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Terrestrial plants are often limited by nitrogen (N) in arctic systems, but constraints of N supply on herbivores are typically considered secondary to those of energy. We tested the hypothesis that forage N is more limiting than energy for arctic caribou by collecting key forages (three species of graminoids, three species of woody browse, and one genus of forb) over three summers in the migratory range of the Central Arctic Herd in Alaska from the Brooks Range to the Coastal Plain on the Arctic Ocean. We combined in vitro digestion and detergent extraction to measure fiber, digestible energy, and usable fractions of N in forages (n = 771). Digestible energy content fell below the minimum threshold value of 9 kJ/g...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Managing an invasive species is particularly challenging as little is generally known about the species’ biological characteristics in its new habitat. In practice, removal of individuals often starts before the species is studied to provide the information that will later improve control. Therefore, the locations and the amount of control have to be determined in the face of great uncertainty about the species characteristics and with a limited amount of resources. We propose framing spatial control as a linear programming optimization problem. This formulation, paired with a discrete reaction-diffusion model, permits calculation of an optimal control strategy that minimizes the remaining number of invaders for...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Spawning salmon deliver annual pulses of marine-derived nutrients (MDN) to riverine ecosystems around the Pacific Rim, leading to increased growth and condition in aquatic and riparian biota. The influence of pulsed resources may last for extended periods of time when recipient food webs have effective storage mechanisms, yet few studies have tracked the seasonal persistence of MDN. With this as our goal, we sampled stream water chemistry and selected stream and riparian biota spring through fall at 18 stations (in six watersheds) that vary widely in spawner abundance and at nine stations (in three watersheds) where salmon runs were blocked by waterfalls. We then developed regression models that related dissolved...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Habitat disturbance from development, resource extraction, off-road vehicle use, and energy development ranks highly among threats to desert systems worldwide. In the Mojave Desert, United States, these disturbances have promoted the establishment of nonnative plants, so that native grasses and forbs are now intermixed with, or have been replaced by invasive, nonnative Mediterranean grasses. This shift in plant composition has altered food availability for Mojave Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), a federally listed species. We hypothesized that this change in forage would negatively influence the physiological ecology, immune competence, and health of neonatal and yearling tortoises. To test this, we monitored...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Wetlands provide a wide variety of ecosystem services including water quality remediation, biodiversity refugia, groundwater recharge, and floodwater storage. Realistic estimation of ecosystem service benefits associated with wetlands requires reasonable simulation of the hydrology of each site and realistic simulation of the upland and wetland plant growth cycles. Objectives of this study were to quantify leaf area index (LAI), light extinction coefficient (k), and plant nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) concentrations in natural stands of representative plant species for some major plant functional groups in the United States. Functional groups in this study were based on these parameters and plant...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Many semi-arid plant communities in western North America are dominated by big sagebrush. These ecosystems are being reduced in extent and quality due to economic development, invasive species, and climate change. These pervasive modifications have generated concern about the long-term viability of sagebrush habitat and sagebrush-obligate wildlife species (notably greater sage-grouse), highlighting the need for better understanding of the future big sagebrush distribution, particularly at the species' range margins. These leading and trailing edges of potential climate-driven sagebrush distribution shifts are likely to be areas most sensitive to climate change. We used a process-based regeneration model for big...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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While numerous methods exist for estimating abundance when detection is imperfect, these methods may not be appropriate due to logistical difficulties or unrealistic assumptions. In particular, if highly mobile taxa are frequently absent from survey locations, methods that estimate a probability of detection conditional on presence will generate biased abundance estimates. Here, we propose a new estimator for estimating abundance of mobile populations using telemetry and counts of unmarked animals. The estimator assumes that the target population conforms to a fission-fusion grouping pattern, in which the population is divided into groups that frequently change in size and composition. If assumptions are met, it...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Dams are ubiquitous environmental impacts that threaten aquatic ecosystems. The ability to compare across research studies is essential to conserve the native biodiversity that is impacted by the millions of low‐head dams that currently fragment streams and rivers. Here, we identify a previously unaddressed obstacle that impedes this generalization. Specifically, divergent spatial and taxonomic approaches that result from different conceptualizations of the dam‐biodiversity problem can produce conflicting science‐based conclusions about the same dam impact. In this research, using the same dammed and undammed sites, we evaluated the scientific generality of different conceptualizations of the dam‐biodiversity problem....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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The impact of human land uses on ecological systems typically differ relative to how extensively natural conditions are modified. Exurban development is intermediate-intensity residential development that often occurs in natural landscapes. Most species-habitat models do not evaluate the effects of such intermediate levels of human development and even fewer predict how future development patterns might affect the amount and configuration of habitat. We addressed these deficiencies by interfacing a habitat model with a spatially-explicit housing-density model to study the effect of human land uses on the habitat of pumas (Puma concolor) in southern California. We studied the response of pumas to natural and anthropogenic...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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The structure and function of Alaska's forests have changed significantly in response to a changing climate, including alterations in species composition and climate feedbacks (e.g., carbon, radiation budgets) that have important regional societal consequences and human feedbacks to forest ecosystems. In this paper we present the first comprehensive synthesis of climate-change impacts on all forested ecosystems of Alaska, highlighting changes in the most critical biophysical factors of each region. We developed a conceptual framework describing climate drivers, biophysical factors and types of change to illustrate how the biophysical and social subsystems of Alaskan forests interact and respond directly and indirectly...