• Florian Muijres, Michael Elzinga, Johan Melis, and Michael Dickinson are co-authors on a paper recently published in Science. Their findings show that when evading a predator, fruit flies use their bodies and wings to alter course in less than one one-hundredth of a second (faster than what anyone had imagined!).

    Armed with this discovery, the next question the Dickinson lab would like to investigate is how the brain and muscles control these remarkably fast and accurate elusive maneuvers.

    Check out the video and the story.

    A fruit fly, Drosophila hydei, flaps its wings 200 times a second during normal flight and even faster when taking evasive action. Credit: F Muijres/F van Breugel/U of Washington

    Tue, Apr 15 at 1 PM
  • The Human Frontiers in Science Program Grant is an international award that allows collaboration between institutions in different countries. Jeff Riffell will work with Martin Guirfa (University of Toulouse) and Lars Chittka (University of London) to study the neural basis of learning and memory in bees with the goal of trying to understand how the insect (honeybee) brain - with a limited number of neurons compared to the mammalian brain - can perform higher-order cognitive tasks (like remembering a person's face). 

    Congrats Jeff!

    Tue, Apr 15 at 1 PM
  • Did you know that 75% of emerging infectious diseases that afflict humans are associated with other animals at some point in their life cycle? Studying the natural history of these pathogens - such as where they live and how they interact with their environment - provides great insight that allows researchers to formulate control strategies. Read more about the importance of utilizing natural history information here:

    UW co-authors on the BioScience paper include Josh Tewksbury, Kirsten Rowell, Jonathan Bakker, Timothy Billo, Peter Dunwiddie, Martha Groom, Noelle Machnicki and Liam Stacey.

    A natural historian’s field work sketches. Photo: Kirsten Rowell

    Fri, Mar 28 at 4 PM
  • Jeff Benca ('12) recently published a paper in the American Journal of Botany and his reconstruction of a new species of basal lycopsid (Leclercqia scolependra) from the Middle Devonian Period in Washington State made the cover of the accompanying issue. He made the illustration and carried out the research while he was an undergraduate researcher in Caroline Stromberg's lab.

    While at the UW Jeff fell in love with the Greenhouse, and even ended growing plants to support the collection and leading K-12 tours of the space.

    He is attending UC Berkeley working toward a Ph.D. in paleobotanist Cindy Looy's lab. Check out the image and paper here.

    Cover of the March 2014 issue of the American Journal of Botany. Vectored illustration: Jeff Benca.

    Fri, Mar 21 at 1 PM
  • Biology major Megan Kufeld was recently named as a President's Medalist in recognition of exceptional academic achievement during her sophomore year. She's also the goalkeeper for the UW Women's Soccer Team and is challenging misconceptions about student-athletes. Read more here.

    Fri, Mar 21 at 12 PM
  • The USFWS recently donated an African bull elephant skull to Prof. Sam Wasser, and it will be exhibited in the department to highlight the pioneering work he and his team are doing to combat the illegal ivory trade.

    Prof. Sam Wasser with the massive African elephant skull

    Thu, Mar 20 at 10 AM
  • Prof. Adam Summers discusses the incredible suction power of the Northern Clingfish. Click here to watch the video.

    Mon, Mar 3 at 2 PM
  • Biology undergraduate Ulyana Dashkevych has been awarded a Libraries Student Employee Scholarships of $1,000. As many as 12 scholarships are given each year to deserving student employees of the Libraries. The scholarships are funded through a variety of sources including individual donors, the Friends of the UW Libraries and the Allen Endowment.

    Congrats Ulyana!

    Wed, Feb 19 at 3 PM
  • Professor Emeritus Gordon Orians new book, Snakes, Sunrises, and Shakespeare (How Evolution Shapes Our Loves and Fears), is hitting the shelves in April. Learn more here.

    Tue, Feb 18 at 2 PM
  • A construction crew recently happened upon an ancient mammoth tusk in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. Christian Sidor, Professor of Biology and Burke Museum Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, said the discovery offers a "rare opportunity to directly study Seattle's ancient natural history." The Burke Museum has offered excavate the tusk and provide access to scientists looking to study it. 

    Read more here.

    Photo courtesy of Transit Plumbing Inc.

    Wed, Feb 12 at 10 AM
  • Asst. Prof. Lauren Buckley is part of a working group that just published a new study in Nature that includes an innovative global map of where species are likely to succeed or fail in keeping up with a changing climate. Read more here.

    Tue, Feb 11 at 4 PM
  • Dee Boersma discusses the findings of her new paper in PLOS ONE, starting at minute 17 here.

    Mon, Feb 10 at 12 PM
  • Adj. Prof. Daniel Promislow is the lead author on a perspective published in Science. Check it out here.

    Wed, Feb 5 at 10 AM
  • How do fruit flies manage to locate meals? Post Doc Floris van Breugel and Prof. Michael Dickinson have the answer:

    Floris van Breugel
    A long-exposure photograph reveals the last few seconds of a fruit fly’s search – surging forward when it has the scent and casting when it loses the odor, all the while looking for fruit-shaped objects.
    Tue, Feb 4 at 3 PM
  • In the late 1990's, Prof. Michael Dickinson intitiated a project to build a robotic fly. Today, he's analyzing how the fruit fly processes and transforms information into actions while flying. Read more here.

    Kevin Ma and Pakpong Chirarattananon, Harvard Microbotics Lab

    Fri, Jan 31 at 11 AM
  • Dee will be featured on Science Friday with Ira Flatow tomorrow, live at 11:00-11:20 a.m. PST via 

    After the interview, you can access the audio from the interview on their website after 3 p.m. PST ( 

    Thu, Jan 30 at 5 PM
  • In a paper published in PLOS ONE, Dee Boersma and co-author Ginger Rebstock describe how climate change is directly tied to penguin chick deaths.

    Check out the NYT article here, and the UW Today article here. 

    Photo credit: Dee Boersma

    Wed, Jan 29 at 4 PM
  • Neurobiology and Philosophy major Jeffrey Lee and Biology major Megan Kufeld were two of the three recipients of President's Awards for being the most outstanding students in their respective classes, based on academic records for the 2012-13 academic year. Read more here.

    The medals, to be presented March 6 by UW President Michael K. Young, recognize the students’ talents and thoroughness in their academic work. The awards include $5,000 for future academic expenses.

    Congrats Megan and Jeffrey!

    Mon, Jan 27 at 2 PM
  • Prof. Gabrielle Nevitt, now at UC Davis, pioneered experiements in the 90's that supported the idea that some birds actually have a developed sense of smell. For over a century it was believed that olfaction in birds was poor or even nonexistant. Check out the article in Audubon Magazine here.

    Photograph by Ted Kinsman, Russ Widstrand/Getty Images

    Mon, Jan 27 at 10 AM
  • ...He's also involved in instruction! Sylvia Stellmacher and Jason Kowitz, two undergraduate students in Tom Daniel's biomechanics course, analyzed how stress on tendons responsible for canine jumping might contribute to the high rate of injury in large dog breeds. They collected their data by filming Dubs while he leaped onto a bench and computed mechanical properties using ImageJ software. 

    A few of the Daniel lab members with Dubs, Jason and Sylvia (who is also Dubs' handler!)

    Tue, Dec 3 at 5 PM