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Abstract (from Ecological Society of America): Species that are primarily seral may form stable (self‐sustaining) communities under certain disturbance regimes or environmental conditions, yet such populations may also be particularly vulnerable to ecological change. Aspen (Populus spp.) are generally considered seral throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including P. tremuloides, the most widely distributed tree species in North America. Recent declines in aspen populations have occurred, especially along drought‐sensitive margins of its range and where fire exclusion and herbivory have promoted community transition. However, aspen also forms stable stands, and examination of the mechanisms that influence persistence...
The American Fisheries Society and the Human Dimensions Research Unit of Cornell University have been engaged by NCCWSC to lead 5-year reviews of the CSCs. The purpose of the CSC review and evaluation is to: 1. Evaluate the effectiveness of each CSC in meeting project goals. 2. Assess the level of scientific contribution and achievement at each CSC with respect to climate modeling, climate change impacts assessments, vulnerability and adaptation of fish, wildlife and their habitats, and collaborative development of adaptation strategies for regional stakeholders, and education and training of graduate and post‐doctoral fellows 3. Evaluate the competencies and efficiencies of each host university in managing...
The American Fisheries Society and the Human Dimensions Research Unit of Cornell University have been engaged by NCCWSC to lead 5-year reviews of the CSCs. The purpose of the CSC review and evaluation is to: 1. Evaluate the effectiveness of each CSC in meeting project goals. 2. Assess the level of scientific contribution and achievement at each CSC with respect to climate modeling, climate change impacts assessments, vulnerability and adaptation of fish, wildlife and their habitats, and collaborative development of adaptation strategies for regional stakeholders, and education and training of graduate and post‐doctoral fellows 3. Evaluate the competencies and efficiencies of each host university in managing...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/fwb.12569/abstract): Lakes Michigan and Huron, which are undergoing oligotrophication after reduction of phosphorus loading, invasion by dreissenid mussels and variation in climate, provide an opportunity to conduct large-scale evaluation of the relative importance of these changes for lake productivity. We used remote sensing, field data and an information-theoretic approach to identify factors that showed statistical relationships with observed changes in chlorophyll a (chla) and primary production (PP). Spring phosphorus (TP), annual mean chla and PP have all declined significantly in both lakes since the late 1990s. Additionally, monthly mean...
Abstract: The predictive power of recruitment models often relies on the identification and quantification of external variables, in addition to stock size. In theory, the identification of climatic, biotic, or demographic influences on reproductive success assists fisheries management by identifying factors that have a direct and reproducible influence on the population dynamics of a target species. More often, models are constructed as one-time studies of a single population whose results are not revisited when further data become available. Here, we present results from stock recruitment models for Alewife Alosa pseudoharengus and Bloater Coregonus hoyi in Lakes Michigan and Huron. The factors that explain variation...
The green wave hypothesis (GWH) states that migrating animals should track or ‘surf’ high-quality forage at the leading edge of spring green-up. To index such high-quality forage, recent work proposed the instantaneous rate of green-up (IRG), i.e. rate of change in the normalized difference vegetation index over time. Despite this important advancement, no study has tested the assumption that herbivores select habitat patches at peak IRG. We evaluated this assumption using step selection functions parametrized with movement data during the green-up period from two populations each of bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk, moose and bison, totalling 463 individuals monitored 1–3 years from 2004 to 2014. Accounting for variables...
Abstract (from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02755947.2014.943860#.VJhyqUACo): Invasive Rainbow Smelt Osmerus mordax have been associated with reductions in Walleye Sander vitreusrecruitment, and predation by adult smelt on age-0 Walleyes has been identified as one of the potential mechanisms contributing to recruitment failure. Predation effects could be mitigated by stocking Walleye fingerlings based on smelt and Walleye morphometric relationships. By combining 0.95 quantile regression of smelt gape size on TL and 0.05 quantile regression of Walleye body depth on TL, we constructed a stocking tool to determine the appropriate size to stock Walleye fingerlings in lakes invaded by smelt such that few...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.1660/full): Empirically understanding spatial variation in secondary production rates is central to ecology. Yet for most taxa, such patterns are rarely examined, especially at different levels of ecological organization (e.g., species- vs. community-level patterns). We compiled data on biomass, production, and P/B rates of freshwater fish communities and species across latitudes and contrast patterns observed at the community level with those observed for species. At the community level, and at two distinct spatial scales (global vs. continental-North American), negative or neutral relationships were apparent between biomass, production, and P/B with...
