University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer


U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.

Larry J. Forney

Larry J. Forney

Distinguished Professor Emeritus


Life Sciences South 344



Mailing Address

Dept. of Biological Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter MS 3051
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3051

Research: Biomedical Science, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

  • Ph.D. Microbiology and Public Health, Michigan State University, 1982
  • M.S. Microbiology and Public Health, Michigan State University, 1978
  • B.S. Microbiology and Public Health, Michigan State University, 1975

The research done in Dr. Larry Forney’s laboratory centers on the diversity and distribution of prokaryotes. Both field and laboratory studies are done to explore the temporal and spatial patterns of community diversity, as well as factors that influence the dynamics of inter- and intra-species competition. In addition research is done to understand how spatial structure and the resulting environmental gradients influence the tempo and trajectory of adaptive radiations in bacterial species and the maintenance of diversity. Most of these studies are highly interdisciplinary in nature, and done in collaboration with mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists, geologists, environmental engineers, physicians, and clinical scientists.

  • Human Microbiome
    The microbiota normally associated with the human body have an important influence on human development, physiology, immunity, and nutrition. The vast majority of these indigenous microbiota exists in a mutualistic relationship with their human host, while others are opportunistic pathogens that can cause both chronic infections and life-threatening diseases.
  • Biodiversity and Biogeography
    Recent advances in genomics and high throughput sequencing make it possible to characterize the extraordinary microbial diversity found on Earth in ways that were never before possible. The data obtained enables us to test hypotheses regarding patterns and processes in microbia communities, and to gauge responses to changing environmental conditions, perturbations, and treatments.
  • Biofilms
    Mechanisms that lead to the genesis and maintenance of diversity in communities have intrigued both geneticists and ecologists alike for decades. This is particularly challenging in studies of microbial communities in which ecological and evolutionary processes occur on roughly the same timescale and where the outcome of these processes are affected by the spatial structure in which these communities grow.

  • 2013 University Distinguished Professor Award, University of Idaho
  • 2011 Interdisciplinary Collaborative Efforts Excellence Award, University of Idaho
  • 2011 Excellence in Interdisciplinary Research, University of Idaho
  • 2009 Alumni Award for Excellence, Undergraduate Research Mentor, University of Idaho
  • 2009 Research Excellence Award, University of Idaho
  • 2008 Alumni Award for Excellence, Undergraduate Research Mentor, University of Idaho
  • 2008 IDeA Biomedical Research Excellence, Faculty Mentor Award, University of Idaho
  • 2008 Fellow, American Academy for Microbiology
  • 1999 Teaching Excellence, Undergraduate Biology Students, University of Groningen


Department of Biological Sciences

Physical Address:
Life Sciences South 252

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3051
Moscow, ID 83844-3051

Phone: 208-885-6280

Fax: 208-885-7905


Web: Department of Biological Sciences