Wolves vs. Moose: 50 Years of Predation Research on Isle Royale, April 1s Seminar

John Vucetich, co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project (IRWMP), the longest continuous study of a predator-prey system in the world, is coming to Corvallis to talk about the more than 50 years of research associated with the project. The seminar, “The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale: Lessons from 50 years of Predation Research,” takes place on Monday, April 1 at 4 p.m. in 313 Richardson Hall at Oregon State University.

Located in Lake Superior, the remote island of Isle Royale is home to a population of wolves and moose. These animals are the subject of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose project, which has observed and analyzed the dynamic fluctuations of Isle Royale’s wolves and moose for 55 years.

Over the years, the project’s studies have uncovered a number of fascinating ecological insights: the large role played by the little moose tick (Dermacentor albipictus), how ravens play a role in wolves living in packs, how moose teeth contain decades of air pollutants such as mercury and lead, and how generations of wolf inbreeding has left them genetically at peril.

In addition to ecological insights, the wolves and moose of Isle Royale have also contributed important insight on a variety of topics in environmental philosophy. As the project’s “resident philosopher” since 2005, OSU professor Michael P. Nelson has been investigating how the long-term aspect of the study helps us better understand the most basic aspects of our relationship with nature.

In addition to being the Primary Investigator of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project, Vucetich is an Associate Professor of Animal Ecology, co-director of the Conservation Ethics Group, and author of more than 75 scholarly publications on a range of environmental topics including wolves living in places like Isle Royale, Yellowstone, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the desert southwest, Canada, and Scandinavia.

The seminar is sponsored by the HJ Andrews Long-Term Ecological Research Program, the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, and the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word.

by Nathaniel Brodie