WorldWideScience

Sample records for shortgrass prairie ecoregion

  1. Vulnerability of shortgrass prairie bird assemblages to climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skagen, Susan K.; Dreitz, Victoria; Conrey, Reesa Y.; Yackel, Amy; Panjabi, Arvind O.; Knuffman, Lekha

    2016-01-01

    The habitats and resources needed to support grassland birds endemic to North American prairie ecosystems are seriously threatened by impending climate change. To assess the vulnerability of grassland birds to climate change, we consider various components of vulnerability, including sensitivity, exposure, and adaptive capacity (Glick et al. 2011). Sensitivity encompasses the innate characteristics of a species and, in this context, is related to a species’ tolerance to changes in weather patterns. Groundnesting birds, including prairie birds, are particularly responsive to heat waves combined with drought conditions, as revealed by abundance and distribution patterns (Albright et al. 2010). To further assess sensitivity, we estimated reproductive parameters of nearly 3000 breeding attempts of a suite of prairie birds relative to prevailing weather. Fluctuations in weather conditions in eastern Colorado, 1997-2014, influenced breeding performance of a suite of avian species endemic to the shortgrass prairie, many of which have experienced recent population declines. High summer temperatures and intense rain events corresponded with lower nest survival for most species. Although dry conditions favored nest survival of Burrowing Owls and Mountain Plovers (Conrey 2010, Dreitz et al. 2012), drought resulted in smaller clutch sizes and lower nest survival for passerines (Skagen and Yackel Adams 2012, Conrey et al. in review). Declining summer precipitation may reduce the likelihood that some passerine species can maintain stable breeding populations in this region of the shortgrass prairie.

  2. Ecology of fire in shortgrass prairie of the southern Great Plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paulette L. Ford; Guy R. McPherson

    1996-01-01

    The ecology of fire in shortgrass prairie of the southern Great Plains includes a complex interaction between the shortgrass prairie ecosystem and its inhabitants, all inextricably linked to land-use patterns. The history of the relationship between man and fire has been filled with ambivalence and mistrust, along with an appreciation of the power of fire as a...

  3. Mountain plover nest survival in relation to prairie dog and fire dynamics in shortgrass steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Augustine, David J.; Skagen, Susan K.

    2014-01-01

    Disturbed xeric grasslands with short, sparse vegetation provide breeding habitat for mountain plovers (Charadrius montanus) across the western Great Plains. Maintaining local disturbance regimes through prairie dog conservation and prescribed fire may contribute to the sustainability of recently declining mountain plover populations, but these management approaches can be controversial. We estimated habitat-specific mountain plover densities and nest survival rates on black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies and burns in the shortgrass steppe of northeastern Colorado. Mountain plover densities were similar on prairie dog colonies (5.9 birds/km2; 95% CI = 4.7–7.4) and sites burned during the preceding dormant season (6.7 birds/km2; 95% CI = 4.6–9.6), whereas the 29-day nest survival rate was greater on prairie dog colonies (0.81 in 2011 and 0.39 in 2012) compared to the burned sites (0.64 in 2011 and 0.17 in 2012). Reduced nest survival in 2012 compared to 2011 was associated with higher maximum daily temperatures in 2012, consistent with a previous weather-based model of mountain plover nest survival in the southern Great Plains. Measurements of mountain plover density relative to time since disturbance showed that removal of prairie dog disturbance by sylvatic plague reduced mountain plover density by 70% relative to active prairie dog colonies after 1 year. Plover densities declined at a similar rate (by 78%) at burned sites between the first and second post-burn growing season. Results indicate that black-tailed prairie dog colonies are a particularly important nesting habitat for mountain plovers in the southern Great Plains. In addition, findings suggest that prescribed burning can be a valuable means to create nesting habitat in landscapes where other types of disturbances (such as prairie dog colonies) are limited in distribution and size. 

  4. Nutrient addition shifts plant community composition towards earlier flowering species in some prairie ecoregions in the U.S. Central Plains.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lori Biederman

    Full Text Available The distribution of flowering across the growing season is governed by each species' evolutionary history and climatic variability. However, global change factors, such as eutrophication and invasion, can alter plant community composition and thus change the distribution of flowering across the growing season. We examined three ecoregions (tall-, mixed, and short-grass prairie across the U.S. Central Plains to determine how nutrient (nitrogen (N, phosphorus, and potassium (+micronutrient addition alters the temporal patterns of plant flowering traits. We calculated total community flowering potential (FP by distributing peak-season plant cover values across the growing season, allocating each species' cover to only those months in which it typically flowers. We also generated separate FP profiles for exotic and native species and functional group. We compared the ability of the added nutrients to shift the distribution of these FP profiles (total and sub-groups across the growing season. In all ecoregions, N increased the relative cover of both exotic species and C3 graminoids that flower in May through August. The cover of C4 graminoids decreased with added N, but the response varied by ecoregion and month. However, these functional changes only aggregated to shift the entire community's FP profile in the tall-grass prairie, where the relative cover of plants expected to flower in May and June increased and those that flower in September and October decreased with added N. The relatively low native cover in May and June may leave this ecoregion vulnerable to disturbance-induced invasion by exotic species that occupy this temporal niche. There was no change in the FP profile of the mixed and short-grass prairies with N addition as increased abundance of exotic species and C3 graminoids replaced other species that flower at the same time. In these communities a disturbance other than nutrient addition may be required to disrupt phenological

  5. Montana Valley and Foothill Prairies Ecoregion: Chapter 6 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Janis L.

    2012-01-01

    The Montana Valley and Foothill Prairies Ecoregion comprises numerous intermountain valleys and low-elevation foothill prairies spread across the western half of Montana, on both sides of the Continental Divide (Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997). The ecoregion, which covers approximately 64,658 km2 (24,965 mi2), includes the Flathead Valley and the valleys surrounding Helena, Missoula, Bozeman, Billings, Anaconda, Dillon, and Lewistown (fig. 1). These valleys are generally characterized by shortgrass prairie vegetation and are flanked by forested mountains (Woods and others, 1999); thus, the valleys’ biotas with regards to fish and insects are comparable. In many cases, the valleys are conduits for some of the largest rivers in the state, including Clark Fork and the Missouri, Jefferson, Madison, Flathead, Yellowstone, Gallatin, Smith, Big Hole, Bitterroot, and Blackfoot Rivers (fig. 2). The Montana Valley and Foothill Prairies Ecoregion also includes the “Rocky Mountain front,” an area of prairies along the eastern slope of the northern Rocky Mountains. Principal land uses within the ecoregion include farming, grazing, and mining. The valleys serve as major transportation and utility corridors and also contain the majority of Montana’s human population. The Montana Valley and Foothill Prairies Ecoregion extends into 17 mostly rural counties throughout western Montana. Only three of the counties—Carbon, Yellowstone, and Missoula—are part of a metropolitan statistical area with contiguous built-up areas tied to an employment center. Nearly two-thirds of Montana residents live in nonmetropolitan counties (Albrecht, 2008). Ten of the counties within the ecoregion had population growth rates greater than national averages (9–13 percent) between 1970 and 2000 (table 1). Ravalli and Gallatin Counties had the highest growth rates. Population growth was largely due to amenity-related inmigration and an economy dependent on tourism

  6. Extremes of heat, drought and precipitation depress reproductive performance in shortgrass prairie passerines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrey, Reesa Y.; Skagen, Susan K.; Yackel, Amy; Panjabi, Arvind O.

    2016-01-01

    Climate change elevates conservation concerns worldwide because it is likely to exacerbate many identified threats to animal populations. In recent decades, grassland birds have declined faster than other North American bird species, a loss thought to be due to habitat loss and fragmentation and changing agricultural practices. Climate change poses additional threats of unknown magnitude to these already declining populations. We examined how seasonal and daily weather conditions over 10 years influenced nest survival of five species of insectivorous passerines native to the shortgrass prairie and evaluate our findings relative to future climate predictions for this region. Daily nest survival (n = 870) was best predicted by a combination of daily and seasonal weather variables, age of nest, time in season and bird habitat guild. Within a season, survival rates were lower on very hot days (temperatures ≥ 35 °C), on dry days (with a lag of 1 day) and on stormy days (especially for those species nesting in shorter vegetation). Across years, survival rates were also lower during warmer and drier breeding seasons. Clutch sizes were larger when early spring temperatures were cool and the week prior to egg-laying was wetter and warming. Climate change is likely to exacerbate grassland bird population declines because projected climate conditions include rising temperatures, more prolonged drought and more intense storms as the hydrological cycle is altered. Under varying realistic scenarios, nest success estimates were halved compared to their current average value when models both increased the temperature (3 °C) and decreased precipitation (two additional dry days during a nesting period), thus underscoring a sense of urgency in identifying and addressing the current causes of range-wide declines.

  7. Productivity and CO2 exchange of Great Plains ecoregions. I. Shortgrass steppe: Flux tower estimates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilmanov, Tagir G.; Morgan, Jack A.; Hanan, Niall P.; Wylie, Bruce K.; Rajan, Nithya; Smith, David P.; Howard, Daniel M.

    2017-01-01

    The shortgrass steppe (SGS) occupies the southwestern part of the Great Plains. Half of the land is cultivated, but significant areas remain under natural vegetation. Despite previous studies of the SGS carbon cycle, not all aspects have been completely addressed, including gross productivity, ecosystem respiration, and ecophysiological parameters. Our analysis of 1998 − 2007 flux tower measurements at five Bowen ratio–energy balance (BREB) and three eddy covariance (EC) sites characterized seasonal and interannual variability of gross photosynthesis and ecosystem respiration. Identification of the nonrectangular hyperbolic equation for the diurnal CO2 exchange, with vapor pressure deficit (VPD) limitation and exponential temperature response, quantified quantum yield α, photosynthetic capacity Amax, and respiration rate rd with variation ranges (19 \\production from − 900 to + 700 g CO2 m− 2 yr− 1, indicating that SGS may switch from a sink to a source depending on weather. Comparison of the 2004 − 2006 measurements at two BREB and two parallel EC flux towers located at comparable SGS sites showed moderately higher photosynthesis, lower respiration, and higher net production at the BREB than EC sites. However, the difference was not related only to methodologies, as the normalized difference vegetation index at the BREB sites was higher than at the EC sites. Overall magnitudes and seasonal patterns at the BREB and the EC sites during the 3-yr period were similar, with trajectories within the ± 1.5 standard deviation around the mean of the four sites and mostly reflecting the effects of meteorology.

  8. Interactive effects between nest microclimate and nest vegetation structure confirm microclimate thresholds for Lesser Prairie-Chicken nest survival

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grisham, Blake A.; Godar, Alixandra J.; Boal, Clint W.; Haukos, David A.

    2016-01-01

    The range of Lesser Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) spans 4 unique ecoregions along 2 distinct environmental gradients. The Sand Shinnery Oak Prairie ecoregion of the Southern High Plains of New Mexico and Texas is environmentally isolated, warmer, and more arid than the Short-Grass, Sand Sagebrush, and Mixed-Grass Prairie ecoregions in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and the northeast panhandle of Texas. Weather is known to influence Lesser Prairie-Chicken nest survival in the Sand Shinnery Oak Prairie ecoregion; regional variation may also influence nest microclimate and, ultimately, survival during incubation. To address this question, we placed data loggers adjacent to nests during incubation to quantify temperature and humidity distribution functions in 3 ecoregions. We developed a suite of a priori nest survival models that incorporated derived microclimate parameters and visual obstruction as covariates in Program MARK. We monitored 49 nests in Mixed-Grass, 22 nests in Sand Shinnery Oak, and 30 nests in Short-Grass ecoregions from 2010 to 2014. Our findings indicated that (1) the Sand Shinnery Oak Prairie ecoregion was hotter and drier during incubation than the Mixed- and Short-Grass ecoregions; (2) nest microclimate varied among years within ecoregions; (3) visual obstruction was positively associated with nest survival; but (4) daily nest survival probability decreased by 10% every half-hour when temperature was greater than 34°C and vapor pressure deficit was less than −23 mmHg during the day (about 0600–2100 hours). Our major finding confirmed microclimate thresholds for nest survival under natural conditions across the species' distribution, although Lesser Prairie-Chickens are more likely to experience microclimate conditions that result in nest failures in the Sand Shinnery Oak Prairie ecoregion. The species would benefit from identification of thermal landscapes and management actions that promote cooler, more humid nest microclimates.

  9. Rangewide genetic analysis of Lesser Prairie-Chicken reveals population structure, range expansion, and possible introgression

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; DeYoung, Randall W; Fike, Jennifer; Hagen, Christian A.; Johnson, Jeff A.; Larsson, Lena C.; Patten, Michael

    2016-01-01

    The distribution of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has been markedly reduced due to loss and fragmentation of habitat. Portions of the historical range, however, have been recolonized and even expanded due to planting of conservation reserve program (CRP) fields that provide favorable vegetation structure for Lesser Prairie-Chickens. The source population(s) feeding the range expansion is unknown, yet has resulted in overlap between Lesser and Greater Prairie-Chickens (T. cupido) increasing the potential for hybridization. Our objectives were to characterize connectivity and genetic diversity among populations, identify source population(s) of recent range expansion, and examine hybridization with the Greater Prairie-Chicken. We analyzed 640 samples from across the range using 13 microsatellites. We identified three to four populations corresponding largely to ecoregions. The Shinnery Oak Prairie and Sand Sagebrush Prairie represented genetically distinct populations (F ST > 0.034 and F ST > 0.023 respectively). The Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic and Mixed Grass ecoregions appeared admixed (F ST = 0.009). Genetic diversity was similar among ecoregions and N e ranged from 142 (95 % CI 99–236) for the Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic to 296 (95 % CI 233–396) in the Mixed Grass Prairie. No recent migration was detected among ecoregions, except asymmetric dispersal from both the Mixed Grass Prairie and to a lesser extent the Sand Sagebrush Prairie north into adjacent Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic (m = 0.207, 95 % CI 0.116–0.298, m = 0.097, 95 % CI 0.010–0.183, respectively). Indices investigating potential hybridization in the Shortgrass/CRP Mosaic revealed that six of the 13 individuals with hybrid phenotypes were significantly admixed suggesting hybridization. Continued monitoring of diversity within and among ecoregions is warranted as are actions promoting genetic connectivity and range expansion.

  10. Restoring fire as an ecological process in shortgrass prairie ecosystems: initial effects of prescribed burning during the dormant and growing seasons.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brockway, Dale G; Gatewood, Richard G; Paris, Randi B

    2002-06-01

    Prior to Anglo-European settlement, fire was a major ecological process influencing the structure, composition and productivity of shortgrass prairie ecosystems on the Great Plains. However during the past 125 years, the frequency and extent of grassland fire has dramatically declined as a result of the systematic heavy grazing by large herds of domestic cattle and sheep which reduced the available levels of fine fuel and organized fire suppression efforts that succeeded in altering the natural fire regime. The greatly diminished role of recurrent fire in these ecosystems is thought to be responsible for ecologically adverse shifts in the composition, structure and diversity of these grasslands, leading specifically to the rise of ruderal species and invasion by less fire-tolerant species. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ecological effects of fire season and frequency on the shortgrass prairie and to determine the means by which prescribed fire can best be restored in this ecosystem to provide the greatest benefit for numerous resource values. Plant cover, diversity, biomass and nutrient status, litter cover and soil chemistry were measured prior to and following fire treatments on a buffalograss-blue grama shortgrass prairie in northeastern New Mexico. Dormant-season fire was followed by increases in grass cover, forb cover, species richness and concentrations of foliar P, K, Ca, Mg and Mn. Growing-season fire produced declines in the cover of buffalograss, graminoids and forbs and increases in litter cover and levels of foliar P, K, Ca and Mn. Although no changes in soil chemistry were observed, both fire treatments caused decreases in herbaceous production, with standing biomass resulting from growing-season fire approximately 600 kg/ha and dormant-season fire approximately 1200 kg/ha, compared with controls approximately 1800 kg/ha. The initial findings of this long-term experiment suggest that dormant-season burning may be the preferable method

  11. Ecosystem engineering varies spatially: a test of the vegetation modification paradigm for prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, Bruce W.; Augustine, David J.; Sedgwick, James A.; Lubow, Bruce C.

    2013-01-01

    Colonial, burrowing herbivores can be engineers of grassland and shrubland ecosystems worldwide. Spatial variation in landscapes suggests caution when extrapolating single-place studies of single species, but lack of data and the need to generalize often leads to ‘model system’ thinking and application of results beyond appropriate statistical inference. Generalizations about the engineering effects of prairie dogs (Cynomys sp.) developed largely from intensive study at a single complex of black-tailed prairie dogs C. ludovicianus in northern mixed prairie, but have been extrapolated to other ecoregions and prairie dog species in North America, and other colonial, burrowing herbivores. We tested the paradigm that prairie dogs decrease vegetation volume and the cover of grasses and tall shrubs, and increase bare ground and forb cover. We sampled vegetation on and off 279 colonies at 13 complexes of 3 prairie dog species widely distributed across 5 ecoregions in North America. The paradigm was generally supported at 7 black-tailed prairie dog complexes in northern mixed prairie, where vegetation volume, grass cover, and tall shrub cover were lower, and bare ground and forb cover were higher, on colonies than at paired off-colony sites. Outside the northern mixed prairie, all 3 prairie dog species consistently reduced vegetation volume, but their effects on cover of plant functional groups varied with prairie dog species and the grazing tolerance of dominant perennial grasses. White-tailed prairie dogs C. leucurus in sagebrush steppe did not reduce shrub cover, whereas black-tailed prairie dogs suppressed shrub cover at all complexes with tall shrubs in the surrounding habitat matrix. Black-tailed prairie dogs in shortgrass steppe and Gunnison's prairie dogs C. gunnisoni in Colorado Plateau grassland both had relatively minor effects on grass cover, which may reflect the dominance of grazing-tolerant shortgrasses at both complexes. Variation in modification of

  12. Sound transmission at ground level in a short-grass prairie habitat and its implications for long-range communication in the swift fox Vulpes velox

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Darden, Safi K; Pedersen, Simon B; Larsen, Ole N

    2008-01-01

    The acoustic environment of swift foxes Vulpes velox vocalizing close to the ground and the effect of propagation on individual identity information in vocalizations were quantified in a transmission experiment in prairie habitat. Sounds were propagated (0.45 m above the ground) at distances up t...

  13. Greenhouse gas fluxes of grazed and hayed wetland catchments in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Ecoregion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Finocchiaro, Raymond G.; Tangen, Brian A.; Gleason, Robert A.

    2014-01-01

    Wetland catchments are major ecosystems in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) and play an important role in greenhouse gases (GHG) flux. However, there is limited information regarding effects of land-use on GHG fluxes from these wetland systems. We examined the effects of grazing and haying, two common land-use practices in the region, on GHG fluxes from wetland catchments during 2007 and 2008. Fluxes of methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and carbon dioxide (CO2), along with soil water content and temperature, were measured along a topographic gradient every other week during the growing season near Ipswich, SD, USA. Closed, opaque chambers were used to measure fluxes of soil and plant respiration from native sod catchments that were grazed or left idle, and from recently restored catchments which were seeded with native plant species; half of these catchments were hayed once during the growing season. Catchments were adjacent to each other and had similar soils, soil nitrogen and organic carbon content, precipitation, and vegetation. When compared with idle catchments, grazing as a land-use had little effect on GHG fluxes. Likewise, haying had little effect on fluxes of CH4 and N2O compared with non-hayed catchments. Haying, however, did have a significant effect on combined soil and vegetative CO2 flux in restored wetland catchments owing to the immediate and comprehensive effect haying has on plant productivity. This study also examined soil conditions that affect GHG fluxes and provides cumulative annual estimates of GHG fluxes from wetland catchment in the PPR.

  14. Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional assessment—Volume I. Ecological communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reese, Gordon C.; Burris, Lucy; Carr, Natasha B.; Leinwand, Ian I.F.; Melcher, Cynthia P.

    2017-10-19

    The Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment was conducted in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative. The overall goal of the Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs) is to compile and synthesize regional datasets to facilitate evaluation of the cumulative effects of change agents on priority ecological communities and species. In particular, the REAs identify and map the distribution of communities and wildlife habitats at broad spatial extents and provide assessments of ecological conditions. The REAs also identify where and to what degree ecological resources are currently at risk from change agents, such as development, fire, invasive species, and climate change. The REAs can help managers identify and prioritize potential areas for conservation or restoration, assess cumulative effects as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, and inform landscape-level planning and management decisions for multiple uses of public lands.Management questions form the basis for the REA framework and were developed in conjunction with the BLM and other stakeholders. Conservation elements are communities and species that are of regional management concern. Core management questions relate to the key ecological attributes and change agents associated with each conservation element. Integrated management questions synthesize the results of the primary core management questions into overall landscape-level ranks for each conservation element.The ecological communities evaluated as conservation elements are shortgrass, mixed-grass, and sand prairies; all grasslands; riparian and nonplaya wetlands; playa wetlands and saline lakes; and prairie streams and rivers. Species and species assemblages evaluated are the freshwater mussel assemblage, Arkansas River shiner (Notropis girardi), ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis), lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), snowy plover (Charadrius

  15. Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) response to seasonality and frequency of fire

    Science.gov (United States)

    Felicia D. Archuleta

    2014-01-01

    Fragmentation of the landscape, habitat loss, and fire suppression, all a result of European settlement and activities, have precipitated both the decline of Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) populations and the occurrence of fire throughout the Great Plains, including the Shortgrass steppe of northeastern New Mexico. The presence of Black-tailed prairie...

  16. Ecoregions of Iowa

    Data.gov (United States)

    Iowa State University GIS Support and Research Facility — The ten ecoregions covering Iowa are part of a national ecoregion map that provides a geographic framework for research, management, and assessment of natural...

  17. Ecoregions and ecoregionalization: geographical and ecological perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loveland, Thomas R.; Merchant, James W.

    2005-01-01

    Ecoregions, i.e., areas exhibiting relative homogeneity of ecosystems, are units of analysis that are increasingly important in environmental assessment and management. Ecoregions provide a holistic framework for flexible, comparative analysis of complex environmental problems. Ecoregions mapping has intellectual foundations in both geography and ecology. However, a hallmark of ecoregions mapping is that it is a truly interdisciplinary endeavor that demands the integration of knowledge from a multitude of sciences. Geographers emphasize the role of place, scale, and both natural and social elements when delineating and characterizing regions. Ecologists tend to focus on environmental processes with special attention given to energy flows and nutrient cycling. Integration of disparate knowledge from the many key sciences has been one of the great challenges of ecoregions mapping, and may lie at the heart of the lack of consensus on the “optimal” approach and methods to use in such work. Through a review of the principal existing US ecoregion maps, issues that should be addressed in order to advance the state of the art are identified. Research related to needs, methods, data sources, data delivery, and validation is needed. It is also important that the academic system foster education so that there is an infusion of new expertise in ecoregion mapping and use.

  18. Citizen knowledge and perception of black-tailed prairie dog management: Report to respondents

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sexton, Natalie R.; Brinson, Ayeisha; Ponds, Phadrea D.; Cline, Kurt; Lamb, Berton L.

    2001-01-01

    What do citizens know about black-tailed prairie dogs, and where do they get their information? When management decisions need to be made regarding an animal such as the black-tailed prairie dog, an understanding of the species and its relationship to humans is necessary. This includes knowing the biology of the animal, where it lives, and how it interacts with other animals. But it is equally important for those making decisions about the species to understand citizens’ knowledge and perceptions so managers can effectively communicate with the public and help the public participate in planning and decision making activities. Unfortunately, what is known about public knowledge, perception, and preferences concerning prairie dog management is limited to data from only a few areas. This study attempts to answer the question: What do people in the short-grass prairie region of the United States know and think about black-tailed prairie dogs?

  19. ROE Ecoregions Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — This web service layer group contains multiple layers at various scale dependencies which enhances the cartographic display of ecoregion data. Each layer depicts...

  20. Ecoregions of Kansas

    Data.gov (United States)

    Kansas Data Access and Support Center — Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources. They are designed to serve as a...

  1. EPA Level III Ecoregions

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — The ecoregions shown here have been derived from Omernik (1987) and from refinements of Omernik's framework that have been made for other projects. These ongoing or...

  2. Vegetation Responses to Prescribed Burning of Grazed Shortgrass Steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Over the past century, fire has been widely suppressed in the western Great Plains, in part due to potential negative effects on forage production for livestock. More recently, interest in the use of prescribed fire in shortgrass steppe has increased due to potential applications for wildlife manage...

  3. Effects of Prescribed Burning on Grazed Shortgrass Steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Over the past century, fire has been widely suppressed in the western Great Plains, in part due to potential negative effects on forage production for livestock. Interest in the use of prescribed fire in shortgrass steppe has increased recently due to applications for wildlife management, control of...

  4. Middle Rockies Ecoregion: Chapter 5 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Janis L.

    2012-01-01

    The Middle Rockies Ecoregion—characterized by steep, high-elevation mountain ranges and intermountain valleys—is a disjunct ecoregion composed of three distinct geographic areas: the Greater Yellowstone area in northwest Wyoming, southwest Montana, and eastern Idaho; the Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming and south-central Montana; and the Black Hills in western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming (Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997). The ecoregion covers approximately 90,160 km2 (34,881 mi2), and its three distinct geographic sections are bordered by several other ecoregions (fig. 1). The Yellowstone section abuts the Montana Valley and Foothill Prairies and the Northern Rockies Ecoregions to the north, the Snake River Basin and the Central Basin and Range Ecoregions to the west, and the Wyoming Basin Ecoregion to the south and east. The Bighorn Mountains section lies between the Wyoming Basin Ecoregion to the west and the Northwestern Great Plains Ecoregion to the east, and it abuts the Montana Valleys and Foothill Prairies Ecoregion to the north. The Black Hills section is entirely surrounded by the Northwestern Great Plains Ecoregion. The Continental Divide crosses the ecoregion from the southeast along the Wind River Range, through Yellowstone National Park, and west along the Montana-Idaho border. On both sides of the divide, topographic relief causes local climate variability, particularly the effects of aspect, exposure to prevailing wind, thermal inversions, and rain-shadow effects, that are reflected in the wide variety of flora and fauna within the ecoregion (Ricketts and others, 1999).

  5. Prairie Chicken

    Data.gov (United States)

    Kansas Data Access and Support Center — An outline of the general range occupied by greayter and lesser prairie chickens. The range was delineated by expert opinion, then varified by local wildlife...

  6. Level IV Ecoregions of Idaho

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  7. Level IV Ecoregions of Wisconsin

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  8. Level III Ecoregions of Connecticut

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  9. Level III Ecoregions of Massachusetts

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  10. Level IV Ecoregions of Nevada

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  11. Level IV Ecoregions of Pennsylvania

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  12. Level III Ecoregions of Nebraska

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  13. Level III Ecoregions of Arkansas

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  14. Level III Ecoregions of Vermont

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  15. Level IV Ecoregions of Texas

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  16. Level IV Ecoregions of Oregon

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  17. Level IV Ecoregions of Georgia

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  18. Level III Ecoregions of Alabama

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  19. Level IV Ecoregions of Tennessee

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  20. Level IV Ecoregions of Kansas

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  1. Level IV Ecoregions of Virginia

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  2. Level III Ecoregions of California

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  3. Level III Ecoregions of Missouri

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  4. Level III Ecoregions of Maryland

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  5. Level IV Ecoregions of Maine

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  6. Level IV Ecoregions of Delaware

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  7. Level IV Ecoregions of Indiana

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  8. Level IV Ecoregions of Mississippi

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  9. Level IV Ecoregions of Vermont

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  10. Level IV Ecoregions of Illinois

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  11. Level IV Ecoregions of Louisiana

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  12. Level IV Ecoregions of Massachusetts

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  13. Level III Ecoregions of Wyoming

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  14. Level III Ecoregions of Texas

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  15. Level III Ecoregions of Oregon

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  16. Level III Ecoregions of Colorado

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  17. Level IV Ecoregions of Missouri

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  18. Level IV Ecoregions of Alabama

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  19. Level III Ecoregions of Arizona

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  20. Level IV Ecoregions of Nebraska

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  1. Level III Ecoregions of Utah

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  2. Level III Ecoregions of Louisiana

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  3. Level III Ecoregions of Iowa

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  4. Level III Ecoregions of Delaware

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  5. Level III Ecoregions of Indiana

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  6. Level III Ecoregions of Virginia

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  7. Level III Ecoregions of Minnesota

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  8. Level IV Ecoregions of Kentucky

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  9. Level III Ecoregions of Florida

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  10. Level III Ecoregions of Mississippi

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  11. Level IV Ecoregions of Washington

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  12. Level III Ecoregions of Kentucky

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  13. Level IV Ecoregions of Connecticut

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  14. Level IV Ecoregions of Maryland

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  15. Level IV Ecoregions of Montana

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  16. Level III Ecoregions of Idaho

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  17. Level IV Ecoregions of Michigan

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  18. Level III Ecoregions of Georgia

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  19. Level IV Ecoregions of Florida

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  20. Level III Ecoregions of Nevada

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  1. Level III Ecoregions of Kansas

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  2. Level III Ecoregions of Michigan

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  3. Level III Ecoregions of Alaska

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources. The ecoregions of Alaska are a...

  4. Level III Ecoregions of Maine

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  5. Level III Ecoregions of Ohio

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  6. Level IV Ecoregions of Iowa

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  7. Level III Ecoregions of Washington

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  8. Level III Ecoregions of Pennsylvania

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  9. Level IV Ecoregions of Colorado

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  10. Level IV Ecoregions of California

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  11. Level IV Ecoregions of Arkansas

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  12. Level III Ecoregions of Illinois

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  13. Level III Ecoregions of Oklahoma

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  14. Level IV Ecoregions of Utah

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  15. Level IV Ecoregions of Oklahoma

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  16. Level IV Ecoregions of Ohio

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  17. Level IV Ecoregions of Minnesota

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  18. Ecoregions of Arizona (poster)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffith, Glenn E.; Omernik, James M.; Johnson, Colleen Burch; Turner, Dale S.

    2014-01-01

    Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources; they are designed to serve as a spatial framework for the research, assessment, management, and monitoring of ecosystems and ecosystem components. By recognizing the spatial differences in the capacities and potentials of ecosystems, ecoregions stratify the environment by its probable response to disturbance. These general purpose regions are critical for structuring and implementing ecosystem management strategies across federal agencies, state agencies, and nongovernment organizations that are responsible for different types of resources within the same geographical areas. The Arizona ecoregion map was compiled at a scale of 1:250,000. It revises and subdivides an earlier national ecoregion map that was originally compiled at a smaller scale. The approach used to compile this map is based on the premise that ecological regions can be identified through the analysis of the spatial patterns and the composition of biotic and abiotic phenomena that affect or reflect differences in ecosystem quality and integrity. These phenomena include geology, physiography, vegetation, climate, soils, land use, wildlife, and hydrology. The relative importance of each characteristic varies from one ecological region to another regardless of the hierarchical level. A Roman numeral hierarchical scheme has been adopted for different levels of ecological regions. Level I is the coarsest level, dividing North America into 15 ecological regions. Level II divides the continent into 50 regions. At level III, the continental United States contains 105 ecoregions and the conterminous United States has 85 ecoregions. Level IV is a further subdivision of level III ecoregions. Arizona contains arid deserts and canyonlands, semiarid shrub- and grass-covered plains, woodland- and shrubland-covered hills, lava fields and volcanic plateaus, forested mountains, glaciated

  19. Ecoregions of California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffith, Glenn E.; Omernik, James M.; Smith, David W.; Cook, Terry D.; Tallyn, Ed; Moseley, Kendra; Johnson, Colleen B.

    2016-02-23

    Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources. They are designed to serve as a spatial framework for the research, assessment, management, and monitoring of ecosystems and ecosystem components. By recognizing the spatial differences in the capacities and potentials of ecosystems, ecoregions stratify the environment by its probable response to disturbance (Bryce and others, 1999). These general purpose regions are critical for structuring and implementing ecosystem management strategies across Federal agencies, State agencies, and nongovernment organizations that are responsible for different types of resources in the same geographical areas (Omernik and others, 2000).The approach used to compile this map is based on the premise that ecological regions are hierarchical and can be identified through the analysis of the spatial patterns and the composition of biotic and abiotic phenomena that affect or reflect differences in ecosystem quality and integrity (Wiken, 1986; Omernik, 1987, 1995). These phenomena include geology, physiography, vegetation, climate, soils, land use, wildlife, and hydrology. The relative importance of each characteristic varies from one ecological region to another regardless of the hierarchical level. A Roman numeral hierarchical scheme has been adopted for different levels of ecological regions. Level I is the coarsest level, dividing North America into 15 ecological regions. Level II divides the continent into 50 regions (Commission for Environmental Cooperation Working Group, 1997, map revised 2006). At level III, the continental United States contains 105 ecoregions and the conterminous United States has 85 ecoregions (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2013). Level IV, depicted here for California, is a further refinement of level III ecoregions. Explanations of the methods used to define these ecoregions are given in Omernik (1995), Omernik and others

  20. Microsatellite primers in Oenothera harringtonii (Onagraceae), an annual endemic to the shortgrass prairie of Colorado.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skogen, Krissa A; Hilpman, Evan T; Todd, Sadie L; Fant, Jeremie B

    2012-08-01

    Microsatellite markers were developed in the annual herb, Oenothera harringtonii, to investigate patterns of genetic diversity, gene flow, and parentage within and among populations of this Colorado endemic. Ten polymorphic loci were identified in O. harringtonii and tested in four populations sampled across the range of the species. These loci contained trinucleotide repeats with 7-29 alleles per locus. Nine of the 10 loci also amplified in O. caespitosa subsp. macroglottis, O. caespitosa subsp. marginata, and O. caespitosa subsp. navajoensis. In addition, we optimized three markers developed for O. biennis and provide reports of their effectiveness in all four taxa. These results indicate the utility of these markers in O. harringtonii for future studies of genetic structure, gene flow, and parentage as well as their applicability in other members of the O. caespitosa species complex.

  1. Canadian Rockies Ecoregion: Chapter 4 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Janis L.

    2012-01-01

    The Canadian Rockies Ecoregion covers approximately 18,494 km2 (7,141 mi2) in northwestern Montana (Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997). The east side of the ecoregion is bordered by the Montana Valley and Foothill Prairies Ecoregion, which also forms a large part of the western border of the ecoregion. In addition, the Northern Rockies Ecoregion wraps around the ecoregion to the northwest and south (fig. 1). As the name implies, the Canadian Rocky Mountains are located mostly in Canada, straddling the border between Alberta and British Columbia. However, this ecoregion only includes the part of the northern Rocky Mountains that is in the United States. This ecoregion is characterized by steep, high-elevation mountain ranges similar to most of the rest of the Rocky Mountains. Compared to the Northern Rockies Ecoregion, however, the Canadian Rockies Ecoregion reaches higher elevations and contains a greater proportion of perennial snow and ice (Omernik, 1987) (fig. 2). Over the years, this section of the Rocky Mountains has garnered many different names, including “Crown of the Continent” by George Bird Grinnell (Waldt, 2008) and “Backbone of the World” by the Blackfeet (Pikuni) Nation. Throughout the ecoregion, montane, subalpine, and alpine ecosystems have distinct flora and fauna elevation zones. Glaciers, permanent snowfields, and seasonal snowpack are found at the highest elevations. Spring and summer runoff fills lakes and tarns that form the headwaters of numerous streams and rivers, including the Columbia and Missouri Rivers that flow west and east, respectively, from the Continental Divide.

  2. Management Approaches to Accomplish Contemporary Livestock Production-Conservation Objectives in Shortgrass Steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Traditional rangeland management in the shortgrass steppe has emphasized livestock production with moderate stocking rates, but alternative approaches will be needed to meet production objectives under increasing demands for conservation-oriented management. We investigated the utility of very inten...

  3. Level IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 1

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  4. Level III Ecoregions of EPA Region 1

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  5. Level IV Ecoregions of New Mexico

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  6. Level III Ecoregions of North Dakota

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  7. Level IV Ecoregions of South Carolina

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  8. Level IV Ecoregions of North Carolina

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  9. Level IV Ecoregions of New Hampshire

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  10. Level IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 5

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  11. Level IV Ecoregions of New York

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  12. Level III Ecoregions of New Jersey

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  13. Level IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 10

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  14. Level III Ecoregions of New Mexico

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  15. Level III Ecoregions of New Hampshire

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  16. Level IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 2

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  17. Level IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 3

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  18. Level IV Ecoregions of North Dakota

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  19. Level III Ecoregions of EPA Region 2

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  20. Level III Ecoregions of EPA Region 4

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  1. Level III Ecoregions of West Virginia

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  2. Level IV Ecoregions of New Jersey

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  3. Level III Ecoregions of EPA Region 8

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions for EPA Administrative Regions were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the...

  4. Level IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 7

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  5. Level IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 6

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  6. Level III Ecoregions of New York

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  7. Level IV Ecoregions of South Dakota

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  8. Level III Ecoregions of North Carolina

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  9. Level III Ecoregions of Rhode Island

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  10. Level IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 8

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions for EPA Administrative Regions were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the...

  11. Level III Ecoregions of EPA Region 10

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  12. Level IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 4

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  13. Level IV Ecoregions of EPA Region 9

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions for EPA Administrative Regions were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the...

  14. Level III Ecoregions of EPA Region 3

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  15. Level IV Ecoregions of Rhode Island

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  16. Level III Ecoregions of EPA Region 9

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions for EPA Administrative Regions were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the...

  17. Level III Ecoregions of EPA Region 7

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  18. Level III Ecoregions of EPA Region 5

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  19. Level III Ecoregions of EPA Region 6

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by EPA region were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality,...

  20. Level III Ecoregions of South Dakota

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and...

  1. Wyoming Basin Rapid Ecoregional Assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carr, Natasha B.; Melcher, Cynthia P.

    2015-08-28

    The Wyoming Basin Rapid Ecoregional Assessment was conducted in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The overall goals of the BLM Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs) are to identify important ecosystems and wildlife habitats at broad spatial scales; identify where these resources are at risk from Change Agents, including development, wildfire, invasive species, disease and climate change; quantify cumulative effects of anthropogenic stressors; and assess current levels of risk to ecological resources across a range of spatial scales and jurisdictional boundaries by assessing all lands within an ecoregion. There are several components of the REAs. Management Questions, developed by the BLM and stakeholders for the ecoregion, identify the regionally significant information needed for addressing land-management responsibilities. Conservation Elements represent regionally significant species and ecological communities that are of management concern. Change Agents that currently affect or are likely to affect the condition of species and communities in the future are identified and assessed. REAs also identify areas that have high conservation potential that are referred to as “large intact areas.” At the ecoregion level, the ecological value of large intact areas is based on the assumption that because these areas have not been greatly altered by human activities (such as development), they are more likely to contain a variety of plant and animal communities and to be resilient and resistant to changes resulting from natural disturbances such as fire, insect outbreaks, and disease.

  2. Prairie Conservation in Canada: The Prairie Conservation Action Plan Experience

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dean Nernberg; David Ingstrup

    2005-01-01

    In Canada, grassland conservation has been mobilized and directed through the development of Prairie Conservation Action Plans and Action Plan Committees in the three prairie provinces of Alberta (45 partner agencies and organizations), Saskatchewan (26 partners), and Manitoba (26 partners). In Alberta, 43 percent of the native prairie remains; in Saskatchewan and...

  3. Ecoregions for Louisiana from EPA source data, Geographic NAD83, LOSCO (2004) [ecoregions_EPA_2004

    Data.gov (United States)

    Louisiana Geographic Information Center — Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources. By recognizing the spatial differences...

