Monday, July 29, 2013
Day One In Yellowstone: Micro-Mania
The Wolf Conservation Center’s (WCC) second troop of Yellowstone Adventurers have arrived! WCC’s Alex Spitzer and over a dozen WCC supporters will be exploring the park and it's wild denizens for the next few days and we look forward to Alex's reports from the field.
Our first day started around 11am when we were picked up in Bozeman by our tour guides from The Wild Side. We arrived in Gardiner around 1pm and after settling in, we hopped back on the bus and rode into Mammoth. While driving through town, we came across a mother elk and her baby who were fast asleep in-between the buildings. Our tour guide Linda Thurston called this town a prey refugia; a place where prey animals could go to escape predators. Since most of the predators are fearful of humans, they tend to stay out of towns. Next we moved off to the Mammoth Hot Springs, a geothermal feature just outside of town.
In many of the active areas, we were able to see areas of orange, red, and yellow, which are thermophyllic microorganisms that thrive in these extremely hot microclimates. Research has and still is being done on these microorganisms. DNA replication techniques that are used today came from researching these little guys. After a fantastic catered dinner, we turned in for the night listening to Yellowstone River just outside our rooms.