In this episode I look at some of the dangers moose need to overcome to survive the annual rut. I also examine new research that looks at the gravel rivers in the Rockies and just how important they are. Finally I look at a new course offered by the University of Calgary on Mountain Ecology.
Story 1 – Rutting Moose
Recently, photographs hit the web from Alaska, showing two bull moose that had their antlers locked together costing them both their lives. They were found frozen in a slough pond with just their antlers and part of their sides exposed above the frozen surface of the water. Unfortunately for most members of the deer family, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Youtube is full of videos showing deer rescued by people sawing off their antlers to free them. The ritual of the rut is a dangerous time for all of our hoofed animals, but for animals that find their antlers locked together, it is not one that many will survive. You can see the images from Alaska here: Moose Perish with Antlers Locked
Story 2 – Gravel Bed Rivers
Take a close look at any of our Rocky Mountain streams and you’ll see a very distinctive gravel bottom. Personally, I never really thought much about it, but for Dr. Richard Hauer, a professor at the University of Montana, these stream beds have revealed an incredible biodiversity that may be key to much of the biological diversity of the Rocky Mountain ecosystems. Dr Hauer’s work offers a glimpse into our landscape and one of the most areas most vulnerable human disturbance.
Story 3 – Mountains 101
If you’re like me, and want to get a really good grounding in mountain landscapes, geomorphology and ecology then do I have a deal for you. The University of Alberta has just announced an new FREE course called Mountains 101. it is a 12 lesson course for home study and the cost to audit the course for those of us looking for the knowledge but not a certificate is well – free. The course covers the entire spectrum from the formation of the mountains, the ecosystems that have been built upon that foundation and the ecology surrounding the mountain landscapes. To learn more visit: Mountains 101