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UW-NPS Research Center
Harold L. Bergman
Dept. 3166
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: 307-766-4227
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The 2015 UW NPS Harlow Summer Seminar Series is Here!

man on skis standing in the snow by a stream

2015 Summer Season Seminars


University of Wyoming – National Park Service

Harlow Summer Seminars at the AMK Ranch


Join us every Thursday this summer for great food and ideas as Harold Bergman brings speakers to the station to talk about current issues of interest. Dinner ($5 donation) starts at 5:30 pm with a talk at 6:30 pm in the Berol Lodge located at the AMK Ranch near Leeks Marina. Open to the public – Reservations not required.

 Altruism in Mountain LionsJune 18           Mark Elbroch, Panthera's Teton Cougar Project  Altruism in mountain lions



June 25           Diana Miller, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Jackson

                        History of fisheries management in the western US with notes on the Hoback River and Jackson Lake


July 2              Tom Serfass & Kelly Pearce, Frostburg State University. & University. of Maryland

                        River otters as flagships for aquatic conservation: Why this approach doesn't fit the North American model of wildlife conservation

 Joes photo

July 9              Joe Riis, National Geographic & Arthur Middleton, Yale University  Invisible Boundaries: The Greater Yellowstone elk migration project


Hank with bearJuly 16   Hank Harlow, University of Wyoming. Biomimicry, what we can learn from animals living in stressful environments: lions, dragons, bears and other critters


July 23    man on skis standing in the snow by a stream        Bob Smith, University of Utah  Immense magma reservoir discovered beneath Yellowstone extending well beyond its caldera



woman with hyenaJuly 30            Sarah Benson-Amram, University of Wyoming

                        The evolution of problem-solving abilities in carnivores: From badgers and bears to snow leopards and spotted hyenas

July 24, 2015 — Do different carnivore species have the ability to solve problems? That’s the topic of discussion during the weekly Harlow Summer Seminars Thursday, July 30, at the University of Wyoming-National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center. The center is located at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park.

Sarah Benson-Amram, University of Wyoming Department of Zoology and Physiology assistant professor, will discuss “The evolution of problem-solving abilities in carnivores: Badgers and bears to snow leopards and spotted hyenas,” at 6:30 p.m. at the AMK Ranch, located north of Leeks Marina. A barbecue, at a cost of $5 per person, will take place at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are not required. For more information, call the UW-NPS Research Center at (307) 543-2463.

“How do you give a hyena an IQ test? How do you design an IQ test that is fair for both a one-pound dwarf mongoose and an 850-pound polar bear?” Benson-Amram asks. She will discuss how carnivores adapt by summarizing several of her research projects.

One study investigates whether wild spotted hyenas can count the number of intruders in their territory. Another project examines whether wild and captive spotted hyenas can solve a puzzle they have never seen before and identify what distinguishes successful from unsuccessful individuals. A third project focuses on the problem-solving abilities of 43 species of carnivores in zoos and seeks to find whether a species’ brain size predicts its ability to solve a novel problem.

Benson-Amram and her UW graduate students are interested in understanding the evolution of complex cognitive abilities in animals; investigating what animals know about their social and ecological environments; and asking how animals use this knowledge and their ability to learn about their environments in adaptive ways.

“More than ever, animals need to be able to quickly adapt to new conditions and deal with novel challenges,” she says. “We are interested in understanding the role of cognition in these situations. We are currently studying raccoons in Wyoming, Asian elephants in Sri Lanka, and working with a diverse set of captive animals from Arctic foxes to zebra finches.”


August 6         Tanja A. Börzel, Freie Universityät, Berlin

                        On leaders and laggards in environmental governance and management: The case of the European Union


August 13       Mary Centrella, Cornell University and Jackson, WY

                        Reading BEE-tween the lines: Honey bees, colony collapse disorder, and the importance of wild bees to agriculture


August 20       John Stephenson, Grand Teton National Park

                        Greater Sage-Grouse conservation in Jackson Hole

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