The University of Idaho (UI) said it found no evidence that a sheep researcher committed scientific misconduct when she told a federal court and the state legislature there was no proof wild bighorns die after catching lung diseases from domestic sheep.
Marie Bulgin can resume teaching, research and other duties at the UI's Caine Veterinary Teaching and Research Center in Caldwell, the Moscow-based school said Monday as it concluded its seven-month investigation.
In June, Bulgin was removed from some duties after environmentalists produced documents showing other Caine Center scientists in 1994 concluded two bighorns they examined had contracted deadly lung diseases from domestic sheep while on the range. Bulgin maintained she wasn't aware of the 1994 studies when she testified to the contrary in the courts in 2007 and to lawmakers in 2009.
Jack McIver, UI's vice president of research, found no evidence from Bulgin's scientific research or testimony that she'd engaged in "practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community."
Bulgin said she was pleased the UI's investigation concluded in her favor. But she remains at odds with many bighorn biologists, contending they "cherry-pick" from research without applying the scientific method to their own studies.
Bulgin said that she remained unconvinced that bighorns die after encountering domestic sheep, even after reviewing the 1994 studies at her lab. Other factors, including stress, are more likely culprits, she said.
Reprinted in part from Associated Press