Page 1

SUMMER 2011

Message from the Director EPSCoR is about building a cohesive scientific research and education community. As we refine our concept of ONEIdaho with our Universities, Colleges, STEM Outreach and partners in agencies, the private sector and NGOs, it is exciting to reflect on some of the recent developments in Idaho. Several of the stories in this Newsletter are great examples of how EPSCoR is a catalyst in building regional partnerships. It is intriguing to think what might be next as a result of our faculty taking a genuine interest in working together. For example, Dr. Jen Pierce recently led a team of researchers and students on an expedition down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in August. This event provided quality time for the inter-disciplinary EPSCoR team and other researchers from the region to debate the current research and brainstorm future directions. Her goal for the trip was to find ways to integrate the ecologic, hydrologic and geomorphic data that have been assembled through EPSCoR. Specifically, they examined relationships among forest fires, debris flows, ecologic diversity, and land-water interactions, and how these landscapes and ecosystems may vary with future climate Peter Goodwin, change. We look forward to seeing what new Project Director science will emerge from the turbulence!!

Dr. Jen Pierce, Associate Professor of Geosciences at Boise State University, led a team of researchers and students on an expedition down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in August, providing quality time for the inter-disciplinary team to debate the current research and brainstorm future directions.

Idaho Plays a Lead Role in New Northwest Regional Climate Science Center The resources of the current Idaho EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Award were used to strengthen the successful proposal for the Northwest Regional Climate Science Center. The University of Idaho, Oregon State University and the University of Washington received a $3.6 million, 5 year grant to establish the Center’s core functions. An additional $2-3 million per year will help fund the Center’s science projects. The Center was created through funding from the Department of Interior, and is a partner to the US Geological Survey’s National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center.

Stakeholders from throughout the region will help set the Center’s science priorities. The Center’s science agenda is taking shape and will likely focus on:

The new Center will support research and the development of applications to help natural resource managers adapt to climate change effects throughout the NW region.

creating high resolution climate models in support of adaptation,

integration of physical climate models with ecological, habitat and population response models,

assessment of vulnerability and risk for biological and cultural resources, and

forecasting changes in natural and cultural resources due to climate change.

continued on page 2

• 1 •


Climate Science Center continued from page 1

Each of the partner states brings strengths to the consortium. Idaho researchers bring expertise in wildlife management, stream and forest health, landscape scale management, downscaling, and ecological resilience. University of Idaho is also the leader for data management and cyberinfrastructure in the new Center, applying the resources of its emerging Northwest Knowledge Network (NKN). NKN evolved from the current EPSCoR Track 1, Track 2 and C2 CI projects and has close ties with our colleagues in New Mexico and Nevada through the EPSCoR Tri-State Consortium. The Idaho NSF EPSCoR program also brings “These issues existing investments in climate change are regional studies in both managed and wild environments throughout Idaho and a in nature and rich history of research linkages between demand the Idaho’s higher education institutions.

type of coalition

“Idaho EPSCoR reflects NSF’s building and investment in the growth of research collaboration and cyberinfrastructure needed to support Idaho universities in the conduct evident in this of cutting edge climate change science”, consortium.” said Von Walden, Science Lead for the EPSCoR Water Resources in a Changing Climate program and co-Investigator of the NW Climate Science Center.

“We appreciate the US Department of Interior’s and USGS leadership in addressing the challenges inherent in climate adaptation, research and application,” said Steven DaleyLaursen, Climate Center PI for the University of Idaho. “These issues are regional in nature and demand the type of coalition building and collaboration evident in this consortium.”

