Washington State Magazine

Summer 2006

Summer 2006

In This Issue...


The making of mountaineers :: Danielle Fisher gave herself five years to become the youngest person to climb the highest mountain on every continent. The Washington State University student did it in two, joining the ranks in 2005 of an elite fellowship of climbers who got their start on Washington's peaks. by Hannelore Sudermann

Eating well to save the Sound :: The Puget Sound region's 3.8 million population is expected to increase to 5.2 million within the next 15 years. If Puget Sound is to survive that growth, we must change our lives. That, and eat more shellfish. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Light on the Water Photographer Kevin Nibur '05 trains his camera on the many moods of Hood Canal. }

No shrinking violet :: Researchers at WSU are finding that plants are surprisingly assertive. Based on their findings, a case could be made that the average potted plant is at least as active as the average human couch potato—and a lot smarter about what it consumes. by Cherie Winner


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video & Story: A New Kind of Chop Suey: China's Contemporary Urban Architecture Story and photos by David Wang, WSU Associate Professor of Architecture }



{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: Tracing the History of American Popular Culture by Hope Tinney }

Cover: Hood Canal, near Union. Read the story. Photograph by Kevin Nibur.

<em>Driloreius americanus,</em> also known as the giant Palouse earthworm, pictured alongside a garden-variety earthworm.


Driloreius americanus, also known as the giant Palouse earthworm, pictured alongside a garden-variety earthworm. University of Idaho

The worm turns: A Palouse native is found

by | © Washington State University

A Palouse native, not seen in nearly two decades and feared extinct, has been rediscovered. While digging soil samples at the Washington State University botany department's Smoot Hill preserve, University of Idaho graduate student Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon noticed a glimpse of white. Quick with her shovel, she captured the six-inch specimen of Driloreirus americanus, also known as the giant Palouse earthworm. Historically, specimens have been recorded as long as three feet. Although an observer reported it as "abundant" in the Palouse in 1897, tillage and competition from European earthworms seem to have taken their toll.

Smoot Hill contains the largest remnant of native Palouse prairie. Purchased by WSU in 1972, the 800-acre farm is also known as the Hudson Ecological Reserve, after biologist George Hudson, who negotiated the deal. More than 100 acres of the land are unplowed steppe. Another 100 acres are relatively undisturbed Ponderosa woodland. Research at the area has examined weed invasion, small mammal population biology, plant and insect relationships, and, of course, earthworm populations.

Categories: Entomology, Biological sciences | Tags: Palouse

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