• 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....
    • Altitudinal movements of Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus brelichi) in Fanjingshang National Nature Reserve, China: Implications for conservation management of a flagship species

      Niu, K.; Tan, C.L.; Yang, Y.; (2010)
      Primate movements can include a substantial altitudinal component, depending on the complexity of the landscape and the distribution of the inherent vegetation zones. We investigated altitudinal movements of Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus brelichi) at Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China. The monkeys ranged at elevations between 1,350 and 1,870 m with an overall mean of 1,660 m….
    • Body size, demography, and body condition in Utila spiny-tailed iguanas, Ctenosaura bakeri

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Montgomery, Chad E; Martinez, Andrea; Belal, Nardiah; Clayson, Steve; Faulkner, Shane (2012)
      Utila Spiny-tailed Iguanas, Ctenosaura bakeri, are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Redlist Assessment and are listed under Appendix II of CITES. This species occupies a portion of Utila, a small continental island located off the northern coast of Honduras, in the Bay Islands chain. Habitat destruction and overharvesting for consumption and the pet trade are among the top threats facing this species. Though first described in 1901 (Stejneger) and currently the focus of a local conservation program, little is known concerning that basic biology of this species. Combining data from six years we examined body size, sexual size dimorphism, and changes in demography and body condition over the study period. Our results indicate that males are larger and heavier than females on average, and have a longer tail for a given snout-vent length, as is the case with most iguanas. Over the study period we found an increase in the ratio of males to females, suggesting that female biased hunting pressure is increasing. This is consistent with an increase in the human population size and a preference for consuming gravid females. The body condition of both males and females declined over the duration of the study, which is suggestive of a decrease in habitat quality. These results indicate that the situation for this endangered species is becoming increasingly threatening. Conservation measures should focus on alleviating these threats through increased law enforcement, outreach, and education.
    • Body temperature and thermoregulation of Komodo dragons in the field

      Harlow, Henry J.; Purwandana, Deni; Jessop, Tim S.; Phillips, John A.; (2010)
      ...We found that all size groups of dragons regulated a similar preferred body temperature by exploiting a heterogeneous thermal environment within savanna, forest and mangrove habitats. All dragons studied, regardless of size, were able to regulate a daytime active body temperature within the range 34–35.6 °C for 5.1–5.6 h/day....
    • Can science save the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)? Unifying science and policy in an adaptive management paradigm

      Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Wei, Fuwen; Mcshea, William J.; Wildt, David E.; Kouba, Andrew J.; Zhang, Zejun (2011)
      …Here, we review recent developments in giant panda conservation science and propose a strategic plan for moving panda conservation forward…. Specific threats, such as habitat destruction, anthropogenic disturbance and fragmented nonviable populations, need to be addressed simultaneously by researchers, managers and policy-makers working in concert to understand and overcome these obstacles to species recovery. With the backing of the Chinese Government and the conservation community, the giant panda can become a high-profile test species for this much touted, but rarely implemented, approach to conservation management….
    • Characterization of progressive keratitis in Otariids: Otariid keratitis

      Colitz, Carmen M. H.; Renner, Michael S.; Manire, Charles A.; Doescher, Bethany; Schmitt, Todd L.; Osborn, Steven D.; Croft, Lara; Olds, June; Gehring, Erica; Mergl, June; et al. (2010)
      ... ‘Otariid Keratitis’ occurs in all populations of eared seals evaluated. A large‐scale epidemiological study is ongoing to identify the risk factors that contribute to this disease. Exposure to chronic sunlight appears to be an important risk factor as shade diminishes clinical signs; animals kept out of sunlight the majority of the time have less severe clinical signs....
    • Environmental violence and the socio-environmental (de)evolution of a landscape in the San Quintín Valley.

      Narchi, Nemer E.; Vanderplank, Sula E.; Medina-Rodríguez, Jesús; Alfaro-Mercado, Enrique (2020)
      The social and environmental effects of industrial agriculture in the San Quintín Valley of Baja California are closely related. An environmental history of the...
    • Evaluating potential effects of solar power facilities on wildlife from an animal behavior perspective

      Chock, Rachel Y.; Clucas, Barbara; Peterson, Elizabeth K.; Blackwell, Bradley F.; Blumstein, Daniel T.; Church, Kathleen; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban; Francescoli, Gabriel; Greggor, Alison L.; Kemp, Paul; et al. (2021)
      Solar power is a renewable energy source with great potential to help meet increasing global energy demands and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. However, research is scarce on how solar facilities affect wildlife. With input from professionals in ecology, conservation, and energy, we conducted a research-prioritization process and identified key questions needed to better understand impacts of solar facilities on wildlife. We focused on animal behavior, which can be used to identify population responses before mortality or other fitness consequences are documented. Behavioral studies can also offer approaches to understand the mechanisms leading to negative interactions (e.g., collision, singeing, avoidance) and provide insight into mitigating effects. Here, we review how behavioral responses to solar facilities, including perception, movement, habitat use, and interspecific interactions are priority research areas. Addressing these themes will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the effects of solar power on wildlife and guide future mitigation.
    • Fitness costs associated with ancestry to isolated populations of an endangered species

      Wilder, Aryn P.; Navarro, Asako Y.; King, Shauna N. D.; Miller, William B.; Thomas, Steven M.; Steiner, Cynthia C.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Shier, Debra M. (2020)
      ... The endangered Pacific pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris pacificus) persists in three isolated populations in southern California. Mitochondrial and microsatellite data indicated that effective population sizes were extremely small (Ne< 50), and continued declines prompted a conservation breeding program founded by individuals from each population....
    • Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

      Swaisgood, Ronald R.; McShea, William M.; Wildt, David; Hull, Vanessa; Zhang, Jindong; Owen, Megan A.; Zhang, Zejun; Dvornicky-Raymond, Zachary; Valitutto, Marc; Li, Dihua; et al. (Cambridge University PressCambridge, 2020)
      This chapter comprises the following sections: names, taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, movements and home range, activity patterns, feeding ecology, reproduction and growth, behavior, parasites and diseases, status in the wild, and status in captivity.
    • Giant panda conservation science: how far we have come

      Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Wei, Fuwen; Wildt, David E.; Kouba, Andrew J.; Zhang, Zejun (The Royal Society, 2009-10-28)
      ...Here we discuss recent advancements in conservation science for giant pandas and suggest that the way forward is more direct application of emerging science to management and policy.
    • Got hybridization? A multidisciplinary approach for informing science policy

      Ellstrand, Norman C.; Biggs, David; Kaus, Andrea; Lubinsky, Pesach; McDade, Lucinda A.; Preston, Kristine; Prince, Linda M.; Regan, Helen M.; Rorive, Veronique; Ryder, Oliver A.; et al. (2010)
      ...Developing sound science-based conservation policy that addresses hybridization requires cross-disciplinary social-science and life-science research to address the following two questions: (1) How do human decisions with regard to species protection, trade, transportation, land use, and other factors affect the opportunities for, and rates of hybridization between, rare species and more common relatives? and (2) How do the positive or negative perceived values regarding hybrids and hybrid-derived individuals compare with values regarding their nonhybridized counterparts from social, cultural, economic, and environmental perspectives...?
    • In-air auditory psychophysics and the management of a threatened carnivore, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus)

      Owen, Megan A.; AE, Bowles (2011)
      Management criteria for preventing biologically-significant noise disturbance in large terrestrial mammals have not been developed based on a sound, empirical understanding of their sensory ecology. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal denning areas on the coastal plain of Alaska’s North Slope hold large petroleum reserves and will be subject to increased development in the future. Anthropogenic noise could adversely affect polar bears by disrupting intra-specific communication, altering habitat use, or causing behavioral and physiological stress. However, little is known about the hearing of any large, carnivorous mammal, including bears; so, management criteria currently in use to protect denning female polar bears may or may not be proportionate and effective. As part of a comprehensive effort to develop efficient, defensible criteria we used behavioral psycho acousticmethods to test in-air hearing sensitivity of five polar bears at frequencies between 125 Hz and 31.5kHz. Results showed best sensitivity between 8 and 14 kHz. Sensitivity declined sharply between 14and 25 kHz, suggesting an upper limit of hearing 10-20 kHz below that of small carnivores. Low frequency sensitivity was comparable to that of the domestic dog, and a decline in functional hearingwas observed at 125 Hz. Thresholds will be used to develop efficient exposure metrics, which will be needed increasingly as the Arctic is developed and effects of disturbance are intensified by anticipated declines in polar bear health and reproduction associated with climate change driven sea ice losses.
    • Informing species conservation at multiple scales using data collected for marine mammal stock assessments

