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Conservation planning and biodiversity management require information on landscape connectivity across a range of spatial scales from individual home ranges to large regions. Reduction in landscape connectivity due changes in land-use or development is expected to act synergistically with alterations to habitat mosaic configuration arising from climate change. We illustrate a multi-scale connectivity framework to aid habitat conservation prioritization in the context of changing land use and climate. Our approach, which builds upon the strengths of multiple landscape connectivity methods including graph theory, circuit theory and least-cost path analysis, is here applied to the conservation planning requirements...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Surveys collecting count data are the primary means by which abundance is indexed for birds. These counts are confounded, however, by nuisance effects including observer effects and spatial correlation between counts. Current methods poorly accommodate both observer and spatial effects because modeling these spatially autocorrelated counts within a hierarchical framework is not practical using standard statistical approaches. We propose a Bayesian approach to this problem and provide as an example of its implementation a spatial model of predicted abundance for the Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea) in the Prairie-Hardwood Transition of the upper midwestern United States. We used an overdispersed Poisson regression...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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We constructed alternative spatial models at two scales to predict Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) parasitism rates from land cover maps. The local-scale models tested competing hypotheses about the relationship between cowbird parasitism and distance of host nests from a forest edge (forest-nonforest boundary). The landscape models tested competing hypotheses about how landscape features (e.g., forests, agricultural fields) interact to determine rates of cowbird parasitism. The models incorporate spatial neighborhoods with a radius of 2.5 km in their formulation, reflecting the scale of the majority of cowbird commuting activity. Field data on parasitism by cowbirds (parasitism rate and number of cowbird...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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After a 40-year absence caused by pollution and eutrophication, burrowing mayflies (Hexagenia spp.) recolonized western Lake Erie in the mid 1990s as water quality improved. Mayflies are an important food resource for the economically valuable yellow perch fishery and are considered to be major indicator species of the ecological condition of the lake. Since their reappearance, however, mayfly populations have suffered occasional unexplained recruitment failures. In 2002, a failure of fall recruitment followed an unusually warm summer in which western Lake Erie became temporarily stratified, resulting in low dissolved oxygen levels near the lake floor. In the present study, we examined a possible link between Hexagenia...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Knowledge of animal abundance is fundamental to many ecological studies. Frequently, researchers cannot determine true abundance, and so must estimate it using a method such as mark-recapture or distance sampling. Recent advances in abundance estimation allow one to model heterogeneity with individual covariates or mixture distributions and to derive multimodel abundance estimators that explicitly address uncertainty about which model parameterization best represents truth. Further, it is possible to borrow information on detection probability across several populations when data are sparse. While promising, these methods have not been evaluated using mark?recapture data from populations of known abundance, and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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We review the advantages and disadvantages of experimental and field studies for determining effects of pesticides on birds. Important problems or principles initially discovered in the field include effects of DDT (through its metabolite DDE) on eggshell thickness, reproductive success, and population stability; trophic-level bioaccumulation of the lipid-soluble organochlorine pesticides; indirect effects on productivity and survival through reductions in the food supply and cover by herbicides and insecticides; unexpected toxic effects and routes of exposure of organophosphorus compounds such as famphur and dimethoate; effects related to simultaneous application at full strength of several pesticides of different...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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The number of community types occurring within landscapes is an important, but often unprotected, component of biological diversity. Generally applicable protocols for characterizing community diversity need to be developed to facilitate conservation. We used several multivariate techniques to analyze geographic variation in the composition of fish communities in Virginia streams. We examined relationships between community composition and six landscape variables: drainage basin, physiography, stream order, elevation, channel slope, and map coordinates. We compared patterns at two scales (statewide and subdrainage-specific) to assess sensitivity of community classification to spatial scale. We also compared patterns...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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The FORCLIM model of forest dynamics was tested against field survey data for its ability to simulate basal area and composition of old forests across broad climatic gradients in western Oregon, USA. The model was also tested for its ability to capture successional trends in ecoregions of the west Cascade Range. It was then applied to simulate present and future (1990-2050) forest landscape dynamics of a watershed in the west Cascades. Various regimes of climate change and harvesting in the watershed were considered in the landscape application. The model was able to capture much of the variation in forest basal area and composition in western Oregon even though temperature and precipitation were the only inputs...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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We evaluate the fine-grain age patch model of fire regimes in southern California shrublands. Proponents contend that the historical condition was characterized by frequent small to moderate size, slow-moving smoldering fires, and that this regime has been disrupted by fire suppression activities that have caused unnatural fuel accumulation and anomalously large and catastrophic wildfires. A review of more than 100 19th-century newspaper reports reveals that large, high-intensity wildfires predate modern fire suppression policy, and extensive newspaper coverage plus first-hand accounts support the conclusion that the 1889 Santiago Canyon Fire was the largest fire in California history. Proponents of the fine-grain...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Concepts and theory for the design and application of terrestrial reserves is based on our understanding of environmental, ecological, and evolutionary processes responsible for biological diversity and sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems and how humans have influenced these processes. How well this terrestrial-based theory can be applied toward the design and application of reserves in the coastal marine environment depends, in part, on the degree of similarity between these systems. Several marked differences in ecological and evolutionary processes exist between marine and terrestrial ecosystems as ramifications of fundamental differences in their physical environments (i.e., the relative prevalence of air...