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Natural Inquirer Wildlife Articles
Animals are some the most interesting and entertaining parts of our natural world. With all the Natural Inquirer articles about wildlife, readers have plenty of opportunities to read about wildlife from across the country and the world.
Fish and Other Aquatic Species:
By the Light of the Silvery Minnow: Can Young Minnows be Taught About Their Natural Food? Many changes have occurred in the Rio Grande since the 1940's that have created a river that is deeper and faster. This has created problems for the Rio Grande silvery minnow populations. The scientist in this study was interested in the natural diet of the silvery minnows in an effort to help rebuild the population. You can find this article in the Animals and Ecosystems of the Southwestern United States Investi-gator.
Frozen Food: How Glaciers Provide Food for Animals That Live in the Ocean. In this study, the scientists studied glaciers and their nearby rivers in Alaska. The water coming from the glaciers can be quite old and contain nutrients, such as carbon, that could be at least 5,000 years old. The scientists wondered if the carbon in the water was too old to be useful to animals living in the rivers and bays. You can find this article in the Climate Change (Pacific Northwest Research Station) Investi-gator.
Food for the Soil (monograph). This article is about how soil is affected by salmon-derived nutrients that come from large numbers of spawning salmon. You can find this article in the Food For The Soil Monograph.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, No Fish? The Current Situation and Possible Future of Aquatic Animals in the United States. In this study, scientists were asked to develop information about the status and trends in aquatic animal species across the United States. Unfortunately, there was very little data about the majority of aquatic species. These scientists had to use the little bit of information they had to make an informed guess about the status and potential trends in populations of freshwater aquatic species. You can find this article in the Facts to the Future Natural Inquirer.
Swimming Upstream Without a Ladder: Dams and Pipes and River Shrimp Movements. Tropical streams provide many benefits to people and animals. One of those benefits is being a place for river shrimp to reproduce. The river shrimp are also important to the streams because they eat algae and help decompose fallen leaves. People also benefit from tropical streams by using water for drinking, cooking, and washing. Unfortunately, pipes carrying water to people also carry shrimp larvae out of the stream. Dams also prevent shrimp from migrating upstream. Scientists in this study wanted to find a way to protect the shrimp population while also providing water for people. You can find this article in the Tropical Natural Inquirer.
Big Fish in a Small Pool: Habitat Preferences of Cutthroat Trout. Cutthroat trout are a type of salmon that live in the Western United States, from southeastern Alaska to northern California. The scientists in this study wanted to find out if cutthroat trout behave like other salmonids. For example, do they swim to preferred locations when other more dominant fish have left or been removed? You can find this article in the Olympic Winter Games Natural Inquirer.
Timed Travel: Water temperature helps regulated aquatic ecosystems and for many aquatic organisms, life-cycle phases are tied to water temperature.In this study, scientists altered water temperatures to explore how water temperature affects Chinook salmon development. You can find this in the Freshwater Natural Inquirer.
Meet Dr. Flitcroft! Natural Inquirer Readers for students in grades K-2 focus on a scientist and their research. In this Reader, readers meet Dr. Becky Flitcroft who studies coho salmon and their habitats.
Reptiles and Amphibians:
Amphibious Assault: How Climate Change May Affect Amphibian Breeding. Climate change can change the breeding patterns of some animals. Breeding patterns refer to when and how animals reproduce, including how many young an animals has and how often. If breeding patterns change, an entire population may change or become extinct. The question the scientists in this study wanted to answer was how certain amphibian populations and their breeding patterns may be responding to climate change. You can find this article in the Climate Change (Pacific Northwest Research Station) Investi-gator.
Snake, Rattle, and Roll: Investigating the Snakes that Live in the Bosque Along the Middle Rio Grande. The riparian forest land along the Rio Grande is locally referred to as the Bosque. In the Bosque, fire is both a human and natural disaster. After a fire, forest managers have to work to restore the area to help the land resemble and function the way it did before the fire. In this study, scientists are interested in how restoration activities affect snake populations. They also wanted to determine what kinds of snakes are found in the Bosque and what the best types of traps to catch them are. You can find this article in the Wildland Fire 2 Natural Inquirer.
Toad-ally Awesome! This article explains how scientists are investigating the relationship between flooding, summer rains, and toad reproduction along the Rio Grande. You can find this article in the Ecosystem Services Natural Inquirer.
As the Frog Hops: What Routes do Frogs Travel in Mountain Environments? Frogs are amphibians. In recent years, there has been a decline in the numbers of amphibians worldwide. Due to this decline, natural resource managers need to have more information to help protect frog populations. The scientists in this study wanted to discover the types of habitats needed by Columbia spotted frogs at different times of the year and how far they will migrate to reach those different types of habitats. You can find this article in the Wilderness Benefits Natural Inquirer.
Prairie Dog Days: How Fleas Transmit the Plague and its Effects on Gunnison's Prairie Dog. Plague is an infectious disease that is transmitted to other mammals by fleas. Prairie dogs are particularly susceptible to plague. The scientists in this study were interested in figuring out which flea species transmit plague within a population of prairie dogs. The scientists also wanted to know if the burrows played a part in the plague outbreak. You can find this article in the Animals and Ecosystems of the Southwestern United States Investi-gator.
Wild Ways: Assessing How Climate Change May Affect Certain Wildlife. Identifying which species may be the most vulnerable to a changing climate is important. This information can help people make decisions about how to best manage the land. It can also help make better decisions to support wildlife. In this study, the scientists wanted to learn more about species living in and around the Coronado National Forest. You can find this article in the Animals and Ecosystems of the Southwestern United States Investi-gator.
There's Snow Place Like Home: Tracking the Range of Wolverines Over Time. Wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family that lives on land. They live in areas far from human development therefore, not much is known about these mammals. The scientists in this study wanted to accurately map the wolverine's range over time. The scientists also wanted to study whether climate change is affecting the wolverine's range. You can find this article in the Climate Change (Pacific Northwest Research Station) Investi-gator.
Born to be Wild: The Current Situation and Possible Future of Wildlife in the United States. Animals play an important role in maintaining the health of our natural environment. It is important to know the status of different kinds of wildlife populations, both now and in the future. It is important because wildlife populations can indicate the health of the natural environment in which they live. Scientists in this study were interested in determining whether populations of certain animal species are changing and what they will be like in the 21st century. You can find this article in the Facts to the Future Natural Inquirer.
The Trees Have Gone Batty! In this study, scientists were interested in knowing whether humans and other animals can help disturbed areas of land become healthy ecosystems again. Scientists knew they could not create the complex ecosystem that naturally occurs, so they wanted to know if they could set up conditions so that plants and animals could come in from outside the area. Then the new plants and animals can help the land become healthy again. You can find this article in the Tropical Natural Inquirer.