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Paul C. Cross

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Several elk herds in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are fed during winter to alleviate interactions with livestock, reduce damage to stored crops, and to manage for high elk numbers. The effects of supplemental feeding on ungulate population dynamics has rarely been examined, despite the fact that supplemental feeding is partially justified as necessary for maintaining or enhancing population growth rates. We used linear regression to assess how the presence of feedgrounds, snowpack, summer rainfall, indices of grizzly bear density and wolves per elk, elk population trend counts, brucellosis seroprevalence, and survey date were correlated with midwinter calf:cow ratios, a metric correlated with population growth,...
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Migratory behavior in ungulates has declined globally and understanding the causative factors (environmental change vs. human mediated) is needed to formulate effective management strategies. In the Jackson elk herd of northwest Wyoming, demographic differences between summer elk (Cervus elaphus) population segments have led to changes in migratory patterns over a 35-year time period. The proportion of short-distance migrants (SDM) has increased and the proportion of long-distance migrants (LDM) has concurrently declined. The probability of winter-captured elk on the National Elk Refuge being LDM decreased from 0.99 (95% CI = 0.97–1.00) to 0.59 (95% CI = 0.47–0.70) from 1978 to 2012. We tested 4 hypotheses that...
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Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal disease of deer, elk, and moose transmitted through direct, animal-to-animal contact, and indirectly, via environmental contamination. Considerable attention has been paid to modeling direct transmission, but despite the fact that CWD prions can remain infectious in the environment for years, relatively little information exists about the potential effects of indirect transmission on CWD dynamics. In the present study, we use simulation models to demonstrate how indirect transmission and the duration of environmental prion persistence may affect epidemics of CWD and populations of North American deer. Existing data from Colorado, Wyoming, and Wisconsin's CWD epidemics were...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: PLoS ONE
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Tracking and preventing the spillover of disease from wildlife to livestock can be difficult when rare outbreaks occur across large landscapes. In these cases, broad scale ecological studies could help identify risk factors and patterns of risk to inform management and reduce incidence of disease. Between 2002 and 2014, 21 livestock herds in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) were affected by brucellosis, a bacterial disease caused by Brucella abortus, while no affected herds were detected between 1990 and 2001. Using a Bayesian analysis, we examined several ecological covariates that may be associated with affected livestock herds across the region. We showed that livestock risk has been increasing over time and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: PLoS ONE
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1.Parasites and pathogens of wildlife can threaten biodiversity, infect humans and domestic animals, and cause significant economic losses, providing incentives to manage wildlife diseases. Recent insights from disease ecology have helped transform our understanding of infectious disease dynamics and yielded new strategies to better manage wildlife diseases. Simultaneously, wildlife disease management (WDM) presents opportunities for large-scale empirical tests of disease ecology theory in diverse natural systems. 2.To assess whether the potential complementarity between WDM and disease ecology theory has been realized, we evaluate the extent to which specific concepts in disease ecology theory have been explicitly...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Applied Ecology
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