Many research and academic units at the University of Washington have research and faculty focused on freshwater topics. Below are descriptions and links to the departments that focus on freshwater quality, ecosystems, and policy.
Research conducted by University of Washington Tacoma scientists at the Center for Urban Waters seeks to understand and quantify the sources, pathways and impacts of chemical pollutants in urban waterways. Highly sensitive analytical tools to measure contaminant levels are combined with sophisticated computer models to track pollutant sources and transport in the Puget Sound region. UW students work side-by-side with Urban Waters colleagues, contributing to research teams while gaining valuable training and experience.
The Climate Impacts Group conducts pioneering research on climate variability, climate change, and climate impacts, and works with public and private entities to apply this information in risk assessment, planning, and decision making. Through research and interaction with stakeholders, we work to increase community and ecosystem resilience to fluctuations in climate.
The faculty and students in the Atmospheric Sciences Department use physics, chemistry, and mathematics to better understand the atmosphere and improve the prediction of its future state, both over several days (weather) and over much longer periods (climate). We study phenomena ranging in size from a single cloud droplet to the global-scale circulation. We offer information and expertise to the citizens of Washington while also providing leadership in many national and international research programs.
The Department of Biology is the hub for the basic biological sciences at the University of Washington. Our mission is leadership in research and teaching of biology at the regional, national, and international levels.
Civil and environmental engineers plan, design, construct, and manage the essential facilities, systems, and structures that are all around us—from buildings and bridges to water treatment and transit systems. Using sophisticated tools at the forefront of technology, engineers in our field work together with diverse partners to address the critical problems of tomorrow in the face of increasing population and mounting environmental challenges.
Chemical engineers study, design and operate processes to provide food, water, energy, clothing, medicine and materials. These processes transform raw materials from the environment into desired products. They also return spent products and by-products to the environment in an ecologically sustainable manner.
We start with the basics—clean air, clean water, safe food, and safe workplaces. We approach these with advanced techniques to determine how environmental and occupational factors interact with genetic variations to affect human health. We work with the public to solve environmental and occupational problems. At the same time, we promote excellence in education and research.
Epidemiology is the study of the frequency, distribution, and determinants of disease in human populations. The mission of the Department is to provide rigorous training in the fundamentals and practice of epidemiology, to contribute to the understanding of the etiology and prevention of disease, and to improve the health of the public through excellence in research.
The Department’s scope extends from the center of Earth to the rim of the solar system, and its activities cut across traditional disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and mathematics. Our faculty, students, and staff examine Earth’s interior structure, chemistry, motion, and dynamics; geologic hazards; processes affecting the surface environment; the surrounding space environment; planetary processes; and geobiology.
The Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences curriculum is a program of advanced study in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The focus of the curriculum is the comparative study of peoples, groups, societies, cultures and environments within the United States and selected regions of the world. To provide an interdisciplinary and comparative basis for the study of different groups, societies and cultures, the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences curriculum is organized around three general dimensions of social life: Culture and Ideas (Fine Arts and Humanities), Society and the Individual (Social Sciences) and The Natural World (Natural Sciences).
Because of the revolution in biology that began in the 1970s, rapid advances in microbiology and the development of biotechnology have increased our understanding of all living systems. This has in large part been determined by studies of microorganisms. The research programs of the faculty in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington reflect exciting areas of modern microbiology. Our faculty span a broad range of interests including microbial ecology, physiology, virology, and microbial pathogenesis in both animal and plant systems. The members of our department are largely concerned with understanding the mechanisms by which organisms interact with one another and with their environment at the cellular and molecular levels.
The School of Oceanography fosters continued advancement of the ocean sciences, solutions to problems of societal relevance, and public awareness of the marine environment. It is at the forefront of creating knowledge and understanding about the ocean through observation, theory, modeling and technological innovation. The School focuses on learning and discovery, equipping students with knowledge and insights, scholarly methods, scientific tools and communication skills.
The Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs is a graduate school of public policy and administration. Our programs prepare students for public service careers. Our graduates and faculty provide expertise and produce research that guides local, national, and global nonprofit organizations and government agencies.
The breadth and scope of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences encompasses programs for undergraduate and graduate teaching, research and service in basic and applied aquatic sciences with an emphasis on fisheries management and aquatic resource conservation. Our faculty, staff and students have access to myriad aquatic habitats and rich biological resources, and they are involved in interdisciplinary partnerships with other academic programs, as well as public and private organizations and environmental and regulatory agencies. They are continuing SAFS’ long tradition of actively addressing major issues in the aquatic sciences.
The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, established as one of the first natural resource programs in the country, has been “creating futures since 1907.” Our vision is to provide world-class, internationally recognized knowledge and leadership for environmental and natural resource issues. Our programs focus on the sustainable development of products from natural resources and the sustainable management of environments that include wilderness and park-like ecosystems, intensively managed planted forests, and urban environments. The diversity of our faculty and staff acknowledges the increasingly integrative and interdisciplinary challenges in environmental and natural resources management throughout the world, and the need to educate professionals to meet these challenges.