Climate change will exacerbate swings between droughts and floods in California and intensify competition for water. Can the state divert northern floodwaters to the thirsty south?
The atrazine wars offer a cautionary tale for scientists whose work triggers blowback by regulated industries, and lessons for protecting scientific integrity.
Inside Climate News, May 24, 2021
Gov. Newsom has placed most of the state under a drought emergency, which could leave communities struggling with agricultural pollution without drinking water.
Inside Climate News, May 17, 2021
In California’s Farm Country, Climate Change Is Likely to Trigger More Pesticide Use, Fouling Waterways
Warmer temperatures would boost pest populations, causing farmers to use more insecticides that, with more frequent and severe storms, turn into toxic runoff.
Inside Climate News, May 10, 2021
Managing the bacteria could help California growers save water and energy needed for traditional frost-protection methods.
Inside Climate News, March 25, 2021
A new study finds that the state’s profitable orchard crops will suffer less frost exposure under climate change, saving water and energy.
Inside Climate News, February 21, 2021
As Warming Oceans Bring Tough Times to California Crab Fishers, Scientists Say Diversifying is Key to Survival
A study of the 2014 marine heat wave suggests that fishermen who turn to other species will fare better in future climate disruptions.
Inside Climate News, Feb. 1, 2021
Animals Can Get Covid-19, Too. Without Government Action, That Could Make the Coronavirus Harder to Control
Veterinarians say they worry the virus could take up residence in animal species in the US. But public health officials only want to talk about people.
Inside Climate News, Jan. 27, 2021
California’s salmon populations have been dangerously close to extinction for decades. A new partnership may help tip the scales toward recovery.
Inside Climate News, Jan. 5, 2021
Homing in on traits that help grapevines conserve water during drought and heat waves may help breeders develop more resilient grape varieties.
Inside Climate News, Jan. 2, 2021
Flooded fields offer food and habitat for sandhill cranes, egrets and other species. But changing crop choices and rising temperatures are a growing threat.
Inside Climate News, Dec. 6, 2020
A scientist tracks the dangers of flame retardants, meant to protect children, and why manufacturers cannot seem to stop using them.
New York Times, Nov. 24, 2020
PFAS, industrial chemicals used to waterproof jackets and grease-proof fast-food containers, may disrupt pregnancy with lasting effects.
New York Times, Sept. 23, 2020
Hormone-disrupting phthalates can be found in everything from plastics and household goods to personal care products. Studies have shown they may be harmful to women’s reproductive systems.
New York Times, Aug. 25, 2020
In Monterey County, growers and worker advocates join forces with researchers, doctors and public officials.
FERN/Univision, July 7, 2020
Strawberry pickers strike for a 10-cent-a-box raise. Instead of meeting with the workers, the grower calls the sheriff’s department.
FERN, May 28, 2020
With stores rationing bottled water, some 1 million residents whose tap water is tainted with agricultural pollutants confront the state’s failure to solve the problem
FERN, April 22, 2020
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the desperation.”
Mother Jones/FERN, April 4, 2020
Living in crowded dorms with no space to quarantine the sick, farm laborers are “petrified.”
HuffPost/FERN, March 26, 2020
Survivors of life-threatening illness can be left in profound fear and distress. Are they suffering from a form of PTSD?
Aeon, March 3, 2020
We used to think microplastics stayed in a fish’s guts. Chilling new research suggests the tiny particles migrate into its flesh.
Mother Jones/FERN, Sept. 12, 2019
Backyard bird feeders help urbanites feel close to nature but can also expose birds to disease and other potential threats. Luckily, bird lovers can take simple steps to reduce risks.
The 1906 Earthquake left such “blindingly obvious” features in the earth it helped geologists tie faults with quakes and laid the foundation for modern seismology.
The Washington Post, Aug. 15, 2019 (and SF Gate, Aug. 29, 2019)
Biologists hail the comeback of Northern elephant seals, once hunted to near extinction for their oil-rich blubber, as one of conservation’s great successes. Now, they’re scrambling to protect the rebounding population’s habitat in Point Reyes, California from rising seas.
