Recent CALS Spotlights

  • For its mental health and suicide prevention programs, the University of Arizona has been nationally recognized with the JedCampus seal.

    The UA is one of 37 schools nationwide to be awarded the seal, and is the first recipient in Arizona.

    The JedCampus seal is awarded by the Jed Foundation, which works to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college and university students. This is the first year the foundation has given the seal.

    Valid for two years, the designation recognizes schools that exhibit comprehensive mental health promotion and suicide prevention programming on campus.

  • With the Arizona Legislature back in session, some in the UA community are hoping a proposed veterinary medical program will become a reality.

    Though the UA currently allows students to spend four years taking prerequisites required for a veterinary degree, students must transfer to another school to finish their degree. The proposed program would allow students to finish their degree at the UA.

    This will be the second legislative session the proposed program enters since it failed to be included in Gov. Jan Brewer’s 2013-14 budget request, according to Shane Burgess, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

  • A new study has revealed that fungi, often seen as pests, play a crucial role policing biodiversity in rainforests. Rachel Gallery, an assistant professor of microbial ecology in the University of Arizona's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, contributed to the project by analyzing and identifying fungal communities.

    The research found that fungi regulate diversity in rainforests by making dominant species victims of their own success. Fungi spread quickly between closely packed plants of the same species, preventing them from dominating and enabling a wider range of species to flourish.

  • The University of Arizona's Undergraduate Biology Research Program will hold its 25th annual conference this weekend to showcase student research in areas ranging from cancer to psychology.

    More than 2,000 students have been involved in the effort over its history, authoring or co-authoring more than 900 scholarly articles and giving more than 1,000 presentations at scientific conferences.

    The participants are given "high-impact educational experiences," said Carol Bender, who directs UBRP as well as its international component, the Biomedical Research Abroad: Vistas Open – or BRAVO! program. "For 25 years, UBRP and BRAVO! have enhanced the learning experience of hundreds of students."

  • A science video disguised as a cartoon murder mystery has landed two University of Arizona marine ecology students among the top 10 finalists in the Ocean 180 Video Challenge, an outreach campaign designed to inspire scientists to communicate the meaning and significance of scientific research to a broader audience.

    The campaign is sponsored by the Florida Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence and funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

    Recognizing the need for scientists to communicate more effectively with the general public, the inaugural Ocean 180 Video Challenge asked ocean scientists to explain their research to middle school students.

  • Three University of Arizona professors in the departments of entomology, chemistry and biochemistry and the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society.

    Founded in 1848, the association includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Its mission is to advance science and serve society through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and more.

    This year, AAAS awarded the distinction, an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their scientific peers, to 338 individuals who have been elevated to this rank because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. Being chosen as an AAAS fellow signifies that colleagues in the field deem the nominee among the best in the country. The honor is reserved for only a half percent of the total AAAS member base. The AAAS database currently lists 45 fellows at the UA.

  • The University of Arizona's Institute of the Environment is launching a new center that will connect and build on climate change adaptation projects, resources and expertise across campus. The center will work to provide solutions for some of the toughest challenges related to planning for and acting on climate change and weather extremes, such as drought, heat waves, floods, fires and severe storms.  
    The new Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions will be inaugurated Friday with a panel discussion and public lecture on campus.
    "CCASS will focus on generating new, use-inspired adaptation information and on ensuring that the latest scientific information is accessible and useful to a range of decision makers," said Katharine Jacobs, director of the new center and a professor in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "There is a lot of scientific and technical capacity at the University of Arizona; this center will help connect that capacity to maximize economic and environmental opportunities and manage risk across the Southwest, the United States and internationally."

  • A bacterial disease called early mortality syndrome is killing off the stocks of the world's three largest shrimp producers: Thailand, China and Vietnam. In some places, production is down by nearly 50 percent from last year.
    But there is hope. Don Lightner in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has a solution for detecting the bacteria in the stocks, allowing infected populations to be separated from healthy ones.
  • David Christianson sleeps next to lions. For an expert in large mammal conservation and ecology, that’s just the nature of the beast.

    Christianson, an assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, focuses on large mammal behavior and the predator-prey relationships of Africa’s most iconic carnivores and herbivores, as well as elk and wolves in Montana and the endangered Sonoran pronghorn in the southwestern United States.

    By studying the behavior of these animals, Christianson hopes to identify why certain species or populations teeter on the brink of extinction and what forces determine whether they live to flee or fight another day, regardless of where they fall on the food chain.

  • The newly sequenced genome of the Amborella plant addresses Darwin's "abominable mystery" – the question of why flowers suddenly proliferated on Earth millions of years ago.
    The genome sequence sheds new light on a major event in the history of life on Earth: the origin of flowering plants, including all major food crop species. A paper by the Amborella Genome Sequencing Project that includes a full description of the analyses performed by the project, as well as implications for flowering plant research, was published last month in the journal Science. The paper is among three on different research areas related to the Amborella genome published in the same issue of the journal.