South Dakota State University Center of Excellence for Bison Studies Approves Eight Research Projects to Improve Understanding of All Things Bison

RAPID CITY, S.D. - A new era in bison research formally began this week as the recently established Center of Excellence for Bison Studies funded eight projects to study topics ranging from ecosystem impact to meat quality.

The Center awarded more than $300,000 in funding to support the first year of each project, some of which may extend for up to three years.

“The projects authorized this week will contribute extensively to the pool of knowledge in a variety of areas regarding bison production, herd health, ecosystem management, cultural impacts, and meat quality,” said Dr. Kristi Cammack, executive director of the South Dakota State University Center of Excellence for Bison Studies.

The center’s board of directors began this year’s funding process by reviewing 32 letters of intent submitted by applicants from across the United States and Canada. Of those applicants, 16 were invited to submit formal research proposals.

The National Bison Association’s Science and Research Committee formally reviewed the proposals and identified the top applications for funding. The funding for the proposals was provided by the National Buffalo Foundation, which is engaged in a major fundraising effort to support the center’s work.

“One of the overriding priorities for the center is to fund proposals that meet the needs of the bison industry,” said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association. “The newly-authorized projects will benefit not only North American bison ranchers, but tribal producers and public herd managers as well.”

The Center of Excellence was chartered last September through a cooperative effort among South Dakota State University, the National Bison Association, and the National Buffalo Foundation.

Projects authorized by the Center of Excellence include:

  • A baseline inventory assessment of biological and cultural impacts of buffalo restoration in Indian country (InterTribal Buffalo Council)
  • An integrated approach to assess parasite burden and anthelmintic treatment success in North American bison (Kansas State University)
  • Benchmarking live animal and carcass quality outcomes at slaughter to identify factors impacting bison carcass value (Colorado State University)
  • Bison on the move: How translocations affect bison production and disease prevalence across space, time, and organization (South Dakota State University)
  • Characterization of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) in bison (South Dakota State University)
  • Comparison of ground nesting bee (Apoidea) abundance and diversity between bison wallows and adjacent prairie (USDA – Agricultural Research Service)
  • Habitat use and avoidance in a large, patchy landscape by American plains bison: Implications for management and conservation of the species (University of Nebraska – Kearney)
  • Investigating the ruminal metagenome of grass fed bison to uncover metabolic activities that impact the efficiency of forage utilization (South Dakota State University)

Projects are expected to begin July 1st.