• Patrick Cross

  • Art McKee


header pic

Bob Crabtree Dr. Robert L. Crabtree

Chief Scientist, Yellowstone Ecological Research Center, 2048 Analysis Dr., Bozeman, MT 59718
Phone: 406-556-1414; fax: 406-556-1405; email:


1989   Post-Doctorate Research in Forestry, University of California, Berkeley
1988   Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology, University of Idaho
1984   M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife, Utah State University
1980   B.S. in Wildlife Sciences, University of Idaho

Professional Profile

Dr. Crabtree is the Founder and Chief Scientist of the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center (YERC) and has been conducting ecological research in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for nearly 20 years.  With a strong belief in collaborative research and education, he has crafted 47 MOUs, MOAs, and CRADAs with universities and federal agencies; served as PI on over 50 grant awards; and advised, co-advised, and supervised 41 graduate students and 3 post-docs working in the YERC lab in Bozeman.  His specialties include ecosystem and landscape ecology (natural, unplanned, and policy experiments), predator-prey relations and behavioral ecology, high resolution remote sensing of vegetation, and species-habitat and disturbance relations.


  • Potter C, Li S, Crabtree R (2013) Changes in Alaskan Tundra Ecosystems Estimated from MODIS Greenness Trends, 2000 to 2010. J Geophys Remote Sensing 2: 107. doi:10.4172/2169-0049.1000107

  • Weiss, Daniel, Robert Crabtree, and Jennifer Sheldon. 2013. The Customized Online Aggregation & Summarization Tool for Environmental Rasters (COASTER) system. International Journal of Geographical Information Science.

  • Li, Shuang and Robert Crabtree (2012, in revision). Improving LiDAR-derived 3D forest structure in mountainous terrain by considering tree species and topography. Submitted. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing

  • Potter, C., S. Huang, R. Crabtree, S. Li, and B. Winkelman, 2012, Mapping post-fire sapling density in Yellowstone from hyperspectral data, Remote Sensing of Environment, (in press).

  • Fairweather, S., C. Potter, R. Crabtree, and S. Li, 2012, A comparison of multispectral ASTER and Hyperspectral AVIRIS Multiple Endmember Spectral Mixture Analysis for sagebrush and herbaceous cover in Yellowstone, Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 78, (in press).

  • R. L. Crabtree and J.W. Sheldon. 2012. Monitoring and modeling environmental change in Protected Areas: Integration of focal species populations and remote sensing. Chapter 21 in Remote Sensing of Protected Lands, Y.Q. Wang, (ed.). Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL

  • Potter, Christopher, Steven Klooster, Robert Crabtree, Shengli Huang, Peggy Gross, and Vanessa Genovese. 2011. Carbon fluxes in ecosystems of Yellowstone National Park predicted from remote sensing data and simulation modeling. Carbon Balance and Mangement 6:3-19

  • Daniel Weiss and Robert Crabtree. 2011. Percent surface water estimation from MODIS BRDF 16-day image composites. Remote Sensing of Environment 115: 2035-2046.

  • Almberg, Emily, Paul C. Cross, L. David Mech, Doug W. Smith, Jennifer W. Sheldon, and Robert L. Crabtree 2011. Infectious Diseases in Yellowstone’s Canid Community. Yellowstone Science, vol.19 issue 2

  • Geremia, Chris, P. J. White, Rick L. Wallen, Fred G. R. Watson, John J. Treanor, John Borkowski, Christopher S. Potter, and Robert L. Crabtree. 2011. Accepted. Predicting Bison Migration out of Yellowstone National Park using Bayesian Models. PLoS ONE 6(2): e16848. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016848

  • Hatala, Jaclyn, Michael Dietze, Robert Crabtree, the Interagency Whitebark Pine Monitoring Working Group, Katherine Kendall, Diana Six, and Paul Moorcroft. 2011. An ecosystem model of white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) spread in whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Ecological Applications, 21:1138–1153.

  • Hatala, J.A., K. Q. Halligan, R. L. Crabtree, and P. M. Moorcroft. 2010. Landscape-scale patterns of forest pathogen damage in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Remote Sensing of Environment 114: 375-384.

