Ripple, William J.

Professor; Director, Trophic Cascades Program

Office Location: 
314 Richardson Hall
Email Address: 

Wildlife habitat analysis, landscape ecology

Educational Background: 
  • B.S., 1974, South Dakota State University
  • M.S., 1978, University of Idaho
  • Ph.D., 1984, Oregon State University
Research Interests: 
Wolf, ungulate, aspen ecology; trophic cascades; mesopredators; plant/animal interactions; ecology of fear; wildlife habitat analysis; landscape ecology; biodiversity; historical ecology; conservation biology; riparian ecology.
Current/Recent Programs: 

Global Trophic Cascades Program

Other programs:

  • The Leopold Project - The goal of Leopold Project is to continue the work Aldo Leopold started on topics that intersect forestry and wildlife science and ecosystems especially predators, ungulates, and forests.
  • The Aspen Project - An interactive web page designed to examine the decline of Quaking Aspen throughout the western United States. This site has had 13,000 hits since 1998.
  • The Lewis and Clark Project - Wildlife along the Lewis & Clark Trail studying human wildlife associations as a study in historical ecology.
  • The Wolves in Nature Project - The purpose here is to investigate the role of a top predator, the gray wolf (Canis Lupus), in structuring ecological communities.
  • Species Range Contractions - The purpose of this study is to compare historic and current ranges of both carnivores and ungulates, identify large-scale patterns in species ranges and determine the degree of human influence on species range changes.
Selected Publications: 

A full list of publications, along with links to the articles, can be found on the Trophic Cascades website here.

