in exchange for carbohydrates, or changing plants’ internal and external environment in ways that help plants grow.

These benefits help plants tolerate stresses that come from their environment. Dubbed abiotic stresses, challenges such as drought, extreme temperatures, and poor, toxic, or saline soils are among the leading causes of crop loss and decreasing farm productivity.

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Phys.org