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Migratory bird populations and survival are affected by conditions experienced during migration. While many studies and conservation and management efforts focus on terrestrial stoppage and staging areas, the aerial environment through which migrants move also is subjected to anthropogenic impacts with potential consequences to migratory movement and survival. During autumn migration, the northern coastline of Lake Superior acts as an ecological barrier for many landbirds migrating out of the boreal forests of North America. From 24 observation points, we assessed the diurnal movements of birds throughout autumn migration, 2008-2010, within a 210 km by 10 km coastal region along the northern coast of Lake Superior....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Changes in the abundance and distribution of wildlife populations are common consequences of historic and contemporary climate change. Some Arctic marine mammals, such as the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), may be particularly vulnerable to such changes due to the loss of Arctic sea ice. We evaluated the impacts of environmental variation on demographic rates for the Western Hudson Bay (WH), polar bear subpopulation from 1984 to 2011 using live-recapture and dead-recovery data in a Bayesian implementation of multistate capture–recapture models. We found that survival of female polar bears was related to the annual timing of sea ice break-up and formation. Using estimated vital rates (e.g., survival and reproduction)...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Denitrification is a critical process regulating the removal of bioavailable nitrogen (N) from natural and human-altered systems. While it has been extensively studied in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems, there has been limited communication among denitrification scientists working in these individual systems. Here, we compare rates of denitrification and controlling factors across a range of ecosystem types. We suggest that terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems in which denitrification occurs can be organized along a continuum ranging from (1) those in which nitrification and denitrification are tightly coupled in space and time to (2) those in which nitrate production and denitrification are relatively...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
Human activities have caused the decline of numerous species and ecosystems. To promote ecosystem resilience, recent management efforts aim to maintain ecosystem patterns and processes within their historical range of variability. There has been substantial concern that quaking aspen, the most widely distributed tree in North America and the most important deciduous tree in the subalpine forests of the Rocky Mountains, has declined significantly in the western landscape during the 20th century. This reported decline has been attributed to conifer encroachment associated with fire exclusion, as well as other causes. To assess long-term changes in the extent of quaking aspen in a 175000-ha study area in western Colorado,...
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We assessed DNA repair and resistance to solar radiation in eggs of members of the western spotted frog complex (Rana pretiosa and R. luteiventris), species whose populations are suffering severe range reductions and declines. Specifically, we measured the activity of photoreactivating enzyme (photolyase) in oocytes of spotted frogs. In some species, photoreactivation is the most important mechanism for repair of UV-damaged DNA. Using field experiments, we also compared the hatching success of spotted frog embryos at natural oviposition sites at three elevations, where some embryos were subjected to ambient levels of UV-B radiation and others were shielded from UV-B radiation. Compared with other amphibians, photolyase...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Plant communities along tropical coastlines are often affected by natural and human disturbances, but little is known about factors influencing recovery. We focused on mangrove forests, which are among the most threatened ecosystems globally, to examine how facilitation by herbaceous vegetation might improve forest restoration after disturbance. We specifically investigated whether recovery of mangrove forests in harsh environments is accelerated by nurse plants and whether the beneficial effects are species-specific. Quantification of standardized effects allowed comparisons across performance parameters and over time for: (1) net effect of each herbaceous species on mangrove survival and growth, (2) effects of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Only a small portion of any landscape can be sampled for vascular plant diversity because of constraints of cost (salaries, travel time between sites, etc.). Often, the investigator decides to reduce the cost of creating a vegetation map by increasing the minimum mapping unit (MMU), and/or by reducing the number of vegetation classes to be considered. Questions arise about what information is sacrificed when map resolution is decreased. We compared plant diversity patterns from vegetation maps made with 100-ha, 50-ha, 2-ha, and 0.02-ha MMUs in a 754-ha study area in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, United States, using four 0.025-ha and 21 0.1-ha multiscale vegetation plots. We developed and tested species-log(area)...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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We used a biogeochemistry model, the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM), to study the net methane (CH4) fluxes between Alaskan ecosystems and the atmosphere. We estimated that the current net emissions of CH4 (emissions minus consumption) from Alaskan soils are ???3 Tg CH 4/yr. Wet tundra ecosystems are responsible for 75% of the region's net emissions, while dry tundra and upland boreal forests are responsible for 50% and 45% of total consumption over the region, respectively. In response to climate change over the 21st century, our simulations indicated that CH 4 emissions from wet soils would be enhanced more than consumption by dry soils of tundra and boreal forests. As a consequence, we projected that net CH4...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Managers need to predict how animals will respond to habitat redistributions caused by climate change. Our objective was to model the effects of sea level rise on total eelgrass (Zostera marina) habitat area and on the amount of that area that is accessible to Brant geese (Branta bernicla), specialist grazers of eelgrass. Digital elevation models were developed for seven estuaries from Alaska, Washington, California (USA), and Mexico. Scenarios of future total eelgrass area were derived from combinations of estuarine specific sediment and tectonic rates (i.e., bottom change rate) with three rates of eustatic sea level rise (ESLR). Percentages of total eelgrass areas that were accessible to foraging Brant were determined...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Historical disturbance regimes are often considered a critical element in maintaining native plant communities. However, the response of plant communities to disturbance may be fundamentally altered as a consequence of invasive plants, climate change, or prior disturbances. The appropriateness of historical disturbance patterns under modern conditions and the interactions among disturbances are issues that ecologists must address to protect and restore native plant communities. We evaluated the response of Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Beetle & A. Young) S.L. Welsh plant communities to their historical disturbance regime compared to other disturbance regimes. The historical disturbance regime of these...
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Subsidized predators may affect prey abundance, distribution, and demography. Common Ravens (Corvus corax) are anthropogenically subsidized throughout their range and, in the Mojave Desert, have increased in number dramatically over the last 3-4 decades. Human-provided food resources are thought to be important drivers of raven population growth, but human developments add other features as well, such as nesting platforms. From 1996 to 2000, we examined the nesting ecology of ravens in the Mojave Desert, relative to anthropogenic development. Ravens nested disproportionately near point sources of food and water subsidies (such as towns, landfills, and ponds) but not near roads (sources of road-killed carrion), even...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Every winter, government agencies feed ???6000 metric tons (6 ?? 106 kg) of hay to elk in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to limit transmission of Brucella abortus, the causative agent of brucellosis, from elk to cattle. Supplemental feeding, however, is likely to increase the transmission of brucellosis in elk, and may be affected by climatic factors, such as snowpack. We assessed these possibilities using snowpack and feeding data from 1952 to 2006 and disease testing data from 1993 to 2006. Brucellosis seroprevalence was strongly correlated with the timing of the feeding season. Longer feeding seasons were associated with higher seroprevalence, but elk population size and density had only minor...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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As part of the Episodic Response Project (ERP), we intensively monitored discharge and stream chemistry of 13 streams located in the Northern Appalachian region of Pennsylvania and in the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains of New York from fall 1988 to spring 1990. The ERP clearly documented the occurrence of acidic episodes with minimum episodic pH ??? 5 and inorganic monomeric Al (Alim) concentrations >150 ??g/L in at least two study streams in each region. Several streams consistently experienced episodes with maximum Alim concentrations >350 ??g/L. Acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) depressions resulted from complex interactions of multiple ions. Base cation decreases often made the most important contributions...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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In restoration ecology, reference sites serve as models for areas to be restored and can provide a standard of comparison for restoration project outcomes. When reference sites are located a relatively long distance from associated restoration projects, differences in climate, disturbance history, and biogeography can increase beta diversity and may decrease the relevance of reference sites. Variation in factors at the scale of individual reference sites such as patch size, microclimate, barriers to dispersal, or soil chemistry can result in reference site species composition that is a nested subset of the regional species pool. In the western United States, restoration of riparian areas, particularly those occupied...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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A three-trophic-level interaction among American Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani), limpets (Lottia spp.), and erect fleshy algae in rocky intertidal communities of central and southern California was documented via manipulative and 'natural' experiments. Removal of the territorial limpet (Lottia gigantea) initially caused large increases in the percent cover of erect fleshy algae, followed by a more gradual increase in density of small limpets (Lottia spp.) and a decline in algal cover. Algal cover increased following the removal of small limpets at the sites from which L. gigantea had been removed earlier, thus demonstrating that the large and small limpets had similar inhibitory effects on plant populations....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Reliable information on historical and current population dynamics is central to understanding patterns of growth and decline in animal populations. We developed a maximum likelihood-based analysis to estimate spatial and temporal trends in age/sex-specific survival rates for the threatened southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis), using annual population censuses and the age structure of salvaged carcass collections. We evaluated a wide range of possible spatial and temporal effects and used model averaging to incorporate model uncertainty into the resulting estimates of key vital rates and their variances. We compared these results to current demographic parameters estimated in a telemetry-based study conducted...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
Fire is known to structure tree populations, but the role of broad-scale climate variability is less clear. For example, the influence of climatic ?teleconnections? (the relationship between oceanic?atmospheric fluctuations and anomalous weather patterns across broad scales) on forest age structure is relatively unexplored. We sampled semiarid pi�on?juniper (Pinus edulis?Juniperus osteosperma) woodlands in western Colorado, USA, to test the hypothesis that woodland age structures are shaped by climate, including links to oceanic?atmospheric fluctuations, and by past fires and livestock grazing. Low-severity surface fire was lacking, as fire scars were absent, and did not influence woodland densities, but stand-replacing...
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The wildland-urban interface lies at the confluence of human-dominated and wild landscapes, creating a number of management and conservation challenges. Because wildlife ecology, behavior, and evolution at this interface are shaped by both natural and human phenomena, this requires greater understanding of how diverse factors affect ecosystem and population processes. We illustrate the challenge of understanding and managing a frequent and often undesired inhabitant of the wildland-urban landscape, the cougar (Puma concolor). In wildland and residential areas of western Washington State, USA, we captured and radiotracked 27 cougars to model space use and understand the role of landscape features in interactions...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Disruption to migration is a growing problem for conservation and restoration of animal populations. Anthropogenic barriers along migration paths can delay or prolong migrations, which may result in a mismatch with migration-timing adaptations. To understand the interaction of dams (as barriers along a migration path), seasonally changing environmental conditions, timing of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) downstream migration, and ultimate migration success, we used 10 years of river temperature and discharge data as a template upon which we simulated downstream movement of salmon. Atlantic salmon is a cool-water species whose downstream migrating smolts must complete migration before river temperatures become too...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a fungal pathogen that is receiving attention around the world for its role in amphibian declines. Study of its occurrence patterns is hampered by false negatives: the failure to detect the pathogen when it is present. Occupancy models are a useful but currently underutilized tool for analyzing detection data when the probability of detecting a species is <1. We use occupancy models to evaluate hypotheses concerning the occurrence and prevalence of B. dendrobatidis and discuss how this application differs from a conventional occupancy approach. We found that the probability of detecting the pathogen, conditional on presence of the pathogen in the anuran population, was related to...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications


map background search result map search result map Interaction of historical and nonhistorical disturbances maintains native plant communities Predicted eelgrass response to sea level rise and its availability to foraging Black Brant in Pacific coast estuaries Patterns in diurnal airspace use by migratory landbirds along an ecological barrier Interaction of historical and nonhistorical disturbances maintains native plant communities Patterns in diurnal airspace use by migratory landbirds along an ecological barrier Predicted eelgrass response to sea level rise and its availability to foraging Black Brant in Pacific coast estuaries