Preview - Evolution Of Populations

The Future of Isle Royale

Recently the Isle Royale ecosystem has been suffering. Since it has been isolated for a very long time, inbreeding has made the wolves less healthy. Also, there are very few wolves left on the island even though there are a lot of moose. We can use our model to try to predict what will happen in the future to Isle Royale.

In this lesson, you will use an advanced model of the ecosystem on Isle Royale to make a prediction.

First we need to set the model up so that it starts close to the current state of the island. There are very few wolves left and a lot of moose, so set the initial wolf population to 2 and set the initial moose population to about 200.

Because the wolves are unhealthy, decrease the WOLF-GAIN-FROM-FOOD slider from 20 to 13 and decrease the WOLF-REPRODUCE slider from 5% to 3%. These two "sliders" will help us model the fact that the wolves on Isle Royale are sick. They have a harder time staying healthy and a harder time having baby wolves.

Answer the first two questions below before running the model.


Please answer the questions below.

Why do you think there are so many moose in the ecosystem right now?

Before running the model, make a prediction. Do you think the wolf population will survive, or will it die out?

It will usually survive
It will usually die out

Run the model with the speed slider all the way to the right. The model will stop after 500 ticks have passed. When the model stops, use the table below to record whether there are still wolves alive or not. Repeat this process at least 5 times.

Look at the results of your experiment. Do you think the wolves on the real Isle Royale have a good chance of surviving into the future? Explain your answer.


These notes will appear on every page in this lesson so feel free to put anything here you'd like to keep track of.