Science & Research


As one of the last, nearly intact temperate ecosystems on Earth, Yellowstone's natural processes operate in an ecological context that has been less subject to human alteration than others throughout the world. Yellowstone also has a rich history that includes an archeological record of more than 11,000 years of human use and modern history documenting the development of the national park idea. Scientists conduct research ranging from large studies of landscape-level changes affecting the local ecosystem to studies of tiny organisms that have the potential to change the lives of people beyond Yellowstone's boundaries. Their results also help inform management decisions.

Two bison researchers wearing packs ski across a flat area


Research in Yellowstone
In any given year, 150–200 scientific researchers are permitted to use study sites in the park and many more conduct research at the park's Heritage and Research Center collections. Need a permit?

A park biologist prepares a sample


Yellowstone Center for Resources
Yellowstone employs a number of scientists and researchers in the Yellowstone Center for Resources whose work helps us understand this special place and better conserve the park’s natural and cultural resources: Wildlife and Aquatic Resources | Physical Resources and Climate Science | Vegetation and Resources Management | Cultural Resources | Environmental Compliance and Science Coordination

Biologists record data and collect samples of a yearling elk killed by wolves


Yellowstone Science
Yellowstone Science, first published in 1992, features articles about research, conferences, or other special events in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The publication provides scientists with an opportunity to share ideas and keeps the public informed about scientific endeavors in and around Yellowstone National Park.

A submerged view of a researcher and rocks


Biennial Scientific Conferences
Since 1991, this conference series has been an important scientific venue for researchers and management partners with a shared interest in understanding the geologic, cultural, and biological resources of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and region.


Other Support from the National Park Service

  • The Greater Yellowstone Inventory & Monitoring Network is one of 32 units nationwide that group national parks based on geographic similarities, common natural resources, and resource protection challenges. The network shares information between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.
  • The Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative is an alliance of partners with common landscape conservation goals for building ecosystem resilience in the US and Canada’s Columbia Basin, Rocky Mountains, and Sage Steppe. The partnership shares science and capacity and across boundaries and jurisdictions, linking local resource needs with national conservation priorities.
  • The Rocky Mountains Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit brings together the region’s best scientific talent and scholarship to help manage resource problems across social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental arenas. Partners conduct research, education, and technical assistance and make that information available to those who need it, including land managers, and political and industry leaders.
  • The Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee was formed to allow representatives from the National Park Service, US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management to pursue opportunities of mutual cooperation and coordination in the management of core federal lands in the Greater Yellowstone area.

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