Loose skin and slime protect hagfishes from sharks

Friday Harbor Labs' Adam Summer

Researchers from the University of Washington, Chapman University and University of Guelph have published new research showing how hagfishes — an ancient group of eel-like animals found at the bottom of the ocean — survive an initial attack from predators before they release large volumes of slime to defend themselves. Results show that hagfish skin is not puncture resistant; instead, it is both unattached and flaccid, which helps avoid internal damage from penetrating teeth. 

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Q&A: UW’s Shuyi Chen on hurricane science, forecasting and the 2017 hurricane season

Hurricane Katrina

The United States just suffered the most intense hurricane season in more than a decade, and possibly the costliest ever. Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in mid-August. Hurricane Irma struck Florida in early September, followed just two weeks later by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Now, with the close of hurricane season on Nov. 30, new UW faculty member Shuyi Chen, professor in the UW’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences and an expert on hurricanes, answered a few questions about the state of hurricane forecasting and the 2017 storm season. 

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New research shows hydropower dams can be managed without an all-or-nothing choice between energy and food

Three Cambodian fisherpeople on a long, narrow boat with fishing lines and baskets. They are on the rough, brackish water of Tonle Sap Lake.

Nearly 100 hydropower dams are planned for construction along the tributaries and main stem of the Mekong River’s 2,700-mile stretch. The river, one of the world’s largest, flows through Burma, China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. It is an economic engine for fishermen and a food source for millions of people worldwide. While the dams are expected to provide clean energy to the region, if not managed properly they also have the potential to offset natural river patterns, which would damage food production, supply and business. 

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There's a deeper fish in the sea

Researchers recover a trap after it landed on the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Meet the deepest fish in the ocean, a new species named the Mariana snailfish by an international team of researchers that discovered it. They’re small, translucent, bereft of scales — and highly adept at living where few other organisms can. The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) thrives at depths of up to about 8,000 meters (26,200 feet) along the Mariana Trench near Guam. 

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