      Grech, Alana; Sheppard, James; Marsh, Helene (2011)
      Background Conservation planning and the design of marine protected areas (MPAs) requires spatially explicit information on the distribution of ecological features. Most species of marine mammals range over large areas and across multiple planning regions. The spatial distributions of marine mammals are difficult to predict using habitat modelling at ecological scales because of insufficient understanding of their habitat needs, however, relevant information may be available from surveys conducted to inform mandatory stock assessments. Methodology and Results We use a 20-year time series of systematic aerial surveys of dugong (Dugong dugong) abundance to create spatially-explicit models of dugong distribution and relative density at the scale of the coastal waters of northeast Australia (∼136,000 km2). We interpolated the corrected data at the scale of 2 km * 2 km planning units using geostatistics. Planning units were classified as low, medium, high and very high dugong density on the basis of the relative density of dugongs estimated from the models and a frequency analysis. Torres Strait was identified as the most significant dugong habitat in northeast Australia and the most globally significant habitat known for any member of the Order Sirenia. The models are used by local, State and Federal agencies to inform management decisions related to the Indigenous harvest of dugongs, gill-net fisheries and Australia's National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas. Conclusion/Significance In this paper we demonstrate that spatially-explicit population models add value to data collected for stock assessments, provide a robust alternative to predictive habitat distribution models, and inform species conservation at multiple scales.
    • Koala birth seasonality and sex ratios across multiple sites in Queensland, Australia

      Ellis, William A.H.; Bercovitch, Fred B.; FitzGibbon, S.; Melzer, A.; de Villers, D.; Dique, D.; (2010)
      ...he annual pattern of births was identical for males and females within locations, but overall annual patterns of births differed between the southern and northern sites. We conclude that koalas can bear offspring in every month of the year, but breed seasonally across Australia, and that a sex bias in the timing of births is absent from most regions.
    • Long-term lemur research at Centre Valbio, Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

      Wright, P.C.; Erhart, E.M.; Tecot, S.; Baden, A.L.; Arrigo-Nelson, S.J.; Herrera, J.; Morelli, T.L.; Blanco, M.B.; Deppe, A.; Atsalis, Sylvia; et al. (Springer-VerlagBerlin, Heidelberg, 2012)
      We present findings from 25 years of studying 13 species of sympatric primates at Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Long-term studies have revealed that lemur demography at Ranomafana is impacted by climate change, predation from raptors, carnivores, and snakes, as well as habitat disturbance....
    • Managing for interpopulation connectivity of the world’s bear species

      Proctor, Michael F.; Dutta, Trishna; McLellan, Bruce N.; Rangel, Shaenandhoa Garcia; Paetkau, Dave; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Zedrosser, Andreas; Melletti, Mario; Penteriani, Vincenzo (Cambridge University PressCambridge, 2020)
      … Here the current status of fragmentation, connectivity, methods, consequences, and management of the world’s eight bear species is reviewed. The metapopulation paradigm is also considered, i.e. are bears being forced into some form of functioning metapopulation or are they simply being fragmented into a series of isolated populations that, without conservation action, will likely be slowly extirpated, population by population?
    • Old-growth forest is what giant pandas really need

      Zhang, Zejun; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Zhang, S.; Nordstrom, Lisa A.; Wang, H.; Gu, X.; Hu, J.; Wei, F. (2011)
      …Here, we use an information-theoretic approach to analyse the largest, landscape-level dataset on panda habitat use to date, and challenge the prevailing wisdom about panda habitat needs. We show that pandas are associated with old-growth forest more than with any ecological variable other than bamboo….
    • Peatlands of the Madre de Dios River of Peru: Distribution, geomorphology, and habitat diversity

      Householder, J. Ethan; Janovec, John P.; Tobler, Mathias W.; Page, Susan; Lähteenoja, Outi (2012)
      We present results of research concerning the distribution, depth, volume, geomorphology, and habitat diversity of peatlands in the southern Peruvian Amazon. We identified 295 peatlands covering 294 km2 and ranging in size from 10 to 3,500 ha….
    • Physiological consequences of Arctic sea ice loss on large marine carnivores: Unique responses by polar bears and narwhals

      Pagano, Anthony M.; Williams, Terrie M. (2021)
      Rapid environmental changes in the Arctic are threatening the survival of marine species that rely on the predictable presence of the sea ice. Two Arctic marine mammal specialists, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and narwhal (Monodon monoceros), appear especially vulnerable to the speed and capriciousness of sea ice deterioration as a consequence of their unique hunting behaviors and diet, as well as their physiological adaptations for slow-aerobic exercise….