$3M supports mountain pine beetle research collaboration

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has given a University of Alberta-led research network of forest scientists and stakeholders a $3-million funding boost.

Janice Cooke, a researcher in the university’s Department of Biological Sciences, received the Strategic Network Grant from NSERC to invest in her Turning Risk Into Action Network (TRIA-Net), an interdisciplinary team of scientists and forest practitioners from government, not-for-profit and industry organizations addressing the spread of the devastating forest insect.

Building on the strengths of the TRIA research consortium that began in 2007, the collaborative network will use a novel approach that integrates genomics, molecular analysis, population genetics, systematics, ecology, population dynamics and modelling to improve our understanding of how mountain pine beetles interact with their pine hosts and the fungal symbionts that the beetles carry, how environmental conditions affect these interactions and how the genetics of these organisms may influence mountain pine beetle spread.