Research Recap for Feb. 26

Western’s faculty and students are engaged in exciting research across a variety of fields. Periodically, Western Today will share short summaries of the latest developments in grants and research at Western Washington University. Interested in reading in-depth stories about science and research at Western? Go to Gaia, the university's online journal of research, discovery and scholarship.

David Hooper

Professor of Biology David Hooper has been awarded a $30,000 seed grant from the State of Washington Water Research Center for a new project to explore the links between policy and riparian restoration for nutrient retention in the Nooksack River watershed. Researchers will seek links between policy and riparian restoration in two ways: 1) Graduate students Astoria Tershy and Patrick Demaree will model the potential for riparian restoration to decrease nutrient inputs to the Salish Sea via the Nooksack River; and 2) Co-researcher Amanda Stahl, a post-doc at Washington State University, will map the diversity of existing policies that apply to riparian buffers to better understand the constraints, opportunities and environmental co-benefits they provide to nutrient management. This project will provide opportunities for three early career researchers.

Erin Duffy, Norda Stephenson, Lina Dahlberg and Dimitri Dounas-Frazer

Erin Duffy (Chemistry), Norda Stephenson (Chemistry), Lina Dahlberg (Biology) and Dimitri Dounas-Frazer (Physics & Astronomy) have been awarded a $299,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to explore how learners develop expertise in scientific disciplines with a focus on making science education more equitable and inclusive. The researchers will examine the scientific practices and methodologies across early laboratory courses at Western in Chemistry, Biology and Physics from both a structural and interpersonal perspective. Approaching the greater issue from these two perspectives will lend insight into how the class goals are being assessed as well as getting a better understanding of student engagement and participation.

Suzanne Strom

Shannon Point Marine Center Senior Marine Scientist Suzanne Strom has been awarded $48,000 as a second amendment from the North Pacific Research Board for continued work on her project titled “Measuring the Pulse of the Gulf of Alaska: Oceanographic Observations along the Seward Line: 2019-2024." Strom has studied the ecological processes of the Gulf of Alaska for more than 20 years; read more about her work as part of group awarded a $5.6 million NSF grant here.


Thanks to Western's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for many of these capsules. Have an update or quick summary of your own research to share? Send it to John Thompson, assistant director/research and content creation in the Office of University Communications, at

Friday, February 26, 2021
Western undergrad Hailey Dearing sampling stream flow in a restored section of Schell Creek as part of David Hooper's laboratory work.

Western undergrad Hailey Dearing sampling stream flow in a restored section of Schell Creek as part of David Hooper's laboratory work.