News in Brief

Samueli School of Engineering Rises in U.S. News and World Report. Biological Sciences Drops

In the latest ranking of doctoral programs by the U.S. News and World Report, UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering rose four spots, tying with Yale and the University of Virginia for 37th place.

The UCI Medical School, which has had trouble breaking into the top 50, had reason to celebrate, finding itself placed 41st.

However, UCI’s biological sciences department dropped from 32nd to 34th place in the ranking.

The former Dean of the School of Biological Sciences and current Vice Chancellor for Research. Sue Bryant has made assurances that the drop in the biological sciences ranking is not any way reflective of the faculty. This year UC Irvine resides at No. 37 in biomedical/bioengineering and tied No. 28 for aerospace/aeronautical engineering. UCI also tied No. 38 for mechanical engineering and tied for No. 41 in civil engineering.

‘Nature’ Study Finds Nutrients in Plants Reduce Diversity

UC Irvine post doctorate student, Stanley Harpole, reports in the magazine ‘Nature’ that nutrient-enriched water did not result in bigger and more abundant species. However, those species did outgrow their competitors who did not drink nutrient-enriched water. Researchers altered the amount of nutrients, including phosphorous and nitrogen, in the grassland of the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara. They found that limiting nutrients maintains the diversity of species.

Harpole affirmed that this occurs because ecosystems are becoming enriched by fertilizer runoff, although unintentional. Fossil fuels also give grasslands excess nutrients because the nitrogen oxide, which is released when it rains, enriches the soil.

In normal natural systems, plants compete. In turn, plants may adapt to the abundance or lack of a certain nutrient. For example, one plant may learn to live in an environment that possesses low nitrogen levels while another plant may learn to live in an environment that possesses low phosphorous levels. Too much of a certain nutrient limits diversity by preventing plants from co-existing in a natural environment with limited resources.

Aldrich Park Prepares for ‘Celebrate UCI’

The 29th annual ‘Celebrate UCI’ will take place on Saturday, April 29 in Aldrich Park.

The festival features The Wayzgoose Medieval Faire from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., a UC Irvine tradition that dates back to 1972, and often draws people from all over the Orange County community. As usual the park will be filled with costumed jugglers, minstrels and knights.

Wayzgoose also features three stages with local school acts and national performers.

More than 110 student-, faculty- and staff-organized booths will be featured among the festivities as well.

The 30-plus year old tradition offers the chance for current and prospective students to enjoy entertainment in the park and learn more about the many clubs, groups and resources at UCI.

‘Celebrate UCI’ also features an Earth Day Celebration, also from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Aldrich Park.

This year’s solar-powered event includes electric vehicles, hands-on educational booths, community service projects, art and entertainment to raise awareness of environmental issues. An all-day environmental film festival and exhibit of electric vehicles of the past and present are added attractions.

Finally, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the day of festivities offers the Ninth Annual UCI Car Show on the Green. Anteaters will be able to view custom cars and talk to their owners. Cars will compete in categories such as best of show, best sports car, judge’s award and people’s choice.

For more information, visit the Web site at http://www.students.uci.edu/celebrate/.

Dana Point Considers Imposing Limitations on Day Laborers

Dana Point may become the third city in south Orange County to impose trespassing limitations on day laborers, teenagers and the homeless