Destructive snails are invading Bay Area waters. And no one knows what to do

UC Berkeley doctoral student Emily King is studying the behavior of New Zealand mud snails to find a way to stop their infestation.

The tiny black dots on the soggy leaf that Emily King plucked out of Mount Diablo Creek the other day did not look very threatening, but the UC Berkeley biologist knows well how looks can be deceiving.

Fertilizer destroys plant microbiome’s ability to protect against disease

New research coming out of Assistant Professor Britt Koskella's lab found that spraying tomatoes with microbes from healthy tomatoes protected them from disease-causing bacteria, but that fertilizing the tomatoes beforehand negated the protection, leading to an increase in the population of pathogenic microbes on the plants’ leaves. Read more...

How Stress Changes Your Brain: An Interview With Professor Daniela Kaufer

What is stress? According to IB's Professor Daniela Kaufer, stress can be a healthy response to a perceived threat. But there is a fine line between feeling a small amount of stress, which can make your brain stronger, and going through traumatic events, a kind of stress that brings on conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The difference between the two has profoundly different long-term effects on the brain. Read more...

California’s Dry Regions are Hotspots of Plant Diversity

The first “big data” analysis of California’s native plants, using digitized information from more than 22 herbaria and botanical gardens around the state, provides some surprises about one of the most thoroughly studied and unique areas in the country.

For one, the state’s arid regions, including deserts such as Death Valley, are hotspots for originating new plant species and providing refuges for older plants that have disappeared elsewhere.