Category Archives: Environment

A New Role for Mosquitoes in Disease-Outbreak Prevention

By Chantele Karim

Author’s Note

“I became interested in vector-borne diseases in Spring of 2016, when I conducted an independent study on the ethical advancement of genetically modifying technology. I discussed the potential application of CRISPR to mosquitoes, primarily Aedes aegypti, in the effort to combat dengue. Throughout my extensive research, the danger posed by mosquitoes was commonly emphasized by diverse sources. It was thus surprising to read that Microsoft’s Project Premonition is based on the assertion that mosquitoes can be useful to us in our quest to control vector-borne diseases. My intrigue led me to research the project further to better understand its method, application, and potential.”

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Review of Horizontal-flow and vertical-flow constructed wetlands’ efficiency to remove pathogen indicators in tropical area

By Yufei Qian, Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry, ‘18

Author’s Note:

“As an international student, English is not my first language. I never felt such confidence writing in academic English before taking Professor Matthew Oliver’s UWP 104E class. This class is about writing in science, and the literature review is the basis of many scientific research projects. To develop future experiments, literature reviews help researchers maintain an up-to-date understanding of the field, identify strengths and limitations in current experimental designs, and get inspirations for their own research. I am interested in ecology and the relationship between humans and environment, so I decided to write about constructed wetlands. Since I am a plant-lover, a focus in my literature review research is plant selections and impacts on E. coli removal efficiency. UWP 104E is a great class that combines my interest with professional writing and helps me overcome language barriers in academic English.”

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The Consequences of Tropical Deforestation

By: Wincy Yu, Biological Sciences, ‘17

Author’s Note:

In light of climate change and environmental talks among world leaders, as well as rising media attention for endangered species around the world, I realized that people were concerned about the consequences, but may not have paid attention to the underlying reasons. Inspired by an ecology class I took last year, I wrote this piece to discuss one of the reasons for climate change and ecosystem loss, which is deforestation.

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A Bee Appreciation (and Awareness) Post

By Chantele Karim, Biological Sciences, ’17

Author’s note:

“Over the past few years, I have noticed an increase in media attention directed toward bees. Although the presence of issues regarding bees in the United States was rather clear to me, their magnanimity remained largely obscure. Recently, I came across an article in The Economist on the invention of an artificial pollinator. I began to better understand the far-reaching extent of the global pollination crisis caused by suffering bee populations and felt compelled to research the topic further. This article seeks to briefly detail current issues regarding the decline of domestic and wild bees, as well as the approaches being undertaken in response.”

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UC Davis Hosts DataRescue Event To Archive Climate Research

By N. J. Griffen, English, ‘17

Author’s Note:

“I chose to write about this topic as a response to one of the many uncertainties that exists under our newly elected president, Donald Trump. More specifically, this article is meant to encompass the nationwide effort by scientists, professors, researchers and archivists to safeguard, backup and protect work conducted in the realm of climate science. This topic, I believe, should be integrally important to most residents of this planet; due to the fact that we have no choice but to live the entirety of our lives here on earth. Therefore, my interview of the archivists at UC Davis seeks to uncover the motives and connotations that the DataRescue Davis event assumes.”

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Life Science According to Trump: An Examination of Claims and Facts

By Wren Greaney, History major, Biological Sciences & Community Development minor, ’17

Author’s Note:

I decided to write this article on the Wednesday after the presidential election. After the long whirlwind of campaigning, it seemed that many unanswered questions lingered. Health is one of the most immediate concerns for many people, and when accurate information about health exists, I think it should be provided so that individuals can make informed decisions. This article is an attempt to address a small fraction of the health concerns that were raised during the course of the presidential campaign.” Continue reading Life Science According to Trump: An Examination of Claims and Facts

A Case Report of Tourette Syndrome

By Lo Tuan, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and Managerial Economics, ’17

Author’s Note:

“I chose to write about Tourette Syndrome because someone who is dear to me was diagnosed with it. Watching him struggle at a young age, I could only imagine how difficult it must have been dealing with strange and disapproving looks from peers and teachers. Through the gradual decline of symptoms over the years, he learned to cope with his tics and sought to educate others about the syndrome. Inspired by his story, I wrote this case report in hopes of share his journey with others.”
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Exploring the Known Unknowns Using the Power of Metagenomics: Discovery of the crAssphage

By Connie Chen, Microbiology, ’15-’16

Author’s Note:

“Metagenomics is the study of genetic material directly from environmental samples such as the soil or the human gut. With whole metagenomic sequencing, it is possible to obtain and analyze every piece of genetic material in the sample. As we being to learn more about the world, it becomes evident that there is more that is unknown. The crAssphage is an example of a “known unknown” because through metagenomics, the virus’s genome has been built and certain properties can be interpreted from the genome, but it has never been seen under a microscope and there is much still unknown about the virus. Metagenomics have opened the doors to analyzing multiple sequences and determining the ecology of the environment. Because metagenomics is becoming more prevalent, it is essential to understand the potential of this growing field. I hope that by learning about the potential of metagenomics, new ideas can sprout from using this technology in order to help others.”

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The Infant Airway Microbiome Linked to Childhood Asthma

By Shivani Kamal, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’17

Author’s Note:

“I am pursing a career in pediatrics and wanted to familiarize myself with new research regarding health and development of children. I was amazed at the advancements of medical technology which allow us to understand diseases and create potential cures, previously never thought possible. My purpose for writing this review is to show scientific audiences the most current research on how bacteria in the respiratory microbiome has an impact on asthma. Recently, much research initiated by the Human Microbiome Projects (HMP) proved that the bacteria living on and inside humans contribute to the health and disease of the body. This review is meant to educate scientists on the most recent information on development of childhood asthma and prompt others to conduct future research on preventative treatments for the disease.”

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Abundance Estimates And Vegetation Preferences Of The Suisun Song Sparrow In The Interior And Along Edges Of Impounded Wetlands

By Debi Fanucchi, Oscar Garzon, Julia F. Herring, and Kevin M. Ringelman

ABSTRACT

The Suisun Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia maxillaris) is a subspecies of Song Sparrow that is endemic to the Suisun Marsh of California. It is listed as a state species of special concern by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife due to its restricted range, small breeding population, and susceptibility to encroaching human development. The Suisun Marsh ecosystem is highly altered, and is comprised of both natural tidal wetlands and impounded wetlands that are cut off from the natural tidal cycle. Suisun Song Sparrows are believed to prefer natural tidal wetlands, but there is a lack of information on sparrow densities and habitat associations in impounded wetlands. To address this knowledge gap, we examined the abundance and habitat preferences of Suisun Song Sparrows in an impounded and heavily managed wetland complex.  We conducted surveys at seven sites within interior managed (impounded) wetlands, and seven sites along edges between tidal and impounded wetlands. We found significantly more birds in interior sites than at edge sites, but within edge habitat, abundances were higher on the tidal side of the levee. We found that Song Sparrows used tall vegetation in greater proportion than its abundance, and specifically preferred bulrush and common reed as calling perches. Interior sites contained relatively less of this preferred vegetation than edge sites, suggesting that beneficial habitat heterogeneity in interior sites, and/or deleterious edge effects along the dikes may be important drivers of abundance. In the face of sea-level rise and shifting conservation priorities, many managed wetlands are expected to be converted back into fully tidal systems, and our results provide an important baseline for future research on the effects of tidal restoration.

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