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The Montana Conservation Science Institute (MOCSI) is a non-profit research and education organization located in Missoula, Montana. Our mission is to help develop, through research and education, a science-based approach to ecosystem conservation and restoration in western North America. Our goal is to generate and communicate knowledge that will advance the practice of conservation and encourage a rational and sophisticated environmental ethic.

Institute research projects feature mud-and-boots field studies of large mammals and their habitat in North America.  We are particularly interested in helping to determine the spatial requirements of such species. What population sizes are required for long-term persistence? What is the spatial scale at which individuals forage, seek mates and otherwise live their lives? In what way and to what extent are different populations naturally connected by migration?  The answers to such questions are the bedrock on which effective programs of species recovery and conservation must rest.

Our education program features Camp Eureka!, a summer natural history camp for children who are blind, offered annually since 2005. We also provide training for students who work as assistants on research projects or as young adult mentors for children attending Camp Eureka!. Institute staff occasionally lead field trips for local or visiting groups and teach courses at the University of Montana.

What's New

Alberta Ingenuity Grant

This summer, MOCSI research biologist, Dr. Jack Hogg and co-principal investigator Dr. Kathreen Ruckstuhl (University of Calgary) were awarded a three-year $300,000 grant by the Alberta Ingenuity Fund for their study of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep migration in southwestern Alberta. The grant will support field investigations designed to determine how to restore and maintain ecological connectivity in a representative species of large mammal.

Camp Eureka! 2010

We are pleased to announce that MOCSI, in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute and National Center for Blind Youth in Science, and the Montana Association for the Blind, will again offer Camp Eureka!, a hands-on natural history camp for blind children. Camp Eureka! 2010 will host two programs - one observing and recording the incredible phenomenon of tens of thousands of migrating snow geese as they head for their summer nesting grounds farther north; the other working alongside University of Montana scientists to develop simulated biology laboratory software that is accessible to blind students.


(2006) Genetic rescue of an insular population of large mammals. Hogg, JT; Forbes, SH; Steele, BM and Luikart, G. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 273:1491-99

(2006) Stochastic predation events and population persistence in bighorn sheep. Festa-Bianchet, M; Coulson, T; Gaillard, JM; Hogg, JT and Pelletier, FP. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 273:1537-43

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