Bison Grazing Practices Assessment
North American grasslands are among the least protected ecosystems in the world and little research has focused on the complex faunal interactions that may exist from the historical abundance of bison grazing en masse across the landscape. Carly will carry out a multi-year study investigating how the American Bison may influence the faunal communities that rely on soil nutrients, plant phenology, and vegetation structure. She will focus on the arthropod, soil microbe, and plant communities at sites with different categories (low, medium, high) of bison grazing. Carly’s research will contribute to our understanding of the ecological role of this culturally important animal and a deeper understanding of grassland ecosystems. Yellowstone National Park managers have begun the process of developing a climate change mitigation plan for the next fifty years and the results of Carly’s research have the potential to directly influence some of the ways that the park is managed going forward.