Research doesn’t have to take place in the lab.
University of Idaho researchers prove that every day. Steelhead monitoring on the Clearwater River is helped by Associate Fisheries Management Professor Mike Quist and his graduate students. They’ve determined through tagging and interviews that most anglers have much more interaction with hatchery fish than wild fish, knowledge that will be used when fisheries managers set harvest limits.
That’s an important finding. Economic data show salmon and steelhead fisheries bring in around $90 million to the state economy each year.
The Idaho Botanical Garden and five Native American tribes of Idaho know their exact impact on the Gem State thanks to data crunched by U of I economist Steve Peterson and his students. His 2016 study on the economic impact of Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport prompted airport leaders to move forward with a multi-million dollar runway realignment that recently came online.
Students are central to Vandal research. Tara Kriz spent last summer in Alaska in search of the elusive pika, a relative of the rabbit. The Boise student is working with Assistant Professor Sophie Gilbert to test how encroaching vegetation affects the small mammal. Knowing how the smallest animals adapt to climate change will help researchers make predictions for the rest of the ecosystem.
Our student researchers studied everything from Northwest volcano eruptions to Galápagos Island snail evolution and antelope diets in the field last summer. This field work gives them hands-on experience to help them in their future careers and in grad school.
Significant work is also taking place inside the lab. U of I researchers including Shirley Luckhart and Brandi Torrevillas are working with Washington State University on ways to limit the spread of West Nile, Zika and dengue viruses by mosquitoes. And a U of I-led team recently identified and cloned a gene that can fend off a disease impacting wheat and barley.
Important scholarship takes place across Vandal Country. It’s a daily occurrence on our Moscow campus and at our locations across Idaho. But it’s also taking place in fields, streams, forests and mountains around the globe.
U of I highlights this research through our Vandal Explorer Series, a project that showcases the far-off places U of I students travel in the name of discovery. You can also learn about our faculty researchers through The Vandal Theory, a weekly podcast on topics including early photography, single-use plastics and protection from cyber-attacks.
We conducted $115 million in research last year as a university. Between half and two-thirds of our students participate each year. That experience is exactly why employees love hiring Vandals. They not only have the skills to do the job, they are at the cutting edge of their fields of study.
This work is the cornerstone of our land-grant mission – and it leaves an indelible imprint on the world. We’re eager to see what’s next.