Montana State University

Montana Institute on Ecosystems names associate directors

October 27, 2015 -- MSU News Service

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The Montana Institute on Ecosystems, a statewide science institute with hubs at Montana State University and the University of Montana, has named Richard Ready and H. Maurice Valett as associate directors of the institute.

The Montana IoE is an institute of the Montana University System and is supported by Montana National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). It is a community of scholars and partners with a shared vision of advancing integrated environmental sciences and related fields.

Ready, a professor of economics at MSU, is an expert in environmental economics, with a focus on how individuals and businesses benefit from the services that ecosystems and the environment provide and on how individual behavior affects the quality of the environment. He researches the impacts of and adaptation to climate change, invasive species, outdoor recreation and landscape change. He has taught previously at Penn State University, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and the University of Kentucky.

Ready has published more than 50 refereed journal articles and book chapters based on his research and has directed theses or dissertations of 22 graduate students. His research has been supported by grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and several state agencies. Ready is a currently serving as a member of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board Environmental Economics Advisory Committee.

Valett is a professor of systems ecology in UM’s Division of Biological Sciences and is director of UM’s Systems Ecology Intercollegiate Graduate Program. His research focuses on freshwater aquatic systems including streams, rivers, groundwater systems and floodplain riverscapes. Valett has published more than 90 refereed journal articles and book chapters; his work has contributed to theoretical aspects of ecosystem nutrient cycling and energy flow and to practical understanding of how ecosystems resist and recover from human effects associated with water diversion, dams, flooding, agriculture, mining and mine contamination, urban development and water pollution. In collaboration with colleagues from UM and MSU, Valett is addressing how social and ecological factors influence features of success relevant to a broad array of restoration projects.

Valett is currently a member of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board Ecological Processes and Effects Committee. In addition, he serves as an associate director for water resources and aquatic invasive species for UM’s Center for Integrated Research on the Environment, a new UM center associated with the IoE. Valett’s program is currently addressing issues of river restoration, complexity and river-floodplain interactions and subsurface processes in mountain streams.

For more information on the Montana Institute on Ecosystems, visit

Contact: Todd Kipfer, Montana NSF EPSCoR program administrator, or (406) 994-7977