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Posted inCalifornia

Archaeologist argues the Chumash Indians were using highly worked shell beads as currency 2,000 years ago

Santa Barbara, CA, January 28, 2021 – As one of the most experienced archaeologists studying California’s Native Americans, Lynn Gamble(link is external) knew the Chumash Indians had been using shell beads as money for at least 800 years.  But an exhaustive review(link is external) of some of the shell bead record led the UC Santa Barbara professor emerita of […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Researchers model the regional impacts of specific anthropogenic activities and their influence on extreme fire weather risk

January 14, 2021 – When the Thomas Fire raged through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in December 2017, Danielle Touma, at the time an earth science researcher at Stanford, was stunned by its severity. Burning for more than a month and scorching 440 square miles, the fire was then considered the worst in California’s history. Six […]

Posted inSci/Tech

A Well-Rooted Study

Santa Barbara, CA, December 16, 2020 – Spend time in any of the world’s great forests and you’ll start seeing the trees as immense pillars holding the heavens aloft while firmly anchored in the earth. It’s as much fact as sentiment. Trees really do link the ground to the sky by exchanging energy and matter […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Epidemics and pandemics are not equal-opportunity killers

Santa Barbara, CA,  December 10, 2020 – Epidemics and pandemics are not equal-opportunity killers. Seen through the archaeological record, incomplete as it may be, these waves of death victimized the marginalized and most vulnerable populations wherever they struck. In the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be no different, striking Indigenous, Black and Latinx communities […]

Posted inEnviro

Symbiotic relationship between California oaks and mutualist fungi appears to provide a buffer for climate change

December 10, 2020 – “Happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So goes the first line of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.” Little did the Russian novelist know his famous opening line would one day be used to describe microbial communities, their health and their relationships to their hosts. […]

Posted inCalifornia

The Price of Smoke

October 7, 2020 – The morning of September 9th residents of the Bay Area woke up to eerily orange skies. The dusk-like conditions were an ominous reminder of the unprecedented wildfires ravaging California in 2020. However, fires effect air quality even when the sky is relatively clear, and they create real financial costs for California residents. […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Heading Upriver: Rivers may begin jumping course much farther in the coming years

Santa Barbara, CA,  September 30, 2020 – A river’s only consistent attribute is change. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus remarked, “No man ever steps in the same river twice.” Although this dynamic nature is often out of sight and mind, forgetting about it has led to many a historical catastrophe. Recently, UC Santa Barbara geomorphologist Vamsi […]

Posted inRegional

Scientists predict heavy flood events in the Sierra Nevada will become more extreme under future climate warming

September 10, 2020 – California is on track to get drier over the coming decades. But that doesn’t mean the golden state’s water woes come only from too little rain. In a new study, researchers at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA warn that flooding potential associated with extreme precipitation events is set to sharply increase. […]

Posted inLife

Books: ‘Beyond Your Bubble’

August 20, 2020 – Here’s a newsflash that will surprise exactly no one: The United States is a deeply, bitterly divided nation. We see it in the news and, more viscerally, on social media. Anyone on Facebook who’s tried to “reason” with a friend or relative on the other side of the aisle will attest […]

Posted inSci/Tech

Local Food

Santa Barbara, CA, August 7, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic exposes weaknesses in the supply chain when countries go into lockdown. Some are small, such as the toilet paper shortages early on, that, while annoying, were eventually resolved. But what happens when the effects of the pandemic reach the food systems of countries highly reliant […]

Posted inEnviro

Reef Sharks in Decline

July 23, 2020 – Though many people find them intimidating, menacing or just plain scary, sharks are vital to the health of the world’s oceans. These often misunderstood creatures are found in just about every ocean habitat around the globe, but their populations are plummeting. Indeed, the true extent of their decline is not fully […]

Posted inSci/Tech

New models detail how major rivers will respond to changing environmental conditions

Santa Barbara, CA, July 13, 2020 – From the Nile to the Mississippi and from the Amazon to the Yangzi, human civilization is inextricably linked to the great rivers along which our societies developed. But rivers are mutable, and the benefits they bestow can quickly become disasters when these waterways change course. Scientists are working […]

Posted inCalifornia

The health of foundation species promotes the stability of the ecosystems that depend on them

January 29, 2020 – Anyone who’s read “The Lorax” will recognize that certain species serve as the foundation of their ecosystems. When the truffula trees disappear, so to do the swomee-swans and bar-ba-loots. However, the same is not necessarily true the other way around. Scientists have taken a growing interest in ecological stability — the […]

Posted inCalifornia

Wildfires in a Warming World

January 7, 2020 – As illustrated by the many recent PG&E planned power outages, the wildfires that have ravaged California over the past decade are now beginning to affect the state in unexpected ways. Policymakers, professionals and scientists are working to develop new strategies to prevent and respond to wildfires. Among them is UC Santa […]

Posted inEnviro

The Heat is On – International team of scientists complete the largest global assessment of ocean warming impacts

November 25, 2019 – Climate change is reorganizing the life in our oceans in a big way: as waters warm, cold-loving species, from plankton to fish, leave the area and warm water species become more successful. So say an international group of scientists in the most comprehensive assessment of the effects of ocean warming on […]

Posted inSci/Tech

The Hippo’s Hidden World

October 28, 2019 – Humans and hippopotamuses have shared the watersheds and savannahs of Africa for hundreds of thousands of years. Yet little is known about hippos’ movement and range and how they contribute to the mighty animals’ impact on the world around them. Now, a team of scientists from UC Santa Barbara has finally […]