Wolves and Bats and Passerines, Oh My! WISE Science Lectures focus on scientific research in Alaska’s National Parks
By Robin Mayo
When we think of our national parks, we tend to think of hiking and camping, beautiful vistas, and historic sites. But the National Park Service is also very involved in scientific research, with a dedication to learning about the areas they are charged with protecting.
In the next two months, WISE is excited to be hosting 3 visiting scientists from the National Park Service for our Science Lecture series. They will present research on Mesocarnivores, Bats, and Migratory Songbirds in our Alaska parks.
Kaija Klauder is a graduate student at Washington State University, and crew leader for the Mesocarnivore Research Project at Denali National Park and Preserve. On Friday, February 17th, at 7pm at the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Visitor Center, Kaija will give an illustrated talk on her research titled “Gifts of An Enemy: Scavenging Dynamics in the Presence of Wolves.” Mesocarnivores are mid-size animals such as coyotes and fox, which often scavenge on the kills of larger predators. The research centers on the complex interrelationships that exist among carnivores. Who scavenges, when and why? What implications does this have for the overall ecological relationship between carnivores?
A few weeks later, Paul Burger from the National Park Service Alaska Regional Office will give a talk on the fascinating subject of bats. This will be on Friday, March 3rd, at 7pm at Prince William Sound College Copper Basin Campus. Very little is known about Alaska’s bats, their abundance, distribution, and habitat. This talk will include general information about bats and their role in the landscape, and will describe efforts of researchers in Alaska’s national parks. Knowing their range is vital for determining how susceptible they may be to disease and changes in habitat.
The third lecture will explore “Critical Connections, Conservation of Migratory Birds in Alaska’s National Parks” on Friday, March 10th, at 7pm at the Frances Kibble Kenny Lake Public Library at mile 5 Edgerton Highway. Presenter Laura Phillips is an Ecologist at Denali National Park and Preserve, and leads a project which includes surveying migratory songbirds in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Migratory birds are influenced by conditions and events in more than one part of the world, including on their wintering areas that are often thousands of miles away from their protected breeding grounds.
Everyone is welcome to join us for these talks, which are always geared towards the interests of the general public, and family friendly. WISE is grateful to Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, which has provided funds to help support our Science Lecture Series for many years.
Kaija Klauder at a research site
Who We Are
WISEfriends are several writers connected with Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, a nonprofit organization located in Alaska's Copper River Valley. Most of these articles originally appeared in our local newspaper, the Copper River Record.