2023 Seminar Series Recordings Available!

2023 Harlow Seminar Series recordings available!

Dear Friends of the Station,


I want to start by extending a belated but heartfelt thank you to all the folks who braved the rain to make it to our final seminar of the season on August 3. We moved the food to the screened porch and folks crowded around the table in the conference room and balanced plates on their laps in the seminar room to eat. I so appreciate everyone for being game enough to work with the weather. It gave a cozy atmosphere for Dr. Houseal’s wonderful talk.


Speaking of our 2023 Harlow Summer Seminar Series, I’m excited to let you know that the recordings for most of our events this summer have been posted to our website. You can find them on the Events page, with a link to the recording under each seminar listing. I do need to say that the quality of the recordings isn’t up to the standard we hope to achieve in the future but we wanted to prioritize making them accessible as soon as possible. We hope that you’ll still be able to get a good sense of the wonderful events in this year’s series. We are working hard on improving our technology for next year, including better audio and video via Zoom, both for folks watching the events live and for the recordings. In the meantime, please look through the list and see if there are any events you might’ve missed that you’d like to watch or perhaps an event you’d like to share with a friend.


The end of the seminar series and the start of the school year marks a bit of an inflection point in our season. The station is still open and welcoming researchers but many of our long-term summer residents have headed off to their next event and we’re already missing them. As anyone who has lived or worked at a field station knows, there’s a tremendous sense of community that can emerge, which is rewarding and comforting especially when you’re far away from home. There are weird jokes (often something someone exhausted said after a too long day), amazing recipes (often assembled from whatever was left in the back of the fridge before getting to go grocery shopping), and many other bright moments that bring field station folks together. Several of my bright moments from August included chocolate chip raspberry cookies made by one of our NPS interns, seeing a valley garter snake (rare in Grand Teton National Park!) with two of our researchers and some of the contractors restoring Berol Lodge, and hearing the rain drumming on the roof during one of our latest storms. In the next few weeks, we’re looking forward to welcoming back some researchers who were with us earlier this season as well as some new faces.


I hope you’re all well!





Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

Small gold, brown, and black salamander rests on someone's hand in GTNP

Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

The highest diversity of salamanders is found in Southeast United states, but Wyoming is unique to have their only native salamander as their state amphibian, the tiger salamander. These salamanders have several different color variations within the species, subspecies, and region, but typically are dark grey, brown or black with brownish markings (nwf.org). 

Tiger salamanders may be seen after heavy rains, but most of the year they are found burrowed underground. They mate during late winter or early spring at breeding ponds and eggs are laid between 24-48 hours after. After eggs hatch, tiger salamanders are able to live up to 14 years in the wild. To learn more about the Tiger Salamander, check out this article for some fast facts and an easy read!

Written by Anna Cressman
PC: Anna Cressman

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja sp.)

An Indain Paintburhs, a red flower with tubular petals, with Phelps lake far away in the distance, tucked between steep mountainous hills

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja sp.)

With over 200 species of Castilleja, this species of Indian Paintbrush is native to the United States. Wyoming’s state flower is specifically Castilleja linariaefolia, but we will focus on the species coccinea. Coccinea refers to the red petals that resemble cup-like structures. When we think of plants, we know they photosynthesize and get their energy from the direct sunlight, but these plants are hemiparasites, meaning that they get some of their nutrients from other organisms as well. Most of the time, they will parasitize the perennial grasses that accompany them (USFS), as well as sagebrush.

Like any other flowering plant, Indian Paintbrush rely on pollinators to help them reproduce year after year. Because of their interesting petal shape, ruby-throated hummingbirds are a great pollinator of the Indian Paintbrush in general, and other members of this genus. Since hummingbirds have the long, slim bill to reach the nectar, they are a perfect pollinator for these tubular-type flowers.

Click here to learn about how the Indian Paintbrush got its name.

Written by Anna Cressman
PC: Anna Cressman

Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

Dark grey wolf crossing a snowy road in GTNP

Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

Despite what their name might suggest, gray wolves aren’t just gray. Their coats can vary between gray, black, white, and tan. They usually live in packs of two to over twenty wolves, communicating through scent, body language, and vocalizations. As a pack, they often hunt together to bring down large prey like bison, elk, and moose, and they also work together to raise their young pups. While it is possible to spot wolves in Grand Teton National Park, you are far more likely to view them in Northern Yellowstone at dawn or dusk, when they are most active. In GTNP, bring binoculars and keep an eye out while exploring sagebrush flats or when visiting the Elk Refuge – you might get lucky!

Wolves play an important role in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), sharing complex relationships with other species in the area. Ecologists staying at the UW-NPS research station have had the unique opportunity to study the effects of wolf reintroduction in the GYE, and in our most recent annual reports, you can read about wolves’ impact on elk, moose, aspen, and beaver.

Source: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/wolf-restoration.htm

Written by Shawna Wolf
PC: YNP on Flickr https://flic.kr/p/qsNk2e

Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)

A vibrant yellow, black, and red bird perched on top of a small branch

Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)

Western Tanagers are a species of small passerine birds found in forested, mountainous areas from Alaska to Panama.  On average, they are about 7 inches long with an 11-inch wingspan, and typically weigh 28 grams. As with many species of songbirds, the males are much more vibrantly colored than their female counterparts. Males are easily identifiable by their bright yellow body, reddish-orange head, black back and wings, and white wing bars. The females have an olive-green body and head, with grey wings and white wing bars.

Western tanagers typically spend winters in the tropical forests of Central America. They are monogamous and will form pairs either in their wintering grounds or during migration. When they arrive in their breeding grounds in April or May, they establish territories that they defend with songs and by chasing out rival males. While they mostly catch and eat insects in flight, they have also been known to eat fruits and nectar from plants.

Most birds with red plumage get their coloration from plant pigments called carotenoids, but Western Tanagers get their scarlet coloration from a rarer pigment known as rhodoxanthin. It is thought that they obtain this pigment from insects in their diet. Learn more about these pristine passerines.

Written by Timothy Uttenhove
PC: USFWS Pacific Southwest Region on Flickr https://flic.kr/p/9C1gCY