Idaho Leads New $20 M USDAFunded Climate Change Research Program Earlier this year, a team of scientists led by University of Idaho entomologist, Sanford Eigenbrode, received a $20 million award from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to improve mitigation and adaptation to climate change in the rain-fed cereal production systems of the Pacific Northwest. Partnering with the University of Idaho in this effort are Washington State University, Oregon State University and the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA. The new project, Regional Approaches to Climate Change in Pacific Northwest Agriculture (REACCH PNA) will devote the next five years to studying soil carbon and nitrogen levels, water and nitrogen use efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, alternative cropping systems, biotic constraints and the social and economic factors that affect agriculture’s responses to changing climates. The project includes research, education and outreach elements. The cyberinfrastructure (CI) required to store, manipulate, synthesize, interpret and share the

Image of the Palouse region located in the Pacific Northwest and also home to University of Idaho and Washington State University.

vast amounts of data that will be acquired in REACCH will be developed with input from current EPSCoR CI activities. Eigenbrode, a previous Idaho NSF EPSCoR project participant, attributes the success of REACCH in part to the groundwork enabled by EPSCoR-funded activities in Idaho. Faculty researchers currently involved in the Idaho EPSCoR program, Dr. John Abatzoglou and Dr. Von Walden, are contributing their specific expertise to the REACCH PNA program. Both Dr. Abatzoglou and Dr. Walden participated in the poster session of the “REACCH PNA Launch Meeting,” convened May 9 -11, 2011, on the University of Idaho campus. As part of the “Climate Studies and Water Resources” thematic focus, Dr. Abatzoglou presented a poster examining climate change impacts affecting springtime plant “greenup” in his presentation entitled, “Cold vulnerability in a warming world: Observed changes in spring ‘false starts’ in the continental United …warming may States.” not always be Dr. Abatzoglou’s work suggests beneficial to the need to better understand agricultural climate dynamics’ influence upon the relationship between periodic systems in biological phenomena, climatic energy limited conditions, and associated agricultural areas. impacts. As his research revealed, warming may not always be beneficial to agricultural systems in energy limited areas. In keeping with the Idaho EPSCoR community outreach and collaboration philosophy, Dr. Abatzoglou and Dr. Walden, along with their REACCH PNA colleagues, also are partnering with Pacific Northwest area wheat and barley farmers to enhance the sustainability of agriculture and grain production under ongoing and projected climate change conditions. By working closely with stakeholders and policymakers, REACCH PNA scientists, educators, and extension professionals can promote science-based agricultural approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

• 2 •


Idaho EPSCoR Facilitates a Landmark Agreement for Coordinated Cyberinfrastructure and Data Management Organized and sponsored by Idaho EPSCoR, the Idaho Research Data Management (DM) and Cyberinfrastructure (CI) Summit convened on April 25th on the Boise State University campus in Boise. At the summit, administrators, staff, and faculty from the University of Idaho, Boise State University, and Idaho State University discussed the current and future state of research cyberinfrastructure and data management in Idaho. CI is the coordinated collection of software, hardware and other information technologies, as well as human expertise, required to support current and future discoveries in science and engineering. During the meeting, general consensus revealed that research data management interests across Idaho academic institutions would best be met through collaboration on a common vision for statewide, academic cyberinfrastructure. Collective, coordinated efforts towards this end will result in more economically sound and programmatically effective CI/ DM implementation that will better serve each institution’s educational and research interests. Furthermore, the summit participants agreed that a well-coordinated research data management strategy would make each institution and the entire state of Idaho more competitive for future research funding from the NSF and other grantors. Most importantly, the summit resulted in the signing of a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the three universities for coordinated cyberinfrastructure and data management (CI/DM) strategic development. Promoting Idaho-based research and education, the MOU states that Boise State University, Idaho State University, and the University of Idaho agree on eight fundamental points for developing a coordinated CI/DM strategy and recognizes the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory as an important collaborator in this statewide endeavor. Each university’s Vice President for Research signed the historic MOU in early June 2011. A signed copy of the MOU can be found online in the Cyberinfrastructure pages of the Idaho EPSCoR website at www.idahoepscor.org

THE PEOPLE OF IDAHO EPSCOR

water resources. Jairo conducts groundwater modeling using MODFLOW for aquifer sustainability and for evaluation of alternative water conservation policies. He is also interested in performing research on reservoir system optimization and the use of artificial intelligence for solving complex water resources problems. Dr. Hernandez earned his Ph.D. in Irrigation Engineering at Utah State University, Logan, UT in 2008, a M.S. in Water Resources from “Nacional de Colombia” University, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from “La Gran Colombia” University, both in Bogota, Colombia. Contact Jairo at jairohernandez@boisestate.edu.

