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Isolated Wyoming Common Loons Continue to Surprise Researchers
By Brett French
BILLINGS – Wyoming’s small population of about 50 common loons is related to those found in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, according to recent genetic results – not closer populations that nest in Montana or Washington, which are still more than 200 miles away.
“That’s a little bit of a surprise,” said David Evers, executive director and chief scientist for the Biodiversity Research Institute, which published the results in a recent status update.
That’s just one of the amazing facts about common loons, a species that has attracted Evers’ attention during more than 40 years of research. His entire business, based in Portland, Maine, was built around evaluating loon populations and, by sampling their blood, determining the prevalence of mercury in the environment.
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