  • Barnowe-Meyer, Kerry, P.J. White, Troy L. Davis, Douglas W. Smith, Robert L. Crabtree, and John A. Byers. Influences of wolves and high-elevation dispersion on reproductive success of pronghorn (Antilocapra americana). J. Mammalogy 91(3): 712-721.

  • Sheldon, Jennifer, Robert Crabtree, Cheyenne Burnett, Greg Cross, and Kevin Li. Successful bison calf predation by a long coyote in Yellowstone National Park. 2010. Can Field-Naturalist.

  • Emily Almberg, L. David Mech, Douglas Smith, Jennifer Sheldon, and Robert Crabtree. 2009. A Serological Survey of Infectious Disease in Yellowstone National Park’s Canid Community. PLoS ONE 4(9). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007042e7042.

  • Shengli Huang, Christopher Potter, Robert L. Crabtree, Stacey Hager, and Peggy Gross, 2009. Fusing optical and radar data to estimate sagebrush, herbaceous, and bare ground cover in Yellowstone. Remote Sensing of Environment, 113:1926-1938.

  • Alan Swanson, Shengli Huang, and Robert Crabtree, 2009. Using a LiDAR Vegetation Model to Predict UHF SAR Attenuation in Coniferous Forests, Sensors, 9(3), 1559-1573; doi:doi:10.3390/s90301559 (available at

  • Shengli Huang, Robert Crabtree, Chris Potter, and Peggy Gross, 2009. Estimating the quantity and quality of coarse woody debris in Yellowstone's post-fire forest ecosystem from fusion of SAR and optical data, Remote Sensing of Environment, 113: 1926-1938.

  • Shengli Huang, Zachary Connaughton, Christopher S. Potter, Vanessa Genovese, Robert L. Crabtree, and Pinde Fu. 2009. Modeling Near-Surface Air Temperature from Solar Radiation and Lapse Rate: New Development on Short-Term Monthly and Daily Approach. Physical Geography 30: 517-527.

  • Shengli Huang, Robert Crabtree, Alan Swanson, Kerry Halligan, and Josh Harmsen, 2009. Error analysis and correction for extracting the forest height from airborne C-band interferometric SAR and national elevation datasets. International Journal of Remote Sensing, in press.

  • Shengli Huang, Stacey Hager, Kerry Halligan, Ian Fairweather, Alan Swanson, Robert Crabtree, 2009. A comparison of individual tree and forest plot height derived from LiDAR and InSAR. ASPRS Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 75(2), 159-167.

  • Shengli Huang, Paul Rich, Robert Crabtree, Chris Potter and Pinde Fu, 2009. Modelling near-surface air temperature from solar radiation and lapse rate: application over complex terrain in Yellowstone National Park, USA. Physical Geography, 29(2): 158-178.

  • Snyder, DK, JP Kerekes, I Fairweather, RL Crabtree, J Shive, and S. Hager. 2008. Development of a Web-Based Application to Evaluate Target Finding Algorithms. Proceedings of the IEEE. IGARSS DOI: 10.1109/IGARSS.2008.4779144

  • Crabtree, RL, C. Potter, R. Mullen, J. Sheldon, S. Huang, J. Harmsen, A. Rodman, and C. Jean. 2007 (in review).  A Modeling and Spatiotemporal Analysis Framework for Monitoring Environmental Change using NPP as an Ecosystem Indicator.  Remote Sensing of Environment.

  • Shengli Huang and RL Crabtree.  2007 (accepted).  Forest canopy height estimation from NASA/JPL AirSAR, 1/3 arc second National Elevation Dataset, and LiDAR in Yellowstone National Park (USA), International Journal of Remote Sensing.

  • Shengli Huang, S Hager, and RL Crabtree, 2006 (accepted). Comparision of vegetation height derivation from 1m LiDAR, 3m LiDAR, and 3m ku-band Interferometric SAR. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing.

  • Halligan, KQ, Clark ML, Roberts D, Crabtree RL.  2007 (in review).  A Two-scale Local Minima Filter for Tree Height Estimation from 1st Return Small Footprint LiDAR.  Remote Sensing of the Environment.

  • Crabtree, RL, Marcus WA, Halligan KQ, Boardman JW, Norland JE, Mirik M, and Peterson CR.  2006. (in review).  High Resolution Hyperspectral Data for Remote Measurement of Ecological Variables: Evaluation and Applications.  Photo. Engr. and Remote Sens.

