Wolves, Moose, and Tree Rings on Isle Royale
October 27, 2020
Investigation of tree growth in Isle Royale National Park in Michigan revealed the influence of herbivores and carnivores on plants in an intimately linked food chain. Plant growth rates were regulated by cycles in animal density and responded to annual changes in primary productivity only when released from herbivory by wolf predation. Isle Royale’s dendrochronology complements a rich literature on food chain control in aquatic systems, which often supports a trophic cascade model. This study provides evidence of top-down control in a forested ecosystem.
Author(s): B. E. McLaren, R. O. Peterson