Dr. Kelly Wendland Dr. Kelly Wendland is the new assistant professor of ecosystem services economics in the Department of Conservation Social Sciences at the University of Idaho. After two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, Kelly earned an M.S. from North Carolina State University in forestry and environmental resources. She worked for Conservation International for two years on a variety of ecosystem services projects in Africa and Latin America, before moving to University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned an M.A. in agricultural and applied economics in 2009. She recently completed her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in forestry. Kelly will provide the State with expertise on modeling drivers of land cover change, ecosystem service valuation, and market-based instruments for ecosystem services and conservation. Contact Kelly at kwendland@ uidaho.edu.

Dr. Sarah Godsey Dr. Sarah Godsey recently accepted the new hydrologist position at Idaho State University. She will start in January 2012. Sarah earned her doctorate in Earth and Planetary Science from U.C. Berkeley in 2009, and her M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. Her research interests include spatial and temporal responses of catchment hydrology, including runoff generation, overland flow, recharge, evapotranspiration, snow melt in mountainous catchments, and hydrologic response to climate and land use change.

Dr. Crystal Kolden

Dr. Jairo Hernandez

Dr. Crystal Kolden accepted a new EPSCoR-funded position in the Department of Geography at the University of Idaho in June 2011. Dr. Kolden earned her doctorate in Geography from Clark University in 2010, following

Assistant professor, Jairo Hernandez, was recently hired at Boise State University as a water resources engineer in the areas of hydrology and hydraulics. He is computer modeler and programmer adept at remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems applications for

continued on page 4

• 3 •


The People of Idaho EPSCoR continued from page 3

her M.S. in Geography from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2005. Her background includes over a decade of employment with the US Forest Service and the US Geological Survey. Her current work focuses on monitoring and measurement of landscape-scale ecological change through remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems-based pattern analysis. Her primary areas of interest are large-scale disturbance factors such as wildfire, invasive species, and climate change. Contact Crystal at ckolden@uidaho.edu.

OUTREACH AND EDUCATION College of Southern Idaho Helps Educators Teach Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Mr. Bill Ebener, CSI faculty, chats with students about their science project at the Declo Elementary Science Fair in April 2011.

the initial scope, the program included informal participation from one Twin Falls and one Kimberly area school principal and one “gifted and talented” school coordinator from Jerome. In fact, STEM has become such a priority for CSI that the Board of Trustees recently requested additional State funding to further develop its STEM initiatives. The College will utilize teacher participant feedback to pinpoint teachers’ specific science curricula development needs and wants. Using this data, program staff will be able to address the most pressing issues as teachers seek to provide high-quality science education to their students.

RESULTS FROM PRIOR EPSCoR SUPPORT Amy Christopherson, CSI adjunct faculty, pictured here (far left) with students from Cassia County school district, participate in research as part of CSI’s ICSSCE STEM teaching mission.

The Idaho Content Standards Science Concept Enrichment (ICSSCE) Program administered by the College of Southern Idaho enrolled its first cohort of twelve elementary school teachers this past spring 2011 semester. The ICSSCE Program utilizes cyberinfrastructure to equip elementary school teachers with resources to foster elementary school students’ deeper conceptual and content understanding of science. Using support from Idaho NSF EPSCoR, Kimberly, Jerome, and Twin Falls area educators formed small, “teaching teams” as part of the ICSSCE Program Beta Group. Including both “on-line” and “face-to-face” instructional delivery, the ICSSCE Program helps teachers identify “best practices” for elementary grade-level appropriate science education. Addressing teachers’ time and resource constraints, “on-line” course and technology training permitted teachers to creatively connect relevant science and research content with Idaho Content Standards for elementary education. Co-investigators Dr. Dave Makings and Mr. Bill Ebener have helped the College of Southern Idaho to significantly increase STEM education and community outreach. Already expanding

