Dan Tinker


Ecologists say the sub-zero temperatures Wyoming has been experiencing probably are not extreme enough to kill off bark beetles in the area.

One of the reasons the beetle kill epidemic has been so severe in recent years is that the region has not experienced cold enough weather to freeze out the beetles.  UW botanist Dan Tinker says this cold snap is no exception. He says temperatures would need to be 30 degrees below zero for several days in a row to kill the beetles.

What if the vast stands of beetle-killed trees in the west could be turned into gasoline? A recently-announced federal project involving several University of Wyoming researchers is trying to answer that question.

Most biofuels are made of crops, like corn and sorghum, but this five-year, $10 million project will study whether dead trees might work just as well -- while avoiding competition with food sources.