Deep snow and grizzlies make things interesting for bark beetle researchers

“Its an interesting year for fieldwork,” reports UW-Madison forest ecologist Phil Townsend, who is on his annual trip to the Greater Yellowstone area for research that involves using satellites to track mountain pine beetle infestations. “They have 4 1/2 times the usual snowpack, and we’ve been doing some of our fieldwork in four feet of snow. It’s 60 degrees out, but four feet of snow is still cold.

“The animals are down at low elevations because of this.  We’ve seen seven different grizzlies this year, and five of those we’ve seen multiple times.  One bounded across a plot while we were (inventorying) it.”