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Research as the College of Forestry and Conservation

2014 Research Highlights

Sage grouse nesting success depends on grass height

A new study co-authored by wildlife biology professor Dave Naugle finds that grazing can eat the vegetation that sage grouse need for food and hiding their nests from predators. The current issue of the journal Wildlife Biology has the story on how livestock grazing is a major factor is sage grouse population declines.
Sage grouse nesting success depends on grass height
12-17-2014

UM research on state's elk management plan

Professor Libby Metcalf's research on actions local residents would support to manage elk and prevent the spread of brucellosis is part of the state's elk work plan and was used in decisions made recently by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission.
UM research on state's elk management plan
11-14-2014

Solving the Bitterroot elk mystery

UM's wildlife biology professor Mark Hebblewhite helps solve the mystery of declining numbers of elk in the West Fork of the Bitterroot. Mark and his graduate students worked with MT FWP over the past three years to collar elk, study vegetation in the area and document calf mortality to figure out what's killing the elk. Download the article (pdf)
Solving the Bitterroot elk mystery
11-03-2014

UM's ecology scientists top the nation

UM's ecologists are the most influential and productive of any from universities in the U.S. and Canada, according to new research compiled by restoration ecology professor Cara Nelson, research assistant Megan Kelville, and UM ecology professor Ric Hauer.
UM's ecology scientists top the nation
11-03-2014

CFC research professor part of Google's hands-on tool training

In Aug. faculty member Jim Riddering was selected to attend Google's 2nd Annual Geo for Higher Ed Summit. He and 70 other international attendees learned about how to apply Google's two new tools - Maps Engine and Earth Engine - to research and educational projects. 

CFC research professor part of Google's hands-on tool training
10-28-2014

Historical livelihoods and land uses importance for enhancing biodiversity

New research by professors Steve Siebert and Jill Belsky demonstrates the importance of ecological disturbances, like historic swidden in Bhutan, for increasing plant structural heterogeneity, improving proportion of early successional plant species, and improving availability of forage for animals.
Historical livelihoods and land uses importance for enhancing biodiversity
10-28-2014

Dobrowski's climate change velocity research used by TNC

Research published in 2013 by professor Solomon Dobrowski on the velocity of climate change is part of a new online portal developed by The Nature Conservancy to assess the conservation value of lands.
Dobrowski's climate change velocity research used by TNC
10-08-2014

Scientific Minds of UM: Steve Running

The Kaimin recently profiled professor Steve Running, who was named one of Thomson Reuters "most influential scientific minds" earlier this year. The article also highlights the Montana Climate Office, housed here in the CFC.
Scientific Minds of UM: Steve Running
10-14-2014

Impact of global change on forests worldwide

Professor Andrew Larson is co-author on a new paper showing changes to the world's forests from drought, permafrost loss, nitrogen pollution and other changes. Larson is part of the Smithsonian-led Center for Tropical Forest Science-Forest Global Earth Observatory, which released the report this month.
Impact of global change on forests worldwide
09-30-2014

Record high temperatures in Montana

The Montana Climate Office reports that yesterday, Sept. 24, weather stations measured record-setting high temperatures in northwestern Montana. Temps ranged from 85 to 92 degrees, more than 9 to 15 degrees hotter than average. Visit the Montana Climate Office for more information on the climate data they track.
Record high temperatures in Montana
09-25-2014

Improved Temperature Modeling Across Mountainous Landscapes

New research by University of Montana doctoral student Jared Oyler provides improved computer models for estimating temperature across mountainous landscapes. Collaborating with UM faculty co-authors Ashley Ballantyne, Kelsey Jencso, Michael Sweet and Steve Running, Oyler provided a new climate dataset for ecological and hydrological research and natural resource management.

Improved Temperature Modeling Across Mountainous Landscapes
08-13-2014

How do fungi help plants grow in tropical forests?