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Equivalence testing and corresponding confidence interval estimates are used to provide more enlightened statistical statements about parameter estimates by relating them to intervals of effect sizes deemed to be of scientific or practical importance rather than just to an effect size of zero. Equivalence tests and confidence interval estimates are based on a null hypothesis that a parameter estimate is either outside (inequivalence hypothesis) or inside (equivalence hypothesis) an equivalence region, depending on the question of interest and assignment of risk. The former approach, often referred to as bioequivalence testing, is often used in regulatory settings because it reverses the burden of proof compared...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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The ridge and slough landscape of the Florida Everglades consists of a mosaic of linear sawgrass ridges separated by deeper-water sloughs with tree islands interspersed throughout the landscape. We used pollen assemblages from transects of sediment cores spanning sawgrass ridges, sloughs, and ridge-slough transition zones to determine the timing of ridge and slough formation and to evaluate the response of components of the ridge and slough landscape to climate variability and 20th-century water management. These pollen data indicate that sawgrass ridges and sloughs have been vegetationally distinct from one another since initiation of the Everglades wetland in mid-Holocene time. Although the position and community...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Capture-recapture studies are powerful tools for studying animal population dynamics, providing information on population abundance, survival rates, population growth rates, and selection for phenotypic traits. In these studies, the probability of observing a tagged individual reflects both the probability of the individual surviving to the time of recapture and the probability of recapturing an animal, given that it is alive. If both of these probabilities are related to the same phenotypic trait, it can be difficult to distinguish effects on survival probabilities from effects on recapture probabilities. However, when animals are individually tagged and have multiple opportunities for recapture, we can properly...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Although primarily used to mitigate economic losses following disturbance, salvage logging has also been justified on the basis of reducing fire risk and fire severity; however, its ability to achieve these secondary objectives remains unclear. The patchiness resulting from a sequence of recent disturbances-blowdown, salvage logging, and ildfire- provided an excellent opportunity to assess the impacts of blowdown and salvage logging on wildfire severity. We used two fire-severity assessments (tree-crown and forest-floor characteristics) to compare post-wildfire conditions among three treatment combinations (Blowdown-Salvage-Fire, Blowdown-Fire, and Fire only). Our results suggest that salvage logging reduced the...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) provide an important tool for conservation of marine ecosystems. To be most effective, these areas should be strategically located in a manner that supports ecosystem function. To inform marine spatial planning and support strategic establishment of MPAs within the California Current System, we identified areas predicted to support multispecies aggregations of seabirds ("hotspot????). We developed habitat-association models for 16 species using information from at-sea observations collected over an 11-year period (1997-2008), bathymetric data, and remotely sensed oceanographic data for an area from north of Vancouver Island, Canada, to the USA/Mexico border and seaward 600 km from the...
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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We review the advantages and disadvantages of experimental and field studies for determining effects of pesticides on birds. Important problems or principles initially discovered in the field include effects of DDT (through its metabolite DDE) on eggshell thickness, reproductive success, and population stability; trophic-level bioaccumulation of the lipid-soluble organochlorine pesticides; indirect effects on productivity and survival through reductions in the food supply and cover by herbicides and insecticides; unexpected toxic effects and routes of exposure of organophosphorus compounds such as famphur and dimethoate; effects related to simultaneous application at full strength of several pesticides of different...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Accelerated soil erosion occurs when anthropogenic processes modify soil, vegetation or climatic conditions causing erosion rates at a location to exceed their natural variability. Identifying where and when accelerated erosion occurs is a critical first step toward its effective management. Here we explore how erosion assessments structured in the context of ecological sites (a land classification based on soils, landscape setting and ecological potential) and their vegetation states (plant assemblages that may change due to management) can inform systems for reducing accelerated soil erosion in rangelands. We evaluated aeolian horizontal sediment flux and fluvial sediment erosion rates for five ecological sites...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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As a vector by which foreign species invade coastal and freshwater waterbodies, ballast water discharge from ships is recognized as a major environmental threat. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) drafted an international treaty establishing ballast water discharge standards based on the number of viable organisms per volume of ballast discharge for different organism size classes. Concerns that the IMO standards are not sufficiently protective have initiated several state and national efforts in the United States to develop more stringent standards. We evaluated seven approaches to establishing discharge standards for the >50-μm size class: (1) expert opinion/management consensus, (2) zero detectable...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Ecological reserves provide important wildlife habitat in many landscapes, and the functional connectivity of reserves and other suitable habitat patches is crucial for the persistence and resilience of spatially structured populations. To maintain or increase connectivity at spatial scales larger than individual patches, conservation actions may focus on creating and maintaining reserves and/or influencing management on non-reserves. Using a graph-theoretic approach, we assessed the functional connectivity and spatial distribution of wetlands in the Rainwater Basin of Nebraska, USA, an intensively cultivated agricultural matrix, at four assumed, but ecologically realistic, anuran dispersal distances. We compared...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications


map background search result map search result map Ecological site-based assessments of wind and water erosion: informing accelerated soil erosion management in rangelands Ecological site-based assessments of wind and water erosion: informing accelerated soil erosion management in rangelands