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Michael K. Schwartz

Dr. Schwartz sampling water to detect threatened and invasive species

Director, National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation

800 East Beckwith Avenue
Missoula, MT 59801
Contact Michael K. Schwartz

Current Research

My research has been focused on the fields of population, conservation, and landscape genetics/genomic, with an emphasis on research that provides practical answers to natural resource problems. I have tried to combine my molecular ecology work, which often takes place in the laboratory, with a strong field component, as I believe that we derive the best scientific understandings of species and ecosystems through the amalgamation of field and laboratory methods. When not working on solutions to management puzzles, I aim to conduct research that tries to understand how ecological and evolutionary forces interact to influence species distribution, and how these patterns interact with each other to influence local biodiversity. In general, my research has been centered on the following topic areas listed under “Research Interests”

Research Interests

Conservation Genetics / Genomics:

The vast majority of legal actions constraining natural resource agencies involve wildlife. It is not uncommon for a management activity to be halted because of the lack of information regarding a sensitive, threatened, or endangered species. One recent technological advance that has improved wildlife managers' ability to make inferences regarding wildlife populations comes from the field of molecular biology. Overall, the rapidly developing field of molecular biology has much to offer the wildlife biology discipline, thus I focus my R&D on turning population genetics theory and human medicine-based genomic technology into tools readily available for conservation.

Genetic Monitoring:

One of the principle tasks of many wildlife managers is to understand changes in wildlife population metrics (e.g., abundance, survival) as a function of changes in natural conditions or management actions. Most of these population metrics are difficult to obtain for wildlife species. The field of genetic monitoring has much to offer, as genetic indices are relatively simple to obtain and have been shown to be a strong reflection of population change. The benefit from genetic monitoring is partially due to the fact that genetic samples can be collected non-invasively. Thus, it is now possible to obtain estimates of wildlife abundance and other commonly used wildlife metrics for traditionally difficult to study species over multiple time periods. Currently, the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation is focusing on using environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling, where DNA is collected in filtered water and other environmental mediums, to develop cost effective monitoring approaches.

Landscape Genetics / Genomics

I have been interested in the statistical integration of landscape ecology principles and population genetic metrics as they fuse into the field of landscape genetics. Landscape genetics provides new ways to define animal movements, evaluate corridors, and define population substructure using molecular genetics data. Ultimately, using landscape genetic models we are be able to advise managers as to what patches of land are most valuable for each species, and if corridors function for multiple species, or are species specific. Currently, we are working on ways to simultaneously improve connectivity for multiple species while taking into account economic costs. Future work will project these landscapes forward in light of climate change to assess how genetic connectivity will change.

Ecology of Threatened and Endangered Species

I have lead field studies on several endangered species. These studies have focused on questions related to population demography, behavioral ecology, and habitat use. While these ecological studies are vestiges of my responsibilities prior to becoming the Conservation Genetics Team Leader for the Rocky Mountain Research Station, they are something I highly value; my best natural history and research insights were inspired from times when I collected ecological field data, thus I hope to continue this work.


  • Colby College, Waterville, Maine, B.A., Psychology, 1991
  • American University, Washington, DC, Masters, Ecology and Evolution, 1996
  • University of Montana, Ph.D., Wildlife Biology, 2001
  • Professional Experience

    Director, National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation
    2014 to present

    Conservation Genetics Team Leader, Rocky Mountain Research Station
    2001 to 2014

    Acting Director, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Intstitute
    2011 to 2012

    Professional Organizations

    • Society for Conservation Biology, Handling Editor ( 2011 to present )
    • University of Montana, Adjunct Faculty ( 2001 to present )
    • Conservation Genetics, Associate Editor (Editorial Board) ( 2006 to 2012 )


    RMRS Visionary Science Award, 2011
    National Wilderness Award - Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Research, 2009
    Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering, 2005

