News

  • Arthur R. Kruckeberg
    March 21, 1920 – May 25, 2016

    Art Kruckeberg, Emeritus Professor of Botany, died yesterday at age 96. Art left a legacy as a scholar, teacher, promoter of gardening with native plants, and conservation activist.
    Art joined the Botany Department as an Assistant Professor in 1950 after completing his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. He grew up in California and was imbued with all things botanical from an early age; his family owned a publishing house called Kruckeberg Press, which published gardening and horticultural publications. He began grad school in 1941 at Stanford, where he spent the previous summer as a field assistant for the famous botanical research team of Jens Clausen, David Keck, and William Heisey (Clausen, Keck, and Heisey rolls off the tongue of most botanists the way Tinker, Evers, and Chance does baseball aficionados).

    Due to forces beyond his control, graduate study would have to wait. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Art enlisted in the Navy and was recruited into their language program, where he learned Japanese. He spent the rest of the war years and a year of postwar occupation, translating Japanese documents and interpreting interrogations of captured Japanese prisoners. To the very end of his life, Art was proud of his mastery of Japanese. I had the occasion to spend a week at a conference in Japan with Art in 1989; he could still speak the language AND remembered the plants he had seen there even though it had been over 40 years since he had left Japan.

    After the war, he returned to California to start grad school again, this time at Berkeley. He completed his Ph.D. under the supervision of Herbert Mason, with Hans Jenny and G. Ledyard Stebbins on his committee. Mason had recently begun studying the unique flora found on serpentine soils in California. Art’s dissertation (An Experimental Inquiry into the Nature of Endemism on Serpentine Soils) helped bring the descriptive work on serpentine endemism into the realm of experimental science. Art maintained a research program on serpentine plants throughout his career, writing several books for both academic and lay audiences, in addition to a significant body of scientific publications.
    Once Art’s academic bona fides were well established, he increasingly devoted his attention to public outreach through his writings, promotion of conservation activism, and pushing for the establishment of environmental legislation to preserve lands for their value to biodiversity. In 1972, he led the movement to create the Washington Natural Area Preserves Act, in 1973, he developed the first list of rare and endangered plants in Washington, in 1976 he helped found the Washington Native Plant Society, in 1982 he helped create the Washington Natural Heritage Program within the Department of Natural Resources to oversee management of natural area preserves and endangered species, and during those years also served on the US Forest Service commission to identify parcels of federal land to preserve as Research Natural Areas. Art was awarded the prestigious Peter Raven Award for public outreach in botany by the American Society of Plant Taxonomists in 2006.

    Art leaves a living legacy in the form of the 4-acre garden he and his wife Mareen developed over the course of 50 years in Shoreline. This is the “type garden” for his most widely known book “Gardening with Native Plants in the Pacific Northwest.” This book has turned on generations of gardeners to the joy and conservation value of using our native flora in home gardens. When the book was first published, it won the “Governor’s Award” for outstanding books published by Washington authors. The Kruckeberg Botanic Garden is now a public garden owned by the City of Shoreline and managed by the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden Foundation.

    Art served on my Ph.D. committee and I have a debt of gratitude for Art’s support over the years. During the last few weeks, I have been sorting through the detritus of a career left behind in Art’s last office in the Plant Lab. With news of his passing, the many memories into the man who influenced me so, take on additional meaning. A legion of friends, colleagues, and many who never met him, but were influenced by his work, will mourn his passing.
    --Dick Olmstead 

     

    Gifts in honor of Art can be directed to the Kruckeberg Foundation or to the endowment he created in the Department of Biology for Plant Biology. Please make checks out to the University of Washington, with "Kruckeberg endowment" on the memo line. Questions? Contact Lisa at <lisatran@uw.edu> or 206.685.2185.

    "Art in the field -- dashing as ever" (Snoqualmie)

    Thu, May 26 at 3 PM
  • Clément Vinauger and Chloé Lahondere from the Riffel lab were featured in an article in The Stranger

    They are determining how the mosquito makes decisions on whom to feed on by identifying how the mosquito brain processes information about hosts, and the underlying genes associated with those decisions. This information can be used to identify gene targets for their control, which is especially important given the rapid spread of the Zika virus, and the continued and growing presence of mosquito-borne arboviruses (eg, West Nile, Dengue) in Washington state and the Pacific Northwest.

    Art by Levi Hastings
     

    Wed, May 18 at 9 AM
  • We are thrilled to announce the University of Washington Life Sciences Building received the American Institute of Architect's (AIA) Washington Council 2016 Civic Design Citation Award! It was the only on-the-boards project selected for a Civic Design Award this year.

    This is the fifth Civic Design Award in the last ten years for the Perkins+Will Seattle office, including a previous Honor Award for the UW Husky Union Building in 2013.

    The Life Sciences Building embraces three core concepts: Science is a Gateway + Connections + Engagement. These core concepts enhanced the building’s relation to the campus, students, faculty, and environment.

    The new 207,000-square foot building on the UW Seattle campus will become the nucleus of the Department of Biology, which occupies multiple buildings, and serve as a campus and public gateway to science. The public ground level includes a café, lounge, active learning classroom, student collaboration rooms, and teaching labs. The lower levels include state-of-the-art greenhouses that display the university's plant research adjacent to the building’s entrance and the gateway to Main Campus. The upper levels have research labs, offices, and a public zone of breakrooms and conference rooms adjacent to the glassed-in open stair. Targeting LEED Gold certification, the highly sustainable design elements of the building are on display, including glass photovoltaic fins facing the Burke-Gilman Trail, which both shade the offices and generate electricity to power the open office lighting.

