About Michael

Dr. Coughenour received his PhD. from Colorado State University, specializing in systems ecology and nutrient cycling in a southern Montana grassland. He subsequently studied the Serengeti grazing ecosystem of Tanzania, using simulation modeling and experimental studies to determine how the ecosystem supports the world’s largest ungulate herds. He was a co-PI on the South Turkana Ecosystem Project, investigating a native pastoral ecosystem in northern Kenya. He has carried out several major modeling and field studies of grazing ecosystems and assessments of ungulate carrying capacities in Yellowstone N.P., Rocky Mountain N.P., and the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. He has developed 3 ecosystem models: GRASS CSOM, GEMTM, and SAVANNA. He has been involved in research on pastoral and wildlife ecosystems in Tanzania, Kenya, S. Africa, Australia, Inner Mongolia, Kazakstan, Venezuela, Canada, and has consulted on grazing ecosystem ecology in other locations around the world. He is currently working part time with the UVB Monitoring and Research Program at CSU


  • Dr. Coughenour has expertise in a wide variety of disciplines including biogeochemistry, soil science, plant and animal population ecology, plant ecophysiology, microclimatology, wildlife ecology, and human ecology. His current research thrusts include: ecosystem modeling studies of ungulates and ungulate carrying capacity in grazing ecosystems; pastoral ecology; interactions between wildlife and domestic herbivores especially in E. Africa; linked models of biogeochemistry, vegetation dynamics, herbivores and predators; biocomplexity of savanna tree grass dynamics as affected by climate, fire, and herbivory; biocomplexity of coupled human natural systems in African savannas; effects of UV radiation on agricultural ecosystems; and model based studies of interactions between terrestrial ecosystems and climatic systems.


Ph.D., Zoology/Systems Ecology - Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado, 1978

M.S., Biology - University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, 1974

B.S., Biology - University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, 1973


  • Society for Range Management
  • Ecological Society of America

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