L. David Mech

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L. David Mech
Born (1937-01-18) 18 January 1937 (age 77)
Auburn, New York, United States
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Biology, Ecology
Institutions University of Minnesota,
U.S. Geological Survey
Alma mater Cornell University,
Purdue University
Known for Wolf ecology and behavior research

Lucyan David "Dave" Mech (born January 18, 1937) is an internationally recognized wolf expert, a senior research scientist for the U.S. Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey (since 1970), and an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. He has researched wolves since 1958 in places such as Minnesota, Canada, Italy, Alaska, Yellowstone National Park, and on Isle Royale.

Mech is the founder of the International Wolf Center and sits on its Board of Directors as Vice Chair. The project to create the facility, which he started in 1985, was a natural outgrowth of his wolf research as well as his ambition to educate people about the nature of wolves that they may come to respect the creature through understanding.

He has published ten books and numerous articles about wolves and other wildlife, the most famous of these being his books The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species (1970, University of Minnesota Press) and Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation which he co-edited with Luigi Boitani (2003, University of Chicago Press). The 1997 book The Arctic Wolf: Ten Years with the Pack received an Honorable Mention by the National Outdoor Book Award (Nature and the Environment category).


One of the first publications on the subject of the Wolves on the Island of Isle Royale was the book "The Wolves of Isle Royale" by Mech which led to the prominence of both the author and the topic. The book was published in 1966 by the Department of the Interior, having evolved from his doctoral thesis.

My research involves monitoring wolf-deer relations in the Superior National Forest, determining the degree and manner of influence of each population on the other, and exploring the role of other factors, especially snow conditions and canine parvovirus, that influence the system. With the same system and research techniques, I am also attempting to learn as much as possible about basic life history, movements, and social ecology of both species. I have also conducted research in Denali National Park, Alaska; am currently working on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada; and in Yellowstone National Park. The Denali work involved examining the interactions between wolves and caribou, moose, and Dall sheep. The Ellesmere research concentrates primarily on observing the interactions of pack members with each other and with pups around a den. Supplementary work in the area includes observing wolf interactions with musk-oxen and arctic hare. The Yellowstone National Park studies concentrate primarily on wolf interactions with prey, including mortality and survival studies of elk.


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