• Conditional female strategies influence hatching success in a communally nesting iguana

      Moss, Jeanette B.; Gerber, Glenn P.; Laaser, Tanja; Goetz, Matthias; Oyog, TayVanis; Welch, Mark E. (2020)
      The decision of females to nest communally has important consequences for reproductive success. While often associated with reduced energetic expenditure, conspecific aggregations also expose females and offspring to conspecific aggression, exploitation, and infanticide. Intrasexual competition pressures are expected to favor the evolution of conditional strategies, which could be based on simple decision rules (i.e., availability of nesting sites and synchronicity with conspecifics) or on a focal individual's condition or status (i.e., body size). Oviparous reptiles that reproduce seasonally and provide limited to no postnatal care provide ideal systems for disentangling social factors that influence different female reproductive tactics from those present in offspring‐rearing environments. In this study, we investigated whether nesting strategies in a West Indian rock iguana, Cyclura nubila caymanensis, vary conditionally with reproductive timing or body size, and evaluated consequences for nesting success. Nesting surveys were conducted on Little Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies for four consecutive years. Use of high‐density nesting sites was increasingly favored up to seasonal nesting activity peaks, after which nesting was generally restricted to low‐density nesting areas. Although larger females were not more likely than smaller females to nest in high‐density areas, larger females nested earlier and gained access to priority oviposition sites. Smaller females constructed nests later in the season, apparently foregoing investment in extended nest defense. Late‐season nests were also constructed at shallower depths and exhibited shorter incubation periods. While nest depth and incubation length had significant effects on reproductive outcomes, so did local nest densities. Higher densities were associated with significant declines in hatching success, with up to 20% of egg‐filled nests experiencing later intrusion by a conspecific. Despite these risks, nests in high‐density areas were significantly more successful than elsewhere due to the benefits of greater chamber depths and longer incubation times. These results imply that communal nest sites convey honest signals of habitat quality, but that gaining and defending priority oviposition sites requires competitive ability.
    • Confirmation of black leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) living in Laikipia County, Kenya

      Pilfold, Nicholas W.; Letoluai, Ambrose; Ruppert, Kirstie; Glikman, Jenny A.; Stacy-Dawes, Jenna; O'Connor, David; Owen, Megan A. (2019)
    • Congenital cleft palate and cardiac septal defects in a neonatal southern black rhinoceros (diceros bicornis minor)

      Lewis, Stephany; Duncan, Mary; Houck, Marlys L.; Bloch, Rebecca; Haefele, Holly (2016)
      A female Southern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor) calf died unexpectedly at less than 12 hr of age, after an uncomplicated birth and uneventful early postpartum period. Gross necropsy revealed a 15-cm full thickness cleft palate, a patent foramen ovale, and four septal defects ranging from 0.3 to 1 cm in diameter. Histologic findings did not reveal any significant abnormalities. Karyotyping did not indicate any significant numerical or structural chromosomal abnormalities.
    • Conolophus pallidus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Gentile, G.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      The Barrington Land Iguana is only found on Santa Fé (Barrington) Island, Galápagos Archipelago, Ecuador, and has an estimated area of occupancy and extent of occurrence of 40 km2 . Based on the denuded landscape caused by non-native goats, historic human consumption, and low numbers of iguanas observed in the 1960s–1970s, it is estimated that the iguana population had been reduced by at least 50% up to a point three generations in the past (52 years) and probably continued until after the goats were eradicated in 1972. The most recent survey in 2005 estimated their population to be 3,500–4,000 mature adults and potentially stable, although it was unknown if they had neared carrying capacity. Molecular analysis also shows extremely low genetic variation and richness compared to sampled populations of the Common Land Iguana (Conolophus subcristatus). Heavy predation pressure on this congregatory nesting iguana by Galápagos Hawks may have affected the rate of population recovery since goats were eradicated (1972). The recent introduction to the island of >500 juvenile Española Tortoises that compete with iguanas for scarce food resources may have an impact on the future stability of the iguana population.
    • Conolophus subcristatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Kumar, K.; Gentile, G.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      The Galápagos Land Iguana has a mostly outdated population size estimate of ca 10,000 mature individuals, in 13 subpopulations that are fragmented from each other by vast lava flows or are on isolated islands. With the exception of Baltra where the subpopulation had been extirpated, subpopulations were considered healthy three generations ago in the 1950s. Since that time, iguanas have been nearly extirpated from most of southern Isabela and Santa Cruz, and have declined in northern Isabela. Juveniles are rarely observed in these remaining nine locations due to continued predation by feral cats. Iguanas are small in number but relatively stable on Fernandina and Plaza Sur. They have increased again on the small islands of Baltra and Seymour Norte (likely to carrying capacity on the latter), due to conservation efforts. Overall, considering the assumed population (current andformer) sizes on the larger islands, it is estimated the population has declined by at least 30% over the last three generations. A minimum estimate of 10–15% decline is projected during the future three generations, based on the presence of invasive alien predators in some subpopulations and impacting juvenile recruitment. The estimated extent of occurrence meets the Vulnerable threshold at 9,524 km2 and the area of occupancy is crudely estimated to be 540 km2 . Further research on fine-scale distribution is needed to clarify an accurate occupancy status of the subpopulations.
    • Consequences of maternal effects on offspring size, growth and survival in the desert tortoise

