West Coast Scientists Recommend Immediate Action Plan to Combat Ocean Acidification

By Kat Kerlin

Global carbon dioxide emissions are triggering permanent changes to ocean chemistry along the West Coast. Failure to act on this fundamental change in seawater chemistry, known as ocean acidification, is expected to have devastating ecological consequences for the West Coast in the decades to come, warns a multistate panel of scientists, including two from UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Their report, issued this week, urges immediate action and outlines a regional strategy to combat the alarming global changes underway. Inaction now will reduce options and impose higher costs later, the report said.

Innovation Institute kicks-off “uncommon collaboration” for food and health with workshop

By Kyeema Zerbe

The Innovation Institute for Food and Health (IIFH) at UC Davis is kicking off a uniquely open collaboration on solving critical challenges in food, agriculture and health with an open workshop Oct. 29 inviting participants from all disciplines to provide input on the institute’s strategic focus.

Food and nutrition insecurity remain serious issues for more than 50 developing countries, according to the 2015 Global Hunger Index. And even as many as 10 percent of populations in developed countries go hungry, including in the fertile lands of California’s Central Valley. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that almost 800 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished. With the global population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, society faces an uncertain future that demands a coordinated response from all sectors to improve access to adequate nutrition.

End the U.S. innovation deficit, universities urge

A new video recently released online draws attention to the “Innovation Deficit” and the need for federal investments in research and education to support economic growth and American leadership in science and technology.

The video was produced at Colorado State University for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Universities (AAU), both organizations to which UC Davis belongs. It’s part of a continuing campaign, including a website and Twitter feed, to draw attention to the negative effects of budget cuts and sequestration on federally-funded research.

Policy makers, scientists agree: Water to dominate natural resource issues

A survey of scientists and policy makers identifies water supply as the most pressing environmental issue facing the U.S.. The results, published Feb. 5 in the journal BioScience, come as California suffers its worst drought in nearly half a century.

The survey, by Erica Fleishman of the John Muir Institute of the Environment at UC Davis and Murray Rudd the University of York, England, asked managers, policymakers and their advisers, and scientists to rank a series of questions on the environment and natural resources based on their applicability to policy.

BGI, UC Davis to host international genomics conference this Fall

The cutting-edge role of genomics — large-scale sequencing and analysis of DNA — in medicine, agriculture and science will be the topics of  the Second International Conference on Genomics in the Americas, to be held in Sacramento, Sept. 12-13. The conference is being organized by BGI, the world’s largest DNA-sequencing institute and UC Davis.

More information and registration available here.

“The conference will present a powerful platform to share research in basic and applied genomics and advance new approaches to sequencing and bioinformatics,” write Huanming (Henry) Yang, chairman of BGI and Harris Lewin, vice chancellor for research at UC Davis, in announcing the conference.

Ancient climate expert joins AAAS panel on climate mitigation

UC Davis geoscientist Isabel Montañez will take part in a symposium on how to stabilize global CO2 levels at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver next week.

Montañez’ speciality is in studying the climate of the ancient Earth, both at the time of the emergence of the dinosaurs and more recently in California since the last Ice Age.

The Pentagon on campus, Gorilla health, fixing California: All in UC Davis Magazine

The Fall issue of UC Davis Magazine is now online with some great feature articles.

There’s my story on the role of the Defense Department in funding research on campus — from breast cancer to electrical engineering.

Clifton Parker talks to faculty experts and gets a more hopeful perspective than you might expect on the future of California’s political system.

And from Rwanda, Don Buroughs describes how the UC Davis Mountain Gorilla One Health Program is working to protect the health of these remarkable creatures — as well as that of the people who live and work in the national park where the gorillas live.

Report presents roadmaps for cybersecurity education

A holistic approach to secure computing education that includes both budding programmers and those who will never write code is required to strengthen future software systems against attack, according to a report from a workshop run by experts at University of California, Davis and The George Washington University.

(The full report is available online here.)

This report grew out of the Summit for Education in Secure Software sponsored by the National Science Foundation and held in Washington, D.C. last October. The authors of the report, Professor Matt Bishop of UC Davis and Professor Diana Burley of The George Washington University, will discuss the Summit’s recommendations at a workshop, ‘Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity Education,’ sponsored by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education and held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md. this week.

Higher wages for farm workers would cost you next to nothing

It’s been argued that American farms need cheap imported labor to keep food prices low. But in an online debate at the New York Times, UC Davis agricultural economist Philip Martin makes the case that increasing farmworkers’ wages by 40 percent would have an almost negligible effect on your grocery bill.

If farm wages rose 40 percent, and this wage increase were passed on to consumers, average spending on fresh fruits and vegetables would rise about $15 a year, the cost of two movie tickets. However, for a typical seasonal farm worker, a 40 percent wage increase could raise earnings from $10,000 for 1,000 hours of work to $14,000 — lifting the wage above the federal poverty line.

Experts propose massive overhaul of U.S. agriculture

Transformative changes in markets, policy and science, rather than just incremental changes in farming practices and technology, will be critical if the United States is to achieve long-term sustainability in agriculture, according to a nationwide team of agriculturists that includes a UC Davis animal scientist.

The team’s recommendations, first published as a 2010 report by the U.S. National Research Council, appear as a Policy Forum piece in the May 6 issue of the journal Science. The lead author of the paper is John Reganold, regents professor of soil science and agroecology at Washington State University, Pullman.