Sea Change

A diver next to the Seattle waterfront sea wall.

Seattle is reimagining and creating a living urban waterfront — building a healthy future for the city’s people, wildlife, culture and economy. The UW has been part of the project from the start. Seattle’s waterfront renewal is one of the region’s most ambitious and innovative undertakings since the Seattle World’s Fair transformed the city in 1962. Finally reconnecting Seattle’s waterfront to its downtown, this $750 million renovation and restoration will create a network of public parks, cultural celebration spaces and an expanded aquarium — while building a sophisticated, seismically sound, salmon-friendly new seawall. 

Read more »

Warming oceans have decimated marine parasites — but that’s not a good thing

A researcher holds open a preserved fish specimen that has been inspected for parasites.

More than a century of preserved fish specimens offer a rare glimpse into long-term trends in parasite populations. New research from the University of Washington shows that fish parasites plummeted from 1880 to 2019, a 140-year stretch when Puget Sound — their habitat and the second largest estuary in the mainland U.S. — warmed significantly. The study, published the week of Jan. 

Read more at UW News »

Study reveals how ancient fish colonized the deep sea

Photo of a glowing lanternfish

The deep sea contains more than 90% of the water in our oceans, but only about a third of all fish species. Scientists have long thought the explanation for this was intuitive — shallow ocean waters are warm and full of resources, making them a prime location for new species to evolve and thrive. But a new University of Washington study led by Elizabeth Miller reports that throughout Earth’s ancient history, there were several periods of time when many fish actually favored the cold, dark, barren waters of the deep sea. 

Read more at UW News »

Fish, Forests and Fungi

Salmon River

Mushrooms have a long-standing history as a culturally and nutritionally significant food source, yet we still have much to learn about our fungal friends. Enter the wondrous world of mushrooms: some toxic, some colorful; some cap-tipped, some mimicking a wave in the ocean. Regardless of how much research has been done on fungi, we have only scratched the surface, with only four percent of fungi species characterized. 

Read more »

Beach trash accumulates in predictable patterns on Washington and Oregon shores

This litter collected at Devil’s Punchbowl on the Oregon coast in December 2012 shows a mix of bottle tops, fishing gear and plastic fragments. Analysis of larger items collected by volunteers from 2017 to 2021 shows that beaches have “sticky zones” where both organic material and litter tends to accumulate.

Citizen scientists recorded trash on Pacific Northwest beaches, from southern Oregon to Anacortes, Washington, to contribute to the growing study of marine trash. A study by the University of Washington analyzed 843 beach surveys and found that certain beaches, and certain areas of a single beach, are “sticky zones” that accumulate litter. The study was published online Aug. 11 in Marine Pollution Bulletin. 

Read more at UW News »