Bozeman, MT
Jun 22-Jun 26, 2015
Credit: 2 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $727.00
Instructor(s): Jay Rotella

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Course Description

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is a dramatic setting composed of lands that vary widely in terms of their elevation, soils, habitat features, & animal diversity, as well as in terms of land ownership, land use, and wildlife management. This course is designed to explore how animal diversity is distributed across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), why such a distribution exists, & the consequences of those distributions to animal conservation. To gain a better understanding of the causes & consequences of spatial patterns of biodiversity, we will explore a variety of locations in Yellowstone National Park and its surrounding National Forests, Wildlife Refuges, and private lands.

This course will have the following components for studying animal conservation in the GYE in today’s changing world:
  • Who are the animals of the GYE? Field identification, species ecology and life histories, and species-specific habitat needs.
  • How are species distributed across the GYE? Where is diversity high versus low? Why might such patterns exist?
  • How well do the distributions of species overlap with (a) existing National Park lands, (b) other wildlife reserve lands, and (c) private lands?
  • How can we use knowledge of such patterns to conserve diverse species of wildlife in the GYE?
The course builds foundations in morning lectures, discussion, quizzes and lab exercises. Field trips include visits to diverse habitats in Yellowstone National Park and surrounding lands, techniques of animal identification, and in-depth discussion of key topics in the course. Field trips seek to build an understanding of the unique challenges of and innovative strategies for managing diverse species in a complex and changing world.

Physical Fitness Requirement:
Field trips require walking up to 2 miles on moderate slopes on established trails.

Time Commitment: 7-10 hrs/day

Please Note:
Drs. Rotella, Maxwell, and Johnson have coordinated their curricula for the three (3) mini-session classes listed below so that the 3 courses each stand alone; but also, if taken together, form a coherent package. If possible, you are encouraged to register for the courses together as a "package" in one summer or over a couple of summers to maximize the content benefit gained for each class. Although you are certainly welcome to take any combination of the courses in any order that suits you, we urge you to consider taking the entire 3-week package:
  • June 16-20, 2014
    BIOE 520 Understanding and Managing Animal Biodiversity in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Dr. Jay Rotella)
  • June 30-July 3, 2014
    BIOE 591 Land Use Issues in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Dr. Jerry Johnson)
  • July 7-11, 2014
    LRES 569 Ecology of Invasive Plants in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Dr. Bruce Maxwell)

Meeting Place and Times

Meeting Place and Times:
Class: M 8:30 am to 12 Noon; lunch break; afternoon field trip 1:00 to 5:00 pm
Location: Lewis Hall, Room 304
Field Trips: TWRF 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Jay Rotella, PhD.


Graduate standing.

Target Audience

Restricted Entry for Science Educators

Tuition and Fees

 Program Fee $187.00
 Computer Fee$7.00
 Distributed Learning Fee$0.00

A $30 registration fee is also charged once per semester.

The costs above assume that you are taking only MSU Extended University courses during the semester that the course is offered. If you also registered for courses through the MSU Registrar, the regular MSU fee structure may apply.

A $40 late fee will be assessed if payment is not posted to your account by 3 pm (Mountain Time) of the course start date (or the business day before if the course starts on a weekend or a holiday).

To learn more about tuition and fees, please see the University Business Services' Student Accounts Web page.

Required Books/Materials

  • Course materials will be provided by the instructor on the first day of the class.

For More Information

Contact Diana Paterson at or 406-994-5679.

How to Register

Register Online