Posted on June 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Hunting wolves may have less of an impact on elk herds than previously believed. Photo via USFWS.
Three-year tracking project helps show that wolves alone aren’t necessarily responsible for declining elk populations
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — For quite some time, conventional wisdom has held that the presence of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone area has had beneficial impacts on the overall ecosystem by keeping elk on the move.
But a new study, led by recent University of Wyoming Ph.D. graduate Arthur Middleton, casts some doubt on that theory. For three years, the researchers closely followed the Clarks Fork elk herd west of Cody, along with the wolf packs that prey on it. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: elk, Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, University of Wyoming, wildlife, wolves, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 11, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Study indicates drought and predation is affecting reproduction
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Yellowstone’s migratory elk have been feeling the impacts of drought and increased predation by wolves and grizzlies – two landscape-level changes with broad implications for conservation of migratory animals, according to a new study published in the journal Ecology.
The new study by the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit — a joint program involving U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Wyoming, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, describes a long-term decline in the number of calves produced annually by the Clarks Fork herd, a population of about 4000 elk whose migrants travel annually between winter ranges near Cody, Wyoming and summer ranges within Yellowstone National Park. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: drought, Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, University of Wyoming, Yellowstone elk, Yellowstone National Park | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Declining spring snowcover will impact plants and animals use deep snow cover as a refuge from winter cold
Spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere is in decline. Graphic courtesy Rutgers Global Snow Lab.
Melting snow reveals the subniveal world.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Beneath winter’s deep snows there is a secret world of frozen insects and amphibians in quasi-hibernation, where small mammals scoot about eating bugs and fungi. It’s an ecoogical world that’s mostly invisible but functions as a critical part of larger ecosystems. The subnivium, as scientists have dubbed it, is now at risk from global warming.
Since 1970, snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has declined by as much as 3.2 million square kilometers during the critical spring months of March and April. Maximum snow cover has shifted from February to January and spring melt has accelerated by almost two weeks, according to a team of university researchers who set out to discover some of the ecological impacts of the loss of snow cover. Visit the Rutgers Global Snow Lab for more details on snow cover. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, Snow and weather, Uncategorized | Tagged: ecology, Environment, global warming, Northern Hemisphere, spring snow cover, subnivium, University of Wisconsin–Madison, University of Wyoming | 3 Comments »
Posted on October 23, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Some alpine plants in Colorado are already feeling the heat of global warming, and researchers are trying to determine where the 'tipping point' might be. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
Long-term study aims to determine climate change tipping points
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Some alpine and arctic plants — including species found in the Colorado mountains — are showing negative effects of warmer conditions, with lower survival at the southern edges of their range, according to University of Wyoming ecologist Daniel Doak.
Together with Duke University researcher William Morris, Doak is conducting a long-term research project to determine how these species respond to climate change. In most years the impacts to plant populations are balanced by stronger growth in other areas. But in the warmest years of the six-year study, both survival and growth of the plants fell.
The study is based on the assumption that, as the Earth’s climate warms, species are expected to shift their geographical ranges away from the equator or to higher elevations. While scientists have already documented shifts for many plants and animals, the ranges of others seem stable. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, global warming, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: alpine plants, Duke University, Environment, global warming, National Science Foundation, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, University of Wyoming | 1 Comment »