• 113 Developing a cryopreservation protocol for desert tortoise sperm (Gopherus agassizzii)

      Ravida, Nicole; Young, C.; Gokool, L.; Durrant, Barbara S. (2017)
      The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizzii) is listed as threatened by the USA Fish and Wildlife Service and population declines continue to occur throughout most of their range. This species’ low reproductive rate, combined with the advanced age at which they reach sexual maturity, makes them vulnerable to multiple threats....
    • 98 Efficacy of commercial equine semen freezing extenders for cryopreservation of southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) sperm

      Young, Carly; Ravida, Nicole; Pennington, Parker M.; Durrant, Barbara S. (2019)
      Once nearly extinct in the wild, the southern white rhinoceros is currently listed as near threatened by IUCN. This status is likely to change as poaching continues to escalate....
    • A big data urban growth simulation at a national scale: Configuring the GIS and neural network based Land Transformation Model to run in a High Performance Computing (HPC) environment

      Pijanowski, B.C.; Tayyebi, A.; Douchette, J.; Pekin, Burak K.; Braun, D.; Plourde, J. (2014)
      The Land Transformation Model (LTM) is a Land Use Land Cover Change (LUCC) model which was originally developed to simulate local scale LUCC patterns…. This paper provides an overview of the new architecture which we discuss within the context of modeling LUCC that requires: (1) using an HPC to run a modified version of our LTM; (2) managing large datasets in terms of size and quantity of files; (3) integration of tools that are executed using different scripting languages; and (4) a large number of steps necessitating several aspects of job management.
    • A checklist of the iguanas of the world (Iguanidae; Iguaninae)

      Iguana Taxonomy Working Group (ITWG); Buckley, Larry J.; de Queiroz, Kevin; Grant, Tandora D.; Hollingsworth, Bradford D.; Iverson, John B.; Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Stephen, Catherine L.; Iverson, John B.; Grant, Tandora D.; et al. (2016)
      This annotated checklist of the world's iguanas (Iguanidae; Iguaninae) represents an update by the Iguana Taxonomy Working Group (ITWG) of its 2011 list. We recognize 44 extant species (19 subspecies across six species) in eight genera....
    • A comparison of strategies for selecting breeding pairs to maximize genetic diversity retention in managed populations

      Ivy, Jamie A.; Lacy, Robert C. (2012)
      Captive breeding programs aim to maintain populations that are demographically self-sustaining and genetically healthy. It has been well documented that the best way for managed breeding programs to retain gene diversity (GD) and limit inbreeding is to select breeding pairs that minimize a population's average kinship....
    • A comparison of walking rates Between wild and zoo African elephants

      Miller, Lance J.; Chase, Michael J.; Hacker, Charlotte E. (2016)
      The goal of the current study was to compare the walking rates of elephants in the wild versus elephants in zoos to determine if elephants are walking similar distances relative to their wild counterparts. Eleven wild elephants throughout different habitats and locations in Botswana were compared to 8 elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Direct comparisons revealed no significant difference in average walking rates of zoo elephants when compared with wild elephants….
    • A comprehensive genomic history of extinct and living elephants

      Palkopoulou, Eleftheria; Lipson, Mark; Mallick, Swapan; Nielsen, Svend; Rohland, Nadin; Baleka, Sina; Karpinski, Emil; Ivancevic, Atma M.; To, Thu-Hien; Kortschak, R. Daniel; et al. (2018)
      Elephantids are the world’s most iconic megafaunal family, yet there is no comprehensive genomic assessment of their relationships. We report a total of 14 genomes, including 2 from the American mastodon, which is an extinct elephantid relative, and 12 spanning all three extant and three extinct elephantid species including an ~120,000-y-old straight-tusked elephant, a Columbian mammoth, and woolly mammoths....
    • A demonstration of conservation genomics for threatened species management

