Town Hall and UW Engage Science present local graduate students discussing their cutting-edge research. Tune in for a look at the forefront of research in our region, and meet the students who are leading the latest wave of scientific discovery.
Amelia DuVall considers seabirds lucky—they get to spend their lives on land, in the air, and in the ocean. But this means they are vulnerable to threats on all these fronts, and it makes them excellent indicators of ecosystem health. DuVall reveals threats facing seabird populations at Channel Islands National Park and shares stories of recovery and opportunities for hope, as well as exploring what seabirds can tell us about changes in the marine environment.
Amelia J. DuVall spent the last several years routinely getting pooped on while studying seabirds at Channel Islands National Park in southern California. Now a graduate student at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, her research focuses on seabird population ecology, conservation, and management in the Pacific Ocean.
Beneath the soil under our feet, vast interweaving threads of fungal hyphae connect plant communities together. This plant communication highway uses a specialized chemical language that has evolved over millions of years—and Anne Polyakov is working to better understand this language. She highlights the benefits (and costs) that plants face as a part of this “wood wide web.” Polyakov outlines powerful examples of plant cooperation—how they share nutrients and water with others in need, and how trees attacked by insect pests will warn neighbors to prepare defenses. Polyakov encourages us to learn from this vast unseen network, demonstrating how plants cultivate a healthier and more resilient forest by assisting individuals in need.
Anne Polyakov studies the vast, underground fungal networks through which plants communicate, share nutrients, and warn neighbors of incoming danger. She studies the costs and benefits plants face in participating in this network, and what we can learn from plant communities by listening to what they are saying in the “wood wide web.”
The climate of Mars is extremely cold and dry, and it seems like liquid water shouldn’t exist there. However, recent high-resolution satellite images have revealed thousands of dark streaks on Mars’ surface that may be signs of flowing water. To underscore the importance of this discovery, Andrew Shumway explains how the presence of water on Mars today could create favorable conditions for life. He delves into science exploring why water can exist in extreme environments and starts to unravel the mystery of water on Mars—and what it could mean for the future of humanity and our understanding of life.
Andrew Shumway is an astrobiologist and planetary scientist who is fascinated by the potential repercussions of water on Mars. His experiments simulate the cold, dry conditions of Mars’ surface to study how water forms in extreme environments.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle and the University of Washington.