    Featured Publications


    Franklin, Thomas; Wilcox, Taylor M.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Greaves, Samuel; Dysthe, Joseph; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2019. Repurposing environmental DNA samples to verify the distribution of Rocky Mountain tailed frogs in the Warm Springs Creek Basin, Montana
    Franklin, Thomas; Dysthe, Joseph; Rubenson, Erika S.; Carim, Kellie; Olden, Julian D.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2018. A non-invasive sampling method for detecting non-native smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)
    Dysthe, Joseph; Franklin, Thomas; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2018. An improved environmental DNA assay for bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) based on the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer I
    Wilcox, Taylor M.; Zarn, Katherine E.; Piggott, Maxine P.; Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2018. Capture enrichment of aquatic environmental DNA: A first proof of concept
    Isaak, Daniel J.; Young, Michael K.; McConnell, Callie; Roper, Brett B.; Archer, Eric K.; Staab, Brian; Hirsch, Christine; Nagel, David E.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Chandler, Gwynne L., 2018. Crowd-sourced databases as essential elements for Forest Service partnerships and aquatic resource conservation
    Wilcox, Taylor M.; Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Isaak, Daniel J.; Horan, Dona; Schwartz, Michael K., 2018. Fine-scale environmental DNA sampling reveals climate-mediated interactions between native and invasive trout species
    Franklin, Thomas; Dysthe, Joseph; Golden, Michael; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Hossack, Blake R.; Carim, Kellie; Tait, Cynthia; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2018. Inferring presence of the western toad (Anaxyrus boreas) species complex using environmental DNA
    Dysthe, Joseph; Carim, Kellie; Franklin, Thomas; Kikkert, Dave; Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2018. Molecular detection of northern leatherside chub (Lepidomeda copei) DNA in environmental samples
    Golding, Jessie; Schwartz, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Squires, John R.; Jackson, Scott D.; Staab, Cara; Sadak, Rema B., 2018. Multispecies mesocarnivore monitoring: USDA Forest Service multiregional monitoring approach
    Row, Jeffrey R.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Cross, Todd B.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Oyler-McCance, Sara; Naugle, Dave E.; Knick, Steven T.; Fedy, Bradley C., 2018. Quantifying functional connectivity: The role of breeding habitat, abundance, and landscape features on range-wide gene flow in sage-grouse
    Cross, Patrick R.; Sacks, Benjamin N.; Luikart, Gordon; Schwartz, Michael K.; Van Etten, Keith W.; Crabtree, Robert L., 2018. Red fox ancestry and connectivity assessments reveal minimal fur farm introgression in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
    Dysthe, Joseph; Rodgers, Torrey; Franklin, Thomas; Carim, Kellie; Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Mock, Karen E.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2018. Repurposing environmental DNA samples: Detecting the western pearlshell (Margaritifera falcata) as a proof of concept
    Cross, Todd B.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Naugle, David E.; Fedy, Brad C.; Row, Jeffrey R.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J., 2018. The genetic network of greater sage-grouse: Range-wide identification of keystone hubs of connectivity
    Wilcox, T. M.; Carim, Kellie; Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Franklin, Thomas; Schwartz, Michael K., 2018. The importance of sound methodology in environmental DNA sampling
    Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Jennings, Tara; Carter, Katie; Cronn, Richard; Keeley, Ernest R.; Loxterman, Janet L.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2018. The phylogeography of westslope cutthroat trout
    Mason, Daniel H.; Dysthe, Joseph; Franklin, Thomas; Skorupski, Joseph A.; Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2018. qPCR detection of Sturgeon chub (Macrhybopsis gelida) DNA in environmental samples
    Carim, Kellie; Dysthe, Joseph; Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2017. A noninvasive tool to assess the distribution of Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) in the Columbia River basin
    Young, Michael K.; Isaak, Daniel J.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Wilcox, Taylor M.; Campbell, Matthew R.; Corsi, Matthew P.; Horan, Dona; Schwartz, Michael K., 2017. Ecological segregation moderates a climactic conclusion to trout hybridization
    Dysthe, Joseph; Carim, Kellie; Ruggles, Michael; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2017. Environmental DNA assays for the sister taxa aauger (Sander canadensis) and walleye (Sander vitreus)
    Cross, Todd B.; Naugle, David E.; Carlson, John C.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2017. Genetic recapture identifies long-distance breeding dispersal in Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)
    Tucker, Jody M.; Allendorf, Fred W.; Truex, Richard L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2017. Sex-biased dispersal and spatial heterogeneity affect landscape resistance to gene flow in fisher
    Slauson, Keith M.; Zielinski, William J.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2017. Ski areas affect Pacific marten movement, habitat use, and density