PBS Nature, June 11, 2019
Top Pick, Best Shortform Science Writing
Can efforts to bottle MDMA’s magic transform psychiatry?
The Verge, May 22, 2019
Concern about how climate change affects food security usually focuses on agriculture in resource-poor countries. But disruptions to weather patterns threaten food supplies for wildlife too.
PBS Nature, April 18, 2019
The real risks from chemicals in our food—for farmworkers and children, in particular—are being ignored.
The Nation, March 21, 2019
Mountain lions and wolves have suffered from our ignorance ever since pioneers inundated their wilderness homes. But an emerging view of mountain lions’ unique ecological role is coming into focus.
PBS Nature, February 26, 2019
Scientists warned the EPA years ago that dicamba would drift off fields and kill weeds that are vital to honeybees. The consequences of the EPA’s decisions now are rippling through the food system.
Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting/FERN, January 23, 2019
Recognized, Best Shortform Science Writing
Most songbirds head south for the winter, as food supplies disappear, returning to breed in the spring, when booming insect populations can satisfy clamoring broods. Not crossbills.
PBS Nature, January 15, 2019
Can the tiny raptors adapt to irrigation changes in California’s warming farm fields?
High Country News, November 22, 2018
Recognized, Best Shortform Science Writing
EPA approved dicamba for new uses on Monsanto’s GM crops, ignoring scientists’ warnings that it would evaporate, drift and ruin crops miles away. The result? Millions of acres of damage to crops, gardens and wild plants.
Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting & FERN, November 13, 2018
Winner, SPJ NorCal Excellence in Journalism Award for Explanatory Journalism, 2019
3rd place, Association of Food Journalists Award, Best Story on Food Policy or Food Issues, 2019
The Best of Nonprofit News 2018, Money, Power & Influence
Everyone loves burrowing owls but many don’t realize that the prairie dogs and other burrowing mammals they love to hate are critical to the endearing owls’ survival.
PBS Nature, August 7, 2018
As thousands of migrant children have been taken from their parents and sent to facilities across the country, questions are growing about the medical care they are receiving – or, as health experts fear, not receiving.
Reveal, Center for Investigative Reporting, June 25, 2018
Recognized, Best Shortform Science Writing
After ditching two notoriously toxic compounds, manufacturers subbed in other versions of their chemical class. But are they any better?
Ensia, March 26, 2018
Center for Investigative Reporting, November 17, 2017
Big Vape is copying Big Tobacco’s playbook.
The Verge, November 16, 2017
The search for autism’s causes is a daunting task — but researchers are investigating a variety of factors that might play a role.
Ensia, September 21, 2017
Predators like pumas cower in our presence. And these big cats aren’t the only ones.
Smithsonian, July 11, 2017
Discover, May 1, 2017
Discover, April 27, 2017
The Verge, Feb. 1, 2017
Here’s how we can minimize collateral damage in the war against disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Ensia, November 21, 2016
Injured workers at the five psychiatric hospitals, including Napa State Hospital, have lost tens of thousands of workdays while taxpayers pay millions of dollars in workers’ compensation and overtime costs.
KQED, October 3, 2016
2016 AHCJ Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, Investigative Reporting, Small Market
Foodies turn to hunting and fishing for the ultimate sustainable protein.
National Wildlife Federation Magazine, September 28, 2016
Recent research shows that bisphenol A substitutes also harm reproductive systems.
PLOS Biology, August 24, 2016
Rather than worrying about unsubstantiated risks from GMOs, Americans should worry about the real risks pesticides pose for people in the communities that feed the nation.
The American Prospect, August 23, 2016
NPR, August 9, 2016
Marine governance favors consumption and commerce over conservation. Here’s what we can do about it.
Ensia, May 23, 2016
The legacy of forced relocation of Navajo at Big Mountain.
LWON, April 11, 2016
The Nation, February 23, 2016
PLOS Biology podcast,
November 23, 2015
KQED, October 19, 2015
In some of California’s most heavily Latino communities, going to school can be a health hazard.
The Nation, April 6, 2015
The migratory population of monarch butterflies is plummeting and well-meaning efforts by enthusiasts may be contributing to its plight.