      Wright, Belinda R.; Farquharson, Katherine A.; McLennan, Elspeth A.; Belov, Katherine; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Grueber, Catherine E. (2020)
      ... We conducted whole genome sequencing (WGS) of 25 individuals from the captive breeding programme and reduced‐representation sequencing (RRS) of 98 founders of the same programme. A subset of the WGS samples was also sequenced by RRS, allowing us to directly compare genome‐wide heterozygosity with estimates from RRS data. We found good congruence in interindividual variation and gene‐ontology classifications between the two data sets, indicating that our RRS data reflect the genome well....
    • A diversity of biogeographies in an extreme Amazonian wetland habitat

      Householder, Ethan; Janovec, John; Tobler, Mathias W.; Wittmann, Florian; Myster, Randall W. (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2017)
      Amazonian wetlands are associated with lower species diversity relative to surrounding terra firme forests, as well as compositional turnover along strong hydro-edaphic gradients. Because species differ in their ecophysiological response to soil waterlogging, hydrological regime is likely a major determinant of the local diversity, species distribution and assemblage of plant communities in wetland habitats....
    • A high density snp array for the domestic horse and extant Perissodactyla: Utility for association mapping, genetic diversity, and phylogeny studies

      McCue, Molly E.; Bannasch, Danika L.; Petersen, Jessica L.; Gurr, Jessica; Bailey, Ernie; Binns, Matthew M.; Distl, Ottmar; Guérin, Gérard; Hasegawa, Telhisa; Hill, Emmeline W.; et al. (2012)
      An equine SNP genotyping array was developed and evaluated on a panel of samples representing 14 domestic horse breeds and 18 evolutionarily related species. More than 54,000 polymorphic SNPs provided an average inter-SNP spacing of ?43 kb. The mean minor allele frequency across domestic horse breeds was 0.23, and the number of polymorphic SNPs within breeds ranged from 43,287 to 52,085. Genome-wide linkage disequilibrium (LD) in most breeds declined rapidly over the first 50–100 kb and reached background levels within 1–2 Mb. The extent of LD and the level of inbreeding were highest in the Thoroughbred and lowest in the Mongolian and Quarter Horse. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) analyses demonstrated the tight grouping of individuals within most breeds, close proximity of related breeds, and less tight grouping in admixed breeds. The close relationship between the Przewalski's Horse and the domestic horse was demonstrated by pair-wise genetic distance and MDS. Genotyping of other Perissodactyla (zebras, asses, tapirs, and rhinoceros) was variably successful, with call rates and the number of polymorphic loci varying across taxa. Parsimony analysis placed the modern horse as sister taxa to Equus przewalski. The utility of the SNP array in genome-wide association was confirmed by mapping the known recessive chestnut coat color locus (MC1R) and defining a conserved haplotype of -750 kb across all breeds. These results demonstrate the high quality of this SNP genotyping resource, its usefulness in diverse genome analyses of the horse, and potential use in related species.
    • A High-Quality, Long-Read De Novo Genome Assembly to Aid Conservation of Hawaii's Last Remaining Crow Species

      Sutton, Jolene; Helmkampf, Martin; Steiner, Cynthia C.; Bellinger, M. Renee; Korlach, Jonas; Hall, Richard; Baybayan, Primo; Muehling, Jill; Gu, Jenny; Kingan, Sarah; et al. (2018)
      Genome-level data can provide researchers with unprecedented precision to examine the causes and genetic consequences of population declines, which can inform conservation management. Here, we present a high-quality, long-read, de novo genome assembly for one of the world’s most endangered bird species, the ʻAlalā (Corvus hawaiiensis; Hawaiian crow). As the only remaining native crow species in Hawaiʻi, the ʻAlalā survived solely in a captive-breeding program from 2002 until 2016, at which point a long-term reintroduction program was initiated. The high-quality genome assembly was generated to lay the foundation for both comparative genomics studies and the development of population-level genomic tools that will aid conservation and recovery efforts. We illustrate how the quality of this assembly places it amongst the very best avian genomes assembled to date, comparable to intensively studied model systems. We describe the genome architecture in terms of repetitive elements and runs of homozygosity, and we show that compared with more outbred species, the ʻAlalā genome is substantially more homozygous. We also provide annotations for a subset of immunity genes that are likely to be important in conservation management, and we discuss how this genome is currently being used as a roadmap for downstream conservation applications
    • A highly divergent picornavirus infecting the gut epithelia of zebrafish (Danio rerio) in research institutions worldwide

