The MACRO project joins together a diverse group of scientists, graduate students and researchers from Mongolia, the USA, and Europe – focusing on macrosystem ecology as it relates to river basins in major temperate steppe regions of the world. The project has received NSF support to sample 3 rivers in 3 different ecoregions in each of 2 continents (18 rivers total) over 3 summer field seasons.


The selected ecoregions are characterized by semi-arid shrublands (U.S. Great Basin and Mongolian Central Asian Internal Watershed), mountain steppe shrublands (U.S. Snake River basin and Mongolian Arctic Ocean Watershed), and short-to-tall grasslands (central to northern grasslands in the USA and the mixed to tallgrass steppes of eastern Mongolia in the Pacific Ocean Watershed).


Some of the initially targeted rivers in the USA have high dams, while others lack these human structures. In contrast, none of the Mongolian Steppe Rivers currently have dams – but, the Mongolian government is planning to build hydroelectric dams on some of our target rivers in the next 1-10 years. Our proposed study may be the last opportunity to study some of their largely undisturbed rivers and, we hope, provide convincing data to the Mongolian government that will contribute to preservation of many of their relatively pristine rivers.