James Urton is a science writer based in Seattle, Washington.



Recent highlights:

Scientific meetings

image credit: fadi el binni, al jazeera english

image credit: fadi el binni, al jazeera english

"High Smog Levels Seen in Mecca During the Annual Pilgrimage"

In 2012, the Hajj drew 3.5 million Muslims to Mecca for five days of prayer and spiritual enlightenment. The annual pilgrimage, one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world, also brings dangerous levels of air pollution to Islam’s holiest city.

Eos: Earth and Space Science News, December 18, 2014

Latest research

image credit: James gathany/cdc

image credit: James gathany/cdc

"The mosquito smells, before it sees, a bloody feast"

The itchy marks left by the punctured bite of a mosquito are more than pesky, unwelcomed mementos of a day at the lake. These aggravating bites can also be conduits for hitchhiking pathogens to worm their way into our bodies. As the bloodsucking insects evolve to resist our best pesticides, mosquito control may shift more to understanding how the mosquitoes find a tasty — and unsuspecting — human host.

A team of biologists from the University of Washington and the California Institute of Technology has cracked the cues mosquitoes use to find us. 

UW Today, July 16, 2015

Newspaper coverage

image credit: Aric Crabb/Bay Area news group

image credit: Aric Crabb/Bay Area news group

"Research shows elephant seals wander far when not lounging ashore"

AÑO NUEVO -- On a typical winter day decades ago, the dunes and beaches along this strip of San Mateo County coast boasted little more than views of the light station on nearby Año Nuevo Island. But today, in a sure sign of their dramatic recovery from near extinction, elephant seals pack these shores, regaling throngs of visitors with their annual breeding-season spectacle.

San Jose Mercury News, January 18, 2015