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Understanding how events during one period of the annual cycle carry over to affect survival and other fitness components in other periods is essential to understanding migratory bird demography and conservation needs. Previous research has suggested that western Atlantic red knot (Calidris canutus rufa) populations are greatly affected by horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) egg availability at Delaware Bay stopover sites during their spring northward migration. We present a mass-based multistate, capturerecapture/resighting model linking (1) red knot stopover mass gain to horseshoe crab spawning abundance and (2) subsequent apparent annual survival to mass state at the time of departure from the Delaware Bay stopover...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Climate greatly influences the structure and functioning of tidal saline wetland ecosystems. However, there is a need to better quantify the effects of climatic drivers on ecosystem properties, particularly near climate-sensitive ecological transition zones. Here, we used climate- and literature-derived ecological data from tidal saline wetlands to test hypotheses regarding the influence of climatic drivers (i.e., temperature and precipitation regimes) on the following six ecosystem properties: canopy height, biomass, productivity, decomposition, soil carbon density, and soil carbon accumulation. Our analyses quantify and elucidate linear and nonlinear effects of climatic drivers. We quantified positive linear relationships...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Humans have altered nearly every natural disturbance regime on the planet through climate and land-use change, and in many instances, these processes may have interacting effects. For example, projected shifts in temperature and precipitation will likely influence disturbance regimes already affected by anthropogenic fire suppression or river impoundments. Understanding how disturbance-dependent species respond to complex and interacting environmental changes is important for conservation efforts. Using field-based demographic and movement rates, we conducted a metapopulation viability analysis for piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), a threatened disturbance-dependent species, along the Missouri and Platte rivers...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Although organisms make resource selection decisions at multiple spatiotemporal scales, not all scales are ecologically relevant to any given organism. Ecological patterns and rhythms such as behavioral and climatic patterns may provide a consistent method for identifying ecologically relevant scales of habitat selection. Using elk (Cervus canadensis) as an example species, we sought to test the ability of behavioral patterns to empirically partition diel scales for modeling habitat selection. We used model selection to partition diel scales by shifts in dominant behavior and then used resource selection probability functions to model elk habitat selection hierarchically at diel scales within seasons. Model selection...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Benthic intertidal bivalves play an essential role in estuarine ecosystems by contributing to habitat provision, water filtration, and promoting productivity. As such, changes that impact population distributions and persistence of local bivalve populations may have large ecosystem level consequences. Recruitment, growth, mortality, population size structure and density of the gulf coast ribbed mussel, Geukensia granosissima, were examined across a salinity gradient in southeastern Louisiana. Data were collected along 100-m transects at interior and edge marsh plots located at duplicate sites in upper (salinity ~4 psu), central (salinity ~8 psu) and lower (salinity ~15 psu) Barataria Bay, Louisiana, U.S.A. Growth,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Reducing uncertainty in data inputs at relevant spatial scales can improve tidal marsh forecasting models, and their usefulness in coastal climate change adaptation decisions. The Marsh Equilibrium Model (MEM), a one-dimensional mechanistic elevation model, incorporates feedbacks of organic and inorganic inputs to project elevations under sea-level rise scenarios. We tested the feasibility of deriving two key MEM inputs—average annual suspended sediment concentration (SSC) and aboveground peak biomass—from remote sensing data in order to apply MEM across a broader geographic region. We analyzed the precision and representativeness (spatial distribution) of these remote sensing inputs to improve understanding of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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After near extinction as a result of the fur trade in the 1700s and 1800s, the southern sea otter slowly reoccupied the core of its range in central California. Range expansion beyond central California is seen as key to full recovery of otters, but the rate of expansion has been sporadic, raising concerns about habitat quality in southern California. To describe the range expansion of sea otters from central into southern California, we used skiff surveys, aerial surveys, and archival time-depth recorders from 2004 to 2013. These observations show that range expansion began when male otters swam southeast of Point Conception (Cojo Anchorage), perhaps to seek refuge from bad weather and to feed on unexploited resources....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) forests in the western United States have been adversely affected by an exotic pathogen (Cronartium ribicola, causal agent of white pine blister rust), insect outbreaks (Dendroctonus ponderosae, mountain pine beetle), and drought. We monitored individual trees from 2004 to 2013 and characterized stand-level biophysical conditions through a mountain pine beetle epidemic in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Specifically, we investigated associations between tree-level variables (duration and location of white pine blister rust infection, presence of mountain pine beetle, tree size, and potential interactions) with observations of individual whitebark pine tree mortality. Climate...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Marine species with planktonic larvae often have high spatial and temporal variation in recruitment that leads to subsequent variation in the ecology of benthic adults. Using a combination of published and unpublished data, we compared the population structure of the salt marsh snail, Littoraria irrorata, between the South Atlantic Bight and the Gulf Coast of the United States to infer geographic differences in recruitment and to test the hypothesis that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill led to widespread recruitment failure of L. irrorata in Louisiana in 2010. Size-frequency distributions in both ecoregions were bimodal, with troughs in the distributions consistent with a transition from sub-adults to adults at ~13...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Wildlife diseases can present significant threats to ecological systems and biological diversity, as well as domestic animal and human health. However, determining the dynamics of wildlife diseases and understanding the impact on host populations is a significant challenge. In Hawai‘i, there is ample circumstantial evidence that introduced avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum) has played an important role in the decline and extinction of many native forest birds. However, few studies have attempted to estimate disease transmission and mortality, survival, and individual species impacts in this distinctive ecosystem. We combined multi-state capture-recapture (longitudinal) models with cumulative age-prevalence (cross-sectional)...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere


map background search result map search result map Seasonal persistence of marine-derived nutrients in south-central Alaskan salmon streams Sea otters are recolonizing southern California in fits and starts Sea otters are recolonizing southern California in fits and starts Seasonal persistence of marine-derived nutrients in south-central Alaskan salmon streams