In the news

Controversy over Arctic conference

Michael Byers, professor of international law and politics at UBC, discussed important issues that emerged about the Arctic from a meeting between Canada, Russia, Denmark, Norway and the United States, with Al Jazeera English, Agence France Presse, United Press International, CBC and many others.

“We hope to see ever greater co-operation in the north, and co-operation involves building partnerships not closing doors,” said Byers.

Byers’ book Who Owns the Arctic?: Understanding Sovereignty Disputes in the North was named one of four finalists for this year’s Donner Prize—an award that recognizes excellence in writing about Canadian public policy, as was reported in the Globe and Mail, the Canadian Press, the Toronto Star, The Vancouver Sun and others.

UBC gets whale of a skeleton

The Globe and Mail, CTV, CBC, Global, the Canadian Press and others reported that the blue whale that washed up on a PEI shore 23 years ago arrived at its permanent home as the centerpiece of UBC’s Beaty Biodiversity Museum.

It took a lot of work to get the skeleton ready for display; every single one of the whale’s vertebra was broken and needed repairs.

“It doesn’t look like the skeleton was ever broken,” said project manager Mike de Roos. “To make it look really good was a challenge.”

Looking at Sick People Can Keep You Healthy

CBS News, Discovery News, Psychology Today, Discover Magazine, the Cleveland Leader and others reported on a new study by UBC scientists that suggests looking at people who look sick helps your immune system prevent you from getting sick.
“It seems that there is something specific about seeing people who look diseased that triggers the immune system to kick it into a higher gear,” says social psychologist Mark Schaller.

UBC researcher in running for $100,000 prize
The Los Angeles Times and the Indianapolis Star report that UBC seahorse expert Amanda Vincent is among the six finalists for the $100,000 Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation.
Vincent is the co-founder of Project Seahorse, and is responsible for putting seahorses on the global conservation agenda. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Marine Conservation at UBC’s Fisheries Centre and is considered the leading authority on seahorse biology and conservation.

Potentially deadly fungus spreading in B.C., northern U.S.
Science News, the Los Angeles Times, Science Now, Toronto Star and others reported on a potentially lethal fungus that is showing up in British Columbia and the northwestern United States in a rare but highly virulent form.
Cryptococcus gattii has caused more than 200 severe brain and lung infections and killed 24 people since 1999, and researchers have reported that a newly described strain is especially concerning.
“We don’t want to overly alarm people, because it’s still actually a very rare infection,” says UBC’s Karen Bartlett, an environmental hygienist who is considered one of the world’s leading experts on C. gattii.