Montana State University

Research Roundup at Montana State University (#256)

January 23, 2006 -- From MSU News Service

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Walleye vs. sauger

Walleye and sauger have many things in common, says Brian Bellgraph, a Montana State University graduate student. Both fish species eat stonecats, emerald shiners and western silvery minnows. Both swim downstream to spawn. Both like deep pools with large boulders at the bottom. Non-native walleye, however, seem better adapted than sauger to changes that have occurred in the Missouri River over the past century. Among other things, Montana now has 10 dams on the Missouri, which can be a challenge to sauger who swim as far as 250 miles to spawn, Bellgraph said. Bellgraph and his advisor, Chris Guy, are developing recommendations to help preserve the sauger in Montana.

Volcanic interruption

People used to enjoy hiking between Windy Ridge and Johnston Ridge at Mount St. Helens, but the path could be confusing, says MSU geologist Todd Feeley. That's because it contained portions of many trails. To help hikers find their way, Feeley and some of his students visited the volcano in August 2004 and used GPS equipment to map the route. Volcanic activity, however, closed the main portion of the trail in September 2004, and it remains closed. When it's safe for scientists to return and check the MSU information, a pamphlet for hikers will be printed, Feeley said. It will be distributed at the Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Maggot therapy

Maggots are widely used in Europe to treat wounds, says Karen Zulkowski, associate professor in MSU's College of Nursing. Good at cleansing dead tissue, maggots were used in more than 300 U.S. hospitals during the 1930s and early 1940s, but the practice started to become obsolete with the introduction of penicillin and modern surgical practices. Some experts revisited maggot therapy in the 1980s, however, when people became resistant to antibiotics and their wounds weren't healing. Paige Nelson, a senior in nursing, discovered those and other facts while reviewing maggot therapy for a research project through MSU's Undergraduate Scholars Program. Zulkowski, Nelson's mentor, researches pressure ulcers and wounds.

Streams of Montana

Bob Bramblett started surveying the prairie streams of Montana in 1999. Many of the streams were never sampled before, in part because they didn't contain game fish and partly because some of them only flow intermittently, said Bramblett, an MSU ecologist. The prairie streams are located in the eastern two-thirds of the state from Shelby to Medicine Lake, Alzada to Billings. The streams are small compared to the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, but they contain 49 species of fish, Bramblett said. Bramblett will try this spring to send a few fish from each species to the Kansas State Museum of Natural History at the University of Kansas. The fish will be preserved as part of the museum's large fish collection.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu