USDA-ARS Fort Keogh LARRL 243 Fort Keogh Road Miles City, MT 59301-4016 Phone: (406) 874-8211 Fax: (406) 874-8289
Dr. Kurt Reinhart is broadly interested in multi-species interactions and views science through the eyes of a plant population/community ecologist. His approach to science is relatively diverse and incorporates a range of topics relevant to ecology, ecological systems and interactions, and experimental and descriptive methodologies. His recent research program focuses mostly on plant-microbial interactions and how they affect plant communities and plant invasions. His current research laboratory is the regional mixed-grass prairie ecosystem of the Northern Great Plains Steppe that are both expansive, relatively intact, and comparatively understudied. Preceding the start of his Ph.D. research, he conducted research relevant to fire ecology, plant ecophysiology, etc. which resulted in his coauthoring five peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. Kurt's Ph.D. research at The Univeristy of Montana and post-doctoral research at Indiana University focused on three topics: 1) the mechanisms non-native and invasive species use to impact natural systems, 2) the importance of plant-soil biota interactions in facilitating the invasion of non-native species, and 3). the impact of soil biota in regulating patterns of diversity, productivity, and invasive success. Now he his expanding his understanding of microbiology and learning techniques necessary to use molecular tools to identify soil microbes.
Kurt's future research program will continue to explore topics relating to the impacts and dynamics of invasive plants, plant community change, and plant-soil biota interactions while incorporating aspects of fire ecology and herbivory. His current research program focuses heavily the biological effects of soil microbes on plants. Because so little is known about these belowground interactions, especially in mixed-grass prairie systems, basic research is necessary to confirm the importance of soil microbes on plant populations, plant communities, and soil health. A specific project with practical ramifications regards sage-grouse recovery. This research is concerned with screening arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to develop an optimal mycorrhizal inocula and improved application methods to improve sagebrush restoration that will ultimately improve sage-grouse recovery. Successes may stimulate additional attempts to improve restoration techniques of mined sites. Additionally, longterm projects will help resolve the effects of fire and grazing on belowground microbes and processes likely to affect soil health (e.g. soil fertility, accumulation of organic matter, and soil aggregates which affect water infiltration).
Recent honors include, as principle investigator, Kurt was awarded grants funded by the USDA-NRI and National Parks Ecological Research Fellowship program, and two nationally competitive grant programs.
B.S. - 1996 - Appalachian State University, Biology
Ph.D. - 2003 - University of Montana - Biology
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USDA, ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory 243 Fort Keogh Rd Miles City, MT 59301-4016 Phone: 406-874-8200, Fax: 406-874-8289