Research and Outreach


"The College of Science is hugely supportive of our research and associated outreach activities and has created an energetic and thriving learning environment at the University of Nevada, Reno."

Zeb Hogan, PhD, Professor and host of the Nat Geo WILD television series Monster Fish with Zeb Hogan


College of Science Research Centers

The University of Nevada, Reno is a Carnegie I Research Institution. The College of Science has an extensive research enterprise - our faculty generates more than $26 million in extramural research funding annually. The programs below have substantial external constituencies beyond the College and University.


Museums and Outreach

From engaging museum tours for K-12 students to state-wide programs that inform and inspire, the College of Science is dedicated to serving the citizens and local businesses of Nevada.

Additional Community Outreach

Great Nevada ShakeOut

Prepare for major earthquakes and practice how to protect yourself when they happen as part of the Great Nevada ShakeOut.

Maclean Observatory

Two high-power telescopes and a public viewing area provide teaching and viewing opportunities for students of the University, area community colleges, elementary schools and the general public.

Shared facilities and research support

Shared Instruments Laboratory, Department of Chemistry

Microbeam Laboratory, Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering

Stable Isotope Laboratory, Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering

Computer Support, College of Science

Top Research from the College of Science

In the 2017/2018 academic year, the College of Science professors, graduate students and researchers published over 300 peer-reviewed papers. Shown here is just a small selection of those papers.

Shifts in disease dynamics in a tropical amphibian assemblage are not due to pathogen attenuation.

Authors: Voyles, J., Woodhams, D.C., Saenz, V., Byrne, A.Q., Perez, R., Rios-Sotelo, G., Ryan, M.J., Bletz, M.C., Sobell, F.A., McLetchie, S., Reinert, L., Rosenblum, E.B., Rollins-Smith, L.A., Ibanez, R., Ray, J.M., Griffith, E.J., Ross, H. & Richards-Zawacki

Orthogonal fitness benefits of nitrogen and ants for nitrogen-limited plants in the presence of herbivores.

Authors: Pringle, E.G., Ableson, I., Kerber, J., Vannette, R.L. & Tao, L.L.

Restless roosts: Light pollution affects behavior, sleep, and physiology in a free-living songbird.

Authors: Ouyang, J.Q., de Jong, M., van Grunsven, R.H.A., Matson, K.D., Haussmann, M.F., Meerlo, P., Visser, M.E. & Spoelstra, K.

Modern approaches to study plant-insect interactions in chemical ecology.

Authors: Lee A. Dyer, Casey S. Philbin, Kaitlin M. Ochsenrider, Lora A. Richards, Tara J. Massad, Angela M. Smilanich, Matthew L. Forister, Thomas L. Parchman, Lanie M. Galland, Paul J. Hurtado, Anne E. Espeset, Andrea E. Glassmire, Joshua G. Harrison, Carmen Mo, Su'ad Yoon, Nicholas A. Pardikes, Nadya D. Muchoney, Joshua P. Jahner, Heather L. Slinn, Oren Shelef, Craig D. Dodson, Massuo J. Kato, Lydia F. Yamaguchi and Christopher S. Jeffrey

Mapping evaporative water loss in desert passerines reveals an expanding threat of lethal dehydration.

Authors: Thomas P. Albright, Denis Mutiibwa, Alexander. R. Gerson, Eric Krabbe Smith, William A. Talbot, Jacqueline J. O'Neill, Andrew E. McKechnie, and Blair O. Wolf

AFV refueling stations and the complexity of freeway intersections: the scale dependency of network representation.

Author: Scott Kelley

Uncertainty in Pacific Decadal Oscillation indices does not contribute to teleconnection instability.

Author: Stephanie McAfee

Feminist Geopolitics and the Middle East: Refuge, Belief, Peace.

Author: Jessie Clark

Hammond, W.C., Burgette, R., Johnson, K., Blewitt, G., 2017, Uplift of the Western Transverse Ranges and Ventura area of Southern California: A four-technique geodetic study combining GPS, InSAR, leveling and tide gauges: Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, v. 122, doi: 10.1002/2017JB014499.

How fast do mountains grow? We measured the rate of currently active mountain growth in the Ventura area and Western Transverse Ranges of southern California by combining large and complementary geodetic data sets collected over the past century. We showed that the mountains grew upward ~2 mm/yr (2 km/million years) across a large region between the San Andreas Fault and the Pacific coast. These results place new constraints on the seismic potential of the active faults that build the Western Transverse Ranges through plate tectonic forces, helping to locate and quantify the rate at which active faults slip, improving estimates of earthquake and tsunami hazards.


Henry, C.D., Castor, S.B., Starkel, W.A., Ellis, B.S., Wolff, J.A., Laravie, J.A., McIntosh, W.C., and Heizler, M.T., 2017, Geology and evolution of the McDermitt caldera, northern Nevada and southeastern Oregon, USA: Geosphere, v. 13, p. 1066-1112.

The McDermitt caldera is an immense [25 x 15 mile or 40 x 25 km) volcanic center that formed 16 million years ago in northern Nevada. It was one of the oldest and westernmost of a belt of volcanoes that continue to present-day Yellowstone. Several major mineral deposits formed in the caldera and have been or will be mined. These include deposits of lithium, which is required for batteries used in all electric vehicles.

Zuza, A.V., and Carlson, C.W., 2017, What can strike-slip fault spacing tell us about the plate boundary of western North America: Terra Nova, p. 1-9.

In this study we evaluated the relative spatial variability of the strength of the Earth's crust by analyzing simple geometric parameters for active earthquake faults in the western United States, such as the spacing of these faults and the thickness of the fault-hosting crust constrained from earthquake-location data. An analytical solution was derived relating these geometrical relationships to the mechanical properties of the crust. This novel method can contribute to our understanding of earthquake hazards, based on fault strength, or predict unrealized fault strands.

Sahakian, V., Borman, J., Driscoll, N., Harding, A., Kent, G., and S. G. Wesnousky (2017), Imaging and Mapping of the Newport Inglewood Rose Canyon Fault: Implications for the Magnitude and Length of Future Earthquake Ruptures, Journal of Geophysical Research, 122, 2085-2105, doi:10.1002/2016JB013467. 

Wesnousky, S.G., Y. Kumahara, D. Chamlagain, I. Pierce, A. Karki, and D. Gautam (2017), Geological Observations on Large Earthquakes along the Himalayan Frontal Fault near Kathmandu, Nepal, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 457, 366-375.

Ruhl, C. J., R. E. Abercrombie, and K. D. Smith (2017) Spatiotemporal variation of stress drop during the 2008 Mogul, Nevada earthquake swarm, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1002/2017JB014601.