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Invasive Species in Yellowstone Topic of Aug. 3 UW Research Center Talk

July 31, 2017
river running through mountain meadow
Invasive New Zealand mudsnails in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem are the topic of discussion Thursday, Aug. 3, at the University of Wyoming-National Park Service Research Center in Grand Teton National Park. (Amy Krist Photo)

Invasive species in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem (GYE) will be discussed Thursday, Aug. 3, at the University of Wyoming-National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center. The center is located at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park.

UW Department of Zoology and Physiology Associate Professor Amy Krist will present “Biology of the invasive New Zealand mudsnail in the GYE” as part of the center’s Harlow Summer Seminars at 6:30 p.m. at the AMK Ranch, located north of Leeks Marina. A barbecue, at a cost of $5 per person, will take place at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are not required.

The invasive New Zealand mudsnail arrived in the GYE in 1987; it also is invasive in several other parts of the world. In her talk, Krist will discuss interactions between this snail and native species in the GYE and, how, in New Zealand, the snail is central to addressing two major unresolved questions in evolutionary ecology.

Krist will first explain how studying a recent population crash of the snail in the GYE led to insights about the effects of this particular snail on native species and to a native species that may control its invasiveness. She will then talk about what this snail has taught researchers about why sexual reproduction persists in the multitude of organisms that also can reproduce asexually. Krist’s talk will then address what scientists have learned from the snail about the uneven distribution of polyploids, organisms with more than two chromosomes.

She collects data on what causes introduced species to become invasive; how invasive species affect native species; the factors that affect how parasites interact with their hosts; and how nutrients affect the distribution and frequency of polyploidy.

Krist has a B.S. degree in biology and a history B.A. degree, both from the State University of New York College-Potsdam, and her doctoral degree is from Indiana University.

The UW-NPS Research Center provides a base for university faculty members and government scientists from throughout North America to conduct research in the diverse aquatic and terrestrial environments of Grand Teton National Park and the greater Yellowstone area.

For more information about the Harlow Summer Seminars, contact Michael Dillon at (307) 543-2463 or michael.dillon@uwyo.edu.


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