external insider header

Dean's Letter

Dean Lisa Graumlich

As Dean I am often asked to explain the importance of the College of the Environment in simple, accessible language to the public—the proverbial “elevator speech.” In my first year as Dean I often described the size and scope of the College. And, in truth, it’s impressive: the biggest college of the environment in the United States, with $115 million in externally-funded research taking place on all seven continents and in each of the world’s oceans. While this message had a general “Go Huskies!” appeal, it did not lend itself to deeper dialogue. At worst it made people’s eyes glaze over.

Read more


Tribal LandsClimate Impacts Group partners with Swinomish Tribe to reduce climate effects

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community was recognized at the 2014 National Congress of American Indians’ annual meeting in Atlanta for their remarkable efforts to address climate change impacts on tribal lands. The UW Climate Impacts Group was a key partner in helping secure the recognition, which was given by the Honoring Nations Program from Harvard University’s Project on American Indian Economic Development.

Read more


SeastarWhat’s going on with Pacific Coast sea stars?

Much has been written about disappearing and disintegrating sea stars along the US West Coast over the past year, where the Pacific Northwest and Puget Sound have been hit especially hard. Scientists at the College of the Environment and many who do research at the Friday Harbor Laboratories have started finding answers as to what is happening.

Read more


Methane Plume

Global warming impacts methane hydrate off the coast of Washington

Scientists have long thought that global warming could impact frozen layers of methane hydrate found in the seafloor with potentially wide-ranging environmental effects. UW scientists and partners have recently shown that four decades of sea water warming off the Washington coast may be having an effect, actually melting the upper part of the continental slope sediment's methane hydrate reservoir. Oceanography undergraduate and co-author Una Miller has played a pivotal role in bringing together a unique interdisciplinary team of UW scientists and partners to tackle this problem.

Read more


Arboretum FernsArboretum Loop Trail about to break ground

The long awaited Arboretum Loop Trail is about to begin construction, and is designed to provide access to seldom-visited areas of the park. It will also offer new pathways to connect various areas in the park, and much of the newly accessible sites will be spruced up with news plants and the removal of invasive species. 

Read more

Awards & Acknowledgements

Congratulations to College of the Environment graduate students who were recently awarded a Marc Hershman or John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. Fellows are placed in host offices at the state or federal level for an exciting year working on ocean and coastal science, as well as marine resource management issues.

Congratulations to the numerous faculty in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences who have recently been recognized for outstanding contributions to their field, including Fang-Zhen Teng (Mineralogical Society of America Award), Darrel Cowan (Geological Society of America, Structural Geology and Tectonics Division, Career Contribution Award), David Montgomery (National Association of Geoscience Teachers James H. Shea Award), and Eric Cheney (Geological Society of America technical session honoring his diverse career and contributions to economic geology). 

Daniel Schindler, professor of aquatic and fishery sciences, was awarded the Frank Rigler Award, the highest honor given by the Society of Canadian Limnologists.

Congratulations to Megan Dethier, the new Friday Harbor Laboratories’ Associate Director for Academics and the Environment. Dethier’s responsibilities include providing input on research collections, and connecting with agencies in San Juan County concerning the marine environment. She will also work on issues surrounding the preserve property on which the Friday Harbor Labs are located.

The Simons Foundation has named associate professor of oceanography Anitra Ingalls as one of its Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE) Investigators. Anitra will work with 15 other SCOPE Investigators to unlock the mysteries of how microbial ecosystems function in the open oceans, focusing specifically on the chemical communication pathways that have evolved to allow microorganisms to ‘listen’ to their environment, ‘talk’ to each other and respond to what they ‘hear’. Ginger Armbrust, professor and director of the School of Oceanography at the College of the Environment, serves on the SCOPE steering committee.


Lauren BrandkampLauren Brandkamp, Oceanography Alum

Spotlight is an ongoing series that will introduce you to the many members that make up the College community. 

Snorkeling crystal clear waters over nurseries of young sharks, starlit kayaking to gather ocean water, collecting and growing coral… not your typical day job. So how did College of the Environment graduate Lauren Brandkamp who grew up among the wheat fields and horses of eastern Washington, find herself working as a scientist-in-residence on a tiny island in the South Pacific?

Read more

Philanthropy: Making a Difference

The College of the Environment would like to thank Drs. Usha and S. Rao Varanasi, who have established the Usha and S. Rao Varanasi Endowed Fellowship in Environmental and Marine Stewardship. This endowment will benefit graduate students in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and School of Marine and Environmental Affairs working at the intersection of policy development and the assessment of environmental impacts on natural resources from human influence. 

There are numerous ways to help support research and students at College of the Environment—please consider making a gift to the fund of your choice, including:

  • Friday Harbor Labs Adopt-A-Student Program Fund
  • Friends of Atmospheric Sciences
  • College of the Environment Environmental Leadership Fund

Visit our website to learn more about these funds and how you can help.

Read more

Save the Date

Imaging the ArcticImaging the Arctic

Imaging the Arctic is a collaborative project and exhibition that explores the ecology and culture of West Greenland through the work of marine mammal biologist and aquatic and fisheries sciences professor Kristin Laidre, expeditionary artist Maria Coryell-Martin, Finnish photographer Tiina Itkonen, and graphic artist Owen Curtsinger. The project is on display at the Nordic Heritage Museum December 12 through February 22 and is oriented around Laidre’s research on the impact of climate change in the Arctic, and sea ice loss on narwhals and polar bears. 

You can always stay up to date with the latest events happening at the College of the Environment by checking out our Events Calendar.

November / December 2014

In the Media

UW-made tool displays West Coast ocean acidification data

Incorporate more voices to loosen conservation gridlock, scientists urge

High definition comes to ocean floor

Fires and floods: North Cascades federal lands prepare for climate change

‘Probiotics’ for plants boost detox abilities; untreated plants overdose and die

Social Media

Join us on Facebook

Join us on Twitter