MOAB, Utah — Utah State University Moab is pleased to welcome two new faculty to the Department of Environment and Society in the S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources. Brooke Osborne and Terry Dial will join the campus faculty to begin the fall 2022 semester.
“I am giddy that Dr. Osborne and Dr. Dial will be joining the USU Moab team,” said Lianna Etchberger, associate vice president for USU Moab. “They are excellent researchers who are heavily embedded in the local research groups as well as in the Moab community. They will strengthen our teaching staff and significantly contribute to knowledge that helps managers to better steward our natural environment.”
Osborne and Dial are actually a married couple. Dial had been working at USU Moab as an adjunct professor, teaching anatomy and physiology labs while Osborne was doing research for the U.S. Geological Survey in Moab. Now, the couple will both join the EVNS department.
Osborne is an ecosystem ecologist who is an expert in biogeochemistry, soil science, and microbial ecology. She graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Toxicology from Penn State University, a master’s degree in Ecology from Colorado State University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Ecology from Brown University. Her research emphasizes dryland and tropical forest ecosystems.
“My research tackles big picture questions about the ways in which terrestrial ecosystems respond to and shape our changing world,” Osborne said. “I am motivated by the urgent need for improved forecasts of ecosystem responses to disturbance and global change and for innovative solutions to solving some of our most pressing environmental challenges.”
One theme that Osborne hopes to research is soil carbon storage and vulnerability to global change. The research on this theme is scarce when it comes to data from dryland soil, so Osborne hopes her research will contribute to this area of study. She is excited to start at the university and be in the desert landscape.
“I could not be more excited about this opportunity to build teaching and research programs focused on applied ecology and based in the desert Southwest,” Osborne said. “Moab is a special place with unique, world-class educational opportunities and I look forward to creating place-based courses for USU students. I am thrilled to be joining the Quinney College, Department of Environment and Society, USU Moab, and Statewide communities and look forward to meeting everyone!”
Dial is an organismal biologist. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Loyola Marymount University in 2007, a master’s degree in Biology from the University of Utah in 2010 and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Brown University in 2016. Dial then went on to be a postdoctoral fellow in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University from 2017-19. Dial loves to study animal anatomy and
“I love to look at how animals are put together,” Dial said. “The study of anatomy allows us to peer "under the hood" of an animal to witness the animal's innerworkings–the nuts and bolts– and to gain a deeper understanding of how natural selection shapes anatomical traits. I have been teaching anatomy for the past 10 years and am elated to have the opportunity to serve the Moab community in this capacity going forward.”
In addition to teaching, Dial looks forward to continuing his research, which has included studying fish (guppies and trout) as well as birds (waterfowl and upland gamebirds). This research has already taken him near and far, from the trout streams of Montana to the tropical waters of Trinidad and Tobago.
“I am excited to contribute to the scholastic development of USU students in both QCNR as well as the College of Science,” Dial said. “USU Moab has great potential to serve the local community as well as to educate the whole USU system through proper utilization of its resources. I look forward to working with all of these current and novel collaborators to maximize USU Moab's impact.”
Located in the outdoor recreation paradise of Moab and boasting one of the greenest buildings on any USU campus, Utah State University Moab offers students the personalized attention and small class sizes of a small-town college with the resources of a large university. With programs such as Nursing, Elementary Education, Recreation Resource Management and Social Work, technical education in Health Professions, Automotive and Business, and degree options ranging from associate to doctorate degrees, USU Moab offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. Learn more at moab.usu.edu.
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