Researchers find Precipitation Changing from Snow to Rain Led by EPSCoR-funded faculty at the University of Idaho and Boise State University, a collaborative research program is utilizing a WATERS testbed methodology to understand how changes in snowpack distribution impact soil moisture in complex terrain. The goal of the WATERS Network approach is to create a national capability to better predict and manage the behavior of water—and its nutrients, contaminants, and sediments. Ultimately, this project, “Collaborative Research: A WATERS testbed to investigate the impacts of changing snow conditions on hydrologic processes in the western United States” studies how landscape topography and climate affect spatial and temporal snow distribution within the rain/snow transition zone. This NSF-funded project is a direct outcome of previous EPSCoR Research Infrastructure investments, as well as prior EPSCoR support to the principal investors through startup enhancement and instrumentation awards. To address these research questions, the team is investigating how the onset of earlier snowmelt events and upward migration of the rain/snow transition zone affect spring soil drydown patterns within the Reynolds and Dry Creek Experimental Watersheds, that are managed by the USDA

• 4 •


Agricultrual Research Service (ARS) Northwest Watershed Research Center, and Boise State University, respectively. An associated objective is to directly compare how hydrologic functions differs between these two watersheds that are climatically similar, but geologically distinct in order to gain a broader synthesis of how climate changes will likely affect the middle Snake River region. Using Light Detection PhD students conducting intensive and Ranging (LiDAR) snow surveys in the Reynolds Creek data products, and fiber Experimental Watershed, February distributed temperature 2010. sensing (DTS) technology supported by EPSCoR, the research team is mapping snowcover to quantify the spatial variability of snow water resources across the rain/snow transition zone. This LiDAR technology complements recent expansion of the hydrometeorological monitoring network that helps elucidate of how snow and soils are coupled in complex terrain. Hydrometeorological station data show that surface temperature varies across the landscape depending upon slope, aspect and snow coverage. Across the Intermountain and Great Basin regions, precipitation phase (snow vs. rain) is strongly affected by warming climate. In the mid-1960’s, 39% of the Reynolds Creek basin land area was snow dominated, 22% was rain dominated, and 39% was in the transition zone. However, by 2006 only 5% of the basin was snow dominated, 70% rain dominated, with 25% in the transition zone. Project participants, including WATERS investigators Jim McNamara (Boise State University), Peter Goodwin and Tim Link (University of Idaho), and Danny Marks (ARS), two post-doctoral researchers, three graduate students, and one undergraduate student have presented their work to a wide audience. This includes presentation at the fall American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting, the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences. Involved faculty also presented at the Melbourne, Australia, International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) meeting, the Alberta, Canada, International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) Prediction in Ungauged Basins (PUB) meeting, the Tucson, Arizona, Biosphere 2 Water Cycle in Complex Terrain workshop, and at the NSF EPSCoR Tri-State meeting held in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. In keeping with EPSCoR’s education and outreach mission, several of the project’s methods and results have been integrated into undergraduate and graduate level courses at both the University of Idaho and Boise State University. In addition, the project dataset will be made publicly-available as a result of EPSCoR investments in Cyberinfrastructure.

COLLABORATIONS “Thresholds of Ecosystem Resilience” Innovation Working Group Meeting Convened at McCall Outdoor Science School Promoting cross-disciplinary collaboration, a Western TriState Consortium Innovation Working Group (IWG) meeting convened February 2–5, 2011, at the McCall Outdoor Science School located in Central Idaho. Entitled “Thresholds of Ecosystem Resilience,” the IWG meeting included Idaho, Nevada, and New Mexico EPSCoR partners and focused upon identifying complementary indicators of ecological thresholds in a changing climate. An ecological threshold is the point at which a relatively small change in external conditions causes a rapid change in an ecosystem. Facilitated by Dr. Robert Heinse, the IWG meeting enabled the Western Tri-State Consortium team to brainstorm and formulate new ideas regarding the identification of key gaps in the current knowledge of ecological drivers, triggers, responses and thresholds.

Faculty and graduate students from the Western Tri-State Consortium brainstorm to identify cross-disciplinary approaches for detecting trends of ecosystem response.