    Carim, Kellie; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Wilcox, Taylor M.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. A protocol for collecting environmental DNA samples from streams
    Padgett-Stewart, Ticha M.; Wilcox, Taylor M.; Carim, Kellie; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. An eDNA assay for river otter detection: A tool for surveying a semi-aquatic mammal
    Carim, Kellie; Dysthe, Joseph; Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. An environmental DNA assay for detecting Arctic grayling in the upper Missouri River basin, North America
    Carim, Kellie; Wilcox, T. M.; Anderson, M.; Lawrence, D.; Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. An environmental DNA marker for detecting nonnative brown trout (Salmo trutta)
    Juarez, Rebeca L.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Thompson, Daniel J.; Tucker, Stephanie A.; Smith, Joshua B.; Jenks, Jonathan A., 2016. Assessing temporal genetic variation in a cougar population: Influence of harvest and neighboring populations
    Young, Michael K.; Isaak, Daniel J.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Wilcox, Taylor M.; Bingham, Daniel M.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Carim, Kellie; Campbell, Matthew R.; Corsi, Matthew P.; Horan, Dona; Nagel, David E.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. Climate, demography, and zoogeography predict introgression thresholds in salmonid hybrid zones in Rocky Mountain streams
    Finch, Deborah M.; Boyce, Douglas A.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Colt, Chris J.; Dumroese, Kasten; Kitchen, Stanley G.; McCarthy, Clinton; Meyer, Susan E.; Richardson, Bryce A.; Rowland, Mary M.; ; Schwartz, Michael K.; Tomosy, Monica S.; Wisdom, Michael J., 2016. Conservation and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse: An assessment of USDA Forest Service Science
    Stetz, Jeffrey B.; Smith, Seth; Sawaya, Michael A.; Ramsey, Alan B.; Amish, Stephen J.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Luikart, Gordon, 2016. Discovery of 20,000 RAD-SNPs and development of a 52-SNP array for monitoring river otters
    Carim, Kellie; Christianson, K. R.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Pate, W. M.; Silver, D. B.; Johnson, B. M.; Galloway, B. T.; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. Environmental DNA marker development with sparse biological information: A case study on opossum shrimp (Mysis diluviana)
    Miller, Sue; Schwartz, Michael K.; Olson, Lucretia E., 2016. Here today, here tomorrow: Managing forests for fisher habitat in the Northern Rockies
    Cross, Todd B.; Naugle, David E.; Carlson, John C.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. Hierarchical population structure in greater sage-grouse provides insight into management boundary delineation
    Roffler, Gretchen H.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Sage, George K.; Adams, Layne G.; Luikart, Gordon, 2016. Identification of landscape features influencing gene flow: How useful are habitat selection models?
    Hanks, Ephraim M.; Hooten, Melvin B.; Knick, Steven T.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Fike, Jennifer A.; Cross, Todd B.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. Latent spatial models and sampling design for landscape genetics
    Hawley, Jason E.; Rego, Paul W.; Wydeven, Adrian P.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Viner, Tabitha C.; Kays, Roland; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Jenks, Jonathan A., 2016. Long-distance dispersal of a subadult male cougar from South Dakota to Connecticut documented with DNA evidence
    McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Wilcox, Taylor M.; Bingham, Daniel M.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. Patterns of hybridization among cutthroat trout and rainbow trout in northern Rocky Mountain streams
    Dysthe, Joseph; Carim, Kellie; Paroz, Yvette M.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. Quantitative PCR assays for detecting loach minnow (Rhinichthys cobitis) and spikedace (Meda fulgida) in the southwestern United States
    Roffler, Gretchen H.; Amish, Stephen J.; Smith, Seth; Cosart, Ted; Kardos, Marty; Schwartz, Michael K.; Luikart, Gordon, 2016. SNP discovery in candidate adaptive genes using exon capture in a free-ranging alpine ungulate
    McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Knotek, W. L.; Carim, Kellie; Wilcox, T. M.; Padgett-Stewart, T. M.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. Sampling large geographic areas for rare species using environmental DNA: A study of bull trout Salvelinus confluentus occupancy in western Montana
    Kretser, Heidi; Glennon, Michale; Whitelaw, Alice; Hurt, Aimee; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. Scat-detection dogs survey low density moose in New York
    Wilcox, Taylor M.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Sepulveda, Adam J.; Shepard, Bradley B.; Jane, Stephen F.; Whiteley, Andrew R.; Lowe, Winsor H.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2016. Understanding environmental DNA detection probabilities: A case study using a stream-dwelling char Salvelinus fontinalis
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Hahn, Beth A.; Hossack, Blake R., 2016. Where the wild things are: A research agenda for studying the wildlife-wilderness relationship
    Wilcox, Taylor M.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Lowe, Winsor H.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2015. Environmental DNA particle size distribution from Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)
