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Spatially-Explicit Predictive Maps of Greater Sage-Grouse Brood Selection Integrated with Brood Survival in Nevada and Northeastern California, USA


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Brussee, B.E., Coates, P.S., O'Neil, S.T., Casazza, M.L., Espinosa, S.P., Boone, J.D., Ammon, E.M., Gardner, S.C., and Delehanty, D.J., 2022, Spatially-explicit predictive maps of greater sage-grouse brood selection integrated with brood survival in Nevada and Northeastern California, USA: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


We used a hierarchical Bayesian modeling framework to estimate resource selection functions and survival for early and late brood-rearing stages of sage-grouse in relation to a broad suite of habitat characteristics evaluated at multiple spatial scales within the Great Basin from 2009 to 2019. Sage-grouse selected for greater perennial grass cover, higher relative elevations, and areas closer to springs and wet meadows during both early and late brood-rearing. Terrain characteristics, including heat load and aspect, were important in survival models, as was variation in shrub height. We also found strong evidence for higher survival for both early and late broods within previously burned areas, but survival within burned areas decreased [...]

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Numerous wildlife species within semi-arid shrubland ecosystems across western North America are experiencing substantial habitat loss and fragmentation. These changes in habitat are often attributed to a diverse suite of factors including prolonged and increasingly severe droughts, conifer expansion, anthropogenic development, domestic and feral livestock grazing, and invasion of exotic annual grasses, which promotes increased wildfire frequency and severity. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter, sage-grouse) are considered an indicator of sagebrush ecosystem health and have experienced widespread population decline associated with habitat loss and degradation, as well as changes in predator communities. Our objectives were to model and map sage-grouse habitat selection and survival during the important brood-rearing life stage in relation to landscape-scale environmental predictors. Furthermore, we sought to understand impacts of wildfire and annual grass invasion on brood habitat, as these accelerated disturbance regimes are a primary cause of habitat loss within the Great Basin region of the USA.


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DOI doi:10.5066/P9B593DZ

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