The Montana Institute on Ecosystem’s mission is to facilitate, produce, assimilate and share science-based knowledge, addressing both environmental and natural resources challenges, in partnership with stakeholders in Montana and beyond.

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Montana's Ecosystems

An ecosystem, simply defined, is a community of all the living and non-living things in a specific geographic area. An ecosystem can be small, such as the area under a pine tree or a single hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, or it can be large, such as the Rocky Mountains, the rainforest or the Antarctic Ocean. Whether alive (biotic) or not alive (abiotic), all components of an ecosystem impact each other directly or indirectly. For its research projects, the Montana Institute on Ecosystems has delineated four major Montana ecosystems: the Crown of the Continent, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Upper Missouri, and the High Plains Ecosystem.

Back to Montana's Ecosystems

At IoE we acknowledge that even though we often communicate through virtual media not touching the same ground, we understand that the focus of our mission is mostly in the domain of Montana. Therefore it is with great humility that we ask the spiritual ancestors of indigenous peoples to forgive our intrusion on their lands and humbly ask for their guidance to help us understand the ecosystems on which we conduct research. In addition, we work toward dismantling the ongoing legacy of settler colonialism and build relationships with our native brothers and sisters that may allow us to draw upon their indigenous knowledge and wisdom to train us and our students.

Latest News


Institute on Ecosystems at Montana State University invests $1 million toward critical environmental issues

Jun 01, 2022

BOZEMAN – The Institute on Ecosystems at Montana State University will invest $1 million over the next three years to support research and knowledge exchange addressing critical issues in environmenta...


From weeds and wetlands to fences and flickers: Blackfoot Watershed Stewardship Guide now available!

Apr 01, 2022

The Blackfoot Challenge is excited to announce the completion of the Blackfoot Watershed Stewardship Guide, a 36-page handbook full of information and resources on land and water stewardship for Black...


Bringing Sustainability to the Ground Level: Competing Demands in the Yellowstone River Valley

Feb 10, 2022

Sustainability offers a vision for business and society that benefits Earth. Yet sustainability is often taught in abstract and disconnected ways. With the Yellowstone River Valley of Montana as its s...


Landmark Study Demonstrates Cultural, Ecological and Economic Benefits of Tribal Bison Restoration

Jan 27, 2022

Need for Long-Term Research to Develop Adaptive Management SchemesWidespread restoration of bison to Tribal lands throughout the Northern Great Plains can help restore the prairie ecosystem while impr...


Upcoming IoE-related opportunities: Greater Yellowstone Climate Assessment

Mar 24, 2021

A draft version of the Greater Yellowstone Climate Assessment: Past, Present, and Future Climate Change in Greater Yellowstone Watersheds will be available for public comment beginning in early April ...


New Report Outlines How Climate Change Impacts Health in Montana

Dec 09, 2020

Climate change is already affecting the health of Montanans, a situation that will likely worsen in the coming years, according to a new report published by a group of Montana University System scient...


OLLI at MSU to Host Snowmester Online Presentation on Amphibians in Greater Yellowstone Area

Dec 04, 2020

Via MSU News ServiceThe Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Montana State University, formerly MSU Wonderlust, will host a special Snowmester presentation on Thursday, Dec. 10. “Ecological Insights f...


MSU Research Team Receives NSF Grant to Study Nitrogen Impact on Water Quality

Nov 06, 2020

An interdisciplinary Montana State University research team received a $944,000 National Science Foundation grant to study the efficiency of nitrogen fertilizers and their impact on soil health and wa...


EPA Awards MSU Nearly $500,000 Grant to Fund Pollution Prevention Projects

Oct 26, 2020

Via MSU News ServiceMontana State University has received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to help Montana food and beverage manufacturers reduce waste and adopt other strategies that ...


UM Research Helps Humans Becoming Amazing Crop Sensors

Jul 20, 2020

Farmers have eyeballed their crops to gauge how well they are doing since the dawn of time. Though it may not seem too trustworthy or scientific, new research from the University of Montana and the Sp...


MSU Professor's Work on Plant Chemistry Published in Global Change Biology

Jul 10, 2020

A Montana State University professor’s research on plant chemistry in the Northern Great Plains and Northern Rockies has been published in Global Change Biology, a prominent journal that promotes expl...


MSU Research Team Receives Grant to Study Invasive Grass Management

Jun 11, 2020

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Montana State University College of Agriculture received a grant to develop an integrated management framework for cheatgrass, an invasive species in ...


MSU Student and 2018 IoE Undergraduate Summer Research Intern Wins National Award for Weed Science

May 20, 2020

A member of Montana State University’s spring class of 2020 has been recognized for her contributions to the field of weed science during her undergraduate career. Stacey Robbins, who graduated from t...


New Research Finds Ranchers Consider Diverse Factors in Managing Their Land

Apr 09, 2020

In a new study published in Rangeland Ecology and Management, researchers explore the diverse factors that influence how ranchers manage their land. Missoula-based collaborators on the project include...


Utah Professor to Lead Climate Change Lecture and Panel Feb. 18 at MSU

Apr 09, 2020

Rob Davies, physicist and professor of professional practice at Utah State University, will present a lecture about how the climate crisis is changing our world today at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in...


Richard Ready to Talk Feb. 19 on the Social Cost of Carbon as part of IoE Distinguished Lecturer Series

Apr 09, 2020

A Montana State University researcher will discuss recent developments in how the federal government incorporates mortality and climate change impacts into its analysis of environmental policies. Rich...


Three MSU Research Teams Set to Improve Water Quality with New Funding

Apr 09, 2020

As part of a statewide effort to advance research and education in water quality, three Montana State University research teams have won funding for projects that could lead to more affordable water m...


Montana State Researchers Earn National Science Foundation Grant to Study Caddisflies and Stream Health

Apr 09, 2020

Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology, a pair of Montana State University researchers are setting out to prove caddisflies are more than fish food....


IoE Latest Research

Hydro-Economics of Agricultural Regions

Apr 09, 2020
Water for Agriculture

The Hydro-Economics of Agricultural Regions project aligns science, policy, and technology to gain insight into the linkage between the hydroclimatic and agricultural systems at unprecedented spatial ...



Apr 09, 2020

WildFIRE PIRE is an international partnership focused on the causes and consequences of fire in the past, present, and future. The project brings together an array of fire scientists and managers to l...


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The IoE works with diverse partners on research projects, science outreach, and education. See the list below featuring the IoE's partners.

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Partnering Organizations

The IoE works with diverse partners on research projects, science outreach, and education. See the list below featuring the IoE's partners.

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