Ecology & Environment

Students Collect Samples at Arboretum to Measure Water Quality

The Arboretum and Public Garden at UC Davis is about to get a fresh set of water quality data after students fanned out earlier this month along the Arboretum Waterway to measure salinity and fecal coliform levels.

The three-hour session began with a lecture, then moved to the Arboretum for sampling and back to a lab to analyze what students collected. The information will be shared with Arboretum management to help provide a glimpse into the health of the creek.

CBS Majors Co-Found Society to Bring More Native Plants to Campus

When UC Davis student Madison “Madi” Burns joined the Davis Rewilding Society during her freshman year, it helped bring her future into focus. The second-year landscape architecture major said she has developed a much better understanding of the importance of native plants from her involvement with the student-run organization.

“Being part of the club has really expanded my knowledge and has made an impact on what I want to do with my life and my career,” Burns said. “I want to design spaces to incorporate native species.”

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.