Jack Creek Preserve offers a valuable venue for partners to conduct research. We invite nonprofits, local, federal, and state agencies, schools, students and others to use our property for research opportunities. Please contact us if you are interested in utilizing the Preserve's property.
The Jack Creek Preserve has an established partnership with Montana State University (MSU). The University uses the Preserve for a variety of research, allowing consistent data collection year after year conducted by an ongoing cohort of students in their ecology, geology, and earth sciences programs. MSU also takes advantage of our facilities to conduct week-long summer programs for students in their Masters of Science and Education Programs. The Preserve further provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students at MSU in the field of natural resource conservation.
Below are some examples of research being conducted at the Preserve in 2018.
Montana State University Land Resources and Environmental Sciences Department
Unlike most other ecosystems, high elevation environments in mountains currently experience relatively low levels of invasion by non-native plants. The Mountain Invasion Research Network (MIREN: http://www.mountaininvasions.org/) was founded in 2005 to understand the reasons for this, document patterns and understand processes of plant invasions in mountains, and support preventive measures against potential future invasion. It has grown to represent 20 mountain regions including every continent. MIREN is a boundary organization bridging local to global scales, as well academia and conservation practitioners, with activities ranging from globally replicated experiments to networking and outreach.
We have conducted globally replicated, standardized surveys and manipulated experiments in the MIREN regions. Our surveys have shown that non-native plant richness consistently declines from low to high elevation, irrespective of the elevation extent and other environmental differences among regions. Our most recent manipulated experiment has just completed the field component in many parts of the globe: in Montana we conducted the experiment at Jack Creek. We simulated climate warming by transplanting whole plant communities from high to low elevation. For the last four years we have been evaluating 1) changes in the above ground vegetation, 2) growth rate and fecundity of target species, 3) changes in soil biota and 4) decomposition rates. These data are now being collated for future publication.
Visit their website for more information: http://weedeco.msu.montana.edu
2018 integrated monitoring in bird conservation regions
Every year in late spring and summer, biologists and technicians travel across the mountains, prairies and deserts of the western U.S. to survey birds under the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program. The program, coordinated by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, is one of the largest of its kind in North America, stretching across public and private land in many states in the western United States.
Jack Creek Preserve is a continuing partner with the Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) in Montana, and has participated in the IMBCR program since 2011. What we learn through the IMBCR program informs management decisions and contributes to the big picture for bird and habitat conservation. Data gathered as part of the program are available at no cost through the Rocky Mountain Avian Data Center: http://rmbo.org/v3/avian/Home.aspx.
Strengths of the IMBCR program include a statistically rigorous design based on random sampling, a broad network of partners that support the program and its reach across many states and boundary lines, including public and private lands. Partners include (but are not limited to) the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, state wildlife agencies and organizations such as the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, the University of Montana Avian Science Center and the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database.