University of Wyoming-NPS Research Center

The University of Wyoming-National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center, located at the historic AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park, is a field-research facility. The NPS owns the buildings and the university helps maintain them as part of a cooperative agreement with the park. The center provides researchers in the biological, physical, and social sciences an enhanced opportunity to work in the diverse environments of Grand Teton and surrounding Greater Yellowstone. One of the greatest strengths of the UW- NPS Research Center is its focus on issues vital to understanding complex interactions in ecosystems (including human influences) within Greater Yellowstone. Independent studies link water, soil, climate, and geological formations to plant and animal distribution and abundance. A clearer area history is emerging through the work of historians, archeologists, cultural anthropologists, and paleontologists. And geologists and geophysicists find its unique setting fertile ground for research.

Since its inception in 1946, the UW-NPS Research Center has supported more than 500 research projects resulting in approximately 650 published papers, which have addressed biological, physical, and cultural resources of Grand Teton and even other parks in the region. Since 1984, $3.4 million (from NPS and UW) has been awarded in research grants. Research proposals are solicited via a formal request for proposals and must address topics of interest to National Park Service scientists, resource managers, and administrators, as well as the academic community. Studies conducted through the center have dealt with questions of applied science that have direct management importance, as well as those of a basic scientific nature. UW-NPS awarded a total of $49,000 in 2007 grants.

Although research is its principle mission, the UW-NPS Research Center performs an important service and educational role by sponsoring daylong symposia, conferences, and workshops throughout the season, and hosting several student interns co-funded with Grand Teton. In 2004 and 2006, the center and the park co-sponsored a two-day Resource Information Exchange for all agency employees to learn about current research findings and management applications in the parks.

The research center also offers a summer seminar series to an audience of an ever increasing number of NPS employees, Jackson Hole residents, and visitors. This popular weekly evening forum provides the public an opportunity to interact informally with researchers from around the country and learn about their regional research projects and findings in an inspiring setting on the shores of Jackson Lake.