Katie M. Dugger, Beth Orning
Latin name: Canis lupus
The wolf is the most widely distributed land mammal in the world, and an apex predator in most of the ecosystems it inhabits. As the subject of myth, legend, folklore, and fairytale wolves have a divisive, complicated relationship with humans. Wolves were persecuted by extensive eradication efforts across the globe that reduced their numbers and range, bringing them to near extirpation from the contiguous United States half a century ago. Scientists and managers of wildlife now realize large carnivores are important components of healthy ecosystems, helping to structure and shape ecological relationships among entire communities of species. Under the guidance of Dr. Katie Dugger, PhD Candidate Beth Orning is working to develop multiple-carnivore predation and vulnerability risk maps for prey populations that consider competitive interactions with cougar.