Wyoming Natural History Publications

The Wyoming Biodiversity Institute maintains the long term goal of creating a series of publications that contribute to the rigorous documentation and understanding of Biodiversity in the state of Wyoming. Through the Wyoming Natural History Publication Series, the Institute offers financial support to authors projects whose work contributes to this venture. 

2013 - 2015 Wyoming Book Series Projects: 
Click project name below for more information.

Atlas of Wildlife Migration: Wyoming’s Ungulates


Matthew Kauffman & Bill Rudd

Abstract.  For thousands of years ungulates have migrated between seasonal ranges in the vast and beautiful landscapes of Wyoming. From mule deer and pronghorn that travel across the Red Desert to the wilderness journeys of elk and moose in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Wyoming boasts some of the longest and most spectacular migrations in North America. Although these migrations are part of the region’s cultural heritage, they are poorly understood and threatened by rapidly changing landscapes. The Atlas of Wildlife Migration will be a celebration of Wyoming’s ungulate migrations using state-of-the-art methods in wildlife science and cartography. This project will bring attention to these magnificent journeys and will catalyze their conservation through education and synthesis. 

Using over 200 illustrated pages of maps and figures the Atlas will present the compelling stories of Wyoming’s ungulate migrations.  The ecology of migration, historical losses, current threats and today’s conservation efforts are key themes covered in the book. Topics to be explored include: climate drivers, stopover use, route fidelity, historical exploitation, energy development, fencing, climate change, conservation easements, overpasses and underpasses, transboundary management, and many others. The Atlas of Wildlife Migration will be a comprehensive synthesis of scientific research that incorporates data from ungulate experts across Wyoming.  The project is partnering with the award-winning cartographic team at the University of Oregon InfoGraphics Lab (the producers of the Atlas of Yellowstone) to bring their expertise in design to the creation of new visualizations of these magnificent migrations.


More than just a book, the Atlas of Wildlife Migration is part of a broader initiative to better understand and conserve Wyoming’s ungulate migration. The atlas content will be available through an online interactive atlas, maps and charts will portrayed be as interpretive signs throughout the region, and assembled migration data will be made available to managers and conservation groups through cutting edge online tools.  Find out more at www.wyocoopunit.org.

Wild Mammals of Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park


Steve Buskirk

Wild Mammals of Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park  provides the scholar, conservationist, and interested lay reader with information on the state's 117 wild mammalian species from grizzly bears to pygmy shrews. It describes the history of mammalogy in Wyoming, the zoogeography of Wyoming mammals, and the prehistoric mammals of Wyoming. It also characterizes the habitats of Wyoming mammals and addresses the conservation and management of mammals in the region.

Expanding beyond the traditional field guide, Steve Buskirk emphasizes taxonomic classification, geographic range, and conservation status for mammalian species. Introductory sections are provided for each order and family, and individual species accounts organize a wealth of data ranging from habitat associations to field measurements in an easy-to-use format. Featuring color species photos, continental and state-scale distribution maps, and a comprehensive bibliography with nearly 1,000 references, Wild Mammals of Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park  is an indispensable resource for mammalogists, conservation biologists and dedicated naturalists working and living in this region. 


Mountains and Plains: The Ecology of Wyoming Landscapes (2nd edition)


Dennis H. Knight, George P. Jones, William A. Reiners & William H. Romme


Many changes have occurred in the Rocky Mountain region since 1994 when the 1st edition of this book was published. Wildlife habitat has been fragmented at alarming rates, the once abundant sage-grouse has been proposed for protection by the Endangered Species Act, invasive plants have become more common, wolves have been reintroduced, climate change is now well-documented, epidemics of forest insects are more widespread, forest fires are more frequent, and new approaches for conservation have been adopted. Our goal for the 2nd edition, 20 years later, is to provide a new synthesis of the ecological research that is pertinent to natural resource management, with a focus on the ecology of Wyoming and adjacent parts of Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.     

The book has six parts. After an introduction to ecology, conservation biology, and ecosystem services, there is a section on the geological development of the diverse landscapes of the region, ecological changes during the last several thousand years, and climate change that is occurring now. The sections that follow focus on riparian and non-riparian wetlands, semi-arid basins and plains, foothills and mountains, and three landscapes of special interest—the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains, and the Laramie Basin. Floodplains, marshes, fens, mixed-grass prairie, sagebrush steppe, desert shrublands, sand dunes, badlands, woodlands, forests, subalpine meadows, and alpine tundra are discussed. We end with a chapter on current issues pertaining to land management and conservation.


Plant ecology is emphasized because vegetation provides habitat and gives character to the landscape, but we also discuss plant-animal interactions, hydrology, nutrient cycling, and the effects of disturbances such as fire, insect epidemics, and timber harvesting. Every chapter considers the implications of climate change. The ecology and management of croplands is beyond the scope of this book, but we discuss the ecological effects of irrigation, invasive species, livestock, wild horses, elk, prairie dogs, and wolves. The chapters vary in length and structure, based on the information available and our perception of what most readers will find interesting. We provide guidance to further information in the endnotes.

Recognizing the diverse backgrounds of people interested in western landscapes, we have written this book for anyone intrigued by the natural history and wildlife of the region. The text is essentially free of technical terms, but those few that remain are defined where they first appear. Definitions can be located using the index. We have used common names for plants and animals throughout the book, but Latin names are provided for those who need them. English units of measure are used, with a metric conversion table in Appendix A.

Online resources are now of great value for ecologists and land managers, providing quick access to more information about the plants, animals, and virtually every topic mentioned in the text. We include a large number of photos, maps, and references, but there are numerous others that are easily accessible on the web. Our book has a website as well. If you learn something that we should know about, go to mountainsandplains.net. There you can make comments, ask questions, read our responses to questions already submitted, and see additional photos. A more detailed list of references is also found at the website.

We have worked together for over 30 years. Our careers have blended education at various levels with research on many of the ecosystems that we write about. We also have been involved with the application of our research and that of other scientists to perplexing challenges faced by society today. Discussions with agency and private land managers have broadened our perspective. Our goal in writing this book is to present information that is pertinent to on-going debates and illustrates the long history of a place that has been our home. Two important questions are: How can we use ecosystems in ways that enable future generations to benefit from them? And, How can we anticipate and adapt to changes associated with a warmer and drier climate while conserving biological diversity? Answers require policies informed by science but cognizant of diverse values and traditions.

Plants with Altitude: Regionally Native Plants for Wyoming Gardens


Amy A. Fluet, Jennifer S. Thompson, Dorothy E. Tuthill & Brenna R. Marsicek

14-04-2015_1419_604.jpgPlants with Altitude: Regionally Native Plants for Wyoming Gardens was published in March 2014 by the Biodiversity Institute, UW ExtensionBarnyards and Backyards and the Laramie Garden Club. The book contains over 30 types of wildflowers and over 10 types of shrubs that are native to Wyoming and slightly beyond, are hardy, water-wise and are relatively accessible in greenhouses and nurseries.  

The book has a web companion, found at www.wyomingnativegardens.org, and is for sale in the UW Berry Center or in our online store.