• 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 systematic survey of the integration of animal behavior into conservation

      Berger-Tal, Oded; Blumstein, Daniel T.; Carroll, Scott; Fisher, Robert N.; Mesnick, Sarah L.; Owen, Megan A.; Saltz, David; St. Clair, Colleen Cassady; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2016)
      The role of behavioral ecology in improving wildlife conservation and management has been the subject of much recent debate. We sought to answer 2 foundational questions about the current use of behavioral knowledge in conservation: To what extent is behavioral knowledge used in wildlife conservation and management, and how does the use of animal behavior differ among conservation fields in both frequency and types of use? We searched the literature for intersections between key fields of animal behavior and conservation and created a systematic heat map (i.e., graphical representation of data where values are represented as colors) to visualize relative efforts. Some behaviors, such as dispersal and foraging, were commonly considered (mean [SE] of 1147.38 [353.11] and 439.44 [108.85] papers per cell, respectively). In contrast, other behaviors, such as learning, social, and antipredatory behaviors were rarely considered (mean [SE] of 33.88 [7.62], 44.81 [10.65], and 22.69 [6.37] papers per cell, respectively). In many cases, awareness of the importance of behavior did not translate into applicable management tools. Our results challenge previous suggestions that there is little association between the fields of behavioral ecology and conservation and reveals tremendous variation in the use of different behaviors in conservation. We recommend that researchers focus on examining underutilized intersections of behavior and conservation themes for which preliminary work shows a potential for improving conservation and management, translating behavioral theory into applicable and testable predictions, and creating systematic reviews to summarize the behavioral evidence within the behavior-conservation intersections for which many studies exist.
    • Communal roosting sites are potential ecological traps: experimental evidence in a Neotropical harvestman

      Grether, Gregory F.; Levi, Abrahm; Antaky, Carmen; Shier, Debra M. (2014)
      Situations in which animals preferentially settle in low-quality habitat are referred to as ecological traps, and species that aggregate in response to conspecific cues, such as scent marks, that persist after the animals leave the area may be especially vulnerable. We tested this hypothesis on harvestmen (Prionostemma sp.) that roost communally in the rainforest understory….
    • Detailed monitoring of a small but recovering population reveals sublethal effects of disease and unexpected interactions with supplemental feeding

      Tollington, S.; Greenwood, A.; Jones, C.G.; Hoeck, Paquita; Chowrimootoo, A.; Smith, D.; Richards, H.; Tatayah, V.; Groombridge, J.J. (2015)
      Infectious diseases are widely recognized to have substantial impact on wildlife populations. These impacts are sometimes exacerbated in small endangered populations, and therefore, the success of conservation reintroductions to aid the recovery of such species can be seriously threatened by outbreaks of infectious disease. Intensive management strategies associated with conservation reintroductions can further compound these negative effects in such populations. Exploring the sublethal effects of disease outbreaks among natural populations is challenging and requires longitudinal, individual life‐history data on patterns of reproductive success and other indicators of individual fitness. Long‐term monitoring data concerning detailed reproductive information of the reintroduced Mauritius parakeet (Psittacula echo ) population collected before, during and after a disease outbreak was investigated. Deleterious effects of an outbreak of beak and feather disease virus (BFDV ) were revealed on hatch success, but these effects were remarkably short‐lived and disproportionately associated with breeding pairs which took supplemental food. Individual BFDV infection status was not predicted by any genetic, environmental or conservation management factors and was not associated with any of our measures of immune function, perhaps suggesting immunological impairment. Experimental immunostimulation using the PHA (phytohaemagglutinin assay) challenge technique did, however, provoke a significant cellular immune response. We illustrate the resilience of this bottlenecked and once critically endangered, island‐endemic species to an epidemic outbreak of BFDV and highlight the value of systematic monitoring in revealing inconspicuous but nonetheless substantial ecological interactions. Our study demonstrates that the emergence of such an infectious disease in a population ordinarily associated with increased susceptibility does not necessarily lead to deleterious impacts on population growth and that negative effects on reproductive fitness can be short‐lived.
    • Dietary ecology of the Nigeria–Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti)

      Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Morgan, Bethan J.; Doudja, Roger; Kentatchime, Fabrice; Mba, Flaubert; Dadjo, Alvine; Venditti, Dana M.; Mitchell, Matthew W.; Fosso, Bernard; Mounga, Albert; et al. (2020)
      Examining the diets of primate populations inhabiting different habitat types could be useful in understanding local adaptation and divergence between these populations. In Cameroon, the Nigeria–Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) is subdivided into two genetically distinct populations that occupy different habitat types; one occurs in forests to the west and the other in a forest–woodland–savanna mosaic (ecotone) in the center of the country....
    • Diet‐tissue stable isotope (Δ 13C and Δ 15N) discrimination factors for multiple tissues from terrestrial reptiles