  4. EcoRegion Polygons, Nevada, 2007, ECOMAP

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources. They are designed to serve as a...

  5. Ecoregions and stream morphology in eastern Oklahoma

    Science.gov (United States)

    Splinter, D.K.; Dauwalter, D.C.; Marston, R.A.; Fisher, W.L.

    2010-01-01

    Broad-scale variables (i.e., geology, topography, climate, land use, vegetation, and soils) influence channel morphology. How and to what extent the longitudinal pattern of channel morphology is influenced by broad-scale variables is important to fluvial geomorphologists and stream ecologists. In the last couple of decades, there has been an increase in the amount of interdisciplinary research between fluvial geomorphologists and stream ecologists. In a historical context, fluvial geomorphologists are more apt to use physiographic regions to distinguish broad-scale variables, while stream ecologists are more apt to use the concept of an ecosystem to address the broad-scale variables that influence stream habitat. For this reason, we designed a study using ecoregions, which uses physical and biological variables to understand how landscapes influence channel processes. Ecoregions are delineated by similarities in geology, climate, soils, land use, and potential natural vegetation. In the fluvial system, stream form and function are dictated by processes observed throughout the fluvial hierarchy. Recognizing that stream form and function should differ by ecoregion, a study was designed to evaluate how the characteristics of stream channels differed longitudinally among three ecoregions in eastern Oklahoma, USA: Boston Mountains, Ozark Highlands, and Ouachita Mountains. Channel morphology of 149 stream reaches was surveyed in 1st- through 4th-order streams, and effects of drainage area and ecoregion on channel morphology was evaluated using multiple regressions. Differences existed (?????0.05) among ecoregions for particle size, bankfull width, and width/depth ratio. No differences existed among ecoregions for gradient or sinuosity. Particle size was smallest in the Ozark Highlands and largest in the Ouachita Mountains. Bankfull width was larger in the Ozark Highlands than in the Boston Mountains and Ouachita Mountains in larger streams. Width/depth ratios of the

  6. Level III and IV Ecoregions of the Continental United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Information and downloadable maps and datasets for Level III and IV ecoregions of the continental United States. Ecoregions are areas of general similarity in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources.

  7. Level III Ecoregions of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions for the Mississippi Alluvial Plain were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in...

  8. Level IV Ecoregions of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions for the Mississippi Alluvial Plain were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in...

  9. Establishment of prairies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lotero Cadavid, J.

    2001-01-01

    Are analyzed the establishment of prairies, such as the selection of the species, the factors of the environment, the impact in the establishment and forage production and its relation to the soil, the precipitation, the temperature, the light and the biotic factors. It is indicated that the selection of the species to settle down, is directly related with the climate and the soil and they group to be tolerant to drought, tolerant to flood soils, tolerant to humid soils, tolerant to soils very acids, moderately acids and saline. It is noticed that a bad establishment of the grasses can be due to the bad quality of the seed, a temperature and unfavorable humidity can cause low germination; equally seeds planted very deeply in heavy soils with excess of humidity. Considerations are made about the establishment and growth of the prairies in connection with the germination, cultures, sowing density and sowing on time, as well as for the soil preparation, the sowing in terrestrial mechanic and non mechanic and the use of cultivations forms of low cost and fertilization systems; equally the establishment of leguminous in mixture with gramineous, the renovation of prairies and the establishment of pastures

  10. A projection of lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) populations range-wide

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cummings, Jonathan W.; Converse, Sarah J.; Moore, Clinton T.; Smith, David R.; Nichols, Clay T.; Allan, Nathan L.; O'Meilia, Chris M.

    2017-08-09

    We built a population viability analysis (PVA) model to predict future population status of the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus, LEPC) in four ecoregions across the species’ range. The model results will be used in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) Species Status Assessment (SSA) for the LEPC. Our stochastic projection model combined demographic rate estimates from previously published literature with demographic rate estimates that integrate the influence of climate conditions. This LEPC PVA projects declining populations with estimated population growth rates well below 1 in each ecoregion regardless of habitat or climate change. These results are consistent with estimates of LEPC population growth rates derived from other demographic process models. Although the absolute magnitude of the decline is unlikely to be as low as modeling tools indicate, several different lines of evidence suggest LEPC populations are declining.

  11. Grazing moderates increases in C3 grass abundance over seven decades across a soil texture gradient in shortgrass steppe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Questions: How does long-term grazing exclusion influence plant community composition in a semiarid grassland? Can spatial variation in the effects of grazing exclusion be explained by variation in soil texture? Location: The shortgrass steppe of northeastern Colorado, USA, located in the North Amer...

  12. Conservation priorities in the Apache Highlands ecoregion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dale Turner; Rob Marshall; Carolyn A. F. Enquist; Anne Gondor; David F. Gori; Eduardo Lopez; Gonzalo Luna; Rafaela Paredes Aguilar; Chris Watts; Sabra Schwartz

    2005-01-01

    The Apache Highlands ecoregion incorporates the entire Madrean Archipelago/Sky Island region. We analyzed the current distribution of 223 target species and 26 terrestrial ecological systems there, and compared them with constraints on ecosystem integrity (e.g., road density) to determine the most efficient set of areas needed to maintain current biodiversity. The...

  13. Response of shortgrass Plains vegetation to chronic and seasonally administered gamma radiation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fraley, Jr., Leslie [Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States)

    1971-08-01

    In order to determine the effect of radiation on the structure of native shortgrass plains vegetation, an 8750 Ci 137Cs source was installed on the Central Plains Experimental Range near Nunn, Colorado; The experimental area was divided into 6 treatment sectors, a control, 2 sectors for chronic exposure (irradiation initiated April 1969 and continuing as of August 1971), and one each for spring, summer and late fall seasonal semi-acute (30 day), exposures which were administered during April, July and December, 1969, respectively. Community structure was measured by coefficient of community and diversity index. Yield was determined by clipping plots in September 1970 and visual estimates in September 1969 and 1970 for the grass-sedge component of the vegetation. Individual species sensitivity was determined by density data recorded in April, June and September of 1969 and 1970 and by a phenological index recorded at weekly intervals during the 1969 and 1970 growing seasons. The response of the vegetation was similar whether determined by coefficient of community or diversity with diversity being a more sensitive measure of effects. In the chronically exposed sectors, the exposure rate which resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in these 2 parameters (CC50 or D50) was still decreasing the second growing season and was approximately 18 R/hr for the CC50 as of June 1970 and 10 R/hr for the D50 as of September 1970. For the seasonally exposed sectors, the late fall period (December, 1969) was the most sensitive, summer (July, 1969) the least sensitive and spring (April, 1969) intermediate with CC50 and D50 values of 195 and 90, 240 and 222, and 120 and 74 R/hr for the spring, summer and late fall exposed sectors, respectively. Yield and density data indicated a rapid revegetation of the spring and summer exposed sectors during 1970 as a result of an influx of invader species such as Salsola kali tenuifolia, Chenopodium leptophyllum and Lepidium densiflorum and the

  14. Agro-ecoregionalization of Iowa using multivariate geographical clustering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carol L. Williams; William W. Hargrove; Matt Leibman; David E. James

    2008-01-01

    Agro-ecoregionalization is categorization of landscapes for use in crop suitability analysis, strategic agroeconomic development, risk analysis, and other purposes. Past agro-ecoregionalizations have been subjective, expert opinion driven, crop specific, and unsuitable for statistical extrapolation. Use of quantitative analytical methods provides an opportunity for...

  15. Ecoregions - ECOREGIONS_USGS_IN: Ecoregions, Levels III and IV, Indiana (U.S. Geological Survey, 1:250,000, Polygon Shapefile)

    Data.gov (United States)

    NSGIC State | GIS Inventory — The following is excerpted from the metadata for OHIN_ECO: "The ecoregions shown here have been derived from Omernik (1987) and fr refinements of Omernik's framework...

  16. Multi-site Management Plan Ecoregional Conservation for the Ouachita Ecoregion Arkansas and Oklahoma

    Science.gov (United States)

    2006-08-01

    Poultry Disposal Pits. Ark. Water Res. Cen. fact sheet no. 2, n.d. Fausch , Kurt D., et al . Fish Communities as Indicators of Environmental...Degradation. Amer. Fish. Soc. Sym. 8, pp. 123-144; 1990. Ouachita Highlands Ecoregional Assessment – Appendix A 24 Fausch , Kurt D., et al . Regional...Interior Plateau of USEPA ( 2002 ). SOURCES References: DeSelm and Murdock 1993, DeSelm and Webb 1997, Nelson 1985, USFWS 1974, Webb et al . 1997 Last

  17. Determining ecoregional numeric nutrient criteria by stressor-response models in Yungui ecoregion lakes, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huo, Shouliang; Ma, Chunzi; Xi, Beidou; Tong, Zhonghua; He, Zhuoshi; Su, Jing; Wu, Fengchang

    2014-01-01

    The importance of developing numeric nutrient criteria has been recognized to protect the designated uses of water bodies from nutrient enrichment that is associated with broadly occurring levels of nitrogen/phosphorus pollution. The identification and estimation of stressor-response models in aquatic ecosystems has been shown to be useful in the determination of nutrient criteria. In this study, three methods based on stressor-response relationships were applied to determine nutrient criteria for Yungui ecoregion lakes with respect to total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), and planktonic chlorophyll a (Chl a). Simple linear regression (SLR) models were established to provide an estimate of the relationship between a response variable and a stressor. Multiple linear regressions were used to simultaneously estimate the effect of TP and TN on Chl a. A morphoedaphic index (MEI) was applied to derive nutrient criteria using data from Yungui ecoregion lakes, which were considered as areas with less anthropogenic influences. Nutrient criteria, as determined by these three methods, showed broad agreement for all parameters. The ranges of numeric nutrient criteria for Yungui ecoregion lakes were determined as follows: TP 0.008-0.010 mg/L and TN 0.140-0.178 mg/L. The stressor-response analysis described will be of benefit to support countries in their numeric criteria development programs and to further the goal of reducing nitrogen/phosphorus pollution in China.

  18. Delimiting tropical mountain ecoregions for conservation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Platts, Philip J.; Burgess, Neil David; Gereau, Roy E.

    2011-01-01

    Ecological regions aggregate habitats with similar biophysical characteristics within well-defined boundaries, providing spatially consistent platforms for monitoring, managing and forecasting the health of interrelated ecosystems. A major obstacle to the implementation of this approach is imprec......Ecological regions aggregate habitats with similar biophysical characteristics within well-defined boundaries, providing spatially consistent platforms for monitoring, managing and forecasting the health of interrelated ecosystems. A major obstacle to the implementation of this approach...... boundaries. LandScan and census data show population density inside the ecoregion to be higher than in rural lowlands, and lowland settlement to be most probable within 30 km. This definition should help to align landscape scale conservation strategies in the Eastern Arc and promote new research in areas...

  19. Level IV Ecoregions of the Conterminous United States

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources. They are designed to serve as a...

  20. Omernik's Level III Ecoregions Of The Conterminous United States

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources. They are designed to serve as a...

  1. Biodiversity, Urban Areas, and Agriculture: Locating Priority Ecoregions for Conservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Taylor Ricketts

    2003-12-01

    Full Text Available Urbanization and agriculture are two of the most important threats to biodiversity worldwide. The intensities of these land-use phenomena, however, as well as levels of biodiversity itself, differ widely among regions. Thus, there is a need to develop a quick but rigorous method of identifying where high levels of human threats and biodiversity coincide. These areas are clear priorities for biodiversity conservation. In this study, we combine distribution data for eight major plant and animal taxa (comprising over 20,000 species with remotely sensed measures of urban and agricultural land use to assess conservation priorities among 76 terrestrial ecoregions in North America. We combine the species data into overall indices of richness and endemism. We then plot each of these indices against the percent cover of urban and agricultural land in each ecoregion, resulting in four separate comparisons. For each comparison, ecoregions that fall above the 66th quantile on both axes are identified as priorities for conservation. These analyses yield four "priority sets" of 6-16 ecoregions (8-21% of the total number where high levels of biodiversity and human land use coincide. These ecoregions tend to be concentrated in the southeastern United States, California, and, to a lesser extent, the Atlantic coast, southern Texas, and the U.S. Midwest. Importantly, several ecoregions are members of more than one priority set and two ecoregions are members of all four sets. Across all 76 ecoregions, urban cover is positively correlated with both species richness and endemism. Conservation efforts in densely populated areas therefore may be equally important (if not more so as preserving remote parks in relatively pristine regions.

  2. Song and Male Quality in Prairie Warblers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruce E. Byers; Michael E. Akresh; David I. King; W. Koenig

    2016-01-01

    To determine if the songs of male prairie warblers could potentially reveal to female listeners information about the quality of singers, we compared various aspects of prairie warbler song structure and performance to attributes that might reflect a male singer's potential to enhance the fitness of his mate. We found that all the tested male attributes—arrival...

  3. Black-tailed prairie dog status and future conservation planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daniel W. Mulhern; Craig J. Knowles

    1997-01-01

    The black-tailed prairie dog is one of five prairie dog species estimated to have once occupied up to 100 million ha or more in North America. The area occupied by black-tailed prairie dogs has declined to approximately 2% of its former range. Conversion of habitat to other land uses and widespread prairie dog eradication efforts combined with sylvatic plague,

  4. The prairie dog as a keystone species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kotliar, Natasha B.; Miller, Brian J.; Reading, Richard P.; Clark, Timothy W.; Hoogland, John L.

    2006-01-01

    The prairie dog has a pronounced impact on its grassland ecosystem (King 1955; Uresk and Bjugstad 1983; Miller et al. 1994; Society for Conservation Biology 1994; Wuerthner 1997; Johnsgard 2005). They maintain short vegetation by their grazing and by selective removal of tall plants and shrubs; provide shelter, foraging grounds, and nesting habitat for a diverse array of animals; serve as prey for many predators; and alter soil chemistry.Do these impacts mean that the prairie dog is a keystone species? To investigate, we first scrutinize the definition for a keystone species. We then document both vertebrates and invertebrates that associate with prairie dogs and their colony-sites. We examine ecosystem processes at colony-sites, and then assess whether the prairie dog is a legitimate keystone species. Finally, we explore the implications of keystone status for the conservation of prairie dogs.

  5. U.S. Level III and IV Ecoregions (U.S. EPA)

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — This map service displays Level III and Level IV Ecoregions of the United States and was created from ecoregion data obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection...

  6. A segmentation approach for a delineation of terrestrial ecoregions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nowosad, J.; Stepinski, T.

    2017-12-01

    Terrestrial ecoregions are the result of regionalization of land into homogeneous units of similar ecological and physiographic features. Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World (TEW) is a commonly used global ecoregionalization based on expert knowledge and in situ observations. Ecological Land Units (ELUs) is a global classification of 250 meters-sized cells into 4000 types on the basis of the categorical values of four environmental variables. ELUs are automatically calculated and reproducible but they are not a regionalization which makes them impractical for GIS-based spatial analysis and for comparison with TEW. We have regionalized terrestrial ecosystems on the basis of patterns of the same variables (land cover, soils, landform, and bioclimate) previously used in ELUs. Considering patterns of categorical variables makes segmentation and thus regionalization possible. Original raster datasets of the four variables are first transformed into regular grids of square-sized blocks of their cells called eco-sites. Eco-sites are elementary land units containing local patterns of physiographic characteristics and thus assumed to contain a single ecosystem. Next, eco-sites are locally aggregated using a procedure analogous to image segmentation. The procedure optimizes pattern homogeneity of all four environmental variables within each segment. The result is a regionalization of the landmass into land units characterized by uniform pattern of land cover, soils, landforms, climate, and, by inference, by uniform ecosystem. Because several disjoined segments may have very similar characteristics, we cluster the segments to obtain a smaller set of segment types which we identify with ecoregions. Our approach is automatic, reproducible, updatable, and customizable. It yields the first automatic delineation of ecoregions on the global scale. In the resulting vector database each ecoregion/segment is described by numerous attributes which make it a valuable GIS resource for

  7. Prairie Change Analysis 1991-2008

    Data.gov (United States)

    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources — This dataset displays the results of a prairie/savanna change analysis study completed in May 2010. The area reviewed consists of 1,521 sites identified by Minnesota...

  8. Soil biota in post-mining sites along a climatic gradient in the USA: Simple communities in shortgrass prairie recover faster than complex communities in tallgrass prairie and forest

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Frouz, Jan; Jílková, V.; Cajthaml, T.; Pižl, Václav; Tajovský, Karel; Háněl, Ladislav; Burešová, A.; Šimáčková, H.; Kolaříková, K.; Franklin, J.; Nawrot, J.; Groninger, J.W.; Stahl, P.D.

    2013-01-01

    Roč. 67, December (2013), s. 212-225 ISSN 0038-0717 R&D Projects: GA MŠk ME08019 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : restoration * succession * ergosterol * macrofauna * microbial biomass * PLFA Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 4.410, year: 2013

  9. Investigation of floristic similarities between Taiwan and terrestrial ecoregions in Asia using GBIF data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liao, Chi-Cheng; Chen, Chih-Hui

    2017-12-01

    Floristic compositions of non-endemic plants of continental islands were related to the neighboring continents because non-endemic plant species had historically migrated to continental islands from source areas. This study attempts to identify source areas of a continental island by means of floristic analysis and to assess possible migration routes on the basis of geographical distribution ranges of plants. Large quantities of angiosperm data records were downloaded from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Similarity index and cluster analysis were used to identify the floristic similarities among 22 geographical localities of Taiwan (GLTs) and 34 terrestrial ecoregions in Asia. Geographical distribution ranges of non-endemic angiosperm species in Taiwan (NEASTs) were evaluated to mirror the possible migration routes from different source areas to Taiwan. There are 3275 angiosperm species in Taiwan derived from the dataset of GBIF. Among them, 847 are endemic and 2428 are NEASTs. Geographical distribution ranges of the 2428 NEASTs were categorized into 7 distribution groups. They were widely distribution from equator to Siberia (27 species), tropical ecoregions (345 species), tropical and subtropical ecoregions (663 species), tropical to temperate ecoregions (591 species), subtropical ecoregions (265 species), subtropical to temperate ecoregions (387 species), and temperate ecoregions (150 species). Results of similarity indices and cluster analysis demonstrated that high floristic similarities were observed among GLTs at lowland and southern Taiwan and tropical and subtropical ecoregions in Asia. GLTs at high mountains were assumed to have floristic similarity with temperate ecoregions in Asia, whereas the assumption was not supported by our analysis. It is partly because of that angiosperms with tropical and subtropical distributions extend their ranges from low to high elevations in Taiwan. Subtropical ecoregions at southern China and tropical

  10. Soil change induced by prairie dogs across three ecological sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) can influence vegetation dynamics and landscape hydrology by altering soil properties, yet few studies have evaluated soil responses to prairie dog activities across a range of soil types. This study was conducted to quantify prairie dog effects on soil properties within...

  11. Flora and fauna associated with prairie dog colonies and adjacent ungrazed mixed-grass prairie in western South Dakota

    Science.gov (United States)

    William Agnew; Daniel W. Uresk; Richard M. Hansen

    1986-01-01

    Vegetation, small rodents, and birds were sampled during the growing seasons of 2 years on prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies and adjacent mixed-grass prairie in western South Dakota. Prairie dog grazing decreased mulch cover, maximum height of vegetation, plant species richness, and tended to decrease live plant canopy cover compared to...

  12. Arthropod consumption by small mammals on prairie dog colonies and adjacent ungrazed mixed grass prairie in western South Dakota

    Science.gov (United States)

    W. Agnew; Daniel W. Uresk; R. M. Hansen

    1988-01-01

    The percentage of arthropods and plants in the diets of seven small rodents captured on prairie dog colonies and adjacent mixed grasslands were estimated by microhistological techniques. Arthropod composition over the two year study averaged 51% and 37% on prairie dog colonies and mixed grasslands, respectively. Composition of arthropods on prairie dog colonies was...

  13. State of the prairies of marine grasses

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barrios, Lina M; Gomez, Diana I

    2002-01-01

    At the end of the year 2000, INVEMAR gave beginning to the project Distribution, it structures and classification of the prairies of marine flowering in the Colombian Caribbean, guided to characterize ecological and environmentally the ecosystems in this Colombian sector, particularly as for its distribution, extension, structures, associate biota and intervention degree. The above-mentioned like answer to the lack of information that was presented to the date in almost all the levels (line bases and ecology) for this ecosystem, required to implement monitoring programs and to adopt conservation strategies for the same one. The information that is presented is based primarily on the results obtained during the execution of the project in mention. An diagnostic is done, a characterization of the prairies, epiphytes covering, associate fauna and it structures of the prairies

  14. Peatlands of the Peruvian Puna ecoregion: types, characteristics and disturbance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Salvador

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Peatlands represent one of the most important water resources in the Puna grassland ecoregion, but this fact is not yet widely recognised. Puna peatlands also provide key environmental services such as increasing the regional biodiversity of the Andean Altiplano plateau and contributing to the wellbeing of high-altitude human populations by providing grazing land and cooking fuel. We conducted a study in the Peruvian Puna ecoregion to describe the current condition of peatlands in terms of their vegetation, physical and chemical characteristics and disturbance status. Our results suggest that peat thickness, organic matter and degree of humification are good indicators for identifying peatlands in the Puna ecoregion. In general, the peatland sites that we sampled were dominated by mixtures of cushion and acaulescent rosette forming plants such as Distichia muscoides Nees & Meyen and Plantago tubulosa Decne. These Distichia and Plantago peatland sites were characterised by a mean surface water pH of 6.3, corrected electrical conductivity (K corr. in the range 300–1814 μS cm-1 and presented the following mean exchangeable cation values: Ca2+ 48 mg L-1, Mg2+ 9.6 mg L-1, Na+ 8.2 mg L-1 and K+ 2.1 mg L-1. The most common causes of disturbance we encountered were grazing, peat extraction and roads. Disturbance was most severe in mining sites, where peatlands are especially vulnerable because they are not under legal protection.

  15. Patterns and drivers for wetland connections in the Prairie Pothole Region, United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vanderhoof, Melanie; Christensen, Jay R.; Alexander, Laurie C.

    2017-01-01

    Ecosystem function in rivers, lakes and coastal waters depends on the functioning of upstream aquatic ecosystems, necessitating an improved understanding of watershed-scale interactions including variable surface-water flows between wetlands and streams. As surface water in the Prairie Pothole Region expands in wet years, surface-water connections occur between many depressional wetlands and streams. Minimal research has explored the spatial patterns and drivers for the abundance of these connections, despite their potential to inform resource management and regulatory programs including the U.S. Clean Water Act. In this study, wetlands were identified that did not intersect the stream network, but were shown with Landsat images (1990–2011) to become merged with the stream network as surface water expanded. Wetlands were found to spill into or consolidate with other wetlands within both small (2–10 wetlands) and large (>100 wetlands) wetland clusters, eventually intersecting a stream channel, most often via a riparian wetland. These surface-water connections occurred over a wide range of wetland distances from streams (averaging 90–1400 m in different ecoregions). Differences in the spatial abundance of wetlands that show a variable surface-water connection to a stream were best explained by smaller wetland-to-wetland distances, greater wetland abundance, and maximum surface-water extent. This analysis demonstrated that wetland arrangement and surface water expansion are important mechanisms for depressional wetlands to connect to streams and provides a first step to understanding the frequency and abundance of these surface-water connections across the Prairie Pothole Region.

  16. Invasive plants affect prairie soil biology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Non-native or exotic plants often cause ecological and environmental damage in ecosystems where they invade and become established. These invasive plants may be the most serious threat to plant diversity in prairies, especially those in scattered remnants, which may be particularly vulnerable to rap...

  17. Timber resource of Minnesota's Prairie unit, 1977.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jerold T. Hahn; W. Brad Smith

    1980-01-01

    The fourth inventory of Minnesota's Prairie Unit shows that although commercial forest area decreased 31.7% between 1962 and 1977, growing-stock volume increased 22%. This report gives statistical highlights and contains detailed tables of forest area as well as timber volume, growth, mortality, ownership, and use.

  18. Timber resource of Missouri's Prairie, 1972.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jerold T. Hahn; Alexander Vasilevsky

    1975-01-01

    The third timber inventory of Missouri's Prairie Forest Survey Unit shows substantial declines in both growing-stock and sawtimber volumes between 1959 and 1972. Commercial forest area declined by one-fifth. Presents highlights and statistics on forest area and timber volume, growth, mortality, ownership, and use in 1972.

  19. Extension of landscape-based population viability models to ecoregional scales for conservation planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas W. Bonnot; Frank R. III Thompson; Joshua Millspaugh

    2011-01-01

    Landscape-based population models are potentially valuable tools in facilitating conservation planning and actions at large scales. However, such models have rarely been applied at ecoregional scales. We extended landscape-based population models to ecoregional scales for three species of concern in the Central Hardwoods Bird Conservation Region and compared model...

  20. Ecoregions of the conterminous United States: evolution of a hierarchical spatial framework

    Science.gov (United States)

    Omernik, James M.; Griffith, Glenn E.

    2014-01-01

    A map of ecological regions of the conterminous United States, first published in 1987, has been greatly refined and expanded into a hierarchical spatial framework in response to user needs, particularly by state resource management agencies. In collaboration with scientists and resource managers from numerous agencies and institutions in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, the framework has been expanded to cover North America, and the original ecoregions (now termed Level III) have been refined, subdivided, and aggregated to identify coarser as well as more detailed spatial units. The most generalized units (Level I) define 10 ecoregions in the conterminous U.S., while the finest-scale units (Level IV) identify 967 ecoregions. In this paper, we explain the logic underpinning the approach, discuss the evolution of the regional mapping process, and provide examples of how the ecoregions were distinguished at each hierarchical level. The variety of applications of the ecoregion framework illustrates its utility in resource assessment and management.

  1. A Prairie Dog Abatement Program in San Juan County, Utah

    OpenAIRE

    Messmer, Terry A.; Keyes, Jim; McDonald, Roy

    1993-01-01

    Four species of prairie dogs are native to the plains and plateaus of the western United States. The most abundant and widely distributed of these is the blacktailed prairie dog, (Cynomys ludovicianus). This species has been a frequent topic of discussion at previous Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control workshops. Black-tailed prairie dog ecology and management was the topic of a panel discussion held at the Fifth Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Workshop, in Lincoln, Nebraska (Timm and J...

  2. RESEARCH: An Ecoregional Approach to the Economic Valuation of Land- and Water-Based Recreation in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhat; Bergstrom; Teasley; Bowker; Cordell

    1998-01-01

    / This paper describes a framework for estimating the economic value of outdoor recreation across different ecoregions. Ten ecoregions in the continental United States were defined based on similarly functioning ecosystem characters. The individual travel cost method was employed to estimate recreation demand functions for activities such as motor boating and waterskiing, developed and primitive camping, coldwater fishing, sightseeing and pleasure driving, and big game hunting for each ecoregion. While our ecoregional approach differs conceptually from previous work, our results appear consistent with the previous travel cost method valuation studies.KEY WORDS: Recreation; Ecoregion; Travel cost method; Truncated Poisson model

  3. Prairies Water Management on Corps Lands

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-02-01

    infiltration, autogenic mechanisms can lead to the recovery of essential soil processes. The Role of Organic Matter in Soil Formation. In a prairie...management in EP-1130-2-540 (USACE 2005), and does not have a fire management training program in place (USACE 2008). Some Corps resource managers...are trained and partner with other entities to conduct prescribed burns on Corps grasslands. However, prescribed burning as a management strategy is

  4. Ecoregions and ecodistricts: Ecological regionalizations for the Netherlands' environmental policy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klijn, Frans; de Waal, Rein W.; Oude Voshaar, Jan H.

    1995-11-01

    For communicating data on the state of the environment to policy makers, various integrative frameworks are used, including regional integration. For this kind of integration we have developed two related ecological regionalizations, ecoregions and ecodistricts, which are two levels in a series of classifications for hierarchically nested ecosystems at different spatial scale levels. We explain the compilation of the maps from existing geographical data, demonstrating the relatively holistic, a priori integrated approach. The resulting maps are submitted to discriminant analysis to test the consistancy of the use of mapping characteristics, using data on individual abiotic ecosystem components from a national database on a 1-km2 grid. This reveals that the spatial patterns of soil, groundwater, and geomorphology correspond with the ecoregion and ecodistrict maps. Differences between the original maps and maps formed by automatically reclassifying 1-km2 cells with these discriminant components are found to be few. These differences are discussed against the background of the principal dilemma between deductive, a priori integrated, and inductive, a posteriori, classification.

  5. Arizona/New Mexico Plateau Ecoregion: Chapter 26 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruhlman, Jana; Gass, Leila; Middleton, Barry

    2012-01-01

    Situated between ecoregions of distinctly different topographies and climates, the Arizona/New Mexico Plateau Ecoregion represents a large area of approximately 192,869 km2 (74,467 mi2) that stretches across northern Arizona, central and northwestern New Mexico, and parts of southwestern Colorado; in addition, a small part extends into southeastern Nevada (fig. 1) (Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997). Forested, mountainous terrain borders the ecoregion on the northeast (Southern Rockies Ecoregion) and southwest (Arizona/New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion). Warmer and drier climates exist to the south (Chihuahuan Deserts Ecoregion) and west (Mojave Basin and Range Ecoregion). The semiarid grasslands of the western Great Plains are to the east (Southwestern Tablelands Ecoregion), and the tablelands of the Colorado Plateau in Utah and western Colorado lie to the north (Colorado Plateaus Ecoregion). The Arizona/New Mexico Plateau Ecoregion occupies a significant portion of the southern half of the Colorado Plateau.

  6. Changes in Species Richness and Composition of Tiger Moths (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae) among Three Neotropical Ecoregions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beccacece, Hernán Mario; Zeballos, Sebastián Rodolfo; Zapata, Adriana Inés

    2016-01-01

    Paraná, Yungas and Chaco Serrano ecoregions are among the most species-rich terrestrial habitats at higher latitude. However, the information for tiger moths, one of the most speciose groups of moths, is unknown in these ecoregions. In this study, we assess their species richness and composition in all three of these ecoregions. Also we investigated whether the species composition of tiger moths is influenced by climatic factors and altitude. Tiger moth species were obtained with samples from 71 sites using standardized protocols (21 sites were in Yungas, 19 in Paraná and 31 in Chaco Serrano). Rarefaction-extrapolation curves, non-parametric estimators for incidence and sample coverage indices were performed to assess species richness in the ecoregions studied. Non metric multidimensional scaling and adonis tests were performed to compare the species composition of tiger moths among ecoregions. Permutest analysis and Pearson correlation were used to evaluate the relationship among species composition and annual mean temperature, annual temperature range, annual precipitation, precipitation seasonality and altitude. Among ecoregions Paraná was the richest with 125 species, followed by Yungas with 63 species and Chaco Serrano with 24 species. Species composition differed among these ecoregions, although Yungas and Chaco Serrano were more similar than Paraná. Species composition was significantly influenced by climatic factors and altitude. This study showed that species richness and species composition of tiger moths differed among the three ecoregions assessed. Furthermore, not only climatic factors and altitude influence the species composition of tiger moths among ecoregions, but also climatic seasonality at higher latitude in Neotropical South America becomes an important factor. PMID:27681478

  7. Changes in Species Richness and Composition of Tiger Moths (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae among Three Neotropical Ecoregions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hernán Mario Beccacece

    Full Text Available Paraná, Yungas and Chaco Serrano ecoregions are among the most species-rich terrestrial habitats at higher latitude. However, the information for tiger moths, one of the most speciose groups of moths, is unknown in these ecoregions. In this study, we assess their species richness and composition in all three of these ecoregions. Also we investigated whether the species composition of tiger moths is influenced by climatic factors and altitude. Tiger moth species were obtained with samples from 71 sites using standardized protocols (21 sites were in Yungas, 19 in Paraná and 31 in Chaco Serrano. Rarefaction-extrapolation curves, non-parametric estimators for incidence and sample coverage indices were performed to assess species richness in the ecoregions studied. Non metric multidimensional scaling and adonis tests were performed to compare the species composition of tiger moths among ecoregions. Permutest analysis and Pearson correlation were used to evaluate the relationship among species composition and annual mean temperature, annual temperature range, annual precipitation, precipitation seasonality and altitude. Among ecoregions Paraná was the richest with 125 species, followed by Yungas with 63 species and Chaco Serrano with 24 species. Species composition differed among these ecoregions, although Yungas and Chaco Serrano were more similar than Paraná. Species composition was significantly influenced by climatic factors and altitude. This study showed that species richness and species composition of tiger moths differed among the three ecoregions assessed. Furthermore, not only climatic factors and altitude influence the species composition of tiger moths among ecoregions, but also climatic seasonality at higher latitude in Neotropical South America becomes an important factor.

  8. Chicago's Columbus Park: The Prairie Idealized. Teaching with Historic Places.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bachrach, Julia Sniderman; Nathan, Jo Ann

    Twenty-four year old Jens Jensen came to the United States, settled in Chicago (Illinois), and promptly fell in love with the Midwest's prairie landscape. Although some thought that prairie was boring, monotonous, and ordinary, Jensen saw great beauty in the tree-filled groves, long winding rivers, natural rock formations and waterfalls, and the…

  9. Use of ecological sites in managing wildlife and livestock: An example with prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prairie dogs are a native rodent found in the mixed grass prairie of the northern Great Plains. Prairie dogs can have an adverse impact on the amount of forages available for grazing livestock. In the Native American community, prairie dogs are often valued as a cultural resource and as an importan...

  10. 78 FR 17224 - Environmental Impact Statement; Proposed South Puget Sound Prairie Habitat Conservation Plan...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-03-20

    ... sizable portion of South Puget Sound Prairie habitat is located in the urban-rural interface and in the...-FF01E00000] Environmental Impact Statement; Proposed South Puget Sound Prairie Habitat Conservation Plan... permit application would be associated the South Puget Sound Prairie Habitat Conservation Plan (Prairie...

  11. Restoration and winter avian use of isolated prairies in eastern Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    D. Craig Rudolph; Dave E. Plair; Dan Jones; J. Howard Williamson; Clifford E. Shackelford; Richard R. Schaefer; Joshua B. Pierce

    2014-01-01

    Numerous isolated prairies exist, or existed, on the West Gulf Coastal Plain east of the main distribution of the prairie ecosystem. Changing land-use patterns and suppression of wildfire have destroyed almost all of these small prairie occurrences. Intensified restoration and management of degraded prairie habitat on the Sam Houston National Forest in southeastern...

  12. Prairie Monitoring Protocol Development: North Coast and Cascades Network

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCoy, Allen; Dalby, Craig

    2009-01-01

    The purpose of the project was to conduct research that will guide development of a standard approach to monitoring several components of prairies within the North Coast and Cascades Network (NCCN) parks. Prairies are an important element of the natural environment at many parks, including San Juan Island National Historical Park (NHP) and Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve (NHR). Forests have been encroaching on these prairies for many years, and so monitoring of the prairies is an important resource issue. This project specifically focused on San Juan Island NHP. Prairies at Ebey's Landing NHR will be monitored in the future, but that park was not mapped as part of this prototype project. In the interest of efficiency, the Network decided to investigate two main issues before launching a full protocol development effort: (1) the imagery requirements for monitoring prairie components, and (2) the effectiveness of software to assist in extracting features from the imagery. Several components of prairie monitoring were initially identified as being easily tracked using aerial imagery. These components included prairie/forest edge, broad prairie composition (for example, shrubs, scattered trees), and internal exclusions (for example, shrubs, bare ground). In addition, we believed that it might be possible to distinguish different grasses in the prairies if the imagery were of high enough resolution. Although the areas in question at San Juan Island NHP are small enough that mapping on the ground with GPS (Global Positioning System) would be feasible, other applications could benefit from aerial image acquisition on a regular, recurring basis and thereby make the investment in aerial imagery worthwhile. The additional expense of orthorectifying the imagery also was determined to be cost-effective.

  13. Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment: pre-assessment report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Assal, Timothy J.; Melcher, Cynthia P.; Carr, Natasha B.

    2015-01-01

    The purpose of the Pre-Assessment Report for the Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment (REA) is to document the selection process for and final list of Conservation Elements, Change Agents, and Management Questions developed during Phase I. The overall goal of the REAs being conducted for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is to provide information that supports regional planning and analysis for the management of ecological resources. The REA provides an assessment of baseline ecological conditions, an evaluation of current risks from drivers of ecosystem change, and a predictive capacity for evaluating future risks. The REA also may be used for identifying priority areas for conservation or restoration and for assessing the cumulative effects of a variety of land uses. There are several components of the REAs. Management Questions, developed by the BLM and partners for the ecoregion, identify the information needed for addressing land-management responsibilities. Conservation Elements represent regionally significant terrestrial and aquatic species and communities that are to be conserved and (or) restored. For each Conservation Element, key ecological attributes will be evaluated to determine the status of each species and community. The REA also will evaluate major drivers of ecosystem change, or Change Agents, currently affecting or likely to affect the status of Conservation Elements in the future. The relationships between Change Agents and key ecological attributes will be summarized using conceptual models. The REA process is a two-phase process. Phase I (pre-assessment) includes developing and finalizing the lists of priority Management Questions, Conservation Elements, and Change Agents, culminating in the REA Pre-Assessment Report.

  14. Oxytocin reduces alcohol consumption in prairie voles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevenson, J R; Wenner, S M; Freestone, D M; Romaine, C C; Parian, M C; Christian, S M; Bohidar, A E; Ndem, J R; Vogel, I R; O'Kane, C M

    2017-10-01

    Alcohol use disorder (AUD) negatively affects millions of people every year in the United States, and effective treatments for AUD are still needed. The neuropeptide oxytocin has shown promise for reducing alcohol drinking in mice and rats. Because oxytocin also plays a key role in complex prosocial behaviors like bonding and attachment, we tested the effect of oxytocin on alcohol drinking in prairie voles, a species that both consumes high amounts of alcohol and forms oxytocin dependent social bonds in a manner similar to humans. Oxytocin treatment (1.0, 3.0, and 10.0mg/kg, i.p.) reduced alcohol consumption in male and female prairie voles in animals that had access to 15% ethanol vs water every other day for 12 alcohol drinking sessions. In animals with continuous access to 15% alcohol and water, oxytocin (3.0mg/kg) reduced alcohol consumption only in the first hour of access after treatment, with no significant effects on consumption over the 24-hr period. In an open field locomotor test, oxytocin (1.0, 3.0, and 10.0mg/kg, i.p.) did not affect overall locomotor activity; however, ethanol (2g/kg, i.p.) increased locomotor activity in males and females, and produced anxiolytic effects (increased time in the center of an open field) in females only. Because prairie voles have been shown to match the alcohol consumption of their cage mate, we evaluated the relationship between cage mates' alcohol drinking. There was an overall pattern of social facilitation (consumption by one cage mate predicted consumption by the other cage mate); however, we found significant individual differences across cages in which many cages did not show significant matching, and, in some cases one cage mate's consumption negatively predicted the other cage mate's consumption. Overall, our data provide support for the potential of oxytocin as a treatment to reduce alcohol consumption. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. A fine structure genetic analysis evaluating ecoregional adaptability of a Bos taurus breed (Hereford)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ecoregional differences contribute to genetic environmental interactions and impact animal performance. These differences may become more important under climate change scenarios. Utilizing genetic diversity within a species to address such problems has not been fully explored. In this study Herefor...

