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In the News

Jason Matthews & Joe N. Caudell
Items in the news.

Data from: Consumption explains intraspecific variation in nutrient recycling stoichiometry in a desert fish

Eric K. Moody, Evan W. Carson, Jessica R. Corman, Hector Espinosa-Pérez, Jorge Ramos, John L. Sabo & James J. Elser
Consumer-driven nutrient recycling can have substantial effects on primary production and patterns of nutrient limitation in aquatic ecosystems by altering the rates as well as the relative supplies of the key nutrients nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). While variation in nutrient recycling stoichiometry has been well-studied among species, the mechanisms that explain intraspecific variation in recycling N:P are not well-understood. We examined the relative importance of potential drivers of variation in nutrient recycling by the...

Data from: Overlap of spatial and temporal spawning distributions of spring and summer Chinook Salmon results in hybridization in the upper Columbia River

Gregory Fraser, Patrick DeHaan, Christian Smith, Jennifer Von Bargen, Mathew Cooper & Thomas Desgrosseillier
The upper Columbia River in Washington State (main-stem and tributary habitat between McNary and Chief Joseph dams) is inhabited by two major lineages of Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha); endangered spring Chinook Salmon and summer Chinook Salmon which are not ESA listed. The lineages are highly genetically divergent from one another and historically spatial and temporal isolating mechanisms maintained these genetic differences. Both lineages occur in the Entiat River, a system where anthropogenic activity has changed...

Data from: Increased land use by Chukchi Sea polar bears in relation to changing sea ice conditions

Karyn D. Rode, Ryan R. Wilson, Eric V. Regehr, Michelle St. Martin, David C. Douglas & Jay Olson
Recent observations suggest that polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are increasingly using land habitats in some parts of their range, where they have minimal access to their preferred prey, likely in response to loss of their sea ice habitat associated with climatic warming. We used location data from female polar bears fit with satellite radio collars to compare land use patterns in the Chukchi Sea between two periods (1986–1995 and 2008–2013) when substantial summer sea-ice loss...

Data from: Plasticity in nesting adaptations of a tidal marsh endemic bird

Bri Benvenuti, Jennifer Walsh, Kathleen M. O'Brien & Adrienne I. Kovach
If individuals can perceive and manage risks, they may alter their behaviors based on prior experience. This expectation may apply to nest site selection of breeding birds, for which adaptive behavioral responses may enhance fitness. Birds that nest in tidal marshes have adapted to the challenges posed primarily by periodic, monthly tidal flooding and secondarily, by predation. We investigated adaptive responses in nesting behavior of the saltmarsh sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus), an obligate tidal-marsh-breeding bird, using...

Data from: Genetic composition of the Warm Springs River Chinook Salmon population maintained following eight generations of hatchery production

Christian T. Smith, Rod French, Jens Lovtang & David Hand
Balancing the disparate objectives of fishery augmentation and conservation of an endemic population presents a substantial challenge. In the case of Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery (Warm Springs Hatchery), strategies for achieving both objectives included incorporation of natural fish into the hatchery broodstock and restricting proportions of hatchery fish on the spawning grounds. The hatchery has been more successful in implementing the latter, however, than the former. We analyzed seventy-six SNP markers in Spring Chinook...

Data from: Targeted reforestation could reverse declines in connectivity for understory birds in a tropical habitat corridor

Matthew E. Fagan, Ruth S. DeFries, Steven E. Sesnie, J. Pablo Arroyo-Mora & Robin L. Chazdon
Re-establishing connectivity between protected areas isolated by habitat clearing is a key conservation goal in the humid tropics. In northeastern Costa Rica, payments for environmental services (PES) and a government ban on deforestation have subsidized forest protection and reforestation in the San Juan–La Selva Biological Corridor (SJLSBC), resulting in a decline in mature forest loss and the expansion of tree plantations. We use field studies and graph models to assess how conservation efforts have altered...

Proximity to oil wells in North Dakota does not impact nest success of ducks but lowers nest densities

Kevin Ringelman, Cassandra Skaggs, Charles Loesch, Michael Szymanski, Frank Rohwer & Kaylan Kemink
Over the past decade, the United States has seen a rapid increase in oil and gas extraction from areas where resources were previously thought to be unrecoverable, particularly the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota. The Bakken overlaps with the Prairie Pothole Region, the most critical habitat in North America for breeding ducks, where oil and gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing has the potential to impact more than a million duck pairs in the United...

Data from: Disentangling density-dependent dynamics using full annual cycle models and Bayesian model weight updating

Orin J. Robinson, Conor P. McGowan & Patrick K. Devers
Density dependence regulates populations of many species across all taxonomic groups. Understanding density dependence is vital for predicting the effects of climate, habitat loss and/or management actions on wild populations. Migratory species likely experience seasonal changes in the relative influence of density dependence on population processes such as survival and recruitment throughout the annual cycle. These effects must be accounted for when characterizing migratory populations via population models. To evaluate effects of density on seasonal...

