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Habitat fragmentation and flow regulation are significant factors related to the decline and extinction of freshwater biota. Pelagic-broadcast spawning cyprinids require moving water and some length of unfragmented stream to complete their life cycle. However, it is unknown how discharge and habitat features interact at multiple spatial scales to alter the transport of semi-buoyant fish eggs. Our objective was to assess the relationship between downstream drift of semi-buoyant egg surrogates (gellan beads) and discharge and habitat complexity. We quantified transport time of a known quantity of beads using 2–3 sampling devices at each of seven locations on the North Canadian and Canadian rivers. Transport time...
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Stream fragmentation alters the structure of aquatic communities on a global scale, generally through loss of native species. Among riverscapes in the Great Plains of North America, stream fragmentation and hydrologic alteration (flow regulation and dewatering) are implicated in the decline of native fish diversity. This study documents the spatio–temporal distribution of fish reproductive guilds in the fragmented Arkansas and Ninnescah rivers of south-central Kansas using retrospective analyses involving 63 years of fish community data. Pelagic-spawning fishes declined throughout the study area during 1950–2013, including Arkansas River shiner (Notropis girardi) last reported in 1983, plains minnow (Hybognathus...
The Williston Basin, located in the NorthernGreat Plains, is experiencing rapid energy developmentwith North Dakota and Montana being the epicenter ofcurrent and projected development in the USA. Theaverage single-bore well pad is 5 acres with an estimated58,485 wells in North Dakota alone. This landscapeleveldisturbance may provide a pathway for the establishmentof non-native plants. To evaluate potentialinfluences of energy development on the presence andabundance of non-native species, vegetation surveyswere conducted at 30 oil well sites (14 ten-year-oldand 16 five-year-old wells) and 14 control sites in nativeprairie environments across the Williston Basin. Nonnativespecies richness and cover were recorded...
Full life-cycle vulnerability assessments are identifying the effects of climate change on nongame migratory birds that are of conservation concern and breed in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region. Full life-cycle analyses are critical, as current efforts likely underestimate the vulnerability of migratory land birds due to a focus on assessing only one component of the annual cycle. The approach provides a framework for integrating exposure to climate changes, sensitivity to these changes, and the potential for adaptation in both winter and summer seasons, and accounts for carry-over effects from one season to another. The results of this work will inform regional management by highlighting both local and...
The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the north-central U.S. and south-central Canada contains millions of small prairie wetlands that provide critical habitat to many migrating and breeding waterbirds. Due to their small size and the relatively dry climate of the region, these wetlands are considered at high risk for negative climate change effects as temperatures increase. To estimate the potential impacts of climate change on breeding waterbirds, we predicted current and future distributions of species common in the PPR using species distribution models (SDMs). We created regional-scale SDMs for the U.S. PPR using Breeding Bird Survey occurrence records for 1971–2011 and wetland, upland, and climate variables....
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We used the United States National Grid to develop a sampling grid for monitoring programs in the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative, delineated by Bird Conservation Regions 18 and 19. Landscape Conservation Cooperatives are science based partnerships with the goal to inform and guide conservation at regional landscape levels. Developing a standardized sampling grid for a LCC is a new endeavor and is designed to reduce program costs, avoid repetition in sampling, and increase efficiency in monitoring programs. This is possible because the grid’s nationwide coverage, uniform starting point, and scalability allow researchers to expand their monitoring programs from a small, local level to a regional or...
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Within the time frame of the longevity of tree species, climate change will change faster than the ability of natural tree migration. Migration lags may result in reduced productivity and reduced diversity in forests under current management and climate change. We evaluated the efficacy of planting climate-suitable tree species (CSP), those tree species with current or historic distributions immediately south of a focal landscape, to maintain or increase aboveground biomass, productivity, and species and functional diversity. We modeled forest change with the LANDIS-II forest simulation model for 100 years (2000–2100) at a 2-ha cell resolution and five-year time steps within two landscapes in the Great Lakes region...
The spread and impacts of exotic species are unambiguous, global threats to many ecosystems. A prominent example is the suite of annual grasses in the Bromus genus (Bromus hereafter) that originate from Europe and Eurasia but have invaded or are invading large areas of the Western USA. This book brings a diverse, multidisciplinary group of authors together to synthesize current knowledge, research needs, and management implications for Bromus. Exotic plant invasions are multifaceted problems, and understanding and managing them requires the biological, ecological, sociological, and economic perspectives that are integrated in this book. Knowing how well information from one geographic or environmental setting can...
