MSU researchers make surprising wolf diet discovery, highlight ecosystem complexities

By Mississippi State University

Brandon Barton and a colleague hiking in the Intermountain West. (Photo credit: Scott Whipple)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University researchers are shifting commonly held ideas about the diet of grey wolves in a newly published article gaining national attention.

Published in the scientific journal “Ecology,” MSU assistant professor Brandon Barton’s Sept. 18 article “Grasshopper consumption by grey wolves and implications for ecosystems” details the unexpected effects of wolf reintroduction into the western region of the U.S.  

MSU entomologist and grasshopper expert JoVonn Hill, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, and a scientist in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, also assisted with the research project and article.

Other co-collaborators on the paper include Carter L. Wolff, an MSU biological sciences Ph.D. student from St. Joseph, Michigan, Thomas M. Newsome of the University of Sydney, Australia, and William J. Ripple of Oregon State University, as well as Marcus A. Lashley, a former MSU faculty member now at the University of Florida’s Department of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation.

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