    Schoenecker, Kathryn A.; Watry, Mary Kay; Ellison, Laura E.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Luikart, Gordon L., 2015. Estimating bighorn sheep (Ovis Canadensis) abundance using noninvasive sampling at a mineral lick within a national park wilderness area
    Shafer, Aaron B. A.; Wolf, Jochen B. W.; Alves, Paulo C.; Bergstrom, Linnea; Bruford, Michael W.; Brannstrom, Ioana; Colling, Guy; Dalen, Love; Meester, Luc De; Ekblom, Robert; Fawcett, Katie D.; Fior, Simone; Hajibabaei, Mehrdad; Hill, Jason A.; Hoezel, A. Rus; Hoglund, Jacob; Jensen, Evelyn L.; Krause, Johannes; Kristensen, Torsten N.; Krutzen, Michael; McKay, John K.; Norman, Anita J.; Ogden, Rob; Osterling, E. Martin; Ouborg, N. Joop; Piccolo, John; Popovic, Danijela; Primmer, Craig R.; Reed, Floyd A.; Roumet, Marie; Salmona, Jordi; Schenekar, Tamara; Schwartz, Michael K.; Segelbacher, Gernot; Senn, Helen; Thaulow, Jens; Valtonen, Mia; Veale, Andrew; Vergeer, Philippine; Vijay, Nagarjun; Vila, Carles; Weissensteiner, Matthias; Wennerstrom, Lovisa; Wheat, Christopher W.; Zielinski, Piotr, 2015. Genomics and the challenging translation into conservation practice
    Proffitt, K. M.; Goldberg, J. F.; Hebblewhite, M.; Russell, R.; Jimenez, B. S.; Robinson, H. S.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2015. Integrating resource selection into spatial capture-recapture models for large carnivores
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Sanderlin, Jamie S.; Block, William M., 2015. Manage habitat, monitor species [Chapter 10]
    Keith, David; Akcakaya, H. Resit; Butchart, Stuart H.M.; Collen, Ben; Dulvy, Nicholas K.; Holmes, Elizabeth E.; Hutchings, Jeffrey A.; Keinath, Doug; Schwartz, Michael K.; Shelton, Andrew O.; Waples, Robin S., 2015. Temporal correlations in population trends: Conservation implications from time-series analysis of diverse animal taxa
    Wilcox, Taylor M.; Carim, Kellie; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2015. The dual challenges of generality and specificity when developing environmental DNA markers for species and subspecies of Oncorhynchus
    Wilcox, Taylor M.; Schwartz, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Lowe, Winsor H., 2014. A blocking primer increases specificity in environmental DNA detection of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus)
    Lemoine, Michael; Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Eby, Lisa; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2014. Cottus schitsuumsh, a new species of sculpin (Scorpaeniformes: Cottidae) in the Columbia River basin, Idaho-Montana, USA
    Jane, Stephen F.; Wilcox, Taylor M.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Lowe, Winsor H.; Letcher, Benjamin H.; Whiteley, Andrew R., 2014. Distance, flow and PCR inhibition: eDNA dynamics in two headwater streams
    Happe, Patricia J.; Jenkins, Kurt J.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Lewis, Jeffrey C.; Aubry, Keith B., 2014. Evaluation of fisher restoration in Olympic National Park and the Olympic Recovery Area: 2013 Annual Progress Report
    Roffler, Gretchen H.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Luikart, Gordon; Sage, George K.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Adams, Layne G.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2014. Lack of sex-biased dispersal promotes fine-scale genetic structure in alpine ungulates
    McKelvey, Kevin S.; Aubry, Keith B.; Anderson, Neil J.; Clevenger, Anthony P.; Copeland, Jeffrey P.; Heinemeyer, Kimberley S.; Inman, Robert M.; Squires, John R.; Waller, John S.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2014. Recovery of wolverines in the western United States: Recent extirpation and recolonization or range retraction and expansion?
    McKelvey, Kevin S.; Aubry, Keith B.; Anderson, Neil J.; Clevenger, Anthony P.; Copeland, Jeffrey P.; Heinemeyer, Kimberley S.; Inman, Robert M.; Squires, John R.; Waller, John S.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2014. Recovery of wolverines in the western United States: recent extirpation and recolonization or range retraction and expansion?
    Tucker, Jody M.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Truex, Richard L.; Wisely, Samantha M.; Allendorf, Fred W., 2014. Sampling affects the detection of genetic subdivision and conservation implications for fisher in the Sierra Nevada
    Pierson, Jennifer C.; Allendorf, Fred W.; Drapeau, Pierre; Schwartz, Michael K., 2013. Breed locally, disperse globally: Fine-scale genetic structure despite landscape-scale panmixia in a fire-specialist
    McCall, Barbara S.; Mitchell, Michael S.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Hayden, Jim; Cushman, Samuel A.; Zager, Pete; Kasworm, Wayne F., 2013. Combined use of mark-recapture and genetic analyses reveals response of a black bear population to changes in food productivity
    Young, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2013. DNA barcoding at riverscape scales: Assessing biodiversity among fishes of the genus Cottus (Teleostei) in northern Rocky Mountain streams
    Albrecht, Nathan; Heusser, C.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Sauder, J.; Vinkey, R., 2013. Effects of snow on fisher and marten distributions in Idaho
    Zielinski, William J.; Schlexer, Fredrick V.; George, T. Luke; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2013. Estimating abundance and survival in the endangered Point Arena Mountain beaver using noninvasive genetic methods
