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Demonstrating disease impacts on the vital rates of free‐ranging mammalian hosts typically requires intensive, long‐term study. Evidence for chronic pathogens affecting reproduction but not survival is rare, but has the potential for wide‐ranging effects. Accurately quantifying disease‐associated reductions in fecundity is important for advancing theory, generating accurate predictive models, and achieving effective management. We investigated the impacts of brucellosis (Brucella abortus) on elk (Cervus canadensis) productivity using serological data from over 6,000 captures since 1990 in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, USA. Over 1,000 of these records included known age and pregnancy status. Using Bayesian multilevel...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Given the significance of animal dispersal to population dynamics and geographic variability, understanding how dispersal is impacted by landscape patterns has major ecological and conservation importance. Speaking to the importance of dispersal, the use of linear mixed models to compare genetic differentiation with pairwise resistance derived from landscape resistance surfaces has presented new opportunities to disentangle the menagerie of factors behind effective dispersal across a given landscape. Here, we combine these approaches with novel resistance surface parameterization to determine how the distribution of high- and low-quality seasonal habitat and individual landscape components shape patterns of gene...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Identifying the patterns and processes driving dispersal is critical for understanding population structure and dynamics. In many organisms, sex-biased dispersal is related to the type of mating system. Considerably less is known about the influence of life history variability on dispersal. Here we investigated patterns of dispersal in masu salmon (Oncorhynchus masou) to evaluate influences of sex and life history on dispersal. As expected, assignment tests and isolation by distance analysis revealed that dispersal of marine-migratory masu salmon was male-biased. However, dispersal of resident and migratory males did not follow our expectation and marine-migratory individuals dispersed more than residents. This...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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High water temperatures can increase the energetic cost for salmon to migrate and spawn, which can be important for Snake River fall‐run Chinook salmon because they migrate great distances (>500 km) at a time when river temperatures (18–24°C) can be above their optimum temperatures (16.5°C). Average river temperatures and random combinations of migration and spawning dates were used to simulate fish travel times and determine the energetic consequences of different thermal experiences during migration. An energy threshold criterion (4 kJ/g) was also imposed on survival and spawning success, which was used to determine how prevailing temperatures might select against certain migration dates and thermal experiences,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Depicting the spatial distribution of wildlife species is an important first step in developing management and conservation programs for particular species. Accurate representation of a species distribution is important for predicting the effects of climate change, land-use change, management activities, disease, and other landscape-level processes on wildlife populations. We developed models to estimate the spatial distribution of little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) wintering populations in the United States east of the 100th meridian, based on known hibernacula locations. From this data, we developed several scenarios of wintering population counts per county that incorporated uncertainty in the spatial distribution...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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The evolutionary trajectory of populations through time is influenced by the interplay of forces (biological, evolutionary, and anthropogenic) acting on the standing genetic variation. We used microsatellite and mitochondrial loci to examine the influence of population declines, of varying severity, on genetic diversity within two Hawaiian endemic waterbirds, the Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian gallinule, by comparing historical (samples collected in the late 1800s and early 1900s) and modern (collected in 2012–2013) populations. Population declines simultaneously experienced by Hawaiian coots and Hawaiian gallinules differentially shaped the evolutionary trajectory of these two populations. Within Hawaiian coot, large...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Recent methodological advances permit the estimation of species richness and occurrences for rare species by linking species-level occurrence models at the community level. The value of such methods is underscored by the ability to examine the influence of landscape heterogeneity on species assemblages at large spatial scales. A salient advantage of community-level approaches is that parameter estimates for data-poor species are more precise as the estimation process borrows from data-rich species. However, this analytical benefit raises a question about the degree to which inferences are dependent on the implicit assumption of relatedness among species. Here, we assess the sensitivity of community/group-level metrics,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Quantitative methods for species identification are commonly used in acoustic surveys for animals. While various identification models have been studied extensively, there has been little study of methods for selecting calls prior to modeling or methods for validating results after modeling. We obtained two call libraries with a combined 1556 pulse sequences from 11 North American bat species. We used four acoustic filters to automatically select and quantify bat calls from the combined library. For each filter, we trained a species identification model (a quadratic discriminant function analysis) and compared the classification ability of the models. In a separate analysis, we trained a classification model using...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Implicit and explicit use of expert knowledge to inform ecological analyses is becoming increasingly common because it often represents the sole source of information in many circumstances. Thus, there is a need to develop statistical methods that explicitly incorporate expert knowledge, and can successfully leverage this information while properly accounting for associated uncertainty during analysis. Studies of cause-specific mortality provide an example of implicit use of expert knowledge when causes-of-death are uncertain and assigned based on the observer's knowledge of the most likely cause. To explicitly incorporate this use of expert knowledge and the associated uncertainty, we developed a statistical model...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Modification of habitat structure due to invasive plants can alter the risk landscape for wildlife by, for example, changing the quality or availability of refuge habitat. Whether perceived risk corresponds with actual fitness outcomes, however, remains an important open question. We simultaneously measured how habitat changes due to a common invasive grass (cheatgrass, Bromus tectorum) affected the perceived risk, habitat selection, and apparent survival of a small mammal, enabling us to assess how well perceived risk influenced important behaviors and reflected actual risk. We measured perceived risk by nocturnal rodents using a giving-up density foraging experiment with paired shrub (safe) and open (risky) foraging...