  1. Eisenberg, C., D.E. Hibbs, and W.J. Ripple. 2015. Effects of predation risk on elk (Cervus elaphus) landscape use in a wolf (Canis lupus) dominated system. Can. J. Zool. 93: 99-111.
  2. Painter, L.E, R.L. Beschta, E.J. Larsen, and W.J. Ripple. 2015. Recovering aspen follow changing elk dynamics in Yellowstone: evidence of a trophic cascade? Ecology 96(1): 252-263.
  3. Batchelor, J.L, W.J. Ripple, T.M. Wilson and L.E. Painter. 2015. Restoration of Riparian Areas Following the Removal of Cattle in the Northwestern Great Basin. Environmental Management DOI: 10.1007/s00267-014-0436-2.
  4. Beschta, R., and W.J. Ripple. 2015. Divergent patterns of riparian cottonwood recovery after the return of wolves in Yellowstone, USA. Ecohydrology 8: 58-66.
  5. Ripple, W.J., et al. 2014. Status and Ecological Effects of the World's Largest Carnivores. Science 343. doi: 10.1126/science.1241484.
  6. Painter, L.E, R.L. Beschta, E.J. Larsen, and W.J. Ripple. 2014. After long-term decline, are aspen recovering in northern Yellowstone? Forest Ecology and Management 329: 108-117.
  7. Ripple, W.J., Beschta, R.L., Fortin, J.K. and C.T. Robbins. 2013. Trophic cascades from wolves to grizzly bears in Yellowstone. Journal of Animal Ecology doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12123, 2013.
  8. Beschta, R., and W.J. Ripple. 2013. Are wolves saving Yellowstone's aspen? A landscape-level test of a behaviorally mediated trophic cascade - Comment. Ecology. [doi:10.1890/11-0063.1] 94(6): 1420-1425.
  9. Ripple, W.J., Wirsing, A.J., Wilmers, C.C, and Letnic, M. 2013. Widespread mesopredator effects after wolf extirpation. Biological Conservation 160: 70-79.
  10. Beschta, R.L., and Ripple, W.J. 2012. Berry-producing shrub characteristics following wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park. Forest Ecology and Management 276: 132-138.
  11. Beschta, R.L., and Ripple, W.J. 2012. The role of large predators in maintaining riparian plant communities and river morphology. Geomorphology 157-158: 88-98.
  12. Ripple, W.J. and Beschta, R.L. 2012. Large predators limit herbivore densities in northern forest ecosystems. Eur J Wildl Res: DOI 10.1007/s10344-012-0623-5.
  13. Painter, L.E. and W.J. Ripple. 2012. Effects of bison on willow and cottonwood in northern Yellowstone National Park. Forest Ecology and Management 264: 150-158.
  14. Ripple, W.J. and Beschta, R.L. 2012. Trophic cascades in Yellowstone: The first 15 years after wolf reintroduction Biological Conservation. 145: 205-213. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.11.005.
  15. Ripple, W.J., Wirsing, A.J., Beschta, R.L., and S.W. Buskirk. 2011. Can Restoring Wolves Aid in Lynx Recovery? Wildlife Society Bulletin 35(4): 514-518. DOI: 10.1002/wsb.59.
  16. Wirsing, A.J., and W.J. Ripple. 2011. A comparison of shark and wolf research reveals similar behavioral responses by prey. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9(6): 335-341.
  17. Ripple, W.J, Painter, L.E., Beschta, R.L. and C.C. Gates. 2010. Wolves, Elk, Bison, and Secondary Trophic Cascades in Yellowstone National Park. The Open Ecology Journal 3: 31-37.
  18. Beschta, R.L., and W.J. Ripple. 2010. Mexican wolves, elk, and aspen in Arizona: Is there a trophic cascade? Forest Ecology and Management 260: 915-922
  19. Ripple, W.J and Van Valkenburgh, B. 2010. Linking top-down forces to the Pleistocene Megafaunal extinctions. Bioscience 60(7): 516-526.
  20. Laundre, J.W., Hernandez, L., and Ripple, W.J. 2010 The landscape of fear: Ecological implications of being afraid. The Open Ecology Journal 3: 1-7.
  21. Beschta, R.L. and Ripple, W.J. 2010. Recovering riparian plant communities with wolves in northern Yellowstone, USA. Restoration Ecology 18(3): 380-389.
  22. Ripple, W.J., Rooney, T.P., and Beschta, R.L. 2010. Large predators, deer, and trophic cascades in boreal and temperate ecosystems. in Trophic Cascades: Predators, Prey, and the Changing Dynamics of Nature, edited by J. Terborgh and J. Estes. Island Press: 141-161.
  23. Manning, A.D., Gordon, I.J., and Ripple, W.J. 2009. Restoring landscapes of fear with wolves in the Scottish Highlands. Biological Conservation.
  24. Beschta, R.L. and Ripple, W.J. 2009. Large predators and trophic cascades in terrestrial ecosystems of the western United States. Biological Conservation 142: 2401-2414.
  25. Halofsky, J.S. Ripple W.J. and Beschta, R.L. 2008. Recoupling fire and aspen recruitment after wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 256: 1004-1008.
  26. Ripple, W.J. and Beschta, R.L. 2008. Trophic cascades involving cougar, mule deer, and black oaks in Yosemite National Park. Biological Conservation. 141: 1249-1256.
  27. Hollenbeck, J. P., and Ripple W.J. 2008. Aspen snag dynamics, cavity-nesting birds, and trophic cascades in Yellowstone's northern range. Forest Ecology and Management. 255:1095-1103.
  28. Halofsky, J.S. and Ripple W.J. 2008. Linkages between wolf presence and aspen recruitment in the Gallatin elk winter range of southwestern Montana, USA. Forestry. 81:195-207.
  29. Halofsky, J.S. and Ripple W.J. 2008. Fine-scale predation risk on elk after wolf-reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park, USA. Oecologia. 155:869–877.
  30. Beschta, R.L. and Ripple, W.J. 2007. Increased willow heights along northern Yellowstone’s Blacktail Deer Creek following wolf reintroduction. Western North American Naturalist 67:613-617.
  31. Hollenbeck, J. P., and Ripple W.J. 2007. Aspen and conifer heterogeneity effects on bird diversity in the northern Yellowstone ecosystem. Western North American Naturalist 67:92-101.
  32. Ripple, W.J. and Beschta, R.L. 2007. Restoring Yellowstone's aspen with wolves. Biological Conservation 138: 514-519.
  33. Beschta, R.L. and Ripple W.J. 2007. Wolves, elk, and aspen in the winter range of Jasper National Park, Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 37(10): 1873-1885.
  34. Hollenbeck, J. P., and Ripple W.J. 2007. Aspen patch and migratory bird relationships in the northern Yellowstone ecosystem. Landscape Ecology 22:1411-1425.
  35. Ripple W.J., Beschta R.L. 2007. Hardwood tree decline following the loss of large carnivores on the Great Plains, USA. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment in press. 5:241-246.