Research

Wildlife
9:49 am
Mon November 17, 2014

One Side Effect Of Hunting Wolves? They're Having More Sex

Credit Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

A new study out of Canada reveals a surprising side-effect that hunting may have on wolves.

Researchers wanted to compare the hormone levels in wolves that often deal with hunters’ fire, versus wolves that are hunted very little. They were able to measure levels of progesterone, testosterone and the stress hormone cortisol by looking at samples of wolf hair from different parts of northern Canada.

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Health
11:37 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Boise State Researcher Finds Most Kids Like Healthier School Lunches

Under the new guidelines, students must be offered fruits and vegetables every day.
Credit Lance Cheung / USDA | Flickr Creative Commons

Most Idaho kids went back to school this week, meaning for many, a return to school lunches. Food in public schools has changed significantly since new federal nutrition guidelines were passed in 2010.

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Science
1:53 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

There's A Big Leak In America's Water Tower

Joe Giersch, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, studies stoneflies that live only in the melt from glaciers and snowpack in the northern Rockies.
Clint Muhlfeld USGS

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 5:29 pm

The northern arm of the Rocky Mountains is sometimes called "the crown of the continent," and its jewels are glaciers and snowfields that irrigate large parts of North America during spring thaw.

But the region is getting warmer, even faster than the rest of the world. Scientists now say warming is scrambling the complex relationship between water and nature and could threaten some species with extinction as well as bring hardship to ranchers and farmers already suffering from prolonged drought.

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Science
9:32 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Are Western Wildfires Really Getting Worse? 3 Recent Studies Say No

Smoke rises from the Snag Canyon fire burning in southeast Washington.
Credit Inciweb

It might seem like fire season is as bad as it’s ever been. But there’s a group of researchers who question that prevailing wisdom.

Three fresh science papers from separate institutions each makes the case that today's forest fires in the West burn less than in historical times. One of the co-authors is Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist at the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon.

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Science
9:25 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

Buzzworthy Breeding To Bring Back Bumble Bees

Preparing to inseminate a queen bee.
Megan Asche

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 11:20 am

Some scientists are going to great lengths to help the agreeable Western bumble bee make a comeback.

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Research
4:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

USGS Tries Listening To Human Racket To Understand Seismic Hazards

A seismic "thumper" used to map earthquake faults.
Horemu Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:22 pm

Research geologists have just finished a field trial to test a less invasive way to complete seismic hazard surveys.

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Health
11:52 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Study: Fungus Found In Chobani Yogurt More Dangerous Than First Reported

Chobani's voluntary recall began Sept. 5, 2013. The company says the facility has been cleaned and the mold hasn't been detected since.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A fungus found in Chobani yogurt produced at its Twin Falls facility last year that led to a voluntary recall was more virulent than first thought.

In August and September 2013 more than 200 people were made sick by the Greek yogurt after a strain of fungus called Mucor circinelloides was detected in the product.

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Research
9:03 am
Thu July 10, 2014

It Takes 100 Years For Forests To Recover From Wildfire, Study Finds That's Fast

Odessa Lake and subalpine forest in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA.
Credit Philip Higuera / University of Idaho

Fire season has come alive in the Northwest. On Monday, 20 homes in Idaho's Sun Valley area were briefly under evacuation when a fire broke out in a nearby canyon. A 5,000-acre fire north of Wenatchee, Washington, continues to threaten houses in the area.

Fires can be devastating to people's lives. But according to new research, at least certain types of forests recovery fairly quickly.

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Research
3:44 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

How Red Squirrels Could Be Changing Western Forests

Red squirrels live in lodgepole pine forests and eat lodgepole seeds.
Credit David Maher / Flickr Creative Commons

The patchy recovery of lodgepole pine trees after the 1988 Yellowstone National Park fire could be due in part to the effects of squirrels.

Research from the University of Wyoming finds red squirrels could be having an impact on how lodgepole pine forests evolve.

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Research
7:30 am
Mon March 10, 2014

University Of Idaho Researchers Find Common Chemical Changes Fetal Monkey Genes

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The chemical BPA, or bisphenol A, is commonly found in plastics, soup cans, and store receipts. Scientists continue to study how the chemical affects people. New research from the University of Idaho may sound a cautionary note for humans. 

Gordon Murdoch is an associate professor of physiology at the University of Idaho. He focused on fetal heart development in rhesus monkeys.

For the study, pregnant monkeys were fed fruit containing BPA. “Our question was did it affect the genes in the fetal heart?” he asked, “And to our surprise and dismay, it did.”

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Research
12:55 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

BSU Researchers Find Road Noise Keeps Birds Away From Boise’s Foothills

Migratory songbirds, like this red-naped sapsucker, were caught and studied along the Phantom Road in the Boise Foothills.
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Last December, we told you about Idaho researchers studying the impact of road noise on animals in Boise’s Foothills. Project Director Jesse Barber, Associate Professor at Boise State University, built a “phantom road” in the forest. Now, study results are in.

Researchers found that road noise did have an effect on birds. 

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Wildlife
6:00 am
Mon November 4, 2013

How A Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel Study Could Help Protect The Environment

The squirrels play a big part in the environment. They’re food for all types of predators, from hawks to snakes to badgers. They help regulate the soil as they dig their burrows. And they act as a warning system for the rest of the environment.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Southern Idaho ground squirrels are found only in the Gem State and are a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. In May, we told you about a project to give some of these squirrels a new home near Horseshoe Bend to study ways to boost their numbers. Now, scientists know a bit more about this squirrel.

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Research
5:46 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

WSU Tri-Cities To Head New Federal Jet Bio-fuel Research Center

Anna King Northwest News Network

Washington State University will lead a new federal research center focused on finding new biofuels for jet airplanes.

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Wildfires
3:17 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Climate Researchers Use Western Wildfire Smoke To Study Cloud Formation

The Beaver Creek fire had burned more than 44,000 acres as of 2:00 pm on Aug. 15, 2013.
Credit Ashley Smith / Times-News

Researchers are flying over Western wildfires to sample the thick smoke they emit to study its role in cloud formation and climate.

The data-gathering campaign is intended to help researchers flesh out one of the least understood areas of climate: the role of aerosols, or particles given off by wildfires, and how they evolve over time.

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Research
7:47 am
Thu June 27, 2013

300 Retiring Research Chimps Are In Need Of Homes

Credit Nilsrinaldi / Flickr Creative Commons

The National Institutes of Health Wednesday announced it will retire the great majority of chimpanzees used in federally-supported medical research. The institute director says the use of our closest animal relative for invasive studies can no longer be justified in most cases.

That means more than 300 chimps are headed into retirement. Neither of the two chimpanzee sanctuaries here in the Northwest say they're prepared to take new chimps.

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Bees
6:24 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Northwest Beekeepers Impatient With Cautious EPA

Scott Butner Flickr

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:53 pm


A swarm of factors is causing heavy losses in honey bee colonies. That's the bottom line of a report issued jointly Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report identifies a parasitic mite as a leading culprit in combination with diseases, poor nutrition, genetics and pesticide exposure. People who care about bees here in the Northwest were underwhelmed.

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