Ecosystems are often difficult to understand because they usually include interactions between a large number of species. Isle Royale is different. It is a relatively simple island ecosystem, located 24 km from the shore of Canada in Lake Superior.
While there are many types of small animals on the island, and almost 20 types of mammals, only two species of the mammals that live on the island are relatively large. These are the wolves and the moose. On this island, wolves are the only predator of moose, and moose are essentially the only food for wolves.
To understand nature, it helps to observe an ecosystem where human impact is limited. On Isle Royale, there are no towns and people do not hunt wolves or moose or cut down any of the forests. It is a very rare place on the planet where wolves, their prey, and the plants that support the prey are all left unharvested by humans. Isle Royale is remarkable because nature runs wild there.
Your challenge over the course of the next few days will be to build a scientific model that can realistically simulate the interactions of wolves and moose on Isle Royale, in order to help make predictions about how these two populations may change over time.