For more information on species & ecosystem science:

Wildlife Science

Fish Science

Habitat Science


Lead Scientist: Cliff Rice

Ecoregions: Northwest Coast, North Cascades, West Cascades, East Cascades, Okanogan

Ecological Systems: North Pacific Maritime Mesic Subalpine Parkland, North Pacific Montane Massive Bedrock Cliff and Talus, Northern Rocky Mountain Subalpine Woodland and Parkland, North Pacific Alpine and Subalpine Bedrock and Scree


Mountain Goat Ecology


Project Description

Studies of mountain goat habitat selection are ongoing.  They are being undertaken by Tana Beus and Adam Wells, graduate students at Western Washington University (under the direction of David Wallin) and the University of Idaho (under the direction of Oz Garton and Janet Rachlow).  Adam’s initial project was to test the mountain goat GPS collars all over the Cascades to see how they performed under varying conditions of terrain and vegetation.  This was necessary because, when the GPS collars cannot reach enough GPS satellites, they cannot get a fix.  As a result, the record of locations from the collar is biased toward terrain and vegetation which is favorable for GPS reception, and Adam’s work will allow the correction of habitat studies to adjust for this bias.  Tana's  work will deal with the other issue in using GPS collar locations in habitat studies - the autocorrelation of the GPS fixes.  With the completion of Adam’s and Tana’s analyses, we should have a good idea of the factors favored by mountain goats in summer and winter and be able to map these for the entire Cascade Range.  This will help in planning translocations and managing mountain goat habitat for recreation, forestry, or whatever.