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Saunder, Joel; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Vinkey, Ray; Lucid, Michael K.; Parks, Sean A.; Albrecht, Nathan, 2013. Fisher population and landscape genetics
    McKelvey, Kevin S.; Ramirez, Jennifer E.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Cushman, Samuel A.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2013. Genetic sampling of Palmer's chipmunks in the Spring Mountains, Nevada
    Dilkina, Bistra; Lai, Katherine; Le Bras, Ronan; Xue, Yexiang; Gomes, Carla P.; Sabharwal, Ashish; Suter, Jordan; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Montgomery, Claire, 2013. Large landscape conservation-synthetic and real-world datasets
    Aubry, Keith B.; Raley, Catherine M.; Buskirk, Steven W.; Zielinski, William J.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Golightly, Richard T.; Purcell, Kathryn L.; Weir, Richard D.; Yaeger, J. Scott, 2013. Meta-analyses of habitat selection by fishers at resting sites in the Pacific coastal region
    Wilcox, Taylor M.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Jane, Stephen F.; Lowe, Winsor H.; Whiteley, Andrew R.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2013. Robust detection of rare species using environmental DNA: The importance of primer specificity
    Le Bras, Ronan; Dilkina, Bistra; Xue, Yexiang; Gomes, Carla P.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Montgomery, Claire A., 2013. Robust network design for multispecies conservation
    Swanson, Alan K.; Dobrowski, Solomon Z.; Finley, Andrew O.; Thorne, James H.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2013. Spatial regression methods capture prediction uncertainty in species distribution model projections through time
    Lucid, Michael; Robinson, L.; Cushman, Samuel A.; Allen, L.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Pilgrim, Kristine L., 2013. Status of fisher in the northern Idaho panhandle and adjacent mountain ranges
    Dobrowski, Solomon Z.; Abatzoglou, John; Swanson, Alan K.; Greenberg, Jonathan A.; Mynsberge, Alison R.; Holden, Zachary A.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2013. The climate velocity of the contiguous United States during the 20th century
    Perez-Figueroa, Andres; Wallen, Rick L.; Antao, Tiago; Coombs, Jason A.; Schwartz, Michael K.; White, P. J.; Luikart, Gordon, 2012. Conserving genomic variability in large mammals: Effect of population fluctuations and variance in male reproductive success on variability in Yellowstone bison
    Tallmon, David A.; Waples, Robin S.; Gregovich, Dave; Schwartz, Michael K., 2012. Detecting population recovery using gametic disequilibrium-based effective population size estimates
    Campbell, N. R.; Amish, S. J.; Prichard, V. L.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Young, Michael K.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Garza, J. C.; Luikart, G.; Narum, S. R., 2012. Development and evaluation of 200 novel SNP assays for population genetic studies of westslope cutthroat trout and genetic identification of related taxa
    Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Zielinski, William J.; Schlexer, Fredrick V.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2012. Development of a reliable method for determining sex for a primitive rodent, the Point Arena mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa nigra)
    Russell, Robin E.; Royle, J. Andrew; Desimone, Richard; Schwartz, Michael K.; Edwards, Victoria L.; Pilgrim, Kristy P.; McKelvey, Kevin S., 2012. Estimating abundance of mountain lions from unstructured spatial sampling
    Tucker, Jody M.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Truex, Richard L.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Allendorf, Fred W., 2012. Historical and contemporary DNA indicate fisher decline and isolation occurred prior to the European settlement of California
    Hansen, Michael M.; Olivieri, Isabelle; Waller, Donald M.; Nielsen, Einar E.; Allendorf, F. W.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Baker, C. S.; Gregovich, D. P.; Jackson, J. A.; Kendall, K. C.; Laikre, L.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Neel, M. C.; Ryman, N.; Short Bull, R.; Stetz, J. B.; Tallmon, D. A.; Vojta, C. D.; Waples, R. S., 2012. Monitoring adaptive genetic responses to environmental change
    Hutchings, Jeffrey A.; Butchart, Stuart H. M.; Collen, Ben; Schwartz, Michael K.; Waples, Robin S., 2012. Red flags: correlates of impaired species recovery
    Zielinski, William J.; Schlexer, Fredrick V.; Parks, Sean A.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2012. Small geographic range but not panmictic: how forests structure the endangered Point Arena mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa nigra)
    Marucco, Francesca; Boitani, Luigi; Pletscher, Daniel H.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2011. Bridging the gaps between non-invasive genetic sampling and population parameter estimation
    McKelvey, Kevin S.; Copeland, Jeffrey P.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Aubry, Keith B.; Squires, John R.; Parks, Sean A.; Elsner, Marketa M.; Mauger, Guillaume S., 2011. Climate change predicted to shift wolverine distributions, connectivity, and dispersal corridors
    Jackson, Jennifer A.; Laikre, Linda; Baker, C. Scott; Kendall, Katherine C.; Allendorf, F. W.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2011. Guidelines for collecting and maintaining archives for genetic monitoring