A genecological approach was used to explore genetic variation for survival in Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush). Artemisia tridentata is a widespread and foundational shrub species in western North America. This species has become extremely fragmented, to the detriment of dependent wildlife, and efforts to restore it are now a land manage-ment priority. Common- garden experiments were established at three sites with seed-lings from 55 source- populations. Populations included each of the three predominant subspecies, and cytotype variations. Survival was monitored for 5 years to assess dif-ferences in survival between gardens and populations. We found evidence of adap-tive genetic variation for survival. Survival...
Melanism (dark coloration) is a condition resulting from a greater than normal expres-sion of the eumelanin pigments in the plumage (Gill 1990). The dark coloration can be advantageous to raptors by increasing the feathers’ resistance to bacterial degradation (Goldstein et al. 2004). conversely, abnormally dark pigmentation can reduce success in pairing by disguising key species-identification cues (García 2003) and decrease lifetime reproductive success by increasing mortality (krüger and lindström 2001). Polymorphism in color, of which melanism is one example, occurs in at least 3.5% of avian species worldwide and in 22% of raptors of the family Accipitridae (harriers, hawks, eagles, kites, and Old World vultures;...
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The Yukon North Slope is an arctic “hot spot” of climate change-induced effects with profound significance for the Inuvialuit and the larger region. In 1984, the Inuvialuit entered into a land claim agreement – the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) – with the governments of Canada, Yukon and Northwest Territories. A co-management body formed to make a plan, which was developed in 2003 but never ratified and is now considered out-of-date. Round River Conservation Studies is assisting WMAC(NS) in the collection, development and synthesis of spatial data, models and analyses of cultural and ecological values of the YNS.The project is a collaboration among the NWB LCC, Round River Conservation Studies, and the Arctic...
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Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) have a life-history strategy specifically adapted to the extreme climate of the North. These fish migrate to spawning grounds just after breakup in the spring, then migrate to feeding sites in early summer, and finally in the fall migrate back to their overwintering sites. The Kuparuk River is a perennial stream originating in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range on the North Slope of Alaska. Sections of the Kuparuk are periodically intermittent in that, during low flows in the system, these channel reaches appear dry. The flow varies between surface and subsurface in this permafrost-dominated environment, with subsurface flow being limited to the unfrozen thaw bulb around...
We used publically available data on duck breeding distribution and recently compiled geospatialdata on upland habitat and environmental conditions to develop a spatially explicitmodel of breeding duck populations across the entire Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). Ourspatial population models were able to identify key areas for duck conservation across thePPR and predict between 62.1 – 79.1% (68.4% avg.) of the variation in duck counts by yearfrom 2002 – 2010. The median difference in observed vs. predicted duck counts at a transectsegment level was 4.6 ducks. Our models are the first seamless spatially explicit modelsof waterfowl abundance across the entire PPR and represent an initial step toward jointconservation...
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Biodiversity in stream networks is threatened globally by interactions between habitat fragmentation and altered hydrologic regimes. In the Great Plains of North America, stream networks are fragmented by 19,000 anthropogenic barriers, and flow regimes are altered by surface water retention and groundwater extraction. We documented the distribution of anthropogenic barriers and dry stream segments in five basins covering the central Great Plains to assess effects of broad-scale environmental change on stream fish community structure and distribution of reproductive guilds. We used an information-theoretic approach to rank competing models in which fragmentation, discharge magnitude, and percentage of time streams had...
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Genetic, demographic, and environmental processes affect natural populations synergistically, and understanding their interplay is crucial for the conservation of biodiversity. Stream fishes in metapopulations are particularly sensitive to habitat fragmentation because persistence depends on dispersal and colonization of new habitat but dispersal is constrained to stream networks. Great Plains streams are increasingly fragmented by water diversion and climate change, threatening connectivity of fish populations in this ecosystem. We used seven microsatellite loci to describe population and landscape genetic patterns across 614 individuals from 12 remaining populations of Arkansas darter ( Etheostoma cragini) in...
