Island Inquiry

This past summer, Professor Aaron Wirsing helped initiate a pilot research program to study the biology of reef sharks on a tiny atoll in the South Pacific. Tetiaroa, located about 33 miles north of Tahiti in French Polynesia, is comprised of a ring of 12 coral islets—also known as motus—surrounding a shallow lagoon. Largely untouched by human development, the lagoon is home to several shark nurseries, or areas where shark pups spend the first part of their lives, making the atoll ecosystem an especially promising site to study shark behavior and development under natural and nearly pristine conditions.



Director's Message: Winter 2015

Tom DeLuca reflects on the challenges of communicating the urgency of climate change, and how we are trying a new approach this spring to draw out high school and undergraduate voices through the UW Climate Change Video Contest.


SEFS Seminar Series: Winter Schedule

Like last quarter, the seminars are held on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223. We’ll have a casual reception in the Forest Club Room after the talks on February 4 and March 11, so mark your calendars and come out as often as you can!


Wildlife Science Seminar: Winter Schedule

Held on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:50 p.m. in Smith 120, the seminars are open to the public. There’s a lot on the schedule to get excited about, starting a little later this afternoon with Professor Patrick Tobin, “Insect intruders: Biological invasions and the threat to ecosystems and biodiversity.”


Water Seminar: Winter Schedule

Professor Darlene Zabowski is hosting the seminar this quarter, and the talks are held right here in Anderson 223 on Tuesday mornings from 8:30 to 9:20 a.m. You'll see a ton of SEFS representation in the line-up, so grab a coffee and come join your colleagues!


Jan. 12, 2015:

Wildlife Seminar, 3:30-4:50 p.m., Smith 120

Jan. 13, 2015:

Water Seminar, 8:30-9:20 a.m., AND 223

Jan. 14, 2015:

SEFS Seminar Series, 3:30-4:20 p.m., AND 223

Jan. 20, 2015:

Water Seminar, 8:30-9:20 a.m., AND 223



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We promise we do have other news besides seminar schedules to report, and we’ll start with some major kudos for Professor Sarah Reichard, who has been nominated for the 2015 David B. Thorud Leadership Award. This prestigious award acknowledges the exceptional ability to lead, serve, inspire and innovate, and honorees—one staff and one faculty member—will receive $2,500. Award recipients will be notified in early March and recognized at the UW Awards of Excellence ceremony later this spring. Good luck, Sarah!

We have some enterprising kudos, as well, for Sarah Thomas, who helped launch our official SEFS Twitter page last week (@UW_SEFS). We’re excited to tap into some new audiences and help spread our reach as much as possible, so find and follow us if tweeting is your thing!

We also have some nice kudos for Melissa Pingree, Sean Jeronimo, Luke Dow and Nicholas Dankers, who helped pull down and remove our epic Christmas tree from the Forest Club Room last Friday. The poor thing had grown bone dry, and the carnage of needles afterward looked like a crime scene (though on the bright side, the pine smell in the halls was once again delightful). Your help was hugely appreciated!

Jessica Farmer passed along a great internship opportunity with the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. She was a horticulture intern there 10 years ago and would be happy to talk about the program to any students interested in applying.

After the SESF Seminar on Wednesday, February 4, the International Forestry Students’ Association is hosting a Pecha Kucha Night in the Forest Club Room. The post-seminar reception starts at 4:30 p.m., and the Pecha Kucha presentations will run from 5 to 6 p.m. Pecha Kucha presentations are like mini TED talks—each 6 minutes and 40 seconds—so come out and hear what your colleagues have to say ... in tightly packed bursts of brilliance!

Also, there’s an interesting art exhibition coming up at the Washington State Convention Center, “The Meaning of Wood: What Becomes of Trees No Longer in the Forest.” Featuring more than 70 works of art by 40-plus artists—including Suze Woolf, whom you might remember from our seminar series last spring—the exhibition will be open from January 15 through March 29, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Take a look at the full schedule (which should be updated soon, if it doesn't yet have the wood gallery listed).


A reminder that we’ll have several more faculty candidates visiting campus to give talks this quarter. The next talk—featuring Professor Greg Brown from the University of Queensland as part of the ONRC director search—is coming up on Thursday, January 22, at 2:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room. After that, the three wildlife candidates will be giving talks as part of the SEFS Seminar Series (February 11, February 18 and March 4), and the four finalists for the BSE position will be here in the next two months. We’ll have more details on those candidates to share soon.


Daniel Feinberg, a doctoral student working with Professor Clare Ryan, recently had a paper published in Landscape and Urban Planning, “Evaluating management strategies to enhance biodiversity in conservation developments: Perspectives from developers in Colorado, USA.” The paper is based on his master’s research at the University of Florida, where he studied incentive-based policy strategies for enhancing biodiversity in conservation developments. Nice work, Daniel!


In the last issue, we reported on Professor Sergey Rabotyagov’s new publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), “Cost-effective targeting of conservation investments to reduce the northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone.” Some local papers have run stories on the research, including the New Orleans Advocate (“Gulf dead zone could be dramatically shrunk, but at a high cost”) and New Orleans City Business (“Gulf dead zone could be shrunk, but at high cost”). Great stuff, Sergey!

In other fun news, the winners of the 2014 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards Competition were announced, and a short film featuring Professor Aaron Wirsing and doctoral student Justin Dellinger, “Wolves and the Ecology of Fear,” won for the “Spot News/Feature Reporting (20 minutes or less)” category. The awards go to professional journalists for distinguished reporting for a general audience, so definitely take a look at Michael Werner’s film, produced for KCTS 9/QUEST, if you haven’t seen it yet.


In the last issue, we were deeply saddened to share news of the passing of Dr. Roger Rosenblatt on December 12. His full obituary is available at The Seattle Times, and a celebration of Roger’s life will be held this Thursday, January 15, at 2:30 p.m. with a walk through the Union Bay Natural Area, followed by a sharing of memories at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Donations in Roger's honor can be made to the Rosenblatt Family Endowed Professorship in Rural Family Medicine at the University of Washington (UWMA, Box 358045, Seattle, WA 98195), or in support of the Okanogan Land Trust (OLT, PO Box 293, Tonasket, WA 98855).