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. 

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Partnership will use robotic network to explore Antarctic ice shelves

One of the biggest unknowns for the future of Earth’s climate is Antarctica, where the West Antarctic Ice Sheet holds so much ice that, if it collapsed, it could bring several feet of rising seas. A new partnership between the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, the UW Applied Physics Laboratory and Paul G. Allen Philanthropies will use a robotic network to observe the conditions beneath a floating Antarctic ice shelf. 

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Fish to benefit if large dams adopt new operating approach

The San Juan River’s Navajo Dam and reservoir above.

Thousands of dams built along U.S. rivers and streams over the last century now provide electricity for homes, store water for agriculture and support recreation for people. But they also have downstream impacts: They reduce the amount and change the timing of flowing water that fish rely on for spawning, feeding and migration. Recognizing that many large dams are here to stay, a UW team is investigating an emerging solution to help achieve freshwater conservation goals by re-envisioning the ways in which water is released by dams. 

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Interdisciplinary UW project seeks sustainable blueprint for hydropower dams

A young boy sits in a boat on top of brackish waters, another boat in the background.

In Southeast Asia along the Mekong River, the debate is over when and how — not whether — dams will be built. The river and its tributaries support what’s likely the largest inland fishery in the world, worth more than $2 billion annually. Every day, 60 million people or more rely on the Mekong for food and their livelihoods. In the coming years, nearly 100 hydropower dams are slated to be built along the main stem of the river’s 2,700-mile stretch and its connected tributaries. 

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