Research Themes at Taylor

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Explore these research themes first hand. Apply for the Taylor Ranch Wilderness Internship.

Cultural and Anthropological Resources
Located in the middle of four million acres of undeveloped wilderness, this landscape has been home to people for centuries. Unique opportunities abound to study how people have interacted with the native plants, fish, birds and wildlife. From the earliest inhabitants, the Western Shoshone people called Tukuaduka (sheep eaters), to historic gold miners, trappers and packers, to more recent big game sportsmen, river runners, rangers and researchers, our research focuses on the relationship between people and the land.
Fire and Impacts
In the fire-prone forests and grasslands of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, plants have unique strategies for surviving wildfire. These strategies have been successful in the past, but how will they respond to a changing climate? We are exploring this fundamental question by examining changes in plant abundance and productivity in response to fire. Field measurements of plants, a wireless sensor network and ecosystem process models will be key components of this research.
Physical and Economic Impacts of Wilderness Visitors
Visitors from around the world are attracted to the big game hunting, fishing, camping and white water rafting in this remote area. Being accessible only by trail, pack train and bush planes has led to a sizeable outfitting and tourism industry. But people living and travelling in the backcountry have physical and social impacts that often times are unsustainable in wilderness. Opportunities are plentiful to conduct research on these complex issues of managing people and their physical, social and economic impacts in wildlands.
Stream, Acquatics and Watersheds
Big Creek provides a wilderness watershed in which to study rivers minimally impacted by humans. University of Idaho scientists, along with scientists at other universities and agencies, collectively address diverse areas including: snowmelt hydrology, geomorphology, habitat structure and dynamics, steam community ecology and the fundamental properties of wild salmon populations. Long-term studies within the watershed enable scientists to study the impacts of fire, climate and natural disturbances on the habitats and organisms of the fluvial ecosystem.
Vegetation Ecology
Numerous vegetation communities exist near Taylor from ponderosa pine/Douglas fir forests to shrub steppe. These diverse communities provide habitat for a wide variety of organisms and wildlife. Vegetation studies include long-term monitoring; vegetation responses to climate, fire, and invasive species; and plant-soil, -insect and -animal interactions. Existing long-term data sets of plant production and climate provide exciting research opportunities.
Wilderness Climatology
Located 35 miles from the nearest road and inside four million acres of undeveloped wilderness, Taylor Wilderness Research Station offers an unrivaled opportunity to study weather and climate changes. Boasting a RAWS (Remote Automated Weather Station), installed in 2008, this station records temperature, dew point, relative humidity, wind speed, gusts, solar radiation, and fuel temperature every hour.
Wildlife
With the exception of the grizzly bear, Big Creek contains a full complement of large mammals. The bighorn sheep population, their habitat use and populations have been extensively studied, as have the effects of wolf predation on elk and deer, as well as the effects of wildfire on the land and its inhabitants.