Montana State University

Research Roundup at Montana State University (#283)

December 23, 2008 -- From the MSU News Service

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Solutions to lake trout

Ultrasound, microwaves and electroshocking are among the possible solutions for lake trout in Yellowstone National Park, says Al Zale, Unit Leader of the Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at Montana State University. Lake trout, which were introduced illegally into the park, threaten native cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake. To find the best way to destroy lake trout eggs, Zale received a grant from the National Park Service. He and his collaborators will analyze several potential solutions and recommend the best.

Gardening in Iraq?

Family gardens and organic gardening methods would help Iraqis rely less on imported food, pesticides and fertilizers, says Mindi Picotte, a December graduate from MSU. Picotte studied the Iraqi food system for her master's degree in health and human development and found that the Iraqis have had a hard time finding food the past few years. The war has interfered with transportation as well as the extensive food rationing system that former leader Saddam Hussein established, she said. To understand the situation and prevent it from happening in other countries, Picotte compared the current food shortage in Iraq and food rationing under Hussein. She said people generally think that Iraq is a desert, but it is capable of producing fruits, vegetables and dairy products. The people could manage their soil organically and use biological methods to control weeds and pests.

Lance Armstrong and Blackfeet

Yoshiko Colclough, assistant professor of nursing at MSU, has a two-year grant from the Lance Armstrong Foundation to introduce and offer recommendations about palliative care to the Blackfeet Nation. Palliative care refers to the alleviation of pain and suffering associated with serious illness. The project will begin with Colclough and her community partners interviewing four groups to learn more about cultural values that could affect the project. One group consists of people who have lost family members to chronic illness. Another group has chronic illnesses. A third group is made of caregivers, more likely to be family members than professionals. The fourth group consists of professional healthcare providers who have treated patients at the ends of their lives. The work will focus on cancer, Colclough said.

Tinkering with engines

As a research professor of chemistry at MSU, Berk Knighton works on a few projects that deal with aircraft emissions. One of those project involves going to the Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest, Okla., to test and refine an instrument he developed for analyzing hydrocarbon emissions. Knighton uses the tool to detect emissions from rebuilt military jet engines. He wants to be able to analyze emissions quickly -- even between one and 10 seconds, Knighton said. Knighton, who went to Oklahoma in 2007 and 2008, plans to return one more time for the project. He is part of a consortium of scientists working on the project. The other researchers come from Aerodyne Research Inc., in Massachusetts and the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Sunny Montana

Clouds, terrain and weather patterns all affect the amount of radiation gathered by solar panels. To help Montanans who want to install the most efficient solar panels for the energy they receive, MSU researchers have started a three-year project. The scientists will begin by pulling existing data from a variety of databases, including the National Solar Radiation Base, AgriMet and more. The scientists will then interpret that data and develop a Web site to share their findings on solar variability across Montana. The project will involve new graduate student Randy Mullen who has been working as an ecological statistician for the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center. Lucy Marshall and Bryan McGlynn, both in MSU's Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences will oversee the project.

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