Walking Shadow Ecology

I am an applied scientist interested in practical results. I care about protecting the environment, so I focus primarily on projects that will affect land management decisions. I enjoy finding creative solutions to difficult technical problems.

Through my consulting company, I work on a wide variety of ecological and climate-related projects in the western United States, including studies of landscape-level trophic interactions, community ecology of plants exposed to naturally occurring carbon dioxide springs, data analysis contracts, study design and power analysis consultations, and management of field crews for other researchers. Download the technical reports from the links provided below to learn more about my projects.

Skills and Interests

  • Data analysis with Python, R, and JavaScript.

  • Climate change, climate data analysis, and the predicted effects of climate change.

  • Creating web- and desktop – based applications that visualize data. Visit www.ClimateAnalyzer.org and www.VegViz.org for examples.

  • Plant Ecology

  • Study design, sampling strategies and monitoring techniques.

  • GIS and spatial data analysis.

  • Survey and mapping with traditional transits and levels.

  • Design and deployment of scientific equipment under challenging environmental conditions.

  • Repair and maintenance of electronic devices, including re-design and adaptation of hardware.

  • Mechanical fabrication and design. I put myself through college by working as an auto mechanic. The practical skills from that job continue to serve me well. I design and build much of my own research equipment.

  • Back-country skills. After over 20 years living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, I have hiked to many places that are unknown to the general public. I routinely camp by myself in remote areas for extended periods of time.

Mike Tercek, Ph.D.

Contact us at the email address above, or call 406-579-7701.

Peer-Reviewed Scientific Publications

Tercek M., and A. Rodman. 2016. Forecasts of 21st Century Snowpack and Implications for Snowmobile and Snowcoach Use in Yellowstone National Park. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0159218. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0159218 view article

Gross J., M. Tercek, K. Guay, M. Talbert, T. Chang, A. Rodman, D. Thoma, P. Jantz, and J. Morissette. 2016. Analyses of historical and projected climates to support climate adaptation in the northern Rocky Mountains. Chapter 4 in Hansen et al. (eds.) Climate Change in Wildlands: Pioneering approaches to science and management. Island Press. Washington.

Sepulveda, A., M. Tercek, R. Al-Chokhachy, A. Ray, D. Thoma, B. Hossack, G. Pederson, A. Rodman, T. Olliff. 2015. The Shifting Climate Portfolio of the Greater Yellowstone Area. PLoS ONE 10(12): e0145060. doi:10.1371/. view article

Tercek, M.T., S. Gray, and C. Nicholson. 2012. Climate Zone Delineation: Evaluating Approaches for Natural Resource Management. Environmental Management 49: 1076 – 1091. view pdf

Tercek, M.T., R. Stottlemyer, and R. Renkin. 2010. Bottom-up factors influencing riparian willow recovery in Yellowstone National Park. Western North American Naturalist 70: 387-399. view pdf

Appoloni, S., Y. Lekberg, M.T. Tercek, C.A. Zabinski, and D. Redecker. 2008. Molecular community analysis of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in roots of geothermal soils of Yellowstone National Park (USA). Microbial Ecology 56: 649-659. view pdf

Tercek, MT and J.L. Whitbeck. 2004. Heat avoidance life history strategy controls the distribution of geothermal Agrostis in Yellowstone. Ecology 85(7): 1955-1966. view pdf

Tercek, M.T, D. P. Hauber and S.P. Darwin. 2003. Genetic and historical relationships among geothermally
adapted Agrostis of North America and Kamchatka: evidence for a previously unrecognized, thermally
adapted taxon. American Journal of Botany 90:1306-1312. view pdf

Selected Technical Reports and Protocols

Tercek, M.T., A. Rodman, and D. Thoma. 2015. Trends in Yellowstone snowpack. Yellowstone Science 23(1): 20 – 27. view article


Tercek, M.T. 2015. A seemingly small change in average temperature can have big effects. Yellowstone Science 23(1): 70 – 71. view article


Tercek, M.T. 2015. Data substitution among weather stations in Yellowstone National Park: Defining the scope of the problem. Technical report submitted to National Park Service. view pdf


Tercek, M.T. 2012. Analysis of Temperature Patterns in Channel Islands National Park. Technical Report Submitted to The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service. view pdf


Tercek, M.T. 2011. Distribution map and habitat description for Eriogonum umbellatum var. cladophorum, a rare, endemic plant species in Yellowstone National Park. Report submitted to the Yellowstone Center of Resources, Yellowstone National Park. Due to the sensitive habitat information in this report, it will not be publicly available, following a request from the National Park Service.


Tercek, M.T. 2010. Yellowstone northern range riparian willow inventory. Report submitted to the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park.


Frakes, B. , S. Ostermann-Kelm, I. Ashton, J. Burke, R. Daley, M. Tercek, D. Pillmore, C. Jean, M. Britten, S. Gray, and T. Kittel. 2010. Rocky Mountain Climate Protocol: Climate monitoring in the Greater Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain Inventory and Monitoring Networks. National Park Service Monitoring Protocol NPS/IMRO/NRR -2010/222. view pdf


Tercek, M.T., T. S. Al-Niemi, and R.G. Stout. 2008 Plants Exposed to High Levels of Carbon Dioxide in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone Science 16:12-19. view pdf

Other Stuff (Follow the links)


Appearance in a climate change video produced by the National Park Service

Interview in Sierra Magazine


I contributed a graph to the May 2016 issue of National Geographic (page 145 of print edition)


Yellowstone Research Projects