114 news posts related to Ecology

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‘The blob,’ food supply squeeze to blame for largest seabird die-off

Dead seabirds

The common murre is a self-sufficient, resilient bird. Though the seabird must eat about half of its body weight in prey each day, common murres are experts at catching the small “forage fish” they need to survive. Herring, sardines, anchovies and even juvenile salmon are no match for a hungry murre. So when nearly one million common murres died at sea and washed ashore from California to Alaska in 2015 and 2016, it was unprecedented — both for murres, and across all bird species worldwide. 

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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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