James Urton is a science writer based in Seattle, working for the University of 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: NOAA

image credit: NOAA

"Study shows high pregnancy failure in southern resident killer whales; links to nutritional stress and low salmon abundance"

A multi-year survey of the nutritional, physiological and reproductive health of endangered southern resident killer whales suggests that up to two-thirds of pregnancies failed in this population from 2007 to 2014. The study links this orca population’s low reproductive success to stress brought on by low or variable abundance of their most nutrient-rich prey, Chinook salmon.

University of Washington, June 29, 2017

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