uc santa barbara

Imagine your phone telling you if you have a bacterial infection. There’s now a tool designed for clinics, hospitals and doctor’s offices that can do just that. UC Santa Barbara researchers developed a smartphone app that allows users to detect bacteria at a low cost in under an hour, which can be life-saving.

The fields of science, technology, engineering and math are becoming more attractive to college students across the South Coast. In fact, the number of science majors is rapidly increasing.

Whether you use iPhone’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or a Roomba vacuum, robots are becoming an everyday part of our lives. As technology advances, the reliance on robots will be even more commonplace. That’s why a South Coast graduate student is trying to improve robot-human communication.

Photo by UC Santa Barbara

South Coast scientists have figured out how to use DNA to find white sharks.

Kevin Lafferty, a UC Santa Barbara researcher and U.S. Geological Survey scientist, has been working with colleagues from across the country to determine how to locate white sharks by using what’s called environmental DNA. That’s genetic material from what animals leave behind.

Photo by BELLE CO

Research from a South Coast university finds that only a small percentage of the ocean is left relatively untouched.

UC Santa Barbara Marine Biology professor Ben Halpern was among scientists involved in an international study on just how much ocean can be classified as wilderness -- meaning that it has hardly been touched by human activity and remains pristine. The answer is only 13%.

Photo by ISTOCK / LEOLINTANG

South Coast researchers find that Democrats and Republicans have similar views on climate change, but they’re too party-focused to do anything about it.

Scientists from UC Santa Barbara and the University of Colorado Boulder conducted climate change surveys of several thousand people throughout the U.S. and found general agreement across party lines.

South and Central Coast researchers say they created a model that they hope develops the ocean in a sustainable way. 

Several industries utilize the ocean, such as fisheries, offshore wind farms and aquaculture, which is the farming of seafood.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo biology professor Crow White worked with UC Santa Barbara researchers to develop a model so that these different marine industries can most effectively and sustainably use the ocean.

Photo by NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STSci)

Scientists have studied thousands of exploding stars – which are called supernovas – for hundreds of years. They’ve developed an understanding of how they work. But, now, astronomers on the South Coast have observed what they believe is a supernova doing strange things never seen before.  Their observations are challenging existing theories about supernovas.

Photo by Emammal

The risk of tick-borne disease could increase in the future. South Coast researchers are finding that wildlife loss and climate change can cause the number of ticks to rise dramatically.

UC Santa Barbara biologists conducted a study in Kenya and found that the experiment plot where they excluded the largest animals also experienced the largest increase in the number of ticks. Hillary Young, an associate professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, says that was exacerbated in warmer and drier climates.

Photo by UC Santa Barbara

New research by a South Coast economist is finding that it’s unlikely that global temperatures goals laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement will be achieved.

The goal in the agreement is to limit temperature rise by the year 2100 to two degrees Celsius, which amounts to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

UC Santa Barbara economics professor Dick Startz and his colleagues created a high-tech statistical model that looked at every country.

Photo by UC Santa Barbara

A South Coast university student is using artificial intelligence to develop an app to help people determine whether they have a deadly skin cancer.

Currently, the only way to find out if you have melanoma is to get a biopsy. But, UC Santa Barbara undergrad Abhishek Bhattacharya is hoping to change that. He has been working with a UC San Francisco physician using computer science to create a neural network model that uses images gathered from the web.

Photo by UC Santa Barbara

Humans have produced an enormous amount of plastic, and most of it ends up in landfills. A South Coast researcher took a closer look at the production, use and fate of all plastics ever made.

UC Santa Barbara industrial ecologist Roland Geyer led a study to see just how much plastic has been created since the large-scale production of synthetic materials began in the 1950s. His finding was 8.3 billion tons -- enough to cover the entire country of Argentina.

Photo by Nick Schooler

Scientists on the South Coast who study the biodiversity of California beaches are finding that it’s the management of those beaches – and not necessarily climate change – that’s causing major impacts.

UC Santa Barbara researchers evaluated the biodiversity of 13 beaches across the state and compared their results to those of the 1970s. They found that on some beaches, the biggest decline was in intertidal animals like crustaceans and insects that live in the sand near the high tide line.

Photo by UCSB College of Engineering

Robots have been around for a long time. But, now, scientists are finding some amazing ways that they can help us. Imagine a robot that can do things humans can’t. South Coast researchers are developing robots with x-ray vision.

A robot that’s only about two feet tall can do some big things.

A tremendous amount of food goes to waste. So, a university on the South Coast is leading the way in diverting food waste from landfills. Students are composting on campus.

I step into an electric car here at UC Santa Barbara.

"This is our composting mobile. We use all electric vehicles here because our goal is zero waste," said Kaitlyn Haberlin, an environmental studies and archeology double major.

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