      Steinitz Ronnie; Lemm, Jeffrey M.; Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Kurle, Carolyn M. (2015)
      Rationale Stable isotope analysis is a powerful tool for reconstructing trophic interactions to better understand drivers of community ecology. Taxon?specific stable isotope discrimination factors contribute to the best use of this tool. We determined the first ?13C and ?15N values for Rock Iguanas (Cyclura spp.) to better understand isotopic fractionation and estimate wild reptile foraging ecology. Methods The ?13C and ?15N values between diet and skin, blood, and scat were determined from juvenile and adult iguanas held for 1 year on a known diet. We measured relationships between iguana discrimination factors and size/age and quantified effects of lipid extraction and acid treatment on stable isotope values from iguana tissues. Isotopic and elemental compositions were determined by Dumas combustion using an elemental analyzer coupled to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer using standards of known composition. Results The ?13C and ?15N values ranged from ?2.5 to +6.5? and +2.2 to +7.5?, respectively, with some differences among tissues and between juveniles and adults. The ?13C values from blood and skin differed among species, but not the ?15N values. The ?13C values from blood and skin and ?15N values from blood were positively correlated with size/age. The ?13C values from scat were negatively correlated with size (not age). Treatment with HCl (scat) and lipid extraction (skin) did not affect the isotope values. Conclusions These results should aid in the understanding of processes driving stable carbon and nitrogen isotope discrimination factors in reptiles. We provide estimates of ?13C and ?15N values and linear relationships between iguana size/age and discrimination factors for the best interpretation of wild reptile foraging ecology. Copyright ? 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    • Discovery of species-wide tool use in the Hawaiian crow

      Rutz, Christian; Klump, Barbara C.; Komarczyk, Lisa; Leighton, Rosanna; Kramer, Joshua; Wischnewski, Saskia; Sugasawa, Shoko; Morrissey, Michael B.; James, Richard; St Clair, James J. H.; et al. (2016)
      ...Here we show that another tropical corvid, the ‘Alalā (C. hawaiiensis; Hawaiian crow), is a highly dexterous tool user. Although the ‘Alalā became extinct in the wild in the early 2000s, and currently survives only in captivity5, at least two lines of evidence suggest that tool use is part of the species’ natural behavioural repertoire: juveniles develop functional tool use without training, or social input from adults; and proficient tool use is a species-wide capacity....
    • Drought reduces chytrid fungus (batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) infection intensity and mortality but not prevalence in adult crawfish frogs (lithobates areolatus)

      Terrell, Vanessa C. K.; Engbrecht, Nathan J.; Pessier, Allan P.; Lannoo, Michael J. (2014)
      To fully understand the impacts of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) on amphibians it is necessary to examine the interactions between populations and their environment. Ecologic variables can exacerbate or ameliorate Bd prevalence and infection intensity, factors that are positively related when Bd is acting on naive amphibian populations as an epidemic disease….
    • Ecological scale and seasonal heterogeneity in the spatial behaviors of giant pandas

      Zhang, Zejun; Sheppard, James; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Wang, Guan; Nie, Yonggang; Wei, Wei; Zhao, Naxun; Wei, Fuwen (2014)
      We report on the first study to track the spatial behaviors of wild giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca ) using high‐resolution global positioning system (GPS) telemetry.... Despite a high degree of spatial overlap between panda home ranges, particularly in winter, we detected neither avoidance nor attraction behavior between conspecifics.
    • Everything you want to know about the giant panda

      Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2015)
      Book review of Pan, Wenshi, Lu Zhi, Zhu Xiaojian, Wang Dajun, Wang Hao, Long Yu, Fu Dali, and Zhou Xin. 2014 (Chinese edition, 2001). A chance for lasting survival: ecology and behavior of wild giant pandas. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, Washington, D.C. xx þ 349 p. $39.95, ISBN: 978-1-935623-17-5 (alk. paper).
    • Foraging ecologies of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) and camels (Camelus dromedarius) in northern Kenya: effects of habitat structure and possibilities for competition?

      O'Connor, David; Butt, Bilal; Foufopoulos, Johannes B. (2015)
      …The foraging ecologies of reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) and domestic camels (Camelus dromedarius) were examined in the Laikipia District of Kenya, where these species have recently become sympatric…. These findings have important implications in achieving the twin objectives of wildlife conservation and pastoralist livestock production in northern Kenya.
    • Functional habitat heterogeneity and large herbivore seasonal habitat selection in Northern Botswana

      Fynn, Richard W.S.; Chase, Michael J.; Röder, Achim (2014)
      This study aimed to determine the functional seasonal attributes for herbivores of the major habitats and landscapes of the Savuti-Mababe-Linyanti ecosystem (SMLE) of northern Botswana and how various herbivore species responded to this heterogeneity. Floodplain grasslands and dambo grasslands provided the only significant green forage and biomass during the late dry season, whereas short grasslands of the Mababe Depression provided the highest forage quality of all habitats during the wet season....
    • Habitat utilization of Roatán Spiny-tailed Iguanas (Ctenosaura oedirhina) and its implications for conservation

