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Predator-Prey Systems: the Wolves in Yellowstone

The Royal Society of Victoria

Thursday, 21 September 2017 from 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm (AEST)

Predator-Prey Systems: the Wolves in Yellowstone

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Ticket Type Sales End Price * Fee Quantity
Lecture Only
Our lectures are free, but our heritage theatre has limited capacity - please ensure you are seated by 7pm to secure your place.
21/09/2017 Free $0.00
Lecture + Food + Company: RSV Members
Join us for some food, drink and a chat before the lecture at 6.15pm.
21/09/2017 $20.00 $0.00
Lecture + Food + Company: Non-Members
Join us for some food, drink and a chat before the lecture at 6.15pm.
21/09/2017 $25.00 $0.00
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Event Details

Predation is increasingly recognized as an ecological process that structures natural communities, and has been targeted as an important focus for conservation, notably informing the "rewilding" movement for reintroducing apex and meso-predators to natural environments across the world, involving wolves, cougars, lynx, bears and dingos, among many others. Yet, others have argued that the extent and magnitude of trophic cascades has been overstated and that few clear examples exist in terrestrial ecosystems, especially for behaviourally-driven trophic cascades. 

A trophic cascade is an ecological phenomenon triggered by the addition or removal of top predators and the reciprocal changes in the relative populations of predator and prey through a food chain, with often dramatic changes in ecosystem structure and nutrient cycling.

Professor Mark Boyce will review the details of this debate with a particular focus on the iconic wolf recovery in Yellowstone National Park and conclude that, as predicted by theory, we see spatial and temporal variability in predator-prey systems that likewise generate spatial and temporal variability in the expression of trophic cascades. Outside protected areas in western North America, however, humans have a dominant influence that overwhelms trophic cascades and can result in bottom-up influences on community structure and function.

About the Speaker:

Mark S. Boyce received his Bachelor of Science from Iowa State, Master of Science from University of Alaska, and MPhil and PhD degrees from Yale University.  He was a NATO postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University.  He is Professor of Ecology and holds the Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries and Wildlife at the University of Alberta. 

His research specialty is the population ecology of vertebrates and he currently supervises 8 graduate students and postdocs.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was awarded the Mirosław Romanowski Medal by the Royal Society of Canada in 2016 for applications of science to solve environmental problems. In 2017 he was awarded the C. Hart Merriam Award by the American Society of Mammalogists.


  • Professor Mark Boyce
  • Professor Mark Boyce

    University of Alberta

    Professor of Ecology


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When & Where


The Royal Society of Victoria
8 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Australia

Thursday, 21 September 2017 from 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm (AEST)


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The Royal Society of Victoria

The Royal Society of Victoria has been a part of Melbourne’s intellectual life since 1854. Located in an historic building at 8 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, the Society provides a dynamic program of lectures, symposia and forums about science. Membership is open to anyone interested in science, its history and its promotion for the benefit of the community.

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Predator-Prey Systems: the Wolves in Yellowstone
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