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Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13681/full): Hybridization between invasive and native species, a significant threat to worldwide biodiversity, is predicted to increase due to climate-induced expansions of invasive species. Long-term research and monitoring are crucial for understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that modulate the effects of invasive species. Using a large, multidecade genetics dataset (N = 582 sites, 12,878 individuals) with high-resolution climate predictions and extensive stocking records, we evaluate the spatiotemporal dynamics of hybridization between native cutthroat trout and invasive rainbow trout, the world's most widely introduced invasive fish,...
Abstract (from ScienceDirect): Climate change effects on vegetation will likely be strong in the southwestern U.S., which is projected to experience large increases in temperature and changes in precipitation. Plant communities in the southwestern U.S. may be particularly vulnerable to climate change as the productivity of many plant species is strongly water-limited. This study examines the relationship between climate and vegetation condition using a time-series of Landsat imagery across grassland, shrubland, and woodland communities on the Colorado Plateau, USA. We improve on poorly understood inter-annual climate-vegetation relationships by exploring how the responses of different plant communities depend on...
Abstract (from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00442-015-3296-4): Climate plays a fundamental role in limiting the range of a species, is a key factor in the dynamics of large herbivores, and is thought to be involved in declines of moose populations in recent decades. We examined effects of climate and growing-season phenology on recruitment (8–9 months old) of young Shiras moose ( Alces alces shirasi) over three decades, from 18 herds, across a large geographic area encompassing much of the southern extent of their range. Recruitment declined in 8 of 18 herds during 1980–2009, whereas others did not exhibit a temporal trend (none showed a positive trend). During those three decades, seasonal temperatures...
Abstract (from NRC Research Press): Walleye (Sander vitreus) populations are declining in Wisconsin and neighboring regions, motivating broader interest in walleye biology amidst ecological change. In fishes, growth integrates variation in ecological drivers and provides a signal of changing ecological conditions. We used a 23-year data set of length-at-age from 353 walleye populations across Wisconsin to test whether walleye growth rates changed over time and what ecological factors best predicted these changes. Using hierarchical models, we tested whether spatiotemporal variation in walleye growth was related to adult walleye density (density-dependent effects), water temperature, and largemouth bass (Micropterus...
Abstract (from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03632415.2016.1160894): To identify past successes and future opportunities for improved fisheries management in Wisconsin, we synthesized size-structure information on 19 gamefish species from 1944 to 2012, incorporating data on more than 2 million measured individuals. Since the 1940s, mean and mean maximum sizes of five “gamefish” species (Lake Sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens, Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides, Smallmouth Bass M. dolomieu, Northern Pike Esox lucius, and Sauger Sander canadensis) have stayed fairly stable, and one (Muskellunge E. masquinongy) initially dropped and then rebounded—most likely as a product of increased catch-and-release...
Abstract (from http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjfas-2014-0394#.Vc36E_lVikp): Understanding variability in fish production, biomass, production/biomass ( P/ B) ratios, and their relationship to exploitation is central to fisheries sustainability. At Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, USA, data from a compulsory creel census (1965–2009) were combined with survey data on fish populations to test for empirical relationships between annual production and exploitation rates of walleye ( Sander vitreus). Empirical estimates of walleye production were relatively high and temporally variable in Escanaba Lake. Annual production, biomass, and P/ B ratios ranges were 2.4–11.3 kg·ha −1·year −1, 9.1–49.4 kg·ha −1, and...
Climate change is expected to result in widespread changes in species distributions (e.g., shifting, shrinking, expanding species ranges; e.g., Parmesan and Yohe 2003), especially for freshwater fish species (Heino et al. 2009). Although anglers and other resource users could be greatly affected by changes in species distributions, predicted changes are rarely reported in ways that can be easily understood by the general public. In contrast, climate science that more directly affects human welfare or livelihoods is often more readily communicated to the general public because it is of greater concern or closely related to everyday life. Read More at http://news.fisheries.org/translating-climate-change-effects-into-everyday-language-an-example-of-more-driving-and-less-angling/.
Changing climate conditions pose challenges for many migratory birds, and their responses to these challenges can depend on their biology. To illustrate these impacts, I developed a board game to help elementary school students understand these challenges. The use of the game provides an opportunity to further discuss changes in phenology, the timing of life cycle events, in response to a changing climate.
Abstract (from AFS): Many Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus populations are dominated by fish ≤125 mm total length (TL) that may be underrepresented when using standard sampling gears. To identify efficient sampling methods for these populations, we compared catch per unit effort (CPUE) and TL frequency distributions of Bluegill captured in cloverleaf traps, boat electrofishing, mini‐fyke nets, and beach seine hauls from two northern Wisconsin lakes supporting populations dominated by fish ≤125 mm TL. Mean Bluegill CPUE ranged from 41 (SE = 11) fish per cloverleaf trap lift to 16 (SE = 8) fish per beach seine haul. Cloverleaf traps generally captured smaller Bluegill relative to other gears and were the only gear to...
