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UnDiscplined: Does the canine coat reflect immunity to a deadly disease?

A gray wolf in Jamtland County, Sweden. A wealthy landowner in Scotland is hoping to bring wolves from Sweden to the Scottish Highlands to thin the herd of red deer.
Gunter Lenz
imageBROKER RF/Getty Images
A gray wolf in Jamtland County, Sweden.

Gray is the most common coat color in North American wolves – they are called Gray Wolves after all. But a team of researchers noticed that as you go south along the Rockies, the number of black coated wolves will increase, and in Yellowstone National Park there's about a 50/50 split between gray and black coated wolves. We find out why – and what this has to do with the deadly canine distemper disease – with our guest Dr. Sarah Cubaynes.

Dr. Sarah Cubaynes is a population ecologist at the Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology in France. Her latest study was recently published in the journal Science.

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Ellis Juhlin is a science reporter here at Utah Public Radio and a Master's Student at Utah State. She studies Ferruginous Hawk nestlings and the factors that influence their health. She loves our natural world and being part of wildlife research. Now, getting to communicate that kind of research to the UPR listeners through this position makes her love what she does even more. In her free time, you can find her outside on a trail with her partner Matt and her goofy pups Dodger and Finley. They love living in a place where there are year-round adventures to be had!