Research

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Grizzly bears find fall feast in well-traveled moths

A raven waits nearby as a grizzly bear digs among rocks on a talus slope while searching for moths to eat.

As aspen leaves turn the gold of fall, grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone area endure the final mania of their annual feeding frenzy before winter’s hibernation. The omnivorous bears compulsively pack on the pounds with berries, fish, carrion, whitebark pine seeds and a food unique to the Rocky Mountains—thousands of army cutworm moths. Also known as miller moths, they are the adult form of an agricultural pest, the army cutworm, which migrates to mountain fields in early summer to feed on alpine flowers’ nectar. During the past 30 years, a handful of researchers have established the importance of moths as a food source for bears. Continue Reading →

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Jackson Hole students help with trout research project

Nearly 200 Jackson Hole Middle School seventh grade students joined biologists and others from Grand Teton National Park, Trout Unlimited, Teton Science Schools and Wyoming Game and Fish earlier this week to help with a trout research project. The Adopt-a-Trout Field Days at the Gros Ventre Campground on September 24 and 25 saw students rotate through educational stations conducted by various event partners. Continue Reading →

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Elk migration project wins Camp Monaco prize for biodiversity research, education

An elk pauses in the light of dawn near Sylvan Lake in Yellowstone National Park. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate)

The path to completion for many research and education proposals is often complex and baffling, and a new project to study and document elk migrations around Yellowstone National Park is no exception. It has connections with the most famous man in the world, touches on the inspirational story of a rotting whale and finds fruition through a century-old family legacy involving European royalty. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone’s Heritage and Research Center houses skulls, scooters, skins, sketchbooks

The Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center in Gardiner, Mont. hosts archives and other resources researchers use to learn about Yellowstone National Park science and history.

Most visitors come to Yellowstone National Park to see the abundant wildlife, amazing thermal features or sweeping scenic vistas. But the park also has more than 300,000 cultural and natural artifacts, including skulls, scooters, skins and sketchbooks. Yellowstone's Heritage and Research Center in Gardiner, Mont. is a 32,000-square-foot facility that houses the park's museum collection, archives, research library, herbarium and archaeology lab. Continue Reading →

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Researchers seek more data on role of whitebark pine in changing grizzly populations

Researchers are working to gather more data on the role of declining whitebark pine trees in the slowing growth of grizzly bear populations around Yellowstone National Park.

In the ongoing deliberations over federal protections for Yellowstone area grizzly bears, debate often focuses on a fixed number of total bears living in the region. Counting bears—or more appropriately, estimating grizzly bear populations—is essential to helping determine when government recovery goals have been met. But just as important is tracking trends in population changes, and trying to determine the causes of those changes. Continue Reading →

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Comments sought on planned improvements at historic Grand Teton research ranch

Edith Sargent playis the violin outside of Merymere Lodge at the site of the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park.

The University of Wyoming and the National Park Service will prepare an environmental assessment for range of proposed improvements to a research center at the historic AMK Ranch on the east shore of Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Planned improvements include replacement of the water and wastewater systems and construction of a new dormitory, according to a statement released by the Grand Teton public affairs office. Continue Reading →

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Research aims to better predict winter migrations of Yellowstone bison

A bison stands near road signs in downtown Gardiner, Mont. in January 2006. (Jim Peaco/NPS - click to enlarge)

When hundreds of bison move through a small town like Gardiner, Mont. at the north entrance to Yellowstone, they have the potential to damage property, injure people and transmit disease to livestock. Park managers and other wildlife agencies try to reduce those potential conflicts, but don't always know where and when the animals will move, said Chris Geremia, a National Park Service researcher at the Yellowstone Center for Resources. Continue Reading →

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Unique Yellowstone microbe could hold clues for bioenergy, carbon capture

Researchers have used detailed genetic analyses to identify novel microbes found in the Norris Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park. (YNP photo)

Researchers are continuing to find new and unique properties in the thermal features of Yellowstone National Park, with a recent study suggesting that novel microbes found in the Norris Geyser Basin might someday help in unlocking more environmentally friendly forms of energy. Detailed and complex genetic analyses carried out by scientists from Montana State University and other laboratories have yielded what appears to be a new phylum of archaea — a new branch on the tree of life that could lead to new methods of carbon sequestration or producing biofuels. Continue Reading →

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