NAU Assistant Professor Chris Doughty is researching the impact animals have on the distribution of nutrients in an ecosystem. Doughty says that large animals, dating back to the dinosaurs, play a crucial role in supplying nutrients through their dung. Large animals also eat fruits and contribute to the spread of vegetation. Doughty is also says that there is an interdependence between large animals and vegetation. As more large animals go extinct, fewer nutrients are spread, causing a lack of vegetation for large animals to eat.