Space-age domes offer a window on ocean acidification

A row of space-age domes off the Washington coast may provide a peek at the future. Not the future of space travel, but of climate change and the effects of increasingly acidic oceans.

A University of Washington class is using the nation’s first controlled-ocean research tool to study the effects of increased acidity on marine ecosystems.

“The goal is to study the impact of ocean acidification on biological community structure in seawater from the San Juan Islands,” said James Murray, a UW oceanography professor.

UW to work with state agencies to reduce ocean acidification

Gov. Christine Gregoire announced Tuesday that state agencies will be taking action to combat the problem of ocean acidification in the Pacific Northwest, including the potential opening of a research center at the UW, as an executive order.

The Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, appointed by Gregoire to review the subject, recommended Gregoire take steps to reduce harm on marine wildlife from ocean acidification. When pH levels drop in seawater, the water becomes acidic. The effects of this on shellfish and marine life are detrimental.

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.

Groundskeepers concerned about pesticide licensing

October 29, 2012

The UW is a leader in sustainability practices. The university recently received a Salmon-Safe certification from the Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability and is being used as an example of eco-friendly Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Despite this, groundskeepers re-signing contracts this year may be required to be certified for pesticide use. The UW is currently looking at adding this license requirement to the contract.

Puget Sound encyclopedia launches online

October 27, 2012

An encyclopedia specific to the Puget Sound region is now available online to the general public. This encyclopedia is the first if its kind in the area.

The new encyclopedia is compiled by a network of researchers and students. The Puget Sound Institute (PSI) — an agreement among the UW, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Puget Sound Partnership — spearheaded the project. Regional scientists reviewed the encyclopedia to ensure accuracy.

“This is a new way of doing science,” said Lisa Graumlich, dean of the College of the Environment.