How trees affect the weather

Nature, said Ralph Waldo Emerson, is no spendthrift. Unfortunately, he was wrong.

New research led by University of Utah biologists William Anderegg, Anna Trugman and David Bowling find that some plants and trees are prolific spendthrifts in drought conditions—“spending” precious soil water to cool themselves and, in the process, making droughts more intense. The findings are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We show that the actual physiology of … Read more

Research shows fewer males born in U.S. during periods of stress

It is a common understanding in scientific research that the male species, in general, are frailer and experience higher rates of mortality across their lifespans than females. Now, there is evidence that among humans the frail male also extends in utero.

Ryan Schacht, assistant professor of anthropology at East Carolina University, in new research being published by Nature Scientific Reports, has identified that fewer male babies are born in the United … Read more

Randy Shumway appointed to U Board of Trustees

The Utah Senate on Wednesday confirmed Randy Shumway as the newest member of the University of Utah’s Board of Trustees, effective July 1, 2019.

Shumway is the chair of Cicero Group, a global management consulting firm he founded in 2001. The company is rated among the top 50 overall consulting firms and one of the five best consulting firms to work for in the world. It has offices located across the … Read more

Successful ‘alien’ bird invasions are location dependent

This release is adapted from material prepared by University College London

Whether ‘alien’ bird species thrive in a new habitat depends more on the environmental conditions than the population size or characteristics of the invading bird species, say researchers, including University of Utah ornithologist Çağan Şekercioğlu.

A new study published today in Nature shows that alien bird introductions are most successful in locations and climates similar to their native habitats and in … Read more

Melting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled in recent years

A newly comprehensive study shows that melting of Himalayan glaciers caused by rising temperatures has accelerated dramatically since the start of the 21st century. The analysis, spanning 40 years of satellite observations across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, indicates that glaciers have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year since 2000—double the amount of melting that took place from 1975 to 2000. The study … Read more

100-year-old physics model replicates modern Arctic ice melt

The Arctic is melting faster than we thought it would. In fact, Arctic ice extent is at a record low. When that happens—when a natural system behaves differently than scientists expect—it’s time to take another look at how we understand the system. University of Utah mathematician Ken Golden and atmospheric scientist Court Strong study the patterns formed by ponds of melting water atop the ice. The ponds are dark, while … Read more

Past climate change: a warning for the future?

A new study of climate changes and their effects on past societies offers a sobering glimpse of social upheavals that might happen in the future.

The prehistoric groups studied lived in the Amazon Basin of South America hundreds of years ago, before European contact, but the disruptions that occurred may carry lessons for our time, says study coauthor Mitchell J. Power, curator of the Garrett Herbarium at the Natural History Museum … Read more