  16. A PROPOSED METHODOLOGY FOR ESTIMATING ECOREGIONAL VALUES FOR OUTDOOR RECREATION IN THE UNITED STATES

    OpenAIRE

    Bhat, Gajanan; Bergstrom, John C.; Bowker, James Michael; Cordell, H. Ken

    1996-01-01

    This paper provides a methodology for the estimation of recreational demand functions and values using an ecoregional approach. Ten ecoregions in the continental US were defined based on similarly functioning ecosystem characters. The individual travel cost method was employed to estimate the recreational demand functions for activities such as motorboating and waterskiing, developed and primative camping, coldwater fishing, sightseeing and pleasure driving, and big game hunting for each ecor...

  17. Temporal and spatial patterns of wetland extent influence variability of surface water connectivity in the Prairie Pothole Region, United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vanderhoof, Melanie; Alexander, Laurie C.; Todd, Jason

    2016-01-01

    Context. Quantifying variability in landscape-scale surface water connectivity can help improve our understanding of the multiple effects of wetlands on downstream waterways. Objectives. We examined how wetland merging and the coalescence of wetlands with streams varied both spatially (among ecoregions) and interannually (from drought to deluge) across parts of the Prairie Pothole Region. Methods. Wetland extent was derived over a time series (1990-2011) using Landsat imagery. Changes in landscape-scale connectivity, generated by the physical coalescence of wetlands with other surface water features, were quantified by fusing static wetland and stream datasets with Landsat-derived wetland extent maps, and related to multiple wetness indices. The usage of Landsat allows for decadal-scale analysis, but limits the types of surface water connections that can be detected. Results. Wetland extent correlated positively with the merging of wetlands and wetlands with streams. Wetness conditions, as defined by drought indices and runoff, were positively correlated with wetland extent, but less consistently correlated with measures of surface water connectivity. The degree of wetland-wetland merging was found to depend less on total wetland area or density, and more on climate conditions, as well as the threshold for how wetland/upland was defined. In contrast, the merging of wetlands with streams was positively correlated with stream density, and inversely related to wetland density. Conclusions. Characterizing the degree of surface water connectivity within the Prairie Pothole Region in North America requires consideration of 1) climate-driven variation in wetness conditions and 2) within-region variation in wetland and stream spatial arrangements.

  18. Drought, Climate Change and the Canadian Prairies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stewart, R. E.

    2010-03-01

    The occurrence of drought is a ubiquitous feature of the global water cycle. Such an extreme does not necessarily lead to an overall change in the magnitude of the global water cycle but it of course affects the regional cycling of water. Droughts are recurring aspects of weather and climate extremes as are floods and tornadoes, but they differ substantially since they have long durations and lack easily identified onsets and terminations. Drought is a relatively common feature of the North American and Canadian climate system and all regions of the continent are affected from time-to-time. However, it tends to be most common and severe over the central regions of the continent. The Canadian Prairies are therefore prone to drought. Droughts in the Canadian Prairies are distinctive in North America. The large scale atmospheric circulations are influenced by blocking from intense orography to the west and long distances from all warm ocean-derived atmospheric water sources; growing season precipitation is generated by a highly complex combination of frontal and convective systems; seasonality is severe and characterized by a relatively long snow-covered and short growing seasons; local surface runoff is primarily produced by snowmelt water; there is substantial water storage potential in the poorly drained, post-glacial topography; and aquifers are overlain by impermeable glacial till, but there are also important permeable aquifers. One example of Prairie drought is the recent one that began in 1999 with cessation of its atmospheric component in 2004/2005 and many of its hydrological components in 2005. This event produced the worst drought for at least a hundred years in parts of the Canadian Prairies. Even in the dust bowl of the 1930s, no single year over the central Prairies were drier than in 2001. The drought affected agriculture, recreation, tourism, health, hydro-electricity, and forestry in the Prairies. Gross Domestic Product fell some 5.8 billion and

  19. Southern marl prairies conceptual ecological model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, S.M.; Loftus, W.F.; Gaiser, E.E.; Huffman, A.E.

    2005-01-01

    About 190,000 ha of higher-elevation marl prairies flank either side of Shark River Slough in the southern Everglades. Water levels typically drop below the ground surface each year in this landscape. Consequently, peat soil accretion is inhibited, and substrates consist either of calcitic marl produced by algal periphyton mats or exposed limestone bedrock. The southern marl prairies support complex mosaics of wet prairie, sawgrass sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense), tree islands, and tropical hammock communities and a high diversity of plant species. However, relatively short hydroperiods and annual dry downs provide stressful conditions for aquatic fauna, affecting survival in the dry season when surface water is absent. Here, we present a conceptual ecological model developed for this landscape through scientific concensus, use of empirical data, and modeling. The two major societal drivers affecting the southern marl prairies are water management practices and agricultural and urban development. These drivers lead to five groups of ecosystem stressors: loss of spatial extent and connectivity, shortened hydroperiod and increased drought severity, extended hydroperiod and drying pattern reversals, introduction and spread of non-native trees, and introduction and spread of non-native fishes. Major ecological attributes include periphyton mats, plant species diversity and community mosaic, Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis), marsh fishes and associated aquatic fauna prey base, American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), and wading bird early dry season foraging. Water management and development are hypothesized to have a negative effect on the ecological attributes of the southern marl prairies in the following ways. Periphyton mats have decreased in cover in areas where hydroperiod has been significantly reduced and changed in community composition due to inverse responses to increased nutrient availability. Plant species diversity and

  20. Sylvatic plague vaccine and management of prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocke, Tonie E.

    2012-01-01

    Scientists at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Wisconsin (UW), have developed a sylvatic plague vaccine that shows great promise in protecting prairie dogs against plague (Mencher and others, 2004; Rocke and others, 2010). Four species of prairie dogs reside in the United States and Canada, and all are highly susceptible to plague and regularly experience outbreaks with devastating losses. Along with habitat loss and poisoning, plague has contributed to a significant historical decline in prairie dog populations. By some estimates, prairie dogs now occupy only 1 to 2 percent of their former range (Proctor and others, 2006), with prairie dog colonies being now much smaller and fragmented than they were historically, making individual colonies more vulnerable to elimination by plague (Antolin and others, 2002). At least one species, the Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens) is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) as "threatened." Controlling plague is a vital concern for ongoing management and conservation efforts for prairie dogs. Current efforts to halt the spread of plague in prairie dog colonies typically rely on dusting individual prairie dog burrows with pesticides to kill plague-infected fleas. Although flea-control insecticides, such as deltamethrin, are useful in stopping plague outbreaks in these prairie dog colonies, dusting of burrows is labor intensive and time consuming and may affect other insects and arthropods. As an alternative approach, NWHC and UW scientists developed a sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) for prairie dogs that can be delivered via oral bait. Laboratory studies have shown that consumption of this vaccine-laden bait by different prairie dog species results in significant protection against plague infection that can last for at least 9 months (Rocke and others, 2010; Rocke, unpublished). Work has now shifted to optimizing baits and distribution methods for

  1. Klamath Mountains Ecoregion: Chapter 13 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sleeter, Benjamin M.; Calzia, James P.

    2012-01-01

    The Klamath Mountains Ecoregion covers approximately 47,791 km2 (18,452 mi2) of the Klamath and Siskiyou Mountains of northern California and southern Oregon (fig. 1) (Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997). The ecoregion is flanked by the Coast Range Ecoregion to the west, the Southern and Central California Chaparral and Oak Woodlands Ecoregion to the south, the Cascades and the Eastern Cascades Slopes and Foothills Ecoregions to the east, and the Willamette Valley Ecoregion to the north. The mild Mediterranean climate of the ecoregion is characterized by hot, dry summers and wet winters; the amount of winter moisture varies within the ecoregion, decreasing from west to east. The Klamath–Siskiyou Mountains region is widely recognized as an important biodiversity hotspot (Whittaker, 1960; Kruckeberg, 1984; Wagner, 1997; DellaSala and others, 1999), containing more than 3,500 plant species, more than 200 of which are endemic (Sawyer, 2007). A biological assessment by DellaSala and others (1999) ranked the Klamath–Siskiyou Mountains region as the fifth richest coniferous forest in terms of species diversity. In addition, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature considers the region an area of notable botanical importance (Wagner, 1997). Twenty-nine different species of conifers can be found in the Klamath Mountains Ecoregion (Sawyer, 1996).

  2. Ecoregion-Based Conservation Planning in the Mediterranean: Dealing with Large-Scale Heterogeneity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giakoumi, Sylvaine; Sini, Maria; Gerovasileiou, Vasilis; Mazor, Tessa; Beher, Jutta; Possingham, Hugh P.; Abdulla, Ameer; Çinar, Melih Ertan; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; Gucu, Ali Cemal; Karamanlidis, Alexandros A.; Rodic, Petra; Panayotidis, Panayotis; Taskin, Ergun; Jaklin, Andrej; Voultsiadou, Eleni; Webster, Chloë; Zenetos, Argyro; Katsanevakis, Stelios

    2013-01-01

    Spatial priorities for the conservation of three key Mediterranean habitats, i.e. seagrass Posidonia oceanica meadows, coralligenous formations, and marine caves, were determined through a systematic planning approach. Available information on the distribution of these habitats across the entire Mediterranean Sea was compiled to produce basin-scale distribution maps. Conservation targets for each habitat type were set according to European Union guidelines. Surrogates were used to estimate the spatial variation of opportunity cost for commercial, non-commercial fishing, and aquaculture. Marxan conservation planning software was used to evaluate the comparative utility of two planning scenarios: (a) a whole-basin scenario, referring to selection of priority areas across the whole Mediterranean Sea, and (b) an ecoregional scenario, in which priority areas were selected within eight predefined ecoregions. Although both scenarios required approximately the same total area to be protected in order to achieve conservation targets, the opportunity cost differed between them. The whole-basin scenario yielded a lower opportunity cost, but the Alboran Sea ecoregion was not represented and priority areas were predominantly located in the Ionian, Aegean, and Adriatic Seas. In comparison, the ecoregional scenario resulted in a higher representation of ecoregions and a more even distribution of priority areas, albeit with a higher opportunity cost. We suggest that planning at the ecoregional level ensures better representativeness of the selected conservation features and adequate protection of species, functional, and genetic diversity across the basin. While there are several initiatives that identify priority areas in the Mediterranean Sea, our approach is novel as it combines three issues: (a) it is based on the distribution of habitats and not species, which was rarely the case in previous efforts, (b) it considers spatial variability of cost throughout this

  3. Carcass Search & Recovery Guidelines for Black Tailed Prairie Dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    The availability of dead or intoxicated prairie dogs above ground will be monitored, recorded and these carcasses will be properly disposed of, in accordance with the procedures described on this page.

  4. NPP Grassland: Konza Prairie, USA, 1984-1990, R1

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set contains three ASCII files (.txt format). Two files contain above-ground biomass and productivity data for a humid temperate tall-grass prairie...

  5. Two decades of prairie restoration at Fermilab, Batavia, Illinois

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Betz, R.F. [Northeastern Illinois Univ., Chicago, IL (United States); Lootens, R.J.; Becker, M.K. [Fermi National Accelerator Lab., Batavia, IL (United States)

    1996-12-31

    Successional Restoration is the method being used to restore the prairie at Fermilab on the former agricultural fields. This involves an initial planting, using aggressive species that have wide ecological tolerances which will grow well on abandoned agricultural fields. Collectively, these species are designated as the prairie matrix. The species used for this prairie matrix compete with and eventually eliminate most weedy species. They also provide an adequate fuel load capable of sustaining a fire within a few years after a site has been initially planted. Associated changes in the biological and physical structure of the soil help prepare the way for the successful introduction of plants of the later successional species. Only after the species of the prairie matrix are well established, is the species diversity increased by introducing species with narrower ecological tolerances. These species are thus characteristic of the later successional stages.

  6. Public knowledge and perceptions of black-tailed prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamb, B.L.; Cline, K.

    2003-01-01

    Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) historically occupied an 11-state region of the United States. We surveyed 1,900 residents (response rate 56%) of this region to understand citizen knowledge and perceptions about prairie dogs and their management. Those who have direct experience - e.g., those who live very close to prairie dog colonies or know the location of the nearest colony - have higher levels of knowledge. A significantly higher level of knowledge was documented among those who were politically active when compared with the general public. Those who found environmental issues difficult to understand were associated with lower knowledge. People with direct experience were likely to hold negative views, whereas those holding environmentalist values were likely to express positive attitudes toward the species. Although those with higher education reported more knowledge, there was no link between a person's level of knowledge and perceptions of prairie dog management.

  7. Brant Prairie : Union Gas customer service centre, Brantford, Ontario

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hensel, M.J.; Thompson, J. [The Walter Fedy Partnership, Kitchener, ON (Canada)

    1998-12-31

    The four-acre ecological restoration of tall grass prairie, wetland and Savannah ecosystems within the Union Gas Customer Service Centre in Brantford, Ontario is discussed. The restoration of the Brant Prairie site was instigated three years ago through Union Gas` land stewardship and environmental action initiative which tried to encourage the diversity and dynamics of each ecosystem, while creating a community resource for visitors to learn about natural heritage. The Brantford initiative includes: (1) protecting the sedge wetland which contained regionally rare species, (2) maintaining the dynamic water budget while protecting the sedge wetland from roadway contaminants, (3) creating a tall grass prairie similar in diversity and aesthetics to Brantford`s surviving prairie remnants, (4) creating a wildlife habitat for butterflies, birds and aquatic species, and (5) rediscovering partridge pea by uncovering a historic seed bank.

  8. Proceedings of the third prairie conservation and endangered species workshop

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Holroyd, G.L.; Diskson, H.L.; Regnier, M.; Smith, H.C. (eds.)

    1993-01-01

    The Canadian prairies support a major agricultural economy and a declining abundance of wildlife. Soil erosion and water quality threaten the long-term viability of agriculture; half of Canada's endangered and threatened birds and mammals share the prairies. Wise policies of resource management are needed to solve these problems. A workshop was held to address the issue of how to manage the prairies to promote sustained agriculture and to conserve the wildlife that are in jeopardy. Papers were presented on the relationships between agriculture and wildlife, land restoration, climate change, pesticides, the Prairie Conservation Action Plan, plant conservation, amphibians, reptiles, migratory birds and other wildfowl, and mammals. Separate abstracts have been prepared for two papers from this workshop.

  9. Disease limits populations: plague and black-tailed prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cully, Jack F.; Johnson, T.; Collinge, S.K.; Ray, C.

    2010-01-01

    Plague is an exotic vector-borne disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that causes mortality rates approaching 100% in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). We mapped the perimeter of the active portions of black-tailed prairie dog colonies annually between 1999 and 2005 at four prairie dog colony complexes in areas with a history of plague, as well as at two complexes that were located outside the distribution of plague at the time of mapping and had therefore never been affected by the disease. We hypothesized that the presence of plague would significantly reduce overall black-tailed prairie dog colony area, reduce the sizes of colonies on these landscapes, and increase nearest-neighbor distances between colonies. Within the region historically affected by plague, individual colonies were smaller, nearest-neighbor distances were greater, and the proportion of potential habitat occupied by active prairie dog colonies was smaller than at plague-free sites. Populations that endured plague were composed of fewer large colonies (>100 ha) than populations that were historically plague free. We suggest that these differences among sites in colony size and isolation may slow recolonization after extirpation. At the same time, greater intercolony distances may also reduce intercolony transmission of pathogens. Reduced transmission among smaller and more distant colonies may ultimately enhance long-term prairie dog population persistence in areas where plague is present.

  10. Interspecific comparisons of sylvatic plague in prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cully, J.F.; Williams, E.S.

    2001-01-01

    Of the 3 major factors (habitat loss, poisoning, and disease) that limit abundance of prairie dogs today, sylvatic plague caused by Yersinia pestis is the 1 factor that is beyond human control. Plague epizootics frequently kill >99% of prairie dogs in infected colonies. Although epizootics of sylvatic plague occur throughout most of the range of prairie dogs in the United States and are well described, long-term maintenance of plague in enzootic rodent species is not well documented or understood. We review dynamics of plague in white-tailed (Cynomys leucurus), Gunnison's (C. gunnisoni), and black-tailed (C. ludovicianus) prairie dogs, and their rodent and flea associates. We use epidemiologic concepts to support an enzootic hypothesis in which the disease is maintained in a dynamic state, which requires transmission of Y. pestis to be slower than recruitment of new susceptible mammal hosts. Major effects of plague are to reduce colony size of black-tailed prairie dogs and increase intercolony distances within colony complexes. In the presence of plague, black-tailed prairie dogs will probably survive in complexes of small colonies that are usually >3 km from their nearest neighbor colonies.

  11. Gap analysis and conservation network for freshwater wetlands in Central Yangtze Ecoregion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiaowen, Li; Haijin, Zhuge; Li, Mengdi

    2013-01-01

    The Central Yangtze Ecoregion contains a large area of internationally important freshwater wetlands and supports a huge number of endangered waterbirds; however, these unique wetlands and the biodiversity they support are under the constant threats of human development pressures, and the prevailing conservation strategies generated based on the local scale cannot adequately be used as guidelines for ecoregion-based conservation initiatives for Central Yangtze at the broad scale. This paper aims at establishing and optimizing an ecological network for freshwater wetland conservation in the Central Yangtze Ecoregion based on large-scale gap analysis. A group of focal species and GIS-based extrapolation technique were employed to identify the potential habitats and conservation gaps, and the optimized conservation network was then established by combining existing protective system and identified conservation gaps. Our results show that only 23.49% of the potential habitats of the focal species have been included in the existing nature reserves in the Central Yangtze Ecoregion. To effectively conserve over 80% of the potential habitats for the focal species by optimizing the existing conservation network for the freshwater wetlands in Central Yangtze Ecoregion, it is necessary to establish new wetland nature reserves in 22 county units across Hubei, Anhui, and Jiangxi provinces.

  12. An ecoregional approach to the economic valuation of land- and water-based recreation in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gajana Bhat; John Bergsrom; R. Jeff. Teasley

    1998-01-01

    This paper describes a framework for estimating the economic value of outdoor recreation across different ecoregions. Ten ecoregions in the continental United States were defined based on similarly functioning ecosystem characters. The individual travel cost method was employed to estimate recreation demand functions for activities such...

  13. Mammal occurrence and roadkill in two adjacent ecoregions (Atlantic Forest and Cerrado in south-western Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nilton C. Cáceres

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available This paper examines the frequencies of mammal roadkill in two adjacent biogeographic ecoregions (Atlantic Forest and Cerrado of Brazil. Mammals were recorded during a seven-year period and over 3,900 km of roads, in order to obtain data for frequencies of species in habitats (sites and frequencies of species killed by cars on roads. Sites (n = 80 within ecoregions (Cerrado, n = 57; Atlantic Forest, n = 23 were searched for records of mammals. Species surveyed in the entire region totaled 33, belonging to nine orders and 16 families. In the Cerrado, 31 species were recorded in habitats; of these, 25 were found dead on roads. In the Atlantic Forest ecoregions, however, we found 21 species in habitats, 16 of which were also found dead on roads. There was no overall significant difference between ecoregions for frequencies of occurrence in habitats or for roadkills, but there were differences between individual species. Hence, anteaters were mostly recorded in the Cerrado ecoregion, whereas caviomorph rodents tended to be more frequent in the Atlantic Forest ecoregion (seen mainly by roadkills. The greater number of species (overall and threatened and the greater abundance of species records in the Cerrado suggest that this ecoregion has a greater biodiversity and is better conserved than the Atlantic Forest ecoregion, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, south-western Brazil.

  14. Reversing a tree regeneration crisis in an endangered ecoregion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Joern; Stott, Jenny; Zerger, Andre; Warren, Garth; Sherren, Kate; Forrester, Robert I

    2009-06-23

    Global food demand is growing rapidly. Livestock grazing can provide a valuable source of protein, but conventional grazing is often unsustainable. We studied an 800,000-ha section of a threatened ecoregion in southeastern Australia. Conventional management in the region involves continuous livestock grazing with few rest periods and regular fertilizer application. By using remotely sensed data on tree cover and extensive field data on livestock grazing regimes, soil chemistry, tree diameters, and tree regeneration, we show that the region is facing a tree regeneration crisis. Under conventional management, across the region, millions of hectares of land currently supporting tens of millions of trees will be treeless within decades from now. This would have severe negative ramifications for biodiversity and key ecosystem services, including water infiltration and shade provision for livestock. However, we identified an unexpected win-win solution for tree regeneration and commercial grazing. A relatively new practice in the region is fast-rotational grazing, characterized by prolonged rest periods in between short, intensive grazing events. The probability of regeneration under fast-rotational grazing was up to 4-fold higher than under conventional grazing, and it did not differ significantly from the probability of regeneration in ungrazed areas. In addition, trees were more likely to regenerate where soil nutrient levels were low. These findings suggest that the tree regeneration crisis can be reversed by applying low-input, fast-rotational grazing. New policy settings supporting these practices could signal a turning point for the region, from ecological decline to ecological recovery.

  15. Black-tailed prairie dogs, cattle, and the conservation of North America's arid grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo Sierra-Corona

    Full Text Available Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp. have been eliminated from over 95% of their historic range in large part from direct eradication campaigns to reduce their purported competition with cattle for forage. Despite the longstanding importance of this issue to grassland management and conservation, the ecological interactions between cattle and prairie dogs have not been well examined. We address this issue through two complementary experiments to determine if cattle and prairie dogs form a mutualistic grazing association similar to that between prairie dogs and American bison. Our experimental results show that cattle preferentially graze along prairie dog colony edges and use their colony centers for resting, resembling the mutualistic relationship prairie dogs have with American bison. Our results also show that prairie dog colonies are not only an important component of the grassland mosaic for maintaining biodiversity, but also provide benefits to cattle, thereby challenging the long-standing view of prairie dogs as an undesirable pest species in grasslands.

  16. Investigation of the Transcriptome of Prairie Cord Grass, a New Cellulosic Biomass Crop

    KAUST Repository

    Gedye, Kristene; Gonzalez-Hernandez, Jose; Ban, Yuguang; Ge, Xijin; Thimmapuram, Jyothi; Sun, Fengjie; Wright, Chris; Ali, Shahjahan; Boe, Arvid; Owens, Vance

    2010-01-01

    in this paper describes the first investigation of the transcriptome of prairie cordgrass via Next Generation Sequencing Technology, 454 GS FLX. A total of 556,198 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were produced from four prairie cordgrass tissues: roots, rhizomes

  17. Chihuahuan Deserts Ecoregion: Chapter 27 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruhlman, Jana; Gass, Leila; Middleton, Barry

    2012-01-01

    The Chihuahuan Desert is the largest of the North American deserts, extending from southern New Mexico and Texas deep into Mexico, with approximately 90 percent of its area falling south of the United States–Mexico border (Lowe, 1964, p. 24). The Chihuahuan Deserts Ecoregion covers approximately 174,472 km2 (67,364 mi2) within the United States, including much of west Texas, southern New Mexico, and a small portion of southeastern Arizona (Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997). The ecoregion is generally oriented from northwest to southeast, with the Madrean Archipelago Ecoregion to the west; the Arizona/New Mexico Mountains, Arizona/New Mexico Plateau, Southwestern Tablelands, and Western High Plains Ecoregions to the north; and the Edwards Plateau and Southern Texas Plains Ecoregions to the east (fig. 1).

  18. Prairie revegetation of a strip mine in Illinois: fifteen years after establishment

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Corbett, E.A.; Anderson, R.C.; Rodgers, C.S. [Illinois State University, Normal, IL (United States). Dept. of Biological Sciences

    1996-12-01

    The long-term success of prairie planting on a former strip mine in northeastern Illinois was investigated. The site was reclaimed and planted with prairie species in the 1970s. Total biomass increased over time, largely as a result of an increase in biomass of non-prairie species. Biomass of prairie species remained unchanged because of an increase in Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) offsetting decreases in Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass).

  19. Small mammals in successional prairie woodlands of the northern Great Plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mark A. Rumble; John E. Gobeille

    2001-01-01

    Prairie woodlands comprise about 1 percent of the landscape in the northern Great Plains. However, prairie woodlands provide habitat for far more than 1 percent of the wildlife species that occur in the prairie region. With increasing pressures on natural resources, managers need methods for managing wildlife habitat and biodiversity that are based on ecological...

  20. 76 FR 77245 - Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, Austin and Colorado Counties, TX...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-12-12

    ...-FF02R06000] Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, Austin and Colorado Counties, TX... (EA) for Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge, NWR), located approximately 60... Prairie Chicken NWR draft CCP and EA'' in the subject line of the message. Fax: Attn: Monica Kimbrough...

  1. 75 FR 21649 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Attwater's Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-04-26

    ...] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Attwater's Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri... availability of the Attwater's Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) Recovery Plan, Second Revision. A recovery plan was originally completed for the Attwater's prairie-chicken in 1983 and revised in 1993...

  2. Prairie dogs increase fitness by killing interspecific competitors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoogland, John L; Brown, Charles R

    2016-03-30

    Interspecific competition commonly selects for divergence in ecology, morphology or physiology, but direct observation of interspecific competition under natural conditions is difficult. Herbivorous white-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys leucurus) employ an unusual strategy to reduce interspecific competition: they kill, but do not consume, herbivorous Wyoming ground squirrels (Urocitellus elegans) encountered in the prairie dog territories. Results from a 6-year study in Colorado, USA, revealed that interspecific killing of ground squirrels by prairie dogs was common, involving 47 different killers; 19 prairie dogs were serial killers in the same or consecutive years, and 30% of female prairie dogs killed at least one ground squirrel over their lifetimes. Females that killed ground squirrels had significantly higher annual and lifetime fitness than non-killers, probably because of decreased interspecific competition for vegetation. Our results document the first case of interspecific killing of competing individuals unrelated to predation (IK) among herbivorous mammals in the wild, and show that IK enhances fitness for animals living under natural conditions. © 2016 The Author(s).

  3. Arizona/New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion: Chapter 10 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruhlman, Jana; Gass, Leila; Middleton, Barry

    2012-01-01

    As the name suggests, the Arizona/New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion includes much of the mountainous regions of these two states, plus a very small part in the Guadalupe Mountains of northwestern Texas. Several isolated areas of higher terrain in Arizona and New Mexico are also included in the ecoregion, which occupies approximately 108,432 km2 (41,866 mi2) (Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997). The ecoregion is bounded on the south by the Sonoran Basin and Range, Madrean Archipelago, and Chihuahuan Deserts Ecoregions; to the north, the ecoregion is both bounded and surrounded by the Arizona/New Mexico Plateau Ecoregion (fig. 1). The ecoregion encompasses the largest contiguous ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest in the United States (Strom and Fulé, 2007), which stretches from Williams, Arizona, along the Mogollon Rim, Arizona, into southwestern New Mexico, north and west of Silver City, New Mexico.

  4. Spent fuel storage at Prairie Island: January 1995 status

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Closs, J.; Kress, L.

    1995-01-01

    The disposal of spent nuclear fuel has been an issue for the US since the inception of the commercial nuclear power industry. In the past decade, it has become a critical factor in the continued operation of some nuclear power plants, including the two units at Prairie Island. As the struggles and litigation over storage alternatives wage on, spent fuel pools continue to fill and plants edge closer to premature shutdown. Due to the delays in the construction of a federal repository, many nuclear power plants have had to seek interim storage alternatives. In the case of Prairie Island, the safest and most feasible option is dry cask storage. This paper discusses the current status of the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) Project at Prairie Island. It provides a historical background to the project, discusses the notable developments over the past year, and presents the projected plans of the Northern States Power Company (NSP) in regards to spent fuel storage

  5. Exotic annual Bromus invasions: Comparisons among species and ecoregions in the western United States [Chapter 2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthew L. Brooks; Cynthia S. Brown; Jeanne C. Chambers; Carla M. D' Antonio; Jon E. Keeley; Jayne Belnap

    2016-01-01

    Exotic annual Bromus species are widely recognized for their potential to invade, dominate, and alter the structure and function of ecosystems. In this chapter, we summarize the invasion potential, ecosystem threats, and management strategies for different Bromus species within each of five ecoregions of the western United States. We characterize invasion...

  6. Parallel k-Means Clustering for Quantitative Ecoregion Delineation Using Large Data Sets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jitendra Kumar; Richard T. Mills; Forrest M Hoffman; William W Hargrove

    2011-01-01

    Identification of geographic ecoregions has long been of interest to environmental scientists and ecologists for identifying regions of similar ecological and environmental conditions. Such classifications are important for predicting suitable species ranges, for stratification of ecological samples, and to help prioritize habitat preservation and remediation efforts....

  7. Effects of climate change and wildfire on soil loss in the Southern Rockies Ecoregion

    Science.gov (United States)

    S. E. Litschert; D. M. Theobald; T. C. Brown

    2014-01-01

    Forests in the Southern Rockies Ecoregion surround the headwaters of several major rivers in the western and central US. Future climatic changes will increase the incidence of wildfire in those forests, and will likely lead to changes in downstream water quality, including sediment loads.We estimated soil loss under the historic climate and two IPCC climate change...

  8. Changes of arthropod diversity across an altitudinal ecoregional zonation in Northwestern Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea X. González-Reyes

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available This study examined arthropod community patterns over an altitudinal ecoregional zonation that extended through three ecoregions (Yungas, Monte de Sierras y Bolsones, and Puna and two ecotones (Yungas-Monte and Prepuna of Northwestern Argentina (altitudinal range of 2,500 m, and evaluated the abiotic and biotic factors and the geographical distance that could influence them. Pitfall trap and suction samples were taken seasonally in 15 sampling sites (1,500–4,000 m a.s.l during one year. In addition to climatic variables, several soil and vegetation variables were measured in the field. Values obtained for species richness between ecoregions and ecotones and by sampling sites were compared statistically and by interpolation–extrapolation analysis based on individuals at the same sample coverage level. Effects of predictor variables and the similarity of arthropods were shown using non-metric multidimensional scaling, and the resulting groups were evaluated using a multi-response permutation procedure. Polynomial regression was used to evaluate the relationship between altitude with total species richness and those of hyperdiverse/abundant higher taxa and the latter taxa with each predictor variable. The species richness pattern displayed a decrease in species diversity as the elevation increased at the bottom wet part (Yungas of our altitudinal zonation until the Monte, and a unimodal pattern of diversity in the top dry part (Monte, Puna. Each ecoregion and ecotonal zone evidenced a particular species richness and assemblage of arthropods, but the latter ones displayed a high percentage of species shared with the adjacent ecoregions. The arthropod elevational pattern and the changes of the assemblages were explained by the environmental gradient (especially the climate in addition to a geographic gradient (the distance of decay of similarity, demonstrating that the species turnover is important to explain the beta diversity along the

  9. Paltry past-precipitation: Predisposing prairie dogs to plague?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David; Biggins, Dean E.

    2017-01-01

    The plague bacterium Yersinia pestis was introduced to California in 1900 and spread rapidly as a sylvatic disease of mammalian hosts and flea vectors, invading the Great Plains in the United States by the 1930s to 1940s. In grassland ecosystems, plague causes periodic, devastating epizootics in colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), sciurid rodents that create and maintain subterranean burrows. In doing so, plague inhibits prairie dogs from functioning as keystone species of grassland communities. The rate at which fleas transmit Y. pestis is thought to increase when fleas are abundant. Flea densities can increase during droughts when vegetative production is reduced and herbivorous prairie dogs are malnourished and have weakened defenses against fleas. Epizootics of plague have erupted frequently in prairie dogs during years in which precipitation was plentiful, and the accompanying cool temperatures might have facilitated the rate at which fleas transmitted Y. pestis. Together these observations evoke the hypothesis that transitions from dry-to-wet years provide conditions for plague epizootics in prairie dogs. Using generalized linear models, we analyzed a 24-year dataset on the occurrence of plague epizootics in 42 colonies of prairie dogs from Colorado, USA, 1982–2005. Of the 33 epizootics observed, 52% erupted during years with increased precipitation in summer. For the years with increased summer precipitation, if precipitation in the prior growing season declined from the maximum of 502 mm to the minimum of 200 mm, the prevalence of plague epizootics was predicted to increase 3-fold. Thus, reduced precipitation may have predisposed prairie dogs to plague epizootics when moisture returned. Biologists sometimes assume dry conditions are detrimental for plague. However, 48% of epizootics occurred during years in which precipitation was scarce in summer. In some cases, an increased abundance of fleas during dry years might

  10. Urban Rights-of-Way as Reservoirs for Tall-Grass Prairie Plants and Butterflies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leston, Lionel; Koper, Nicola

    2016-03-01

    Urban rights-of-way may be potential reservoirs of tall-grass prairie plants and butterflies. To determine if this is true, in 2007-2008, we conducted vegetation surveys of species richness and cover, and butterfly surveys of species richness and abundance, along 52 transmission lines and four remnant prairies in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We detected many prairie plants and butterflies within transmission lines. Some unmowed and infrequently managed transmission lines had native plant species richness and total percent cover of native plants comparable to that of similar-sized remnant tall-grass prairies in the region. Although we did not find significant differences in overall native butterfly numbers or species richness between rights-of-way and remnant prairies, we found lower numbers of some prairie butterflies along frequently mowed rights-of-way than within remnant tall-grass prairies. We also observed higher butterfly species richness along sites with more native plant species. By reducing mowing and spraying and reintroducing tall-grass prairie plants, urban rights-of-way could serve as extensive reservoirs for tall-grass prairie plants and butterflies in urban landscapes. Eventually, managing urban rights-of-way as reservoirs for tall-grass prairie plants and animals could contribute to the restoration of tall-grass prairie in the North American Midwest.

  11. Urban Rights-of-Way as Reservoirs for Tall-Grass Prairie Plants and Butterflies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leston, Lionel; Koper, Nicola

    2016-03-01

    Urban rights-of-way may be potential reservoirs of tall-grass prairie plants and butterflies. To determine if this is true, in 2007-2008, we conducted vegetation surveys of species richness and cover, and butterfly surveys of species richness and abundance, along 52 transmission lines and four remnant prairies in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We detected many prairie plants and butterflies within transmission lines. Some unmowed and infrequently managed transmission lines had native plant species richness and total percent cover of native plants comparable to that of similar-sized remnant tall-grass prairies in the region. Although we did not find significant differences in overall native butterfly numbers or species richness between rights-of-way and remnant prairies, we found lower numbers of some prairie butterflies along frequently mowed rights-of-way than within remnant tall-grass prairies. We also observed higher butterfly species richness along sites with more native plant species. By reducing mowing and spraying and reintroducing tall-grass prairie plants, urban rights-of-way could serve as extensive reservoirs for tall-grass prairie plants and butterflies in urban landscapes. Eventually, managing urban rights-of-way as reservoirs for tall-grass prairie plants and animals could contribute to the restoration of tall-grass prairie in the North American Midwest.

  12. Estimating carbon sequestration in the piedmont ecoregion of the United States from 1971 to 2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Jinxun; Sleeter, Benjamin M.; Zhu, Zhiliang; Heath, Linda S.; Tan, Zhengxi; Wilson, Tamara; Sherba, Jason T.; Zhou, Decheng

    2016-01-01

    Background: Human activities have diverse and profound impacts on ecosystem carbon cycles. The Piedmont ecoregion in the eastern United States has undergone significant land use and land cover change in the past few decades. The purpose of this study was to use newly available land use and land cover change data to quantify carbon changes within the ecoregion. Land use and land cover change data (60-m spatial resolution) derived from sequential remotely sensed Landsat imagery were used to generate 960-m resolution land cover change maps for the Piedmont ecoregion. These maps were used in the Integrated Biosphere Simulator (IBIS) to simulate ecosystem carbon stock and flux changes from 1971 to 2010. Results: Results show that land use change, especially urbanization and forest harvest had significant impacts on carbon sources and sinks. From 1971 to 2010, forest ecosystems sequestered 0.25 Mg C ha−1 yr−1, while agricultural ecosystems sequestered 0.03 Mg C ha−1 yr−1. The total ecosystem C stock increased from 2271 Tg C in 1971 to 2402 Tg C in 2010, with an annual average increase of 3.3 Tg C yr−1. Conclusions: Terrestrial lands in the Piedmont ecoregion were estimated to be weak net carbon sink during the study period. The major factors contributing to the carbon sink were forest growth and afforestation; the major factors contributing to terrestrial emissions were human induced land cover change, especially urbanization and forest harvest. An additional amount of carbon continues to be stored in harvested wood products. If this pool were included the carbon sink would be stronger. Keywords: Land-use change, Carbon change, Piedmont ecoregion, IBIS model

  13. Des broussailles dans les prairies alpines

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Olivier Camacho

    2009-03-01

    expliquer pourquoi l'embroussaillement gagne des prairies encore exploitées. Si la fauche permet de lutter efficacement contre l’avancée des ligneux, il n’en est pas de même dans les prairies pâturées non fauchées où la capacité de prélèvement par les troupeaux s’avère faible par rapport à la production d’herbe. Cette situation se répète d’année en année et c’est la cause la plus probable de la propagation des ligneux. Pour sécuriser leur système fourrager et pour simplifier le travail, les éleveurs constituent des unités de pâturage surdimensionnées par rapport aux besoins des animaux. Ils mettent en œuvre des pratiques de rattrapage, consistant en un entretien mécanique complémentaire au pâturage, pour contenir la dynamique des ligneux. De telles pratiques, exigeantes en travail, ne sont pas mises en œuvre sur toutes les pâtures. L’analyse des pratiques par des agronomes complète ainsi les études de milieux physiques et socio-économiques tant au niveau de la parcelle pâturée qu’à celui de la vallée.

  14. A long-term perspective on anthropogenic activities and management strategies in a prairie wetland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hobbs, J. M.; Hobbs, W.; LaFrancois, T.; Edlund, M.; Theissen, K. M.; Zimmer, K.; Hanson, M.

    2012-12-01

    Multiple stressors to shallow lake/wetland ecosystems have the ability to control the relative stability of alternative states (clear, macrophyte-dominated or turbid, algal dominated). As a consequence, the use of remedial biomanipulations to induce trophic cascades and shift a turbid lake to a clear state is often only a temporary solution. Here we show the instability of short-term manipulations in the shallow Lake Christina (a Class V wetland in the prairie ecoregion of western Minnesota, USA) is governed by the long-term state following a regime shift in the lake. During the modern, managed period of the lake, three top-down manipulations (fish kills) were undertaken inducing temporary (5-10 years) unstable clear-water states. Paleoecological remains of diatoms, along with proxies of primary production (total chlorophyll a and total organic carbon accumulation rate) and trophic state (total P) from sediment records clearly show a single regime shift in the lake during the early 1950s; following this shift, the functioning of the lake ecosystem is dominated by a persistent turbid state. We find that multiple stressors contributed to the regime shift. First, the lake began to eutrophy (from agricultural land use and/or increased waterfowl populations), leading to a dramatic increase in primary production. Soon after, the construction of a dam in 1936 effectively doubled the depth of the lake, compounded by increases in regional humidity; this resulted in an increase in planktivorous and benthivorous fish reducing phytoplankton grazers. These factors further conspired to increase the stability of a turbid regime during the modern managed period, such that switches to a clear-water state were inherently unstable and the lake consistently returned to a turbid state. We conclude that while top-down manipulations have had measurable impacts on the lake state, they have not been effective in providing a return to an ecosystem similar to the stable historical period

  15. Nutrient removal by prairie filter strips in agricultural landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    X. Zhou; M.J. Helmers; H. Asbjornsen; R. Kolka; M.D. Tomer; R.M. Cruse

    2014-01-01

    Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from agricultural landscapes have been identified as primary sources of excess nutrients in aquatic systems. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of prairie filter strips (PFS) in removing nutrients from cropland runoff in 12 small watersheds in central Iowa. Four treatments with PFS of different spatial...

  16. Resistance to plague among black-tailed prairie dog populations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocke, Tonie E.; Williamson, Judy; Cobble, Kacy R.; Busch, Joseph D.; Antolin, Michael F.; Wagner, David M.

