Habitat and Niche

“Where can I potentially see the moose?"

The moose can be potentially seen throughout a wide distribution ranging across three continents.  Alces alces is capable of residing in Alaska, southern parts of Canada, northern United States of America, as well as northern Europe and southern Asia (indicated in red on map). Within this large range of area, there are eight subspecies of Alces alces, named depending on where they live. The moose lives in many different kinds of habitats, but they mainly live in the Taiga biome and parts of the Tundra biome. However, the moose can also be found in mountains.

The typical environment that a moose lives in consists of coniferous trees, such as Larix laricina and Picea pungens, deciduous trees such as Populus tremula and Acer saccharum, and snow during the winter months. Usually, there are many ponds, lakes, and streams that are relatively close to where the moose is currently living so that they can quench their thirst and to cool off in the summer months. The temperature during the winter ranges from -65°F to 30°F (-54°C to -1°C) and the summer temperature ranges from 20°F to 70°F (-7° to 21°C). Moose tend to stay in fairly thick forested areas over open plains and areas that were recently cut down by humans. Overall, Alces alces is hard to classify into one specific type of habitat because they migrate around based on food and water availability and on protective covering or shelter. They also live where many types of biomes overlap.


Ecological Niche

The ecological niche of an organism is its “job” that it does for the environment and its interactions with other organisms in its habitat.  Alces alces has a straightforward ecological niche. The moose’s “job “is to eat aquatic and terrestrial plants. By eating the plants, the moose keeps the plants population under control and it allows the moose to grow, live, and stay healthy.  The moose also acts as a food source for predators such as the grizzly bear and the grey wolf.

Click here to watch a video on a moose in its ecological niche! 

Click here to watch a video on a pack of wolves hunting a moose! (Warning: Graphic!)

Go to Adaptations to see how the moose adapted to its environment! 

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