In support of this approach, the IWG brought a group of researchers together to explore a collaborative process of model development including a wide spectrum of metrics. The meeting included participants from ecology, hydrology, socioeconomics, sociology, statistics, and remote sensing disciplines. Realizing that ecosystems respond nonlinearly to environmental stressors, the IWG met to identify crossdisciplinary approaches for detecting trends of ecosystem response in the midst of natural variability. The IWG meeting included graduate students, postdocs, early career faculty members and senior faculty. They are investigating how management practices interact with disturbance regimes and climatic trends to influence the sustainability of, and return to, ecosystem resilience. continued on page 6

• 5 •


Collaborations continued from page 5

For example, the proposed IWG research collaboration will help optimize management of rangelands by developing indicators that can help managers prevent rangeland ecosystems from crossing thresholds that threaten the sustainability of livestock production. To identify if the system is moving towards critical thresholds, collaborators plan to use a novel method that describes variable interaction in space. Due to water limitation and the high variability and episodic nature of climate variables, semi-arid rangelands are especially vulnerable to irreversible change.

Due to water limitation and the high variability and episodic nature of climate variables, semiarid rangelands are especially vulnerable to irreversible change.

As a result of the IWG meeting, Western Tri-State Consortium research participants will propose two topical sessions at the 2011 American Geophysical Union meeting and develop a synthesis paper of approaches for interdisciplinary indicator assessment. Their collaboration will also likely lead them to submit NSF and USDA research grant proposals. This IWG opportunity is helping advance the understanding of climate change affects and developing joint research, education, and outreach capacity within the Tri-State Consortium.

ANNOUNCEMENTS Idaho EPSCoR Governing Committee Update Idaho EPSCoR is led by a dedicated 16-member Committee of legislative, business, science, and education leaders. The Committee is appointed by and reports to the State Board of Education. Effective July 1, 2011, Mr. Leo Ray and Senator Laird Noh (ret.) were both re-appointed to the EPSCoR Committee. In addition, the Committee welcomes two new members —Gynii Gilliam and Dr. Francisco Roberto. All are appointed for 5 year terms. The new members both represent the southeastern portion of the State. Gynii A Gilliam, Executive Director, Bannock Development Corporation. As the executive director of Bannock Development Corporation, Ms. Gilliam has worked closely with Idaho State University in a joint effort to develop the ISU Research and Business Park. She has a long history of working with research and development organizations. Bannock Development is strategically focused on the recruitment of technology-based companies in the alternative energy and medical industries by creating public/private partnerships that meet the needs of interested firms. Dr. Francisco Roberto, Dr. Roberto is a Directorate Fellow, Energy and Environment Science and Technology Directorate at Battelle Energy Alliance, Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Idaho

Falls. Dr. Roberto is a biochemist. He currently leads projects on, among others, application of molecular techniques and other gene probe technologies to studies of microbial ecology and physiology in subsurface sediments, mineral deposits, and extreme environments. He is also interested in microbiology and molecular genetics of acidophilic bacteria with potential applicability in the bioleaching of sulfide minerals and bioenergy production.

Newly Funded Reclamation Study on Climate Change Impacts on Irrigation Water Requirements The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently funded a joint proposal submitted by Dr. Rick Allen from the University of Idaho (UI) and Justin Huntington from the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Nevada. The proposal, “Developing Historical and Future Agricultural Evapotranspiration and Irrigation Water Requirements for U. S. Bureau of Reclamation Projects,” is in the amount of $200,000 with match by the two institutions, for a total of $400,000. The study will estimate future irrigation water requirements under projected climate change for the western United States and will support Reclamation’s West Wide Risk Assessment activities mandated by the SECURE Water Act.

University of Idaho Research Assesses Ecological and Social Impact of Extreme Wildfire in Northern Rockies University of Idaho and Washington State University researchers recently received $ 1.2 million from NASA to support a study of ecological and social impacts of extreme wildland fires in the U.S. Northern Rockies region. Dr. Alistair Smith, assistant professor of forest measurements in the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources, is leading an interdisciplinary team of scientists who will use intensive satellite data, community case studies and policy analysis to understand the relationship between wildfires and their ecological and social effects on people over time. The new three-year grant builds on support from the Idaho EPSCoR program and the College of Natural Resources.