      Nafus, Melia G.; Todd, B. D.; Buhlmann, K. A.; Tuberville, T. D. (2015)
      Here, we examined the relationship between hatchling and maternal body size in the Mojave Desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii. Our results suggest that, in desert tortoises, maternal body size may indirectly influence offspring fitness via growth and survival for at least the first year of life….
    • Conservation genetics of Roatán Spiny-tailed Iguanas, Ctenosaura oedirhina.

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Hudman, S.; Iverson, John B.; Grant, Tandora D.; Knapp, Charles R.; Pasachnik, Stesha A. (2016)
      Roatán Spiny-tailed Iguanas, Ctenosaura oedirhina, are assessed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Occurring in less than 1% of the available habitat on Roatán, due primarily to hunting... pressure, this species faces severe fragmentation.
    • Conservation genomics of threatened animal species

      Steiner, Cynthia C.; Putnam, Andrea S.; Hoeck, Paquita E. A.; Ryder, Oliver A. (2013)
      The genomics era has opened up exciting possibilities in the field of conservation biology by enabling genomic analyses of threatened species that previously were limited to model organisms. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) and the collection of genome-wide data allow for more robust studies of the demographic history of populations and adaptive variation associated with fitness and local adaptation.…
    • Conservation marketing as a tool to promote human-wildlife coexistence

      Veríssimo, Diogo; Tully, Brooke; Douglas, Leo R.; Frank, Beatrice; Glikman, Jenny A.; Marchini, Silvio (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
    • Conservation translocations: a review of common difficulties and promising directions

      Berger-Tal, Oded; Blumstein, D. T.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2020)
      Translocations are a common conservation and management strategy, but despite their popularity, translocations are a high-cost endeavor with a history of failures. It is therefore imperative to maximize their success by learning from our collective experience....
    • Conserving San Diego’s endemic geophytes

      Davitt, Joe (2017)
      The Mediterranean climate and diverse habitats that typify San Diego County have resulted in both the highest number of plant taxa found in any county in the United States, and plants with adaptations that make species assessment challenging. Geophytes are perennial plants with underground storage structures such as bulbs, corms, and rhizomes, which are particularly common in Mediterranean climates. With the goal of capturing the breadth of a species’ genetic diversity in the seed bank, we must assess a species population size across its entire range. Yet the ability of geophytes to remain dormant underground for prolonged periods of time make their assessment very difficult. The problem is further exacerbated by drought and the inherent unpredictability of future weather as a result of climate change. Because of this we must monitor and make seed collections from rare geophyte populations across many different years and under different climatic conditions.
    • Conserving the Ebo gorillas through community collaboration

      Mfossa, Daniel; Abwe, Ekwoge E.; Morgan, Bethan J. (2017)
    • Consumer demand and traditional medicine prescription of bear products in Vietnam

      Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Glikman, Jenny A.; Crudge, Brian; Dang, Vinh; Willemsen, Madelon; Nguyen, Trang; O'Connor, David; Bendixsen, Tuan (2019)
      The illegal trade in wildlife products is a major driver of the global biodiversity crisis. Trade in wildlife products is driven by consumer demand; however, consumer's motivations are often poorly understood....
    • Contextual influences on animal decision-making: Significance for behavior-based wildlife conservation and management

