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

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


Citations of non US Forest Service Publications

  • Young, Michael K.; Isaak, Daniel J.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Carim, Kellie J.; Fredenberg, Wade; Wilcox, Taylor M.; Franklin, Thomas W.; Chandler, Gwynne L.; Nagel, David E.; Parkes-Payne, Sharon L.; Horan, Dona L.; Wollrab, Sherry P. 2017. Species occurrence data from the Range-Wide Bull Trout eDNA Project. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.

  • Schwartz, M. K., Young, M.K., McKelvey, K.S., Isaak, D.J., Nagel, D.E., Franklin, T.W., Greaves, S.E., Dysthe, J.C., Chandler, G.L., Wollrab, S.P., Carim, K.J., Wilcox, T.M., Parkes-Payne, S.L., Horan, D.L. 2018. Species occurrence data from the Aquatic eDNAtlas database. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.

Research Highlights


Detection and Range Delineation of Bull Trout Using Environmental DNA

The bull trout is listed as an endanged species that relies on cold stream environments across the Northwest and is expected to decline with cli ...


Fire and fish dynamics in a changing climate

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


Headwater Streams are Resistant to Trout Hybridization

Hybridization between native and introduced species is noted as an important player in the decline of native species. The potential for hybridiz ...


Mapping Climate Refugia to Preserve Cold-water Biodiversity Using Crowd-sourced Databases

Climate change is rapidly altering stream and river environments across the western U.S. and may threaten the long-term persistence of populatio ...


No Fish Left Behind: Using eDNA Sampling to Inform Fish Eradication Efforts

Environmental DNA methods are highly sensitive and accurate, making them ideal for detecting animals at low densities. However, this tool also c ...


The Cold Water Climate Shield: Prioritizing High-value Aquatic Resources

Native trout are culturally and ecologically important, but climate change is likely to shrink the cold-water environments they require. Much ca ...


The eDNAtlas project: A national map of aquatic biodiversity

eDNA sampling provides a low-cost & sensitive method for determining which species occur in water bodies. Rapid adoption of eDNA sampling by man ...


Last updated on : 09/13/2021