  • Van Etten, K. W., K. R. Wilson, and R. L. Crabtree.  2007. Habitat use of red foxes in Yellowstone National Park based on snow tracking and telemetry. Journal of Mammalogy 88:1498-1507.

  • White PJ, TL Davis, KK Barnowe-Meyer, RL Crabtree, and RA Garrott.  2007.  Partial Migration and Philopatry of Yellowstone Pronghorn.  Biol. Cons. 135: 518-526.
    Saatchi, S., Despain, D., Halligan, K. & Crabtree, RL.  Estimation of Forest Fuel Load From Radar Remote Sensing.  IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 45:1726-1740.

  • Lynch HJ, Moorcroft PR, Crabtree RL, and Renkin RA.  2006.  The Influence of Previous Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) Activity on the 1988 Yellowstone Fires.  Ecosystems 9(8):1318-1327.

  • Noonburg EG, Newman LA, Lewis M, Crabtree RL, Potapov AB.  2006.  Sequential decision-making in a variable environment: modeling elk movement in Yellowstone National Park as a dynamic game.  Theor Popul Biol. 71(2):182-195.

  • Moorcroft PR, Lewis MA, Crabtree RL.  2006.  Mechanistic Home Range Models Predict Spatial Patterns and Dynamics of Coyote Territories in Yellowstone. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 273(1594):1651-1659.

  • Mirik, M., JE Norland, ME Biondini, RL Crabtree, and G J Michak.  (in press). Capacity of one-meter hyperspectral imagery for biomass prediction in a big sagebrush (Artemisia tridantata) dominated area in Yellowstone National Park. Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry.

  • Hannon, MJ, Jenkins SH, Crabtree RL, and AK Swanson.  2006.  Visibility and Vigilance:  Behavior and Population Ecology of Unita Ground Squirrels (Spermophilis armatus) in Different Habitats.  J. Mamm. 87(2):287-295.

  • Mustafa Mirik, JE Norland, RL Crabtree, and ME Biondini. 2005. Hyperspectral One-Meter-Resolution Remote Sensing inYellowstone National Park, Wyoming: I. Forage Nutritional Values.  Rangeland Ecology & Management 58:452-458.

  • Swanson, BJ, RT Fuhrmann, and RL Crabtree.  2005.   Elevational isolation of red fox populations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Conservation Genetics 6(1):123-131.
    Mustafa Mirik, Jack E. Norland, Robert L. Crabtree, and Mario E. Biondini. 2005. Hyperspectral One-Meter-Resolution Remote Sensing in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: II.  Biomass.  Rangeland Ecology & Management 58:459-465.

  • Marcus WA, Legleiter CJ, Aspinall RJ, Boardman JW, Crabtree RL.  2004.  High spatial resolution, hyperspectral mapping of in-stream habitats, depths, and woody debris in third to fifth order riffle/pool mountain streams. Geomorphology 55:363-380.

  • Wilmers CC, Crabtree RL, Smith DW, Murphy KM, and Getz WM. 2003.  Trophic facilitation by introduced top predators: grey wolf subsidies to scavengers in Yellowstone National Park. Journal of Animal Ecology 72:909-916.

  • Wilmers CC, DR Stahler, RL Crabtree, DW Smith, WM Getz.  2003.  Resource dispersion and consumer dominance: scavenging at wolf- and hunter-killed carcasses in Greater Yellowstone, USA.  Ecology Letters 6 (11), 996–1003.

  • Crabtree RL, Sheldon JW 1999.  Coyotes and Canid Coexistence in Yellowstone National Park.  Chapter 6 In Carnivores in Ecosystems; The Yellowstone Experience, T. Clark, P. Curlee, P. Kareiva, and S. Minta, eds., Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

  • Moorcroft PR, Lewis MA, Crabtree RL.  1999.  A mechanistic and spatially explicit model for carnivore home ranges.  Ecology 80(5):1656-1665.
    Johnson, KA and RL Crabtree.  1999.  Small Prey of Carnivores in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Chapter 8 In Carnivores in Ecosystems: The Yellowstone Experience, T. Clark, P. Curlee, P. Kareiva, and S. Minta, eds., Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

  • Crabtree, RL, and JW Sheldon.  1999.  The Ecological Role of Coyotes on Yellowstone’s Northern Range.  Yellowstone Science 7(2):15-23.
    Allen, JJ, M. Bekoff, and RL Crabtree.  1999. An observational study of coyote (Canis latrans) scent-marking and territoriality in Yellowstone National Park.  Ethology 105:289-302.

