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Forum “Predators; Prey; Habitats” at Idaho State University April 9 focuses on wolves, cougars, bears and their effect on prey, habitat

Posted April 4, 2014

The “Predators; Prey; Habitat” forum at 6:30 p.m. April 9 at Idaho State University will feature experts talking about wolves, cougars, grizzly bears and other predators, and their effects on prey species and habitats.

The free forum is sponsored by the South East Idaho Environmental Network and the ISU Department of Biological Sciences and will be held in Lecture Hall 10 in the ISU Gale Life Sciences Building.

“A variety of experts will present the results of their research on these predators, offering informative presentations for the scientific community and general public,” said Keene Hueftle, chair of the South East Idaho Environmental Network. “This is a chance to learn how these predators, like wolves and grizzly bears, that are often in media headlines, really affect their prey species and habitats.”
Presentations include:

• “Habitat, Large Herbivores, and Predators: Conceptual Flaws and Conspicuous Myths,” by Terry Bowyer, ISU professor of biological sciences;

• “Cascading cougars? The contingencies of cougar effects on prey,” by David Mattson, lecturer and visiting senior scientist at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and executive partner of People and Carnivores, a non-profit organization focused on fostering coexistence between people and grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, and cougars.

• “The Wolves of Yellowstone – and Other Controversial Topics,” by Douglas Smith, Project Leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project. He has been with the wolf program since its inception in 1994 and is based in Yellowstone National Park.

• “Yellowstone’s grizzly bears: New science, old hostilities, and a way forward,” by Louisa Willcox, Northern Rockies director for the Center for Biological Diversity, based in Livingston, Montana.
Biographies of presenters are as follows:

• R. Terry Bowyer is a professor of ecology in the ISU Department of Biological Sciences. He joined the faculty of ISU in 2004 following 18 years in the Institute of Arctic Biologic at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Arctic Institute of North America, and The Wildlife Society. He recently was elected to Honorary Membership in The Wildlife Society. He has received the Distinguished Moose Biologist Award, and the C. Hart Merriam Award for outstanding research from the American Society of Mammalogists. Bowyer has 197 scientific publications. They focus mainly on the ecology and behavior of large mammals, including predator-prey dynamics.

• David Mattson – Prior to his retirement from the US Geological Survey, Mattson was a research wildlife biologist and leader of the Colorado Plateau Research Station, and Western Field Director of the MIT-USGS Science Impact Collaborative. Mattson’s 35 years of field research have addressed the ecology of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone and Kluane ecosystems, and mountain lions on the Colorado Plateau. More recently his research has focused on the human aspects of large carnivore conservation and management, including perspectives, institutions, and the functioning of policy processes.

• Douglas W. Smith – Smith has published a wide variety of journal articles and book chapters on beavers and wolves and co-authored two popular books on wolves, “The Wolves of Yellowstone” and “Decade of the Wolf,” which won the 2005 Montana book award for best book published in Montana. He has also published numerous popular articles. He is working on a third book with Mech and Daniel MacNulty titled “Wolves on the Hunt” due out in 2014. He has participated in a number of documentaries about wolves for National Geographic and British Broadcasting Company (BBC) as well as other media. He is interviewed often and speaks about wolves to audiences all over the world.

• Louisa Willcox served as senior wildlife advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council from 2002 to 2013. From 1997 to 2002, she was project coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Grizzly Bear Ecosystems Project, a campaign to recover the grizzly in the lower 48 states. From 1985-1995, Louisa served as Program Director for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, where she managed the program staff, and directed the advocacy efforts of the Coalition. Wilcox specializes in strategic campaigning for conservation, and the intersection of science, policy, media and public education.