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College of Arts and Sciences Biology

Analyzing fish skull development and evolutionary success

Jim Coopere holding a fish tankA biology researcher at WSU Tri-Cities aims to pinpoint underpinnings of evolutionary success by analyzing the skull morphology of a handful of fish species.

“One-third of living vertebrates belong to two fish lineages that independently evolved the ability to project their upper jaws forward from the face during feeding,” said Jim Cooper, assistant professor of biological sciences. “This jaw protrusion has been massively important to » More …

NIH funding for Tasmanian devil cancer research

Image of a wild tasmanian devilWSU biologist Andrew Storfer’s work on cancer in Tasmanian devils is one of eight studies awarded funding recently by the National Institutes of Health/ National Science Foundation’s Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases program. Storfer is the principle investigator of an international collaboration with researchers in Australia that received $2.3 million from the NIH to study the evolution of cancer transmission.

Using advanced genomic techniques, Storfer will look for key mutations that appear » More …

Dear Dr. Universe: Why does hair turn gray?

Dr. Universe examining a hair follicleHair comes in lots of different colors. There’s black, medium brown, auburn, light brown, strawberry blonde, and copper, to name just a few. But in the end, almost everyone will have hair that’s gray or white.

I decided to visit my friend Cynthia Cooper, a biologist and researcher at Washington State University, for help answering this question from Darae, age 10.

Ever since you were born, different cells have been working on your hair. Each hair sprouts from a follicle, a sort of little hair-making factory under your skin. Here, some of your cells are making your hair and others are coloring it. » More …

Photographing the elusive, endangered lynx

Deep in the forests of Washington’s Kettle Mountains, Washington State University wildlife biologist Daniel Thornton searches for signs of a rare and elusive type of wild cat — the lynx.

An assistant professor in the School of Environmental Science, Thornton and environmental science graduate students Travis King and Arthur Scully are helping to lead the largest lynx camera survey ever done in the state this June-October.

The goal of the multiyear research project is to understand the distribution and abundance of Washington’s lynx in order to develop an informed plan for their conservation and recovery. The project is sponsored by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Washington State Fish and Wildlife, Conservation Northwest, Osprey Insights, Seattle City Light and the U.S. Forest Service. » More …

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