About the Yellowstone Research Coordination Network
The extent and diversity of geothermal features in
Yellowstone National Park (YNP) represent a fascinating array of high temperature geochemical environments that host a
corresponding number of unique and potentially novel organisms in all of the three recognized domains of life:
The geothermal features of YNP have long been the subject of scientific inquiry, especially in the fields of microbiology,
geochemistry, geothermal hydrology, microbial ecology, and population biology.
The original goal of the Research Coordination Network was to develop a more unified effort among scientists and resource
agencies to characterize, describe, understand and inventory the diverse biota associated with geothermal habitats in YNP.
Various participants of the RCN have coordinated research and outreach activities including the development of database
systems and virtual libraries, and the application of advanced geochemical and molecular methods to characterizing geothermal systems.
Participation of all researchers working on geothermal biology of microorganisms at YNP is encouraged.
Regarding broader scientific impacts, the Research Coordination Network has improved collaboration among research scientists
focused on advancing the forefront of scientific inquiry in geomicrobiology, microbial speciation, microbial physiology,
microbial ecology, molecular phylogenetics, and functional genomics.
Furthermore, the targeted outcomes of the RCN will have broader impacts to several different audiences
including (i) scientific collaborators advancing fundamental understanding of life in extreme environments,
(ii) agency personnel responsible for inventory and management of geothermal resources in YNP, and (iii)
educators focused on YNP visitors, K-12 students, undergraduate students, and graduate students representing
disciplines of geology, geochemistry, microbiology, and ecology.
Changes to the site were funded by a grant from the Yellowstone Park Foundation (www.ypf.org) and
through collaboration with the YNP Center for Resources (A. Rodman, C. Hendrix) and Montana State University (J. Sully, Z. Jay, W. Inskeep).