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The Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoni) is a genetically distinct population of wolf that ranges throughout southeast Alaska. They are traditionally considered a symbol of ecosystem health and integrity. Their primary prey are Black-tailed Sitka deer, although a large proportion of their diet includes salmon, beaver, and black bear. Black-tailed Sitka deer are sensitive to habitat disturbance and loss of old-growth forests; thus, decreases in the deer population could negatively impact the wolf population. As a result, they are at the forefront of contentious environmental regulation. PhD student Aimee Massey, along with the Levi lab and collaborators at Alaska Department of Fish and Game, is looking to use environmental DNA to provide detailed diet profiles for these wolves to help discern their resiliency to diet change.
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