New research published in Ecology Letters by PhD student Megan Nasto shows the importance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and phosphatase enzymes in helping nitrogen fixers acquire phosphorous from soil in tropical rain forests, contributing to a high abundance of nitrogen-fixing plants. 

How do fungi help plants grow in tropical forests?
07-31-2014

CFC part of largest research award in UM history

CFC faculty members Winsor Lowe, Libby Metcalf and Cara Nelson are part of a recent $45 million award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This five-year research award will be used to help the Corps study and solve environmental and cultural resource problems.

CFC part of largest research award in UM history
07-08-2014

UM Helps Plan Montana's Outdoor Recreation Future

Research from college faculty members Wayne Freimund, Alex Metcalf, Libby Metcalf, and Norma Nickerson lays the groundwork for Montana's new Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, recently produced by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

UM Helps Plan Montana's Outdoor Recreation Future
07-08-2014

Contribution of non-resident tourism to Montana's economy

In 2013, more than 11 million non-residents visited Montana, spending $3.6 billion in the state, according to research now published by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (link to pdf).

Contribution of non-resident tourism to Montana's economy
06-26-2014

Climate Change Accelerates Trout Hybridization

A new article by researchers from the University of Montana, the U.S. Geological Survey and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks asserts that climate warming is increasing the hybridization of trout in the interior western United States.

Climate Change Accelerates Trout Hybridization
06-18-2014

Semiarid lands and global carbon uptake

New research co-written by Steve Running, University of Montana Regents Professor of Ecology, highlights the importance of semiarid ecosystems in a recent, record-breaking uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

05-22-2014

New research on tropical nitrogen levels

A new paper co-written by four UM researchers shows that humans have more than double tropical nitrogen inputs. Post-doctoral researcher Ben Sullivan worked with CFC professor Cory Cleveland to look at the nitrogen cycle in tropical rain forests.

05-19-2014

Steve Running lead author of new U.S. climate assessment

Steve Running, Regents Professor of Ecology, is a convening lead author on the forests chapter of the Third National Climate Assessment. The report, released May 6 by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, is required by Congress as an update on the current status of climate, observed changes and anticipated trends for the future in the United States.

05-06-2014

New research on streamwater chemistry from wildlife biology director Winsor Lowe

Winsor Lowe, interim director of the wildlife biology program, co-wrote a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on how streamwater chemistry varies across a headwater stream network.

04-23-2014

How wildfires influence stream channels

Recent PhD graduate Kevin Hyde's work was published this week in the journal Geomorphology. Hyde and co-authors, including UM faculty Kelsey JencsoAndrew Wilcox, and the late Scott Woods, looked at how mountain stream channels incised following wildlfires and then intense rainfall.

03-13-2014

Tourists contribute more than $3 billion to Montana's economy

New research from the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research finds that tourism contributed $3 billion to Montana's economy last year. More than 11 million people visited the state.

03-13-2014

Converting land to agriculture reduces carbon uptake

Post-doctoral researcher Bill Smith and faculty members Cory Cleveland and Steve Running examined the impact that converting natural land to cropland has on global vegetation growth. They found that measures of terrestrial vegetation growth actually decrease with agricultural conversion, which has important implications for terrestrial carbon storage.

02-06-2014

Diana Six's research on mountain pine beetle science and management policy

Professor Diana Six and co-authors analyzed what research gaps exist in informing management policy, specifically on whether timber harvests are effective at controlling bark beetles during outbreaks. 

02-03-2014

Bicycle trips important to Montana's tourism economy

new study by the Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research shows multi-day bicycle trips are a popular tourism activity in Montana; cyclists spend $75/day in Montana and stay an average of eight nights.

01-23-2014

Large carnivore numbers and range declining worldwide

New research co-written by University of Montana scientists finds steep declines in the worldwide populations and habitat range of 31 large carnivore species. The analysis, published in Science, shows that 77 percent of the studied species – including tiger, lion, gray wolf, dingo, puma and American black bear – are decreasing in number.

01-09-2014