Volume 24 · Number 3 · Spring 2007
News & Notes
Photo: John Stumbos
The world’s fisheries are headed for collapse by 2048 unless steps are taken to stop over-fishing, control pollution and protect ocean habitats, according to a study by a UC Davis ecologist and an international team of scientists.
Jay Stachowicz, associate professor of evolution and ecology, and colleagues on three continents reviewed all the data they could find on links between the diversity of plant and animal species in the oceans and the health of fisheries.
In reviewing 32 experiments as well as historical data, they found an alarming global pattern: As biodiversity declines, so do the fish. Moreover, fish populations are less able to rebound in marine ecosystems where other species have been wiped out.
The rate of the collapse has been accelerating in recent years, the researchers said. Close to one-third of species that are fished are already considered collapsed, with catches fallen to 10 percent of historic highs.
The trends are reversible, but time is running out, the researchers said. One step would be the creation of marine reserves to protect species. Previous work by Lou Botsford, professor of wildlife, fish and conservation biology, and colleagues has shown that such reserves can protect fish populations.
In their paper published in the Nov. 3 issue of Science, Stachowicz and 13 other scientists said their study shows ecosystem conservation and long-term economic development are intertwined rather than conflicting societal goals.
“By restoring marine biodiversity through sustainable fisheries management, pollution control, maintenance of essential habitats and the creation of marine reserves, we can invest in the productivity and reliability of the goods and services that the ocean provides to humanity,” they wrote.
But action must be taken soon, they said. “Our analyses suggest that business as usual would foreshadow serious threats to global food security, coastal water quality and ecosystem stability, affecting current and future generations.”
In name, the first buildings constructed at the University Farm in 1907 sounded like facilities that might have been found on a dairy or county fairground: the creamery, the livestock judging pavilion and two cottages.
But even as the walls went up that spring, people around the state and beyond saw the buildings as the start of something much bigger.
With more facilities planned, research on crops, irrigation and livestock already in the works and students soon to follow, the Davis Enterprise predicted that within a year the campus would be “the nucleus of a great and useful institution.”
Hundreds of people, including at least one foreign dignitary—a representative of China’s imperial government—would visit in the coming months to inspect the progress.
The first wood-shingled buildings looked modest—UC acting Dean of Agriculture Edward J. Wickson declared them “practical farm buildings of pleasing aspect”—but they had some prominent names associated with their design and construction.
UC Superintendent of Architecture George T. Plowman oversaw the work. Plowman would become one of the most famous etchers of his time. His etchings of buildings are found in a number of U.S. and British museum collections.
Plowman worked under architect John Galen Howard, who developed the master plan for the UC Berkeley campus and designed several landmark structures there, including the Hearst Greek Theatre, Hearst Mining Building and the Campanile or Sather Tower.
The contractor for the first four University Farm buildings was the Newton Stanford construction company of Oakland and San Francisco. The firm, according to the campus history Abundant Harvest, also built San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral.
The creamery and livestock judging pavilion, while practical farm buildings, were designed with teaching and research in mind—with the two-story creamery containing classrooms and a lab and the 500-seat pavilion doubling as a lecture hall. The cottages were built as homes for the University Farm director and the dairy manager.
With San Francisco rebuilding from the 1906 earthquake and fire, the University Farm construction took longer and cost more than anticipated, with the price totaling about $36,000. Courses originally planned to begin in 1907–08 would be postponed until the following year.
But that didn’t stop two statewide groups from getting a sneak preview. The State Farmers’ Institute and the California Creamery Operators’ Association chose the University Farm as the site for their annual meetings that fall.
In an address to about 400 people attending the three-day State Farmers’ Institute that October, State Board of Trade Director Arthur Briggs concluded that the University Farm was “destined to exert a wide and important influence.”