    The facility has a unique civic opportunity to connect with the campus and community by engaging with the Burke-Gilman Trail, a popular biking and walking path for students and the public, which draws thousands of regional users daily through the campus. In addition to displaying the greenhouse research along the trail, a civic plaza is located where the trail intersects with the pedestrian bridge connecting to South Campus—a unique “watering hole” of educational and social activity along this regional thoroughfare of bike commuters.

    We are proud of the project team for making this project such a success!

    Tue, May 10 at 8 AM
  • The work of Reserach Prof. Megan Dethier was featured in UW Today and on KUOW recently, showing the cumulative effects of shoreline armoring on the ecosystem. Congratulations to Megan and the entire team she assembled for these studies, published in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science!

    A seawall along Harbor Avenue Southwest in West Seattle PC//H. Shipman

    Fri, Apr 22 at 1 PM
  • Some animals are more equal than others: Keystone Species and Trophic Cascades -- it is widely known that UW Biology Prof. Emeritus Robert Paine has had an incredible impact on ecology and how we think about it today. This short film by HHMI tells the story of how the concepts of keystone species and trophic cascades were first established through the pinoeering experiments of two young researchers, Bob Paine and James Estes. 

    Fri, Apr 22 at 12 PM
  • The 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellows have been announced, and UW Biology is well represented! 

    NSF award:
    Ryan McGee
     
    NSF honorable mention:
    Kelsie Morioka
    Ryo Okubo
    Molly Phillips
    Luke Weaver
    Megan Whitney
    Gideon Dunster
    Ethan Linck
    Katie Stanchak
    Will King
     
     
    Congratulations everyone!
    Wed, Apr 6 at 1 PM
  • Congratulations to graduate student Ethan Linck (Klicka lab), named a 2016 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellow! 

    Mon, Apr 4 at 10 AM
  • Teaching assistant in environmental and forest sciences and Botany Greenhouse docent, Jorge Tomasevic, received a 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award, giving a shout out to our outreach programs -- "Thank you for giving me the chance to expand my teaching skills with such diverse audiences as the ones coming to the Botany Greenhouse and the Medicinal Herb Garden!" 

    Congratulations Jorge! 

    Fri, Apr 1 at 9 AM
  • Prof. and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, Christian Sidor was exclusively quoted in Nature on the impact of NSF's recent announcement regarding the indefinite suspension of funding to maintain biological research collections. 

    The Field Museum's extensive collection of eggshells helped to reveal the destructive power of the pesticide DDT.

    Wed, Mar 30 at 11 AM
  • Abigail Swann, assistant professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and Department of Biology and Alex Gagnon, assistant professor with the School of Oceanography, each recently received an Early Faculty Development (CAREER) Program Award from the National Science Foundation. This prestigious award is given to support junior faculty who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research,” according to the NSF.

    Congratulations Abby! 

    Thu, Mar 24 at 1 PM
  • We are excited to share the wonderful news that Principal Lecturer Linda Martin-Morris has won a 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award!  Linda devotes an extraordinary amount of her life to her students and they appreciate it deeply. Even in her largest classes, Linda takes the time to get to know every student personally. She has had a lifelong impact on thousands of students over the decades.
     
    In addition to the outstanding experience that Linda provides for her students, she has also:
     
    1) pioneered flipped classrooms (and for that was nominated for a Distinguished Teaching Award for Innovation with Technology)
    2) ported her beloved BIOL 100 to the UW in the High Schools Program, serving high schoolers and their teachers in rural Washington
    3) served as the faculty mentor for the Tri-Beta Biology Honors Society, and
    4) chaired Biology’s Diversity Committee
     
    Congratulations Linda! Mark your calendars for the afternoon of 9 June, when Linda will receive her Distinguished Teaching Award (exact time and location TBD)
    Wed, Mar 23 at 10 AM
  • Congratulations to Prof. Claudia Mills, who has had the honor of one of the most beautiful deep sea jellies discovered by MBARI named after her. The jelly has been named Crossota millsae. Please check out it’s beauty and unusual reproductive model!

    Tue, Mar 15 at 9 AM
  • Why does a penguin visit a Brazilian fisherman every year? Dee comments on their cute relationship in the Christian Science Monitor. 

    Fri, Mar 11 at 12 PM
  • Daniel Promislow's work on aging and lifespan in dogs is featured in a MYNorthWest article. According to him and his collaborators, this drug therapy could extend the life of dogs while keeping them healthier, longer!

     

    Professor Daniel Promislow, left, and Professor Matt Kaeberlein pose with their pups. 

    Wed, Mar 9 at 11 AM
  • Adam Summer's collaboration with English students to create a science communication video takes first place in a competition that culminated during this year's Ocean Sciences Meeting. Check out the video here!

     

    Tue, Mar 8 at 10 AM
  • "Why does it matter how students in an intro biology class view each other?"

    Alison Crowe's interview with Bill Radke for The Record about classroom gender bias aired on March 1st. Check out the full interview here, Alison's segment starts at 10:20.

    Thu, Mar 3 at 10 AM