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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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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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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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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
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The reintroduction of threatened and endangered species is now a common method for reestablishing populations. Typically, a fundamental objective of reintroduction is to establish a self-sustaining population. Estimation of demographic parameters in reintroduced populations is critical, as these estimates serve multiple purposes. First, they support evaluation of progress toward the fundamental objective via construction of population viability analyses (PVAs) to predict metrics such as probability of persistence. Second, PVAs can be expanded to support evaluation of management actions, via management modeling. Third, the estimates themselves can support evaluation of the demographic performance of the reintroduced...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Abstract. It is increasingly common for studies of animal ecology to use model-based predictions of environmental variables as explanatory or predictor variables, even though model prediction uncertainty is typically unknown. To demonstrate the potential for misleading inferences when model predictions with error are used in place of direct measurements, we compared snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow depth as predicted by the Snow Data Assimilation System (SNODAS) to field measurements of SWE and snow depth. We examined locations on elk (Cervus canadensis) winter ranges in western Wyoming, because modeled data such as SNODAS output are often used for inferences on elk ecology. Overall, SNODAS predictions tended...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) has resulted in the restoration of >2 million ha of wetland and grassland habitats in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). Restoration of habitats through these programs provides diverse ecosystem services to society, but few investigators have evaluated the environmental benefits achieved by these programs. We describe changes in wetland processes, functions, and ecosystem services that occur when wetlands and adjacent uplands on agricultural lands are restored through Farm Bill conservation programs. At the scale of wetland catchments, projects have had positive impacts on water storage,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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We summarize the results of a recent interagency assessment of land carbon dynamics in Alaska, in which carbon dynamics were estimated for all major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for the historical period (1950–2009) and a projection period (2010–2099). Between 1950 and 2009, upland and wetland (i.e., terrestrial) ecosystems of the state gained 0.4 Tg C/yr (0.1% of net primary production, NPP), resulting in a cumulative greenhouse gas radiative forcing of 1.68 × 10−3 W/m2. The change in carbon storage is spatially variable with the region of the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) losing carbon because of fire disturbance. The combined carbon transport via various pathways through inland...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Canine distemper virus (CDV) is an acute, highly immunizing pathogen that should require high densities and large populations of hosts for long-term persistence, yet CDV persists among terrestrial carnivores with small, patchily distributed groups. We used CDV in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem's (GYE) wolves (Canis lupus) and coyotes (Canis latrans) as a case study for exploring how metapopulation structure, host demographics, and multi-host transmission affect the critical community size and spatial scale required for CDV persistence. We illustrate how host spatial connectivity and demographic turnover interact to affect both local epidemic dynamics, such as the length and variation in inter-epidemic periods,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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We conducted a Before-After-Control-Impact (BACI) study using larval digeneans infecting the California horn snail, Cerithidea californica, to evaluate the success of an ecological restoration project at Carpinteria Salt Marsh in California, USA. Digenean trematodes are parasites with complex life cycles requiring birds and other vertebrates as final hosts. We tested two hypotheses for prevalence and species richness of larval trematodes in C. californica: (1) prior to the restoration, sites to be restored would have lower trematode prevalence and species richness relative to unimpacted control sites, and (2) that these differences would diminish after restoration. The sites to be restored were initially degraded...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Populations of native and introduced aquatic organisms in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary ("Bay/Delta") have undergone significant declines over the past two decades. Decreased river inflow due to drought and increased freshwater diversion have contributed to the decline of at least some populations. Effective management of the estuary's biological resources requires a sensitive indicator of the response to freshwater inflow that has ecological significance, can be measured accurately and easily, and could be used as a "policy" variable to set standards for managing freshwater inflow. Positioning of the 2% (grams of salt per kilogram of seawater) bottom salinity value along the axis of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Because of its role in many ecological processes, movement of animals in response to landscape features is an important subject in ecology and conservation biology. In this paper, we develop models of animal movement in relation to objects or fields in a landscape. We take a finite mixture modeling approach in which the component densities are conceptually related to different choices for movement in response to a landscape feature, and the mixing proportions are related to the probability of selecting each response as a function of one or more covariates. We combine particle swarm optimization and an Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm to obtain maximum likelihood estimates of the model parameters. We use this...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Increasingly, land managers seek ways to manage forests for multiple ecosystem services and functions, yet considerable challenges exist in comparing disparate services and balancing trade-offs among them. We applied multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and forest simulation models to simultaneously consider three objectives: (1) storing carbon, (2) producing timber and wood products, and (3) sustaining biodiversity. We used the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) applied to 42 northern hardwood sites to simulate forest development over 100 years and to estimate carbon storage and timber production. We estimated biodiversity implications with occupancy models for 51 terrestrial bird species that were linked to...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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The invasion, boom, collapse, and reestablishment of a population of the planktivorous threadfin shad in Clear Lake, California, USA, were documented over a 20-year period, as were the effects of changing shad populations on diet and mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation in nearshore fishes. Threadfin shad competitively displaced other planktivorous fish in the lake, such as inland silversides, young-of-year (YOY) largemouth bass, and YOY bluegill, by reducing zooplankton abundance. As a result, all three species shifted from a diet that was dominated by zooplankton to one that was almost entirely zoobenthos. Stable carbon isotopes corroborated this pattern with each species becoming enriched in δ13C, which is elevated in...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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In the southern Beaufort Sea of the United States and Canada, prior investigations have linked declines in summer sea ice to reduced physical condition, growth, and survival of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Combined with projections of population decline due to continued climate warming and the ensuing loss of sea ice habitat, those findings contributed to the 2008 decision to list the species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Here, we used mark–recapture models to investigate the population dynamics of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010, years during which the spatial and temporal extent of summer sea ice generally declined. Low survival from 2004 through 2006 led to...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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High nitrogen (N) accumulation in terrestrial ecosystems can shift patterns of nutrient limitation and deficiency beyond N toward other nutrients, most notably phosphorus (P) and base cations (calcium [Ca], magnesium [Mg], and potassium [K]). We examined how naturally high N accumulation from a legacy of symbiotic N fixation shaped P and base cation cycling across a gradient of nine temperate conifer forests in the Oregon Coast Range. We were particularly interested in whether long-term legacies of symbiotic N fixation promoted coupled N and organic P accumulation in soils, and whether biotic demands by non-fixing vegetation could conserve ecosystem base cations as N accumulated. Total soil N (0–100 cm) pools increased...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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In addition to patch-level attributes (i.e., area and isolation), the nature of land cover between habitat patches (the matrix) may drive colonization and extinction dynamics in fragmented landscapes. Despite a long-standing recognition of matrix effects in fragmented systems, an understanding of the relative impacts of different types of land cover on patterns and dynamics of species occurrence remains limited. We employed multi-season occupancy models to determine the relative influence of patch area, patch isolation, within-patch vegetation structure, and landscape matrix on occupancy dynamics of nine Neotropical nsectivorous birds in 99 forest patches embedded in four matrix types (agriculture, suburban evelopment,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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The recent development of statistical models such as dynamic site occupancy models provides the opportunity to address fairly complex management and conservation problems with relatively simple models. However, surprisingly few empirical studies have simultaneously modeled habitat suitability and occupancy status of organisms over large landscapes for management purposes. Joint modeling of these components is particularly important in the context of management of wild populations, as it provides a more coherent framework to investigate the population dynamics of organisms in space and time for the application of management decision tools. We applied such an approach to the study of water hole use by African elephants...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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To date, the predominant use of systematic conservation planning has been to evaluate and conserve areas of high terrestrial biodiversity. Although studies in freshwater ecosystems have received recent attention, research has rarely considered the potential trade-offs between protecting different dimensions of biodiversity and the ecological processes that maintain diversity. We provide the first systematic prioritization for freshwaters (focusing on the highly threatened and globally distinct fish fauna of the Lower Colorado River Basin, USA) simultaneously considering scenarios of: taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity; contemporary threats to biodiversity (including interactions with nonnative species);...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications


map background search result map search result map Predicted eelgrass response to sea level rise and its availability to foraging Black Brant in Pacific coast estuaries Inferential consequences of modeling rather than measuring snow accumulation in studies of animal ecology Demography of a reintroduced population: moving toward management models for an endangered species, the whooping crane Forest calcium depletion and biotic retention along a soil nitrogen gradient Patterns in diurnal airspace use by migratory landbirds along an ecological barrier Forest calcium depletion and biotic retention along a soil nitrogen gradient Patterns in diurnal airspace use by migratory landbirds along an ecological barrier Demography of a reintroduced population: moving toward management models for an endangered species, the whooping crane Inferential consequences of modeling rather than measuring snow accumulation in studies of animal ecology Predicted eelgrass response to sea level rise and its availability to foraging Black Brant in Pacific coast estuaries