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Student earns national award to research sagebrush conservation with satellite imagery

Doctoral student out in the field with sagebrush plant

Andrii Zaiats, a first year doctoral student in the Ecology, Evolution and Behavior program at Boise State University, has been awarded a prestigious research fellowship from the National Science Foundation’s INTERN program.

The fellowship will allow Zaiats to pursue a policy-oriented research project with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a federal science agency. The federal program offers opportunities for graduate students to expand their skillsets by developing collaborative research projects with partners outside of academia.

To understand how populations of big sagebrush in the Great Basin respond to environmental changes, including wildfires and ecological restoration, Zaiats will collaborate with researchers at the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, a USGS research unit in Boise. The project will bring together the expertise of David Pilliod and Collin Homer of USGS to integrate land management data with satellite imagery to measure sagebrush recovery throughout the Great Basin.

The internship is aimed to bridge academic research with management policies, and to facilitate evidence-based management and restoration of Great Basin ecosystems.