US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Mike Young

Michael K. Young

Research Fisheries Biologist
800 East Beckwith Avenue
United States

Phone: 406-542-3254
Fax: 406-543-2663
Contact Michael K. Young

Current Research

  • Genetic and compositional monitoring of fish and amphibians in the western U.S.
  • Development of SNP-based marker panels for assessing hybridization in fish
  • Assessing and modeling the effects of climate and watershed characteristics on the distribution and persistence of trout populations
  • Defining units of conservation in westslope cutthroat trout
  • Using environmental DNA to assess and monitor fishes in streams
  • Responses of native and nonnative fishes to wildfire
  • Conservation biology of cutthroat trout
  • Consequences, characteristics, and control of nonnative brook trout invasions
  • Sculpins of the northwestern U.S.: cryptic biodiversity and species discovery

Research Interests

My focus is on the ecology, evolution, and sampling of native and nonnative aquatic species in western North America. My research increasingly relies on broad-scale application of genetic tools to answer ecological questions.

Past Research

I have over 90 peer-reviewed publications on the following subjects:

The use of environmental DNA sampling for assessing presence of aquatic species
The prevalence, extent, and characteristics of movement in aquatic species in streams and rivers
The influence of fire on aquatic species
The ecology and conservation biology of cutthroat trout
Refining estimates of species presence and abundance
The effects of nonnative species and their management on native fish populations
Large wood: its assessment, role, and dynamics in mountain streams

Why This Research is Important

Federal agencies are charged by Congress with the assessment and monitoring of all native and desired nonnative species in aquatic ecosystems. The intent of my research is to develop one of the largest cohesive biological assessments of fish and amphibians in the U.S. Doing so will set the stage for future monitoring at large spatial scales e.g., entire river basins, National Forest regions, or the historical ranges of focal species. The work serves as an empirical benchmark for detecting, modeling, and understanding the broad-scale effects of climate change or nonnative species invasions. It also provides a conservation atlas to managers who need to know what parts of species—populations, evolutionary lineages, or subspecies—constitute their conservation portfolio, and what areas currently serve as biodiversity hotspots. This research refines methods for detecting and monitoring species to facilitate more precise and accurate estimates of species composition and distribution. Finally, it identifies the expected responses of species to a changing climate and greater demands on aquatic resources.


  • University of Montana, B.S. Wildlife Biology 1982
  • University of Montana, M.S. Wildlife Biology 1986
  • University of Wyoming, Ph.D. Zoology 1989

Professional Organizations

  • American Fisheries Society, Lifetime Member (1986 - Current)
  • Western North American Naturalist, Associate Editor (2008 - 2012)
  • North American Journal Of Fisheries, Co-Editor (2000 - 2002)
  • North American Journal Of Fisheries, Associate Editor (1998 - 1999)

Awards & Recognition

  • Best Professional Paper, 2014
    Annual Meeting, Idaho Chapter of the American Fisheries Society
  • Award of Excellence , 2011
    This is the most prestigious award offered by the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society. The award is intended to recognize sustained, professional excellence.
  • Forest Service Rise to the Future Award for Research, 2008
    Forest Service Rise to the Future Award for Research
  • Best Professional Paper, 2003
    Annual meeting of the Colorado-Wyoming and Bonneville Chapters of the American Fisheries Society
  • Best Professional Paper, 1991
    Annual meeting of the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the American Fisheries Society

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Fire and fish dynamics in a changing climate

Forest Service scientists are seeking a better understanding how climate change and fire affect native trout.


Last updated on : 10/07/2016