In DepthEcology

Classic wolf-moose study to be restarted on Isle Royale

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Science  28 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6409, pp. 1298-1299
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6409.1298

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More than 60 years ago, a couple of wolves wandered across a frozen channel on Lake Superior and settled on moose-rich Isle Royale in Michigan, touching off a dance of predators and prey and a classic study in ecology. But inbreeding as well as warmer winters, which mean less lake ice and fewer opportunities for mainland wolves to restock the population, have essentially ended the classic natural experiment, leaving only two surviving wolves on the island. Now, a new experiment is starting. If the wind and waves on Lake Superior cooperate, by the end of this month the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) will airlift the first of six wolves from the U.S. mainland to Isle Royale by floatplane in an effort to re-establish predators. With the reboot, NPS hopes to attract researchers with new questions to explore.

  • * Wisconsin-based Christine Mlot has been reporting on Isle Royale wolves since 1993.