Montana State University

MSU grad student wins award at national conference

November 30, 2011 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- Brittany Mosher, a master's degree student in Montana State University's ecology department, recently won the Student Presentation Award at the national conference of The Wildlife Society.

One of 13 competitors for the award, Mosher presented her research involving the response of a community of birds to a recent pine beetle epidemic in the Helena National Forest. Six years of information gathered before and during a pine beetle infestation showed an increasing number of woodpeckers in the infested area, Mosher said. Many of the woodpeckers ate the pine beetles and nested in the trees that were killed by pine beetles.

The finding is relevant for people who are considering logging the dead trees because of fire risk, Mosher said.

Mosher, a native of Red Hook, N.Y., began her research in June 2009 and conducted two summers of field work. She will graduate at the end of this semester. Her co-advisers are ecology professor Jay Rotella and Vicki Saab, a research biologist with the USDA Forest Service/Rocky Mountain Research Station.

The national conference was held Nov. 5 to 10 in Waikoloa, Hawaii. Mosher attended with a $500 student research travel grant from the MSU College of Letters and Science. The Wildlife Society has more than 10,500 members worldwide.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or