    Magoun, Audrey J.; Long, Clinton D.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Lowell, Richard E.; Valkenburg, Patrick, 2011. Integrating motion-detection cameras and hair snags for wolverine identification
    Knaus, Brian J.; Cronn, Richard; Liston, Aaron; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2011. Mitochondrial genome sequences illuminate maternal lineages of conservation concern in a rare carnivore
    Lai, Katherine J.; Gomes, Carla P.; Schwartz, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Calkin, Dave E.; Montgomery, Claire A., 2011. The Steiner Multigraph Problem: Wildlife corridor design for multiple species
    Short Bull, R. A.; Cushman, Samuel A.; Mace, R.; Chilton, T.; Kendall, K. C.; Landguth, E. L.; Schwartz, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Allendorf, Fred W.; Luikart, G., 2011. Why replication is important in landscape genetics: American black bear in the Rocky Mountains
    Laikre, Linda; Schwartz, Michael K.; Waples, Robin S.; Ryman, Nils; Allendorf, F. W.; Baker, C. S.; Gregovich, D. P.; Hansen, M. M.; Jackson, J. A.; Kendall, K. C.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Neel, M. C.; Olivieri, I.; Short Bull, R.; Stetz, J. B.; Tallmon, D. A.; Vojta, C. D.; Waller, D. M., 2010. Compromising genetic diversity in the wild: Unmonitored large-scale release of plants and animals
    Pierson, Jennifer; Allendorf, Fred W.; Saab, Victoria A.; Drapeau, Pierre; Schwartz, Michael K., 2010. Do male and female black-backed woodpeckers respond differently to gaps in habitat?
    Luikart, Gordon; Ryman, Nils; Tallmon, David A.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Allendorf, Fred W., 2010. Estimation of census and effective population sizes: the increasing usefulness of DNA-based approaches
    Brinkman, Todd J.; Person, David K.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Colson, Kevin E.; Hundertmark, Kris J., 2010. Individual identification of Sitka black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis) using DNA from fecal pellets
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Luikart, Gordon; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Cushman, Samuel A., 2010. Landscape genomics: A brief perspective [Chapter 9]
    Landguth, E. L.; Cushman, Samuel A.; Schwartz, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Murphy, M.; Luikart, G., 2010. Quantifying the lag time to detect barriers in landscape genetics
    Mullen, Lindy B.; Woods, H. Arthur; Schwartz, Michael K.; Sepulveda, Adam J.; Lowe, Winsor H., 2010. Scale-dependent genetic structure of the Idaho giant salamander (Dicamptodon aterrimus) in stream networks
    Wasserman, Tzeidle N.; Cushman, Samuel A.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Wallin, David O., 2010. Spatial scaling and multi-model inference in landscape genetics: Martes americana in northern Idaho
    Copeland, J. P.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Aubry, K. B.; Landa, A.; Persson, J.; Inman, R. M.; Krebs, J.; Lofroth, E.; Golden, H.; Squires, John R.; Magoun, A.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Wilmot, J.; Copeland, C. L.; Yates, R. E.; Kojola, I.; May, R., 2010. The bioclimatic envelope of the wolverine (Gulo gulo): do climatic constraints limit its geographic distribution?
    Tallmon, David A.; Gregovich, Dave; Waples, Robin S.; Baker, C. Scott; Jackson, Jennifer; Taylor, Barbara L.; Archer, Eric; Martien, Karen K.; Allendorf, Fred W.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2010. When are genetic methods useful for estimating contemporary abundance and detecting population trends?
    Beja-Pereira, Albano; Oliveira, Rita; Alves, Paulo C.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Luikart, Gordon, 2009. Advancing ecological understandings through technological transformations in noninvasive genetics
    Brinkman, Todd J.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Person, David K.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Hundertmark, Kris J., 2009. Effects of time and rainfall on PCR success using DNA extracted from deer fecal pellets
    McKelvey, Kevin S.; Cushman, Samuel A.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2009. Landscape genetics [Chapter 17]
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Vucetich, John A., 2009. Molecules and beyond: Assessing the distinctness of the Great Lakes wolf
    Laikre, Linda; Allendorf, Fred W.; Aroner, Laurel C.; Baker, C. Scott; Gregovich, David P.; Hansen, Michael M.; Jackson, Jennifer A.; Kendall, Katherine C.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Neel, Maile C.; Olivieri, Isabelle; Ryman, Nils; Schwartz, Michael K.; Bull, Ruth Short; Stetz, Jeffrey B.; Tallmon, David A.; Taylor, Barbara L.; Vojta, Christina D.; Waller, Donald M.; Waples, Robin S., 2009. Neglect of genetic diversity in implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity
    McKelvey, Kevin S.; Cushman, Samuel A.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Ruggiero, Leonard F., 2009. Wildlife monitoring across multiple spatial scales using grid-based sampling
    Marucco, Francesca; Pletscher, Daniel H.; Boitani, Luigi; Schwartz, Michael K.; Pilgrim, Kristy L.; Lebreton, Jean-Dominique, 2009. Wolf survival and population trend using non-invasive capture-recapture techniques in the Western Alps
    Moriarty, Katie M.; Zielinski, William J.; Gonzales, Armand G; Dawson, Todd E.; Boatner, Kristie M.; Wilson, Craig A; Schlexer, Frederick V.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Copeland, Jeffrey P.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2009. Wolverine confirmation in California after nearly a century: native or long-distance immigrant