    2012-01-01

    In some rodent species frequently exposed to plague outbreaks caused by Yersinia pestis, resistance to the disease has evolved as a population trait. As a first step in determining if plague resistance has developed in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), animals captured from colonies in a plague-free region (South Dakota) and two plague-endemic regions (Colorado and Texas) were challenged with Y. pestis at one of three doses (2.5, 250, or 2500 mouse LD50s). South Dakota prairie dogs were far more susceptible to plague than Colorado and Texas prairie dogs (pdogs were quite similar in their response, with overall survival rates of 50% and 60%, respectively. Prairie dogs from these states were heterogenous in their response, with some animals dying at the lowest dose (37% and 20%, respectively) and some surviving even at the highest dose (29% and 40%, respectively). Microsatellite analysis revealed that all three groups were distinct genetically, but further studies are needed to establish a genetic basis for the observed differences in plague resistance.

  17. Food habits of nesting prairie falcons in Campbell County

    Science.gov (United States)

    John R. Squires; Stanley H. Anderson; Robert Oakleaf

    1989-01-01

    Fifteen species of prey were utilized by nesting Prairie Falcons (Falco mexicanus) as determined through pellet analysis. Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus), the most common prey, were present in 91% of the pellets, followed by Western Meadowlarks (Sturnella neglecta) which were present in 56% of pellets. Horned Larks (Eremophila...

  18. Prairie Restoration Project: Alternatives for Identifying Gifted Students

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salisbury, Katie E.; Rule, Audrey C.; Vander Zanden, Sarah M.

    2016-01-01

    An authentic, challenging curriculum engaged middle school students from an urban district in exploratory work related to restoring a small prairie at the school. Integrated science-literacy-arts activities were coupled with a system of thinking skills that helped students view issues from different perspectives. Impassioned guest speakers and an…

  19. Overview of Prairie Planting Techniques and Maintenance Requirements

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-02-01

    districts have these drills 6 ERDC TN-EMRRP-ER-05 February 2007 available for rent. A three-point broadcast seeder or a fertilizer spreader can...lengthens the growing season for prairie plants but shortens it for many weedy species (Pauly 1997). Fire allows for nutrient recycling in the ecosystem by

  20. Selected hydrologic data, Camas Prairie, south-central Idaho

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, H.W.; Backsen, R.L.; Kenyon, K.S.

    1978-01-01

    This report presents data collected during a 1-year study of the water resources of Camas Prairie, Idaho. Included are records of wells, discharge measurements of streams, hydrographs of water levels in wells, water-quality data, and drillers ' logs of wells. The data are conveniently made available to supplement an interpretive report, which will be published separately. (Woodard-USGS)

  1. Camel spider (Solifugae) use of prairie dog colonies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solifugids (camel spiders) are widespread throughout arid regions of western North America and are thought to be important in structuring desert arthropod communities. Despite the ubiquity of camel spiders, little is known about their ecology. Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are als...

  2. Butterfly responses to prairie restoration through fire and grazing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vogel, Jennifer A.; Debinski, Diane M.; Koford, Rolf R.; Miller, J.R.

    2007-01-01

    The development of land for modern agriculture has resulted in losses of native prairie habitat. The small, isolated patches of prairie habitat that remain are threatened by fire suppression, overgrazing, and invasion by non-native species. We evaluated the effects of three restoration practices (grazing only, burning only, and burning and grazing) on the vegetation characteristics and butterfly communities of remnant prairies. Total butterfly abundance was highest on prairies that were managed with burning and grazing and lowest on those that were only burned. Butterfly species richness did not differ among any of the restoration practices. Butterfly species diversity was highest on sites that were only burned. Responses of individual butterfly species to restoration practices were highly variable. In the best predictive regression model, total butterfly abundance was negatively associated with the percent cover of bare ground and positively associated with the percent cover of forbs. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that sites with burned only and grazed only practices could be separated based on their butterfly community composition. Butterfly communities in each of the three restoration practices are equally species rich but different practices yield compositionally different butterfly communities. Because of this variation in butterfly species responses to different restoration practices, there is no single practice that will benefit all species or even all species within habitat-specialist or habitat-generalist habitat guilds. ?? 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Recommended methods for range-wide monitoring of prairie dogs in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDonald, Lyman L.; Stanley, Thomas R.; Otis, David L.; Biggins, Dean E.; Stevens, Patricia D.; Koprowski, John L.; Ballard, Warren

    2011-01-01

    One of the greatest challenges for conserving grassland, prairie scrub, and shrub-steppe ecosystems is maintaining prairie dog populations across the landscape. Of the four species of prairie dogs found in the United States, the Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens) is listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as threatened, the Gunnison's prairie dog (C. gunnisoni) is a candidate for listing in a portion of its range, and the black-tailed prairie dog (C. ludovicianus) and white-tailed prairie dog (C. leucurus) have each been petitioned for listing at least once in recent history. Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined listing is not warranted for either the black-tailed prairie dog or white-tailed prairie dog, the petitions and associated reviews demonstrated the need for the States to monitor and manage for self-sustaining populations. In response to these findings, a multi-State conservation effort was initiated for the nonlisted species which included the following proposed actions: (1) completing an assessment of each prairie dog species in each State, (2) developing a range-wide monitoring protocol for each species using a statistically valid sampling procedure that would allow comparable analyses across States, and (3) monitoring prairie dog status every 3-5 years depending upon the species. To date, each State has completed an assessment and currently is monitoring prairie dog status; however, for some species, the inconsistency in survey methodology has made it difficult to compare data year-to-year or State-to-State. At the Prairie Dog Conservation Team meeting held in November 2008, there was discussion regarding the use of different methods to survey prairie dogs. A recommendation from this meeting was to convene a panel in a workshop-type forum and have the panel review the different methods being used and provide recommendations for range-wide monitoring protocols for each species of prairie dog. Consequently, the Western

  4. Diets of swift foxes (Vulpes velox) in continuous and fragmented prairie in Northwestern Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kamler, J.F.; Ballard, W.B.; Wallace, M.C.; Gipson, P.S.

    2007-01-01

    Distribution of the swift fox (Vulpes velox) has declined dramatically since the 1800s, and suggested causes of this decline are habitat fragmentation and transformation due to agricultural expansion. However, impacts of fragmentation and human-altered habitats on swift foxes still are not well understood. To better understand what effects these factors have on diets of swift foxes, scats were collected in northwestern Texas at two study sites, one of continuous native prairie and one representing fragmented native prairie interspersed with agricultural and fields in the Conservation Reserve Program. Leporids, a potential food source, were surveyed seasonally on both sites. Diets of swift foxes differed between sites; insects were consumed more on continuous prairie, whereas mammals, birds, and crops were consumed more on fragmented prairie. Size of populations of leporids were 2-3 times higher on fragmented prairie, and swift foxes responded by consuming more leporids on fragmented (11.1% frequency occurrence) than continuous (3.8%) prairie. Dietary diversity was greater on fragmented prairie during both years of the study. Differences in diets between sites suggested that the swift fox is an adaptable and opportunistic feeder, able to exploit a variety of food resources, probably in relation to availability of food. We suggest that compared to continuous native prairie, fragmented prairie can offer swift foxes a more diverse prey base, at least within the mosaic of native prairie, agricultural, and fields that are in the Conservation Reserve Program.

  5. Madrean Archipelago Ecoregion: Chapter 28 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruhlman, Jana; Gass, Leila; Middleton, Barry

    2012-01-01

    The Madrean Archipelago Ecoregion (Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997), also known as the “Madrean Sky Islands” or “Sky Islands,” covers an area of approximately 40,536 km2 (15,651 mi2) in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico (fig. 1). The ecoregion is bounded on the west by the Sonoran Basin and Range Ecoregion, on the east by the Chihuahuan Deserts Ecoregion, and on the north by the Arizona/New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion. This area of basin-and-range topography is one of the most biologically diverse in the world (Koprowski, 2005; Skroch, 2008). Although the mountains in the ecoregion bridge the Rocky Mountains to the north and the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico to the south (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997), the lower elevations act as a barrier to species dispersal. Nevertheless, the geographic convergence of these two major continental mountain ranges, as well as of the Chihuahuan Desert to the east and the Sonoran Desert to the west, forms the foundation for ecological interactions found nowhere else on Earth (Skroch, 2008).

  6. A case for redefining the boundaries of the Mesoamerican Reef Ecoregion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chollett, Iliana; Garavelli, Lysel; Holstein, Daniel; Cherubin, Laurent; Fulton, Stuart; Box, Stephen J.

    2017-12-01

    The Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) is an interconnected system that supports the local economies of four countries through the provision of seafood and tourism. Considerable financial, research and management effort has been invested in this priority ecoregion, whose boundaries were defined more than 18 yr ago based on best available data on oceanographic patterns, reef and watershed distribution. The long-term persistence of the MAR depends, however, on ensuring that all of its constituent parts are appropriately managed, and the current boundaries may not respond to this need. Here we assess the suitability of the current boundaries of the MAR using information on physical environments and larval connectivity of three key species. Our research indicates the boundaries of the ecoregion require an adjustment, as the exclusion of key areas in eastern Honduras might jeopardize the persistence of the entire network of connected reefs, and areas in northern Yucatan belong to a different environmental regime and may require different management strategies.

  7. Estimating carbon sequestration in the piedmont ecoregion of the United States from 1971 to 2010

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jinxun Liu

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Human activities have diverse and profound impacts on ecosystem carbon cycles. The Piedmont ecoregion in the eastern United States has undergone significant land use and land cover change in the past few decades. The purpose of this study was to use newly available land use and land cover change data to quantify carbon changes within the ecoregion. Land use and land cover change data (60-m spatial resolution derived from sequential remotely sensed Landsat imagery were used to generate 960-m resolution land cover change maps for the Piedmont ecoregion. These maps were used in the Integrated Biosphere Simulator (IBIS to simulate ecosystem carbon stock and flux changes from 1971 to 2010. Results Results show that land use change, especially urbanization and forest harvest had significant impacts on carbon sources and sinks. From 1971 to 2010, forest ecosystems sequestered 0.25 Mg C ha−1 yr−1, while agricultural ecosystems sequestered 0.03 Mg C ha−1 yr−1. The total ecosystem C stock increased from 2271 Tg C in 1971 to 2402 Tg C in 2010, with an annual average increase of 3.3 Tg C yr−1. Conclusions Terrestrial lands in the Piedmont ecoregion were estimated to be weak net carbon sink during the study period. The major factors contributing to the carbon sink were forest growth and afforestation; the major factors contributing to terrestrial emissions were human induced land cover change, especially urbanization and forest harvest. An additional amount of carbon continues to be stored in harvested wood products. If this pool were included the carbon sink would be stronger.

  8. First record of Triaenodes bicolor (Curtis, 1834) (Insecta: Trichoptera) from the Ecoregion Hellenic Western Balkans

    OpenAIRE

    Ibrahimi, Halil; Kuçi, Ruzhdi; Bilalli, Astrit; Gashi, Ermira

    2017-01-01

    We collected adult caddisfly specimens with entomological nets and ultraviolet light traps monthly from May to November 2012 in Brezne Lake situated in Dragash Municipality. During this investigation we found the Leptocerid species Triaenodes bicolor for the first time in Kosovo; it is also the first record for Ecoregion 6, Hellenic Western Balkans. Additionally, this is the first record of the genus Triaenodes from Kosovo. In total seven males and three females of this species were found. Tr...

  9. Effects of harvest, fire, and pest/pathogen disturbances on the West Cascades ecoregion carbon balance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turner, David P; Ritts, William D; Kennedy, Robert E; Gray, Andrew N; Yang, Zhiqiang

    2015-12-01

    Disturbance is a key influence on forest carbon dynamics, but the complexity of spatial and temporal patterns in forest disturbance makes it difficult to quantify their impacts on carbon flux over broad spatial domains. Here we used a time series of Landsat remote sensing images and a climate-driven carbon cycle process model to evaluate carbon fluxes at the ecoregion scale in western Oregon. Thirteen percent of total forest area in the West Cascades ecoregion was disturbed during the reference interval (1991-2010). The disturbance regime was dominated by harvesting (59 % of all area disturbed), with lower levels of fire (23 %), and pest/pathogen mortality (18 %). Ecoregion total Net Ecosystem Production was positive (a carbon sink) in all years, with greater carbon uptake in relatively cool years. Localized carbon source areas were associated with recent harvests and fire. Net Ecosystem Exchange (including direct fire emissions) showed greater interannual variation and became negative (a source) in the highest fire years. Net Ecosystem Carbon Balance (i.e. change in carbon stocks) was more positive on public that private forestland, because of a lower disturbance rate, and more positive in the decade of the 1990s than in the warmer and drier 2000s because of lower net ecosystem production and higher direct fire emissions in the 2000s. Despite recurrent disturbances, the West Cascades ecoregion has maintained a positive carbon balance in recent decades. The high degree of spatial and temporal resolution in these simulations permits improved attribution of regional carbon sources and sinks.

  10. Ecoregion prioritization suggests an armoury not a silver bullet for conservation planning.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephan M Funk

    Full Text Available In the face of accelerating species extinctions, map-based prioritization systems are increasingly useful to decide where to pursue conservation action most effectively. However, a number of seemingly inconsistent schemes have emerged, mostly focussing on endemism. Here we use global vertebrate distributions in terrestrial ecoregions to evaluate how continuous and categorical ranking schemes target and accumulate endangered taxa within the IUCN Red List, Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE, and EDGE of Existence programme. We employed total, endemic and threatened species richness and an estimator for richness-adjusted endemism as metrics in continuous prioritization, and WWF's Global200 and Conservation International's (CI Hotspots in categorical prioritization. Our results demonstrate that all metrics target endangerment more efficiently than by chance, but each selects unique sets of top-ranking ecoregions, which overlap only partially, and include different sets of threatened species. Using the top 100 ecoregions as defined by continuous prioritization metrics, we develop an inclusive map for global vertebrate conservation that incorporates important areas for endemism, richness, and threat. Finally, we assess human footprint and protection levels within these areas to reveal that endemism sites are more impacted but have more protection, in contrast to high richness and threat ones. Given such contrasts, major efforts to protect global biodiversity must involve complementary conservation approaches in areas of unique species as well as those with highest diversity and threat.

  11. Documentation of Significant Losses in Cornus florida L. Populations throughout the Appalachian Ecoregion

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher M. Oswalt

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Over the last three decades the fungus Discula destructiva Redlin has severely impacted Cornus florida L. (flowering dogwood—hereafter “dogwood” populations throughout its range. This study estimates historical and current dogwood populations (number of trees across the Appalachian ecoregion. Objectives were to (1 quantify current dogwood populations in the Appalachian ecoregion, (2 quantify change over time in dogwood populations, and (3 identify trends in dogwood population shifts. Data from the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA database were compiled from 41 FIA units in 13 states for county-level estimates of the total number of all live dogwood trees on timberland within the Appalachian ecoregion. Analysis of covariance, comparing historical and current county-level dogwood population estimates with average change in forest density as the covariate, was used to identify significant changes within FIA units. Losses ranging from 25 to 100 percent of the sample population (<.05 were observed in 33 of the 41 (80 percent sampled FIA units. These results indicate that an important component of the eastern deciduous forest has experienced serious losses throughout the Appalachians and support localized empirical results and landscape-scale anecdotal evidence.

  12. Avoidance behavior by prairie grouse: implications for development of wind energy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pruett, Christin L; Patten, Michael A; Wolfe, Donald H

    2009-10-01

    New wind-energy facilities and their associated power transmission lines and roads are being constructed at a rapid pace in the Great Plains of North America. Nevertheless, little is known about the possible negative effects these anthropogenic features might have on prairie birds, one of the most threatened groups in North America. We examined radiotelemetry tracking locations of Lesser Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) and Greater Prairie-Chickens (T. cupido) in two locations in Oklahoma to determine whether these birds avoided or changed movement behavior near power lines and paved highways. We tracked 463 Lesser Prairie-Chickens (15,071 tracking locations) and 216 Greater Prairie-Chickens (5,750 locations) for 7 and 3 years, respectively. Individuals of both species avoided power lines by at least 100 m and Lesser Prairie-Chickens avoided one of the two highways by 100 m. Prairie-chickens crossed power lines less often than expected if birds moved randomly (p 0.05). In addition, home ranges of Lesser Prairie-Chickens overlapped the power line less often than would be expected by chance placement of home ranges; this result was supported by kernel-density estimation of home ranges. It is likely that new power lines (and other tall structures such as wind turbines) will lead to avoidance of previously suitable habitat and will serve as barriers to movement. These two factors will likely increase fragmentation in an already fragmented landscape if wind energy development continues in prairie habitats.

  13. Climate impacts on the agribusiness sectors of a prairie economy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arthur, L.M.; Kooten, G.C. Van.

    1992-01-01

    Global warming is likely to result in increased agricultural output on the Canadian prairies. However, using input-output analysis, it is shown that the potential impact of global warming on agribusiness, while significant, is both uncertain and relatively small compared to the impact of government agricultural policies pertaining to the grain and livestock sectors. Furthermore, caution is required in deciding whether or not western Canada and prairie agribusinesses are net beneficiaries of a greenhouse effect because climate-induced changes in agricultural output elsewhere in the world still need to be taken into account. Most previous studies on American and European agriculture under the greenhouse effect predict reduced yields of current crops, which could mean improved markets for Canadian crops. 27 refs., 4 figs., 2 tabs

  14. Prairie rattlesnake envenomation in 27 New World camelids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonis, J M; Hackett, E S; Callan, R J; Holt, T N; Hackett, T B

    2013-01-01

    Morbidity and case fatality from rattlesnake envenomation is regionally specific because of variability in relative toxicity of the species of snake encountered. A previous report of rattlesnake envenomation in New World camelids (NWC) from the western coastal United States documented high case fatality rates and guarded prognosis for survival. To describe clinical findings, treatments, and outcome of NWC with prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis viridis) envenomation in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. Twenty-seven NWC admitted to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital for evaluation of acute rattlesnake envenomation between 1992 and 2012. Medical records of NWC evaluated for rattlesnake envenomation as coded by the attending clinician and identified by a database search were reviewed retrospectively. Month of admission, signalment, area of bite, clinical and clinicopathologic data, treatments, and outcome were recorded. Twenty-five llamas and 2 alpacas were admitted for envenomation. Llamas were overrepresented compared to hospital caseload. The face was the most common site of envenomation, observed in 96% of recorded cases. Presenting clinical signs included fever, tachypnea, tachycardia, and respiratory distress. Nine animals required a tracheotomy. Median hospitalization time was 3 days and overall survival rate was 69%. Case fatality rate for prairie rattlesnake envenomation in NWC was lower than that reported in the Western coastal region of the United States and similar to that reported for prairie rattlesnake envenomation in horses. Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

  15. Resting state brain networks in the prairie vole.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ortiz, Juan J; Portillo, Wendy; Paredes, Raul G; Young, Larry J; Alcauter, Sarael

    2018-01-19

    Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) has shown the hierarchical organization of the human brain into large-scale complex networks, referred as resting state networks. This technique has turned into a promising translational research tool after the finding of similar resting state networks in non-human primates, rodents and other animal models of great value for neuroscience. Here, we demonstrate and characterize the presence of resting states networks in Microtus ochrogaster, the prairie vole, an extraordinary animal model to study complex human-like social behavior, with potential implications for the research of normal social development, addiction and neuropsychiatric disorders. Independent component analysis of rsfMRI data from isoflurane-anestethized prairie voles resulted in cortical and subcortical networks, including primary motor and sensory networks, but also included putative salience and default mode networks. We further discuss how future research could help to close the gap between the properties of the large scale functional organization and the underlying neurobiology of several aspects of social cognition. These results contribute to the evidence of preserved resting state brain networks across species and provide the foundations to explore the use of rsfMRI in the prairie vole for basic and translational research.

  16. Interspecific nutrient transfer in a tallgrass prairie plant community

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Walter, L.E.F.; Hartnett, D.C.; Hetrick, B.A.D.; Schwab, A.P.

    1996-01-01

    Interplant nutrient transfer may be an important ecological process in grasslands, and may significantly influence plant neighborhood interactions. We investigated the potential for phosphorus transfer between the dominant grass Andropogon gerardii and several neighboring plant species in tallgrass prairie via a field 32PO4 labelling experiment. The mean amount of 32P received from donor shoots differed significantly among neighboring species and decreased with increasing distance from the donor. In general, forbs and cool-season C3 grasses received more labelled 32P than warm-season C4 grasses. Phosphorus transfer occurred over distances up to 0.5 m. The effects of species and distance on movement of phosphorus changed with increasing time after labelling. The relative mass of receiver and donor shoots did not affect amounts of 32P transfer. A benomyl fungicide treatment, applied to suppress mycorrhizal activity, likely did not affect existing vegetative hyphae and did not affect the amount of 32P transferred. These studies demonstrate that: (1) phosphorus is transferred among neighboring species in tallgrass prairie plant communities, (2) phosphorus may be transferred over significantly greater distances than reported in other grasslands, and (3) there is differential transfer among co-occurring species. Hypothesized mechanisms accounting for these patterns in tallgrass prairie include mycorrhizal hyphal interconnections and/or extensive and differential root and rhizosphere overlap among neighboring species

  17. COMPARISON OF THE POPULATIONS OF COMMON WOOD-NYMPH BUTTERFLIES IN BURNED PRAIRIE, UNBURNED PRAIRIE AND OLD FIELD GRASSES

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hahn, M.; Walton, R.

    2007-01-01

    Common wood-nymph butterfl ies are found throughout the United States and Canada. However, not much is known about how they overwinter or their preferences for particular grasses and habitats. In this study, the impact of prairie management plans on the abundance of the wood-nymph population was assessed, as well as the preference of these butterfl ies for areas with native or non-native grasses. The abundance of common wood-nymph butterfl ies was determined using Pollard walks; more common wood-nymph butterfl ies were found in the European grasses than were found in the burned and unburned prairie sites. The majority of the vegetation at each of the three sites was identifi ed and documented. Using a 1 X 3 ANOVA analysis, it was determined there were signifi cantly more butterfl ies in the European grasses than in the burned and unburned prairie sites (p < 0.0005). There was no signifi cant difference between the burned and unburned treatments of the prairie on the common wood-nymph population. A multiple variable linear regression model described the effect of temperature and wind speed on the number of observed common wood-nymph butterfl ies per hour (p = 0.026). These preliminary results need to be supplemented with future studies. Quadrat analysis of the vegetation from all three sites should be done to search for a correlation between common wood-nymph butterfl y abundance per hour and the specifi c types or quantity of vegetation at each site. The effect of vegetation height and density on the observer’s visual fi eld should also be assessed.

  18. Tuberculosis transmission in the Indigenous peoples of the Canadian prairies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patel, Smit; Paulsen, Catherine; Heffernan, Courtney; Saunders, Duncan; Sharma, Meenu; King, Malcolm; Hoeppner, Vernon; Orr, Pamela; Kunimoto, Dennis; Menzies, Dick; Christianson, Sara; Wolfe, Joyce; Boffa, Jody; McMullin, Kathleen; Lopez-Hille, Carmen; Senthilselvan, Ambikaipakan; Long, Richard

    2017-01-01

    The prairie provinces of Canada. To characterize tuberculosis (TB) transmission among the Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadian-born peoples of the prairie provinces of Canada. A prospective epidemiologic study of consecutively diagnosed adult (age ≥ 14 years) Canadian-born culture-positive pulmonary TB cases on the prairies, hereafter termed "potential transmitters," and the transmission events generated by them. "Transmission events" included new positive tuberculin skin tests (TSTs), TST conversions, and secondary cases among contacts. In the years 2007 and 2008, 222 potential transmitters were diagnosed on the prairies. Of these, the vast majority (198; 89.2%) were Indigenous peoples who resided in either an Indigenous community (135; 68.2%) or a major metropolitan area (44; 22.2%). Over the 4.5-year period between July 1st, 2006 and December 31st 2010, 1085 transmission events occurred in connection with these potential transmitters. Most of these transmission events were attributable to potential transmitters who identified as Indigenous (94.5%). With a few notable exceptions most transmitters and their infected contacts resided in the same community type. In multivariate models positive smear status and a higher number of close contacts were associated with increased transmission; adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), 4.30 [1.88, 9.84] and 2.88 [1.31, 6.34], respectively. Among infected contacts, being Indigenous was associated with disease progression; OR and 95% CI, 3.59 [1.27, 10.14] and 6.89 [2.04, 23.25] depending upon Indigenous group, while being an infected casual contact was less likely than being a close contact to be associated with disease progression, 0.66 [0.44, 1.00]. In the prairie provinces of Canada and among Canadian-born persons, Indigenous peoples account for the vast majority of cases with the potential to transmit as well as the vast majority of infected contacts. Active case finding and preventative therapy

  19. 77 FR 24975 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Recovery Plan for the Utah Prairie Dog

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-26

    ...-FF06E00000] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Recovery Plan for the Utah Prairie Dog... Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens). This species is federally listed as threatened under the... recovery plan for the Utah prairie dog. The Service and other Federal agencies also will take these...

  20. 75 FR 57055 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Revised Recovery Plan for Utah Prairie Dog

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-09-17

    ...] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Revised Recovery Plan for Utah Prairie Dog AGENCY: Fish... recovery plan for the Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens). This species is federally listed as threatened... and peer reviewers in an appendix to the approved recovery plan. The Utah prairie dog (Cynomys...

  1. 76 FR 31906 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revising the Special Rule for the Utah Prairie Dog

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-06-02

    ... Special Rule for the Utah Prairie Dog AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule... prairie dog. We are proposing to revise the existing limits on take, and we also propose a new incidental... dogs see: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/UTprairiedog or http://ecos.fws.gov...

  2. 77 FR 46157 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revising the Special Rule for the Utah Prairie Dog

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-08-02

    ... Utah Prairie Dog; Final Rule #0;#0;Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 149 / Thursday, August 2, 2012...-AW02 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revising the Special Rule for the Utah Prairie Dog... special regulations for the conservation of the Utah prairie dog. We are revising our special regulations...

  3. 78 FR 26302 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as a Threatened...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-05-06

    ...; 4500030113] RIN 1018-AY21 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken... the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus). In addition, we announce the reopening of the public comment period on the December 11, 2012, proposed rule to list the lesser prairie-chicken as a...

  4. 78 FR 75306 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as a Threatened...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-12-11

    ...; 4500030113] RIN 1018-AY21 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken... the conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus). In addition, we announce... prairie-chicken as a threatened species under the Act. We also announce the availability of the final...

  5. Annual Fire, Mowing and Fertilization Effects on Two Cicada Species (Homoptera: Cicadidae) in Tallgrass Prairie

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mac A. Callaham; Matt R. Whiles; John M. Blair

    2002-01-01

    In tallgrass prairie, cicadas emerge annually, are abundant and their emergence can be an important flux of energy and nutrients. However, factors influencing the distribution and abundance of these cicadas are virtually unknown. We examined cicada emergence in plots from a long-term (13 y) experimental manipulation involving common tallgrass prairie management...

  6. 77 FR 75119 - Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota; Oil and Gas Development Supplemental Environmental...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-12-19

    ... DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Dakota Prairie Grasslands, North Dakota; Oil and Gas... to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement. SUMMARY: In June of 2003, the Dakota... Dakota Prairie Grasslands Land and Resource Management Plan, based on the 2001 Northern Great Plains...

  7. The role of prairie dogs as a keystone species: response to Stapp

    Science.gov (United States)

    B. Miller; R. Reading; J. Hoogland; T. Clark; G. Ceballos; R. List; S. Forrest; L. Hanebury; P. Manzano; J. Pacheco; D. Uresk

    2000-01-01

    Stapp (1998) recently argued that it was premature to characterize prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) as keystone species. In particular, Stapp directed much of his criticism at a paper some of us wrote (Miller et al. 1994). He mistakenly interprets the main objective of our paper as providing evidence that prairie dogs are keystone species. Rather, the...

  8. Review of black-tailed prairie dog reintroduction strategies and site selection: Arizona reintroduction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sarah L. Hale; John L. Koprowski; Holly Hicks

    2013-01-01

    The black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) was once widely distributed throughout the western United States; however, anthropogenic influences have reduced the species’ numbers to 2 percent of historical populations. Black-tailed prairie dogs are described as a keystone species in the grassland ecosystem, and provide many unique services, including burrows for...

  9. Prairie dog decline reduces the supply of ecosystem services and leads to desertification of semiarid grasslands.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lourdes Martínez-Estévez

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic impacts on North American grasslands, a highly endangered ecosystem, have led to declines of prairie dogs, a keystone species, over 98% of their historical range. While impacts of this loss on maintenance of grassland biodiversity have been widely documented, much less is known about the consequences on the supply of ecosystem services. Here we assessed the effect of prairie dogs in the supply of five ecosystem services by comparing grasslands currently occupied by prairie dogs, grasslands devoid of prairie dogs, and areas that used to be occupied by prairie dogs that are currently dominated by mesquite scrub. Groundwater recharge, regulation of soil erosion, regulation of soil productive potential, soil carbon storage and forage availability were consistently quantitatively or qualitatively higher in prairie dog grasslands relative to grasslands or mesquite scrub. Our findings indicate a severe loss of ecosystem services associated to the absence of prairie dogs. These findings suggest that contrary to a much publicize perception, especially in the US, prairie dogs are fundamental in maintaining grasslands and their decline have strong negative impacts in human well - being through the loss of ecosystem services.

  10. Plant composition in oak savanna and woodland restoration at Prairie Fork Conservation Area in Missouri

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nadia E. Navarrete-Tindall; J.W. Van Sambeek; Jamie Coe; Warren Taylor

    2007-01-01

    The wooded areas of the Prairie Fork Conservation Area in central Missouri are typical of the oak/hickory forest/prairie transition zone that will require active management to restore pre-settlement, grass dominated savannas and open woodlands to improve habitat for wildlife. We initiated a management program to restore savannas and woodlands by reducing the midstory (...

  11. Demography of black-tailed prairie dog populations reoccupying sites treated with rodenticide

    Science.gov (United States)

    R. P. Cincotta; Daniel W. Uresk; R. M. Hansen

    1987-01-01

    A rodenticide, zinc phosphide, was applied to remove black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) from 6 haofa prairie dog colony in southwestern South Dakota. Another adjacent 6 ha was left untreated. The removal experiment was repeated two consecutive years. Contingency table analysis showed that the resultant population was not homogeneous;...

  12. Prairie chicken populations of the Sheyenne Delta in North Dakota, 1961-1987

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jerry D. Kobriger; David P. Vollink; Michael E. Mcneill; Kenneth F. Higgins

    1988-01-01

    Prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) were first censused on the Sheyenne Grasslands in 1961. The population was extremely low in the 1960's, gradually increased in the 1970's, and reached a peak of 410 in 1980. Sufficient evidence exists to link the increase in numbers of prairie chickens on the grasslands from 1961 through 1987...

  13. Effect of mid-summer haying on growth and reproduction in prairie forbs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Becky Begay; Helen M. Alexander; Erin Questad

    2011-01-01

    Mid-summer haying is a common management practice for prairies; plant species could differ in the effect of haying on subsequent growth and reproduction. We examined the effect of haying on prairie species by performing a clipping experiment. For each of seven species, sixteen plants were chosen and half were randomly assigned to a clipping treatment and half to a...

  14. Physiologic Reference Ranges for Captive Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keckler, M Shannon; Gallardo-Romero, Nadia F; Langham, Gregory L; Damon, Inger K; Karem, Kevin L; Carroll, Darin S

    2010-01-01

    The black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) is a member of the order Rodentia and the family Sciuridae. Ecologically, prairie dogs are a keystone species in prairie ecology. This species is used as an animal model for human gallbladder disease and diseases caused by infection with Clostridium difficile, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, and most recently, Orthopoxvirus. Despite increasing numbers of prairie dogs used in research and kept as pets, few data are available on their baseline physiology in animal facility housing conditions. To establish baseline physiologic reference ranges, we designed a study using 18 wild-caught black-tailed prairie dogs. Telemetry data were analyzed to establish circadian rhythms for activity and temperature. In addition, hematologic and serum chemistry analyses were performed. Baseline measurements were used to establish the mean for each animal, which then were compiled and analyzed to determine the reference ranges. Here we present physiologic data on serum chemistry and hematology profiles, as well as weight, core body temperature, and daily activity patterns for black-tailed prairie dogs. These results reflect the use of multiple measurements from species- and age-matched prairie dogs and likely will be useful to ecologists, scientists interested in using this animal model in research, and veterinarians caring for pet prairie dogs. PMID:20587156

  15. A novel approach for assessing density and range-wide abundance of prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aaron N. Facka; Paulette L. Ford; Gary W. Roemer

    2008-01-01

    Habitat loss, introduced disease, and government-sponsored eradication programs have caused population declines in all 5 species of prairie dogs. Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) currently occupy only about 2% of an extensive geographic range (160 million hectares) and were recently considered for listing under the United States...

  16. Wasatch and Uinta Mountains Ecoregion: Chapter 9 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooks, Mark S.

    2012-01-01

    The Wasatch and Uinta Mountains Ecoregion covers approximately 44,176 km2 (17, 057 mi2) (fig. 1) (Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997). With the exception of a small part of the ecoregion extending into southern Wyoming and southern Idaho, the vast majority of the ecoregion is located along the eastern mountain ranges of Utah. The ecoregion is situated between the Wyoming Basin and Colorado Plateaus Ecoregions to the east and south and the Central Basin and Range Ecoregion to the west; in addition, the Middle Rockies, Snake River Basin, and Northern Basin and Range Ecoregions are nearby to the north. Considered the western front of the Rocky Mountains, the two major mountain ranges that define the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains Ecoregion include the north-south-trending Wasatch Range and east-west- trending Uinta Mountains. Both mountain ranges have been altered by multiple mountain building and burial cycles since the Precambrian era 2.6 billion years ago, and they have been shaped by glacial processes as early as 1.6 million years ago. The terrain is defined by sharp ridgelines, glacial lakes, and narrow canyons, with elevations ranging from 1,829 m in the lower canyons to 4,123 m at Kings Peak, the highest point in Utah (Milligan, 2010).

  17. Precipitation, Climate Change, and Parasitism of Prairie Dogs by Fleas that Transmit Plague.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A; Hoogland, John L

    2017-08-01

    Fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera) are hematophagous ectoparasites that can reduce the fitness of vertebrate hosts. Laboratory populations of fleas decline under dry conditions, implying that populations of fleas will also decline when precipitation is scarce under natural conditions. If precipitation and hence vegetative production are reduced, however, then herbivorous hosts might suffer declines in body condition and have weakened defenses against fleas, so that fleas will increase in abundance. We tested these competing hypotheses using information from 23 yr of research on 3 species of colonial prairie dogs in the western United States: Gunnison's prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni, 1989-1994), Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens, 1996-2005), and white-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys leucurus, 2006-2012). For all 3 species, flea-counts per individual varied inversely with the number of days in the prior growing season with >10 mm of precipitation, an index of the number of precipitation events that might have caused a substantial, prolonged increase in soil moisture and vegetative production. Flea-counts per Utah prairie dog also varied inversely with cumulative precipitation of the prior growing season. Furthermore, flea-counts per Gunnison's and white-tailed prairie dog varied inversely with cumulative precipitation of the just-completed January and February. These results complement research on black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) and might have important ramifications for plague, a bacterial disease transmitted by fleas that devastates populations of prairie dogs. In particular, our results might help to explain why, at some colonies, epizootics of plague, which can kill >95% of prairie dogs, are more likely to occur during or shortly after periods of reduced precipitation. Climate change is projected to increase the frequency of droughts in the grasslands of western North America. If so, then climate change might affect the occurrence of plague epizootics

  18. Season and application rates affect vaccine bait consumption by prairie dogs in Colorado and Utah, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tripp, Daniel W.; Rocke, Tonie E.; Streich, Sean P.; Brown, Nathanael L.; Fernandez, Julia Rodriguez-Ramos; Miller, Michael W.

    2014-01-01

    Plague, a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, causes high rates of mortality in prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.). An oral vaccine against plague has been developed for prairie dogs along with a palatable bait to deliver vaccine and a biomarker to track bait consumption. We conducted field trials between September 2009 and September 2012 to develop recommendations for bait distribution to deliver plague vaccine to prairie dogs. The objectives were to evaluate the use of the biomarker, rhodamine B, in field settings to compare bait distribution strategies, to compare uptake of baits distributed at different densities, to assess seasonal effects on bait uptake, and to measure bait uptake by nontarget small mammal species. Rhodamine B effectively marked prairie dogs' whiskers during these field trials. To compare bait distribution strategies, we applied baits around active burrows or along transects at densities of 32, 65, and 130 baits/ha. Distributing baits at active burrows or by transect did not affect uptake by prairie dogs. Distributing baits at rates of ≥65/ha (or ≥1 bait/active burrow) produced optimal uptake, and bait uptake by prairie dogs in the autumn was superior to uptake in the spring. Six other species of small mammals consumed baits during these trials. All four species of tested prairie dogs readily consumed the baits, demonstrating that vaccine uptake will not be an obstacle to plague control via oral vaccination.

  19. Factors influencing uptake of sylvatic plague vaccine baits by prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abbott, Rachel C.; Russell, Robin E.; Richgels, Katherine; Tripp, Daniel W.; Matchett, Marc R.; Biggins, Dean E.; Rocke, Tonie E.

    2017-01-01

    Sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) is a virally vectored bait-delivered vaccine expressing Yersinia pestis antigens that can protect prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) from plague and has potential utility as a management tool. In a large-scale 3-year field trial, SPV-laden baits containing the biomarker rhodamine B (used to determine bait consumption) were distributed annually at a rate of approximately 100–125 baits/hectare along transects at 58 plots encompassing the geographic ranges of four species of prairie dogs. We assessed site- and individual-level factors related to bait uptake in prairie dogs to determine which were associated with bait uptake rates. Overall bait uptake for 7820 prairie dogs sampled was 70% (95% C.I. 69.9–72.0). Factors influencing bait uptake rates by prairie dogs varied by species, however, in general, heavier animals had greater bait uptake rates. Vegetation quality and day of baiting influenced this relationship for black-tailed, Gunnison’s, and Utah prairie dogs. For these species, baiting later in the season, when normalized difference vegetation indices (a measure of green vegetation density) are lower, improves bait uptake by smaller animals. Consideration of these factors can aid in the development of species-specific SPV baiting strategies that maximize bait uptake and subsequent immunization of prairie dogs against plague.

  20. Climate change and prairie pothole wetlands: mitigating water-level and hydroperiod effects through upland management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Renton, David A.; Mushet, David M.; DeKeyser, Edward S.

    2015-01-01

    Prairie pothole wetlands offer crucial habitat for North America’s waterfowl populations. The wetlands also support an abundance of other species and provide ecological services valued by society. The hydrology of prairie pothole wetlands is dependent on atmospheric interactions. Therefore, changes to the region’s climate can have profound effects on wetland hydrology. The relevant literature related to climate change and upland management effects on prairie pothole wetland water levels and hydroperiods was reviewed. Climate change is widely expected to affect water levels and hydroperiods of prairie pothole wetlands, as well as the biota and ecological services that the wetlands support. In general, hydrologic model projections that incorporate future climate change scenarios forecast lower water levels in prairie pothole wetlands and longer periods spent in a dry condition, despite potential increases in precipitation. However, the extreme natural variability in climate and hydrology of prairie pothole wetlands necessitates caution when interpreting model results. Recent changes in weather patterns throughout much of the Prairie Pothole Region have been in increased precipitation that results in increased water inputs to wetlands above losses associated with warmer temperatures. However, observed precipitation increases are within the range of natural climate variability and therefore, may not persist. Identifying management techniques with the potential to affect water inputs to prairie pothole wetlands would provide increased options for managers when dealing with the uncertainties associated with a changing climate. Several grassland management techniques (for example, grazing and burning) have the potential to affect water levels and hydroperiods of prairie pothole by affecting infiltration, evapotranspiration, and snow deposition.

