Carrion - It's what's for dinner: Wolves reduce the impact of climate change.
Constible, Juanita M.
Sandro, Luke H.
Lee, Richard E.
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Humans have viewed wolves as competitors, threats to personal safety, and symbols of evil throughout history. By the early part of the 20th century, grey wolves (Canis lupus) had been eradicated from 42% of their historic range in North America (Laliberte & Ripple, 2004). In Yellowstone National Park, grey wolves were hunted to local extinction by 1926, but were reintroduced in 1995 after a decades-long process involving biologists, politicians, ranchers and the general public. By the end of 2006, the wolf population in the park was at least 136 wolves in 13 packs (Smith et al., 2007). In this activity, high school students use mathematical models to explore how the presence of wolves buffers other carnivores and scavengers from the effects of climate change. By the end of the lesson, students should be able to: Define and give examples of keystone species, Demonstrate, using mathematical models, that ecosystems are more resilient to environmental change, when they contain a full complement of species, including top carnivores, Recognize that math is a vital tool in scientific investigations.