What’s it like to be a university researcher?

Scientists are curious: they want to understand the world around us. To do this they conduct research. What do you think of when you hear the word research? White lab coats? Test tubes? Microscopes? Sometimes research happens in a lab, sometimes it happens out in the world. For researchers at the Desert Research Institute and the University of Nevada, Reno, Lake Tahoe is a large outdoor lab.

Researchers test soil, water and air samples; they study the effects of fire; they look for animals and plants that aren’t supposed to be there and that cause problems for native animals and plants (also called invasive species); they talk to people; and they look for changes in the environment over time.

For researchers at the Desert Research Institute and the University of Nevada, Reno, Lake Tahoe is a large outdoor lab.

Illustration by Ron Oden


University researchers at Lake Tahoe work to answer important questions about forest health, watershed management, habitat restoration, air quality, meteorology, biodiversity, wildfire and fuels treatment, climate change, invasive species, aquatic food web structure, nearshore conditions and socioeconomic concerns. All of this work plays an important role in better understanding and managing lake clarity—how clear the water is—and related issues and it helps to protect and preserve the natural spaces that we call home.