Windows Into Wonderland
Three photos - plants growing in water, a black bear yawning, a stand of lodgepole pine
TV Guide showing the cast of characters back next
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Where the Bison Roam

Act 1,  Scene 1,  Page 6 of 47

I’m a graduate student, studying plant science. I’m not a member of the YMM team, but I often accompany them for my own safety. The bears are emerging from their dens at this time of year, and before that, I didn’t want to be alone in the backcountry because of the harsh weather. I’m surveying the distribution of plants in areas influenced by the thermal features here in Yellowstone.

I don’t see much to survey. It seems to me that most of this park is covered with the same kind of tree.

Fleur (laughs tolerantly)
The vegetation of any area is closely related to its geology. The trees you just referred to are lodgepole pines—true heroes in my opinion! Miles and miles of these trees grow throughout Yellowstone because they’re tolerant of drought and have shallow roots that take advantage of the few nutrients found in Yellowstone’s rhyolitic soil.

Here we go with the scientific words again. What does rhyolitic mean?

thermal—having to do with heat
rhyolitie—a volcanic rock similar in composition to granite; rhyolitic (adj.)

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