Sunday, December 13, 2015

Yellowstone's Keystone Bison

Brett French, Billing Gazette
Apart from being one of the most beautiful places in the United States, Yellowstone's animals also carry a lot of importance.

Yellowstone's bison population contains 75% of the genetic diversity of the species. They are the only publicly-managed herd that has no cattle genes, which makes them vital in conservation efforts. This comes at the heels of discussion about culling the bison from 4,900 individuals to about 3,500. The Bison's ancestry contains a herd of 22 individuals who survived in the park, plus some bulls from Texas, and 18 individuals form western Montana. Not only that, but there appear to be two distinct herds of bison in the park.

Conservation efforts must focus on how unique these bison are to truly be effective.

Original Article
A proposed conservation efforts for 2015, with disease management at forefront


  1. This article interested me because it invokes the founder effect which we learned in class. Nice post !

  2. Yellowstone is an amazing place, and these bison are pretty interesting. 75% of genetic diversity of this species? …that is impressive. Thanks for sharing about their importance.

  3. It really is unfortunate that these once wild creatures are now nearly threatened. Although their population has bounced back a bit, they are still threatened and deemed functionally extinct. They serve no significant role in the ecosystem. If scientists could closely study their genetic diversity it might help other herds of bison outside of yellowstone.