Professional Development Videos for Idaho EPSCoR Students Now Available For students currently in EPSCoR, either in a graduate position or an REU position, we offer professional development opportunities designed to encourage students to pursue graduate degrees in a STEM discipline and to foster mentorship and professional development opportunities that will lead to a successful transition into an academic career. Idaho EPSCoR now has two professional development videos available for students on the Idaho EPSCoR website (www. idahoepscor.org):

• 6 •


“Thinking About Graduate School?” Dr. Alejandro Flores Assistant Professor, Geosciences Boise State University

Richard Allen and Gilmar Santos (Brazilian colleague) visiting the weather station at Ilha Solteira (Single Island, Brazil).

“Creating an Engaging Research Poster” Dr. Celina Suarez NSF Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Geosciences Boise State University The videos were created during the Boise State University 2011 Summer Research Community. The event was co- sponsored by Idaho EPSCoR, Idaho INBRE, LSAMP, REU in Chemistry and Mathematics, and STEM Station. Proposal Development Workshop for Research based STEM Education – Idaho EPSCoR will be sponsoring a Proposal Development Workshop for Research-based STEM Education at the College of Southern Idaho, located in Twin Falls, Idaho, on September 28, 2011. Sarah Koerber, University of Idaho Grants Writer, will conduct the workshop which is scheduled as a full-day event. The workshop will focus on strategies for writing effective proposals to NSF and other STEM-related organizations and will also explore potential collaboration on upcoming grant opportunities. For additional information contact Idaho EPSCoR at 208-885-2345.

UPCOMING EVENTS: ISO Metadata Training – University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM September 7-8, 2011 Proposal Development Workshop for Research-based STEM Education – College of Southern Idaho, September 28, 2011 GIS and Cyberinfrastructure Day at Idaho State University, Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 22nd National NSF EPSCoR Conference, October 24 October 27, 2011 - Coeur d’Alene, Idaho *registration open until September 30th, 2011 (www.nsfepscor2011.org)

KUDOS The Idaho research community extends its sincere thanks and recognizes the Idaho EPSCoR Governing Committee members whose terms of service have been completed: Dr. Fred Templeton, of Salmon, Idaho, and Dr. Carole BaldwinMcWilliam of Pocatello, Idaho. Drs. Templeton and BaldwinMcWilliam served on the Idaho EPSCoR Committee for 20 and 12 years, respectively. The ongoing growth of Idaho’s research capacity has certainly been due in part to the investment of their time and strong commitment to advance research and STEM education in Idaho. Thank you for your service to Idaho. Dr. Rick Allen was recently invited to speak at the international symposium on Environmental Changes and Efficient Use of Agricultural Resources, sponsored by Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Scientific Foundation of China (NSFC) and Department of Science and Techonology, Hebei Province, on Oct. 20-22, 2011, in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China. This symposium will bring together experts from around the world to discuss the advances that can provide potential solutions for managing and using water, nutrient, and energy resources to achieve a sustainable, resource saving, and environmental friendly agriculture. Dr. Rick Allen also attended The Workshop on Science and Technology Irrigation on June 21-22 at the State University of Sao Paulo at Ilha Solteira located in Brazil. The conference brought together the leading experts in irrigation and evapotranspiration from around the world. Dr. Allen serves in an advisory role to the university.

www.uidaho.edu/epscor • 7 •


Idaho EPSCoR PO Box 443029 Moscow, ID 83844-3029

*KBK865$M*

An interdisciplinary team of faculty and students have embarked on a study of the Salmon River Basin to better understand how Idaho’s landscape and ecosystem may vary with future climate change (see page 1 for additional information).

• 8 •

Summer 2011 Newsletter  

Idaho EPSCoR Objective: The primary objective of EPSCoR is to stimulate research in niche areas that can become fully competitive in the di...