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Effective Conservation ScienceData Not Dogma$
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Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Brian Silliman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808978.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 May 2021

A good story

A good story

Media bias in trophic cascade research in Yellowstone National Park

(p.80) Chapter 12 A good story
Effective Conservation Science

Emma Marris

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a viral video about a trophic cascade initiated by the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. It then challenges the narrative of that video. How strong is the evidence for the trophic cascade that has been claimed to exist in Yellowstone? A survey of the relevant literature suggests that the matter is far from settled. But the absence of a scientific consensus is not reflected in the popular press. Analysis of a random sample of newspaper articles about wolf reintroduction shows that a simplistic version of the scientific story is reported far more often than the more complex, but more accurate, tale of an unresolved hypothesis. A particular study on wolf-mediated effects on grizzly bears, via elk and berries, is examined in more depth. Ultimately, the chapter makes the case that the more nuanced story is not only more factually accurate, it also tells an essential truth about the nature of ecology.

Keywords:   trophic cascade, media, wolves, Yellowstone, Elk, grizzly bears, popular press, wolf reintroduction

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