Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Research finds 1,200 species in Yellowstone

November 3, 2009, 8:12 am

Scientists from around the country found more than 1,200 species of plants and animals in Yellowstone National Park in a 24-hour research marathon in late August.

The park's first BioBlitz has documented the species with taxonomic and DNA experts still analyzing lab results, which "will surely increase our numbers,'' said organizer Kayhan Ostovar, an assistant professor of environmental science at Rocky Mountain College.

Some of the finds included new species, such as the tiger beetle, previously undocumented in the park, Ostovar said.

Ostovar called the event "a huge success by all accounts."

Participants included 125 scientists from Montana and across the country, students and volunteers.

A BioBliz is an intense effort to find and identify as many species as possible in a day. Ostovar led Montana's first BioBlitz along the Yellowstone River in Billings two years ago. Yellowstone Park's BioBlitz focused on invertebrates, plants, birds and other mammals in the northern area around headquarters at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Information about the less-studied and little-known species in the park may help park managers better understand ecosystem dynamics and potential threats, Ostovar said.

Once the species information is complete, it will be stored in NPSpecies, a National Park Service database where it will serve as a reference for future surveys and research.