New York Times, Nov. 18, 2014
After watching too many soldiers confront a lifetime of scarring, Army surgeon Robert Hale is leading the charge to make facial reconstruction medicine ready for the wounds of 21st-century war.
Discover Magazine, September 2014
Notable, The Best American Science and Nature Writing
Washington Post, June 17, 2014
Could a mining project jeopardize the largest gathering of eagles on Earth?
High Country News, May 29, 2013
Mounting evidence in animals and humans links flame retardants to multiple health effects, as studies fail to find additional fire safety benefit from using the chemicals in consumer products.
Washington Post, April 15, 2013
After federal wildlife officials removed protections on wolves in the Rocky Mountains, hunters quickly killed them by the hundreds. If California’s lone wolf leaves the state, he could meet a similar fate.
KQED QUEST, January 23, 2013
When soldiers sustain injuries to the face, they struggle to reclaim the traits we recognize as human.
Being Human launch, September 2012
About 500 people, nearly all Latino farm workers, live in the long-neglected town of East Orosi with no sidewalks, street lights, or playgrounds. More than half live below the poverty level. And like a growing number of California’s poor people, they’re paying for water that’s not fit to drink.
Environmental Health News, June 11, 2012
Part 4 of EHN’s Poverty, Pollution, People of Color series, won Oakes Award Honorable Mention, from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Knowing when grapes are ripe depends on science, experience and a little luck.
Wine Spectator, April 30, 2012
An interview with Frans de Waal, C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology and director of the Living Links Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University.
PLOS Blogs, March 27, 2012
Although flame retardants may pose health risks, the chemical industry has spent millions blocking attempts to ban them in California. A five-month investigation for Environmental Health News.
East Bay Express, Nov. 16, 2011
Frederick Wiseman, at work on a new film about higher ed set in Berkeley, embraces complexity to capture the way we live.
California magazine, Fall 2011; Appeared in the The Good Fight (Fall 2011) issue, winner of the CASE gold medal award.
One of the American West’s best-known conservation successes, condors still face a tough road ahead
High Country News, June 13, 2011
Few winemakers today use a heavy hand with sulfites, but consumers still worry about health risks.
Wines & Vines, January 2011
Genetic engineering may offer disease-plagued grapevines a lifeline, but the hurdles are high.
Wine Spectator, Dec. 15, 2010
Mountain lions are straying into more urban areas: Can the Bay Area’s big cats survive encroaching civilization?
San Francisco Chronicle, November 28, 2010
With the number of wild tigers at an all-time low, a new study warns that unless conservation managers redouble funds and efforts to protect tigers in the few places they can still thrive, we may lose the world’s largest cat.
National Geographic’s News Watch, September 2010
Wildlife biologist Pierre-Yves Quenette heads the French government’s efforts to restore the brown bear to the Pyrenees.
National Geographic’s News Watch, May 2010
Carole Meredith weighs in on genetic engineering of winegrapes.
Wines & Vines, Jan. 2010
Time and again, advancing civilization has set people against large carnivores. On the front lines of Washington State, wildlife biologists hope that knowledge can trump fear, and ultimately lead to detente.
PLOS Biology, Feb. 2008
A scientist hot on the trail of a breakthrough treatment for neurodegenerative diseases struggles to overcome the restrictions imposed by the US policy on stem cell research.
PLOS Biology, January 2007
Some see the growing influence of ideology over scientific issues like stem cells and evolution as a threat to America’s standing as global science leader. Political scientist Jon Miller sees it as an opportunity to increase scientific literacy.
PLOS Biology, April 2006
How the US Fish & Wildlife Service used flawed science to allow development in the critically endangered panther’s shrinking habitat.
PLoS Biology, Sept. 2005
Many key species of the Antarctic marine ecosystem–including krill, the backbone of the food chain–depend on winter sea ice. But as global temperatures continue to rise, this unique ecosystem could face collapse.
PLOS Biology, April 2005
Specialized cells have a common origin. What sets them on separate paths?
The cancer establishment has too much invested in finding a cure for cancer to do the important work of prevention.
Tikkun, Nov/Dec 2000