Isle Royale Wolves:

Case Study


“Wolves directly affect the entire ecosystem, not just moose populations, their main prey, because less moose equals more tree growth”

Rolf Peterson

Carousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel image

An introduction to the longest predator/prey research project in the world.

This case study provides an in-depth experience as learners explore the complex and dynamic relationship between predators and prey on Isle Royale, an island in Lake Superior. The relationship between the moose and wolves on the island is the longest continuously running predator/prey research project in the world, providing a rare look into these complex systems.

Wolf Video Intro Audio.m4a

Course Description

The Detroit Zoological Society's course on predator and prey relations consists of two units, each with three modules, that should take approximately three and a half hours to complete.

Learners will examine predator and prey relationships, consider humans’ role in changing ecosystems, and explore island ecosystem dynamics through an interrupted case study built on real data and circumstances from the longest continuous study of predators and prey in the world. Learners will take on the role of a wildlife biologist, exploring the ecosystem of Isle Royale by analyzing pertinent data sets, examining artifacts and evidence, and reading historical and current accounts. This compilation of information will allow learners to make an assessment of the health of the island ecosystem and weigh the consequences of continuing to reintroduce wolves to the island, applying their knowledge to this ongoing project.

Course Syllabus and Guide for Teachers and Facilitators