Montana State University

New grants awarded for water research in Montana

January 25, 2005 -- From MSU News Service

Chelsea Cada, Jeremy Smith and a technician (from left) in a Madison River drainage during a previous research project funded by the Montana Water Center. (Photo courtesy of the Montana Water Center)   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Two faculty research teams and 12 university students recently received funds to conduct water research in Montana.

The Montana University System Water Center based at Montana State University awarded a total of $61,200 for two 2005/2006 research projects and 12 student fellowships. Recipients will investigate everything from microbes around Missoula to anglers around Montana. One study will compare the needs of sauger and walleye in the middle Missouri River. Another hopes to find answers for people concerned about cottonwood trees in the West. One study looks at the factors that cause brook trout to displace cutthroat trout. Whirling disease continues to be a focus.

Two of the projects -- all funded through the federal Water Resources Research Act -- are led by faculty members. Brian McGlynn from the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at MSU and doctoral candidate Kristin Gardner received $17,000 to analyze changes in land use/land cover and the relationship to nitrogen export in a developing mountain landscape. Researcher Denine Schmitz and Duncan Patten of MSU's Big Sky Institute received $14,200 to assess the long-term effects of small natural and human dam failures on riparian and aquatic ecosystems in Montana.

Fellowships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 went to promising students at MSU and the University of Montana who wanted to address regional water resource issues. The students included one undergraduate, six master's degree students and five doctoral students. They and their projects are listed below.

Brian Bellgraph, a master's degree student at MSU, will compare the movement, habitat use and food habits of sauger and walleye that live in the middle of the Missouri River in Montana.

Jennifer Corbin, a UM doctoral student, will study the effects of glacial meltwater chemistry, microbial processes and climate change on nitrate loading and ecological response in high alpine aquatic systems.

Tim Covino, an MSU's master's student, will look at the groundwater/surface water exchange across an alpine/valley transition.

Kiza Gates, an MSU master's student, will study the movements of resident and non-resident anglers in Montana and observe the implications for transferring whirling disease throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Motoshi Honda, a UM master's degree student, will investigate the relationships between flood frequency and riparian vegetation distribution in mountain streams of western Montana.

Levia Jones, an MSU master's student, will study the effects of wildfire on a riparian ecosystem.

Lewis Kogan of Missoula, a junior at UM, will research the antibiotic resistance of microbes that live in the groundwater and surface water in the Missoula area.

Vince Pacific, an MSU master's student, will study the watershed distribution and change of carbon across environmental gradients.

Mary Louise Polzin, a UM doctoral student, will study cottonwood trees along the Yellowstone River to find their predominant form of reproduction.

Mohammed Rahman, an MSU doctoral student, will research sustainable materials for drinking water infrastructure.

Diego Riveros, an MSU doctoral student, will study the release of carbon dioxide in the Little Belt Mountains. He will look specifically at forest soils in mountain watersheds.

Brad Shepard, an MSU doctoral student, will investigate factors that influence the displacement of native cutthroat trout by nonnative brook trout.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or