Ecology & Environment

Science Storytelling Through a Camera Lens

From Chilean tidepools to the High Sierra, 12 UC Davis graduate students traveled the world this summer in search of answers to ecology’s most pressing questions.

In the blazing 100-degree Texas sun, Jon Aguiñaga waded through polluted waters on the side of freeways to capture tiny fish, which he then ran experiments on in the garage of an Airbnb. Marissa Sandoval flew to Florida to extract sexual-selection perfumes from the green inflorescent legs of orchid bees. MJ Farruggia trekked more than 1,000 miles in the Sierra backcountry for 240 days and is “still not tired of it.”

CBS Plant Ecologist One of Five to Receive L'Oréal Fellowship

A prestigious fellowship has found a new recipient in CBS Postdoctoral Researcher Marina LaForgia, who was one of 5 postdocs in the country named a 2022 L'Oréal USA for Women in Science Fellow in November.

In her teaching, LaForgia, who studies the ecology of seeds to understand the effects of climate change and invasive plants on native plants, focuses on the women who have helped advance the field of botany.

Corals Saving Corals

Under the right living arrangement, disease-resistant corals can help “rescue” corals that are more vulnerable to disease, found a study from the University of California, Davis, that monitored a disease outbreak at a coral nursery in Little Cayman, Cayman Islands. 

Sequencing Puts Carnivore Chromosomes in Context

Studies comparing animal genomes generally focus on the DNA sequence itself. A new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis shows how the three-dimensional scaffolding of chromosomes is related across several species of carnivores, offering a new approach of “comparative scaffotyping” that could be used to identify related genes across species and place them in context. The work, published the week of Feb.

Earth BioGenome Project Begins Genome Sequencing in Earnest

A global effort to map the genomes of all plants, animals, fungi and other eukaryotic life on Earth is entering a new phase as it moves from pilot projects to full-scale production sequencing. This new phase of The Earth BioGenome Project, or EBP, is marked with a collection of papers published this week (Jan. 17) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describing the project’s goals, achievements to date and next steps.  

UC Davis Ecologist Awarded Packard Fellowship

University of California, Davis, evolutionary biologist Rachael Bay has been awarded a 2021 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The fellowship offers Bay, assistant professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, College of Biological Sciences, an opportunity to advance her work on the role of human action on evolutionary trajectories of species.

Migratory Birds Track Climate Across the Year

As climate change takes hold across the Americas, some areas will get wetter, and others will get hotter and drier. A new study of the yellow warbler, a widespread migratory songbird, shows that individuals have the same climatic preferences across their migratory range. The work is published Feb. 17 in Ecology Letters.

What is the Connection Between Genotype and Phenotype? Study Describes New Statistical Method to Identify Active and Inactive Genes from Transcriptomes

In a study appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, UC Davis researchers present a statistical method that—by virtue of providing a mathematical description of the relevant biological and technical processes associated with transcriptomic data—allows researchers to identify the expression state of genes.