Navigation Links
Gray wolves maintain the food chain in winter

Climate change has already had dramatic effects on individual species, with disruptions in range, reproductive success, and seasonal phenomena like migration. But, in a new study from the open-access online journal PLoS Biology (www.plosbiology.org), Christopher Wilmers and Wayne Getz show that the impact of climate change on many different species in Yellowstone Park can be buffered by a top predator - the reintroduced gray wolf (Canis lupus).

Gray wolves inhabited most of North America until US extirpation campaigns nearly eradicated them by the 1930s. In 1995, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced the persecuted predator into Yellowstone. Wilmers and Getz used data from the past 50 years to establish winter trends and model wolves' impact on the fate of resident scavengers faced with a changing climate. Their models show that wolf kills temper the potentially devastating effects of climate-related carrion shortages on scavengers. Unlike mountain lions and grizzly bears, wolves abandon their prey (usually elk or moose) once sated, leaving much-coveted leftovers for ravens, eagles, coyotes, bears, and other scavengers. Altogether, their modeling studies show that shorter winters without wolves will create intermittent food supplies that no longer track the needs of local scavengers. With or without wolves, late-winter carrion abundance will decline with shorter winters. But wolf kills buffer these shortages, providing meals that could determine whether scavengers will be able to survive and reproduce.

It seems clear that wolves have the potential to provide a safety net for scavengers, extending the time they need to adapt to a changing environment. Thanks to a rebounding wolf population, field researchers can measure the magnitude of this predicted buffer effect. The models described here can guide their efforts and help species adjust to major environmental shifts like climate change. Crucially, Wilmers and Getz's study shows that a robust food chain - including this still embattled top predator - may be even more important as ecological conditions deteriorate.

###

Citation: Wilmers CC, Getz WM (2005) Gray wolves as climate change buffers in Yellowstone. PLoS Biol 3(4): e92.


'"/>

Source:PLoS Biology


Related biology news :

1. UCSD researchers maintain stem cells without contaminated animal feeder layers
2. Weizmann Institute suggests that immune cells help to maintain cognition and brain cell renewal
3. Neuroscientists discover new cell type that may help brain maintain memories of smells
4. NASA snow data helps maintain nations largest, oldest bison herd
5. Currents could disrupt ocean food chain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/2/2016)... Feb. 2, 2016 Checkpoint Inhibitors for ... Market Are you interested in the future ... for checkpoint inhibitors. Visiongain,s report gives those predictions ... and national level. Avoid falling behind in ... opportunities and revenues those emerging cancer therapies can ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... , Feb. 1, 2016  Today, the first day ... announced plans to develop a first of its kind ... of IBM Watson. In the first application of ... (NYSE: IBM ), and Welltok will create a ... assessments with cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... , Jan. 25, 2016  Glencoe Software, the ... pharma and publication industries, will provide the data management ... Centre (NPSC). ... Phenotypic analysis measures ... whole organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as health ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... RICHLAND, Wash., Feb. 10, 2016  IsoRay, Inc. (NYSE ... seed brachytherapy and medical radioisotope applications for the treatment ... cancers, today announced its financial results for the second ... December 31, 2015. --> ... second quarter of fiscal 2016, which ended December 31, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) Rocky Mountain Chapter 21st Annual Vendor ... expecting to fill more than 100 tables for its annual event, which will ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Curoverse announced today that the open-source, multi-platform ... for managing and processing genomic and health data at petabyte scale. ... analyzing genomic data,” said Adam Berrey chief executive officer at Curoverse. “Microsoft Azure ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... 09, 2016 , ... With a presidential election in November and the future ... bring together over 500 top healthcare leaders for a night and day of debates ... by MBA students of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, will be held February ...
Breaking Biology Technology: