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To maximize the utility of research to decisionmaking, especially given limited financial resources, scientists must set priorities for their efforts. We present a list of the top 40 high-priority, multidisciplinary research questions directed toward informing some of the most important current and future decisions about management of species, communities, and ecological processes in the United States. The questions were generated by an open, inclusive process that included personal interviews with decisionmakers, broad solicitation of research needs from scientists and policymakers, and an intensive workshop that included scientifically oriented individuals responsible for managing and developing policy related...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: BioScience
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This data product contains estimates of habitat quality for black bear. The analysis area was a 236,000 square kilometers that encompassed the Navajo Nation, which includes portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The estimates of habitat quality were created with spatially explicit habitat variables and either an expert-based linear combination process (for mountain lion and mule deer) or a generalized linear mixed model-based estimation that used radio-collar telemetry data (for desert bighorn sheep, black bear, and pronghorn; collected between 2005-2011). Habitat variables varied among species but included vegetation type, terrain ruggedness, topographic position index (TPI), road density, distance to water,...
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The distribution and abundance of cheatgrass, an invasive annual grass native to Eurasia, has increased substantially across the Intermountain West, including the Great Basin. Cheatgrass is highly flammable, and as it has expanded, the extent and frequency of fire in the Great Basin has increased by as much as 200%. These changes in fire regimes are associated with loss of the native sagebrush, grasses, and herbaceous flowering plants that provide habitat for many native animals, including Greater Sage-Grouse. Changes in vegetation and fire management have been suggested with the intent of conserving Greater Sage-Grouse. However, the potential responses of other sensitive-status birds to these changes in management...
This presentation aired as part of the Great Basin LCC webinar series on October 11, 2017. Speakers included Erica Fleishman, U.C. Davis, and Jimi Gragg, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.Description: As the distribution and abundance of non-native cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) in the Great Basin has increased, the extent and frequency of fire in the region has increased by as much as 200%. These changes in fire regimes are associated with loss of the sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and native grasses and forbs in which many native animals, including Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), breed and feed. Managers have suggested changes in fire regimes, fuels treatments and post-fire restoration with...
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Pesticides applied on land are commonly transported by runoff or spray drift to aquatic ecosystems, where they are potentially toxic to fishes and other nontarget organisms. Pesticides add to and interact with other stressors of ecosystem processes, including surface-water diversions, losses of spawning and rearing habitats, nonnative species, and harmful algal blooms. Assessing the cumulative effects of pesticides on species or ecological functions has been difficult for historical, legal, conceptual, and practical reasons. To explore these challenges, we examine current-use (modern) pesticides and their potential connections to the abundances of fishes in the San Francisco Estuary (California). Declines in delta...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: BioScience
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Covering about 4% of the United States, the 338,000 km² of protected areas in the National Park System contain representative landscapes of all of the nation’s biomes and ecosystems. The U.S. National Park Service Organic Act established the National Park System in 1916 “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”1 Approximately 270 national park system areas contain significant natural resources. Current National Park Service policy for natural resource parks calls for management to preserve fundamental physical and biological...
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Natural Ecosystems analyzes the association of observed changes in climate with changes in the geographic distributions and phenology (the timing of blossoms or migrations of birds) for Southwestern ecosystems and their species, portraying ecosystem disturbances—such as wildfires and outbreaks of forest pathogens—and carbon storage and release, in relation to climate change.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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This data product contains estimates of habitat connectivity for desert bighorn sheep. The analysis area was a 236,000 square kilometers that encompassed the Navajo Nation, which includes portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The estimates of habitat quality were created with spatially explicit habitat variables and either an expert-based linear combination process (for mountain lion and mule deer) or a generalized linear mixed model-based estimation that used radio-collar telemetry data (for desert bighorn sheep, black bear, and pronghorn; collected between 2005-2011). Habitat variables varied among species but included vegetation type, terrain ruggedness, topographic position index (TPI), road density, distance...
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This data product contains estimates of habitat quality and connectivity for mountain lion, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, and black bear, and combined estimates of high habitat and connectivity areas for all species. The analysis area was a 236,000 square kilometers that encompassed the Navajo Nation, which includes portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The estimates of habitat quality were created with spatially explicit habitat variables and either an expert-based linear combination process (for mountain lion and mule deer) or a generalized linear mixed model-based estimation that used radio-collar telemetry data (for desert bighorn sheep, black bear, and pronghorn; collected between 2005-2011). Habitat...
Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) has increased the extent and frequency of fire and negatively affected native plant and animal species across the Intermountain West (USA). However, the strengths of association between cheatgrass occurrence or abundance and fire, livestock grazing, and precipitation are not well understood. We used 14 years of data from 417 sites across 10,000 km(2) in the central Great Basin to assess the effects of the foregoing predictors on cheatgrass occurrence and prevalence (i.e., given occurrence, the proportion of measurements in which the species was detected). We implemented hierarchical Bayesian models and considered covariates for which > 0.90 or < 0.10 of the posterior predictive mass...