Two of the original buildings still exist. The pavilion, erected near where Olson Hall stands today at the southeast corner of Shields Avenue and East Quad, was twice moved—the first time in the 1930s to be closer to the animal barns and the second in 1963 to make way for the Chemistry Building. Relocated to the arboretum, it was converted to Wyatt Pavilion Theatre.
The former director’s cottage is now University House, between the Cross-Cultural Center and Voorhies Hall on Shields Avenue, and is home to Services for International Students and Scholars.
Consider this collective alumni feat: Together, UC Davis graduates have earned more than 200,000 degrees.
Graduating students moved the campus past that milestone during commencement ceremonies last spring when they received an estimated 7,335 degrees and brought the university’s total degree count to 200,857. That number grew by about 900 more with commencement ceremonies in December.
Though classes have been offered since 1908–09, the degree count was small until the 1970s.
“For many years our enrollment at UC Davis was very low and slow-growing,” said Jennifer Barber, interim assistant vice chancellor of alumni relations.
In the early years when the campus was the University Farm, many students were actually UC Berkeley students who came to Davis for agricultural courses and got their diplomas from UC Berkeley.
In the 1930s, Barber said, the Davis campus awarded only about 20 degrees per year. By 1940, this was up to 57, but then came World War II and the university closed for 2 ½ years.
In the 1950s, UC Davis’ graduating classes numbered about 320 pretty consistently, Barber said.
“The real growth trend started in the 1960s with steady increases in the number of graduates each year and finally breaking the 1,000 mark in 1967.
“It wasn’t until the 1970s that the average class size grew to over 3,000, and now it has progressed to where we are graduating approximately 7,000 students a year.”
Registrar Frank Wada said the 200,000-degree mark is a milestone for the campus community as well as for graduates. “Degree attainment at any level—doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s—is only accomplished through the dedicated collaborative efforts between the student, their families, faculty, staff, administration and alumni.”
Fingerprint matches—key to fighting international terrorism and keeping criminals off the street—are no longer foolproof, warns a UC Davis law professor.
Professor Edward Imwinkelried, one of the nation’s leading experts on scientific evidence, and co-author Mike Cherry, who designs identification systems, say the reliability of fingerprint identification has declined while the population of the world—and its fingerprints—has exploded.
“We can no longer naively assume the reliability of our current fingerprint standards,” they write in “How We Can Improve the Reliability of Fingerprint Identification,” an article recently published in Judicature. “Given the stakes—not only justice in a particular case but national security itself—we must do better.”
Imwinkelried, the Edward Barrett Jr. Professor of Law at UC Davis, and Cherry, who is vice chair of the digital technology committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, urge reforms.
The current matching process identifies ridges within a fingerprint and categorizes them into one of three general patterns—loop, arch or whorl—and their subpatterns, and maps predetermined shapes and contours. Fingerprints are said to match when the pattern, subpattern and some of the shapes and contours roughly correspond with each other.
In the late 1800s, Sir Francis Galton developed the first system for classifying and identifying fingerprints. He is quoted as having said that the odds of two individual fingerprints being the same are one in 64 billion. With the current world population exceeding 6 billion persons, most with 10 prints, the fingerprint total now exceeds those odds, the authors say.
At the same time, they say, fingerprint matching techniques that once used cards and then analog photographs to compare up to 10 fingerprints have been taken over by automated computerized systems that use less precise digital images and prescreen matches that sometimes use only a single index finger.
“If we’re going to rely on the computer technology for the Watch List on terrorism, when we do background checks . . . we’ve got to have some assurance the computer system is reliably accurate,” said Imwinkelried. He is co-author of Scientific Evidence, one of the leading treatises in its field, which has been cited on several occasions by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Imwinkelried and Cherry call for high-powered computer analysis of existing fingerprint databases—data mining—to detect new patterns and develop new criteria for matching fingerprints. And they urge the return to the Henry Fingerprint Classification System, which used all 10 fingers to classify an individual.
“If analyzed properly, fingerprints can be as accurate as DNA,” they say.