  • Crabtree RL. 1997.  A New Forest Carnivore: Yellowstone's Mountain Fox.  National Wildlife 35(6).

  • Gese, EM, RD Schultz, MR Johnson, ES Williams, RL Crabtree, and RL Ruff. 1997. Serological survey for diseases in free-ranging coyotes (Canis latrans) in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 33:47-56.

  • Gese, E.M., RL Ruff, RL Crabtree, 1996.  Social and nutritional factors influencing the dispersal of resident coyotes.  Animal Behavior 52, 1025-1043.

  • Crabtree RL. 1996. Claws and Hooves in Yellowstone. Bugle 3:117-120.

  • Gese, EM, R.L Ruff, and RL Crabtree. 1996. Foraging ecology of coyotes (Canis latrans): The influence of extrinsic factors and a dominance hierarchy. Canadian Journal of Zoology-Revue Canadienne De Zoologie 74:769-783.

  • Gese, EM., RL Ruff, and RL Crabtree. 1996. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors influencing coyote predation of small mammals in Yellowstone National Park. Canadian Journal of Zoology-Revue Canadienne De Zoologie 74:784-797.

  • Shivik, JA, and RL Crabtree. 1995. Coyote Activity Levels in Relation to Presence of California Gulls at Mono-Lake, California. California Fish and Game 81:22-28.

  • Crabtree RL. 1993. Gray Ghost of the Beartooth. Yellowstone Science 1(3):13-16.

  • Crabtree, RL, 1992. The small mammal prey base for wolves in Yellowstone National Park.  In Wolves for Yellowstone?: A Report to the United States Congress, Volume IV, Research and Analysis.  Yellowstone National Park, WY, 580 pp.

  • Garton, E.O., RL Crabtree, B.B. Ackerman, and G.L. Wright, 1990.  The potential impact of a reintroduced wolf population on the northern Yellowstone elk herd.  In Wolves for Yellowstone?: A Report to the United States Congress, Volume II, Research and Analysis.  Yellowstone National Park, WY, 580 pp.

  • Garton, E.O., RL Crabtree, B.B. Ackerman, and G.L. Wright, 1990.  The potential impact of a reintroduced wolf population on Clark’s Fork elk herd.  In Wolves for Yellowstone?: A Report to the United States Congress, Volume II, Research and Analysis.  Yellowstone National Park, WY, 580 pp.

  • Crabtree, RL, F.G. Burton, T.R. Garland, D.A. Cataldo, and W.H. Rickard, 1989.  Slow-release radioisotope implants as individual markers for carnivores.  J. Wildl. Manage. 53(4):949-954.

  • FF Knowlton, LC Stoddard, RL Crabtree, and JW Blatt.  1989.  Evaluation of some radioisotopes as marking agents for monitoring bait consumption.  6th Vertebrate Pest Control and Management Materials.

  • Crabtree, RL, L.S. Broome, and M.L. Wolfe.  1989.  Effects of habitat characteristics on gadwall nest predation and nest-site selection.  J. Wildl. Manage. 53(1):129-137.

  • Crabtree, RL, and ML Wolfe. 1988. Effects of Alternate Prey on Skunk Predation of Waterfowl Nests. Wildlife Society Bulletin 16:163-169.

  • Crabtree, R.L, and L.S. Broome.  1985.  Nocturnal observation of foraging striped skunks in a wetland environment.  Pages 35-37 in R.P. Brooks, tech. ed., Nocturnal mammals: Techniques for study.  School of Forest Resources, Penn. State Univ., Res. Paper No. 48.

  • Crabtree, RL.  1980.  Habitat selection and interactions between Hammond's Flycatcher and Western Wood Pewee.  For. Wildl. and Range Exp. Station Research Paper No. 205.  21pp., Moscow, ID. (written as Senior undergraduate at the University of Idaho)


Copyright YERC 2011 Forward. All Rights Reserved.
Web Design by B. Winkelman