Director’s Message: Spring 2015

While I was out running at 5 a.m. the other morning, I was thrilled to see the sky beginning to lighten on the horizon. Getting up and out the door at that hour is pretty brutal any time of year, but it’s particularly discouraging during the darkest, dampest months. So that faint glow offered a wonderful promise of lengthening days throughout April and into the summer.

We’re starting to see a similar horizon in our school, and it comes on the heels of an extended ‘winter’ of retirements. Each quarter, it seems, we’ve had to say goodbye to another round of great friends and colleagues, including some of our longest-tenured professors—from Dave Manuwal, Tom Hinckley and Bob Edmonds to Steve West, then David Ford and Kevin Hodgson, and now Frank Greulich, Bruce Bare and Gordon Bradley.

2015_04_Spring 2015These farewells have been sad and profound, and it’s hard to quantify just how much their absence will affect our community. The personality of a school or university, after all, is never static. It’s always shifting and evolving with the people who work here, and you can never exactly replace the experience—let alone the institutional memory and character—of one faculty member with another.

Yet these departures have also signaled a period of opportunity and new beginnings for the school. We’ve already added three new professors this year, and I’m excited to welcome their energy and ideas. Professor David Butman is a watershed biogeochemist who has joined us from Yale University as a joint appointment with Civil and Environmental Engineering. David studies carbon and nitrogen flux in whole watershed studies, and he provides our programs with an increasingly important perspective in freshwater ecosystems. Professor Patrick Tobin is our new disturbance ecologist who joined us from the U.S. Forest Service in Morgantown, W.Va. Patrick is an entomologist and forest health specialist who primarily focuses on large-scale insect infestations of forest ecosystems, and his work has broad applications for forest management. Through some internal shuffling, we were then able to hire Professor Peter Kahn in a half-time capacity. Peter is an eco-psychologist who works on evaluating the human relationship with nature, and he holds a joint appointment with the Department of Psychology.

As our new faculty members have gotten settled, we have also hosted several additional searches this winter and spring. We have now hired—or are in the process of hiring—three more professors, with the possibility of a fourth coming soon. On April 1, Dr. Bernard Bormann took over as the new director of our Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks, Wash. Bernard joins us after 34 years with the Forest Service, and his research focuses on forest ecology and physiology. Dr. Anthony Dichiara is a chemical engineer who comes to us from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Anthony will join our bioresource science and engineering group this fall, providing new expertise in bioproducts. By then, we’ll also be welcoming at least one new quantitative wildlife ecologist, and it now looks like we’ll be able to hire two.

These faculty members bring a wealth of new strengths and capacities. They’ll greatly enhance our ability to address the complexities of land management, and the potential for new and dynamic products both here and abroad. And they give me hope for what we’ll be able to accomplish in the coming years—in the lab and in the classroom, and in all of the environments around us.

So while it would be easy to dwell on all we’re losing, I’ll also hold onto the feeling of that sunrise, and the promise of new beginnings.

Tom DeLuca
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences


Wildlife Science Seminar: Spring 2015

This spring, Professor Christian Grue of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences is leading the long-running Wildlife Science Seminar (ESRM 455 & 554). The weekly talks will be held on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:50 p.m. in Kane Hall 120, and topics range widely—and intriguingly—from albatross conservation to amphibian genetics to animal welfare at a major research university.

The public is welcome, so come out for some animal edification!

Wildlife Science SeminarWeek 1: March 30
“The Trouble with Murrelets: Discovering and Recovering and Imperiled Seabird”
Maria Mudd Ruth
Author, Rare Bird: Pursing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet

Week 2: April 6
“Black-tailed Deer Movements and Reproduction in Managed Forests”
Clifford Rice
Research Scientist, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Week 3: April 13
“Is Being a Force of Nature Right for You?”
Michael Cenci
Deputy Chief, Enforcement, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Week 4: April 20
“The Bear Facts in Washington State”
Richard Beausoleil
Bear and Cougar Specialist, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Week 5: April 27
“Albatross Conservation in Commercial Fisheries”
Ed Melvin
Senior Scientist, Washington Sea Grant

Week 6: May 4
“Advancing Science and Animal Welfare at a Major Research University”
Sally Thompson-Iritani
Director, Office of Animal Welfare, UW

Week 7: May 11
“Challenges in Managing Washington’s Wildlife Resources”
Jim Unsworth
Director, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Week 8: May 18
“Seabirds: Beautiful Alive, Useful When Found Dead”
Julia Parrish
Associate Dean, College of the Environment and Professor, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, UW