  1. Spatial variation in keystone effects: Small mammal diversity associated with black-tailed prairie dog colonies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cully, J.F.; Collinge, S.K.; Van Nimwegen, R. E.; Ray, C.; Johnson, W.C.; Thiagarajan, Bala; Conlin, D.B.; Holmes, B.E.

    2010-01-01

    Species with extensive geographic ranges may interact with different species assemblages at distant locations, with the result that the nature of the interactions may vary spatially. Black-tailed prairie dogs Cynomys ludovicianus occur from Canada to Mexico in grasslands of the western Great Plains of North America. Black-tailed prairie dogs alter vegetation and dig extensive burrow systems that alter grassland habitats for plants and other animal species. These alterations of habitat justify the descriptor " ecological engineer," and the resulting changes in species composition have earned them status as a keystone species. We examined the impact of black-tailed prairie dogs on small mammal assemblages by trapping at on- and off-colony locations at eight study areas across the species' geographic range. We posed 2 nested hypotheses: 1) prairie dogs function as a keystone species for other rodent species; and 2) the keystone role varies spatially. Assuming that it does, we asked what are the sources of the variation? Black-tailed prairie dogs consistently functioned as a keystone species in that there were strong statistically significant differences in community composition on versus off prairie dog colonies across the species range in prairie grassland. Small mammal species composition varied along both latitudinal and longitudinal gradients, and species richness varied from 4 to 11. Assemblages closer together were more similar; such correlations approximately doubled when including only on- or off-colony grids. Black-tailed prairie dogs had a significant effect on associated rodent assemblages that varied regionally, dependent upon the composition of the local rodent species pool. Over the range of the black-tailed prairie dog, on-colony rodent richness and evenness were less variable, and species composition was more consistent than off-colony assemblages. ?? 2010 The Authors.

  2. Lesser prairie-chicken avoidance of trees in a grassland landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lautenbach, Joseph M.; Plumb, Reid T.; Robinson, Samantha G.; Hagen, Christian A.; Haukos, David A.; Pitman, James C.

    2016-01-01

    Grasslands are among the most imperiled ecosystems in North America. Reasons that grasslands are threatened include conversion to row-crop agriculture, fragmentation, and changes in fire regimes. The reduction of fire processes in remaining prairies has resulted in tree encroachment and establishment in grasslands, further reducing grassland quantity and quality. Grassland birds have been experiencing precipitous population declines in recent decades, commensurate with landscape changes to grasslands. The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus Ridgway) is a declining species of prairie grouse of conservation concern. We used second- and third-order habitat selection metrics to test if female lesser prairie-chickens avoid grasslands where trees were present. Our results indicated that female lesser prairie-chickens selected habitats avoiding the nearest trees by 283 m on average, nearly twice as far as would be expected at random. Lesser prairie-chickens were 40 times more likely to use habitats with tree densities of 0 trees ∙ ha− 1 than habitats with 5 trees ∙ ha− 1. Probability of use indicated that lesser prairie-chickens were 19 times more likely to use habitats 1000 m from the nearest tree when compared with using habitats 0 m from the nearest tree. Nest survival was not affected at densities 2 trees ∙ ha− 1. Avoidance of trees could be due to perceived increased predation risk, reduced habitat quality, or a combination of these potentially confounding factors. Preventing further establishment and expansion of trees in landscapes occupied by lesser prairie-chickens could contribute to the continued persistence of the species. Additionally, restoring grasslands through tree removal may facilitate conservation efforts for grassland species such as the lesser prairie-chicken by improving habitat quality and promoting expansion of occupied range.

  3. Native prairie revegetation on wellsites in southeastern Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Soulodre, E.; Naeth, A.; Hammermeister, A.

    1999-01-01

    The Native Prairie Revegetation Research Project (NPRRP) was initiated to address concerns about wellsite revegetation of native grassland. The objective was to determine the impact of alternative seeding treatments on soil and vegetation and to produce a quantifiable description of what constitutes successful revegetation of native prairie sites. Four wellsites, each site comprising four revegetation treatment plots and an undisturbed control plot, have been chosen for field study. The revegetation treatments included natural recovery without seeding; current mix dominated by native wheatgrass cultivars; simple mix seeding containing wheatgrasses plus other native grasses, and diverse mix seeding with a mixture of wheatgrasses, other grasses and thirteen perennial forbs. The plant communities were monitored for biomass production, species richness, species composition and a combination of factors which include density, frequency, canopy cover and basal cover, these collectively representing importance value. Nitrogen availability in the soil was also monitored. Results showed high importance values for wheatgrasses for all seeded treatments. Perennial non-wheatgrasses had low importance values in the seeded treatment but higher importance in the control plot. The dominance of wheatgrasses in the seeded treatments resulted in communities that differed significantly from both the control and natural recovery communities, probably due to suppression of the growth of other grasses

  4. The presence of species of Pseudochironomus Malloch 1915 (Diptera: Chironomidae) in watercourses of Chaco Serrano Ecoregion (Argentina, South America).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paggi, Analía C; Rodriguez Garay, Gretel N

    2015-05-15

    Male imagos of Pseudochironomus viridis (Kieffer) are redescribed, the immature stages are described and figured for the first time. During this study, larva and pupal exuviae associated to P. richardsoni (Malloch) were recorded for the first time for South America. The specimens were collected from a stream and a river in the Pampasic Hills System in the Chaco Serrano ecoregion of Argentina.

  5. Vegetation of wetlands of the prairie pothole region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kantrud, H.A.; Millar, J.B.; Van Der Valk, A.G.; van der Valk, A.

    1989-01-01

    Five themes dominate the literature dealing with the vegetation of palustrine and lacustrine wetlands of the prairie pothole region: environmental conditions (water or moisture regime, salinity), agricultural disturbances (draining, grazing, burning, sedimentation, etc.), vegetation dynamics, zonation patterns, and classification of the wetlands.The flora of a prairie wetland is a function of its water regime, salinity, and disturbance by man. Within a pothole, water depth and duration determines distribution of species. In potholes deep enough to have standing water even during droughts, the central zone will be dominated by submersed species (open water). In wetlands that go dry during periods of drought or annually, the central zone will be dominated by either tall emergent species (deep marsh) or midheight emergents (shallow marsh), respectively. Potholes that are only flooded briefly in the spring are dominated by grasses, sedges, and forbs (wet meadow). Within a pothole, the depth of standing water in the deepest, usually central, part of the basin determines how many zones will be present. Lists of species associated with different water regimes and salinity levels are presented.Disturbances due to agricultural activities have impacted wetlands throughout the region. Drainage has eliminated many potholes, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the region. Grazing, mowing, and burning have altered the composition of pothole vegetation. The composition of different vegetation types impacted by grazing, haying, and cultivation is presented in a series of tables. Indirect impacts of agriculture (increased sediment, nutrient, and pesticide inputs) are widespread over the region, but their impacts on the vegetation have never been studied.Because of the periodic droughts and wet periods, many palustrine and lacustrine wetlands undergo vegetation cycles associated with water-level changes produced by these wet-dry cycles. Periods of above normal

  6. Mine spoil prairies expand critical habitat for endangered and threatened amphibian and reptile species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lannoo, Michael J.; Kinney, Vanessa C.; Heemeyer, Jennifer L.; Engbrecht, Nathan J.; Gallant, Alisa L.; Klaver, Robert W.

    2009-01-01

    Coal extraction has been occurring in the Midwestern United States for over a century. Despite the pre-mining history of the landscape as woodlands, spent surface coalfields are often reclaimed to grasslands. We assessed amphibian and reptile species on a large tract of coal spoil prairie and found 13 species of amphibians (nine frog and four salamander species) and 19 species of reptiles (one lizard, five turtle, and 13 snake species). Two state-endangered and three state species of special concern were documented. The amphibian diversity at our study site was comparable to the diversity found at a large restored prairie situated 175 km north, within the historic prairie peninsula.

  7. Willamette Valley Ecoregion: Chapter 3 in Status and trends of land change in the Western United States--1973 to 2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Tamara S.; Sorenson, Daniel G.

    2012-01-01

    The Willamette Valley Ecoregion (as defined by Omernik, 1987; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997) covers approximately 14,458 km² (5,582 mi2), making it one of the smallest ecoregions in the conterminous United States. The long, alluvial Willamette Valley, which stretches north to south more than 193 km and ranges from 32 to 64 km wide, is nestled between the sedimentary and metamorphic Coast Ranges (Coast Range Ecoregion) to the west and the basaltic Cascade Range (Cascades Ecoregion) to the east (fig. 1). The Lewis and Columbia Rivers converge at the ecoregion’s northern boundary in Washington state; however, the majority of the ecoregion falls within northwestern Oregon. Interstate 5 runs the length of the valley to its southern boundary with the Klamath Mountains Ecoregion. Topography here is relatively flat, with elevations ranging from sea level to 122 m. This even terrain, coupled with mild, wet winters, warm, dry summers, and nutrient-rich soil, makes the Willamette Valley the most important agricultural region in Oregon. Population centers are concentrated along the valley floor. According to estimates from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (2006), over 2.3 million people lived in Willamette Valley in 2000. Portland, Oregon, is the largest city, with 529,121 residents (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Other sizable cities include Eugene, Oregon; Salem (Oregon’s state capital); and Vancouver, Washington. Despite the large urban areas dotting the length of the Willamette Valley Ecoregion, agriculture and forestry products are its economic foundation (figs. 2,3). The valley is a major producer of grass seed, ornamental plants, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and grains, as well as poultry, beef, and dairy products. The forestry and logging industries also are primary employers of the valley’s rural residents (Rooney, 2008). These activities have affected the watershed significantly, with forestry and agricultural runoff contributing to river

  8. Investigation of the Transcriptome of Prairie Cord Grass, a New Cellulosic Biomass Crop

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kristene Gedye

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Prairie cordgrass ( Bosc ex Link is being developed as a cellulosic biomass crop. Development of this species will require numerous steps, including breeding, agronomy, and characterization of the species genome. The research in this paper describes the first investigation of the transcriptome of prairie cordgrass via Next Generation Sequencing Technology, 454 GS FLX. A total of 556,198 expressed sequence tags (ESTs were produced from four prairie cordgrass tissues: roots, rhizomes, immature inflorescence, and hooks. These ESTs were assembled into 26,302 contigs and 71,103 singletons. From these data were identified, EST–SSR (simple sequence repeat regions and cell wall biosynthetic pathway genes suitable for the development of molecular markers which can aid the breeding process of prairie cordgrass by means of marker assisted selection.

  9. Influence of resource availability on Juniperus virginiana expansion in a forest–prairie ecotone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Despite being native to the United States, Juniperus virginiana has rapidly expanded in prairie ecosystems bringing detrimental ecological effects and increased wildfire risk. We transplanted J. virginiana seedlings in three plant communities to investigate mechanisms driving J. ...

  10. Anticoagulant Prairie Dog Bait Risk Mitigation Measures to Protect Endangered Species

    Science.gov (United States)

    This Web page contains information on how certified pesticide applicators can use anticoagulant prairie dog bait products such as Rozol and Kaput-D while minimizing exposure risks to listed and non-target species.

  11. Investigation of the Transcriptome of Prairie Cord Grass, a New Cellulosic Biomass Crop

    KAUST Repository

    Gedye, Kristene

    2010-09-15

    Prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata Bosc ex Link) is being developed as a cellulosic biomass crop. Development of this species will require numerous steps, including breeding, agronomy, and characterization of the species genome. The research in this paper describes the first investigation of the transcriptome of prairie cordgrass via Next Generation Sequencing Technology, 454 GS FLX. A total of 556,198 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were produced from four prairie cordgrass tissues: roots, rhizomes, immature inflorescence, and hooks. These ESTs were assembled into 26,302 contigs and 71,103 singletons. From these data were identified, EST-SSR (simple sequence repeat) regions and cell wall biosynthetic pathway genes suitable for the development of molecular markers which can aid the breeding process of prairie cordgrass by means of marker assisted selection.

  12. Having it both ways? Land use change in a U.S. midwestern agricultural ecoregion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Auch, Roger F.; Laingen, Chris R.

    2015-01-01

    Urbanization has been directly linked to decreases in area of agricultural lands and, as such, has been considered a threat to food security. Although the area of land used to produce food has diminished, often overlooked have been changes in agricultural output. The Eastern Corn Belt Plains (ECBP) is an important agricultural region in the U.S. Midwest. It has both gained a significant amount of urban land, primarily from the conversion of agricultural land between 1973 and 2000, and at the same time continued to produce ever-increasing quantities of agricultural products. By 2002, more corn, soybeans, and hogs were produced on a smaller agricultural land base than in 1974. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, ECBP ecoregion society appeared to have “had it both ways”: more urbanization along with increased agricultural output.

  13. A SPATIAL DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR ECOTOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN CASPIAN HYRCANIAN MIXED FORESTS ECOREGION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ALI BALI

    Full Text Available Ecotourism, as a form of sustainable nature-based tourism, promotes conservation of ecological and scenic values. In this study, a Spatial Decision Support System, SDSS, was developed based upon Multi Criteria Evaluation, MCE, for ecotourism development in the Caspian Hyrcanian Mixed Forests ecoregion, northern Iran. For this, important criteria and constraints for ecotourism development were shortlisted using the Delphi Method. The criteria were weighted using Analytical Hierarchy Process, AHP. The obtained results indicated that "distance from water resources", "land use", "slope", "soil", "climate", "distance from roads", "land cover density", "erosion", and "distance from residential areas" were the most important criteria, respectively. The findings suggest that GIS-based SDSS is suitable to engage the various criteria affecting the development of ecotourism destinations. This empirical research develops a new method that can significantly facilitate planning forecotourism development with respect to ecological capability of ecotourism destinations.

  14. Exotic annual Bromus invasions: comparisons among species and ecoregions in the western United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooks, Matthew L.; Brown, Cynthia S.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; D'Antonio, Carla M.; Keeley, Jon E.; Belnap, Jayne

    2016-01-01

    Exotic annual Bromus species are widely recognized for their potential to invade, dominate, and alter the structure and function of ecosystems. In this chapter, we summarize the invasion potential, ecosystem threats, and management strategies for different Bromus species within each of five ecoregions of the western United States. We characterize invasion potential and threats in terms of ecosystem resistance to Bromus invasion and ecosystem resilience to disturbance with an emphasis on the importance of fi re regimes. We also explain how soil temperature and moisture regimes can be linked to patterns of resistance and resilience and provide a conceptual framework that can be used to evaluate the relative potential for invasion and ecological impact of the dominant exotic annual Bromus species in the western United States.

  15. Leatherback turtle movements, dive behavior, and habitat characteristics in ecoregions of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kara L Dodge

    Full Text Available Leatherback sea turtles, Dermochelys coriacea, are highly migratory predators that feed exclusively on gelatinous zooplankton, thus playing a unique role in coastal and pelagic food webs. From 2007 to 2010, we used satellite telemetry to monitor the movements and dive behavior of nine adult and eleven subadult leatherbacks captured on the Northeast USA shelf and tracked throughout the Northwest Atlantic. Leatherback movements and environmental associations varied by oceanographic region, with slow, sinuous, area-restricted search behavior and shorter, shallower dives occurring in cool (median sea surface temperature: 18.4°C, productive (median chlorophyll a: 0.80 mg m(-3, shallow (median bathymetry: 57 m shelf habitat with strong sea surface temperature gradients (median SST gradient: 0.23°C km(-1 at temperate latitudes. Leatherbacks were highly aggregated in temperate shelf and slope waters during summer, early fall, and late spring and more widely dispersed in subtropical and tropical oceanic and neritic habitat during late fall, winter and early spring. We investigated the relationship of ecoregion, satellite-derived surface chlorophyll, satellite-derived sea surface temperature, SST gradient, chlorophyll gradient and bathymetry with leatherback search behavior using generalized linear mixed-effects models. The most well supported model showed that differences in leatherback search behavior were best explained by ecoregion and regional differences in bathymetry and SST. Within the Northwest Atlantic Shelves region, leatherbacks increased path sinuosity (i.e., looping movements with increasing SST, but this relationship reversed within the Gulf Stream region. Leatherbacks increased path sinuosity with decreasing water depth in temperate and tropical shelf habitats. This relationship is consistent with increasing epipelagic gelatinous zooplankton biomass with decreasing water depth, and bathymetry may be a key feature in identifying

  16. Impacts of mesquite distribution on seasonal space use of lesser prairie-chickens

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boggie, Matthew A.; Strong, Cody R.; Lusk, Daniel; Carleton, Scott A.; Gould, William R.; Howard, Randy L.; Nichols, Clay T.; Falkowski, Michael J.; Hagen, Christian A.

    2017-01-01

    Loss of native grasslands by anthropogenic disturbances has reduced availability and connectivity of habitat for many grassland species. A primary threat to contiguous grasslands is the encroachment of woody vegetation, which is spurred by disturbances that take on many forms from energy development, fire suppression, and grazing. These disturbances are exacerbated by natural- and human-driven cycles of changes in climate punctuated by drought and desertification conditions. Encroachment of honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) into the prairies of southeastern New Mexico has potentially limited habitat for numerous grassland species, including lesser prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus). To determine the magnitude of impacts of distribution of mesquite and how lesser prairie-chickens respond to mesquite presence on the landscape in southeastern New Mexico, we evaluated seasonal space use of lesser prairie-chickens in the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. We derived several remotely sensed spatial metrics to characterize the distribution of mesquite. We then used these data to create population-level resource utilization functions and predict intensity of use of lesser prairie-chickens across our study area. Home ranges were smaller in the breeding season compared with the nonbreeding season; however, habitat use was similar across seasons. During both seasons, lesser prairie-chickens used areas closer to leks and largely avoided areas with mesquite. Relative to the breeding season, during the nonbreeding season habitat use suggested a marginal increase in mesquite within areas of low intensity of use, yet aversion to mesquite was strong in areas of medium to high intensity of use. To our knowledge, our study is the first to demonstrate a negative behavioral response by lesser prairie-chickens to woody encroachment in native grasslands. To mitigate one of the possible limiting factors for lesser prairie-chickens, we suggest future conservation

  17. Widespread Use and Frequent Detection of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Wetlands of Canada's Prairie Pothole Region

    OpenAIRE

    Main, Anson R.; Headley, John V.; Peru, Kerry M.; Michel, Nicole L.; Cessna, Allan J.; Morrissey, Christy A.

    2014-01-01

    Neonicotinoids currently dominate the insecticide market as seed treatments on Canada's major Prairie crops (e.g., canola). The potential impact to ecologically significant wetlands in this dominantly agro-environment has largely been overlooked while the distribution of use, incidence and level of contamination remains unreported. We modelled the spatial distribution of neonicotinoid use across the three Prairie Provinces in combination with temporal assessments of water and sediment concent...

  18. Social isolation induces behavioral and neuroendocrine disturbances relevant to depression in female and male prairie voles

    OpenAIRE

    Grippo, Angela J.; Gerena, Davida; Huang, Jonathan; Kumar, Narmda; Shah, Maulin; Ughreja, Raj; Carter, C. Sue

    2007-01-01

    Supportive social interactions may be protective against stressors and certain mental and physical illness, while social isolation may be a powerful stressor. Prairie voles are socially monogamous rodents that model some of the behavioral and physiological traits displayed by humans, including sensitivity to social isolation. Neuroendocrine and behavioral parameters, selected for their relevance to stress and depression, were measured in adult female and male prairie voles following 4 weeks o...

  19. Progress report: baseline monitoring of indicator species (butterflies) at tallgrass prairie restorations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allain, Larry; Vidrine, Malcolm

    2014-01-01

    This project provides baseline data of butterfly populations at two coastal prairie restoration sites in Louisiana, the Duralde Unit of Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge (hereafter, the Duralde site) and the Cajun Prairie Restoration Project in Eunice (hereafter, the Eunice site). In all, four distinct habitat types representing different planting methods were sampled. These data will be used to assess biodiversity and health of native grasslands and also provide a basis for adaptive management.

  20. Predation of artificial ground nests on white-tailed prairie dog colonies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, B.W.; Stanley, T.R.; Sedgwick, J.A.

    1999-01-01

    Prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) colonies are unique to prairie and shrub-steppe landscapes. However, widespread eradication, habitat loss, and sylvatic plague (Yersinia pestis) have reduced their numbers by 98% since historical times. Birds associated with prairie dogs also are declining. Potential nest predators, such as coyotes (Canis latrans), swift foxes (Vulpes velox), and badgers (Taxidea taxus), may be attracted to colonies where a high concentration of prairie dogs serve as available prey. Increased abundance of small mammals, including prairie dogs, also may increase the risk of predation for birds nesting on colonies. Finally, because grazing by prairie dogs may decrease vegetation height and canopy cover, bird nests may be easier for predators to locate. In this study, we placed 1,444 artificial ground nests on and off 74 white-tailed prairie dog (C. leucurus) colonies to test the hypothesis that nest predation rates are higher on colonies than at nearby off sites (i.e., uncolonized habitat). We sampled colonies from 27 May to 16 July 1997 at the following 3 complexes: Coyote Basin, Utah and Colorado; Moxa Arch, Wyoming; and Shirley Basin, Wyoming. Differences in daily predation rates between colonies and paired off sites averaged 1.0% (P = 0.060). When converted to a typical 14-day incubation period, predation rates averaged 14% higher on colonies (57.7 ?? 2.7%; ?? ?? SE) than at off sites (50.4 ?? 3.1%). Comparisons of habitat variables on colonies to off sites showed percent canopy cover of vegetation was similar (P = 0.114), percent bare ground was higher on colonies (P 0.288). Although we found the risk of nest predation was higher on white-tailed prairie dog colonies than at off sites, fitness of birds nesting on colonies might depend on other factors that influence foraging success, reproductive success, or nestling survival.

  1. Wildlife habitat management on the northern prairie landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Douglas H.; Haseltine, Susan D.; Cowardin, Lewis M.

    1994-01-01

    The northern prairie landscape has changed dramatically within the past century as a result of settlement by Europeans. Natural ecosystems have been disrupted and wildlife populations greatly altered. Natural resource agencies control only limited areas within the landscape, which they cannot manage independently of privately owned lands. Wildlife managers need first to set quantifiable objectives, based on the survival, reproduction, and distribution of wildlife. Second, they need to build public support and partnerships for meeting those objectives. Finally, they need to evaluate progress not only with respect to attitudes of the public and partners but, more importantly, of the wildlife response. This paper describes some useful tools for managing information at all phases of this process. We follow by discussing management options at a landscape level. Examples are given that involve agency lands as well as private lands, managed for biological resources and diversity as well as economic sustainability.

  2. Classification of Prairie basins by their hysteretic connected functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shook, K.; Pomeroy, J. W.

    2017-12-01

    Diagnosing climate change impacts in the post-glacial landscapes of the North American Prairies through hydrological modelling is made difficult by drainage basin physiography. The region is cold, dry and flat with poorly developed stream networks, and so the basin area that is hydrologically connected to the stream outlet varies with basin depressional storage. The connected area controls the contributing area for runoff reaching the stream outlet. As depressional storage fills, ponds spill from one to another; the chain of spilling ponds allows water to flow over the landscape and increases the connected area of the basin. As depressional storage decreases, the connected fraction drops dramatically. Detailed, fine-scale models and remote sensing have shown that the relationship between connected area and the depressional storage is hysteretic in Prairie basins and that the nature of hysteresis varies with basin physiography. This hysteresis needs to be represented in hydrological models to calculate contributing area, and therefore streamflow hydrographs. Parameterisations of the hysteresis are needed for large-scale models used for climate change diagnosis. However, use of parameterisations of hysteresis requires guidance on how to represent them for a particular basin. This study shows that it is possible to relate the shape of hysteretic functions as determined by detailed models to the overall physiography of the basin, such as the fraction of the basin below the outlet, and remote sensing estimates of depressional storage, using the size distribution and location of maximum ponded water areas. By classifying basin physiography, the hysteresis of connected area - storage relationships can be estimated for basins that do not have high-resolution topographic data, and without computationally-expensive high-resolution modelling.

  3. Development of index of biotic integrity expectations for the ecoregions of Indiana. I. Central corn belt plain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1991-11-01

    The Clean Water Act Amendments of 1987 mandate the development of biological criteria for evaluating the nation's surface waters. The requirements of Section 304(a) was implemented in Indiana to determine water resource degradation. A total of 197 headwater and wading stream sites were sampled in the Central Corn Belt Plain ecoregion in order to develop and calibrate an Index of Biotic Integrity for use in Indiana. Based on inherent variance within the ecoregion, sub-basins were established based on the concept of natural areas as recognized by Homoya et al. (1985). Site specific data; locality information; and species specific scoring criteria for tolerance classification, trophic guilds, and reproductive guilds are included in the appendix

  4. Venomics and antivenomics of Bothrops erythromelas from five geographic populations within the Caatinga ecoregion of northeastern Brazil

    OpenAIRE

    Jorge, Roberta Jeane B.; Monteiro, Helena S.A.; Gonçalves Machado, Larissa; Guarnieri, Míriam C.; Ximenes, Rafael M.; Borges Nojosa, Diva M.; de O. Luna, Karla P.; Zingali, Russolina B.; Corrêa Netto, Carlos; Gutiérrez, José María; Sanz, Libia; Calvete, Juan J.; Pla, Davinia

    2015-01-01

    The Caatinga lancehead, Bothrops erythromelas, is a medically relevant species, responsible for most of the snakebite accidents in most parts of its distribution range in northeastern Brazil. The spectrum and geographic variability of its venom toxins were investigated applying a venomics approach to venom pools from five geographic areas within the Caatinga ecoregion. Despite its wide habitat, populations of B. erythromelas from Ceará, Pernambuco, Juazeiro, Paraiba, and Ilha de Itaparica exh...

  5. Variation in NAT2 acetylation phenotypes is associated with differences in food-producing subsistence modes and ecoregions in Africa

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Podgorná, Eliška; Diallo, I.; Vangenot, Ch.; Sanchez-Mazas, A.; Sabbagh, A.; Černý, Viktor; Poloni, E. S.

    2015-01-01

    Roč. 15, č. 263 (2015) ISSN 1471-2148 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA13-37998S Institutional support: RVO:67985912 Keywords : NAT2 * acetylation polymorphism * African Sahel * pastoral nomads * subsistence mode * ecoregion * natural selection Subject RIV: AC - Archeology, Anthropology, Ethnology Impact factor: 3.406, year: 2015 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/15/263

  6. Relatedness of Macrophomina phaseolina isolates from tallgrass prairie, maize, soybean and sorghum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saleh, A A; Ahmed, H U; Todd, T C; Travers, S E; Zeller, K A; Leslie, J F; Garrett, K A

    2010-01-01

    Agricultural and wild ecosystems may interact through shared pathogens such as Macrophomina phaseolina, a generalist clonal fungus with more than 284 plant hosts that is likely to become more important under climate change scenarios of increased heat and drought stress. To evaluate the degree of subdivision in populations of M. phaseolina in Kansas agriculture and wildlands, we compared 143 isolates from maize fields adjacent to tallgrass prairie, nearby sorghum fields, widely dispersed soybean fields and isolates from eight plant species in tallgrass prairie. Isolate growth phenotypes were evaluated on a medium containing chlorate. Genetic characteristics were analysed based on amplified fragment length polymorphisms and the sequence of the rDNA-internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. The average genetic similarity was 58% among isolates in the tallgrass prairie, 71% in the maize fields, 75% in the sorghum fields and 80% in the dispersed soybean fields. The isolates were divided into four clusters: one containing most of the isolates from maize and soybean, two others containing isolates from wild plants and sorghum, and a fourth containing a single isolate recovered from Solidago canadensis in the tallgrass prairie. Most of the sorghum isolates had the dense phenotype on media containing chlorate, while those from other hosts had either feathery or restricted phenotypes. These results suggest that the tallgrass prairie supports a more diverse population of M. phaseolina per area than do any of the crop species. Subpopulations show incomplete specialization by host. These results also suggest that inoculum produced in agriculture may influence tallgrass prairie communities, and conversely that different pathogen subpopulations in tallgrass prairie can interact there to generate 'hybrids' with novel genetic profiles and pathogenic capabilities.

  7. Protected area coverage of threatened vertebrates and ecoregions in Peru: Comparison of communal, private and state reserves.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shanee, Sam; Shanee, Noga; Monteferri, Bruno; Allgas, Nestor; Alarcon Pardo, Alejandro; Horwich, Robert H

    2017-11-01

    Protected areas (PAs) are a conservation mainstay and arguably the most effective conservation strategy for species protection. As a 'megadiverse' country, Peru is a priority for conservation actions. Peruvian legislation allows for the creation of state PAs and private/communal PAs. Using publicly available species distribution and protected area data sets we evaluated the coverage of Threatened terrestrial vertebrate species distributions and ecoregions provided by both kinds of PA in Peru. Peru's state PA system covers 217,879 km 2 and private/communal PAs cover 16,588 km 2 . Of the 462 species of Threatened and Data Deficient species we evaluated, 75% had distributions that overlapped with at least one PA but only 53% had ≥10% of their distributions within PAs, with inclusion much reduced at higher coverage targets. Of the species we evaluated, 118 species are only found in national PAs and 29 species only found in private/communal PAs. Of the 17 terrestrial ecoregions found in Peru all are represented in PAs; the national PA system included coverage of 16 and private/communal PAs protect 13. One ecoregion is only protected in private/communal PAs, whereas four are only covered in national PAs. Our results show the important role private/communal PAs can play in the protection of ecological diversity. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Effects of nitrogen deposition and empirical nitrogen critical loads for ecoregions of the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pardo, L.H.; Fenn, M.E.; Goodale, C.L.; Geiser, L.H.; Driscoll, C.T.; Allen, E.B.; Baron, Jill S.; Bobbink, R.; Bowman, W.D.; Clark, C.M.; Emmett, B.; Gilliam, F.S.; Greaver, T.L.; Hall, S.J.; Lilleskov, E.A.; Liu, L.; Lynch, J.A.; Nadelhoffer, K.J.; Perakis, S.S.; Robin-Abbott, M. J.; Stoddard, J.L.; Weathers, K.C.; Dennis, R.L.

    2011-01-01

    Human activity in the last century has led to a significant increase in nitrogen (N) emissions and atmospheric deposition. This N deposition has reached a level that has caused or is likely to cause alterations to the structure and function of many ecosystems across the United States. One approach for quantifying the deposition of pollution that would be harmful to ecosystems is the determination of critical loads. A critical load is defined as the input of a pollutant below which no detrimental ecological effects occur over the long-term according to present knowledge. The objectives of this project were to synthesize current research relating atmospheric N deposition to effects on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in the United States, and to estimate associated empirical N critical loads. The receptors considered included freshwater diatoms, mycorrhizal fungi, lichens, bryophytes, herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees. Ecosystem impacts included: (1) biogeochemical responses and (2) individual species, population, and community responses. Biogeochemical responses included increased N mineralization and nitrification (and N availability for plant and microbial uptake), increased gaseous N losses (ammonia volatilization, nitric and nitrous oxide from nitrification and denitrification), and increased N leaching. Individual species, population, and community responses included increased tissue N, physiological and nutrient imbalances, increased growth, altered root : shoot ratios, increased susceptibility to secondary stresses, altered fire regime, shifts in competitive interactions and community composition, changes in species richness and other measures of biodiversity, and increases in invasive species. The range of critical loads for nutrient N reported for U.S. ecoregions, inland surface waters, and freshwater wetlands is 1-39 kg N.ha -1.yr -1, spanning the range of N deposition observed over most of the country. The empirical critical loads for N tend to

  9. The development and adoption of conservation tillage systems on the Canadian Prairies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L. Awada

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available One of the major agricultural innovations on the Canadian Prairies over the last 40 years has been the introduction of conservation tillage (CT. Conservation tillage-a system that includes minimum and zero tillage (ZT -was introduced as an alternative to traditional (conventional tillage (TT to control soil degradation and to promote agricultural sustainability. The development and adoption of CT systems involved pioneer farmers, engineers, scientists, and farmer associations. By the end of the 1970s, CT started to take shape on the Prairies, but for a number of economic, technical, political and social reasons, the adoption of CT did not occur on any major scale before the 1990s. Today, more than 75% of the Prairie's cropland is under some form of CT with more than 50% under ZT. In this paper, the factors behind the development and adoption of conservation tillage technology on the Prairies in the period between 1930 and 2011 are reviewed. Then, some of the benefits of the adoption of CT on the Prairies are highlighted. The data show that CT and ZT became profitable for the majority of farmers during and after the 1990s, and that the increased use of CT contributed to the dramatic decrease in the area under summerfallow and to the increase in the area sown to canola and pulse crops. These changes contributed to the reduction of all forms of land degradation and to decreases in agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG emissions.

  10. Factors that affect parasitism of black-tailed prairie dogs by fleas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A.; Hoogland, John L.

    2016-01-01

    Fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera) are hematophagous ectoparasites that feed on vertebrate hosts. Fleas can reduce the fitness of hosts by interfering with immune responses, disrupting adaptive behaviors, and transmitting pathogens. The negative effects of fleas on hosts are usually most pronounced when fleas attain high densities. In lab studies, fleas desiccate and die under dry conditions, suggesting that populations of fleas will tend to decline when precipitation is scarce under natural conditions. To test this hypothesis, we compared precipitation vs. parasitism of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) by fleas at a single colony during May and June of 13 consecutive years (1976–1988) at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, USA. The number of fleas on prairie dogs decreased with increasing precipitation during both the prior growing season (April through August of the prior year) and the just-completed winter–spring (January through April of current year). Due to the reduction in available moisture and palatable forage in dry years, herbivorous prairie dogs might have been food-limited, with weakened behavioral and immunological defenses against fleas. In support of this hypothesis, adult prairie dogs of low mass harbored more fleas than heavier adults. Our results have implications for the spread of plague, an introduced bacterial disease, transmitted by fleas, that devastates prairie dog colonies and, in doing so, can transform grassland ecosystems.

  11. A proposal to conserve black-footed ferrets and the prairie dog ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Brian; Wemmer, Christen; Biggins, Dean; Reading, Richard

    1990-11-01

    Prairie dogs ( Cynomys spp.) have been poisoned throughout this century because of grazing competition with livestock. Recent evidence showed these early claims were exaggerated, but animal control was already entrenched in government policy. As a result, ongoing government subsidized poisoning has reduced prairie dogs to about 2% of their former distribution. The reduction of prairie dogs diminished species diversity in the arid grasslands of North America, including the potential extinction of the black-footed ferret ( Mustela nigripes). Cost-benefit analysis revealed that poisoning costs more than any grazing benefits accrued. This analysis did not consider the long-term costs of reversing ecosystem degradation, the intangible value of biological diversity as a public benefit, or the depletion of biotic resources as a loss of actual or potential wealth. The government presently finances the poisoning policy and the preservation of endangered species like the black-footed ferret, two apparently conflicting programs. We, therefore, propose an integrated management plan that considers both interests. We propose that federal monies allocated to the poisoning program be converted into a rebate for ranchers who manage livestock while preserving the prairie dog community. This would redirect funds and personnel already allocated to prairie dog eradication to an incentive for ranchers who manage for livestock and wildlife. Livestock interests and grassland biotic diversity would both benefit.

  12. Effects of sexual dimorphism and landscape composition on the trophic behavior of Greater Prairie-Chicken.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Beatriz Blanco-Fontao

    Full Text Available Partitioning of ecological niche is expected in lekking species that show marked sexual size dimorphism as a consequence of sex-specific ecological constraints. However, niche partitioning is uncertain in species with moderate sexual dimorphism. In addition, the ecological niche of a species may also be affected by landscape composition; particularly, agricultural fragmentation may greatly influence the trophic behavior of herbivores. We studied trophic niche variation in Greater Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido, a grouse species that shows moderate sex-dimorphism. Greater Prairie-Chickens are native to tallgrass prairies of North America, although populations persist in less natural mosaics of cropland and native habitats. We used stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen in blood, claws and feathers to assess seasonal differences in trophic niche breadth and individual specialization between male and female Greater Prairie-Chickens, and between birds living in continuous and fragmented landscapes. We found that females showed broader niches and higher individual specialization than males, especially in winter and autumn. However, differences between females and males were smaller in spring when birds converge at leks, suggesting that females and males may exhibit similar feeding behaviors during the lekking period. In addition, we found that birds living in native prairies showed greater annual trophic variability than conspecifics in agricultural mosaic landscapes. Native habitats may provide greater dietary diversity, resulting in greater diversity of feeding strategies.

  13. Trichostatin A (TSA) facilitates formation of partner preference in male prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duclot, F; Wang, H; Youssef, C; Liu, Y; Wang, Z; Kabbaj, M

    2016-05-01

    In the socially monogamous prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster), the development of a social bonding is indicated by the formation of partner preference, which involves a variety of environmental and neurochemical factors and brain structures. In a most recent study in female prairie voles, we found that treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) facilitates the formation of partner preference through up-regulation of oxytocin receptor (OTR) and vasopressin V1a receptor (V1aR) genes expression in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that TSA treatment also facilitates partner preference formation and alters OTR and V1aR genes expression in the NAcc in male prairie voles. We thus observed that central injection of TSA dose-dependently promoted the formation of partner preference in the absence of mating in male prairie voles. Interestingly, TSA treatment up-regulated OTR, but not V1aR, gene expression in the NAcc similarly as they were affected by mating - an essential process for naturally occurring partner preference. These data, together with others, not only indicate the involvement of epigenetic events but also the potential role of NAcc oxytocin in the regulation of partner preference in both male and female prairie voles. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. Assessment of lesser prairie-chicken use of wildlife water guzzlers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boal, Clint W.; Borsdorf, Philip K.; Gicklhorn, Trevor S.

    2014-01-01

    Man-made water sources have been used as a management tool for wildlife, especially in arid regions, but the value of these water sources for wildlife populations is not well understood. In particular, the value of water as a conservation tool for Lesser Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) is unknown. However, this is a relevant issue due to a heightened conservation concern for the species and its occupancy of an arid landscape anticipated to experience warmer, drier springs and winters. We assessed if Lesser Prairie-Chickens would use commercially available wildlife water guzzlers and if there was any apparent selection between two design types. We confirmed that Lesser Prairie-Chickens would use bird friendly designed wildlife water guzzlers. Use was primarily during the lekking-nesting period (March–May) and the brood rearing period (June–July) and primarily by males. Although both designs were used, we found significantly greater use of a design that had a wider water trough and ramp built into the tank cover compared to a design that had a longer, narrower trough extending from the tank.Although we were unable to assess the physiological need of surface water by Lesser Prairie-Chickens, we were able to verify that they will use wildlife water guzzlers to access surface water. If it is found surface water is beneficial for Lesser Prairie-Chickens, game bird friendly designed guzzlers may be a useful conservation tool for the species.

  15. Hydrology of prairie wetlands: Understanding the integrated surface-water and groundwater processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayashi, Masaki; van der Kamp, Garth; Rosenberry, Donald O.

