[Currents headergraphic]

February 22, 1999

Making the News

Biologist Terrie Williams and graduate student Suzanne Kohin spent several months in Antarctica last year as part of a research team studying the hunting behavior of Weddell seals. Their findings are now getting extensive media coverage, including articles in the Sacramento Bee and the San Jose Mercury News, and reports on national TV and local station KSBW. The researchers attached miniature video cameras and other monitoring devices to the seals, allowing the scientists to see for the first time what the seals do on their long (up to an hour) dives beneath the Antarctic ice. The videos show seals using some clever hunting techniques, such as blowing air bubbles into cracks in the ice to flush out fish. The researchers also watched in amazement as one seal caught a 40-pound cod, a much larger prey than the researchers were expecting to see.

The latest coverage of psychologist Jean Fox Tree's work on the role of the word "oh" in speech comprehension appeared in the Santa Cruz County Sentinel. If you're curious, you can hear Fox Tree describe her work on KUSP radio on Monday, March 1, at 9 a.m. The segment will be rebroadcast at 3:55 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3, and again at noon on Sunday, March 7.

The Associated Press tapped New Teacher Center director Ellen Moir for comment about Gov. Davis's proposal to turn mentor teachers into critics who evaluate the performance of new teachers and offer input regarding hiring decisions. Moir, who opposes the plan, was quoted in a story that appeared in the Marin Independent Journal and other papers. . . . Gary Bloom, associate director of the New Teacher Center, was quoted in a San Jose Mercury News story about the hidden costs to schools of high-tech learning--costs such as maintenance, repair, space, and expertise.

Brian Anderson, a research specialist in the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS), was quoted in an article in the Long Beach Press-Telegram about polluted sediments in harbors, marinas, and estuaries throughout Los Angeles County. Environmental toxicologist Ron Tjeerdema's lab, where Anderson works, conducted testing for the L.A. Regional Water Quality Board as part of a statewide project to monitor sediment quality in bays and estuaries. In the L.A. area they found elevated levels of a variety of contaminants, some toxic enough to kill aquatic life and to endanger the health of people who eat fish caught from the shore and piers in the area.

The Lick Observatory was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle's "Bay Tripping" column as a fun and interesting place to visit for people from the Bay Area. Astronomer Remington Stone was quoted extensively in the article and appeared in the accompanying photos.

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