Week 9: May 25
Memorial Day (no seminar)

Week 10: June 1
“Genetic Insights into Amphibian Population Ecology”
Caren Goldberg
Assistant Professor, School of the Environment, WSU


Water Seminar: Spring 2015

Professor David Butman is leading the Water Seminar (ESRM 429) this spring, and you can catch the action on Tuesday mornings from 8:30 to 9:20 a.m. in Anderson 223. We apologize for sharing this schedule too late for you to see Professor Butman’s introduction, but there are plenty of great talks and speakers lined up for the rest of the quarter!

Week 1: March 31
“Overview: Land-use and riverine biogeochemistry from a carbon perspective”
Professor David Butman, SEFS and Civil and Environmental Engineering

Week 2: April 7
“What stable isotopes can tell us about inputs to freshwater ecosystems”
Professor Michael Brett, UW Civil and Environmental Engineering

Week 3: April 14
“Biological N2 fixation explains ancient sustained use of subarctic alluvial meadows”
SEFS Director Tom DeLuca

Week 4: April 21
“Does shoreline development impact herring in Puget Sound?”
Tessa Francis, lead ecosystem ecologist
Puget Sound Institute, UW Tacoma

Week 5: April 28
“Effects of land use on the predictability of land-atmosphere fluxes and moisture transport in the North American monsoon region”
Dr. Ted Bohn, School of Earth and Space Exploration
Arizona State University

Week 6: May 5
“Carbon storage in terrestrial systems inferred from riverine chemistry”
Dr. Erin Martin, The Evergreen State College

Week 7: May 12
“Global watershed management tools”
Professor Jeff Richey, UW School of Oceanography
Adjunct Professor, Quaternary Research Center, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Week 8: May 19
“Sediment and chemical loading from the Green River watershed to the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site”
Kathleen Conn, hydrologist, USGS

Week 9: May 26
“Hama Hama Seafood Co.: What resource management and conservation means for a sustainable seafood business in Puget Sound”
Lissa James Monberg, Hama Hama Seafood Co.

Week 10: June 2
“Lake Washington Ship Canal and current water management operations”
Kenneth Brettmann, senior water manager, Western Washington
Water Management Section, Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District


SEFS Seminar Series: Spring 2015

In case your seminar withdrawal symptoms start setting in early, we’ve got you covered! Check out the fantastic line-up for the SEFS Seminar Series this spring, which kicks off in just three weeks on Wednesday, April 1!

Once again, the seminars will be held on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223, and we’ll host a casual reception in the Forest Club Room after the first seminar of each month (April 1, May 6 and June 3). Students can register to take the seminar for course credit as SEFS 529A.

So mark your calendars and come out for as many talks as you can!

SEFS Seminar - Spring 2015Week 1: April 1*
“Where on Earth are we going: health risks of climate change”        
Professor Kris Ebi, UW Department of Global Health

Week 2: April 8
“Innovations in the forest products industry and the role of a scientist/engineer”
Amar Neogi
Research Scientist, Weyerhaeuser Company

Week 3: April 15
“How green is a building? Using life-cycle assessment to quantify the environmental impact of construction”
Professor Kate Simonen
UW Department of Architecture

Week 4: April 22
“Social media as data on impacts of environmental change on nature-based tourism and recreation”
Spencer Wood
Senior Scientist, Natural Capital Project

Week 5: April 29
“Remote sensing perspectives on climate-induced physiological stress in western forests”
Warren Cohen
Research Forester, U.S. Forest Service

Week 6: May 6*
“Assessing ecological resilience and adaptive governance in regional scale water systems”
Professor Lance Gunderson
Emory University, Department of Environmental Sciences

Week 7: May 13
“The importance of water, climate change and water policy for potential biorefineries in Washington State”
Professor Renata Bura, SEFS

Week 8: May 20
“Fires on the hills, fires in the forests: Peri-urban and wildland fire regimes in Mediterranean-type ecosystems and climates”
Professor Jack Hayes
Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia

Week 9: May 27
“A mixed species clearcut silviculture system to restore native species composition and structure of old-growth forests in western Washington”
Professor Greg Ettl, SEFS

Week 10: June 3*
“Site Work: Community Design Engagement—the Forks RAC Project”
Professor Rob Corser
UW Department of Architecture

* Indicates reception after seminar