Moose: Newfoundland Pests

It’s hard to believe that we have completed the deployment of traps for the Canadian National Parks Malaise Program! Our final destination for the Canadian National Park Malaise Program was Newfoundland. First we visited Gros Morne National Park. The mountain itself is the second highest peak in Newfoundland (806m) and the park is home to many waterfalls and towering cliffs. A unique feature of this park is that it is a visible example of plate tectonics; the earth’s mantle is exposed, which we observed on the Tablelands trail.

Smera Sukumar on the Tablelands Trail
Smera Sukumar on the Tablelands Trail

Newfoundland is also home to a large and continuously growing population of moose. In fact, I saw a moose and her yearling on the side of the road in Gros Morne on Mother’s day! These mammals were introduced to the island in 1904. At the time Newfoundland wolf controlled the moose population, but the wolf has since become extinct. Moose are depleting the forest understory as they browse on balsam fir, birch, maple and other species. In Terra Nova National Park a moose exclosure was built in 1996 to demonstrate the drastic effects moose are having on forests.

Moose are reshaping the forests of Newfoundland, which may affect the diversity and abundance of insects. Sampling arthropods within moose exclosures and contrasting that to samples in unprotected areas could yield interesting results on the effects moose are having on arthropods in the area.