Dry, mesic, or wet meadows — which ecosytem would change the most with dryer climate?

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Juvenile elk near Yellowstone Norris Basin. Photo © John Coate.

Diane Debinski, a researcher from Iowa State University, has been monitoring meadows in the Greater Yellowstone System since the 1990s. Her findings, presented in the journal Ecology, lead her to conclude:

If wet meadows get a little drier, they’re still wet. If dry meadows get a little drier, they are still dry. But the meadows with a medium amount of wetness are the ones that may be changing most.

The flowering plants don’t grow as well and therefore don’t provide as much food to the animals. These types of changes in the plants could affect populations of elk, bison, as well as many other smaller animals, including insects.

Read more here.

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