Yellowstone National Park is a natural laboratory for researchers

Yellowstone National Park is an incredible natural laboratory. Researchers from around the world travel to Yellowstone every year to conduct scientific studies across a range of disciplines, from A(nthropology) to Z(oology) and everything in between.

Managing this constant influx of scientists is a full-time job, not only in terms of ensuring that their work is used to better manage park resources, but also taking advantage of the unique environment at Yellowstone. This combination of conservation of resources and capitalization on opportunities has yielded Nobel Prize-winning results.

Scientific research is an ongoing and never-ending process. For example, as the park geologist for Yellowstone put it, our current understanding of Yellowstone geology is merely a progress report, and not the final word. With changing technologies and fresh ideas, scientists will continue to discover new and exciting facts about Yellowstone.

The Research Permit Office in the Yellowstone Center for Resources assists scientists in their endeavors to study the park. The office issues approximately 150 research permits each year, covering topics from bumble bees to fire ecology to whitebark pine. Scientists from the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory also obtain permits to study various aspects of the volcano, including seismic activity, ground deformation and the dynamics of hydrothermal features.

Scientific exploration has been a part of the Yellowstone National Park story from the beginning.

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