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ETD 81: A. What do Wolves have to do with Trout in Yellowstone National Park?
May 28, 2013 at 6:23pm


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Calista Moore
June 03, 2016 at 5:48pm


This topic was especially interesting to me, as I've spent some time reading about the controversy around wolves.  Calista taught me specifically about how the absence of wolves at Yellowstone resulted in degradation of the water quality due to the elk spending time in the valley, eating the willows near the river.  This in turn caused the water temperature to rise without shade, which is not healthy for the trout.  In addition, the roots of the willows could no longer filter the water.  She explained that reintroducing the wolves resulted in a domino positive effect, along with planting Aspens on higher ground to also filter the runoff water. Very interesting!


While I was explaining this ETD I emphasized how different kinds of living organisms as well as abiotic factors have an effect on each other, such as how wolves can impact the amount of willows and how the willows can impact how much oxygen is in the water. I also showed how a factor such as wolves can affect an animal's behavior, such as how the elk ran to higher ground when more wolves were present.

Makaila Heifner
June 06, 2016 at 3:26pm

Student: I found this topic interesting, again, because of how connected everything is. It makes me wonder how people can attempt to argue that human involvement in nature is not a problem, as soon as the food chain was reset, the ecosystem was able to go back to its normal state. It also makes me wonder why the government is not putting forth more initiatives to save the natural world and address these issues, in the Yellowstone case when the government gave farmers a few subsidies they were content and things were able to fix themselves, so it makes me wonder why we aren't creating more measures like this. 

Parent: The thing I found most interesting about this topic was that when the wolves were reintroduced was how the other predators in the area were also able to thrive and prosper when the wolves were reintroduced. I also would have never thought that a predator would be connected to the species of plants, which then help the quality of the water, and so forth. I found this topic very interesting, and it makes me want to go visit Yellowstone ASAP. 

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