113 news posts related to Ecology

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A day to celebrate the magic of soils

soil

In 2013, the United Nations designated December 5 as World Soil Day. The date coincides with the birthday of the late King Rama IX of Thailand, a leading global advocate for the promotion of healthy soils and sustainable soil management. This World Soil Day, we’re digging into the history of soil science and looking ahead to see what the future holds for the oft-overlooked hero of our terrestrial ecosystem. 

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Old friends and new enemies: How evolutionary history can predict insect invader impacts

balsam woolly adelgid

About 450 nonnative, plant-eating insect species live in North American forests. Most of these critters are harmless, but a handful wreak havoc on their new environment, attacking trees and each year causing more than $70 billion in damage. The problem is, scientists often don’t know which insect will emerge as the next harmful invader. A team led by the University of Washington, drawing largely on the evolutionary history of insect-plant interactions, has developed a way to understand how nonnative insects might behave in their new environments. 

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How to consider nature’s impact on mental health in city plans

Cherry tree blossoms in full bloom in the University of Washington Quad in Seattle, Washington.

Almost one in five adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness. That statistic is similar worldwide, with an estimated 450 million people currently dealing with a mental or neurological disorder. Of those, only about a third seek treatment. Interacting with nature is starting to be recognized as one way to improve mental health. A number of scientific studies have shown that nature experiences may benefit people’s psychological well-being and cognitive function. 

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Five curious things we now know about our oceans

Photo: J Meyer

We swim in it, the sun sets over it, love songs are written about it and it covers 70% of the earth’s surface, yet we know so little about our deep blue sea. Oceans inspire some of the most puzzling questions and greatest discoveries on earth, and here at UW, researchers from across the sciences are dedicated to better understanding what’s in them, what’s changing about them, and how we can preserve these essential parts of our habitat. 

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Tiny fishes fuel life on coral reefs

Most bottom-dwelling fish try to avoid predation through hiding or camouflage. This colorful bluebelly blenny fish scans its surroundings with its head sticking out of its hole.

Coral reefs typically evoke clear, turquoise waters and a staggering number of colorful fishes. But what supports such an abundance of life? In a paper published May 23 in Science, a team of international researchers from Simon Fraser University, University of Washington and other institutions reveals that the iconic abundance of fishes on reefs is fueled by an unlikely source: tiny, bottom-dwelling reef fishes. 

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