What would happen? | SCI 120 | Saint Leo University

 

 

A keystone species is a species within an ecosystem that influences most all other species in that system. If a keystone species is removed from the system, the system will either collapse or the removal will cause a dramatic change in the species composition of the system. Use the link below to access the ISEE Exchange website to explore a systems model related to the removal of the wolves, a keystone species in Yellowstone National Park.

https://exchange.iseesystems.com/public/isee/wolves-and-trees/index.html#page1 

Click on the paw to open the model and read the background of the story.  Next, explore the box-and-arrow type model of the effect of wolves on vegetation in Yellowstone National Park. 

Summarize the cause-and-effect model in words, including the effect on other animals and ‘ecosystem’ or ‘land health’. 

  • What would happen to a system if wolves are removed from it?

Next, explore the box-and-arrow model. 

  • What is the connection/relationship between wolves and moose & elk?
  • How did the removal of wolves from Yellowstone change the behavior of the elk and moose?
  • What is the indirect effect of wolves on the beaver population?
  • Why does this happen?
  • How are birds in the system affected?
  • How does the decline of beavers lead to a decline in aquatic insect populations?
  • What did the extermination of wolves affect the ‘health’ of rivers?
  • How did the presence of wolf kills (carrion) affect other animals?
  • How did reintroduction of wolves change the bison and elk behavior?
  • How did this affect the vegetation along rivers?
  • How did this affect the beaver population?
  • Why do you think we refer to wolves as ‘keystone species’ to Yellowstone?
  • What is a ‘keystone species’?

Finally, follow this link How Wolves Change Rivers to watch the following video provide by Sustainable Human for more talking points:

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+wolves+change+rivers&rlz=1C1AWFC_enUS912US912&oq=How+Wolves+Change+Rivers&aqs=chrome.0.35i39j0l6j69i61.1480j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8