Bob Crabtree — Founder & Chief Scientist
After completing his PhD at the University of Idaho studying coyote ecology, Bob launched a wild canine research program in Yellowstone just in time for the restoration of gray wolves. But over his 30 years working in the Greater Yellowstone, Bob’s research interests have sought a more holistic connection between nature, people, and technology. That’s led to what Bob calls “Adaptive Ecology”, studying not only how ecosystems adapt to changing conditions, but how the science of ecology must adapt to social and technological changes as well. That focus drives YERC’s mission today.
Melissa Todd — Office administrator
Melissa balances the budget, administers the finances, and keeps YERC's business operations running so the scientists can do their jobs. Juggling the complex needs of a non-profit, which always includes resolving the occasional minor emergency, is nothing new for Melissa. She previously worked for a travelling theater company and for Bozeman's Intermountain Opera. And having always been interested in water issues affecting the West—she majored in geography at Montana State University with a minor in water resources— YERC's Adaptive Ecology mission is a particularly good fit for our office administrator.
Patrick Cross — Research Director
Patrick first worked for YERC in 2008 as one of the last field techs on the 20-year Canid Ecology Project. That is when he found out about Bob's interest in Yellowstone's mountain fox population and YERC's work with graduate students to learn more about these animals. A few years later, Patrick became one of these graduate students, and after defending his thesis, started working full time for YERC. As YERC’s research director, he is able to pursue his professional interests, supporting conservation decision-making through solid science while sharing its stories with a broader audience for the benefit of wildlife and people alike.
MIKAELA HOWIE — ASST LAB MANAGER
Mikaela joined YERC as a field ecologist installing sensors and collecting data along the Upper Yellowstone River as part of the RiverNET project. Over the past 10+ years as a field biologist, she has worked on a large range of research projects in Alaska, Maine, Louisiana, Arizona and many places in between. She pursued her passion for birds by completing a master's thesis from the College of William & Mary studying the impacts of mercury on terrestrial songbirds and currently teaches Field Ornithology at Montana State University. Around Bozeman, she can be found regularly on skis, hikes, runs, canoes and bikes.