In the 2012 President's Budget Request, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is terminated. As a result, all resources, databases, tools, and applications within this web site will be removed on January 15, 2012. For more information, please refer to the NBII Program Termination page.
The NBII Wildlife Disease Information Node is a collaborative project working to provide access to data on wildlife diseases, mortality events, and other critical information related to wildlife diseases. The audience is state and federal resource managers, animal disease specialists, veterinary diagnostic laboratories, physicians, public health workers, educators, and the general public.
Visit the Wildlife Disease Node to learn more about avian influenza, chronic wasting disease, West Nile Virus, and other diseases organized by species and type. Or, explore the Wildlife Health Monitoring Network, try the interactive maps, or search related publications.
[Image: Western Soundscapes]
The Western Soundscape Archive is a searchable web-based audio archive with a focus on the natural sounds of the western United States. Housed at the University of Utah's J. Willard Marriott Library, the recordings include representative sounds of more than 90% of the West's bird species, all of the region's frogs and toads, and more than 100 different types of mammals and reptiles, as well as ambient soundscapes and interviews.
NBII Library of Images from the Environment (LIFE)
Use the search box below and click "Submit" to start your search.
Animals and Plants of the Mountain Prairie Region
Prairie Dog [Photo: John Good, Yellowstone Digital Slide File]
Throughout its broad range of landscapes, spanning from the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains, this region remains remarkably rich in its native biodiversity. Some charismatic species such as the grizzly bear,gray wolf, bull trout, black-footed ferret, and marbled godwit are threatened with extinction and have been protected by law. Others, such as elk, bison, salmonid fish, and whitebark pine face serious threats from diseases like brucellosis,whirling disease, and blister rust.
Birds The region is home to a diversity of year-round and migratory bird species.
Fishes Explore the fishes of the region, including fishes of greatest conservation need.
Invertebrates Learn more about invertebrates of the region, including resources for butterflies and moths.
Mammals Many mammals that are iconic wildlife species of the West inhabit the Mountain Prairie region.
The region's varied landscapes support a broad range of plant species.
The Grizzly and Whitebark Pine
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horibilis) [Photo: Jim Peaco, National Park Service]
The grizzly bear is an omnivore, eating both plants and animals. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of its diet is green vegetation, nuts, seeds, berries, and roots. In parts of their range, such as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, grizzly bears depend so heavily on whitebark pine seeds that their survival has been linked to the presence of whitebark pine (Mattson and Reinhart 1997).
However, grizzly bears do not collect the seeds themselves; bears depend on red squirrels who collect the seed cones and store them in middens, which are piles of cones and debris that have accumulated over years of use (Koteen 2002; Mattson and Jonkel 1990; Mattson and Reinhart 1994). Grizzly bears will take cones from these middens, usually following squirrels to locate them (Mattson, Kendall and Reinhart 2001).
Whitebark pine seeds are large and more than 50% fat, providing a high-energy food source (Lanner and Gilbert 1994). In a good cone crop year, grizzlies will spend the fall feeding almost exclusively on whitebark pine seeds (Tomback, Arno and Keane 2001). Because female grizzlies rely on sufficient fat stores to get through both winter and reproduction (Mattson, Kendall and Reinhart 2001), female grizzly bears eat approximately twice the amount of whitebark pine seeds as male grizzlies (Mattson 2000).
Koteen, L. (2002). Climate Change, Whitebark Pine, and Grizzly Bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Wildlife Responses to Climate Change: North American Case Studies. S. S. a. R. TL. Washington, Island Press: 343-414.
Lanner, R.M. and B.K. Gilbert (1994). Nutritive value of whitebark pine seeds and the question of their variable dormancy. In: Schmidt, W. and Holtmeier, F.-K., compilers. Proceedings - International workshop on subalpine stone pines and their environment: The status of our knowledge. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, Utah: 206-211.
Mattson, D.J. (2000). Causes and consequences of dietary differences among Yellowstone grizzly bears. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Idaho, Moscow.
Mattson, D.J. and C. Jonkel (1990). Stone pines and bears. In: Schmidt, W. and McDonald, K., eds., Symposium on Whitebark Pine Ecosystems: Ecology and Management of a High Mountain Resource. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 223-236.
Mattson, D.J. and D.P. Reinhart (1994). Bear use of whitebark pine seeds in North America. In: Schmidt, W. and Holtmeier, F.-K., compilers. Proceedings - International workshop on subalpine stone pines and their environment: the status of our knowledge. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, Utah: 212-220.
Mattson, D.J. and D.P. Reinhart (1997). Excavation of red squirrel middens by grizzly bears in the whitebark pine zone. Journal of Applied Ecology 34:926-940.
Mattson, D.J., K.C. Kendall and D.P. Reinhart (2001). Whitebark Pine, Grizzly Bears, and Red Squirrels. Whitebark Pine Communities: Ecology and Restoration. T. DF., A. SF. a. K. RE. Washington, Island Press: 121-136.
Tomback, D.F., Stephen F. Arno and Robert E. Keane (2001). The Compelling Case for Management Intervention. Whitebark Pine Communities: Ecology and Restoration. T. DF., A. SF. a. K. RE. Washington, Island Press: 3-25.
The NBII Program is administered by the Biological Informatics Program of the U.S. Geological Survey