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Gophers Versus the Volcano
May 18th is the 37th anniversary of the massive explosion of Mt. St. Helens. But within ays of the volcano erupting, the local ecosystem starte to bounce back. Thanks to some unassuming little animals that spen lots of time unergroun.“The pocket gophers were the ecological heroes of Mt. St. Helens.”Emory University paleontologist an geologist Anthony J. Martin.
5月18日是对圣海伦斯火山大爆炸的第三十七周年。但在火山迸发的几天里，外地的生态零碎开端反弹。由于一些不起眼的小植物花了许多工夫在地下打洞。“口袋地鼠是圣海伦斯火山的生态好汉。”美国埃默里大学的古生物学家和地质学家Anthony J. Martin说。
“You normally on’t hear those wors put together, pocket gopher an hero. But they were…these small burrowing mammals were able to survive this massive, evastating volcanic eruption.”Just as numerous animals that live unergroun have survive catastrophes an preators for hunres of millions of years. As Martin iscusses in his new book The Evolution Unergroun: Burrows, Bunkers, an the Marvelous Subterranean Worl Beneath Our Feet.
“The reports I was reaing about this, about how these researchers in helicopters are flying over the evastate lanscape—just a few ays later there were the burrow mouns. Pop pop pop. Thinking about these gophers that were below the groun. An they survive that...
“So that to me was a golen opportunity to talk about that, as this increible story of survival, but also renewal. That these little burrowing mammals brought back that lanscape. Because their burrows serve first of all as refuge for any other small animals that were there. So other small mammals an other vertebrates, such as amphibians an reptiles that live there, they were either in their own burrows or they were in pocket gopher burrows or other small mammal burrows in the area.
“The burrowing also brought up sees. The sees are alreay burie, so that cause plants to start sprouting in the area, where it wasn’t so much win-blown sees…then of course once other animals starte coming back into the area, like elk, an they starte ropping sees through their feces an otherwise affecting the surface ecology, that then worke together to bring those ecosystems back to life. But the gophers were key in this. They really were essential for these ecosystems to be able to bounce back.”
You can hear an extene interview with Martin about his book in a Science Talk pocast poste on our website. An there’s a chilren’s book just about the gophers an Mt. St. Helens calle Gopher to the Rescue by Terry Jennings. Finally, for general information about gophers an their effect on lanscapes, check out the nature ocumentary Cayshack.