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The Wolf's Tooth: Keystone Predators, Trophic Cascades, and Biodiversity

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Animals such as wolves, sea otters, and sharks exert a disproportionate influence on their environment; dramatic ecological consequences can result when they are removed from—or returned to—an ecosystem.
In The Wolf's Tooth, scientist and author Cristina Eisenberg explores the concept of "trophic cascades" and the role of top predators in regulating ecosystems. Her fasci
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 8th 2010 by Island Press (first published 2010)
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Thomas Strömquist
I'm putting away this book - which I liked a lot - about a third through. Very interesting theories and the author states her case well I think. The interwoven anecdotes and stories makes the read lighter. Unfortunately, they also make the book quite unstructured and at a third it also starts to feel very repetitive. If you are specially interested, I'm sure it's a winner. I decided to bail instead of trudging through the rest and like it less.
Lis Carey
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: popular-science
This is a useful and interesting overview of the state of ecosystem management science, its history, complexities, and uncertainties. Eisenberg interlaces accounts of her own research on wolves, elks, aspens, and songbirds in Colorado, Wyoming, and elsewhere, with accounts of what others are doing or have done in similar settings and in very different ones. These include the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch in Montana, a working ranch that operates as a demonstration of how conservation and ran ...more
Bryan D.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

48 of 75 for 2015. It took me a while to get through this book, but I do consider it a very important read for anyone interested in ecology and the interplay of species in the health of our world. It is especially topical here in the northern Rockies where wolves and their reintroduction remains controversial. I had never heard the terms Trophic Cascades pr Keystone Predators before beginning to read this study, but I had read about how recent studies in Yellowstone National Park show that wolve
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this work! A thesis that is accessible to the layperson, poetic yet believable, scientific and narrative all at once. I learned so much about predators and how much a single species can affect an entire web. I live in Yellowstone country so wolves hold a special place on my heart, it was so fulfilling to learn more. definitely empowering to have more information to able to engage with the political issues associated with these animals. <3 ...more
DeLene Beeland
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If I could use only three words to describe The Wolf’s Tooth, these are the ones I’d choose: elegant, forceful and fluid. This is a story about how two intertwined ecological concepts — keystone predators and trophic cascades — leave their signatures upon entire landscapes. The Wolf’s Tooth is authored by Cristina Eisenberg, a PhD candidate at Oregon State University who studies conservation biology. Before graduate school, she was a journalist and editor. Her dual career paths collide in The Wo ...more
Mary Glass
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superb science

Drawn in by the wolf studies but this is so much more. Sea life cascades are at least as amazing. Good work being done by brilliant, dedicated folks. More observation and conservation, less intrusion and control. We need plants and animals in variety and abundance.
Nancy Lewis
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it can't be said that any one species makes a healthy ecosystem, Eisenberg makes a compelling argument for the importance of maintaining biodiversity by protecting and restoring top predators.
Carol Surges
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wow. For anyone needing to come up to speed quickly on what is happening in biological conservation and ecosystems this is the book to start with. I wish I had. Eisenberg, an ecologist herself, takes us along as she researches the impact of animals on aspens; the wolf specifically. Along the way she fills us in on the vocabulary, methods, history and people involved in this fascinating area of study. Her personable style and relevant anecdotes all help to take the novice ecologist from ignorance ...more
Rohit Kilpadi
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Good book with simple explanations about a complex, important topic. Was very interesting to read a simplified version of the complex research being undertaken to better understand biodiversity, the role of predators (especially keystone species) and trophic cascades. The information on competing theories and bottom-up effects and how everything is interconnected was very well explained.
Cristina Eisenberg writes very well in an easy to understand way, with scenes from her experiences described b
Linda Blum
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cristina's tales of field experiences with wolves and other top predators are both fascinating and educational, especially when she describes trophic cascades in places already familiar to readers. I would recommend more illustrations in future editions, so readers could see photos or drawings of overbrowsed aspen stands compared to healthy ones, e.g. I'm having a hard time applying her theory to the western forests where I live, but Cristina herself writes about the differences between places a ...more
Leah Adams
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book is written by an Oregon State professor, with property in Montana. She argues that many ecosystems are governed by the top predator, the keystone species. In the Rocky Mountain West, this is the wolf. She gives many examples of ecosystems, where when the top predator is removed, the diversity of species is much reduced. She talks about the relationship of the wolves, elk, aspen, and songbirds, as well as sea otters, sea urchins, and kelp, and relationships in other ecosystems. Of inter ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ecology, science
An informative overview of the still (relatively) new field of trophic cascades science and keystone predators. Discusses the origins of the trophic cascades hypothesis and explores it's strengths and weaknesses with many case studies and examples from various ecosystems around the globe, some with strong trophic effects and others without. Additional discussion explores how trophic cascades research can benefit ecosystem management and conservation efforts, especially it's importance for preser ...more
Paul Heidebrecht
Dec 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Eisenberg is a conservation biologist specializing in the study of how wolves--or the removal of predators--affects plant life and the overall health of a ecosystem. She describes all kinds of research being done around the world on the role of predators. She's a protege of Aldo Leopold who taught us to look at all the relationships and preserve everything, especially the predators.
Markus Warwick
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very well written in a clear and concise manner. This book provides the reader with an in-depth, yet clear and easy to comprehend explanation of the relationships between the vast number of elements in a given ecosystem.
Jeri A. Jones
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful and grounded in fascinating research that emphasizes the importance of biodiversity and the folly of fearing, as well as destroying, large predator species that may well be the hope of our planet's future. Could have benefited from sharper editing though!
Edmond Porter
Jan 17, 2015 rated it liked it
This book presents some interesting concepts to think about. There is a lot in the news about wolves, spotted owls, and other species these days. This book gives a scientific bent to the ecological discussion that seems to get out of hand in the media.
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Picked this up on impulse from my daily Bookbub email. I really enjoyed it. Each chapter taught me something new and now I'm curious to learn more about a host of science and nature topics. It was almost like taking a college course.
Gaile Patton
Won't review as it's not been read; didn't realize - how did that happen - that it's really more a non-fiction scientific research work. I'm sure it's very good & interesting! ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great mix of field stories, history of ecology and hopeful new science. A very enlightening and enjoyable read.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Christina Eisenberg's Master's thesis -- I skimmed beginning and end...
Dan Ward
Jan 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
I just couldn't get into this. Didn't finish it. I agree with having wolves back in nature but think that their population needs to be more tightly controlled.
Danielle Vorac
Ok Book

I was wondering if the editor's even checked over this book because in some parts there was bad spelling or no spaces. Also it didn't really catch me at the beginning.
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A brilliant book about trophic cascades and the importance of preditors in the natural world.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Informative and with good ideas. I'm glad to have it on my shelf. I'm sure to refer to it again soon.
Nana Sherry's
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

It was very interesting and informative . It was different but enjoyable ! A must for all of the people who care about nature.
Caren Sullivan
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Jan 01, 2018
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Apr 07, 2020
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