Cause of declining sturgeon numbers discovered

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By KAITLYN NICHOLAS and MORGAN SOLOMON/Montana State News

For over 20 years the Pallid Sturgeon has been listed as an endangered species, but until this year no one knew why.

The Pallid Sturgeon is a prehistoric fish considered to be part of a 60 million year old species. Today the Pallid Sturgeon is a native of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers.

An act allowing dams to be built on the Missouri river was passed in 1940.  Soon baby Pallid Sturgeon were no longer present in the water surrounding the dams. Researchers suggested the shorter stretches of river created by the dams were causing the death of the fish, but no one understood why.

Chris Guy, a professor of fisheries science at Montana State University, and a team of researchers set out to investigate the disappearance.

They found that when the fish spawn and their eggs hatch the larva float 310 miles downstream to the spawning area before settling to the bottom of the river. However, dams are less than 310 miles apart, causing the larva to get caught in the headwaters of the dams and reservoirs. More

MSU prof advocates “buggy” diet

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By ELIZABETH JOHNSON/Montana State News

Imagine yourself walking down an isle at the grocery store, past the packaged beef, chicken pork and insects.  Yes you read that right:  insects.  Florence Dunkel, a traveling entomologist and professor at Montana State University, is attempting to get insects recognized as a viable food source.

Dunkel hosted a debate at Montana State University on March 24 to establish what should be included in a proposed resolution statement for the FDA, focusing on approving edible insects as a commercial food source.  The resolution will be voted on in Montana State University’s Student Union Building in ballroom C on April 16.

Insects have more benefits than the public is aware of.  “Many insects are packed with protein, fiber, good fats and vital minerals – as much or more than many other food sources,” according to National Geographic.

Insects can provide a source of protein in parts of the world where conventional meats such as beef and pork are unavailable and provide a major step towards sustainable diets, according to National Geographic. More

Canadian grizzly expert to speak locally

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By CLARK MOORMAN/Montana State News

Grizzly bears have always inspired fear and awe and their management in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem has been the subject of much local debate. In late April, Bozeman will have the chance to meet with an expert on the subject.

Naturalist, author and bear expert Charlie Russell will be speaking about our negative image of grizzly bears – and why he feels it is undeserved – on Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. at the Museum of the Rockies. The free event is open to the public and is being put on by the Montana Outdoor Science School (MOSS).

“[Russell] thinks we’ve been interacting with bears wrong,” said Steve Esbaugh, director of MOSS. “He’s a big advocate of a new understanding of bear/human interactions.”

Russell has spent the last 50 years studying bears in their habitat and  in captivity in Russia and Canada, and has had multiple books published, in addition to being featured in bear documentaries for the BBC and PBS.
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Lecturer takes grim view of American West

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By SABRINA HAYES/Montana State News

“The people [of the American West] have either lost their minds or are dead,” according to Stephen Tatum, an English professor and the director of environmental humanities program at the University of Utah.

Tatum, speaking as a guest of Montana State University’s Distinguished Speaker Series, used Robert Bolano’s “2666” and Charles Bowden’s “Dreamland” to discuss the development of real and imagined Western culture through literature.

Using passages from the two novels, Tatum picked apart each piece of work from a literary standpoint to develop the theme of the modern American West – what he called the borderlands, or the border between the United States and Mexico. Picking out devices and images used by the authors, Tatum presented his work in a way that made the audience feel the terror and the desolation of the setting.

Tatum combined social sciences, English, philosophy, arts, history and political science in an effort to teach his audience, “There is no hero because it’s all about the hunger for Western capitalism.” More

Gateway town economies thrive on park visitors

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By DANIELLE MARTIN/Montana State News

Residents of West Yellowstone know more than most how important the national park is for their community.

“Tourism is basically our entire economy … Yellowstone Park is essential to our business[es] and services,” said Wendy Swenson, marketing director for the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce.

According to a press release issued last week by the National Park Service, national parks drew 273.6 million visitors in 2013.

“From families creating once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories to school children exploring a national park in their own backyard, the National Park Service welcomed more than a quarter of a billion visitors last year,” said Jonathan Jarvis National Park Service director. More

Streamline attracting more and more riders

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By KAITLYN NICHOLAS and SCOTT PHELAN/Montana State News

The number of riders on the Streamline bus service increased by 16.2 percent between 2011 and 2013 and annual ridership has nearly quadrupled since its inception in 2006.

“We’ve just grown by leaps and bounds,” said Lee Hazelbaker, the director of Streamline.

The Streamline bus system offers free transportation around Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley. According to Streamline’s 2013 Fiscal Year Ridership Report, buses served 282,776 people during 2013, a 16.2 percent increase over their ridership in 2011. The bus system originally began in the fall of 2006 and served 75,868 people in its first year.

“Now we start earlier and run later. We added the weekend service and the Livingston service,” said Hazelbaker. “It has just become more popular and we’ve made some adjustments to the schedule to meet people’s needs.” More

International student numbers rising sharply

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By MORGAN SOLOMON and KERRY BYRNES/Montana State News

Every year thousands of international students travel to the United States to seek higher education – and a growing number of these students are studying at Montana universities.

According to the Institute of International Education, the state of Montana saw a 21.5 percent increase in international student enrollment for the 2012-13 academic year, which is the largest increase for any state.

Norman Peterson, executive director of International Programs at Montana State University, believes this increase is due to initiatives at MSU-Billings.

“The fact that MSU-Billings has advertised for and accepted a great deal more international students (and that) has really driven the rise in international students coming to Montana,” Peterson said. More

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