Elephant Engineers

An interview with Rob Pringle, a graduate student in ecology at Stanford University. Pringle authored a paper in the Ecological Society of America’s January 2008 edition of Ecology. While working at the Mpala Research Center in Kenya, East Africa, Pringle found that geckos were thriving in areas where elephants had torn up trees and shrubs. The resulting crevices offered the lizards hiding places. In contrast, undamaged areas harbored scarcely any geckos. By looking at such ‘ecosystem engineering,’ Pringle and his collaborators hope to gain a better understanding of how the African savanna functions.

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