Abstract (from AFS): Managing recreational fisheries in lake‐rich landscapes with diverse fish communities and anglers alike presents a social and biological challenge for managers. Understanding angler preferences is central to navigating these challenges and can aid in predicting shifts in angler behavior in response to management actions or changing fish populations. Species‐specific angler surveys do not incorporate tradeoffs inherent in multispecies fisheries, thus limiting their application to real‐world management issues. To better understand angler preferences in relation to realistic tradeoffs among different fishing opportunities, we conducted a survey of Wisconsin anglers in 2013–2014 that included questions...
Abstract: Globally, seabirds are vulnerable to anthropogenic threats both at sea and on land. Seabirds typically nest colonially and show strong site fidelity; therefore, conservation strategies could benefit from an understanding of the population dynamics and vulnerability of breeding colonies to climate change. More than 350 atolls exist across the Pacific Ocean; while they provide nesting habitat for many seabirds, they are also vulnerable to sea-level rise. We used French Frigate Shoals, the largest atoll in the Hawaiian Archipelago, as a case study to explore seabird colony dynamics and the potential consequences of sea-level rise. We compiled a unique combination of data sets: historical observations of islands...
Abstract: Native freshwater mussels are in global decline and urgently need protection and conservation. Declines in the abundance and diversity of North American mussels have been attributed to human activities that cause pollution, waterquality degradation, and habitat destruction. Recent studies suggest that effects of climate change may also endanger native mussel assemblages, as many mussel species are living close to their upper thermal tolerances. Adult and juvenile mussels spend a large fraction of their lives burrowed into sediments of rivers and lakes. Our objective was to measure surface water and sediment temperatures at known mussel beds in the Upper Mississippi (UMR) and St. Croix (SCR) rivers to estimate...
Abstract (from http://hol.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/04/21/0959683615580181.abstract): Old, multi-aged populations of riparian trees provide an opportunity to improve reconstructions of streamflow. Here, ring widths of 394 plains cottonwood ( Populus deltoides, ssp. monilifera) trees in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, are used to reconstruct streamflow along the Little Missouri River (LMR), North Dakota, US. Different versions of the cottonwood chronology are developed by (1) age-curve standardization (ACS), using age-stratified samples and a single estimated curve of ring width against estimated ring age, and (2) time-curve standardization (TCS), using a subset of longer ring-width...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/oik.04282/abstract): Nutritional ecology forms the interface between environmental variability and large herbivore behaviour, life history characteristics, and population dynamics. Forage conditions in arid and semi-arid regions are driven by unpredictable spatial and temporal patterns in rainfall. Diet selection by herbivores should be directed towards overcoming the most pressing nutritional limitation (i.e. energy, protein [nitrogen, N], moisture) within the constraints imposed by temporal and spatial variability in forage conditions. We investigated the influence of precipitation-induced shifts in forage nutritional quality and subsequent large herbivore...
Abstract (from ScienceDirect): Rarity and life history traits inform multiple dimensions of intrinsic risk to climate and environmental change and can help systematically identify at-risk species. We quantified relative geographic rarity (area of occupancy), climate niche breadth, and life history traits for 114 freshwater fishes, amphibians, and reptiles in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Our approach leveraged presence-only, publicly available data and traits-based inference to evaluate area of occupancy, climate sensitivity (i.e., climate niche breadth), and a Rarity and Climate Sensitivity (RCS) index of all species across multiple geographic extents, grain sizes, and data types. The RCS index was relatively stable...
Abstract (from Scientific Data): Inland fishes provide important ecosystem services to communities worldwide and are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Fish respond to climate change in diverse and nuanced ways, which creates challenges for practitioners of fish conservation, climate change adaptation, and management. Although climate change is known to affect fish globally, a comprehensive online, public database of how climate change has impacted inland fishes worldwide and adaptation or management practices that may address these impacts does not exist. We conducted an extensive, systematic primary literature review to identify peer-reviewed journal publications describing projected and documented...
Abstract (from http://afs.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03632415.2016.1186016): Climate is a critical driver of many fish populations, assemblages, and aquatic communities. However, direct observational studies of climate change impacts on North American inland fishes are rare. In this synthesis, we (1) summarize climate trends that may influence North American inland fish populations and assemblages, (2) compile 31 peer-reviewed studies of documented climate change effects on North American inland fish populations and assemblages, and (3) highlight four case studies representing a variety of observed responses ranging from warmwater systems in the southwestern and southeastern United States to coldwater systems...