Advisor: Jodi Johnson-Maynard
Department of Plant, Soil & Entomological Sciences
Chris Baugher is a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Soil Science, in the Plant, Entomological, and Soil Sciences Department of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho. He is an IGERT-NSF fellow studying the social-ecological resilience of Palouse prairie remnants and the ecology of the Giant Palouse earthworm.
The Giant Palouse earthworm, Driloleirus americanus, is the only known earthworm native to the Palouse prairie. Once believed to be abundant in the region, it has become a rare species due to land conversion of prairie to agriculture. Very little is known about the abundance, extent, or life history of this native earthworm. As part of a team of researchers and with funding from both IGERT-NSF and USFW, I am developing a non-invasive, non-destructive molecular method for measuring the presence/absence of the Giant Palouse earthworm in Palouse prairie remnants. This species is also found in Washington and Oregon and it is believed that all three populations are the same species. I will conduct a phylogenetic analysis to answer that question.