20 news posts from June 2021

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Researchers discover yessotoxins, produced by certain phytoplankton, to be a culprit behind summer mass shellfish mortality events in Washington

Dying clams on Hood Canal, Rocky Bay, 2019.King et al, Harmful Algae, 2021

Back in the summers of 2018 and 2019, the shellfish industry in Washington state was rocked by mass mortalities of its crops. “It was oysters, clams, cockles — all bivalve species in some bays were impacted,” said Teri King, aquaculture and marine water quality specialist at Washington Sea Grant based at the University of Washington. “They were dying, and nobody knew why.” 

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UW Ocean Voices program, seeking equity in ocean science, gets key approval from United Nations

Yoshitaka Ota

Ocean Voices, a program of the University of Washington-based Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center to advance equity in ocean science, has been named among the first group of actions taken in a United Nations-sponsored, decade-long program of ocean science for sustainable development. “The human relationship with oceans under current political economies is unsustainable, unstable and inequitable,” writes Yoshitaka Ota, director of the center. 

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VIDEO: Moss tells stories of hot spots for pollution

Phil Levin and Mathis Massager

With the expansion of Seattle comes more cars on the roads. The fact that transportation results in pollution is widely known, but School of Environmental and Forest Sciences‘ Phil Levin, Ian Davies and Mathis Messager, in partnership with Boeing and The Nature Conservancy, pinpointed the exact locations in Puget Sound where pollution has accumulated in a paper published in Science Direct. 

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Dennis Hartmann to serve as interim dean of College of the Environment

Dennis Hartmann

Dennis Hartmann, professor of Atmospheric Sciences in the College of the Environment, has agreed to serve as interim dean from July 1 until Maya Tolstoy begins as the Maggie Walker Dean on Jan. 1, 2022. Hartmann served as interim dean of the College when it formed in 2009 until July 1, 2010 when Dean Lisa Graumlich began her term. As an atmospheric scientist who studies the atmosphere’s role in climate variability and change, and how the atmosphere interacts with the ocean in a changing climate, Hartmann’s principal areas of expertise are atmospheric dynamics, remote sensing, and mathematical and statistical techniques for data analysis. 

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Edge of Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf is ripping apart, causing key Antarctic glacier to gain speed

East side of the Pine Island Glacier, looking westward

For decades, the ice shelf helping to hold back one of the fastest-moving glaciers in Antarctica has gradually thinned. Analysis of satellite images reveals a more dramatic process in recent years: From 2017 to 2020, large icebergs at the ice shelf’s edge broke off, and the glacier sped up. Since floating ice shelves help to hold back the larger grounded mass of the glacier, the recent speedup due to the weakening edge could shorten the timeline for Pine Island Glacier’s eventual collapse into the sea. 

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