    2016-01-01

    Wetland managers and policy makers need to make decisions based on a sound scientific understanding of hydrological and ecological functions of wetlands. This article presents an overview of the hydrology of prairie wetlands intended for managers, policy makers, and researchers new to this field (e.g., graduate students), and a quantitative conceptual framework for understanding the hydrological functions of prairie wetlands and their responses to changes in climate and land use. The existence of prairie wetlands in the semi-arid environment of the Prairie-Pothole Region (PPR) depends on the lateral inputs of runoff water from their catchments because mean annual potential evaporation exceeds precipitation in the PPR. Therefore, it is critically important to consider wetlands and catchments as highly integrated hydrological units. The water balance of individual wetlands is strongly influenced by runoff from the catchment and the exchange of groundwater between the central pond and its moist margin. Land-use practices in the catchment have a sensitive effect on runoff and hence the water balance. Surface and subsurface storage and connectivity among individual wetlands controls the diversity of pond permanence within a wetland complex, resulting in a variety of eco-hydrological functionalities necessary for maintaining the integrity of prairie-wetland ecosystems.

  16. Phenotypic and genetic characterization of wildland collections of western and Searls prairie clovers for rangeland revegetation in the western USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kishor Bhattarai

    2010-01-01

    Western prairie clover [Dalea ornata (Douglas ex Hook.) Eaton & J. Wright] is a perennial legume that occurs in the northern Great Basin, Snake River Basin, and southern Columbia Plateau, whereas Searls prairie clover [Dalea searlsiae (A. Gray) Barneby], also a perennial legume, occurs in the southern Great Basin and surrounding areas. Understanding the genetic and...

  17. Students' Perceptions of a Highly Controversial yet Keystone Species, the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog: A Case Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox-Parrish, Lynne; Jurin, Richard R.

    2008-01-01

    The authors used a case-study methodology to explore the perceptions of 30 9th-grade biology students relative to black-tailed prairie dogs. The case study, which involved classroom- and field-based experiences that focused on black-tailed prairie dogs, revealed 3 major themes: apathy, egocentrism, and naive conceptions. The authors had hoped that…

  18. Macroinvertebrates in North American tallgrass prairie soils: effects of fire, mowing, and fertilization on density and biomass

    Science.gov (United States)

    M.A. Callaham; J.M. Blair; T.C. Todd; D.J. Kitchen; M.R. Whiles

    2003-01-01

    The responses of tallgrass prairie plant communities and ecosystem processes to fire and grazing are well characterized. However, responses of invertebrate consumer groups. and particularly soil-dwelling organisms, to these disturbances are not well known. At Konza Prairie Biological Station. we sampled soil macroinvertebrates in 1994 and 1999 as part of a long-term...

  19. 75 FR 70021 - South Dakota Prairie Winds Project; Partial Term Relinquishment and Release of Easement for Wind...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-11-16

    ... requested financing for the project from the RUS. PW SD1 has also submitted an application to the Service to...] South Dakota Prairie Winds Project; Partial Term Relinquishment and Release of Easement for Wind Energy... impact statement (FEIS) on the South Dakota Prairie Winds Project issued by the Department of Energy's...

  20. Relative abundance of mesopredators and size of oak patches in the cross-timbers ecoregion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Disney, M.R.; Hellgren, E.C.; Davis, C.A.; Leslie, David M.; Engle, David M.

    2008-01-01

    Mesopredators (e.g., raccoon Procyon lotor, Virginia opossum Didelphis virginiana, striped skunk Mephitis mephitis) have received considerable attention because of links to population declines in birds via increased nest predation, especially in landscapes fragmented by anthropogenic forces. Relationships of abundance of mesopredators to size of habitat patches have received less attention than relationships to other metrics of fragmentation, particularly edge characteristics. We tested the hypothesis that relative abundance of mesopredators (e.g., raccoons and Virginia opossums) was related negatively to size of forest patch. We delineated 15 patches of oak (Quercus) forest ranging from 0.2 to 55.3 ha within a grassland-woodland mosaic in the cross-timbers ecoregion of Oklahoma. Scent stations and live traps within these patches were used to index relative abundance of mesopredators in summers 2003 and 2004. Both indices of relative abundance were related weakly and negatively to area of forest patch. However, rate of capture and visitation to scent station were not correlated consistently throughout the study. Our results suggested that the two methods to index abundance provided separate information on functional and numerical responses to size of patch. Our evidence that mesopredators within the cross timbers were more likely to be in smaller patches of oak forest may have implications to success of avian nesting in these patches.

  1. Water availability reconstructions using tree-rings in the Valdivian rainforest ecoregion, Chile

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Urrutia, Rocio; Pena, M P; Christie, Duncan A; Lara, Antonio

    2010-01-01

    Water availability can be considered as one of the main restrictions for future development in South-Central Chile, due to the reported decreasing trends in precipitation in the last decades and the increasing demand for this resource. This issue makes the study of past water availability fundamental for the understanding of present and future variations. This paper presents a comparison of two water availability reconstructions within the Valdivian rainforest ecoregion (35 0 -48 0 S), one corresponding to a precipitation (37 0 -39.5 0 S) and the other to a streamflow reconstruction (41 0 S). This study shows that there are fundamental differences between them especially in the long term variability. However, there are also coincidences, mainly at higher frequency variations, such as at a bidecadal, decadal and annual scale. Another important finding is that these reconstructions show significant correlations with different climatic forcings in this area. The northern reconstruction presents a significant relationship with ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation), while the southern does the same with the AAO (Antarctic Oscillation Index).

  2. Management of protected areas in Sahel savannah ecoregion of Nigeria under the threat of desertification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    BOROKINI Temitope Israel

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available This study was conducted to assess the challenges facing 8 selected protected areas in the Sahel Savannah ecoregion and proffer solutions to these challenges in order to ensure conservation and sustainability of Nigeria’s biodiversity. Primary data were collected from randomly-selected 120 staffs using questionnaire administration from 8 Forest Reserves within Borno and Yobe states of Nigeria. A high level of encroachment of all the studied protected areas was observed, which ranged from deforestation, overgrazing, poaching to converting protected areas into farmlands. Other notable challenges include poor staffing, inadequate equipment and funding. The respondents further reported that majority of the defaulters were farmers and local people in the area, involved in such practices for their survival in the wake of harsher climate and desert encroachment in the region. This paper calls for a revision of the Government Policy on Forestry in Nigeria to allow the people own and plant forests, implementation of community based forest resources management, provision of environment and user-friendly solar powered cooking stoves and sustainable farming systems such as crop rotation, intercropping, sustainable irrigation, organic farming and agroforestry. In addition, sources of income for the locals need to be diversified, such as honey bee production.

  3. Documentation of Significant Losses in Cornus florida L. Populations throughout the Appalachian Ecoregion

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oswalt, Ch.M.; Oswalt, S.N.

    2010-01-01

    Over the last three decades the fungus Discula destructiva Redlin has severely impacted Cornus florida L. (flowering dogwood hereafter dogwood) populations throughout its range. This study estimates historical and current dogwood populations (number of trees) across the Appalachian ecoregion. Objectives were to (1) quantify current dogwood populations in the Appalachian eco region, (2) quantify change over time in dogwood populations, and (3) identify trends in dogwood population shifts. Data from the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) database were compiled from 41 FIA units in 13 states for county-level estimates of the total number of all live dogwood trees on timberland within the Appalachian eco region. Analysis of covariance, comparing historical and current county-level dogwood population estimates with average change in forest density as the covariate, was used to identify significant changes within FIA units. Losses ranging from 25 to 100 percent of the sample population (ρ<.05) were observed in 33 of the 41 (80 percent) sampled FIA units. These results indicate that an important component of the eastern deciduous forest has experienced serious losses throughout the Appalachians and support localized empirical results and landscape-scale anecdotal evidence.

  4. Benthic macrofaunal structure and secondary production in tropical estuaries on the Eastern Marine Ecoregion of Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bissoli, Lorena B; Bernardino, Angelo F

    2018-01-01

    Tropical estuaries are highly productive and support diverse benthic assemblages within mangroves and tidal flats habitats. Determining differences and similarities of benthic assemblages within estuarine habitats and between regional ecosystems may provide scientific support for management of those ecosystems. Here we studied three tropical estuaries in the Eastern Marine Ecoregion of Brazil to assess the spatial variability of benthic assemblages from vegetated (mangroves) and unvegetated (tidal flats) habitats. A nested sampling design was used to determine spatial scales of variability in benthic macrofaunal density, biomass and secondary production. Habitat differences in benthic assemblage composition were evident, with mangrove forests being dominated by annelids (Oligochaeta and Capitellidae) whereas peracarid crustaceans were also abundant on tidal flats. Macrofaunal biomass, density and secondary production also differed between habitats and among estuaries. Those differences were related both to the composition of benthic assemblages and to random spatial variability, underscoring the importance of hierarchical sampling in estuarine ecological studies. Given variable levels of human impacts and predicted climate change effects on tropical estuarine assemblages in Eastern Brazil, our data support the use of benthic secondary production to address long-term changes and improved management of estuaries in Eastern Brazil.

  5. Effects and empirical critical loads of Nitrogen for ecoregions of the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pardo, Linda H.; Robin-Abbott, Molly J.; Fenn, Mark E.; Goodale, Christine L.; Geiser, Linda H.; Driscoll, Charles T.; Allen, Edith B.; Baron, Jill S.; Bobbink, Roland; Bowman, William D.; Clark, C M; Emmett, B.; Gilliam, Frank S; Greaver, Tara L.; Hall, Sharon J; Lilleskov, Erik A.; Liu, Lingli; Lynch, Jason A.; Nadelhoffer, Knute J; Perakis, Steven; Stoddard, John L; Weathers, Kathleen C.; Dennis, Robin L.

    2015-01-01

    Human activity in the last century has increased nitrogen (N) deposition to a level that has caused or is likely to cause alterations to the structure and function of many ecosystems across the United States. We synthesized current research relating atmospheric N deposition to effects on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in the United States, and estimated associated empirical critical loads of N for several receptors: freshwater diatoms, mycorrhizal fungi, lichens, bryophytes, herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees. Biogeochemical responses included increased N mineralization and nitrification, increased gaseous N losses, and increased N leaching. Individual species, population, and community responses included increased tissue N, physiological and nutrient imbalances, increased growth, altered root-shoot ratios, increased susceptibility to secondary stresses, altered fire regime, shifts in competitive interactions and community composition, changes in species richness and other measures of biodiversity, and increases in invasive species. The range of critical loads of nutrient N reported for U.S. ecoregions, inland surface waters, and freshwater wetlands is 1–39 kg N ha−1 yr−1, spanning the range of N deposition observed over most of the country. The empirical critical loads of N tend to increase in the following sequence: diatoms, lichens and bryophytes, mycorrhizal fungi, herbaceous plants and shrubs, trees.

  6. Social recognition is context dependent in single male prairie voles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, Da-Jiang; Foley, Lauren; Rehman, Asad; Ophir, Alexander G.

    2013-01-01

    Single males might benefit from knowing the identity of neighbouring males when establishing and defending boundaries. Similarly, males should discriminate between individual females if this leads to more reproductive opportunities. Contextual social cues may alter the value of learning identity. Knowing the identity of competitors that intrude into an animal’s territory may be more salient than knowing the identity of individuals on whose territory an animal is trespassing. Hence, social and environmental context could affect social recognition in many ways. Here we test social recognition of socially monogamous single male prairie voles, Microtus ochrogaster. In experiment 1 we tested recognition of male or female conspecifics and found that males discriminated between different males but not between different females. In experiment 2 we asked whether recognition of males is influenced when males are tested in their own cage (familiar), in a clean cage (neutral) or in the home cage of another male (unfamiliar). Although focal males discriminated between male conspecifics in all three contexts, individual variation in recognition was lower when males were tested in their home cage (in the presence of familiar social cues) compared to when the context lacked social cues (neutral). Experiment 1 indicates that selective pressures may have operated to enhance male territorial behaviour and indiscriminate mate selection. Experiment 2 suggests that the presence of a conspecific cue heightens social recognition and that home-field advantages might extend to social cognition. Taken together, our results indicate social recognition depends on the social and possibly territorial context. PMID:24273328

  7. Climate impacts on the hydrology of prairie wetlands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Woo, Mingko; Rowsell, R.D.

    1991-01-01

    A study was carried out in the St. Denis National Wildlife Area, 45 km east of Saskatoon, to observe the hydrological processes and the temporal and spatial variability of slough responses to climate. One slough was instrumented for detailed study, showing that the high water level in spring was supported by snowmelt. In summer, rainfall was the major source of water supply, but was exceeded by losses to evaporation and groundwater recharge, leading to a decline of the water table and complete drying by June 13th. The duration that water remains in sloughs varies temporally and spatially. Ephemeral sloughs, deriving water mainly from snowmelt, tend to occupy higher ground, temporary sloughs rely on precipitation and surface runoff, and may receive groundwater discharge during wetter years. Permanent sloughs often occupy lower areas, receiving water from precipitation, lateral runoff, and groundwater discharge which buffers them from year to year fluctuations in precipitation. Tree ring analyses showed that meltwater is the major factor influencing tree growth, correlating the spatial variability of slough inundation to the temporal variability of winter snowfall. A study of slough hydrology is important to the understanding of the responses of Prairie wetlands to climatic variability and change. 17 refs., 2 figs

  8. Managing Water-Food-Energy Futures in the Canadian Prairies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wheater, H. S.; Hassanzadeh, E.; Nazemi, A.; Elshorbagy, A. A.

    2016-12-01

    The water-food-energy nexus is a convenient phrase to highlight competing societal uses for water and the need for cross-sectoral policy integration, but this can lead to oversimplification of the multiple dimensions of water (and energy) management. In practice, water managers must balance (and prioritize) demands for water for many uses, including environmental flows, and reservoir operation often involves managing conflicting demands, for example to maximize retention for supply, reduce storage to facilitate flood control, and constrain water levels and releases for habitat protection. Agriculture and water quality are also inextricably linked: irrigated agriculture requires appropriate water quality for product quality and certification, but agriculture can be a major source of nutrient pollution, with impacts on human and ecosystem health, drinking water treatment and amenity. And energy-water interactions include energy production (hydropower and cooling water for thermal power generation) and energy consumption (e.g. for pumping and water and wastewater treatment). These dependencies are illustrated for the Canadian prairies, and a risk-based approach to the management of climate change is presented. Trade-offs between economic benefits of hydropower and irrigation are illustrated for alternative climate futures, including implications for freshwater habitats. The results illustrate that inter-sector interactions vary as a function of climate and its variability, and that there is a need for policy to manage inter-sector allocations as a function of economic risk.

  9. Assessing diversity of prairie plants using remote sensing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gamon, J. A.; Wang, R.

    2017-12-01

    Biodiversity loss endangers ecosystem services and is considered as a global change that may generate unacceptable environmental consequences for the Earth system. Global biodiversity observations are needed to provide a better understanding of biodiversity - ecosystem services relationships and to provide a stronger foundation for conserving the Earth's biodiversity. While remote sensing metrics have been applied to estimate α biodiversity directly through optical diversity, a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the optical diversity-biodiversity relationship is needed. We designed a series of experiments at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, MN, to investigate the scale dependence of optical diversity and explore how species richness, evenness, and composition affect optical diversity. We collected hyperspectral reflectance of 16 prairie species using both a full-range field spectrometer fitted with a leaf clip, and an imaging spectrometer carried by a tram system to simulate plot-level images with different species richness, evenness, and composition. Two indicators of spectral diversity were explored: the coefficient of variation (CV) of spectral reflectance in space, and spectral classification using a Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA). Our results showed that sampling methods (leaf clip-derived data vs. image-derived data) affected the optical diversity estimation. Both optical diversity indices were affected by species richness and evenness (Pguide regional studies of biodiversity estimation using high spatial and spectral resolution remote sensing.

  10. Map of mixed prairie grassland vegetation, Rocky Flats, Colorado

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Clark, S J.V.; Webber, P J; Komarkova, V; Weber, W A

    1980-01-01

    A color vegetation map at the scale of 1:12,000 of the area surrounding the Rocky Flats, Rockwell International Plant near Boulder, Colorado, provides a permanent record of baseline data which can be used to monitor changes in both vegetation and environment and thus to contribute to future land management and land-use policies. Sixteen mapping units based on species composition were identified, and characterized by two 10-m/sup 2/ vegetation stands each. These were grouped into prairie, pasture, and valley side on the basis of their species composition. Both the mapping units and these major groups were later confirmed by agglomerative clustering analysis of the 32 vegetation stands on the basis of species composition. A modified Bray and Curtis ordination was used to determine the environmental factor complexes controlling the distribution of vegetation at Rocky flats. Recommendations are made for future policies of environmental management and predictions of the response to environmental change of the present vegetation at the Rocky Flats site.

  11. Homicide in the Canadian Prairies: elderly and nonelderly killings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahmed, A G; Menzies, Robin P D

    2002-11-01

    To examine the psychosocial and clinical characteristics of male perpetrators of elderly and nonelderly homicides in the Canadian Prairies. We examined data drawn from a study of 901 adult homicide offenders who were incarcerated or on parole between 1988 and 1992 in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Of those studied, 67 men were convicted of homicide involving 79 elderly victims, and 671 were convicted of homicide involving 675 nonelderly victims. Most perpetrators were single and engaged in irregular patterns of employment at the time of their index offence. Fourteen (20.8%) offenders with elderly victims had a history of psychiatric treatment, compared with 98 (14.6%) offenders with nonelderly victims; however, this difference was not statistically significant. Approximately 30% of both groups were diagnosed with personality disorders. A comparison of the index- offence characteristics showed no significant differences between the 2 groups. Our findings suggest that elderly individuals are more likely to be killed in their own homes by strangers. Social isolation appears to be a significant risk factor in cases of elderly homicide.

  12. Proceedings of the symposium on the management of prairie dog complexes for the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oldemeyer, John L.; Biggins, Dean E.; Miller, Brian J.; Crete, Ronald

    1993-01-01

    The workshop featured a review of current knowledge in the biology of prairie dogs in the context of managing black-footed ferret habitat. The review addressed two main components. The first consisted of a series of papers on prairie dog habitat and biology. The second component of the workshop was a summary of the participants' discussion about managing prairie dog complexes. This discussion was based on the previously identified papers and profited from the participants' expertise on the ecology of black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs. The report provides current and comprehensive information about management of habitat for prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets and is a useful guide for agencies and individuals that manage black-footed ferrets.

  13. Conservation Reserve Program mitigates grassland loss in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haukos, David A.; Spencer, David; Hagen, Christian A.; Daniels, Melinda D.; Goodin, Doug

    2017-01-01

    Since the beginning of the 20th century, the overall occupied range of the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has declined by 84% commensurate with population trends. Much of this decline has been attributed to the loss and fragmentation of native grasslands throughout the lesser prairie-chicken range. However, quantification of changes in land cover in the distribution of the lesser prairie-chicken is lacking. Our objectives were to (1) document changes in the areal extent and connectivity of grasslands in the identified lesser prairie-chicken range in Kansas, USA, (>60% of extant lesser prairie-chicken population) from the 1950s to 2013 using remotely sensed data and (2) assess the potential of the Conservation Reserve Program (U.S. Department of Agriculture Program converting cropland to permanent cover; CRP) to mitigate grassland loss. Digital land cover maps were generated on a decadal time step through spectral classification of LANDSAT images and visual analysis of aerial photographs (1950s and 1960s). Landscape composition and configuration were assessed using FRAGSTATS to compute a variety of landscape metrics measuring changes in the amount of grassland present as well as changes in the size and configuration of grassland patches. With the exception of a single regional portion of the range, nearly all of the grassland converted to cropland in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas occurred prior to the 1950s. Prior to the implementation of CRP, the amount of grassland decreased 3.6% between the 1950s and 1985 from 18,455 km2 to 17,788 km2. Since 1985, the overall amount of grassland in the lesser prairie-chicken range has increased 11.9% to 19,898 km2 due to implementation of CRP, although the area of grassland decreased between 1994 and 2013 as CRP contracts were not renewed by landowners. Since 1986 grassland in Kansas became more connected and less fragmented in response to the CRP. While the CRP has been successful in

  14. Conservation Reserve Program mitigates grassland loss in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Spencer

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Since the beginning of the 20th century, the overall occupied range of the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus has declined by 84% commensurate with population trends. Much of this decline has been attributed to the loss and fragmentation of native grasslands throughout the lesser prairie-chicken range. However, quantification of changes in land cover in the distribution of the lesser prairie-chicken is lacking. Our objectives were to (1 document changes in the areal extent and connectivity of grasslands in the identified lesser prairie-chicken range in Kansas, USA, (>60% of extant lesser prairie-chicken population from the 1950s to 2013 using remotely sensed data and (2 assess the potential of the Conservation Reserve Program (U.S. Department of Agriculture Program converting cropland to permanent cover; CRP to mitigate grassland loss. Digital land cover maps were generated on a decadal time step through spectral classification of LANDSAT images and visual analysis of aerial photographs (1950s and 1960s. Landscape composition and configuration were assessed using FRAGSTATS to compute a variety of landscape metrics measuring changes in the amount of grassland present as well as changes in the size and configuration of grassland patches. With the exception of a single regional portion of the range, nearly all of the grassland converted to cropland in the lesser prairie-chicken range of Kansas occurred prior to the 1950s. Prior to the implementation of CRP, the amount of grassland decreased 3.6% between the 1950s and 1985 from 18,455 km2 to 17,788 km2. Since 1985, the overall amount of grassland in the lesser prairie-chicken range has increased 11.9% to 19,898 km2 due to implementation of CRP, although the area of grassland decreased between 1994 and 2013 as CRP contracts were not renewed by landowners. Since 1986 grassland in Kansas became more connected and less fragmented in response to the CRP. While the CRP has been successful

  15. Social transfer of alcohol withdrawal-induced hyperalgesia in female prairie voles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walcott, Andre T; Smith, Monique L; Loftis, Jennifer M; Ryabinin, Andrey E

    2018-03-27

    The expression of pain serves as a way for animals to communicate potential dangers to nearby conspecifics. Recent research demonstrated that mice undergoing alcohol or morphine withdrawal, or inflammation, could socially communicate their hyperalgesia to nearby mice. However, it is unknown whether such social transfer of hyperalgesia can be observed in other species of rodents. Therefore, the present study investigated if the social transfer of hyperalgesia occurs in the highly social prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster). We observe that adult female prairie voles undergoing withdrawal from voluntary two-bottle choice alcohol drinking display an increase in nociception. This alcohol withdrawal-induced hypersensitiity is socially transferred to female siblings within the same cage and female strangers housed in separate cages within the same room. These experiments reveal that the social transfer of pain phenomenon is not specific to inbred mouse strains and that prairie voles display alcohol withdrawal and social transfer-induced hyperalgesia.

  16. The effect of listing the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species on rural property values.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wietelman, Derek C; Melstrom, Richard T

    2017-04-15

    This paper estimates the effect of Endangered Species Act protections for the lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) on rural property values in Oklahoma. The political and legal controversy surrounding the listing of imperiled species raises questions about the development restrictions and opportunity costs the Endangered Species Act imposes on private landowners. Examining parcel-level sales data before and after the listing of the endemic lesser prairie chicken, we employ difference-in-differences (DD) regression to measure the welfare costs of these restrictions. While our basic DD regression provides evidence the listing was associated with a drop in property values, this finding does not hold up in models that control for latent county and year effects. The lack of a significant price effect is confirmed by several robustness checks. Thus, the local economic costs of listing the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act appear to have been small. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Magnetic minerals in soils across the forest-prairie ecotone in NW Minnesota

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maxbauer, D.; Feinberg, J. M.; Fox, D. L.; Nater, E. A.

    2016-12-01

    Soil pedogenesis results in a complex assemblage of iron oxide minerals that can be disentangled successfully using sensitive magnetic techniques to better delineate specific soil processes. Here, we evaluate the variability in soil processes within forest, prairie, and transitional soils along an 11 km transect of anthropogenically unaltered soils that span the forest-to-prairie ecotone in NW Minnesota. All soils in this study developed on relatively uniform topography, similar glacial till parent material, under a uniform climate, and presumably over similar time intervals. The forest-to-prairie transition zone in this region is controlled by naturally occurring fires, affording the opportunity to evaluate differences in soil processes related to vegetation (forest versus prairie) and burning (prairie and transitional soils). Results suggest that the pedeogenic fraction of magnetite/maghemite in soils is similar in all specimens and is independent of soil type, vegetation, and any effects of burning. Magnetically enhanced horizons have 45% of remanence held by a low-coercivity pedogenic component (likely magnetite/maghemite) regardless of vegetation cover and soil type. Enhancement ratios for magnetic susceptibility and low-field remanences, often used as indicators of pedogenic magnetic minerals, are more variable but remain statistically equivalent across the transect. These results support the hypothesis that pedogenic magnetic minerals in soils mostly reflect ambient climatic conditions regardless of the variability in soil processes related to vegetation and soil type. The non-pedogenic magnetic mineral assemblage shows clear distinctions between the forest, prairie, and transitional soils in hysteresis properties (remanence and coercivity ratios; Mr/Ms and Bc/Bcr, respectively), suggesting that variable processes in these settings influence the local magnetic mineral assemblage, and that it may be possible to use magnetic minerals in paleosols to constrain

  18. Landscape composition creates a threshold influencing Lesser Prairie-Chicken population resilience to extreme drought

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, Beth E.; Haukos, David A.; Hagen, Christian A.; Pitman, James C.

    2016-01-01

    Habitat loss and degradation compound the effects of climate change on wildlife, yet responses to climate and land cover change are often quantified independently. The interaction between climate and land cover change could be intensified in the Great Plains region where grasslands are being converted to row-crop agriculture concurrent with increased frequency of extreme drought events. We quantified the combined effects of land cover and climate change on a species of conservation concern in the Great Plains, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus  ). We combined extreme drought events and land cover change with lek count surveys in a Bayesian hierarchical model to quantify changes in abundance of male Lesser Prairie-Chickens from 1978 to 2014 in Kansas, the core of their species range. Our estimates of abundance indicate a gradually decreasing population through 2010 corresponding to drought events and reduced grassland areas. Decreases in Lesser Prairie-Chicken abundance were greatest in areas with increasing row-crop to grassland land cover ratio during extreme drought events, and decreased grassland reduces the resilience of Lesser Prairie-Chicken populations to extreme drought events. A threshold exists for Lesser Prairie-Chickens in response to the gradient of cropland:grassland land cover. When moving across the gradient of grassland to cropland, abundance initially increased in response to more cropland on the landscape, but declined in response to more cropland after the threshold (δ=0.096, or 9.6% cropland). Preservation of intact grasslands and continued implementation of initiatives to revert cropland to grassland should increase Lesser Prairie-Chicken resilience to extreme drought events due to climate change.

  19. Impact of Prairie Cover on Hydraulic Conductivity and Storm Water Runoff

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herkes, D. M. G.; Gori, A.; Juan, A.

    2017-12-01

    Houston has long struggled to find effective solutions to its historic flooding problems. Conventional strategies have revolved around constructing hard infrastructure such as levees or regional detention ponds to reduce flood impacts. However, there has been a recent shift to explore the implementation of nature-based solutions in reducing flood impacts. This is due to the price of structural mechanisms, as well as their failure to adequately protect areas from flooding during the latest flood events. One alternative could be utilizing the natural water retention abilities of native Texas prairies. This study examines the effect of Texas prairie areas in increasing soil infiltration capacities, thereby increasing floodwater storage and reducing surface runoff. For this purpose, an infiltration study of 15 sites was conducted on lands owned by the Katy Prairie Conservancy within Cypress Creek watershed. Located in Northwest Houston, it is an area which had been heavily impacted by recent flood events. Each sampling site was selected to represent a particular land cover or vegetation type, ranging from developed open space to native prairies. Field test results are then compared to literature values of soil infiltration capacity in order to determine the infiltration benefit of each vegetation type. Test results show that certain vegetation, especially prairies, significantly increase the infiltration capacity of the underlying soil. For example, the hydraulic conductivity of prairie on sandy loam soil is approximately an order of magnitude higher than that of the soil itself. Finally, a physics-based hydrologic model is utilized to evaluate the flood reduction potential of native Texas prairie. This model represents Cypress Creek watershed in gridded cell format, and allows varying hydraulic and infiltration parameters at each cell. Design storms are run to obtain flow hydrographs for selected watch points in the study area. Two scenarios are simulated and compared

  20. Field-level financial assessment of contour prairie strips for enhancement of environmental quality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tyndall, John C; Schulte, Lisa A; Liebman, Matthew; Helmers, Matthew

    2013-09-01

    The impacts of strategically located contour prairie strips on sediment and nutrient runoff export from watersheds maintained under an annual row crop production system have been studied at a long-term research site in central Iowa. Data from 2007 to 2011 indicate that the contour prairie strips utilized within row crop-dominated landscapes have greater than proportionate and positive effects on the functioning of biophysical systems. Crop producers and land management agencies require comprehensive information about the Best Management Practices with regard to performance efficacy, operational/management parameters, and the full range of financial parameters. Here, a farm-level financial model assesses the establishment, management, and opportunity costs of contour prairie strips within cropped fields. Annualized, depending on variable opportunity costs the 15-year present value cost of utilizing contour prairie strips ranges from $590 to $865 ha(-1) year(-1) ($240-$350 ac(-1) year(-1)). Expressed in the context of "treatment area" (e.g., in this study 1 ha of prairie treats 10 ha of crops), the costs of contour prairie strips can also be viewed as $59 to about $87 per treated hectare ($24-$35 ac(-1)). If prairie strips were under a 15-year CRP contract, total per acre cost to farmers would be reduced by over 85 %. Based on sediment, phosphorus, and nitrogen export data from the related field studies and across low, medium, and high land rent scenarios, a megagram (Mg) of soil retained within the watershed costs between $7.79 and $11.46 mg(-1), phosphorus retained costs between $6.97 and $10.25 kg(-1), and nitrogen retained costs between $1.59 and $2.34 kg(-1). Based on overall project results, contour prairie strips may well become one of the key conservation practices used to sustain US Corn Belt agriculture in the decades to come.

  1. Ecological consequences of shifting the timing of burning tallgrass prairie.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E Gene Towne

    Full Text Available In the Kansas Flint Hills, grassland burning is conducted during a relatively narrow window because management recommendations for the past 40 years have been to burn only in late spring. Widespread prescribed burning within this restricted time frame frequently creates smoke management issues downwind. A potential remedy for the concentrated smoke production in late spring is to expand burning to times earlier in the year. Yet, previous research suggested that burning in winter or early spring reduces plant productivity and cattle weight gain while increasing the proportion of undesirable plant species. In order to better understand the ecological consequences of burning at different times of the year, plant production and species abundance were measured for 20 years on ungrazed watersheds burned annually in autumn, winter, or spring. We found that there were no significant differences in total grass production among the burns on either upland or lowland topographic positions, although spring burned watersheds had higher grass culm production and lower forb biomass than autumn and winter burned watersheds. Burning in autumn or winter broadened the window of grass productivity response to precipitation, which reduces susceptibility to mid-season drought. Burning in autumn or winter also increased the phenological range of species by promoting cool-season graminoids without a concomitant decrease in warm-season grasses, potentially widening the seasonal window of high-quality forage. Incorporating autumn and winter burns into the overall portfolio of tallgrass prairie management should increase the flexibility in managing grasslands, promote biodiversity, and minimize air quality issues caused by en masse late-spring burning with little negative consequences for cattle production.

  2. Continuous Cropping and Moist Deep Convection on the Canadian Prairies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Devon E. Worth

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Summerfallow is cropland that is purposely kept out of production during a growing season to conserve soil moisture. On the Canadian Prairies, a trend to continuous cropping with a reduction in summerfallow began after the summerfallow area peaked in 1976. This study examined the impact of this land-use change on convective available potential energy (CAPE, a necessary but not sufficient condition for moist deep convection. All else being equal, an increase in CAPE increases the probability-of-occurrence of convective clouds and their intensity if they occur. Representative Bowen ratios for the Black, Dark Brown, and Brown soil zones were determined for 1976: the maximum summerfallow year, 2001: our baseline year, and 20xx: a hypothetical year with the maximum-possible annual crop area. Average mid-growing-season Bowen ratios and noon solar radiation were used to estimate the reduction in the lifted index (LI from land-use weighted evapotranspiration in each study year. LI is an index of CAPE, and a reduction in LI indicates an increase in CAPE. The largest reductions in LI were found for the Black soil zone. They were −1.61 ± 0.18, −1.77 ± 0.14 and −1.89 ± 0.16 in 1976, 2001 and 20xx, respectively. These results suggest that, all else being equal, the probability-of-occurrence of moist deep convection in the Black soil zone was lower in 1976 than in the base year 2001, and it will be higher in 20xx when the annual crop area reaches a maximum. The trend to continuous cropping had less impact in the drier Dark Brown and Brown soil zones.

  3. The scale dependence of optical diversity in a prairie ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gamon, J. A.; Wang, R.; Stilwell, A.; Zygielbaum, A. I.; Cavender-Bares, J.; Townsend, P. A.

    2015-12-01

    Biodiversity loss, one of the most crucial challenges of our time, endangers ecosystem services that maintain human wellbeing. Traditional methods of measuring biodiversity require extensive and costly field sampling by biologists with extensive experience in species identification. Remote sensing can be used for such assessment based upon patterns of optical variation. This provides efficient and cost-effective means to determine ecosystem diversity at different scales and over large areas. Sampling scale has been described as a "fundamental conceptual problem" in ecology, and is an important practical consideration in both remote sensing and traditional biodiversity studies. On the one hand, with decreasing spatial and spectral resolution, the differences among different optical types may become weak or even disappear. Alternately, high spatial and/or spectral resolution may introduce redundant or contradictory information. For example, at high resolution, the variation within optical types (e.g., between leaves on a single plant canopy) may add complexity unrelated to specie richness. We studied the scale-dependence of optical diversity in a prairie ecosystem at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, Minnesota, USA using a variety of spectrometers from several platforms on the ground and in the air. Using the coefficient of variation (CV) of spectra as an indicator of optical diversity, we found that high richness plots generally have a higher coefficient of variation. High resolution imaging spectrometer data (1 mm pixels) showed the highest sensitivity to richness level. With decreasing spatial resolution, the difference in CV between richness levels decreased, but remained significant. These findings can be used to guide airborne studies of biodiversity and develop more effective large-scale biodiversity sampling methods.

  4. Effects of projected climate change on vegetation in the Blue Mountains ecoregion, USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Becky K. Kerns

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available We used autecological, paleoecological, and modeling information to explore the potential effects of climate change on vegetation in the Blue Mountains ecoregion, Oregon (USA. Although uncertainty exists about the exact nature of future vegetation change, we infer that the following are likely to occur by the end of the century: (1 dominance of ponderosa pine and sagebrush will increase in many locations, (2 the forest-steppe ecotone will move upward in latitude and elevation, (3 ponderosa pine will be distributed at higher elevations, (4 subalpine and alpine systems will be replaced by grass species, pine, and Douglas-fir, (5 moist forest types may increase under wetter scenarios, (6 the distribution and abundance of juniper woodlands may decrease if the frequency and extent of wildfire increase, and (7 grasslands and shrublands will increase at lower elevations. Tree growth in energy-limited landscapes (high elevations, north aspects will increase as the climate warms and snowpack decreases, whereas tree growth in water-limited landscapes (low elevations, south aspects will decrease. Ecological disturbances, including wildfire, insect outbreaks, and non-native species, which are expected to increase in a warmer climate, will affect species distribution, tree age, and vegetation structure, facilitating transitions to new combinations of species and vegetation patterns. In dry forests where fire has not occurred for several decades, crown fires may result in high tree mortality, and the interaction of multiple disturbances and stressors will probably exacerbate stress complexes. Increased disturbance will favor species with physiological and phenological traits that allow them to tolerate frequent disturbance. Keywords: Climate change, Disturbance, Vegetation, Wildfire

  5. Diversity of deep-sea fishes of the Easter Island Ecoregion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Easton, Erin E.; Sellanes, Javier; Gaymer, Carlos F.; Morales, Naiti; Gorny, Matthias; Berkenpas, Eric

    2017-03-01

    The Easter Island Ecoregion is in the center of the South Pacific gyre and experiences ultra-oligotrophic conditions that could make it highly susceptible to global change and anthropogenic activities, so it is imperative that these regions are characterized and studied so that conservation and sustainable management strategies can be developed. From the few studies from the region, we know that the coastal areas are relatively depauperate and have relatively high rates of endemism. Here, we present a brief report from the first video observations from this region of the deep-dwelling fishes from ROV exploration of benthic communities from 157 to 281 m and baited drop-camera videos from 150 to 1850 m. We observed a total of 55 fish species from the ROV and Drop-Cam surveys; nine could not be assigned family level or lower, 26 were observed in the ROV surveys, 29 were observed in the Drop-Cam surveys, nine were observed with both survey methods, at least six species are potentially new to science, and nine species were observed at deeper depths than previously reported. These new reports may be indicative of the unique oceanographic conditions in the area and the relative isolation of the communities that have provided opportunity for the evolution of new species and favorable conditions for range expansion. In contrast, these new reports may be indicative of the severe undersampling in the south Pacific at mesopelagic depths. The prevalence of potentially new species suggests that the region likely harbors a wealth of undiscovered biodiversity.

  6. Interactions among American badgers, black-footed ferrets, and prairie dogs in the grasslands of western North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A.; Biggins, Dean E.; Grassel, Shaun M.; Livieri, Travis M.; Licht, Daniel S.; Proulx, Gilbert; Do Linh San, Emmanuel

    2016-01-01

    American badgers (Taxidea taxus) and black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) sometimes occur sympatrically within colonies of prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) in the grasslands of western North America. From the perspective of a simplified food web, badgers are consumers of ferrets and, to a greater extent, prairie dogs; ferrets are specialized consumers of prairie dogs; and prairie dogs are consumers of vegetation. We review information on the predatory behaviours of badgers, which collectively demonstrate that badgers exhibit complex hunting strategies to improve their probability of capturing prairie dogs and, perhaps, ferrets. We also review studies of interactions between badgers and ferrets, which suggest that there is selective pressure on badgers to compete with ferrets, and pressure on ferrets to compete with and avoid badgers. We then speculate as to how prairie dogs might shape interactions between badgers and ferrets, and how badgers could spread the plague bacterium (Yersinia pestis) among prairie dog colonies. Lastly, we provide recommendations for research on this tractable system of semi-fossorial predators and prey.

  7. Midcontinent Prairie-Pothole wetlands and climate change: An Introduction to the Supplemental Issue

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mushet, David M.

    2016-01-01

    The multitude of wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America forms one of Earth’s largest wetland complexes. The midcontinent location exposes this ecologically and economically important wetland system to a highly variable climate, markedly influencing ponded-water levels, hydroperiods, chemical characteristics, and biota of individual basins. Given their dominance on the landscape and recognized value, great interest in how projected future changes in climate will affect prairie-pothole wetlands has developed and spawned much scientific research. On June 2, 2015, a special symposium, “Midcontinent Prairie-Pothole Wetlands: Influence of a Changed Climate,” was held at the annual meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The symposium’s twelve presenters covered a wide range of relevant topics delivered to a standing-room-only audience. Following the symposium, the presenters recognized the need to publish their presented papers as a combined product to facilitate widespread distribution. The need for additional papers to more fully cover the topic of prairie-pothole wetlands and climate change was also identified. This supplemental issue of Wetlands is the realization of that vision.

  8. Status of black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) in Sonora, Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyna A. Castillo-Gamez; Rafael Arenas-Wong; Luis Castillo-Quijada; Verónica Coronado-Peraza; Abigail Enríquez-Munguia; Mirna Federico-Ortega; Alejandra García-Urrutia; Alba Lozano-Gámez; Romeo Méndez-Estrella; Laura Ochoa-Figueroa; J. R. Romo-León; Guy Kruse-Llergo; Iván Parra-Salazar

    2005-01-01

    Prairie dog is a keystone species throughout the habitat where it occurs, but its populations have declined about 98% in the last century. This species has been considered of international importance for the United States of America, Canada, and Mexico. Only two populations are recorded for Mexico, and the westernmost (isolated by Sierra Madre...

