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Species Profiles

The Genomics Center works on more than 60 species. Below are a handful. For more information, contact the Center.

Greater Sage-Grouse
Stephen Ting, USFWS

Greater Sage-Grouse

The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is an iconic species of the American West, representative of the sagebrush ecosystem. Although sagebrush is resistant to environmental extremes, such as drought, it can take many years to reestablish following disturbance such as fire or land use conversion. As a result, the "sagebrush sea", found throughout the intermountain lowlands, is one of the most threatened ecosystems in North America.

Greater sage-grouse management is a major conservation priority for stakeholders across the West. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be making a final listing determination for the species in 2015, after previously finding it "warranted for listing but precluded." The greater sage-grouse once occupied 1.2 million square kilometers (nearly 300 million acres) across western North America. Now, the species occupies less than 700,000 acres across 11 Western states and two Canadian provinces. Nearly 75 percent of greater sage-grouse habitat is located on federally owned lands.

To help these efforts, the Genomics Center is investigating greater sage-grouse genetic variation, population structure, and population connectivity. This research is providing scientific support for prioritizing conservation actions on the ground for the greater sage-grouse, such as identifying critical habitat and breeding grounds, or leks. Most importantly, the research from the Genomics Center will allow managers to evaluate how disturbances at individual leks influence the overall connectivity of the breeding network. The Genomics Center is analyzing genetic data from several thousand samples, collected from over 800 leks across Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This research is done in collaboration with other federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and eleven state fish and wildlife agencies.

Related Resources

Network theory and sage-grouse management research

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Greater Sage-Grouse

Cougar
Thinkstock

Cougar

The cougar (Puma concolor), also known as the mountain lion, puma, and panther, was once lost, or extirpated, from the eastern portion of the United States, with the exception of the Florida Panther population in the Everglades. However, over the past 30 years, the species has been expanding and establishing new populations in the eastern portion of its range. The Genomics Center has been studying cougars for nearly a decade, done in partnership with 15 state, federal, and Tribal partners. This work focuses on understanding cougar population sizes, movement patterns, and recolonization of former habitat and ranges to inform conservation and management decisions. The Genomics Center currently houses the largest, most geographically extensive genetic database on cougars.

Related Resources

Genomics Center Cougar Case Study

Trout
USFWS

Trout

The Genomics Center is working with over a dozen federal, state, and Tribal partners on monitoring and assessment efforts, with an emphasis on genetic approaches, of native and non-native trout species. These include the threatened native bull trout and a number of cutthroat trout subspecies, nearly all of which have been petitioned for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Bull trout and cutthroat trout are important game species, prized by fisherman, but have experienced significant declines due to habitat loss and fragmentation and the introduction of non-native trout species.

Related Resources

Genomics Center Bull Trout Case Study

Genomics Center Cutthroat Trout Case Study