The diverse collection of plant and animal life within the Crown of the Continent ecosystem is, perhaps, its greatest treasure. Dozens of prey and predator species interact on land, water, and in the air, encompassing mountain, forest, prairie, and aquatic environments, while hundreds of plant species from moss to giant trees provide food and habitat for each of them. This vast collection of living organisms attracts visitors from around the world and draws researchers who are looking to study the intricate and interweaving processes of nature.
Researchers from federal agencies and private institutions are engaged in a variety of studies to determine the distribution, abundance, and health of species, as well as their responses to stress factors such as climate change, habitat degradation, and the introduction of invasive species. Studying these vital signs will help us make better management decisions to protect them from future threats and will provide a better understanding into the integrity of ecosystems supporting them.