  9. Testing for thresholds in a semiarid grassland: The influence of prairie dogs and plague

    Science.gov (United States)

    State and transition models for semiarid grasslands in the Great Plains of North America suggest that the presence of herbivorous black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) on a site (1) creates a vegetation state characterized by increased dominance of annual forbs and unpalatable bunchgrasse...

  10. Rainwater deficit and irrigation demand for row crops in Mississippi Blackland Prairie

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gary Feng; Ying Ouyang; Ardeshir Adeli; John Read; Johnie Jenkins

    2018-01-01

    Irrigation research in the mid-south United States has not kept pace with a steady increase in irrigated area in recent years. This study used rainfall records from 1895 to 2016 to determine rainwater deficit and irrigation demand for soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], corn (Zea mays L.), and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in the Blackland Prairie region of Mississippi...

  11. Spread of plague among black-tailed prairie dogs is associated with colony spatial characteristics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, T.L.; Cully, J.F.; Collinge, S.K.; Ray, C.; Frey, C.M.; Sandercock, B.K.

    2011-01-01

    Sylvatic plague (Yersinia pestis) is an exotic pathogen that is highly virulent in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and causes widespread colony losses and individual mortality rates >95%. We investigated colony spatial characteristics that may influence inter-colony transmission of plague at 3 prairie dog colony complexes in the Great Plains. The 4 spatial characteristics we considered include: colony size, Euclidean distance to nearest neighboring colony, colony proximity index, and distance to nearest drainage (dispersal) corridor. We used multi-state mark-recapture models to determine the relationship between these colony characteristics and probability of plague transmission among prairie dog colonies. Annual mapping of colonies and mark-recapture analyses of disease dynamics in natural colonies led to 4 main results: 1) plague outbreaks exhibited high spatial and temporal variation, 2) the site of initiation of epizootic plague may have substantially influenced the subsequent inter-colony spread of plague, 3) the long-term effect of plague on individual colonies differed among sites because of how individuals and colonies were distributed, and 4) colony spatial characteristics were related to the probability of infection at all sites although the relative importance and direction of relationships varied among sites. Our findings suggest that conventional prairie dog conservation management strategies, including promoting large, highly connected colonies, may need to be altered in the presence of plague. ?? 2011 The Wildlife Society.

  12. Vegetation dynamics of restored and remnant Willamette Valley, OR wet prairie wetlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wet prairie wetlands are now one of the rarest habitat types in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, USA. Less than two percent of their historic extent remains, with most having been converted into agricultural fields (Christy and Alverson 2011, ONHP 1983). This habitat is the obl...

  13. Sediment removal by prairie filter strips in row-cropped ephemeral watersheds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthew J. Helmers; Xiaobo Zhou; Heidi Asbjornsen; Randy Kolka; Mark D. Tomer; Richard M. Cruse

    2012-01-01

    Twelve small watersheds in central Iowa were used to evaluate the eff ectiveness of prairie filter strips (PFS) in trapping sediment from agricultural runoff. Four treatments with PFS of different size and location (100% rowcrop, 10% PFS of total watershed area at footslope, 10% PFS at footslope and in contour strips, 20% PFS at footslope and in contour strips)...

  14. Effects of wind energy development on nesting ecology of greater prairie-chickens in fragmented grasslands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNew, Lance B; Hunt, Lyla M; Gregory, Andrew J; Wisely, Samantha M; Sandercock, Brett K

    2014-08-01

    Wind energy is targeted to meet 20% of U.S. energy needs by 2030, but new sites for development of renewable energy may overlap with important habitats of declining populations of grassland birds. Greater Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) are an obligate grassland bird species predicted to respond negatively to energy development. We used a modified before-after control-impact design to test for impacts of a wind energy development on the reproductive ecology of prairie-chickens in a 5-year study. We located 59 and 185 nests before and after development, respectively, of a 201 MW wind energy facility in Greater Prairie-Chicken nesting habitat and assessed nest site selection and nest survival relative to proximity to wind energy infrastructure and habitat conditions. Proximity to turbines did not negatively affect nest site selection (β = 0.03, 95% CI = -1.2-1.3) or nest survival (β = -0.3, 95% CI = -0.6-0.1). Instead, nest site selection and survival were strongly related to vegetative cover and other local conditions determined by management for cattle production. Integration of our project results with previous reports of behavioral avoidance of oil and gas facilities by other species of prairie grouse suggests new avenues for research to mitigate impacts of energy development. © 2014 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology.

  15. Restoring sand shinnery oak prairies with herbicide and grazing in New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zavaleta, Jennifer C.; Haukos, David A.; Grisham, Blake A.; Boal, Clint W.; Dixon, Charles

    2016-01-01

    Sand shinnery oak (Quercus havardii) prairies are increasingly disappearing and increasingly degraded in the Southern High Plains of Texas and New Mexico. Restoring and managing sand shinnery oak prairie can support biodiversity, specific species of conservation concern, and livestock production. We measured vegetation response to four treatment combinations of herbicide (tebuthiuron applied at 0.60 kg/ha) and moderate-intensity grazing (50% removal of annual herbaceous production) over a 10-year period in a sand shinnery oak prairie of eastern New Mexico. We compared the annual vegetation response to the historical climax plant community (HCPC) as outlined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Ecological Site Description. From 2 to 10 years postapplication, tebuthiuron-treated plots had reduced shrub cover with twice as much forb and grass cover as untreated plots. Tebuthiuron-treated plots, regardless of the presence of grazing, most frequently met HCPC. Tebuthiuron and moderate-intensity grazing increased vegetation heterogeneity and, based on comparison of the HCPC, successfully restored sand shinnery oak prairie to a vegetation composition similar to presettlement.

  16. Raptor community composition in the Texas Southern High Plains lesser prairie-chicken range

    Science.gov (United States)

    Behney, A.C.; Boal, Clint W.; Whitlaw, Heather A.; Lucia, D.R.

    2012-01-01

    Predation can be a factor in preventing prey population growth and sustainability when prey populations are small and fragmented, and when predator density is unrelated to the density of the single prey species. We conducted monthly raptor surveys from February 2007 to May 2009 in adjacent areas of the Texas Southern High Plains (USA) that do and do not support lesser prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act. During the summer period corresponding to prairie-chicken nesting and brood-rearing, Swainson's hawks (Buteo swainsoni) were the most abundant raptor. During the lekking and overwintering period, the raptor community was diverse, with northern harriers (Circus cyaneus) being the most abundant species. Raptor abundance peaked during the early autumn and was lowest during the spring. Utility poles were a significant predictor of raptor density at survey points and Swainson's hawks and all raptors, pooled, were found in greater densities in non-prairie-chicken habitat dominated by mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa). Avian predation risk on prairie-chickens, based on presence and abundance of raptors, appears to be greatest during winter when there is a more abundant and diverse raptor community, and in areas with utility poles.

  17. Preliminary study of prairies forested with Eucalyptus sp. at the northwestern Uruguayan soils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carrasco-Letelier, L.; Eguren, G.; Castineira, C.; Parra, O.; Panario, D.

    2004-01-01

    The forestation of Uruguayan natural prairie soil does not always ensure an increase of soil carbon sink. - The land cover change of Uruguayan Forestal Plan provoked biogeochemical changes on horizon Au 1 of Argiudols; in native prairies which were replaced by monoculture Eucalyptus sp. plantation with 20 year rotations as trees. Five fields forested and six natural prairies were compared. The results not only show a statistical significant soil acidification, diminution of soil organic carbon, increase of aliphaticity degree of humic substances, and increase of affinity and capacity of hydrolytic activity from soil microbial communities for forested sites with Eucalyptus sp. but also, a tendency of podzolization and/or mineralization by this kind of land cover changes, with a net soil organic lost of 16.6 tons ha -1 in the horizon Au 1 of soil under Eucalyptus sp. plantation compared with prairie. Besides, these results point out the necessity of correction of the methodology used by assigned Uruguayan commission to assess the national net emission of greenhouse gases, since the mineralization and/or podzolization process detected in forested soil imply a overestimation of soil organic carbon. The biochemical parameters show a statistical significant correlation between the soil organic carbon status and these parameters which were presented as essential for the correct evaluation of Uruguayan soil carbon sink

  18. Phenotypic and genetic characterization of western prairie clover collections from the western USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kishor Bhattarai; B. Shaun Bushman; Douglas A. Johnson; John G. Carman

    2010-01-01

    Few North American legumes are available for rangeland revegetation in the semiarid western United States. Western prairie clover (Dalea ornata [Douglas ex Hook.] Eaton & J. Wright) is a perennial legume with desirable forage characteristics and is distributed in the northern Great Basin, Snake River Basin, and southern Columbia Plateau. Understanding the...

  19. Gallbladder contractility and mucus secretion after cholesterol feeding in the prairie dog

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Li, Y. F.; Moody, F. G.; Weisbrodt, N. W.; Zalewsky, C. A.; Coelho, J. C.; Senninger, N.; Gouma, D.

    1986-01-01

    The purpose of our study was to evaluate changes in gallbladder contractility and mucus secretion in vitro during the early stages of gallstone formation in prairie dogs. Thirty-two animals were divided into five groups. Control animals were fed a trace cholesterol diet. Experimental animals were

  20. Searls prairie clover (Dalea searlsiae) for rangeland revegetation: Phenotypic and genetic evaluations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kishor Bhattarai; Shaun Bushman; Douglas A. Johnson; John G. Carman

    2011-01-01

    Few North American legumes are available for use in rangeland revegetation in the western USA, but Searls prairie clover [Dalea searlsiae (A. Gray) Barneby] is one that holds promise. Commercial-scale seed production of this species could address the issues of unreliable seed availability and high seed costs associated with its wildland seed collection. To evaluate its...

  1. Sodium co-limits and catalyzes macronutrients in a prairie food web

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kaspari, Michael; Roeder, Karl A.; Benson, Brittany

    2017-01-01

    Nitrogen and phosphorus frequently limit terrestrial plant production, but have a mixed record in regulating the abundance of terrestrial invertebrates. We contrasted four ways that Na could interact with an NP fertilizer to shape the plants and invertebrates of an inland prairie. We applied NP a...

  2. Comparison of cellulosic ethanol yields from midwestern maize and reconstructed tallgrass prairie systems managed for bioenergy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maize- and prairie-based systems were investigated as cellulosic feedstocks by conducting a 9 ha side-by-side comparison on fertile soils in the Midwestern United States. Maize was grown continuously with adequate fertilization over years both with and without a winter rye cover crop, and the 31-spe...

  3. Population status of prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) in the San Pedro River Basin, Sonora

    Science.gov (United States)

    Efren Moreno-Arzate; Carlos A. Lopez Gonzalez; Gerardo Carreon Arroyo

    2013-01-01

    The black tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) is a species of conservation concern for Mexico, the United States and Canada. Populations in Mexico (including those in Sonora), which are considered endangered by the Mexican authority, require additional conservation efforts to maintain them on the long term. Our objective was to determine population size and...

  4. Interactions of raptors and Lesser Prairie-Chickens at leks in the Texas Southern High Plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Behney, Adam C.; Boal, Clint W.; Whitlaw, Heather A.; Lucia, Duane R.

    2011-01-01

    We examined behavioral interactions of raptors, Chihuahuan Ravens (Corvus cryptoleucus), and Lesser Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) at leks in the Texas Southern High Plains. Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus) and Swainson's Hawks (Buteo swainsoni) were the most common raptors observed at leks. Only 15 of 61 (25%) raptor encounters at leks (0.09/hr) resulted in a capture attempt (0.02/hr). Mean (± SD) time for Lesser Prairie-Chickens to return to lekking behavior following a raptor encounter was 4.2 ± 5.5 min suggesting the disturbance had little influence on lekking behaviors. Lesser Prairie-Chickens engaged in different escape behaviors depending on raptor species and, generally, did not respond to ravens suggesting they are able to assess different predation risks. The raptors in our study area posed little predation risk to lekking prairie-chickens. Behavioral disturbance at leks appears minimal due to the lack of successful predation events, low raptor encounter rates, and short time to return to lekking behavior.

  5. Environmental Impacts of Wind Power Development on the Population Biology of Greater Prairie-Chickens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sandercock, Brett K. [Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS (United States)

    2013-05-22

    This report summarizes the results of a seven-year, DOE-funded research project, conducted by researchers from Kansas State University and the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative, to assess the effects of wind energy development in Kansas on the population and reproduction of greater prairie chickens.

  6. Land use effects on pesticides in sediments of prairie pothole wetlands in North and South Dakota

    Science.gov (United States)

    McMurry, Scott T.; Belden, Jason B.; Smith, Loren M.; Morrison, Shane A.; Daniel, Dale W.; Euliss, Betty R.; Euliss, Ned H. Jr.; Kensinger, Bart J.; Tangen, Brian

    2016-01-01

    Prairie potholes are the dominant wetland type in the intensively cultivated northern Great Plains of North America, and thus have the potential to receive pesticide runoff and drift. We examined the presence of pesticides in sediments of 151 wetlands split among the three dominant land use types, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), cropland, and native prairie, in North and South Dakota in 2011. Herbicides (glyphosate and atrazine) and fungicides were detected regularly, with no insecticide detections. Glyphosate was the most detected pesticide, occurring in 61% of all wetlands, with atrazine in only 8% of wetlands. Pyraclostrobin was one of five fungicides detected, but the only one of significance, being detected in 31% of wetlands. Glyphosate was the only pesticide that differed by land use, with concentrations in cropland over four-times that in either native prairie or CRP, which were equal in concentration and frequency of detection. Despite examining several landscape variables, such as wetland proximity to specific crop types, watershed size, and others, land use was the best variable explaining pesticide concentrations in potholes. CRP ameliorated glyphosate in wetlands at concentrations comparable to native prairie and thereby provides another ecosystem service from this expansive program.

  7. Intrusion of soil covered uranium mill tailings by whitetail prairie dogs and Richardson's ground squirrels

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shuman, R.

    1984-01-01

    The primary objective of the reclamation of uranium mill tailings is the long-term isolation of the matrial from the biosphere. Fossorial and semi-fossorial species represent a potentially disruptive influence as a result of their burrowing habits. The potential for intrusion was investigated with respect to two sciurids, the whitetail prairie dog (Cynomys leucurus) and Richardson's ground squirrel (Spermophilus richardsonii). Populations of prairie dogs were established on a control area, lacking a tailings layer, and two experimental areas, underlain by a waste layer, in southeastern Wyoming. Weekly measurements of prairie dog mound surface activities were conducted to demonstrate penetration, or lack thereof, of the tailings layer. Additionally, the impact of burrowing upon radon flux was determined. Limited penetration of the waste layer was noted after which frequency of inhabitance of the intruding burrow system declined. No significant changes in radon flux were detected. In another experiment, it was found that Richardson's ground squirrels burrowed to less extreme depths when confronted by mill tailings. Additional work at an inactive tailings pile in western Colorado revealed repeated intrusion through a shallow cover, and subsequent transport of radioactive material to the ground surface by prairie dogs. Radon flux from burrow entrances was significantly greater than that from undisturbed ground. Data suggested that textural and pH properties of tailings material may act to discourage repeated intrusion at some sites. 58 references

  8. Interannual variability in the extent of wetland-stream connectivity within the Prairie Pothole Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melanie Vanderhoof; Laurie Alexander

    2016-01-01

    The degree of hydrological connectivity between wetland systems and downstream receiving waters can be expected to influence the volume and variability of stream discharge. The Prairie Pothole Region contains a high density of depressional wetland features, a consequence of glacial retreat. Spatial variability in wetland density, drainage evolution, and precipitation...

  9. Neonicotinoid insecticide removal by prairie strips in row-cropped watersheds with historical seed coating use

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hladik, Michelle L.; Bradbury, Steven; Schulte, Lisa A.; Helmers, Matthew; Witte, Christopher; Kolpin, Dana W.; Garrett, Jessica D.; Harris, Mary

    2017-01-01

    Neonicotinoids are a widely used class of insecticides that are commonly applied as seed coatings for agricultural crops. Such neonicotinoid use may pose a risk to non-target insects, including pollinators and natural enemies of crop pests, and ecosystems. This study assessed neonicotinoid residues in groundwater, surface runoff water, soil, and native plants adjacent to corn and soybean crop fields with a history of being planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds from 2008-2013. Data from six sites with the same crop management history, three with and three without in-field prairie strips, were collected in 2015-2016, 2-3 years after neonicotinoid (clothianidin and imidacloprid) seed treatments were last used. Three of the six neonicotinoids analyzed were detected in at least one environmental matrix: the two applied as seed coatings on the fields (clothianidin and imidacloprid) and another widely used neonicotinoid (thiamethoxam). Sites with prairie strips generally had lower concentrations of neonicotinoids: groundwater and footslope soil neonicotinoid concentrations were significantly lower in the sites with prairie strips than those without; mean concentrations for groundwater were 11 and 20 ng/L (p = 0.048) and <1 and 6 ng/g (p = 0.0004) for soil, respectively. Surface runoff water concentrations were not significantly (p = 0.38) different for control sites (44 ng/L) or sites with prairie strips (140 ng/L). Consistent with the decreased inputs of neonicotinoids, concentrations tended to decrease over the sampling timeframe. Two sites recorded concentration increases, however, potentially due to disturbance of previous applications or influence from nearby fields where use of seed treatments continued. There were no detections (limit of detection: 1 ng/g) of neonicotinoids in the foliage or roots of plants comprising prairie strips, indicating a low likelihood of exposure to pollinators and other insects visiting these plants following the cessation of seed

  10. Long-term lesser prairie-chicken nest ecology in response to grassland management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fritts, Sarah R.; Grisham, Blake A.; Haukos, David A.; Boal, Clint W.; Patten, Michael; Wolfe, Don H.; Dixon, Charles; Cox, Robert D.; Heck, Willard R.

    2016-01-01

    Long-term population and range declines from habitat loss and fragmentation caused the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) to be a species of concern throughout its range. Current lesser prairie-chicken range in New Mexico and Texas is partially restricted to sand shinnery oak (Quercus havardii; hereafter shinnery oak) prairies, on which cattle grazing is the main socioeconomic driver for private landowners. Cattle producers within shinnery oak prairies often focus land management on shrub eradication using the herbicide tebuthiuron to promote grass production for forage; however, herbicide application alone, and in combination with grazing, may affect nest site selection and nest survival of lesser prairie-chickens through the reduction of shinnery oak and native grasses. We used a controlled, paired, completely randomized design study to assess the influence of grazing and tebuthiuron application and their combined use on nest site selection and nest survival from 2001 to 2010 in Roosevelt County, New Mexico, USA at 2 spatial scales (i.e., treatment and microhabitat) in 4 treatments: tebuthiuron with grazing, tebuthiuron without grazing, no tebuthiuron with grazing, and a control of no tebuthiuron and no grazing. Grazing treatment was a short-duration system in which plots were grazed once during the dormant season and once during the growing season. Stocking rate was calculated each season based on measured forage production and applied to remove ≤25% of available herbaceous material per season. At the treatment scale, we compared nest site selection among treatments using 1-way χ2 tests and nest survival among treatments using a priori candidate nest survival models in Program MARK. At the microhabitat scale, we identified important habitat predictors of nest site selection and nest survival using logistic regression and a priori candidate nest survival models in Program MARK, respectively. Females typically used treatments as expected and

  11. Predicting Greater Prairie-Chicken Lek Site Suitability to Inform Conservation Actions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Torre J Hovick

    Full Text Available The demands of a growing human population dictates that expansion of energy infrastructure, roads, and other development frequently takes place in native rangelands. Particularly, transmission lines and roads commonly divide rural landscapes and increase fragmentation. This has direct and indirect consequences on native wildlife that can be mitigated through thoughtful planning and proactive approaches to identifying areas of high conservation priority. We used nine years (2003-2011 of Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido lek locations totaling 870 unique leks sites in Kansas and seven geographic information system (GIS layers describing land cover, topography, and anthropogenic structures to model habitat suitability across the state. The models obtained had low omission rates (0.81, indicating high model performance and reliability of predicted habitat suitability for Greater Prairie-Chickens. We found that elevation was the most influential in predicting lek locations, contributing three times more predictive power than any other variable. However, models were improved by the addition of land cover and anthropogenic features (transmission lines, roads, and oil and gas structures. Overall, our analysis provides a hierarchal understanding of Greater Prairie-Chicken habitat suitability that is broadly based on geomorphological features followed by land cover suitability. We found that when land features and vegetation cover are suitable for Greater Prairie-Chickens, fragmentation by anthropogenic sources such as roadways and transmission lines are a concern. Therefore, it is our recommendation that future human development in Kansas avoid areas that our models identified as highly suitable for Greater Prairie-Chickens and focus development on land cover types that are of lower conservation concern.

  12. The innate immune response may be important for surviving plague in wild Gunnison's prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Busch, Joseph D.; Van Andel, Roger; Stone, Nathan E.; Cobble, Kacy R.; Nottingham, Roxanne; Lee, Judy; VerSteeg, Michael; Corcoran, Jeff; Cordova, Jennifer; Van Pelt, William E.; Shuey, Megan M.; Foster, Jeffrey T.; Schupp, James M.; Beckstrom-Sternberg, Stephen; Beckstrom-Sternberg, James; Keim, Paul; Smith, Susan; Rodriguez-Ramos, Julia; Williamson, Judy L.; Rocke, Tonie E.; Wagner, David M.

    2013-01-01

    Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) are highly susceptible to Yersinia pestis, with ≥99% mortality reported from multiple studies of plague epizootics. A colony of Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) in the Aubrey Valley (AV) of northern Arizona appears to have survived several regional epizootics of plague, whereas nearby colonies have been severely affected by Y. pestis. To examine potential mechanisms accounting for survival in the AV colony, we conducted a laboratory Y. pestis challenge experiment on 60 wild-caught prairie dogs from AV and from a nearby, large colony with frequent past outbreaks of plague, Espee (n = 30 per colony). Test animals were challenged subcutaneously with the fully virulent Y. pestis strain CO92 at three doses: 50, 5,000, and 50,000 colony-forming units (cfu); this range is lethal in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Contrary to our expectations, only 40% of the animals died. Although mortality trended higher in the Espee colony (50%) compared with AV (30%), the differences among infectious doses were not statistically significant. Only 39% of the survivors developed moderate to high antibody levels to Y. pestis, indicating that mechanisms other than humoral immunity are important in resistance to plague. The ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes was not correlated with plague survival in this study. However, several immune proteins with roles in innate immunity (VCAM-1, CXCL-1, and vWF) were upregulated during plague infection and warrant further inquiry into their role for protection against this disease. These results suggest plague resistance exists in wild populations of the Gunnison's prairie dog and provide important directions for future studies.

  13. Sylvatic plague vaccine partially protects prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) in field trials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocke, Tonie E.; Tripp, Daniel W.; Russell, Robin E.; Abbott, Rachel C.; Richgels, Katherine; Matchett, Marc R.; Biggins, Dean E.; Griebel, Randall; Schroeder, Greg; Grassel, Shaun M.; Pipkin, David R.; Cordova, Jennifer; Kavalunas, Adam; Maxfield, Brian; Boulerice, Jesse; Miller, Michael W.

    2017-01-01

    Sylvatic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, frequently afflicts prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.), causing population declines and local extirpations. We tested the effectiveness of bait-delivered sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) in prairie dog colonies on 29 paired placebo and treatment plots (1–59 ha in size; average 16.9 ha) in 7 western states from 2013 to 2015. We compared relative abundance (using catch per unit effort (CPUE) as an index) and apparent survival of prairie dogs on 26 of the 29 paired plots, 12 with confirmed or suspected plague (Y. pestis positive carcasses or fleas). Even though plague mortality occurred in prairie dogs on vaccine plots, SPV treatment had an overall positive effect on CPUE in all three years, regardless of plague status. Odds of capturing a unique animal were 1.10 (95% confidence interval [C.I.] 1.02–1.19) times higher per trap day on vaccine-treated plots than placebo plots in 2013, 1.47 (95% C.I. 1.41–1.52) times higher in 2014 and 1.19 (95% C.I. 1.13–1.25) times higher in 2015. On pairs where plague occurred, odds of apparent survival were 1.76 (95% Bayesian credible interval [B.C.I.] 1.28–2.43) times higher on vaccine plots than placebo plots for adults and 2.41 (95% B.C.I. 1.72–3.38) times higher for juveniles. Our results provide evidence that consumption of vaccine-laden baits can protect prairie dogs against plague; however, further evaluation and refinement are needed to optimize SPV use as a management tool.

  14. Specificity in Sociality: Mice and Prairie Voles Exhibit Different Patterns of Peer Affiliation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beery, Annaliese K.; Christensen, Jennifer D; Lee, Nicole S.; Blandino, Katrina L.

    2018-01-01

    Social behavior is often described as a unified concept, but highly social (group-living) species exhibit distinct social structures and may make different social decisions. Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) are socially monogamous rodents that often reside in extended family groups, and exhibit robust preferences for familiar social partners (same- and opposite-sex) during extended choice tests, although short-term preferences are not known. Mice (Mus musculus) are gregarious and colonial, but in brief laboratory tests of social preference they typically prefer social novelty. This preference for novel vs. familiar peers may represent a species-specific difference in social decision-making between mice and prairie voles. However, the tests used to measure preferences in each species differ markedly in duration and degree of contact, such that the behaviors cannot be directly compared. We assessed whether social preferences for novelty or familiarity differed between mice and prairie voles of both sexes when assessed with matching protocols: the sociability/social preference test (SPT) typically used in mice (short, no direct contact), and the partner preference test (PPT) used in voles (long, direct contact). A subset of voles also underwent a PPT using barriers (long, no direct contact). In the short SPT, behavior did not differ between species. In the longer test, pronounced partner preferences emerged in prairie voles, but mice exhibited no social preferences and rarely huddled. No sex differences were evident in either test. Direct physical contact was required for partner preferences in huddling time in voles, but preference for the partner chamber was evident with or without contact. Both prairie voles and mice are social, but they exhibit important differences in the specificity and extent of their social behavior. While mice are often used to study social approach and other behaviors, voles are a more suitable species for the study of selective social

  15. Specificity in Sociality: Mice and Prairie Voles Exhibit Different Patterns of Peer Affiliation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Annaliese K. Beery

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Social behavior is often described as a unified concept, but highly social (group-living species exhibit distinct social structures and may make different social decisions. Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster are socially monogamous rodents that often reside in extended family groups, and exhibit robust preferences for familiar social partners (same- and opposite-sex during extended choice tests, although short-term preferences are not known. Mice (Mus musculus are gregarious and colonial, but in brief laboratory tests of social preference they typically prefer social novelty. This preference for novel vs. familiar peers may represent a species-specific difference in social decision-making between mice and prairie voles. However, the tests used to measure preferences in each species differ markedly in duration and degree of contact, such that the behaviors cannot be directly compared. We assessed whether social preferences for novelty or familiarity differed between mice and prairie voles of both sexes when assessed with matching protocols: the sociability/social preference test (SPT typically used in mice (short, no direct contact, and the partner preference test (PPT used in voles (long, direct contact. A subset of voles also underwent a PPT using barriers (long, no direct contact. In the short SPT, behavior did not differ between species. In the longer test, pronounced partner preferences emerged in prairie voles, but mice exhibited no social preferences and rarely huddled. No sex differences were evident in either test. Direct physical contact was required for partner preferences in huddling time in voles, but preference for the partner chamber was evident with or without contact. Both prairie voles and mice are social, but they exhibit important differences in the specificity and extent of their social behavior. While mice are often used to study social approach and other behaviors, voles are a more suitable species for the study of

  16. Lesser prairie-chicken fence collision risk across its northern distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Samantha G.; Haukos, David A.; Plumb, Reid T.; Hagen, Christian A.; Pitman, James C.; Lautenbach, Joseph M.; Sullins, Daniel S.; Kraft, John D.; Lautenbach, Jonathan D.

    2016-01-01

    Livestock fences have been hypothesized to significantly contribute to mortality of lesser prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus); however, quantification of mortality due to fence collisions is lacking across their current distribution. Variation in fence density, landscape composition and configuration, and land use could influence collision risk of lesser prairie-chickens. We monitored fences within 3 km of known leks during spring and fall and surveyed for signs of collision occurrence within 20 m of fences in 6 study sites in Kansas and Colorado, USA during 2013 and 2014. We assessed mortality locations of radio-tagged birds (n = 286) for evidence of fence collisions and compared distance to fence relative to random points. Additionally, we quantified locations, propensity, and frequency of fences crossed by lesser prairie-chickens. We tested for landscape and vegetative characteristics that influenced fence-cross propensity and frequency of global positioning system (GPS)-marked birds. A minimum of 12,706 fence crossings occurred by GPS-marked lesser prairie-chickens. We found 3 carcasses and 12 additional possible instances of evidence of collision during >2,800 km of surveyed fences. We found evidence for a single suspected collision based on carcass evidence for 148 mortalities of transmittered birds. Mortality locations of transmittered birds were located at distances from fences 15% farther than expected at random. Our data suggested minimal biological significance and indicated that propensity and frequency of fence crossings were random processes. Lesser prairie-chickens do not appear to be experiencing significant mortality risk due to fence collisions in Kansas and Colorado. Focusing resources on other limiting factors (i.e., habitat quality) has greater potential for impact on population demography than fence marking and removal.

  17. The predicted influence of climate change on lesser prairie-chicken reproductive parameters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grisham, Blake A.; Boal, Clint W.; Haukos, David A.; Davis, D.; Boydston, Kathy K.; Dixon, Charles; Heck, Willard R.

    2013-01-01

    The Southern High Plains is anticipated to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation due to climate change. These changes may influence the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) in positive or negative ways. We assessed the potential changes in clutch size, incubation start date, and nest survival for lesser prairie-chickens for the years 2050 and 2080 based on modeled predictions of climate change and reproductive data for lesser prairie-chickens from 2001-2011 on the Southern High Plains of Texas and New Mexico. We developed 9 a priori models to assess the relationship between reproductive parameters and biologically relevant weather conditions. We selected weather variable(s) with the most model support and then obtained future predicted values from climatewizard.org. We conducted 1,000 simulations using each reproductive parameter's linear equation obtained from regression calculations, and the future predicted value for each weather variable to predict future reproductive parameter values for lesser prairie-chickens. There was a high degree of model uncertainty for each reproductive value. Winter temperature had the greatest effect size for all three parameters, suggesting a negative relationship between above-average winter temperature and reproductive output. The above-average winter temperatures are correlated to La Nina events, which negatively affect lesser prairie-chickens through resulting drought conditions. By 2050 and 2080, nest survival was predicted to be below levels considered viable for population persistence; however, our assessment did not consider annual survival of adults, chick survival, or the positive benefit of habitat management and conservation, which may ultimately offset the potentially negative effect of drought on nest survival.

  18. Canola Root–Associated Microbiomes in the Canadian Prairies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chih-Ying Lay

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available Canola is one of the most economically important crops in Canada, and the root and rhizosphere microbiomes of a canola plant likely impact its growth and nutrient uptake. The aim of this study was to determine whether canola has a core root microbiome (i.e., set of microbes that are consistently selected in the root environment, and whether this is distinct from the core microbiomes of other crops that are commonly grown in the Canadian Prairies, pea, and wheat. We also assessed whether selected agronomic treatments can modify the canola microbiome, and whether this was associated to enhanced yield. We used a field experiment with a randomized complete block design, which was repeated at three locations across the canola-growing zone of Canada. Roots and rhizosphere soil were harvested at the flowering stage of canola. We separately isolated total extractable DNA from plant roots and from adjacent rhizosphere soil, and constructed MiSeq amplicon libraries for each of 60 samples, targeting bacterial, and archaeal 16S rRNA genes and the fungal ITS region. We determined that the microbiome of the roots and rhizosphere of canola was consistently different from those of wheat and pea. These microbiomes comprise several putative plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria, including Amycolatopsis sp., Serratia proteamaculans, Pedobacter sp., Arthrobacter sp., Stenotrophomonas sp., Fusarium merismoides, and Fusicolla sp., which correlated positively with canola yield. Crop species had a significant influence on bacterial and fungal assemblages, especially within the roots, while higher nutrient input or seeding density did not significantly alter the global composition of bacterial, fungal, or archaeal assemblages associated with canola roots. However, the relative abundance of Olpidium brassicae, a known pathogen of members of the Brassicaceae, was significantly reduced in the roots of canola planted at higher seeding density. Our results suggest that

  19. Modeling Prairie Pothole Lakes: Linking Satellite Observation and Calibration (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, F. W.; Liu, G.; Zhang, B.; Yu, Z.

    2009-12-01

    This paper examines the response of a complex lake wetland system to variations in climate. The focus is on the lakes and wetlands of the Missouri Coteau, which is part of the larger Prairie Pothole Region of the Central Plains of North America. Information on lake size was enumerated from satellite images, and yielded power law relationships for different hydrological conditions. More traditional lake-stage data were made available to us from the USGS Cottonwood Lake Study Site in North Dakota. A Probabilistic Hydrologic Model (PHM) was developed to simulate lake complexes comprised of tens-of-thousands or more individual closed-basin lakes and wetlands. What is new about this model is a calibration scheme that utilizes remotely-sensed data on lake area as well as stage data for individual lakes. Some ¼ million individual data points are used within a Genetic Algorithm to calibrate the model by comparing the simulated results with observed lake area-frequency power law relationships derived from Landsat images and water depths from seven individual lakes and wetlands. The simulated lake behaviors show good agreement with the observations under average, dry, and wet climatic conditions. The calibrated model is used to examine the impact of climate variability on a large lake complex in ND, in particular, the “Dust Bowl Drought” 1930s. This most famous drought of the 20th Century devastated the agricultural economy of the Great Plains with health and social impacts lingering for years afterwards. Interestingly, the drought of 1930s is unremarkable in relation to others of greater intensity and frequency before AD 1200 in the Great Plains. Major droughts and deluges have the ability to create marked variability of the power law function (e.g. up to one and a half orders of magnitude variability from the extreme Dust Bowl Drought to the extreme 1993-2001 deluge). This new probabilistic modeling approach provides a novel tool to examine the response of the

  20. Carbon gains by conservation projects overbalance carbon losses by degradation in China's karst ecoregions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tong, X.; Yue, Y.; Fensholt, R.; Brandt, M.

    2017-12-01

    China's ecological restoration projects are considered as "mega-engineering" activities and the most ambitious afforestation and conservation projects in human history. The highly sensitive and vulnerable karst ecosystem in Southwest China is one of the largest exposed carbonate rock areas (more than 0.54 million km2) in the world. Accelerating desertification has been reported during the last half century, caused by the increasing intensity of human exploitation of natural resources. As a result, vast karst areas (approximately 0.12 million km2) previously covered by vegetation and soil were turned into a rocky landscape. To combat this severe form of land degradation, more than 19 billion USD have been invested in mitigation initiatives since the end of the 1990s. The costs of mega-engineering as a climate change mitigation measure are however only justified if ecosystem properties can be affected at large scales. Here we study the carbon balance of the karst regions of 8 Chinese provinces over four decades, using optical and passive microwave satellite data, supported by statistical data on project implementations. We find that most areas experiencing losses in aboveground biomass carbon are located in areas with a high standing biomass ( 95 Mg C ha-1), whereas areas with a carbon gain are mostly located in regions with a low standing biomass ( 45 Mg C ha-1). However, the overall gains in carbon stocks overbalance the losses, with an average gross loss of -0.8 Pg C and a gross gain of +2.4 Pg C (1980s to 2016), resulting in a net gain of 1.6 Pg C. Areas of carbon gains are widespread and spatially coherent with conservation projects implemented after 2001, whereas areas of carbon losses show that ongoing degradation is still happening in the western parts of the karst regions. We conclude that the impact of conservation projects on the carbon balance of China's karst ecoregions is remarkable, but biomass carbon losses caused by ongoing degradation can not be

  1. Global warming and prairie wetlands: potential consequences for waterfowl habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poiani, Karen A.; Johnson, W. Carter

    1991-01-01

    The accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is expected to warm the earth's climate at an unprecedented rate (Ramanathan 1988, Schneider 1989). If the climate models are correct, within 100 years the earth will not only be warmer than it has been during the past million years, but the change will have occurred more rapidly than any on record. Many profound changes in the earth's environment are expected, including rising sea level, increasing aridity in continental interiors, and melting permafrost. Ecosystems are expected to respond variously to a rapidly changing climate. Tree ranges in eastern North American are expected to shift northward, and seed dispersal may not be adequate to maintain current diversity (Cohn 1989, Johnson and Webb 1989). In coastal wetlands, rising sea level from melting icecaps and thermal expansion could flood salt-grass marshes and generally reduce the size and productivity of the intertidal zone (Peters and Darling 1985). As yet, little attention has been given to the possible effects of climatic warming on inland prairie wetland ecosystems. These wetlands, located in the glaciated portion of the North American Great Plains (Figure 1), constitute the single most important breeding area for waterfowl on this continent (Hubbard 1988). This region annually produces 50-80% of the continent's total duck production (Batt et al. 1989). These marshes also support a variety of other wildlife, including many species of nongame birds, muskrat, and mink (Kantrud et al. 1989a). Prairie wetlands are relatively shallow, water-holding depressions that vary in size, water permanence, and water chemistry. Permanence types include temporary ponds (typically holding water for a few weeks in the springs), seasonal ponds (holding water from spring until early summer), semipermanent ponds (holding water throughout the growing season during most years), and large permanent lakes (Stewart and Kantrud 1971). Refilling usually occurs in spring from

  2. Research and Monitoring Special Use Permit [Minnesota Zoo's Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program on Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge : 2016

    Data.gov (United States)

    Department of the Interior — The Minnesota Zoo’s Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program partners with numerous federal, state, and local agencies to establish the world’s first and only ex situ...

  3. 77 FR 73827 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as a Threatened...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-12-11

    ... the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a grassland bird known from southeastern... plants; wind energy development; petroleum production; and presence of roads and manmade vertical structures including towers, utility lines, fences, turbines, wells, and buildings. We will request peer...

  4. The effects of black-tailed prairie dogs on plant communities within a complex urban landscape: an ecological surprise?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beals, Stower C; Hartley, Laurel M; Prevéy, Janet S; Seastedt, Timothy R

    2014-05-01

    Historically, prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) have been considered essential keystone species of western United States grassland ecosystems because they provide unique services and increase vegetation community richness, evenness, and diversity. However, the effects of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) on lands adjacent to or surrounded by urban areas may not result in the same ecosystem benefits historically associated with their presence. An urban landscape presents prairie dogs with movement challenges unparalleled in natural landscapes, as well as suites of nonnative plant species that are more common in disturbed areas. This study examined a complex ecosystem where vegetation communities are being influenced by directional environmental change, and quantified the synergistic effects resulting from the protective management of a native keystone species. The data set for this analysis was comprised of 71 paired (occupied by prairie dogs vs. unoccupied) vegetation surveys and 156 additional unpaired surveys collected from around the city of Boulder, Colorado, USA for 14 yr. Linear mixed models were used to compare data from transects occupied and unoccupied by prairie dogs, as well as to evaluate the effect of prairie dog occupation duration. In the absence of prairie dogs, vegetation in this region exhibited declines in native grasses, no changes in introduced grasses, and increases in native and nonnative forbs and bare soil over the study interval. In the presence of prairie dogs, these observed directional changes were nearly all amplified at rates four to 10 times greater than when prairie dogs were absent. Areas in Boulder occupied by prairie dogs also had significantly lower richness, evenness, and diversity of plant species, compared to unoccupied areas. Analysis of plant functional groups revealed the significant reduction of perennial native grasses, as well as a significantly higher cover of introduced forbs in occupied areas. Prairie dogs

  5. The sociology of landowner interest in restoring fire-adapted, biodiverse habitats in the wildland-urban interface of Oregon's Willamette Valley ecoregion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Max Nielsen-Pincus; Robert G. Ribe; Bart R. Johnson

    2011-01-01

    In many parts of the world, the combined effects of wildfire, climate change, and population growth in the wildland-urban interface pose increasing risks to both people and biodiversity. These risks are exemplified in western Oregon's Willamette Valley Ecoregion, where population is projected to double by 2050 and climate change is expected to increase wildfire...

