April 25, 2012

Carnivores Sink their Teeth into the Ecosystem

We like to keep up with the ecology research done in western North America, to understand the "big picture" in national parks like Banff and Yellowstone.

One of the biologists we like to follow is William Ripple, from the University of Oregon.  He has just published a paper on the effect that predators have on herbivores.  His research shows that areas that are missing their key predators  – like wolves – have populations of deer, elk and moose that far exceed what would be normal.  These grazers then damage plant communities, sometimes making them much poorer than what came before.

Read more about what we've nicknamed “the Ripple Effect.”