After graduating in 2010, Dr. Kathryn Yurkonis had a brief post-doc with Jonathan Newman and Hafiz Maherali at the University of Guelph where she studied the ecological impacts of fungal endophytes in invasive cool-season grasses. She was offered a grassland ecologist position at the University of North Dakota shortly after starting the post-doc and made the move to one of the coldest places in the lower 48 states.
Yurkonis is now in her eighth winter at UND and has developed a research program around understanding grassland biodiversity effects and grassland community interactions in the Northern Plains. This work has advanced the basic understanding of grassland science and forms the basis of an ongoing effort to bring timely, relevant science to those managing agricultural and grazing lands in the region.
Ongoing grassland fire science projects with fellow EEB alumnus Devan McGranahan (NDSU-Range Science) exemplify this effort to expand the basic understanding of grasslands and produce results that are relevant for regional land managers. Through shared advising of students on NDSU and UND campuses, in 2018 there will have a team of researchers investigating the intensity and effect of prescribed fires in the northern plains.
Image by Eric Hylden, Grand Forks Herald