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Human effects on estuaries are often associated with major decreases in abundance of aquatic species. However, remediation priorities are difficult to identify when declines result from multiple stressors with interacting sublethal effects. The San Francisco Estuary offers a useful case study of the potential role of contaminants in declines of organisms because the waters of its delta chronically violate legal water quality standards; however, direct effects of contaminants on fish species are rarely observed. Lack of direct lethality in the field has prevented consensus that contaminants may be one of the major drivers of coincident but unexplained declines of fishes with differing life histories and habitats...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Estuaries and Coasts
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Expert elicitation is a rigorous method for synthesizing expert knowledge to inform decision making and is reliable and practical when field data are limited. We evaluated the feasibility of applying expert elicitation to estimate population-level effects of disturbance on marine mammals. Diverse experts estimated parameters related to mortality and sublethal injury of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). We are now eliciting expert knowledge on the movement of right whales among geographic regions to parameterize a spatial model of health. Expert elicitation complements methods such as simulation models or extrapolations from other species, sometimes with greater accuracy and less uncertainty.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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As natural resource management agencies and conservation organizations seek guidance on responding to climate change, myriad potential actions and strategies have been proposed for increasing the long-term viability of some attributes of natural systems. Managers need practical tools for selecting among these actions and strategies to develop a tailored management approach for specific targets at a given location. We developed and present one such tool, the participatory Adaptation for Conservation Targets (ACT) framework, which considers the effects of climate change in the development of management actions for particular species, ecosystems and ecological functions. Our framework is based on the premise that effective...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Environmental Management
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This data product contains estimates of habitat quality for pronghorn. The analysis area was a 236,000 square kilometers that encompassed the Navajo Nation, which includes portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The estimates of habitat quality were created with spatially explicit habitat variables and either an expert-based linear combination process (for mountain lion and mule deer) or a generalized linear mixed model-based estimation that used radio-collar telemetry data (for desert bighorn sheep, black bear, and pronghorn; collected between 2005-2011). Habitat variables varied among species but included vegetation type, terrain ruggedness, topographic position index (TPI), road density, distance to water,...
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The desert grasslands of the southwestern United States support many wildlife species of management concern and economic value. The American pronghorn, for example, is a game species that contributes to local and state economies. Climate extremes, including severe droughts, heat waves, and atmospheric river events, are expected to occur more frequently in the Southwest. These extremes can affect the availability of food and water needed by wildlife. Wildlife management agencies and conservation organizations need information on resource availability for wildlife under future climate scenarios to design effective management strategies to sustain wildlife populations. Project scientists are working with the Arizona...
FY2015This effort complements a project, supported by the Joint Fire Science Program, to explore relations among cheatgrass-driven fire, climate, and sensitive-status birds across the Great Basin. With support from the NW and SW Climate Science Centers and the GB CESU, we aim to engage managers at local, state, and regional levels, and to involve both field-level and director-level personnel, during all stages of the proposed project. Our methods of engagement are intended to save managers time and decrease some of the uncertainty in planning and decision-making rather than to create additional pressures on managers time. We will conduct field visits, workshops, and interactive briefings to build trust and increase...
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This data product contains estimates of habitat quality for mule deer. The analysis area was a 236,000 square kilometers that encompassed the Navajo Nation, which includes portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The estimates of habitat quality were created with spatially explicit habitat variables and either an expert-based linear combination process (for mountain lion and mule deer) or a generalized linear mixed model-based estimation that used radio-collar telemetry data (for desert bighorn sheep, black bear, and pronghorn; collected between 2005-2011). Habitat variables varied among species but included vegetation type, terrain ruggedness, topographic position index (TPI), road density, distance to water,...
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Four species of pelagic fish of particular management concern in the upper San Francisco Estuary, California, USA, have declined precipitously since ca. 2002: delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus), longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys), striped bass (Morone saxatilis), and threadfin shad (Dorosoma petenense). The estuary has been monitored since the late 1960s with extensive collection of data on the fishes, their pelagic prey, phytoplankton biomass, invasive species, and physical factors. We used multivariate autoregressive (MAR) modeling to discern the main factors responsible for the declines. An expert-elicited model was built to describe the system. Fifty-four relationships were built into the model, only...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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We examined trends in abundance of four pelagic fish species (delta smelt, longfin smelt, striped bass, and threadfin shad) in the upper San Francisco Estuary, California, USA, over 40 years using Bayesian change point models. Change point models identify times of abrupt or unusual changes in absolute abundance (step changes) or in rates of change in abundance (trend changes). We coupled Bayesian model selection with linear regression splines to identify biotic or abiotic covariates with the strongest associations with abundances of each species. We then refitted change point models conditional on the selected covariates to explore whether those covariates could explain statistical trends or change points in species...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications


map background search result map search result map A perspective on modern pesticides, pelagic fish declines, and unknown ecological resilience in highly managed ecosystems Bighorn Sheep Habitat Connectivity Black Bear Habitat Quality Mule Deer Habitat Quality Pronghorn Habitat Quality SRLCC_2011_Fleishman_NavajoNationConnectivity_Data Relations Among Cheatgrass, Fire, Climate, and Sensitive-Status Birds across the Great Basin Forecasting Resource Availability for Wildlife Populations in Desert Grasslands under Future Climate Extremes Engagement of Managers and Researchers on Relations among Cheatgrass-driven Fire, Climate, and Sensitive-status Birds across the Great Basin SRLCC_2011_Fleishman_NavajoNationConnectivity_Data Bighorn Sheep Habitat Connectivity Black Bear Habitat Quality Mule Deer Habitat Quality Pronghorn Habitat Quality A perspective on modern pesticides, pelagic fish declines, and unknown ecological resilience in highly managed ecosystems Engagement of Managers and Researchers on Relations among Cheatgrass-driven Fire, Climate, and Sensitive-status Birds across the Great Basin Relations Among Cheatgrass, Fire, Climate, and Sensitive-Status Birds across the Great Basin Forecasting Resource Availability for Wildlife Populations in Desert Grasslands under Future Climate Extremes