Congratulations to the awardees of SERNW Student Research Grants!  Each year we receive several fantastic proposals. Read below to learn about the winners and their exciting research projects.

To learn about current SERNW grant opportunities, visit the Student Research Grants page.

2020 Student Research Grant Award Winners

2019 Student Grant Award Winners

2015 Grant Recipients

Jarrett Cellini

Climate effects on the relationship between invasive annual grasses and biological soil crust

Jarrett is a Masters student in Biology at Eastern Washington University working with Dr. Becky Brown. Jarrett will sample biocrust and vascular plant communities along a rainfall gradient in central and eastern Washington to test two predictions about this relationship.


Christine McManamen

Increasing the efficacy of herbicides: revegetation and the native seed bank

Christine is a senior in the ecological restoration program at the University of Montana.  Her project will extend past her expected graduation in 2015. She will examine the effects of herbicides on native and invasive plant species when they are sown in chemically treated soil. Additionally, she will look at herbicide effects on the native and non-native soil seed bank.


Jesse Bunker

Effect of controlled wildfires on whitebark pine ecosystems in the northern Rocky Mountains

Jesse is a student of the ecological restoration program at the University of Montana. Jesse’s work addresses questions about the efficacy of using controlled fire as a tool in restoration of whitebark pine.


2014 Grant Recipients

Erin Cubley

Waterborne seed dispersal following dam removal on the Elwha River, Washington

Erin is a student in the Masters of Biology Program at Eastern Washington University. Erin’s study aimed to determine whether seed dispersal increased following removal of the Elwha dam. Her study is designed to allow comparison with earlier, pre-removal results.


Christopher Brady

Distribution and abundance of owls on Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge: Effects of prescribed burns

Christopher is a student in the Masters of Biology Program at Eastern Washington University. Christopher’s study aimed to evaluate the temporal changes in forest from prescribed fire attempts to mimic historic fire regimes, and the responses of owl assemblages.


2013 Grant Recipients

Sarah Kidd

Modelling Restoration Techniques of Oligohaline Tidal Wetland Ecosystem Services in the Pacific Northwest: A Study of Young’s Bay Tidal Reconnection Projects

Sarah is a PhD student at the University of Montana. Sarah received a $750 grant to help fund her project.


Colin Maher

The role of drought stress in whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) mortality in the northern Rocky Mountains

Colin is a PhD student at the University of Montana. Colin received a $750 grant for his research.


2010 Grant Recipients

Sean Sullivan

Pre-restoration benthic invertebrate communities in the Upper Blackfoot River mining complex, Montana

Sean Sullivan is a second year master’s student at the University of Montana, Missoula. Sean is focusing his research on restoration/remediation effects on benthic biological communities.    He is currently working on a project compiling existing data and interpreting benthic invertebrate community trends pre and post reclamation of a mine waste contaminated stream of the Upper Clark Fork River.  In conjunction with a study being completed by an interdisciplinary team, Sean is assessing the bioavailability of trace metals to macroinvertebrates in the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex and describing baseline invertebrate communities prior to scheduled restoration of the mining complex.  Sean lives and works in Missoula where he is active on several local and regional boards of water quality and water related issues.


Jordanna Black

Investigating relationships between anglers, fish, and in-stream habitat structure

Jordanna Black is a graduate student in the Fluvial Landscape Ecology Lab at Montana State University, Bozeman. Her thesis research examines the current metrics used to define success for fisheries habitat restoration projects, and how the appropriateness of these metrics potentially change when considering interactions humans have with restored and enhanced habitats.  Specifically, she is investigating if various in-stream fish habitat enhancement structures are more obvious to anglers relative to natural habitats.  If so, this suggests that fish in enhanced stream reaches are more susceptible to added stress or mortality associated with angling. Thus, the addition of artificial structures may be detrimental to fish populations, even though the structures succeed in meeting project goals of creating holding habitats used by individual fish.  Her research aims to highlight a more holistic framework for assessing the role of fisheries enhancement structures in the context of the larger stream network, and challenge resource managers to reevaluate the current metrics of restoration project success.


Darin Newton

Recovery of the Northern River Otter (Lontra canadensis) in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Superfund Site

Darin is a native of Troy, Montana, and has always been fascinated with wildlife.  He has worked with a variety of wildlife species, including skunks, elk, butterflies, bighorn sheep, small mammals, and otters.  He graduated in the spring of 2009 with a degree in Wildlife Biology from The University of Montana, and is now a M.S. student in the same program working on Northern river otters. My project is focused on obtaining a population estimate of otters in the Upper Clark Fork River and modeling the potential of the habitat in the river.  After graduation, he aims to travel, do technical project work, and start a career as a biologist for an agency.