Ecology and Environment

Native Wildflowers Bank on Seeds Underground to Endure Drought

March 01, 2018
Native wildflowers were surprisingly resilient during California’s most recent drought, even more so than exotic grasses. But signs of their resilience were not evident with showy blooms aboveground. Rather, they were found mostly underground, hidden in the seed bank, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.

Sea Change: UC Davis Explores the Future of Ocean Acidification

February 26, 2018
Beneath the sapphire waters of the Pacific shoreline, a pervasive threat to marine life grows. Human-produced carbon dioxide is altering the chemistry of the sea. To lead the future of climate change research, an interdisciplinary team of UC Davis scientists at the Bodega Marine Lab is collaborating to understand and confront an emergent global crisis.

Small Flowers, Big Implications for Species Extinction in the Face of Climate Change

February 21, 2018
A small, short-lived mountain wildflower is providing clues to understand the larger threats of species extinction as the climate warms. In a new study from Science Advances, UC Davis alumna Anne Marie Panetta, ’17 Ph.D. in Ecology, used historical surveys and experimental data to demonstrate that climate warming contributes to a reduction of biodiversity in ecosystems.

Earth BioGenome Project to Sequence All Life

January 23, 2018
In an effort to protect and preserve the Earth’s biodiversity and kick-start an inclusive bio-economy, the World Economic Forum today announced a landmark partnership between the Earth BioGenome Project, chaired by Harris Lewin, distinguished professor at the University of California, Davis, and the Earth Bank of Codes to map the DNA of all life on Earth.

Coping With Climate Stress in Antarctica

January 17, 2018
Some Antarctic fish living in the planet’s coldest waters are able to cope with the stress of rising carbon dioxide levels in the ocean. They can even tolerate slightly warmer waters. But they can’t deal with both stressors at the same time, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.

A Butterfly for a Beer! Or Suds for a Bug!

December 21, 2017
The annual “Butterfly for a Beer” contest, sponsored by Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis, gets underway on Monday, Jan. 1. The person who collects the first cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) of the year in one of three counties—Sacramento, Yolo and Solano—will receive a pitcher of beer or its equivalent.

It’s Good to Be Rare, for Some Species

December 12, 2017
When most people think of rare species, they think of endangered ones that humans have caused to be rare through habitat loss, poaching, climate change and other disturbances. But some species have always been rare — occurring in small densities throughout their range — throughout their evolutionary history.

Fly Genomes Provide Clues to Parallel Evolution

November 27, 2017
In a paper appearing in PLOS Genetics, Professor David Begun, Department of Evolution and Ecology in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, compared the genomes of different fly species to understand how genes—both within and between species—evolve adaptively. He found that two fly species that diverged from a common ancestor some 50 million years ago, exhibited parallel evolution on both short- and long-term timescales.

Ecology, Robotics and Love on the Lek

February 06, 2017
Gail Patricelli, a professor within the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis and self-titled “pornothologist,” has developed her own FemBots to gain a better understanding of the sexual selection behaviors of sage-grouse.

Why Do Seabirds Eat Plastic? The Answer Stinks

November 10, 2016
If it smells like food, and looks like food, it must be food, right? It turns out that marine plastic debris emits the scent of a sulfurous compound that some seabirds have relied upon for thousands of years to tell them where to find food, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. This olfactory cue essentially tricks the birds into confusing marine plastic with food.

Bringing Back White Abalone, One Spa Treatment at a Time

September 21, 2016
To encourage spawning in captivity, researchers put the marine snails in a mild hydrogen peroxide solution. This hydrogen peroxide spa treatment tricks the abalone into thinking others are spawning too. The chemical reaction, which creates free radicals, may be the same or at least similar to the chemical reaction that occurs when another abalone is spawning.