      Altan, Eda; Kubiski, Steven V.; Boros, Ákos; Reuter, Gábor; Sadeghi, Mohammadreza; Deng, Xutao; Creighton, Erica K.; Crim, Marcus J.; Delwart, Eric (2019)
      Zebrafish have been extensively used as a model system for research in vertebrate development and pathogen–host interactions. We describe the complete genome of a novel picornavirus identified during a viral metagenomics analysis of zebrafish gut tissue....
    • A management experiment evaluating nest-site selection by beach-nesting birds

      Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Nordstrom, Lisa A.; Schuetz, Justin G.; Boylan, Jeanette T.; Fournier, Joelle J.; Shemai, Barak (2018)
      It is important to understand nest-site selection in avian species to inform appropriate conservation management strategies. Studies of habitat selection alone, however, may be misleading unless the consequences for survival and reproduction are also documented....
    • A meta-analysis of birth-origin effects on reproduction in diverse captive environments

      Farquharson, Katherine A.; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Grueber, Catherine E. (2018)
      Successfully establishing captive breeding programs is a priority across diverse industries to address food security, demand for ethical laboratory research animals, and prevent extinction. Differences in reproductive success due to birth origin may threaten the long-term sustainability of captive breeding. Our meta-analysis examining 115 effect sizes from 44 species of invertebrates, fish, birds, and mammals shows that, overall, captive-born animals have a 42% decreased odds of reproductive success in captivity compared to their wild-born counterparts. The largest effects are seen in commercial aquaculture, relative to conservation or laboratory settings, and offspring survival and offspring quality were the most sensitive traits. Although a somewhat weaker trend, reproductive success in conservation and laboratory research breeding programs is also in a negative direction for captive-born animals. Our study provides the foundation for future investigation of non-genetic and genetic drivers of change in captivity, and reveals areas for the urgent improvement of captive breeding.
    • A molecular phylogeny of the Pacific clade of Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae) reveals a Fijian origin, recent diversification, and the importance of founder events

      Johnson, Melissa A.; Clark, John R.; Wagner, Warren L.; McDade, Lucinda A. (2017)
      Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae) is among the largest genera of flowering plants in the remote oceanic islands of the Pacific, with an estimated 175 species distributed across an area that extends from the Solomon Islands, east to the Marquesas Islands, and north to the Hawaiian Islands. The vast majority of species are single-island endemics that inhabit upland rainforests....
    • A multi-model approach to guide habitat conservation and restoration for the endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat

      Chock, Rachel Y.; Hennessy, Sarah McCullough; Wang, Thea B.; Gray, Emily; Shier, Debra M. (2020)
      The San Bernardino kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus) is a federally listed endangered species endemic to Southern California and limited to three remaining populations. Its native habitat of alluvial fan sage scrub faces many anthropogenic threats, including urban and agricultural development, and the resulting flood control and fire suppression. With the loss of natural processes such as scouring or burning from floods and fires, the mosaic of seral stages across the landscape has shifted to dense vegetation, and active restoration may be necessary to provide suitable habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat. Species distribution modeling using the partitioned Mahalanobis distance method on all occurrence points collected in the past 16 years revealed that alluvial scrub cover and fluvent soils were most strongly associated with San Bernardino kangaroo rat occupancy. Through surveys at 14 locations across the species’ range, we identified non-native grass cover, shrub cover, bare ground and sandy soils as microhabitat features related to San Bernardino kangaroo rat abundance. We also calculated the optimal range of cover for each habitat type that was correlated with higher kangaroo rat abundance. The results of this multiple-model approach can be used by the agencies to assess the value of conserved habitat, set targets for microhabitat enhancement to facilitate population growth and expansion, or identify receiver sites should translocation be required for recovery. This work lays the foundation for more coordinated and strategic restoration efforts, given the compressed and rigid timelines of development projects that continue to impact remaining San Bernardino kangaroo rat populations.
    • A near-chromosome-scale genome assembly of the gemsbok (Oryx gazella): an iconic antelope of the Kalahari desert

