News

May 27, 2016

Being at the top of the food chain is no guarantee of a species survival. Not only are many of these so-called apex predators susceptible to human impacts, they also are slow to recover from them, which makes these animals vulnerable despite their high-ranking ecosystem status.

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April 05, 2016

Pollen grains may be small but they have a big job. Delivering a sperm to an egg is a little more complicated when the parents don’t move around.

For plants, pollen success means reaching a receptive stigma, germinating and growing a pollen tube into the ovary, locating an ovule and only then entering and delivering a sperm to a receptive egg. Despite the importance of these events to plant reproduction, pollen performance is relatively understudied.

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March 30, 2016

Vast and amorphous, the ocean covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. It is a key player in the global carbon cycle, producing about half of the world’s output of organic carbon.

Unlike terrestrial ecosystems, which can store carbon for decades, most of the organic carbon produced in the ocean is converted into CO2 within a few days. New work by UC Santa Barbara researchers aims to facilitate a new understanding of ocean carbon transport processes, which affect climates around the world.

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March 10, 2016

Beyond the breakers, the ocean is like the Wild West. While not completely lawless, its vastness and remoteness make it hard to observe and more difficult to manage human activity.

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September 08, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded an $800,000 Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grant to UC Santa Barbara’s Roger Nisbet. He will use the funding to develop a model to better understand biological and ecological consequences of exposure to metals, nanoparticles and certain flame retardants in industrial and consumer products. Such materials could pose a threat to human and environmental health.

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August 20, 2015

A new general consumer-resource model spans the mathematics of a century’s worth of food web models and provides a common foundation for new food webs

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June 05, 2015

Over the last few days, the waters off the Santa Barbara coast have turned a striking shade of turquoise. The mystery behind this unusual color change is a type of chalk-producing phytoplanktonic organism called a coccolithophore.

But what makes these otherwise invisible life forms suddenly visible? It’s their sudden abundance. When coccolithophores are numerous, they turn the ocean surface turquoise-white and can easily be seen via satellite.

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May 20, 2015

The octopus has a unique ability. It can change the color, pattern and even texture of its skin not only for purposes of camouflage but also as a means of communication. The most intelligent, most mobile and largest of all mollusks, these cephalopods use their almost humanlike eyes to send signals to pigmented organs in their skin called chromatophores, which expand and contract to alter their appearance.

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April 14, 2015

The common hippopotamus can spend up to 16 hours a day immersed in rivers and lakes. Lumbering out of the water at night, these herbivores graze on tropical grasses and consume 80 to 100 pounds in one meal.

By daybreak, having eaten their fill, they return to their daytime resting area to rest, digest and, eventually, eliminate. This natural process results in millions of tons of hippo dung entering Africa’s aquatic ecosystems every year.

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March 30, 2015

At UC Santa Barbara, the high-tech research greenhouses are more sophisticated than many smart homes. Temperature and lighting are automated to create and maintain specific environmental conditions researchers need for experimental work. For example, when the temperature rises, the sensors in the thermostat signal shade cloths to close in order to modify the amount of sunlight coming into the greenhouse.

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