UO researchers enlist computers in the fight against the mountain pine beetle

Christopher Bone
Christopher Bone

An interdisciplinary team of UO researchers was awarded a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to improve existing knowledge of the mountain pine beetle infestation gripping the forests of western North America.

Christopher Bone, assistant professor in the Department of Geography, and his research team plan to use the power of computing to help better inform responses to the mountain pine beetle epidemic, which has wiped out tens of millions of acres of trees over the past 20 years. The UO team includes Patrick Bartlein and Daniel Gavin, geography; Allen Malony, computer and information science; Cassandra Moseley and postdoctoral researcher Jesse Abrams, Institute for a Sustainable Environment.

The project, which grew out of a winning research proposal for the UO’s Incubating Interdisciplinary Initiatives (I3) award, a program sponsored by the Office for Research & Innovation, is now being funded by NSF's Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) program. CNH seeks to address how humans and the environment interact. Because the mountain pine beetle infestation is governed by a complex interaction between government policies, ecological processes and climate change, it is well suited to the kind of high-performance parallel computer modeling the research team is employing, Bone says.

For more information, please read the press release, "UO team to study impacts of climate change on pesky forest insect."

By Lewis Taylor, Office for Research & Innovation