Abstract (from Canadian Science Publishing): Managing fisheries through rapid environmental change requires diverse approaches for identifying and adapting to novel ecological conditions. For the Wisconsin Ceded Territory, we calculated 473 adult walleye (Sander vitreus) production (P), biomass (B), and P/B estimates for 1990–2012. Frequency distributions for production statistics were right-skewed, indicating the fishery is generally dominated by low production populations. Mean P, B, and P/B were significantly elevated in natural recruitment (NR) lakes compared with combination (NR + stocking) and stocked-only lakes. Furthermore, combination populations had significantly higher production compared with stocked-only...
Abstract: Processes that influence habitat selection in landscapes involve the interaction of habitat composition and configuration and are particularly important for species with complex life cycles. We assessed the relative influence of landscape spatial processes and local habitat characteristics on patterns in the distribution and abundance of spawning steelhead ( Oncorhynchus mykiss), a threatened salmonid fish, across ~15,000 stream km in the John Day River basin, Oregon, USA. We used hurdle regression and a multi-model information theoretic approach to identify the relative importance of covariates representing key aspects of the steelhead life cycle (e.g., site access, spawning habitat quality, juvenile...
Abstract (from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12237-013-9694-0): Salt marsh faunas are constrained by specific habitat requirements for marsh elevation relative to sea level and tidal range. As sea level rises, changes in relative elevation of the marsh plain will have differing impacts on the availability of habitat for marsh obligate species. The Wetland Accretion Rate Model for Ecosystem Resilience (WARMER) is a 1-D model of elevation that incorporates both biological and physical processes of vertical marsh accretion. Here, we use WARMER to evaluate changes in marsh surface elevation and the impact of these elevation changes on marsh habitat for specific species of concern. Model results were compared...
Abstract: Native freshwater mussels are long-lived, sessile, benthic invertebrates that may be extremely susceptible to elevated water temperatures because of their patchy distribution, limited dispersal and mobility, and larval dependence on fish. Recent research suggests that many species may be living close to their upper thermal limits and that some rivers have seen a shift in species composition to more thermally tolerant mussel species. We tested the hypothesis that elevated water temperatures (20, 25, 30, and 35°C) adversely affected the survival and physiology of juvenile mussels and physiology of adult mussels. In juveniles, the 28-d LT50s ranged from 25.3 to 30.3°C. H eart rate was significantly affected...
Abstract: Understanding the consequences of anthropogenic change for migratory species is challenging because although they have evolved to cope with environmental uncertainty, migrants still rely on predictable relationships within and among habitats to make informed decisions. Calidris shorebirds rely on ephemeral wetlands during northward migration through mid-continental North America, where favorable habitat conditions are annually and regionally unpredictable and increasingly altered by land-use change. During spring 2013 and 2014, we assessed Calidris habitat use in the Rainwater Basin (RWB) and the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) at both local and landscape scales. Although anthropogenic change has altered...
Water laws and drought plans are used to prioritize and allocate scarce water resources. Both have historically been human-centric, failing to account for non-human water needs. In this paper, we examine the development of instream flow legislation and the evolution of drought planning to highlight the growing concern for the non-human impacts of water scarcity. Utilizing a new framework for ecological drought, we analyzed five watershed-scale drought plans in southwestern Montana, USA to understand if, and how, the ecological impacts of drought are currently being assessed. We found that while these plans do account for some ecological impacts, it is primarily through the narrow lens of impacts to fish as measured...