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Copeland, Jeffrey P.; Anderson, Neil J.; Squires, John R.; Inman, Robert M.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Pilgrim, Kristy L.; Waits, Lisette P.; Cushman, Samuel A., 2009. Wolverine gene flow across a narrow climatic niche
    Homyack, Jessica A.; Vashon, Jennifer H.; Libby, Cade; Lindquist, Edward L.; Loch, Steve; McAlpine, Donald F.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2008. Canada lynx-bobcat (Lynx canadensis x L. rufus) hybrids at the southern periphery of lynx range in Maine, Minnesota and New Brunswick
    Cushman, Samuel A.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2008. Case study 6.1: DNA survey for fisher in northern Idaho
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Monfort, Steven L., 2008. Genetic and endocrine tools for carnivore surveys
    Cushman, Samuel A.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2008. Use of empirically derived source-destination models to map regional conservation corridors
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Rivera, Pilar T.; Ruggiero, Leonard F., 2007. DNA markers for identifying individual snowshoe hares using field-collected pellets
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Luikart, Gordon; Waples, Robin S., 2007. Genetic monitoring as a promising tool for conservation and management
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Aubry, Keith B.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Copeland, Jeffrey P.; Squires, John R.; Inman, Robert M.; Wisely, Samantha M.; Ruggiero, Leonard F., 2007. Inferring geographic isolation of wolverines in California using historical DNA
    Squires, John R.; Copeland, Jeffrey P.; Ulizio, Todd J.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Ruggiero, Leonard F., 2007. Sources and patterns of wolverine mortality in western Montana
    McKelvey, Kevin S.; von Kienast, Jeffrey; Aubry, Keith B.; Koehler, Gary M.; Maletzke, Bejamin T.; Squires, John R.; Lindquist, Edward L.; Loch, Steve; Schwartz, Michael K., 2006. DNA analysis of hair and scat collected along snow tracks to document the presence of Canada Lynx.
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Cushman, Samuel A.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Hayden, Jim; Engkjer, Cory, 2006. Detecting genotyping errors and describing black bear movement in northern Idaho
    Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Zielinski, William J.; Mazurek, Mary J.; Schlexer, Frederick V.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2006. Development and characterization of microsatellite markers in the Point Arena mountain beaver Aplodontia rufa nigra
    Cushman, Samuel A.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Hayden, Jim; Schwartz, Michael K., 2006. Gene flow in complex landscapes: Testing multiple hypotheses with causal modeling
    Ulizio, Todd J.; Squires, John R.; Pletscher, Daniel H.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Claar, James J.; Ruggiero, Leonard F., 2006. The efficacy of obtaining genetic-based identifications from putative wolverine snow tracks
    Zielinski, William J.; Schlexer, Fredrick V.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2006. The efficacy of wire and glue hair snares in identifying mesocarnivores
    Vinkey, Ray S.; Schwartz, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Foresman, Kerry R.; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Giddings, Brian J.; Lofroth, Eric C., 2006. When reintroductions are augmentations: the genetic legacy of the fisher (Martes pennanti) in Montana
    Holthausen, Richard; Czaplewski, Raymond L. Ph.D.; DeLorenzo, Don; Hayward, Greg; Kessler, Winifred B.; Manley, Pat; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Powell, Douglas S.; Ruggiero, Leonard F.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Van Horne, Bea; Vojta, Christina D., 2005. Strategies for monitoring terrestrial animals and habitats
    Manel, Stephanie; Schwartz, Michael K.; Luikart, Gordon; Taberlet, Pierre, 2003. Landscape genetics: combining landscape ecology and population genetics
    Schwartz, Michael K.; Mills, L. S.; Ortega, Yvette K.; Ruggiero, L. F.; Allendorf, F. W., 2003. Landscape location affects genetic variation of Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)
    Ruggiero, Leonard F.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Aubry, Keith B.; Krebs, Charles J.; Stanley, Amanda; Buskirk, Steven W., 2000. Species conservation and natural variation among populations [Chapter 5]
    A suspected lynx has triggered this photo from a game camera in Montana (photo credit: Don Heffington).
    A new project showed that animal footprints in snow contain enough DNA for species identification, even when the snow was many months old. The study extracted DNA from snow samples collected within animal tracks as well as areas where the animal had been photographed months earlier. Newly developed genetic assays were applied and positively detected the DNA of each species, performing nearly flawlessly on samples previously considered too poor to provide usable DNA. This method could revolutionize winter surveys of rare species by greatly reducing or eliminating misidentifications and missed detections.
    National Genomics Center stream water filter setup for eDNA sample collection
