The Science of Sustainability

Liza Gross

Liza Gross

Liza Gross, a freelance science writer and senior editor at the biomedical journal PLOS Biology, channeled an early love of wildlife into a lifelong exploration of the numerous ways diverse species, including humans, interact in the natural world. She writes mostly about wildlife, conservation, and environmental health. Her stories reflect a deep curiosity about natural and social interactions and often highlight evolutionary relationships that remind humans of their place in, and responsibility to conserve, nature. Her article "Don't Jump!" published in Slate, won an ASJA award in the op-ed category. She's a visiting scholar at NYU, a 2013 recipient of NYU Reporting Award funding and a Dennis Hunt health journalism fellow.

Read her previous contributions to QUEST, a project dedicated to exploring the Science of Sustainability.

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Liza Gross's Latest Posts

Picturing Biodiversity: Cultivating an Eye for Conservation

Picturing Biodiversity: Cultivating an Eye for Conservation

Environmentalists have long relied on spectacular photography to show people why wilderness is worth preserving. The nonprofit ARKive builds on that tradition, using the power of wildlife imagery, from photos to film, to promote conservation of the world's threatened species, now approaching 17,000 plants and animals, based on the latest IUCN estimates.

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Tracking Big Cats to Learn Their Secrets

Tracking Big Cats to Learn Their Secrets

Learning to see the landscape through the eyes of a wild carnivore helps Bay Area residents appreciate the essential ecological roles bobcats, mountain lions, and other predators play in ecosystems. New research shows that lion leftovers feed a surprising diversity of other species.

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People's Parks: Protecting Open Spaces for Everyone

People's Parks: Protecting Open Spaces for Everyone

Thanks to a novel partnership between California State Parks and the Sonoma County-based nonprofit LandPaths, nearly 3,400 acres of open space filled with old-growth redwood, Douglas fir and majestic oaks in the Willow Creek watershed of the Russian River are open to visitors for the price of an hour-long orientation.

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Farmworkers Pay a Heavy Price for California's Bounty

Farmworkers Pay a Heavy Price for California's Bounty

California farmworkers work long days for about $7.50 an hour to pick fruit in orchards doused with nitrogen fertilizers. A UC Davis study released in March found that nitrates from fertilizers and dairy waste have contaminated groundwater supplies. Because farmworkers live near the fields they work in, they're at high risk for nitrate-contaminated drinking water.

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The Man Who Made California Safe for Mountain Lions

The Man Who Made California Safe for Mountain Lions

More than 40 years ago, Sen. John Dunlap (D-Napa) made conservation history when his mountain lion hunting moratorium passed the California Legislature and became law in 1971. He recalls the fight to pass the bill and his guiding principle, "when in doubt, preserve."

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Making Women Partners in Breast Cancer Research

Making Women Partners in Breast Cancer Research

Dr. Susan Love, breast cancer surgeon and women's health advocate, has long railed against cancer researchers' fixation on treatments and cures. After spending more than $4 billion on breast cancer research, we still don't know what causes the disease or how to prevent it. It's time to focus on looking for causes, she says. And she wants your help.

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Classification Challenge: Documenting Microbes, Biodiversity’s Hidden Treasure

Classification Challenge: Documenting Microbes, Biodiversity’s Hidden Treasure

Figuring out how many species inhabit Earth remains one of science’s most enduring, and elusive, challenges.

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Salmon Runs, Grizzly Bear Dreams

Salmon Runs, Grizzly Bear Dreams

Using grizzly bears in the Pacific Northwest as a proxy for the benefits salmon deliver to ecological communities, a new study argues that letting more salmon migrate into coastal streams will lead to downstream improvements for the ecosystem and eventually the offshore salmon catch.

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Fair Game? On Lions, Hunters and Wildlife Policy

Fair Game? On Lions, Hunters and Wildlife Policy

Trophy hunting mountain lions is legal in every Western state except California. When the head of the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission, a life member of the NRA, killed a young lion in Idaho, state legislators and environmental and animal welfare groups called for his resignation. What should Californians expect of state officials in charge of setting wildlife policy?

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Small Rewards: Tiny Frogs and Chameleons Find and Fill a Niche

Small Rewards: Tiny Frogs and Chameleons Find and Fill a Niche

Recent discoveries of a Lilliputian lizard and elfin amphibian, fascinating in their own right, highlight one of the most enduring questions in biology: what controls the evolution of body size? They also provide a rare bright spot amid the relentless reports of endangered and disappearing amphibian and reptile species around the world.

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Fantastic Voyage: The Salmon's Uphill Struggle for Survival

Fantastic Voyage: The Salmon's Uphill Struggle for Survival

California's critically endangered coho salmon are at a crossroads. Hundreds of thousands of fish once returned to our streams to spawn. But dams, water diversion, and habitat destruction have pushed the coho to the brink of extinction. Without heroic habitat restoration and water conservation efforts, we may lose our storied silver fish.

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A Birder’s-Eye View of Conservation

A Birder’s-Eye View of Conservation

The Great Backyard Bird Count gives novice Bay Area wildlife watchers the chance to play field biologist in their own backyards and help scientists gather data on the incidence, abundance, and distribution of birds. Researchers will use sightings to identify trends that will help conserve these valuable indicators of biodiversity.

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