Conservation Canines program garners national recognition

December 2, 2012

From serving as sheepherders to working as part of K-9 police units, dogs have been employed in a wide variety of occupations. UW researchers, however, found it takes a special kind of dog to help monitor threatened and endangered species.

The Center for Conservation Biology’s Conservation Canines program trains dogs to locate scat samples that can tell researchers everything from the animal’s diet and stress levels to their reproductive health and exposure to toxins. Not just any dog can become a conservation canine.

UW researchers monitor bees in local gardens

In Seattle, the native bumblebee, Bombus occidentalis, is endangered. To monitor the survival of these bees, a group of graduate students in the UW Department of Biology developed the Urban Pollination Project (UPP) earlier this year.

Because of the connection between bees and food production, Susan Waters, a Ph.D. candidate in the UW Department of Biology and a researcher for UPP, said this research affects humans as well. One-third of the food humans consume could not be produced without bees.

APHA passes UW student clean water resolution

The American Public Health Association (APHA) approved a resolution written by six UW public-health graduate students calling for a thorough approach to protecting coastal water quality last month.

The resolution, which recommends modernizing and enforcing the Clean Water Act originally passed by Congress in 1972, was the culminating assignment for the students as part of their master of public-health training program.

College of Built Environments unveils green wall

November 20, 2012

A wall of vegetation now climbs the south side of Gould Hall, after the opening of the Biodiversity Green Wall and Edible Green Screen on Monday.

The sustainable, vertical wall creates more efficient methods in plant growth, water circulation, and biodiversity. The wall was a collaborative project within the UW College of Built Environments’ Green Futures Lab (GFL).

“The idea to build the Green Wall was inspiring,” said Leann Andrews, lab manager at GFL.

Braving the Swarm

July 10, 2012

With as much nonchalance as one picking a crumb up off the table, Dr. Evan Sugden reached down onto the beehive frame and picked up a live bee to show the class. He explained the bee’s anatomy while the students around him observed the creature in his fingers. Then he dropped it back onto the bee-covered hive.

Saving Trees and Work Hours with New Online Application Review

July 10, 2012

A math problem: The University of Washington receives more than 30,000 applications to its 122 graduate programs each year. Each application has, on average, 25 pages of information — including essays, transcripts and letters of recommendation. If each application were printed five times so that faculty members could review hardcopies and decide which applicants to accept, it would amount to 3.75 million pieces of paper. At a cost of 6 cents per page to print, how much would the University pay in printing alone?

$225,000. That’s how much.

New twist on old chemical process could boost energy efficiency

June 7, 2012

Chemical reactions on the surface of metal oxides, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are important for applications such as solar cells that convert the sun's energy to electricity. Now University of Washington scientists have found that a previously unappreciated aspect of those reactions could be key in developing more efficient energy systems.

Such systems could include, for example, solar cells that would produce more electricity from the sun's rays, or hydrogen fuel cells efficient enough for use in automobiles, said James Mayer, a UW chemistry professor.