Land & Environment

Wide Reach: USU Wildland Resources Scientists Shine in National Videos

USU wildlife ecologist Dan MacNulty, a contributing author of a pioneering book on Yellowstone wolves, is featured in the National Science Foundation's newly released 'Science Nation’ video on the apex predators.

Two scientists from Utah State University’s Quinney College of Natural Resources are front and center in national media, explaining innovative research in their respective fields in recently released videos produced by renowned science publications.

Dan MacNulty, assistant professor in the Department of Wildland Resources and the USU Ecology Center, is featured in “Understanding the Ecological Role of Wolves in Yellowstone National Park,”  a video released Aug. 31 in the National Science Foundation’s online magazine Science Nation.

“We’re interested in understanding how wolves are affecting the numbers of elk (in Yellowstone National Park) and how that changes over time,” says MacNulty in the 4-minute video. “We’re also interested in how wolves are affecting the behavior and movement of elk.”

The USU faculty member, who has been involved with the National Park Service’s Yellowstone Wolf Project since its 1995 inception, is among authors of the recently published, pioneering book, Wolves on the Hunt: The Behavior of Wolves Hunting Wild Prey.

MacNulty is featured in Logan, Utah’s, Stokes Nature Center Speaker Series Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. The center, located at 2696 East Highway 89 at the mouth of Logan Canyon, requests reservations for the talk, which can be made online, by email at or by phone at 435-755-3239. 

USU Presidential Doctoral Research Fellow Maureen Frank appears in “Migratory Birds on the Great Salt Lake,” a video released Aug. 17 as part of the Wild Science video series produced by Colorado-based High Country News, a non-profit news organization covering public land and natural resource issues of the American West.

“The Great Salt Lake is a huge stopover area for migrating birds,” says Frank, who conducts research with USU Wildland Resources and Ecology Center professor Mike Conover. “There are millions of birds that come here every year.”

Her studies focus on phalaropes, slender-necked shorebirds that fuel up on the Great Salt Lake’s abundant brine flies and brine shrimp before migrating to South America. Of concern, she says, are shrinking lake levels and rising salinity.

“With the lower levels of Great Salt Lake, we don’t entirely know how big of an impact that will have on different birds that use this area,” says Frank in the 5-minute video. “(We’re asking) ‘how is salinity affecting the invertebrates and how is that indirectly affecting the phalarope population?’”

Frank, who completed undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University, was a featured speaker during the USU Office of Research and Graduate Studies’ spring 2015 Ignite USU speaker series. She presented “The Amazon in Your Backyard.”

Related links:

Contact: Dan MacNulty, 435-797-7442,

Contact: Maureen Frank,

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

USU Presidential Doctoral Fellow Maureen Frank, who conducts research with faculty mentor Mike Conover, studies the habitat, behavior and predatory habits of waterfowl that use the Great Salt Lake as a stopover on their migratory journeys.

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