Academic Research

Denver Zoological Foundation at Rio Mora NWR is proud to sponsor and facilitate academic research.

Current research:

The lab of Dr. Jesús Rivas (New Mexico Highlands University) – Effects of bullfrogs on native fauna.

Professor Edward Martinez (New Mexico Highlands University) – River restoration and water quality monitoring.

Dr. Craig Conley and Roger Griego (New Mexico Highlands University) – Effects of bison on piñon and juniper trees.

The lab of Dr. Sarah Corey-Rivas (New Mexico Highlands University) is conducting a genetic analysis of the bison on the Wind River Ranch.

Dr. Edward Martínez (New Mexico Highlands University) and staff of the Wind River Ranch have four years of data on mowing and snakeweed.

Staff at the Denver Zoo are analyzing the effects of bison on flora and fauna during the summer of 2011.

Staff from USGS, University of West Virginia, and University of Wyoming are researching the effects of plague on ecological function of the area.

Potential Graduate Research Projects:

Please see Restoration and Research for information about these projects.

  • Quantifying the changes that occur following the placement of rock dams in arroyos and canyons
  • Removing piñon and juniper from grasslands and changes in native grass cover, sheet erosion, changes in soil chemistry, and compare methods of dealing with slash such as effects on soil of mulching, lopping and scattering, or removal for firewood
  • Soil moisture / water table changes due to tree removal
  • Bison and increased grassland health increasing carbon sequestration at a level that will mitigate the effects of climate change
  • Changes in vegetation density and diversity where bison and fire interact, bison graze alone, and fire occurs without grazing
  • Monitor changes in flora and fauna that come with the wetland restoration
  • Detailed survey of flora and fauna that are present today
  • Following changes in the river channel after we induced meander