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School of the Environment

Sex that moves mountains: Spawning fish can influence river profiles

By Eric Sorensen, WSU News

fish PULLMAN, Wash. – It turns out that sex can move mountains.

A Washington State University researcher has found that the mating habits of salmon can alter the profile of stream beds, affecting the evolution of an entire watershed. His study is one of the first to quantitatively show that salmon can influence the shape of the land.

Alex Fremier, lead author of the study and associate professor in the WSU School of the Environment, said female salmon “fluff” soil and gravel on a river bottom as they prepare their nests, or redds. The stream gravel is then more easily removed by flooding, which opens the underlying bedrock to erosion.

“The salmon aren’t just moving sediment,” said Fremier. “They’re changing the character of the stream bed, so when there are floods, the gravel is more mobile.” More…..

Gases from ancient Inland Northwest volcanic eruptions blocked out sun, cooling planet

By Eric Sorensen, WSU News

Palouse FallsPULLMAN, Wash. – The Pacific Northwest was home to one of the Earth’s largest known volcanic eruptions, a millennia-long spewing of sulfuric gas that blocked out the sun and cooled the planet, Washington State University researchers have determined.

Only two other eruptions — the basalt floods of the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps — were larger, and they led to two of the Earth’s great extinctions.

“This would have been devastating regionally because of the acid-rain effect from the eruptions,” said John Wolff, a professor in the WSU School of the Environment. “It did have a global effect on temperatures, but not drastic enough to start killing things, or it did not kill enough of them to affect the fossil record.” More….

Pathways Intern Program Biological Science Technician USACE

Student Trainee (Biological Science Technician)

Pathways Internship


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Under the Pathways Intern Program the incumbent will identify and survey fish and wildlife species.  Assist in the development of species lists for project natural areas. Inspect fish passage facilities to meet requirements of the fish passage plan.  Assist higher graded biologist involved in sensitive species capture activities.  Monitors behavior and habitat characteristics.

Interesting outside work with opportunity to continue past summer

Washington State University Technical Assistant I Temporary Help position working with Dr. David Huggins’s research group.

Technical Assistants would be responsible for assisting with agricultural research studies that would include both field work and lab work.  Field work would include, but not be limited to, experimental plot establishment, soil sampling, and crop harvesting/drying/threshing.  Lab work would include, but not be limited to, soil drying/sieving/grinding/processing, grain/residue milling/processing. Field work may involve working under physically demanding conditions such as in hot or cold weather, in the rain or snow.

For more information >>