6 posts in Publications

Inspired by Northern clingfish, researchers make a better suction cup

The finger-sized Northern clingfish employs one of the best suction cups in the world. A small disk on its belly can attach to wet, slimy, even rough surfaces and hold up to 230 times its own body weight. A University of Washington team inspired by the clingfish’s suction power set out to develop an artificial suction cup that borrows from nature’s design. Their prototype, described in a paper published Sept. 9 in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, actually performed better than the clingfish.

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Kīlauea lava fuels phytoplankton bloom in the North Pacific Ocean

A new study co-authored by University of Washington researchers examines the effects of molten lava that flowed into the ocean as the result of the eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawai’i from April to August 2018.

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What motivates people to join — and stick with — citizen science projects?

One of the most established hands-on, outdoor citizen science projects is the University of Washington-based Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, COASST, which trains beachgoers along the West Coast, from California to Alaska, to monitor their local beach for dead birds. With about 4,500 participants in its 21-year history and roughly 800 active participants today, COASST’s long-term success is now the subject of scientific study in its own right. What makes people join citizen science projects, and what motivates people to stick with them over years?

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Deep submersible dives shed light on rarely explored coral reefs

Corals that live in the mesophotic zone

Just beyond where conventional scuba divers can go is an area of the ocean that still is largely unexplored. In waters this deep — about 100 to at least 500 feet below the surface — little to no light breaks through.

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Tiny fishes fuel life on coral reefs

Most bottom-dwelling fish try to avoid predation through hiding or camouflage. This colorful bluebelly blenny fish scans its surroundings with its head sticking out of its hole.

In a paper published May 23 in Science, a team of international researchers from Simon Fraser University, University of Washington and other institutions reveals that the iconic abundance of fishes on reefs is fueled by an unlikely source: tiny, bottom-dwelling reef fishes.

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Arsenic-breathing life discovered in the tropical Pacific Ocean

Image of California’s Mono Lake taken from the brown rocky shore

“We’ve known for a long time that there are very low levels of arsenic in the ocean,” said co-author Gabrielle Rocap, a UW professor of oceanography. “But the idea that organisms could be using arsenic to make a living — it’s a whole new metabolism for the open ocean.”

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