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Listen: Scientists turn wolf-moose relationships on Isle Royale into music

Jan 18, 2017

Researchers estimate just two wolves remain on Isle Royale.
Credit John Vucetich/Rolf Peterson / Michigan Tech University

The Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project has been tracking the rare ecosystem on Isle Royale for almost 60 years. What makes Isle Royale rare is that the island, located in Lake Superior roughly 50 miles from the Upper Peninsula, has just two main animals inhabiting it. The food chain is simple: The wolves are the predators and the moose are the prey.

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Recently, the tracking of the wolves and moose on Isle Royale led to an unlikely musical creation. 

More than 50 years of data collected by the project were converted into musical notes by four Michigan Tech undergrad students who created the "sonification" or "data driven music" for a senior project. They used different instruments to represent different information within the project, like wolf population, moose population, and climate change.

A moose on Isle Royale
Credit Ray Dumas / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The students then presented the music to project leader John Vucetich, an ecologist and a professor at Michigan Tech, who joined Stateside to talk about it. 

Listen to the full interview above to hear examples of the music and learn how it was put together. You can also visit the project's website to hear more examples of the sound.

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