Human Ecology

A Sleeping Giant in the Electrical Sector

February 10, 2020

A faculty member’s 2019 book about electric utility co-ops is receiving renewed attention amid Gov. Gavin Newsom’s threat of a state takeover of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and a state senator’s legislative proposal to do the same.

The book’s author, Keith Taylor, community economic development specialist in the Department of Human Ecology, said: “What I am hearing a lot about is, a) Can we swap out PG&E for a co-op, and b) Do they work?

Improving Human Health from Inside and Out

January 31, 2020

Even when he was a boy growing up in Marin County, Daniel Choe wondered why some kids were more prone to behavioral problems.

“Some of my peers got involved with drugs, fighting and crime,” said Choe, who is now an assistant professor in the CA&ES Department of Human Ecology. “I felt bad seeing them damage their minds and bodies and futures. In retrospect, I see it gave me empathy for why people make certain choices. It made me wonder, ‘How can we prevent and treat behavioral problems so people can lead more fulfilling lives?’.”

UC Davis Invests $4 Million to Launch New Research Centers

September 12, 2019

The University of California, Davis, is investing $4 million over three years to launch four new research centers that align campus strengths with unique opportunities for global impact. The UC Davis Office of Research initiative is designed to promote new, sustainable, inter- and multidisciplinary research activity that responds to society’s greatest challenges and needs. 

Decoding Depression

May 28, 2019
Team Works to Improve Young People’s Mental Health Across the Globe

Depression is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people around the world. It usually starts early in life and can limit educational, economic and social opportunities.

Early intervention can help doctors prevent and treat depression, but there isn’t a good screening tool, and most of what we know about depression is based on clinical trials in high-income countries where only a small percentage of young people live.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Are Harmful to Health and May Be Addictive, Researchers Suggest

November 20, 2018
Deprived of Beverages, Regular Drinkers Reported Headaches, Cravings

Just as we might have guessed, those tasty, sugar-sweetened beverages that increase risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases may actually be addictive. Youth between 13 and 18 years of age who were deprived of sugary drinks for just three days reported headaches, cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, according to a University of California study with researchers from both the Davis and Berkeley campuses.

Change on the Range

October 17, 2018
First-generation ranchers help preserve California rangelands

A new breed of ranchers is bringing diverse demographics and unique needs to rangeland management in California. These first-generation “ranchers” are often young, female and less likely to, in fact, own a ranch. But like more traditional rangeland managers, this new generation holds a deep love for the lifestyle and landscapes that provide a wealth of public benefit to California and the world.

Farmland and urban growth

May 02, 2018

In urban planning, look to edges, not just the core

Catherine Brinkley is a professor of human and community development and human ecology at UC Davis. So it’s interesting that in a recent published paper, she advocates that cities should work more like coral reefs — supporting a diversity of niches and uses for sustained vigor and resilience. In ecology and medical sciences, the term for a physical form with such topographic complexity is rugosity.

Backyard chickens need more regulation

March 02, 2018

Safety of birds, people, at stake, a UC Davis study suggests

Historically, keeping backyard chickens was a response to economic hardship — whether it was in the Depression or during wartime food rationing.

Child development experts discover potential upside to prenatal stress

February 07, 2018

New research with prairie voles suggests stress promotes developmental plasticity

Prenatal stress might not be so bad for babies after all, depending on how they are raised.  

New research with prairie voles by child development experts at the University of California, Davis, suggests that prenatal stress promotes developmental plasticity in babies, making them especially likely to benefit from good parenting as well as suffer from negligent care.