Nematodes, every undersea pineapple’s worst nightmare.
Up on dry land however, the nematode species found in the soil of field crops can actually be beneficial. They provide organic matter decomposition and contribute to the food chain.
But there are two species in the Pacific Northwest that can actually damage field crops and, according to WSU and Oregon State University scientists, there is now a third.
Learn more about the newly arrived species of nematode in WSU News.
WSU geneticist Omar Cornejo
Omar assisted a Danish research team to settle nearly a century of debate over Arctic settlement and whether today’s Inuit are related to Paleo-Eskimos.
The study incorporates both archeology; the Paleo-Eskimos’ tools and culture, and genetics; inferring the ancestry of different peoples from modern-day genomes of people living in the Arctic.
By considering the question of cultural versus genetic continuity, the researchers found that North America and the Arctic were settled by at least three sets of migrants from Siberia.
A complete camel skeleton was prepared and assembled at WSU’s Veterinary Anatomy Section under the supervision of Darrel Nelson, a scientific instructional technician.
The specimen was prepared as a gift for the royal family of Qatar and the Leawaina Camel Hospital.
Watch the full, timelapse videos of the assembly here.
Photo via Henry Moore Jr., BCU/WSU
Video credit Bob Mitchell, BCU/WSU.
Happy Literacy Day!
Did you know that the WSU libraries have more than two million books and more than 30,000 journal and magazine subscriptions, and approximately 35,000 volumes are added to the collections annually? That’s in addition to the 28 million items available to library members through the university’s partnerships with other Washington, Oregon, and Idaho libraries.
A bookworm’s dream come true.
This year, WSU purchased more than 3,000 pairs of pantyhose.
For science, of course.
I am one of the WSU researchers who routinely use pantyhose in their studies. I am a PhD candidate in the entomology department and I am studying the biology and ecology of one of the Pacific Northwest’s greatest agricultural pests, the wireworm. The wireworm is the larvae of the click beetle and can be particularly devastating to fields because by the time the farmer realizes they’re there, it’s already too late.
So where exactly do the pantyhose come into my research?
To collect wireworms I create baited traps out of corn, wheat, and pantyhose. I mix the corn and wheat in a pair of pantyhose, soaks the mixture overnight to begin germination, and then bury the trap in a field with a wireworm infestation. Wireworms just can’t resist a newly sprouted seed and will burrow their way into the trap to chow down, and get stuck in the process.
Wireworms are tricky critters to catch, but I have plenty of experience in bug collecting. In college I began collecting bugs of all shapes and sizes. I have an extensive bug collection made up of bugs I’ve found at trade shows, collector meet ups, and out in the wild.
It was during my undergraduate studies at the University of Belgrade in Serbia where I discovered my love of insects and entomology. As part of my coursework for my degree in agricultural engineering, I took insect taxonomy. For the final project I created my first insect collection, and I’ve been hooked ever since
After receiving my master’s I wanted to go further, but unfortunately there are no entomology opportunities in Serbia. I did some research into the options for entomology PhDs and found the program at WSU.
It was a perfect fit. Now I get to come into work every day and do what I love: collecting bugs.
“Examining mechanisms that provide an insect with a sense of smell isn’t as glamorous as developing a mobile app that could be worth billions of dollars. But such research might lead to fighting mosquito-borne diseases like malaria - saving lives and generating billions of dollars.”
Thomas Lee on the power of basic research (and Janet Napolitano’s message at the OpenSDx Summit):
As Napolitano correctly noted, the private sector has pretty much outsourced basic research, which can be time consuming, expensive and unprofitable, to public universities. Yet taxpayer support for public universities has fallen dramatically over the past 20 years.
Five years ago, as few as 20 people walked onto the WSU Pullman campus and unknowingly started one of the first large scale outbreaks of the H1N1 virus.
By the end of the outbreak, almost 2,000 people were affected. While a pretty nasty ordeal for them, this outbreak was a great teaching opportunity for Elissa Schwartz, a professor of math and biological sciences.
At the time she was teaching her students about epidemics in closed populations and she found that there was very little literature on the topic.Then the H1N1 outbreak happened and she had a perfect case study to share with her class.
Using a computer model called FluTE, Schwartz found that the outbreak started with as few as 20 people and that, on average, an infected person transmitted the virus to 2.2 other people. That’s the same rate as the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed more people than the bubonic plague.
Read more about Schwartz and her analysis of the H1N1 outbreak in WSU News.
I’m an artist with a molecular biology degree from the University of Washington, and I’ve been working on making science infographics for several months now.
How cool is this?
“Even if a cop does everything right in a very fast-paced, low-information situation where the risks are very high, the potential consequences of a mistake are very high.”
- Bryan Vila, Professor of Criminal Justice and Director of the Simulated Hazardous Operational Tasks Laboratory, WSU