      Farré, Marta; Li, Qiye; Zhou, Yang; Damas, Joana; Chemnick, Leona G.; Kim, Jaebum; Ryder, Oliver A.; Ma, Jian; Zhang, Guojie; Larkin, Denis M.; et al. (2018)
      Background The gemsbok (Oryx gazella) is one of the largest antelopes in Africa. Gemsbok are heterothermic and thus highly adapted to live in the desert, changing their feeding behavior when faced with extreme drought and heat. A high-quality genome sequence of this species will assist efforts to elucidate these and other important traits of gemsbok and facilitate research on conservation efforts. Findings Using 180 Gbp of Illumina paired-end and mate-pair reads, a 2.9 Gbp assembly with scaffold N50 of 1.48 Mbp was generated using SOAPdenovo. Scaffolds were extended using Chicago library sequencing, which yielded an additional 114.7 Gbp of DNA sequence. The HiRise assembly using SOAPdenovo + Chicago library sequencing produced a scaffold N50 of 47 Mbp and a final genome size of 2.9 Gbp, representing 90.6% of the estimated genome size and including 93.2% of expected genes according to Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologs analysis. The Reference-Assisted Chromosome Assembly tool was used to generate a final set of 47 predicted chromosome fragments with N50 of 86.25 Mbp and containing 93.8% of expected genes. A total of 23,125 protein-coding genes and 1.14 Gbp of repetitive sequences were annotated using de novo and homology-based predictions. Conclusions Our results provide the first high-quality, chromosome-scale genome sequence assembly for gemsbok, which will be a valuable resource for studying adaptive evolution of this species and other ruminants.
    • A recovering flagship: Giant otters, communities and tourism in northern Peru

      Recharte, Maribel; Bride, Ian G.; Bowler, Mark (2015)
      We investigate attitudes towards giant otters in rural northern Peru, to see whether negative perceptions towards the species are mitigated by involvement in tourism…. We highlight the need for research into the value of otters to tourism, and to disseminate the results in rural areas where otter tourism may benefit local people.
    • A reliable method for sexing giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) in the wild

      Groenendijk, Jessica; Hajek, Frank (2015)
      ...Here, we present a reliable method of sexing wild Giant otters of all ages and sexual status, tested with known sex individuals.
    • A reservoir species for the emerging amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis thrives in a landscape decimated by disease.

      Reeder, N.M.M.; Pessier, Allan P.; Vredenburg, V.T. (2012)
      Chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is driving amphibian declines and extinctions in protected areas globally. The introduction of invasive reservoir species has been implicated in the spread of Bd but does not explain the appearance of the pathogen in remote protected areas. In the high elevation (>1500 m) Sierra Nevada of California, the native Pacific chorus frog, Pseudacris regilla, appears unaffected by chytridiomycosis while sympatric species experience catastrophic declines. We investigated whether P. regilla is a reservoir of Bd by comparing habitat occupancy before and after a major Bd outbreak and measuring infection in P. regilla in the field, monitoring susceptibility of P. regilla to Bd in the laboratory, examining tissues with histology to determine patterns of infection, and using an innovative soak technique to determine individual output of Bd zoospores in water. Pseudacris regilla persists at 100% of sites where a sympatric species has been extirpated from 72% in synchrony with a wave of Bd. In the laboratory, P. regilla carried loads of Bd as much as an order of magnitude higher than loads found lethal to sympatric species. Histology shows heavy Bd infection in patchy areas next to normal skin, a possible mechanism for tolerance. The soak technique was 77.8% effective at detecting Bd in water and showed an average output of 68 zoospores per minute per individual. The results of this study suggest P. regilla should act as a Bd reservoir and provide evidence of a tolerance mechanism in a reservoir species....