Exploring the Yellowstone Geoecosystem
A Digital Resource Collection for Teaching and Learning
Integrating Research and Education > Exploring the Yellowstone Geoecosystem
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What is the Yellowstone collection?

This page was written by Denny Capps as part of the DLESE Community Services Project: Integrating Research in Education.

The Yellowstone collection contains an assortment of digital resources relevant to the many components of the Yellowstone Geoecosystem: geology, geophysics, physiography, hydrology, biota (from microbes to grizzly bears), and human activities and their consequences in this amazing natural laboratory. This collection contains an abundance of maps, images, virtual field trips, datasets, technical papers and general information.

Who is this information for?

This collection of information is designed primarily for instructors and students in introductory Earth science courses. The collection may also be of interest for K-12 educators and the general public.

How do I use this collection?

To accommodate multiple teaching styles, resources in this collection are arranged into three categories:

Resources are arranged in disciplinary topics to allow searching and browsing across the collections

Resources are arranged using an Earth system approach towards exploring the relationships among the many components of the Yellowstone Geoecosystem

Resources are arranged to guide exploration of topical questions about the Yellowstone Geoecosystem

Use our handy search tool to quickly locate relevant information by subject area or type of resource (map, activity, etc).
These four approaches to exploring the Yellowstone Geoecosystem are designed to support inquiry- and discovery-based learning, as well as Earth system science, investigative case-based, field-based, and traditional disciplinary instructional approaches. For more information about these, and other instructional strategies, please visit the Starting Point pages within SERC.

Course Materials related to Yellowstone National Park


Yellowstone: A Natural Laboratory is an introductory course for non-majors that emphasizes modern research methods and results, taught by Dr. Cathy Whitlock, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Montana State University. Examples of course activities can be found by linking to

About This Project

Jump to more information about this and the Integrating Research in Education project.

Get Started!

Here are a few resources to introduce you to the Yellowstone Geoecosystem, and to provide a sampling of the resources in this collection.

  • Digital Atlas of the Greater Yellowstone Area. This online atlas provides a wide array of maps of the natural and socio-economic features of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and surrounding areas. The maps are made from GIS layers, and users can select from many types of information such as satellite imagery and topographic maps. Map areas include Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Gallatin County, and several other areas. A list of additional web resources with metadata is also provided. (more info)
  • Life at High Temperatures. This website gives an overview of the various forms of life that exist in Yellowstone National Park's thermal features. Seventeen topics can be browsed in order or selected from a menu. Topics include hidden biological resources, microbial mats, types... (more info)
  • Wildland fires in Yellowstone. This Yellowstone National Park website is the home page for wildland fire information. Fire information is presented as links, a map, and a table. Links include information to fire ecology, the 1988 fires, the wildland fire management plan, and numerous other topics. The table provides yearly information on each fire's cause, start date, status, and acres burned. Important fires have links to additional information. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Geology. This Yellowstone National Park website provides geological information about the Park. Links include geologic highlights, hydrothermal features, reports by park geologists, and scientists' talks (videos). A wide array of information can be found on these links and the webpage is expanding as more topics are added. (more info)
  • Yellowstone National Park Online Tours. This Yellowstone National Park website provides an array of online tours, videos, and other information. Nature and history tours are among those featured on the site. The nature tours cover the Old Faithful area, the Norris Geyser Basin, the Fountain Paint Pots, the Mammoth Hot Springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Each of these tours highlights prominent natural features with photos and descriptions. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Resources and Issues. This Yellowstone National Park online book is a compendium of concise information about the park's history, natural and cultural resources, issues, and major areas. Chapters, which are downloadable as PDF files, focus on the history of the park, the yellowstone ecosystem, geology, life in extreme heat (as in the hot springs), vegetation, fire in yellowstone, wildlife, and park issues. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. This source is a clearinghouse of scientific information about the Yellowstone volcanic system. Topics include recent seismic and thermal activity, volcanic history, references and maps, a photo gallery, and FAQs. This website contains both general information that would be useful for anyone that is seeking information on the Yellowstone volcanic system, as well as more specific resources for geology students or teachers. (more info)


For ideas on how to use these webpages in a classroom, a Study Guide is provided.



Satellite image courtesy of KBS, University of Kansas. All other images courtesy of the National Park Service.

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