Although biotic responses to contemporary climate change are spatially pervasive and often reflect synergies between climate and other ecological disturbances, the relative importance of climatic factors versus habitat extent for species persistence remains poorly understood. To address this shortcoming, we performed surveys for American pikas (Ochotona princeps) at > 910 locations in 3 geographic regions of western North America during 2014 and 2015, complementing earlier modern (1994–2013) and historical (1898–1990) surveys. We sought to compare extirpation rates and the relative importance of climatic factors versus habitat area for pikas in a mainland-versus-islands framework. In each region, we found widespread...
Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) has widely invaded the Great Basin, U.S.A. The sporadic natural phenomenon of complete stand failure (‘die- off’) of this invader may present opportunities to restore native plants. A recent die-off in Nevada was precision-planted with seeds of the native grasses Poa secunda (Sandberg bluegrass) and Elymus elymoides (bottlebrush squirreltail), of both local and nonlocal origin, to ask: 1) Can native species be restored in recent B. tectorum die-offs? And 2) Do local and nonlocal seeds differ in performance? Additionally, we asked how litter removal and water addition affected responses. Although emergence and growth of native seeds was lower in die-off than control plots early in year...
Land managers in the Great Basin are working to maintain or restore sagebrush ecosystems as climate change exacerbates existing threats. Web applications delivering climate change and climate impacts information have the potential to assist their efforts. Although many web applications containing climate information currently exist, few have been co-produced with land managers or have incorporated information specifically focused on land managers’ needs. Through surveys and interviews, we gathered detailed feedback from federal, state, and tribal sagebrush land managers in the Great Basin on climate information web applications targeting land management. We found that a) managers are searching for weather and climate...
We examined patterns of genetic variation and diversity of extant pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) populations across the species’ current range in Nevada and California. Our aims were to determine population genetic structure and levels of diversity across the southern portion of the species’ range. We genotyped 13 microsatellite loci from 194 fecal samples collected across 14 localities. Our Bayesian cluster analyses found 2 genetically distinct groups: 1 in the Mono Basin of California and the other encompassing all remaining Nevada Great Basin populations. Considering only the Nevada Great Basin group, we found 4 minimally divergent groups that overlap spatially with many individuals maintaining composite...
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How local geomorphic and hydrologic features mediate the sensitivity of stream thermal regimes to variation in climatic conditions remains a critical uncertainty in understanding aquatic ecosystem responses to climate change. We used stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen to estimate contributions of snow and rainfall to 80 boreal streams and show that differences in snow contribution are controlled by watershed topography. Time series analysis of stream thermal regimes revealed that streams in rain-dominated, low-elevation watersheds were 5–8 times more sensitive to variation in summer air temperature compared to streams draining steeper topography whose flows were dominated by snowmelt. This effect was more pronounced...


map background search result map search result map Interacting Effects of Discharge and Channel Morphology on Transport of Semibuoyant Fish Eggs in Large, Altered River Systems Publication: Measuring and managing resistance and resilience under climate change in northern Great Lake forests Linking North Slope of Alaska climate, hydrology, and fish migration Watershed geomorphology and snowmelt control stream thermal sensitivity to air temperature Publication: Fragmentation and dewatering transform Great Plains stream fish communities Publication: Fragmentation and drying ratchet down Great Plains stream fish diversity Publication: Water availability strongly impacts population genetic patterns of an imperiled Great Plains endemic fish Final Report: Integrated monitoring within BCR’s: Creating a wildlife monitoring grid for the GPLCC Yukon North Slope Wildlife Management Plan Linking North Slope of Alaska climate, hydrology, and fish migration Watershed geomorphology and snowmelt control stream thermal sensitivity to air temperature Publication: Water availability strongly impacts population genetic patterns of an imperiled Great Plains endemic fish Interacting Effects of Discharge and Channel Morphology on Transport of Semibuoyant Fish Eggs in Large, Altered River Systems Yukon North Slope Wildlife Management Plan Publication: Fragmentation and dewatering transform Great Plains stream fish communities Publication: Fragmentation and drying ratchet down Great Plains stream fish diversity Final Report: Integrated monitoring within BCR’s: Creating a wildlife monitoring grid for the GPLCC Publication: Measuring and managing resistance and resilience under climate change in northern Great Lake forests