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Assessing the impact of wolves on ungulate prey
- Eberhardt, L. L., Garrott, R. A., Smith, D. W., White, P. J., Peterson, R. O.
- Ecological applications 2003 v.13 no.3 pp. 776-783
- Canis lupus, Cervus elaphus, elks, herds, models, predators, wolves
- Simple models may be useful in evaluating definitions of population limitation and regulation, and in considering the impact of wolves (Canis lupus) on ungulate prey. Examination of three types of models that have recently been used to assess wolf–ungulate interactions indicates that the “total response” model is inappropriate and that models generating substantial oscillations may not be realistic. Models based on ratio dependence appear to be more useful and are explored further. Because reintroduction of wolves into areas with abundant prey may yield new insights into the controversial issue of population regulation by predators, the available data are used to consider some needs for research on the impact of wolves on Yellowstone elk (Cervus elaphus) herds, and for a further assessment of ratio dependence. Corresponding Editor: F. C. James