Civil War-era U.S. Navy ships’ logs to be explored for climate data, maritime history

Coaling Admiral Farragut’s fleet at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, circa 1862.

A new grant will let a University of Washington-based project add a new fleet to its quest to learn more about past climate from the records of long-gone mariners. The UW is among the winners of the 2017 “Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives” awards, announced Jan. 4 by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Library and Information Resources. The new $482,018 grant to the UW, the U.S. 

Read more at UW Today »

Q&A: Forgotten fish illustrator remembered through first publication

Illustration of a large fish with yellow and black stripes on its back and red fins.

More than three centuries ago, a French monk made thousands of drawings of plants and animals, traveling under the authority of King Louis XIV to the French Antilles to collect and document the natural history of the islands. These drawings were often the first ever recorded for each species and were completed in remarkable detail. The illustrations were nearly lost forever during the tumultuous French Revolution, and the volumes compiled by Father Charles Plumier were discovered by chance, found serving as stools for the monks to sit on by the fire in the convent where he lived. 

Read the Q&A at UW Today »

Scale-eating fish adopt clever parasitic methods to survive

A CT-scanned image of the piranha Catoprion mento. The blue-dyed segments inside the skeleton are fish scales eaten by the piranha (also shown enlarged next to the fish).

A small group of fishes — possibly the world’s cleverest carnivorous grazers — feeds on the scales of other fish in the tropics. The different species’ approach differs: some ram their blunt noses into the sides of other fish to prey upon sloughed-off scales, while others open their jaws to gargantuan widths to pry scales off with their teeth. A team led by biologists at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories is trying to understand these scale-feeding fish and how this odd diet influences their body evolution and behavior. 

Read more at UW Today »

Mark Richards named as incoming UW Provost and professor of Earth and Space Sciences

A photo of professor Mark Richards, a middle-aged white man with blue eyes and sandy hair who wears glasses.

The University of Washington has named Mark Richards as incoming provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. An accomplished geophysicist, Mark will hold a faculty appointment as a professor in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, pending a vote by the UW Board of Regents. College of the Environment Dean and Mary Laird Wood Professor Lisa J. Graumlich says, “Earth scientists are trained to look for the big picture, plan for the long-term, judiciously employ data to support inference, and be nimble when intricate field research plans encounter the real world. 

Read more on President Cauce's blog »