    The National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation pioneered development of eDNA sampling of aquatic environments at their laboratory in Missoula, MT. The Center has partnered with dozens of National Forests, as well as other state, federal, tribal, and private natural resource organizations to assist in the collection and processing of eDNA samples. Thousands of eDNA samples are collected annually and constitute a rapidly growing biodiversity archive that provides precise information about native and non-native species distributions, temporal trends in those distributions, and the efficacy of species and habitat restoration and conservation efforts. eDNA sampling provides a low-cost & sensitive method for determining which species occur in water bodies. Rapid adoption of eDNA sampling by many natural resource agencies led to an exponential increase in data and the need for an open-access database. The website and open-access database were launched in June 2018 with approximately 6,000 samples and is updated semi-annually with newly processed samples.
    Effective conservation and management decisions for habitats require information about the distribution of multiple species but such data is expensive to obtain; this often limits data collection to just a few, high-profile species. Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling can be more sensitive, and less expensive, than traditional sampling for aquatic species, and a single sample potentially contains DNA from all species present in a waterbody. Cost-savings accrue if eDNA collected for detecting a particular species can be repurposed to detect additional species. This study tested the feasibility of repurposing and re-analyzing already collected samples.   
    A new optimization technique will help conservation biologists choose the most cost-effective ways of connecting isolated populations of rare species. As the human population grows and expands its footprint, maintaining the connectivity of wildlife habitats is a challenge, but an RMRS-led team has developed tools for cost-effective solutions.
    Westslope cutthroat trout, native to the Columbia River and upper Missouri River hybridize with introduced rainbow trout and have been extirpated from large portions of their historical range.
    Hybridization between westslope cutthroat trout and both rainbow trout and Yellowstone cutthroat trout is a major conservation concern for the species.  A new broad-scale analysis of hybridization patterns found many pure populations of westslope cutthroat trout in headwaters streams.
    A wolverine
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is examining the wolverine (Gulo gulo) as a candidate for listing as a threatened or endangered species. RMRS researchers are investigating suitable habitats for wolverine reintroduction efforts, and have found ways to apply models derived from current genetic patterns to future landscapes to inform land management decisions on existing and future corridor locations. While current efforts are focused on wolverines, these newly developed tools can be applied to a variety of organisms to inform their potential future in a changing climate.
    The bull trout is an ESA-listed species that relies on cold stream environments across the Northwest and is expected to decline with climate change. Resource managers from dozens of agencies are charged with maintaining bull trout in thousands of streams, but monitoring this species is difficult. Environmental DNA (eDNA) is much faster, easier, and more sensitive than traditional fish sampling methods and provides an opportunity to better delineate populations of federally threatened species like bull trout.
    Fishers are a rare and secretive carnivore in the Rocky Mountains and along the West Coast.  They are currently being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.  They are also being considered as a Species of Conservation Concern on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.
    The website provides: 1) A large list of supporting science behind eDNA sampling. 2) The recommended field protocol for eDNA sampling and the equipment loan program administered by the NGC. 3) A systematically-spaced sampling grid for all flowing waters of the U.S. in a downloadable format that includes unique database identifiers and geographic coordinates for all sampling sites. Available for download in an Geodatabase or available by ArcGIS Online map. This sampling grid can be used to determine your field collection sites to contribute. 4) The lab results of eDNA sampling at those sites where project partners have agreed to share data.
    External DNA released by animals in aquatic environments, called environmental DNA (eDNA), can be used to determine whether a species is present without actually capturing or seeing an individual. Because of its greater efficiency and reduced cost, eDNA sampling may revolutionize the monitoring and assessment of freshwater species.
    The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is a species of conservation concern, an icon of sage-steppe ecotypes, and a sentinel for ecological integrity of shrub-grassland communities. Researchers are investigating greater sage-grouse genetic variation, population structure, and population connectivity to prioritize the importance of sage-grouse leks. The research from the Genomics Center will allow managers to evaluate how disturbances at individual leks influence the overall connectivity of the breeding network.
    Bioinformatics and new statistical models for quantitative analyses using genetic and genomic data provide innovative approaches for the study of wildlife species, especially species of special concern for the U.S. National Forest System.