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Regional monitoring strategies frequently employ a nested sampling design where a finite set of study areas from throughout a region are selected within which intensive sub-sampling occurs. This sampling protocol naturally lends itself to a hierarchical analysis to account for dependence among sub-samples. Implementing such an analysis within a classic likelihood framework is computationally prohibitive with species occurrence data when accounting for detection probabilities. Bayesian methods offer an alternative framework to make this analysis feasible. We demonstrate a general approach for estimating occupancy when data come from a nested sampling design. Using data from a regional monitoring program of wood frogs...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Larger, more frequent wildfires in arid and semi-arid ecosystems have been associated with invasion by non-native annual grasses, yet a complete understanding of fine fuel development and subsequent wildfire trends is lacking. We investigated the complex relationships among weather, fine fuels, and fire in the Great Basin, USA. We first modeled the annual and time-lagged effects of precipitation and temperature on herbaceous vegetation cover and litter accumulation over a 26-year period in the northern Great Basin. We then modeled how these fine fuels and weather patterns influence subsequent wildfires. We found that cheatgrass cover increased in years with higher precipitation and especially when one of the previous...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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This is the first comprehensive region wide, spatially explicit epidemiologic analysis of surveillance data of the aquatic viral pathogen infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) infecting native salmonid fish. The pathogen has been documented in the freshwater ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest of North America since the 1950s, and the current report describes the disease ecology of IHNV during 2000–2012. Prevalence of IHNV infection in monitored salmonid host cohorts ranged from 8% to 30%, with the highest levels observed in juvenile steelhead trout. The spatial distribution of all IHNV-infected cohorts was concentrated in two sub-regions of the study area, where historic burden of the viral disease has...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Body condition is a key indicator of individual and population health. Yet, there is little consensus as to the most appropriate condition index (CI), and most of the currently used CIs have not been thoroughly validated and are logistically challenging. Adipose samples from large datasets of capture biopsied, remote biopsied, and harvested polar bears were used to validate adipose lipid content as a CI via tests of accuracy, precision, sensitivity, biopsy depth, and storage conditions and comparisons to established CIs, to measures of health and to demographic and ecological parameters. The lipid content analyses of even very small biopsy samples were highly accurate and precise, but results were influenced by...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Lake ecosystems in the Arctic are changing rapidly due to climate warming. Lakes are sensitive integrators of climate-induced changes and prominent features across the Arctic landscape, especially in lowland permafrost regions such as the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. Despite many studies on the implications of climate warming, how fish populations will respond to lake changes is uncertain for Arctic ecosystems. Least Cisco (Coregonus sardinella) is a bellwether for Arctic lakes as an important consumer and prey resource. To explore the consequences of climate warming, we used a bioenergetics model to simulate changes in Least Cisco production under future climate scenarios for lakes on the Arctic Coastal Plain....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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A frequent assumption in ecology is that biotic interactions are more important than abiotic factors in determining lower elevational range limits (i.e., the “warm edge” of a species distribution). However, for species with narrow environmental tolerances, theory suggests the presence of a strong environmental gradient can lead to persistence, even in the presence of competition. The relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors is rarely considered together, although understanding when one exerts a dominant influence on controlling range limits may be crucial to predicting extinction risk under future climate conditions. We sampled multiple transects spanning the elevational range limit of Plethodon shenandoah...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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We examined a secondary contact zone between two species of desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii and G. morafkai. The taxa were isolated from a common ancestor during the formation of the Colorado River (4-8 mya) and are a classic example of allopatric speciation. However, an anomalous population of G. agassizii comes into secondary contact with G. morafkai east of the Colorado River in the Black Mountains of Arizona and provides an opportunity to examine reinforcement of species' boundaries under natural conditions. We sampled 234 tortoises representing G. agassizii in California (n = 103), G. morafkai in Arizona (n = 78), and 53 individuals of undetermined assignment in the contact zone including and surrounding...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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The Mojave Desert of North America has become fire-prone in recent decades due to invasive annual grasses that fuel wildfires following years of high rainfall. Perennial species are poorly adapted to fire in this system, and post-fire shifts in species composition have been substantial but variable across community types. To generalize across a range of conditions, we investigated whether simple life-history traits could predict how species responded to fire. Further, we classified species into plant functional types (PFTs) based on combinations of life-history traits and evaluated whether these groups exhibited a consistent fire-response. Six life-history traits varied significantly between burned and unburned...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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The response of tropical forests to global warming is one of the largest uncertainties in predicting the future carbon balance of Earth. To determine the likely effects of elevated temperatures on tropical forest understory plants and soils, as well as other ecosystems, an infrared (IR) heater system was developed to provide in situ warming for the Tropical Responses to Altered Climate Experiment (TRACE) in the Luquillo Experimental Forest in Puerto Rico. Three replicate heated 4-m- diameter plots were warmed to maintain a 4°C increase in understory vegetation compared to three unheated control plots, as sensed by IR thermometers. The equipment was larger than any used previously and was subjected to challenges...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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Yersinia pestis was introduced to North America around 1900 and leads to nearly 100% mortality in prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) colonies during epizootic events, which suggests this pathogen may exert a strong selective force. We characterized genetic diversity at an MHC class II locus (DRB1) in Gunnison's prairie dog (C. gunnisoni) and quantified population genetic structure at the DRB1versus 12 microsatellite loci in three large Arizona colonies. Two colonies, Seligman (SE) and Espee Ranch (ES), have experienced multiple plague-related die-offs in recent years, whereas plague has never been documented at Aubrey Valley (AV). We found fairly low allelic diversity at the DRB1 locus, with one allele (DRB1*01) at high...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution


map background search result map search result map Estimating the spatial distribution of wintering little brown bat populations in the eastern United States Life-history traits predict perennial species response to fire in a desert ecosystem Life-history traits predict perennial species response to fire in a desert ecosystem Estimating the spatial distribution of wintering little brown bat populations in the eastern United States