Data from: Influence of introduction history on genetic variation in introduced populations: a case study of Oregon Chub

Patrick W. DeHaan, Brice A. Adams, Paul D. Scheerer & Brian L. Bangs
Population introductions and reintroductions have become a common tool for conserving threatened species, but oftentimes introduced populations have reduced the genetic diversity compared with the source population they were founded from. Population introductions played an important role in the recovery of the Oregon Chub Oregonichthys crameri, a small floodplain minnow found in western Oregon. Unlike many introduction efforts, introduced populations of Oregon Chub were founded using large numbers of individuals (hundreds in many cases) and...

Data from: Body condition explains migratory performance of a long-distance migrant

Sjoerd Duijns, Lawrence J. Niles, Amanda Dey, Yves Aubry, Christian Friis, Stephanie Koch, Alexandra M. Anderson & Paul A. Smith
Body condition (i.e. relative mass after correcting for structural size) affects the behaviour of migrating birds, but how body condition affects migratory performance, timing and fitness is still largely unknown. Here, we studied the effects of relative body condition on individual departure decisions, wind selectivity, flight speed and timing of migration for a long-distance migratory shorebird, the red knot Calidris canutus rufa. By using automated VHF telemetry on a continental scale, we studied knots' migratory...

Data from: Return of a giant: DNA from archival museum samples helps to identify a unique cutthroat trout lineage formerly thought to be extinct

Mary M. Peacock, Evon R. Hekkala, Veronica S. Kirchoff & Lisa G. Heki
Currently one small, native population of the culturally and ecologically important Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi, LCT, Federally listed) remains in the Truckee River watershed of northwestern Nevada and northeastern California. The majority of populations in this watershed were extirpated in the 1940’s due to invasive species, overharvest, anthropogenic water consumption and changing precipitation regimes. In 1977, a population of cutthroat trout discovered in the Pilot Peak Mountains in the Bonneville basin of Utah,...

Combined influence of intrinsic and environmental factors in shaping productivity in a small pelagic gull, the black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla

Aly McKnight, David Irons, Cynthia Loftin, Shawn McKinney & Brian Olsen
While we have a good understanding in many systems of the effects of single variable changes on organisms, we understand far less about how variables act in concert to affect living systems, where interactions among variables can lead to unanticipated results. We used mixed-effect models to evaluate the effects of multiple variables that we expected to play a role in the early reproductive stages of a North Pacific seabird, the black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, during...

Avian Response to Hurricane Maria in Coffee Plantations

Jaime Collazo, Amarilys Irizarry, Ivette Perfecto & John Vandermeer
Insights on impacts and resiliency of avian species with respect to hurricanes in the Caribbean have largely focused on responses measured in protected habitats. We assessed avian responses in non-protected habitat, specifically shade-restored coffee plantations, because their structural complexity retains many attributes of secondary forests, and may contribute to landscape scale species resiliency. We tallied species richness and estimated occupancy probability of 12 resident avian species, after adjusting for imperfect detection, to assess the impact...

Coldwater fish in a warm water world: implications for predation of salmon smolts during estuary transit

Matthew Nobriga, Cyril Michel, Rachel Johnson & J.D. Wikert
Predator-prey systems face intensifying pressure from human exploitation and a warming climate with implications for where and how natural resource management can successfully intervene. We hypothesized young salmon migrating to the Pacific Ocean face a seasonally intensifying predator gauntlet when warming water temperature intensifies a multiple predator effect (MPE) from Striped Bass Morone saxatilis, and Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides. We evaluated this hypothesis using data synthesis and simulation modeling. 2. Contemporary studies based on acoustically-tagged...

Resource allocation effects on the timing of reproduction in an avian habitat specialist

Kyle Cutting, Jay Rotella, James Waxe, Aaron O' Harra, Sean Schroff, Lorelle Berkeley, Mark Szczypinski, Andrea Litt & Bok Sowell
Variation in nutrient allocation can influence the timing of breeding and ultimately reproductive output. Time and space constraints might exist, however, if fewer food resources are available to meet the costs of reproduction early during the reproductive season. Here, for the first time, we test whether nutrient allocation strategies for reproduction in a shrub-dependent avian species differs with timing of breeding in different ecoregions: a high-elevation landscape, containing spatially complex vegetation (Rocky Mountains) versus a...

Efficacy of cover crops for pollinator habitat provision and weed suppression

Karla Gage, Casey Bryan, Sedonia Sipes, Mike Arduser, Leila Kassim, David Gibson & Drew Scott
Pollinator declines have been documented globally, but little information is available about native bee ecology in Midwestern US agriculture. This project seeks to optimize pollinator support and weed suppression in a 3-year crop rotation with a fallow growing season. During fallow, one of five cover crop treatments (T1: crimson, red, and ladino clover and Bob oats [Trifolium incarnatum, T. pratense, T. repens, Avena sativa]; T2: crimson clover and oats; T3: red clover and oats; T4:...

