Kavanagh's Collaborative Forest Ecology Research Featured on PBS

Thursday, May 5 2011


Collaborative research by Katy Kavanagh, forest ecology and biogeosciences professor, was featured May 2 on PBS’s program “Nature” in an episode entitled, “Salmon: Running the Gauntlet.” The televised feature investigated the parallel stories of collapsing Pacific salmon populations and how biologists and engineers have become instruments in elaborate experiments to replicate every stage of the fish’s life cycle. The research is featured about 40 minutes into the episode, which can be viewed at www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/salmon-running-the-gauntlet/video-full-episode/6620/.

PBS used footage of her research team’s carcass deployment in 2009. That event is part of a project investigating the degree to which salmon carcasses provide nutrient subsidies to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in central Idaho as well as effects on resident fish such as trout, aquatic insects, bats, bears and riparian forests.

“The goal of this project is to test mitigation strategies to replace salmon-derived nutrient subsidies in regions where salmon have been blocked from their historic habitat,” says Kavanagh. “Mitigation includes salmon carcasses from hatchery fish, salmon analog pellets and inorganic fertilizer. We are deploying our nutrient treatments along tributaries of the North Fork of the Boise River.”

Collaborators include researchers from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game; Idaho State University; Michigan Tech University; Washington State University; the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; and Tadd Wheeler and Andrea Noble Stuen, University of Idaho College of Natural Resources graduate students.