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Winter Wise: Three Stories of Survival In Yellowstone

In the summertime, Yellowstone is warm, lively and vibrant, crowded with tourists coming to ogle its geological wonders and famous wildlife. Winter, however, transforms it into one of North America’s harshest landscapes, chilled by frigid temperatures and wrapped in a deep blanket of snow that persists for months. In this webinar, Biologist and science educator Drew McCarthy, who is himself a year-round resident of the Greater Yellowstone region, living in Tetonia, Idaho, examines how three of Yellowstone's iconic animals survive the daunting winter. Moose endure the seasonal extremes using a suite of unique morphological adaptations. Elk band together and make a dangerous migration, playing the odds by avoiding the winter snow and cold. And while we commonly refer to a bear's winter repose as hibernation, black bears actually use a process called torpor to survive the cold winter months. Each species has adapted in specific ways to perpetuate its survival through exceptionally tough conditions. Yet as the climate of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem changes, the delicate balance animals rely on for survival is being disrupted. Drew will examine how such changes are forcing animals to shift their strategies.


Originally presented November 12, 2021
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