Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center


Our Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center's priority is to continue the important work of the Department of the Interior and the USGS, while also maintaining the health and safety of our employees and community.  Based on guidance from the White House, the CDC, and state and local authorities, we are shifting our operations to a virtual mode and have minimal staffing within our offices. If you need additional assistance, please contact Claudia Regan at or Judy O'Dwyer at

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Featured Research

Featured Research

Click here to learn about the use of DNA in detecting aquatic invasive species & pathogens.

Detecting Invasives

NOROCK in the News

NOROCK in the News

Click here for the most recent media & news on NOROCK science.

Climate & Invasives


Date published: December 28, 2020

Chronic Wasting Disease: Can Science Save Our Dear Deer?

What’s in a name? Chronic wasting disease sounds ominous, too descriptive for comfort, almost impolite in its directness. It is, in fact, a truthful name for a disease and a real threat to North America’s cervids.

Date published: September 18, 2020

Use of Robotic DNA Samplers That Can Rapidly Detect Invasive Aquatic Species

USGS researchers and their collaborators demonstrated the efficacy of using robotic environmental DNA samplers for bio surveillance in freshwater systems, showing that samples collected, processed, and preserved by robotic sampler detect organism DNA in the environment at rates comparable to those collected traditionally by human technicians.

Date published: August 12, 2020

IGBST Public Notifications and Resources

As part of ongoing efforts required under the 2016 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) captures and monitors grizzly bears for research and monitoring purposes. Here you will find capture notifications for the 2020 field season.


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Year Published: 2021

Patterns and processes of pathogen exposure in gray wolves across North America

The presence of many pathogens varies in a predictable manner with latitude, with infections decreasing from the equator towards the poles. We investigated the geographic trends of pathogens infecting a widely distributed carnivore: the gray wolf (Canis lupus). Specifically, we investigated which variables best explain and predict geographic...

Brandell, E. E.; Cross, Paul; Craft, Meggan E.; Smith, Douglas W.; Dubovi, E. J.; Gilbertson, Marie L. J.; Wheeldon, Tyler; Stephenson, John A.; Barber-Meyer, Shannon; Borg, B. L.; Sorum, Mathew; Stahler, Daniel R.; Kelly, Allicia P; Anderson, Morgan; Cluff, H. D.; MacNulty, Daniel R.; Watts, David L.; Roffler, G.; Schwantje, Helen M.; Hebblewhite, Mark; Beckman, K.; Hudson, P. J.

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Year Published: 2021

A regional spatio-temporal analysis of large magnitude snow avalanches using tree rings

Snow avalanches affect transportation corridors and settlements worldwide. In many mountainous regions, robust records of avalanche frequency and magnitude are sparse or non-existent. However, dendrochronological methods can be used to fill this gap and infer historical avalanche patterns. In this study, we developed a tree-ring-based avalanche...

Peitzsch, Erich; Hendrikx, Jordy; Stahle, Daniel Kent; Pederson, Gregory T.; Birkeland, Karl W.; Fagre, Daniel B.

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Year Published: 2021

Human activities and weather drive contact rates of wintering elk

Wildlife aggregation patterns can influence disease transmission. However, limited research evaluates the influence of anthropogenic and natural factors on aggregation. Many managers would like to reduce wildlife contact rates, driven by aggregation, to limit disease transmission. We develop a novel analytical framework to quantify how management...

Janousek, William Michael; Graves, Tabitha; Berman, Ethan; Chong, Geneva W.; Cole, Eric K; Dewey, Sarah; Johnston, Aaron; Cross, Paul