Unnatural selection of salmon life histories in a modified riverscape

Anna M. Sturrock, Stephanie M. Carlson, John D. Wikert, Tim Heyne, Sébastien Nusslé, Joseph E. Merz, Hugh J. W. Sturrock & Rachel C. Johnson
Altered river flows and fragmented habitats often simplify riverine communities and favor non‐native fishes, but their influence on life‐history expression and survival is less clear. Here, we quantify the expression and ultimate success of diverse salmon emigration behaviors in an anthropogenically altered California river system. We analyzed two decades of Chinook salmon monitoring data to explore the influence of regulated flows on juvenile emigration phenology, abundance, and recruitment. We then followed seven cohorts into adulthood...

Data from: Data-driven discovery of the spatial scales of habitat choice by elephants

Andrew F. Mashintonio, Stuart L. Pimm, Grant M. Harris, Rudi J. Van Aarde & Gareth J. Russell
Setting conservation goals and management objectives relies on understanding animal habitat preferences. Models that predict preferences combine location data from tracked animals with environmental information, usually at a spatial resolution determined by the available data. This resolution may be biologically irrelevant for the species in question. Individuals likely integrate environmental characteristics over varying distances when evaluating their surroundings; we call this the scale of selection. Even a single characteristic might be viewed differently at different...

Data from: Ecological release lead to novel otogenetic diet shift in kokanee (Oncoryhnchus nerka)

Kyle R. Shedd, Frank A. Von Hippel, James J. Willacker, Troy R. Hamon, Ora L. Schlei, John K. Wenburg, Joe L. Miller, Scott Pavey & Scott A. Pavey
We investigate adaptive resource polymorphism in kokanee (Oncorhynchus nerka) from Jo-Jo Lake, Alaska by determining whether previously observed niche expansion occurs at the population or individual level. Utilizing morphological, genetic, and stable isotope techniques, we found no evidence of discrete trophic morphotypes as previously described, but instead found evidence for an ontogenetic diet shift. Carbon and nitrogen isotope data indicate a 40% decrease in the proportion of benthic feeding and an increase of 1 trophic...

Data from: Spatio-temporal variation in parasite communities maintains diversity at the major histocompatibility complex class IIβ in the endangered Rio Grande Silvery Minnow

Megan J. Osborne, Tyler J. Pilger, Joel D. Lusk & Thomas F. Turner
Climate change will strongly impact aquatic ecosystems particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Fish-parasite interactions will also be affected by predicted altered flow and temperature regimes, and other environmental stressors. Hence, identifying environmental and genetic factors associated with maintaining diversity at immune genes is critical for understanding species’ adaptive capacity. Here we combine genetic (MHC Class IIβ and microsatellites), parasitological and ecological data to explore the relationship between these factors in the remnant wild Rio...

Data from: Genetic diversity and divergence in the fountain darter (Etheostoma fonticola): implications for conservation of an endangered species

Jeffrey B. Olsen, Andrew P. Kinziger, John K. Wenburg, Cara J. Lewis, Catherine T. Phillips & Kenneth G. Ostrand
Microsatellite genotypes for fountain dartersGenotype data from 23 microsatellite loci used to evaluate genetic diversity in 327 fountain darters (E. fonticola) from 16 sample locations in the Comal (CR) and San Marcos (SMR) rivers, Guadalupe River Basin, Texas, USA. The genotype data is formatted for use in the computer program FSTAT.Online Resource 2.txtMicrosatellites for fountain dartersMicrosatellite loci used to evaluate genetic diversity of fountain darters (E. fonticola) in the Comal and San Marcos rivers, Guadalupe...

Data from: Extreme precipitation variability, forage quality and large herbivore diet selection in arid environments

, Jay V. Gedir, Jason P. Marshal, Paul R. Krausman, Jamison D. Allen, Glenn C. Duff, Brian D. Jansen, John R. Morgart & James W. Cain
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...

Data from: Monarch butterfly population decline in North America: identifying the threatening processes

Wayne E. Thogmartin, Ruscena Wiederholt, Karen Oberhauser, Ryan G. Drum, Jay E. Diffendorfer, Sonia Altizer, Orley R. Taylor, John Pleasants, Darius Semmens, Brice Semmens, Richard Erickson, Kaitlin Libby & Laura Lopez-Hoffman
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) population in North America has sharply declined over the last two decades. Despite rising concern over the monarch butterfly's status, no comprehensive study of the factors driving this decline has been conducted. Using partial least-squares regressions and time-series analysis, we investigated climatic and habitat-related factors influencing monarch population size from 1993 to 2014. Potential threats included climatic factors, habitat loss (milkweed and overwinter forest), disease and agricultural insecticide use (neonicotinoids)....

Data from: Comparative landscape genetic analysis of three Pacific salmon species from subarctic North America

Jeffrey B. Olsen, Penelope A. Crane, Blair G. Flannery, Karen Dunmall, William D. Templin & John K. Wenburg
We examined the assumption that landscape heterogeneity similarly influences the spatial distribution of genetic diversity in closely related and geographically overlapping species. Accordingly, we evaluated the influence of watershed affiliation and nine habitat variables from four categories (spatial isolation, habitat size, climate, and ecology) on population divergence in three species of Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, O. kisutch, and O. keta) from three contiguous watersheds in subarctic North America. By incorporating spatial data we found that...

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