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Can beavers contribute to evolution by transforming the tundra?

Anyone familiar with beavers will know that the big busy rodents can transform roads into ponds. They are making a comeback in Alaska: Beavers may be infiltrating the region for the first time in recent history as climate change makes conditions more hospitable, says Ken Tape, an ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Or maybe the expansion is a rebound after trapping reduced beaver numbers to imperceptible levels in the early 1900s, he says. Nobody knows for sure. And the full range of changes the rodents are generating in their new Arctic ecosystems hasn’t been studied in detail. But from what Tape and a few other researchers can tell so far, the effects could be profound, and most of Read More ›