News

1 July 2015
Built in 1986, the Diama Dam between Senegal and Mauritania was constructed on the Senegal River to improve irrigation for nearby crops and prevent upstream saltwater intrusion. However, shortly after its completion, it became evident that what many people in the area would have gained in economic...
5 June 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...
28 May 2015
The western snowy plover is a portly sort of bird, its barrel chest leaving its spindly legs in permanent shadow as it scampers breakneck across the sand in search of tasty bugs. There’s a regal intrigue to this stout, busy ornithoid — the person at the party you’d love to meet, if only you could...
22 May 2015
Igor Mezic was at a conference in Snowbird, Utah, when he got word that a ruptured oil pipeline had sent tens of thousands of gallons of crude gushing into the ocean just north of Refugio State Beach. Undeterred by distance, the UC Santa Barbara professor of mechanical engineering who with several...
21 May 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...
6 May 2015
Marine scientists have long known that some species of fish possess a unique physiological characteristic — a web of arteries and veins lying very close together — that enables them to raise their internal temperatures higher than that of the water surrounding them. Now, a new study by an...
23 April 2015
The 2010 BP oil spill left an oily "bathtub ring" on the sea floor roughly the size of Rhode Island, according to a new study. The rig blew on April 20, 2010, and spewed 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf through the summer. Scientists are still trying to figure where all the oil...
23 April 2015
For the most part, evolution seems a lot like a lottery of mutations. The winners get to survive, reproduce, and eventually evolve. The losers disappear from all but the fossil record. Now new research has revealed that a small group of microbes and viruses are apparently cheating the system,...
23 April 2015
The Deepwater Horizon event was a national tragedy: 11 workers killed in a blowout, an ecosystem inundated with oil and the livelihoods of many in the Gulf states disrupted. In a response effort of unparalleled scale, a diverse group of independent scientists ventured into the domain of spill...
20 April 2015
Five years ago today, the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, scientists have continued to study the effects of the largest environmental disaster in the history of the petroleum industry. UC Santa Barbara research oceanographer Uta Passow has been...

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