Vol. 40 (2017)
Research Project Ecology

Understanding wetland responses to climate change in the Greater Yellowstone Area

Mary Levandowski
Department of Ecology, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
A grizzly bear sitting at the edge of a lake and looking back at the camera
Published December 15, 2017


Wetlands in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) support a high diversity of species. Increased temperatures associated with climate change are related to increased wetland drying in the GYA, potentially affecting the species using wetlands. The National Park Service Greater Yellowstone Inventory and Monitoring Network (GRYN) started monitoring wetlands in 2006, focusing on amphibian occupancy. Adding novel surveillance techniques to GRYN’s existing, long-term monitoring program offers an opportunity to observe more species. This may help us better understand how wetland species diversity may be affected by climate change and provide additional information to managers. In 2017, I outfitted four permanent wetlands with equipment collecting photographs, acoustic recordings, and ultrasonic recordings for approximately five days in June/July. When the equipment was deployed, I collected environmental DNA (eDNA) samples. Data from wildlife cameras, acoustic recorders, ultrasonic recorders, and eDNA for cataloging the biological diversity of wetlands is still being analyzed. Acoustic data and eDNA samples require additional processing; however, preliminary data is available for photographic data and ultrasonic data. Cameras detected elk at all sites, whereas bat detection varied by site.


Featured photo by Neal Herbert on Flickr. https://flic.kr/p/2gv8cSh