Sunday, May 20, 2018

Isle Royale Winter Study celebrates 60 years

60 years. Two wolves. A lot of moose. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

By Allison Mills, Michigan Tech Associate Director of Research Communications
Posted on Michigan Tech News May 17, 2018
Reprinted in part with permission


HOUGHTON -- The 2018 report is out: two wolves, almost 1,500 moose and an ecosystem in transition. In its 60th year, the research is the longest running predator-prey study of its kind.

Researchers from Michigan Technological University have released the annual Winter Study report detailing updates on the ecology of Isle Royale National Park. For the third year in a row, the Isle Royale wolf population remains a mere two, while the moose population continues to stay above the historic average. Without the pressure of predation, the expanding moose population will have a greater impact on the island's forest ecology.

The study co-authors include Research Professor Rolf Peterson, Professor John Vucetich and Assistant Research Professor Sarah Hoy. They say the heart of the study's success has been the more than 1,000 citizen science volunteers who have bolstered the study's fieldwork efforts in small teams totaling about 40 people each year for the last 30 years. Together, they helped gather enough skulls to document the shrinking moose of Isle Royale, observe seasonal wolf activity and earned more than their fair share of hiking boot blisters....

The National Park Service has proposed introducing 20-30 wolves to the island over the next three years. The final environmental impact statement was completed and the identified preferred alternative is to restore wolf predation, but the final decision on the plan is pending as of the Winter Study report publication.*
 
Click here to read the rest of this article on the Michigan Tech News.

* The National Park Service's Final Environmental Impact Statement to Address the Presence of Wolves (plan/FEIS) evaluates whether and how to bring wolves to Isle Royale to function as the apex predator within a changing and dynamic island ecosystem. The NPS preferred alternative is Alternative B, which calls for the introduction of 20 to 30 wolves over a three-year period. The goal of this alternative is to provide an introduction of wolves that has the potential to become a self-sustaining population. 

No comments: