The Greater Yellowstone Ecosytem (GYE)
YERC conducts the majority of its field research within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The group's permanent field station is located in Cooke City, MT, just a few miles from the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park and its home offices are in Bozeman, MT, on the northwest edge of the GYE. These facilitiies provide ideal access to the Lamar Valley, Yellowstone’s Northern Range, Yellowstone Lake, the Absaroka Wilderness, the Beartooth Mountains, Grand Teton National Park, Red Rocks Lake National Wildlife Refuges, and six units of the US Forest Service.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) provides YERC scientists and collaborators with a magnificent, living laboratory for biological and ecological research. The GYE’s pristine core contains two national parks and wilderness-dominated federal lands, all with diverse native plant communities and relatively intact large-scale processes (e.g., fire, floods, and animal migrations).
The GYE contains the full suite of large carnivore species present prior to European settlement, including fox, wolverine, coyotes, lynx, wolves, mountain lions, black bears, and grizzly bears. It also provides the headwaters for surface and ground water flow to a large section of the U.S., and hosts the last stronghold of two native cutthroat trout species (Yellowstone [Oncorhynchus clarki bouvieri] and the closely related Snake River [O. c. spp.]).
The GYE lies at the interface of several major North American eco-regions, and as such includes a diverse mix of forests and grasslands, mountains and high plains, and wet and arid regions. These diverse ecotypes are representative of landscapes across the northern and central Rockies, plus the western edge of the Great Plains. Thus the GYE serves as an excellent proxy for many areas.