Western Research Recap for Jan. 25

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.

Social influence for wildlife education

Western Professor of Psychology David Sattler and students in his Psy 442 class published a research article, “Preventing wildlife crime with a focus on orangutans: Applying social influence techniques to public education efforts,” about using social influence techniques to educate zoo visitors about legal and illicit activities that threaten animals. The materials used in the project were focused on orangutans, but they could be relevant to many primates and endangered species. The research was conducted at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, where 251 participants viewed three differently worded posters that presented information about orangutans and their habitats. Participants then took a survey to assess their reactions to the posters.

New collection on Egypt

Western Assistant Professor of History Christine Johnston has published new edited collection, "The Gift of the Nile? Ancient Egypt and the Environment." The contributors offer studies on the cultural and environmental impact of the Nile on the people of ancient Egypt. 

Oceanographic research

The North Pacific Research Board has added nearly $4,500 to Western’s grant, titled “Measuring the pulse of the Gulf of Alaska: Oceanographic Observations along the Seward Line: 2019-2024.” The grant allows for long-term monitoring in the Gulf of Alaska to provide insights into ongoing ecosystem changes in the North Pacific. The program, now entering its 22nd season, monitors the physics, chemistry, phytoplankton, metazooplankton, seabird and marine mammal communities during two key seasons in May and September each year. Shannon Point Marine Center Senior Marine Scientist Suzanne Strom is the principle investigator for the grant.

GridEd funding

A Western student design project earned $5,000 from the Electric Power Research Institute’s GridEd. The project, titled "Solar Panel Shading Effects and Degradation Modeling," involves three undergraduate students working with an engineer from a local solar panel manufacturer and a power and energy faculty to develop a targeted model for solar panel operation and degradation. The students will study the performance of various inverter technologies for commercial photovoltaic systems when subjected to different shading and soiling conditions, collecting data over a period of 5 months under different weather conditions. The students will then use the model developed to further investigate faults and degradation of the PV panel system and develop methods to detect such incidences (i.e., power electronic component failure, panel degradation, panel hot-spots) and verify the methods’ efficacy in simulation and in hardware.

Thanks to Western's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for many of these 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 john.thompson@wwu.edu.


Monday, January 25, 2021 - 1:19pm