Probiotics for Poplar Trees

Professor Sharon Doty is the lead author on an exciting paper published yesterday in Environmental Science and Technology, “Enhanced Degradation of TCE on a Superfund Site Using Endophyte-Assisted Poplar Tree Phytoremediation.” This paper is the culmination of an extensive research project in Sharon’s lab, including previous work by SEFS graduate student Jun Won Kang to isolate and characterize a poplar tree bacteria that effectively eats the common carcinogenic pollutant, TCE. Now, after a successful field trial at a real Superfund site, this research opens the door for using these microbes as an easy and natural way to clean up contaminated sites around the country and world. It’s an enormous breakthrough, and you can learn more about the findings in the great release Michelle Ma published yesterday in UW News!



New Student Spotlight: Olivia Sanderfoot

Olivia, an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and incoming SEFS doctoral student with Professor Beth Gardner’s research group, is the lead author on a paper just published in Environmental Research Letters. Reviewing nearly 70 years of the scientific literature, the study explores how much we know about the direct and indirect effects of air pollution on the health, well-being, reproductive success and diversity of birds. Learn more about the paper (and welcome, Olivia!)!


Alumni Update: Jorge Tomasevic

Last week, we were excited to hear an update from Jorge, who moved back to Chile earlier this spring after completing his Ph.D. Jorge has taken on a position as science coordinator for the Cruces River Wetland Center, a research and conservation center dedicated to produce knowledge, restore ecosystems, raise environmental awareness and promote sustainable wetland management.


Annual Honey Extraction: 'Comb and Get It!

On Friday, July 14, Evan Sugden organized his annual honey extracting event at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Evan, who teaches “Bees, Beekeeping and Pollination” (ESRM491D) during the summer, says this year’s bees delivered a whopping 450 pounds of honey. All the proceeds benefit the beekeeping course and program as part of the UW Farm, and we hope to have details soon about how to get your hands on some of this sticky deliciousness!


Annual SEFS Retreat: Sept. 20!

We’re now barely five weeks away from our annual retreat, which is coming up on Wednesday, September 20, at the Center for Urban Horticulture (roughly from 9 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m.). All students, staff, faculty, postdocs, adjuncts and affiliates are invited, and we’ll have a more concrete agenda to distribute soon!


Aug. 18, 2017:

End of Summer B

Sept. 20, 2017:

Annual SEFS Retreat, CUH

Oct. 4, 2017:

Salmon BBQ, 4-6 p.m.

Oct. 18, 2017:

Great American Shakeout



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Kudos to Professor Sally Brown, who took part in the U.S. Forest Service National Soils Assessment: Forest and Rangeland Soils in a Changing World, held in Portland, Ore., July 25 to 28. Also at the meeting was SEFS alumnus Jeff Hatten (’07, Ph.D.), who studied with Professor Darlene Zabowski and is now a professor at Oregon State University.

We also have some great kudos for Michelle Trudeau and David Campbell, who helped organize a campus tour for the Muckleshoot Youth Conservation Crew on August 1. There were 17 youths (16-20 years old) who attended, and about half were interested in coming to UW!

Kudos to David, as well, for developing a new system to make student tracking with Workday easier!

Next, we have some fun kudos for Professor Aaron Wirsing, who participated in two nights of Science and a Movie, August 8 and 9, with the Pacific Science Center and Central Cinema. His film? Jaws! The Science and a Movie series offers moviegoers the chance to learn about research that's related to classic films, and as part of the two-night event Aaron got to give a talk titled, “Tiger sharks keep seagrass ecosystems healthy by scaring sea turtles,” and then fielded questions from the audience about shark biology and the portrayal of sharks in cinema after the screening of Jaws (one of his favorite movies). Aaron joins Professor John Marzluff and doctoral student Anna Simpson as recent SEFS participants in this great series!

Finally, from the world of slightly wackier kudos, we have some well-deserved applause for Professor Christian Torgersen. Last Friday, a hummingbird found its way through an open window into David Campbell’s office and then couldn’t escape. Christian smartly brought a stick into the office, and the poor, panicked little thing obliged by calmly alighting on it and letting Christian guide it to freedom. Nice work, Christian, whom we shall henceforth know as the Hummingbird Whisperer!



Remember, with the great solar eclipse coming up on Monday, August 21, NASA has collected some resources about cultural knowledge regarding eclipses, “The Vanishing Sun: Eclipse Tales from Around the World.”



Not a lot of committee action at the moment, but don’t forget to join us in welcoming our top candidate in the SEFS Director Search, Dan Brown, for a visit and reception in the Forest Club Room this Thursday, August 17, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room. There won’t be any formal program, talk or presentation—just mingling and snacking over drinks to get to know Dan a little better, and for him to learn a little more about us and our community. We’d love for as many of you as possible to make it, and especially if you didn’t get a solid chance to interact with Dan on his first visit in June.



Wildlife Seminar: Done for the quarter

ESRM 429 Seminar: Done for the quarter

SEFS Seminar Series: Folded into the ESRM 429 Seminar this fall.



We have a double-hitter from Professor David Butman this issue, as he is a co-author on a paper that made the cover of Ecological Applications, “Inland waters and their role in the carbon cycle of Alaska,” and on July 19 he also co-authored a piece for Earth & Space Science News, “Quantifying Coastal Rain Forest Carbon Transport.” Great stuff!



Professor Fernando Resende sent along great news that some of the research going on in his lab has made the cover of an international biofuels magazine, Bioenergy Insight. The story in the July/August 2017 issue, “The beetles and the biofuels,” features some of the dissertation research from one of Fernando’s former students, alumnus Guanqun Luo (’16, Ph.D.), who is now a postdoc at North Carolina State University. Great stuff (and we especially loved the teaser text on the cover, “Beetlejuice: Converting dead trees into energy”!).



A few weeks ago, we mailed the latest issue of our thrice-yearly alumni newsletter, Roots. You’ve probably already seen most of these stories appear in the Straight Grain, but take a look if you’d like a condensed digest of life at SEFS during the past few months!