      Owen, Megan A.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Blumstein, Daniel T. (2017)
      Survival and successful reproduction require animals to make critical decisions amidst a naturally dynamic environmental and social background (i.e. “context”). However, human activities have pervasively, and rapidly, extended contextual variation into evolutionarily novel territory, potentially rendering evolved animal decision-making mechanisms and strategies maladaptive. We suggest that explicitly focusing on animal decision-making (ADM), by integrating and applying findings from studies of sensory ecology, cognitive psychology, behavioral economics and eco-evolutionary strategies, may enhance our understanding of, and our ability to predict how, human-driven changes in the environment and population demography will influence animal populations. Fundamentally, the decisions animals make involve evolved mechanisms, and behaviors emerge from the combined action of sensory integration, cognitive mechanisms and strategic rules of thumb, and any of these processes may have a disproportionate influence on behavior. Although there is extensive literature exploring ADM, it generally reflects a canalized, discipline-specific approach that lacks a unified conceptual framework. As a result, there has been limited application of ADM theory and research findings into predictive models that can enhance management outcomes, even though it is likely that the relative resilience of species to rapid environmental change is fundamentally a result of how ADM is linked to contextual variation. Here, we focus on how context influences ADM, and highlight ideas and results that may be most applicable to conservation biology.
    • Contrasting evolutionary history, anthropogenic declines and genetic contact in the northern and southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum)

      Moodley, Yoshan; Russo, Isa-Rita M.; Robovský, Jan; Dalton, Desiré L.; Kotzé, Antoinette; Smith, Steve; Stejskal, Jan; Ryder, Oliver A.; Hermes, Robert; Walzer, Chris; et al. (2018)
      The white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) has a discontinuous African distribution, which is limited by the extent of sub-Saharan grasslands. The southern population (SWR) declined to its lowest number around the turn of the nineteenth century, but recovered to become the world's most numerous rhinoceros....
    • Contrasting genomic shifts underlie parallel phenotypic evolution in response to fishing

      Therkildsen, Nina O.; Wilder, Aryn P.; Conover, David O.; Munch, Stephan B.; Baumann, Hannes; Palumbi, Stephen R. (2019)
      Parallel and idiosyncratic fish adaptation Fish populations respond rapidly to fishing pressure. Within a handful of generations, marked phenotypic change can occur—often to smaller body sizes, because it is the big fish that are usually extracted....
    • Contrasting patterns of movement across life stages in an insular iguana population

      Moss, Jeanette B.; Gerber, Glenn P.; Goetz, Matthias; Haakonsson, Jane E.; Harvey, Jessica C.; Laaser, Tanja; Welch, Mark E. (2020)
    • Conventional seed banking to support species survival in the wild: Introduction

      Walters, Christina; Maschinski, Joyce; Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) (Center for Plant ConservationEscondido, California, 2019)
      One in five plant species are at risk of extinction worldwide. Growing concerns for the loss of plant genetic diversity and species’ extinctions, as well as advancing knowhow to make successful conservation collections, motivates CPC Network scientists to collect seeds from wild populations and bank them. The great diversity of plants throughout the world helps define our sense of place and our cultural heritage....
    • Coupling gene-based and classic veterinary diagnostics improves interpretation of health and immune function in the Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

      Drake, K. Kristina; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lewison, Rebecca L.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Braun, Josephine; Waters, Shannon C.; Miles, A. Keith (2017)
      The analysis of blood constituents is a widely used tool to aid in monitoring of animal health and disease. However, classic blood diagnostics (i.e. hematologic and plasma biochemical values) often do not provide sufficient information to determine the state of an animal’s health. Field studies on wild tortoises and other reptiles have had limited success in drawing significant inferences between blood diagnostics and physiological and immunological condition. However, recent research using gene transcription profiling in the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) has proved useful in identifying immune or physiologic responses and overall health. To improve our understanding of health and immune function in tortoises, we evaluated both standard blood diagnostic (body condition, hematologic, plasma biochemistry values, trace elements, plasma proteins, vitamin A levels) and gene transcription profiles in 21 adult tortoises (11 clinically abnormal; 10 clinically normal) from Clark County, NV, USA. Necropsy and histology evaluations from clinically abnormal tortoises revealed multiple physiological complications, with moderate to severe rhinitis or pneumonia being the primary cause of morbidity in all but one of the examined animals. Clinically abnormal tortoises had increased transcription for four genes (SOD, MyD88, CL and Lep), increased lymphocyte production, biochemical enzymes and organics, trace elements of copper, and decreased numbers of leukocytes. We found significant positive correlations between increased transcription for SOD and increased trace elements for copper, as well as genes MyD88 and Lep with increased inflammation and microbial insults. Improved methods for health assessments are an important element of monitoring tortoise population recovery and can support the development of more robust diagnostic measures for ill animals, or individuals directly impacted by disturbance.