      Goode, A.B.C.; Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Maple, T.L.; Iverson, John B.; Grant, Tandora D.; Knapp, Charles R.; Pasachnik, Stesha A. (2016)
      ...With data gathered from use/availability surveys, resource selection functions can identify habitats and environmental variables associated with the presence of a species. Herein, we used these techniques to better understand the distribution of the Roatán Spiny-tailed Iguanas (Ctenosaura oedirhina), a narrow-range endemic on the island of Roatán, Honduras....
    • Hearing sensitivity in context: Conservation implications for a highly vocal endangered species

      Owen, Megan A.; Keating, Jennifer L.; Denes, Samuel K.; Hawk, Kathy; Fiore, Angela; Thatcher, Julie; Becerra, Jennifer; Hall, Suzanne; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2016)
      Hearing sensitivity is a fundamental determinant of a species’ vulnerability to anthropogenic noise, however little is known about the hearing capacities of most conservation dependent species. When audiometric data are integrated with other aspects of species’ acoustic ecology, life history, and characteristic habitat topography and soundscape, predictions can be made regarding probable vulnerability to the negative impacts of different types of anthropogenic noise. Here we used an adaptive psychoacoustic technique to measure hearing thresholds in the endangered giant panda; a species that uses acoustic communication to coordinate reproduction. Our results suggest that giant pandas have functional hearing into the ultrasonic range, with good sensitivity between 10.0 and 16.0 kHz, and best sensitivity measured at 12.5–14.0 kHz. We estimated the lower and upper limits of functional hearing as 0.10 and 70.0 kHz respectively. While these results suggest that panda hearing is similar to that of some other terrestrial carnivores, panda hearing thresholds above 14.0 kHz were significantly lower (i.e., more sensitive) than those of the polar bear, the only other bear species for which data are available. We discuss the implications of this divergence, as well as the relationship between hearing sensitivity and the spectral parameters of panda vocalizations. We suggest that these data, placed in context, can be used towards the development of a sensory-based model of noise disturbance for the species.
    • Hierarchical dominance structure in reintroduced California condors: correlates, consequences, and dynamics

      Sheppard, James; Walenski, Matthew; Wallace, Michael P.; Vargas Velazco, J.J.; Porras, C.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2013)
      Populations of reintroduced California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) develop complex social structures and dynamics to maintain stable group cohesion, and birds that do not successfully integrate into group hierarchies have highly impaired survivability. Consequently, improved understanding of condor socioecology is needed to inform conservation management strategies…
    • Implications of population and metapopulation theory for restoration science and practice

      Maschinski, Joyce; Quintana-Ascencio, Pedro F (Springer, 2016)
    • Individual identification of wild giant pandas from camera trap photos – a systematic and hierarchical approach

      Zheng, X.; Owen, Megan A.; Nie, Y.; Hu, Y.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Yan, L.; Wei, F. (2016)
      ...Here we tested the utility of an approach to individually identify wild giant pandas Ailuropoda melanoleuca from camera trap images, by cataloguing and careful scrutiny of numerous traits. We developed our identification strategy first by analyzing images of known (captive) individuals (N = 7). We then deployed camera traps at 23 control sites and at seven camera trap arrays ‘baited’ with conspecific decoys, in Foping Nature Reserve, China….
    • Mapping the ecological footprint of large livestock overlapping with wildlife in Kenyan pastoralist landscapes

      O'Connor, David; Butt, Bilal; Foufopoulos, Johannes B. (2016)
      ...This study examines the efficacy using GPS collars to measure the spatial ecology and browsing orbits of camels in a pastoralist setting (primarily cattle and camels) as a means to measure overlap with wildlife....
    • Movement-based estimation and visualization of space use in 3D for wildlife ecology and conservation

      Tracey, Jeff A.; Sheppard, James; Zhu, Jun; Wei, Fuwen; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Fisher, Robert N.; Sueur, Cédric; Sueur, Cédric (2014)
      Advances in digital biotelemetry technologies are enabling the collection of bigger and more accurate data on the movements of free-ranging wildlife in space and time. Although many biotelemetry devices record 3D location data with x, y, and z coordinates from tracked animals, the third z coordinate is typically not integrated into studies of animal spatial use. Disregarding the vertical component may seriously limit understanding of animal habitat use and niche separation. We present novel movement-based kernel density estimators and computer visualization tools for generating and exploring 3D home ranges based on location data. We use case studies of three wildlife species – giant panda, dugong, and California condor – to demonstrate the ecological insights and conservation management benefits provided by 3D home range estimation and visualization for terrestrial, aquatic, and avian wildlife research.
    • Prevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi and other trypanosomatids in frequently-hunted wild mammals from the Peruvian Amazon

      Morales, E. Angelo; Mayor, Pedro; Bowler, Mark; Aysanoa, Esar; Pérez-Velez, Erika S.; Pérez, Jocelyn; Ventocilla, Julio A.; Baldeviano, G. Christian; Lescano, Andrés G. (2017)
      To better understand the ecology of Trypanosoma cruzi in the northeastern Peruvian Amazon, we evaluated the prevalence of T. cruzi and other trypanosomatids in four orders of wild mammals hunted and consumed by inhabitants of three remote indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon. Of 300 wild mammals sampled, 115 (38.3%) were infected with trypanosomatids and 15 (5.0%) with T. cruzi....