  6. Environmental Assessment: Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Cannon Air Force Base and Melrose Air Force Range, New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-12-01

    requirements are met by metabolizing grazed vegetation. Prairie dogs dig burrows to an average depth of 2-3 meters with some tunnels interconnecting with...the potential to impact non- target species such as mice, kangaroo rats, and some songbirds. Establishing control zones at CAFB and MAFR could not be...Gutierrezia sarothrae), and Russian thistle (Salsola iberica). Water requirements are met by metabolizing grazed vegetation. Prairie dogs dig burrows

  7. Grooming behaviors of black-tailed prairie dogs are influenced by flea parasitism, conspecifics, and proximity to refuge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A.; Biggins, Dean E.; Eads, Samantha L.

    2017-01-01

    Grooming is a common animal behavior that aids in ectoparasite defense. Ectoparasites can stimulate grooming, and natural selection can also favor endogenous mechanisms that evoke periodic bouts of “programmed” grooming to dislodge or kill ectoparasites before they bite or feed. Moreover, grooming can function as a displacement or communication behavior. We compared the grooming behaviors of adult female black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) on colonies with or without flea control via pulicide dust. Roughly 91% of the prairie dogs sampled on the non-dusted colony carried at least one flea, whereas we did not find fleas on two dusted colonies. During focal observations, prairie dogs on the non-dusted colony groomed at higher frequencies and for longer durations than prairie dogs on the dusted colonies, lending support to the hypothesis that fleas stimulated grooming. However, the reduced amount of time spent grooming on the dusted colonies suggested that approximately 25% of grooming might be attributed to factors other than direct stimulation from ectoparasites. Non-dusted colony prairie dogs rarely autogroomed when near each other. Dusted colony prairie dogs autogroomed for shorter durations when far from a burrow opening (refuge), suggesting a trade-off between self-grooming and antipredator defense. Allogrooming was detected only on the non-dusted colony and was limited to adult females grooming young pups. Grooming appears to serve an antiparasitic function in C. ludovicianus. Antiparasitic grooming might aid in defense against fleas that transmit the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis. Plague was introduced to North America ca. 1900 and now has a strong influence on most prairie dog populations, suggesting a magnified effect of grooming on prairie dog fitness.

  8. Aerial surveys adjusted by ground surveys to estimate area occupied by black-tailed prairie dog colonies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sidle, John G.; Augustine, David J.; Johnson, Douglas H.; Miller, Sterling D.; Cully, Jack F.; Reading, Richard P.

    2012-01-01

    Aerial surveys using line-intercept methods are one approach to estimate the extent of prairie dog colonies in a large geographic area. Although black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) construct conspicuous mounds at burrow openings, aerial observers have difficulty discriminating between areas with burrows occupied by prairie dogs (colonies) versus areas of uninhabited burrows (uninhabited colony sites). Consequently, aerial line-intercept surveys may overestimate prairie dog colony extent unless adjusted by an on-the-ground inspection of a sample of intercepts. We compared aerial line-intercept surveys conducted over 2 National Grasslands in Colorado, USA, with independent ground-mapping of known black-tailed prairie dog colonies. Aerial line-intercepts adjusted by ground surveys using a single activity category adjustment overestimated colonies by ≥94% on the Comanche National Grassland and ≥58% on the Pawnee National Grassland. We present a ground-survey technique that involves 1) visiting on the ground a subset of aerial intercepts classified as occupied colonies plus a subset of intercepts classified as uninhabited colony sites, and 2) based on these ground observations, recording the proportion of each aerial intercept that intersects a colony and the proportion that intersects an uninhabited colony site. Where line-intercept techniques are applied to aerial surveys or remotely sensed imagery, this method can provide more accurate estimates of black-tailed prairie dog abundance and trends

  9. Longitudinal Trajectories and Inter-parental Dynamics of Prairie Vole Biparental Care

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Forrest D. Rogers

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available For altricial mammalian species, early life social bonds are constructed principally between offspring and their mothers, and the mother-offspring relationship sets the trajectory for offspring bio-behavioral development. In the rare subset of monogamous and biparental species, offspring experience an expanded social network which includes a father. Accordingly, in biparental species fathers also have the potential to influence trajectories of offspring development. Previous semi-natural and laboratory study of one monogamous and biparental species, the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster, has given insight into the role that mothers and fathers play in shaping behavioral phenotypes of offspring. Of particular interest is the influence of biparental care in the development of monogamous behavior in offspring. Here, we first briefly review that influence. We then present novel research which describes how parental investment in prairie voles changes across sequential litters of pups, and the extent to which it is coordinated between mothers and fathers. We use approximately 6 years of archival data on prairie vole parenting to investigate trajectories and inter-parent dynamics in prairie vole parenting. We use a series of latent growth models to assess the stability of parental investment across the first 4 l. Our findings suggest that prairie voles display sexually dimorphic patterns of change in parental behavior: mothers' investment declines linearly whereas fathers' pattern of change is characterized by initial decline between litters 1 and 2 with subsequent increase from litters 2 to 4. Our findings also support a conclusion that prairie vole paternal care may be better characterized as compensatory—that is, fathers may compensate for decline in maternal investment. Opposing trends in investment between mothers and fathers ultimately imply stability in offspring investment across sequential litters. These findings, combined with previous

  10. Habitat edge, land management, and rates of brood parasitism in tallgrass prairie.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patten, Michael A; Shochat, Eyal; Reinking, Dan L; Wolfe, Donald H; Sherrod, Steve K

    2006-04-01

    Bird populations in North America's grasslands have declined sharply in recent decades. These declines are traceable, in large part, to habitat loss, but management of tallgrass prairie also has an impact. An indirect source of decline potentially associated with management is brood parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater), which has had substantial negative impacts on many passerine hosts. Using a novel application of regression trees, we analyzed an extensive five-year set of nest data to test how management of tallgrass prairie affected rates of brood parasitism. We examined seven landscape features that may have been associated with parasitism: presence of edge, burning, or grazing, and distance of the nest from woody vegetation, water, roads, or fences. All five grassland passerines that we included in the analyses exhibited evidence of an edge effect: the Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), Henslow's Sparrow (A. henslowii), Dickcissel (Spiza americana), Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), and Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna). The edge was represented by narrow strips of woody vegetation occurring along roadsides cut through tallgrass prairie. The sparrows avoided nesting along these woody edges, whereas the other three species experienced significantly higher (1.9-5.3x) rates of parasitism along edges than in prairie. The edge effect could be related directly to increase in parasitism rate with decreased distance from woody vegetation. After accounting for edge effect in these three species, we found evidence for significantly higher (2.5-10.5x) rates of parasitism in grazed plots, particularly those burned in spring to increase forage, than in undisturbed prairie. Regression tree analysis proved to be an important tool for hierarchically parsing various landscape features that affect parasitism rates. We conclude that, on the Great Plains, rates of brood parasitism are strongly associated with relatively recent road cuts

  11. Decline of Hesperia ottoe (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae in Northern Tallgrass Prairie Preserves

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ann B. Swengel

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available We counted butterflies on transect surveys during Hesperia ottoe flight period in 1988–2011 at tallgrass prairie preserves in four states (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, divided into units cross-referenced to vegetation type and management history. H. ottoe occurred only in dry and sand prairie types, and was significantly more abundant in undegraded than semi-degraded prairie, and in discontinuous sod (with numerous unvegetated areas due to bare sand and/or rock outcrops than in continuous sod. This skipper was significantly more abundant in small sites compared to medium and large sites, even when the analysis was limited to undegraded prairie analyzed separately by sod type. H. ottoe was significantly under-represented in year-burn 0 (the first growing season after fire compared to an expected distribution proportional to survey effort. However, H. ottoe was also over-represented in fire-managed units compared to non-fire-managed units. However, by far most units and sites were in fire management and most populations declined to subdetection during this study. Peak abundance post-fire occurred in a later year-burn in discontinuous sod and was much higher than in continuous sod. We also analyze H. ottoe status and trend in midwestern prairie preserves by compiling a dataset of our and others’ butterfly surveys from 1974 to 2011. Only 1/9 sites with continuous sod had detectable H. ottoe in recent year(s. In discontinuous sod, 2/6 did, with two sites lacking data for the last few years. The number of years H. ottoe was still detectable after preservation and the number of years to consistent non-detection were both significantly higher in discontinuous than continuous sod. Both measures of population persistence averaged over twice as long in discontinuous than continuous sod, and correlated negatively with prairie size. The year when consistent non-detection began varied over several decades among sites. Despite the currently urgent

  12. Decline of Hesperia ottoe (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) in Northern Tallgrass Prairie Preserves.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swengel, Ann B; Swengel, Scott R

    2013-11-20

    We counted butterflies on transect surveys during Hesperia ottoe flight period in 1988-2011 at tallgrass prairie preserves in four states (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin), divided into units cross-referenced to vegetation type and management history. H. ottoe occurred only in dry and sand prairie types, and was significantly more abundant in undegraded than semi-degraded prairie, and in discontinuous sod (with numerous unvegetated areas due to bare sand and/or rock outcrops) than in continuous sod. This skipper was significantly more abundant in small sites compared to medium and large sites, even when the analysis was limited to undegraded prairie analyzed separately by sod type. H. ottoe was significantly under-represented in year-burn 0 (the first growing season after fire) compared to an expected distribution proportional to survey effort. However, H. ottoe was also over-represented in fire-managed units compared to non-fire-managed units. However, by far most units and sites were in fire management and most populations declined to subdetection during this study. Peak abundance post-fire occurred in a later year-burn in discontinuous sod and was much higher than in continuous sod. We also analyze H. ottoe status and trend in midwestern prairie preserves by compiling a dataset of our and others' butterfly surveys from 1974 to 2011. Only 1/9 sites with continuous sod had detectable H. ottoe in recent year(s). In discontinuous sod, 2/6 did, with two sites lacking data for the last few years. The number of years H. ottoe was still detectable after preservation and the number of years to consistent non-detection were both significantly higher in discontinuous than continuous sod. Both measures of population persistence averaged over twice as long in discontinuous than continuous sod, and correlated negatively with prairie size. The year when consistent non-detection began varied over several decades among sites. Despite the currently urgent need to identify

  13. STUDY ON THE SUGAR-ACID RATIO AND RELEVANT METABOLIZING ENZYME ACTIVITIES IN NAVEL ORANGE FRUITS FROM DIFFERENT ECO-REGIONS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    GONG RONGGAO

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT The flavor quality of citrus fruits is largely determined by the sugar-acid ratio, but it remains uncertain how sugar- and/or acid-metabolizing enzymes regulate the sugar-acid ratio of navel oranges and further affect the fruit quality. In the present study, Robertson navel oranges (Citrus sinesis Osb. were collected from six representative habitats in three eco-regions of Sichuan, China. The changes in the sugar-acid ratio and the activities of sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS, sucrose synthase (SS, cytosolic cio-aconitase (ACO, and isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH were examined in navel oranges during fruit development. The results indicated that the sugar-acid ratio of fruits in different eco-regions changed significantly from 150 days after full bloom. The SPS and cytosolic ACO fruit activities had minor changes among different ecoregions throughout the experimental periods, whereas the activities of SS and IDH changed significantly in fruits among three eco-regions. Furthermore, the sugar-acid ratio and the activities of SS in the synthetic direction and IDH were the highest in south subtropics and the lowest in north mid-subtropics, probably due to the effects of climate conditions and/or other relevant eco-factors. It demonstrated that SS in the synthetic direction and IDH were of greater importance in regulating the sugar-acid ratio of navel oranges in different eco-regions, which provided new insights into the factors that determine the flavor quality of navel oranges and valuable data for guiding relevant agricultural practices.

  14. Apparent field safety of a raccoon poxvirus-vectored plague vaccine in free-ranging prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.), Colorado, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tripp, Daniel W; Rocke, Tonie E; Streich, Sean P; Abbott, Rachel C; Osorio, Jorge E; Miller, Michael W

    2015-04-01

    Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) suffer high rates of mortality from plague. An oral sylvatic plague vaccine using the raccoon poxvirus vector (designated RCN-F1/V307) has been developed for prairie dogs. This vaccine is incorporated into palatable bait along with rhodamine B as a biomarker. We conducted trials in August and September 2012 to demonstrate uptake and apparent safety of the RCN-F1/V307 vaccine in two prairie dog species under field conditions. Free-ranging prairie dogs and other associated small rodents readily consumed vaccine-laden baits during field trials with no apparent adverse effects; most sampled prairie dogs (90%) and associated small rodents (78%) had consumed baits. Visual counts of prairie dogs and their burrows revealed no evidence of prairie dog decline after vaccine exposure. No vaccine-related morbidity, mortality, or gross or microscopic lesions were observed. Poxviruses were not isolated from any animal sampled prior to bait distribution or on sites that received placebo baits. We isolated RCN-F1/V307 from 17 prairie dogs and two deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) captured on sites where vaccine-laden baits were distributed. Based on these findings, studies examining the utility and effectiveness of oral vaccination to prevent plague-induced mortality in prairie dogs and associated species are underway.

  15. Apparent field safety of a raccoon poxvirus-vectored plague vaccine in free-ranging prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.), Colorado, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tripp, Daniel W.; Rocke, Tonie E.; Streich, Sean P.; Abbott, Rachel C.; Osorio, Jorge E.; Miller, Michael W.

    2015-01-01

    Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) suffer high rates of mortality from plague. An oral sylvatic plague vaccine using the raccoon poxvirus vector (designated RCN-F1/V307) has been developed for prairie dogs. This vaccine is incorporated into palatable bait along with rhodamine B as a biomarker. We conducted trials in August and September 2012 to demonstrate uptake and apparent safety of the RCN-F1/V307 vaccine in two prairie dog species under field conditions. Free-ranging prairie dogs and other associated small rodents readily consumed vaccine-laden baits during field trials with no apparent adverse effects; most sampled prairie dogs (90%) and associated small rodents (78%) had consumed baits. Visual counts of prairie dogs and their burrows revealed no evidence of prairie dog decline after vaccine exposure. No vaccine-related morbidity, mortality, or gross or microscopic lesions were observed. Poxviruses were not isolated from any animal sampled prior to bait distribution or on sites that received placebo baits. We isolated RCN-F1/V307 from 17 prairie dogs and two deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) captured on sites where vaccine-laden baits were distributed. Based on these findings, studies examining the utility and effectiveness of oral vaccination to prevent plague-induced mortality in prairie dogs and associated species are underway.

  16. Mapping wetlands and surface water in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America: Chapter 16

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rover, Jennifer R.; Mushet, David M.

    2015-01-01

    The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is one of the most highly productive wetland regions in the world. Prairie Pothole wetlands serve as a primary feeding and breeding habitat for more than one-half of North America’s waterfowl population, as well as a variety of songbirds, waterbirds, shorebirds, and other wildlife. During the last century, extensive land conversions from grassland with wetlands to cultivated cropland and grazed pastureland segmented and reduced wetland habitat. Inventorying and characterizing remaining wetland habitat is critical for the management of wetland ecosystem services. Remote sensing technologies are often utilized for mapping and monitoring wetlands. This chapter presents background specific to the PPR and discusses approaches employed in mapping its wetlands before presenting a case study.

  17. Plague bacterium as a transformer species in prairie dogs and the grasslands of western North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A.; Biggins, Dean E.

    2015-01-01

    Invasive transformer species change the character, condition, form, or nature of ecosystems and deserve considerable attention from conservation scientists. We applied the transformer species concept to the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis in western North America, where the pathogen was introduced around 1900. Y. pestis transforms grassland ecosystems by severely depleting the abundance of prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) and thereby causing declines in native species abundance and diversity, including threatened and endangered species; altering food web connections; altering the import and export of nutrients; causing a loss of ecosystem resilience to encroaching invasive plants; and modifying prairie dog burrows. Y. pestis poses an important challenge to conservation biologists because it causes trophic-level perturbations that affect the stability of ecosystems. Unfortunately, understanding of the effects of Y. pestis on ecosystems is rudimentary, highlighting an acute need for continued research.

  18. Respiratory isolation for tuberculosis: the experience of Indigenous peoples on the Canadian prairies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayan, M; Robinson, T; Gokiert, R; Tremblay, M; Abonyi, S; Long, R

    2017-12-21

    Setting: The Prairie provinces of Canada. Objective: To understand how Indigenous peoples with infectious pulmonary tuberculosis living in different community settings in the Prairie provinces of Canada experience respiratory isolation. Design: Using an exploratory qualitative approach, we interviewed participants living in urban centres, non-remote reserve settings and remote and isolated reserve settings. Results: Through qualitative content analysis of 48 interviews, we determined that participants experienced feelings of confinement regardless of the community setting in which they lived. Participants also experienced family and social disconnect, but the experience was more potent for the remote and isolated reserve participants, who were required to be flown out of their home communities to receive treatment, and for those urban centre and non-remote reserve participants who lacked social connections. The roles of past experiences with sanitoria and of family in providing social support are discussed. Conclusions: The conclusions of this study focus on examining isolation policies and improving the hospital isolation experience.

  19. Plague bacterium as a transformer species in prairie dogs and the grasslands of western North America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A; Biggins, Dean E

    2015-08-01

    Invasive transformer species change the character, condition, form, or nature of ecosystems and deserve considerable attention from conservation scientists. We applied the transformer species concept to the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis in western North America, where the pathogen was introduced around 1900. Y. pestis transforms grassland ecosystems by severely depleting the abundance of prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) and thereby causing declines in native species abundance and diversity, including threatened and endangered species; altering food web connections; altering the import and export of nutrients; causing a loss of ecosystem resilience to encroaching invasive plants; and modifying prairie dog burrows. Y. pestis poses an important challenge to conservation biologists because it causes trophic-level perturbations that affect the stability of ecosystems. Unfortunately, understanding of the effects of Y. pestis on ecosystems is rudimentary, highlighting an acute need for continued research. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.

  20. Fish composition and species richness in eastern South American coastal lagoons: additional support for the freshwater ecoregions of the world.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petry, A C; Guimarães, T F R; Vasconcellos, F M; Hartz, S M; Becker, F G; Rosa, R S; Goyenola, G; Caramaschi, E P; Díaz de Astarloa, J M; Sarmento-Soares, L M; Vieira, J P; Garcia, A M; Teixeira de Mello, F; de Melo, F A G; Meerhoff, M; Attayde, J L; Menezes, R F; Mazzeo, N; Di Dario, F

    2016-07-01

    The relationships between fish composition, connectivity and morphometry of 103 lagoons in nine freshwater ecoregions (FEOW) between 2·83° S and 37·64° S were evaluated in order to detect possible congruence between the gradient of species richness and similarities of assemblage composition. Most lagoons included in the study were fish species accounted for a significant portion of species richness. Relationships between species and area in small-sized lagoons (composition within the primary, secondary and peripheral or marine divisions revealed strong continental biogeographic patterns only for species less tolerant or intolerant to salinity. Further support for the FEOW scheme in the eastern border of South America is therefore provided, and now includes ecotonal systems inhabited simultaneously by freshwater and marine species of fishes. © 2016 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

  1. Implementation of an advanced digital feedwater control system at the Prairie Island nuclear generating station

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Paris, R.E.; Gaydos, K.A.; Hill, J.O.; Whitson, S.G.; Wirkkala, R.

    1990-05-01

    EPRI Project RP2126-4 was a cooperative effort between TVA, EPRI, and Westinghouse which resulted in the demonstration of a prototype of a full range, fully automatic feedwater control system, using fault tolerant digital technology, at the TVA Sequoyah simulator site. That prototype system also included advanced signal validation algorithms and an advanced man-machine interface that used CRT-based soft-control technology. The Westinghouse Advanced Digital Feedwater Control System (ADFCS) upgrade, which contains elements that were part of that prototype system, has since been installed at Northern States Power's Prairie Island Unit 2. This upgrade was very successful due to the use of an advanced control system design and the execution of a well coordinated joint effort between the utility and the supplier. The project experience is documented in this report to help utilities evaluate the technical implications of such a project. The design basis of the Prairie Island ADFCS signal validation for input signal failure fault tolerance is outlined first. Features of the industry-proven system control algorithms are then described. Pre-shipment hardware-in-loop and factory acceptance testing of the Prairie Island system are summarized. Post-shipment site testing, including preoperational and plant startup testing, is also summarized. Plant data from the initial system startup is included. The installation of the Prairie Island ADFCS is described, including both the feedwater control instrumentation and the control board interface. Modification of the plant simulator and operator and I ampersand C personnel training are also discussed. 6 refs., 14 figs., 3 tabs

  2. Exudate Chemical Profiles Derived from Lespedeza and Other Tallgrass Prairie Plant Species

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-05-01

    Chemical Profiles Derived from Lespedeza and Other Tall- grass Prairie Plant Species. ERDC TN-17-1. Vicksburg, MS: U.S. Army Engineer Re- search and...200-1-52. Washington, DC: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters, Civil Works. https://www.wbdg.org/ffc/army-coe/public-works-technical-bulletins...ERDC TN-17-1 May 2017 Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Exudate Chemical Profiles Derived from Lespedeza and Other

  3. Alcohol’s Effects on Pair-Bond Maintenance in Male Prairie Voles

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andre T. Walcott

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Alcohol abuse can have devastating effects on social relationships. In particular, discrepant patterns of heavy alcohol consumption are associated with increased rates of separation and divorce. Previous studies have attempted to model these effects of alcohol using socially monogamous prairie voles. These studies showed that alcohol consumption can inhibit the formation of pair bonds in this species. While these findings indicated that alcohol’s effects on social attachments can involve biological mechanisms, the formation of pair bonds does not properly model long-term human attachments. To overcome this caveat, this study explored whether discordant or concordant alcohol consumption between individuals within established pairs affects maintenance of pair bonds in male prairie voles. Male and female prairie voles were allowed to form a pair bond for 1 week. Following this 1-week cohabitation period, males received access to 10% continuous ethanol; meanwhile, their female partners had access to either alcohol and water or just water. When there was a discrepancy in alcohol consumption, male prairie voles showed a decrease in partner preference (PP. Conversely, when concordant drinking occurred, males showed no inhibition in PP. Further analysis revealed a decrease in oxytocin immunoreactivity in the paraventricular nucleus of alcohol-exposed males that was independent of the drinking status of their female partners. On the other hand, only discordant alcohol consumption resulted in an increase of FosB immunoreactivity in the periaqueductal gray of male voles, a finding suggesting a potential involvement of this brain region in the effects of alcohol on maintenance of pair bonds. Our studies provide the first evidence that alcohol has effects on established pair bonds and that partner drinking status plays a large role in these effects.

  4. Widespread use and frequent detection of neonicotinoid insecticides in wetlands of Canada's Prairie Pothole Region.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anson R Main

    Full Text Available Neonicotinoids currently dominate the insecticide market as seed treatments on Canada's major Prairie crops (e.g., canola. The potential impact to ecologically significant wetlands in this dominantly agro-environment has largely been overlooked while the distribution of use, incidence and level of contamination remains unreported. We modelled the spatial distribution of neonicotinoid use across the three Prairie Provinces in combination with temporal assessments of water and sediment concentrations in wetlands to measure four active ingredients (clothianidin, thiamethoxam, imidacloprid and acetamiprid. From 2009 to 2012, neonicotinoid use was increasing; by 2012, applications covered an estimated ∼11 million hectares (44% of Prairie cropland with >216,000 kg of active ingredients. Thiamethoxam, followed by clothianidin, were the dominant seed treatments by mass and area. Areas of high neonicotinoid use were identified as high density canola or soybean production. Water sampled four times from 136 wetlands (spring, summer, fall 2012 and spring 2013 across four rural municipalities in Saskatchewan similarly revealed clothianidin and thiamethoxam in the majority of samples. In spring 2012 prior to seeding, 36% of wetlands contained at least one neonicotinoid. Detections increased to 62% in summer 2012, declined to 16% in fall, and increased to 91% the following spring 2013 after ice-off. Peak concentrations were recorded during summer 2012 for both thiamethoxam (range:

  5. Widespread use and frequent detection of neonicotinoid insecticides in wetlands of Canada's Prairie Pothole Region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Main, Anson R; Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M; Michel, Nicole L; Cessna, Allan J; Morrissey, Christy A

    2014-01-01

    Neonicotinoids currently dominate the insecticide market as seed treatments on Canada's major Prairie crops (e.g., canola). The potential impact to ecologically significant wetlands in this dominantly agro-environment has largely been overlooked while the distribution of use, incidence and level of contamination remains unreported. We modelled the spatial distribution of neonicotinoid use across the three Prairie Provinces in combination with temporal assessments of water and sediment concentrations in wetlands to measure four active ingredients (clothianidin, thiamethoxam, imidacloprid and acetamiprid). From 2009 to 2012, neonicotinoid use was increasing; by 2012, applications covered an estimated ∼11 million hectares (44% of Prairie cropland) with >216,000 kg of active ingredients. Thiamethoxam, followed by clothianidin, were the dominant seed treatments by mass and area. Areas of high neonicotinoid use were identified as high density canola or soybean production. Water sampled four times from 136 wetlands (spring, summer, fall 2012 and spring 2013) across four rural municipalities in Saskatchewan similarly revealed clothianidin and thiamethoxam in the majority of samples. In spring 2012 prior to seeding, 36% of wetlands contained at least one neonicotinoid. Detections increased to 62% in summer 2012, declined to 16% in fall, and increased to 91% the following spring 2013 after ice-off. Peak concentrations were recorded during summer 2012 for both thiamethoxam (range: Wetlands situated in barley, canola and oat fields consistently contained higher mean concentrations of neonicotinoids than in grasslands, but no individual crop singularly influenced overall detections or concentrations. Distribution maps indicate neonicotinoid use is increasing and becoming more widespread with concerns for environmental loading, while frequently detected neonicotinoid concentrations in Prairie wetlands suggest high persistence and transport into wetlands.

  6. The relative contribution of climate to changes in lesser prairie-chicken abundance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, Beth E.; Haukos, David A.; Hagen, Christian A.; Pitman, James

    2016-01-01

    Managing for species using current weather patterns fails to incorporate the uncertainty associated with future climatic conditions; without incorporating potential changes in climate into conservation strategies, management and conservation efforts may fall short or waste valuable resources. Understanding the effects of climate change on species in the Great Plains of North America is especially important, as this region is projected to experience an increased magnitude of climate change. Of particular ecological and conservation interest is the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), which was listed as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in May 2014. We used Bayesian hierarchical models to quantify the effects of extreme climatic events (extreme values of the Palmer Drought Severity Index [PDSI]) relative to intermediate (changes in El Niño Southern Oscillation) and long-term climate variability (changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) on trends in lesser prairie-chicken abundance from 1981 to 2014. Our results indicate that lesser prairie-chicken abundance on leks responded to environmental conditions of the year previous by positively responding to wet springs (high PDSI) and negatively to years with hot, dry summers (low PDSI), but had little response to variation in the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Additionally, greater variation in abundance on leks was explained by variation in site relative to broad-scale climatic indices. Consequently, lesser prairie-chicken abundance on leks in Kansas is more strongly influenced by extreme drought events during summer than other climatic conditions, which may have negative consequences for the population as drought conditions intensify throughout the Great Plains.

  7. GIS habitat analysis for lesser prairie-chickens in southeastern New Mexico

    OpenAIRE

    Johnson, Kristine; Neville, Teri B; Neville, Paul

    2006-01-01

    Abstract Background We conducted Geographic Information System (GIS) habitat analyses for lesser prairie-chicken (LPCH, Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) conservation planning. The 876,799 ha study area included most of the occupied habitat for the LPCH in New Mexico. The objectives were to identify and quantify: 1. suitable LPCH habitat in New Mexico, 2. conversion of native habitats, 3. potential for habitat restoration, and 4. unsuitable habitat available for oil and gas activities. Results We f...

  8. Marine ecoregion and Deepwater Horizon oil spill affect recruitment and population structure of a salt marsh snail

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pennings, Steven C.; Zengel, Scott; Oehrig, Jacob; Alber, Merryl; Bishop, T. Dale; Deis, Donald R.; Devlin, Donna; Hughes, A. Randall; Hutchens, John J.; Kiehn, Whitney M.; McFarlin, Caroline R.; Montague, Clay L.; Powers, Sean P.; Proffitt, C. Edward; Rutherford, Nicolle; Stagg, Camille L.; Walters, Keith

    2016-01-01

    Marine species with planktonic larvae often have high spatial and temporal variation in recruitment that leads to subsequent variation in the ecology of benthic adults. Using a combination of published and unpublished data, we compared the population structure of the salt marsh snail, Littoraria irrorata, between the South Atlantic Bight and the Gulf Coast of the United States to infer geographic differences in recruitment and to test the hypothesis that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill led to widespread recruitment failure of L. irrorata in Louisiana in 2010. Size-frequency distributions in both ecoregions were bimodal, with troughs in the distributions consistent with a transition from sub-adults to adults at ~13 mm in shell length as reported in the literature; however, adult snails reached larger sizes in the Gulf Coast. The ratio of sub-adults to adults was 1.5–2 times greater in the South Atlantic Bight than the Gulf Coast, consistent with higher recruitment rates in the South Atlantic Bight. Higher recruitment rates in the South Atlantic Bight could contribute to higher snail densities and reduced adult growth in this region. The ratio of sub-adults to adults in Louisiana was lower in 2011 than in previous years, and began to recover in 2012–2014, consistent with widespread recruitment failure in 2010, when large expanses of spilled oil were present in coastal waters. Our results reveal an important difference in the ecology of a key salt marsh invertebrate between the two ecoregions, and also suggest that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have caused widespread recruitment failure in this species and perhaps others with similar planktonic larval stages.

  9. Interannual water-level fluctuations and the vegetation of prairie potholes: Potential impacts of climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Valk, Arnold; Mushet, David M.

    2016-01-01

    Mean water depth and range of interannual water-level fluctuations over wet-dry cycles in precipitation are major drivers of vegetation zone formation in North American prairie potholes. We used harmonic hydrological models, which require only mean interannual water depth and amplitude of water-level fluctuations over a wet–dry cycle, to examine how the vegetation zones in a pothole would respond to small changes in water depth and/or amplitude of water-level fluctuations. Field data from wetlands in Saskatchewan, North Dakota, and South Dakota were used to parameterize harmonic models for four pothole classes. Six scenarios in which small negative or positive changes in either mean water depth, amplitude of interannual fluctuations, or both, were modeled to predict if they would affect the number of zones in each wetland class. The results indicated that, in some cases, even small changes in mean water depth when coupled with a small change in amplitude of water-level fluctuations can shift a prairie pothole wetland from one class to another. Our results suggest that climate change could alter the relative proportion of different wetland classes in the prairie pothole region.

  10. Functional consequences of climate change-induced plant species loss in a tallgrass prairie.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Craine, Joseph M; Nippert, Jesse B; Towne, E Gene; Tucker, Sally; Kembel, Steven W; Skibbe, Adam; McLauchlan, Kendra K

    2011-04-01

    Future climate change is likely to reduce the floristic diversity of grasslands. Yet the potential consequences of climate-induced plant species losses for the functioning of these ecosystems are poorly understood. We investigated how climate change might alter the functional composition of grasslands for Konza Prairie, a diverse tallgrass prairie in central North America. With species-specific climate envelopes, we show that a reduction in mean annual precipitation would preferentially remove species that are more abundant in the more productive lowland positions at Konza. As such, decreases in precipitation could reduce productivity not only by reducing water availability but by also removing species that inhabit the most productive areas and respond the most to climate variability. In support of this prediction, data on species abundance at Konza over 16 years show that species that are more abundant in lowlands than uplands are preferentially reduced in years with low precipitation. Climate change is likely to also preferentially remove species from particular functional groups and clades. For example, warming is forecast to preferentially remove perennials over annuals as well as Cyperaceae species. Despite these predictions, climate change is unlikely to unilaterally alter the functional composition of the tallgrass prairie flora, as many functional traits such as physiological drought tolerance and maximum photosynthetic rates showed little relationship with climate envelope parameters. In all, although climatic drying would indirectly alter grassland productivity through species loss patterns, the insurance afforded by biodiversity to ecosystem function is likely to be sustained in the face of climate change.

  11. Managing prairie dogs by managing plague: a vaccine for the future?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Terry B.; Rocke, Tonie E.; Gober, Pete; Van Pelt, Bill E.; Miller, Michael W.; Tripp, Daniel W.; Abbott, Rachel C.; Bergman, David L.

    2014-01-01

    The Black-footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team Executive Committee is conducting a project to develop,and (hopefully) eventually implement, a plague vaccination program for prairie dogs. The project is a component of the WesternAssociation of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Grasslands Conservation Initiative. An effective, field-worthy vaccine against plaguecould be the biggest breakthrough in recovery efforts for the black-footed ferret since the 1981 rediscovery of wild ferrets nearMeeteetse, Wyoming. If proven efficacious, the vaccine could help agencies and stakeholder cooperators maintain specificpopulations of prairie dogs at robust levels, thus enhancing range-wide conservation of those species, as well recovery of the ferret,while enabling control of other prairie dog populations to resolve site-specific agricultural and human health concerns. The resultsof laboratory and field-testing in the early stages of developing this vaccine are preliminary but mostly encouraging. A plan forbroad-scale application is being developed for possible use when testing has been completed and (if warranted) the vaccine isregistered for governmental use. An overview of all aspects of the project is discussed.

  12. Evaluation of monkeypox virus infection of prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) using in vivo bioluminescent imaging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falendysz, Elizabeth A.; Londoño-Navas, Angela M.; Meteyer, Carol U.; Pussini, Nicola; Lopera, Juan G.; Osorio, Jorge E.; Rocke, Tonie E.

    2014-01-01

    Monkeypox (MPX) is a re-emerging zoonotic disease that is endemic in Central and West Africa, where it can cause a smallpox-like disease in humans. Despite many epidemiologic and field investigations of MPX, no definitive reservoir species has been identified. Using recombinant viruses expressing the firefly luciferase (luc) gene, we previously demonstrated the suitability of in vivo bioluminescent imaging (BLI) to study the pathogenesis of MPX in animal models. Here, we evaluated BLI as a novel approach for tracking MPX virus infection in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Prairie dogs were affected during a multistate outbreak of MPX in the US in 2003 and have since been used as an animal model of this disease. Our BLI results were compared with PCR and virus isolation from tissues collected postmortem. Virus was easily detected and quantified in skin and superficial tissues by BLI before and during clinical phases, as well as in subclinical secondary cases, but was not reliably detected in deep tissues such as the lung. Although there are limitations to viral detection in larger wild rodent species, BLI can enhance the use of prairie dogs as an animal model of MPX and can be used for the study of infection, disease progression, and transmission in potential wild rodent reservoirs.

  13. Model estimation of land-use effects on water levels of northern Prairie wetlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Voldseth, R.A.; Johnson, W.C.; Gilmanov, T.; Guntenspergen, G.R.; Millett, B.V.

    2007-01-01

    Wetlands of the Prairie Pothole Region exist in a matrix of grassland dominated by intensive pastoral and cultivation agriculture. Recent conservation management has emphasized the conversion of cultivated farmland and degraded pastures to intact grassland to improve upland nesting habitat. The consequences of changes in land-use cover that alter watershed processes have not been evaluated relative to their effect on the water budgets and vegetation dynamics of associated wetlands. We simulated the effect of upland agricultural practices on the water budget and vegetation of a semipermanent prairie wetland by modifying a previously published mathematical model (WETSIM). Watershed cover/land-use practices were categorized as unmanaged grassland (native grass, smooth brome), managed grassland (moderately heavily grazed, prescribed burned), cultivated crops (row crop, small grain), and alfalfa hayland. Model simulations showed that differing rates of evapotranspiration and runoff associated with different upland plant-cover categories in the surrounding catchment produced differences in wetland water budgets and linked ecological dynamics. Wetland water levels were highest and vegetation the most dynamic under the managed-grassland simulations, while water levels were the lowest and vegetation the least dynamic under the unmanaged-grassland simulations. The modeling results suggest that unmanaged grassland, often planted for waterfowl nesting, may produce the least favorable wetland conditions for birds, especially in drier regions of the Prairie Pothole Region. These results stand as hypotheses that urgently need to be verified with empirical data.

  14. Grasshopper fecundity responses to grazing and fire in a tallgrass prairie.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laws, Angela N; Joern, Anthony

    2011-10-01

    Grasshopper abundance and diversity vary with management practices such as fire and grazing. Understanding how grasshopper life history traits such as fecundity respond to management practices is key to predicting grasshopper population dynamics in heterogeneous environments. Landscape-level experimental fire and bison grazing treatments at the Konza Prairie Biological Station (Manhattan, KS) provide an opportunity to examine how management affects grasshopper fecundity. Here we report on grasshopper fecundity for nine common species at Konza Prairie. From 2007 to 2009, adult female grasshoppers were collected every 3 wk from eight watersheds that varied in fire and grazing treatments. Fecundity was measured by examining female reproductive tracts, which contain a record of past and current reproductive activity. Body size was a poor predictor of fecundity for all species. Despite large differences in vegetation structure and composition with management regime (grazing and fire interval), we observed little effect of management on grasshopper fecundity. Habitat characteristics (grasshopper density, vegetation biomass, and vegetation quality; measured in 2008 and 2009) were better predictors of past fecundity than current fecundity, with species-specific responses. Fecundity increased throughout the summer, indicating that grasshoppers were able to acquire sufficient nutritional resources for egg production in the early fall when vegetation quality is generally low. Because fecundity did not vary across management treatments, population stage structure may be more important for determining population level reproduction than management regime at Konza Prairie.

  15. Investigation of climate change impacts on Prairie's petroleum industry in Canada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Li, J.B.; Huang, G.H.; Chakma, A.; Huang, Y.F.; Zeng, G.M.

    2002-01-01

    Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, the three Prairie provinces of Canada, and their economies strongly depend on the petroleum industry. However, climate change may have potential impacts on the sector that could reverberate onto the socio-economic fabric of the provinces. The petroleum industry in the Prairies is faced with a big challenge: how to adapt to the changing climatic conditions so that they maintain or improve their economic and environmental efficiencies. The attitudes of the different stakeholders concerning climate change and the appropriate measures to be implemented by the petroleum industry were obtained through a questionnaire-based survey conducted between February and June 2001. Based on the responses received, a Chi-square statistical test was applied to look at the complex interactions in the results. An analysis of a number of petroleum-related processes and activities vulnerable to climate change was performed. A sound foundation was obtained for the decision-making process on the climate change measures required in the petroleum industry in the Prairies. 14 refs., 7 tabs

  16. Melanocortin Receptor Agonists Facilitate Oxytocin-Dependent Partner Preference Formation in the Prairie Vole.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Modi, Meera E; Inoue, Kiyoshi; Barrett, Catherine E; Kittelberger, Kara A; Smith, Daniel G; Landgraf, Rainer; Young, Larry J

    2015-07-01

    The central melanocortin (MC) system has been widely studied for its effects on food intake and sexual behavior. However, the MC system, and more specifically the MC4 receptor (MC4R), also interacts with neurochemical systems that regulate socioemotional behaviors, including oxytocin (OT) and dopamine. In monogamous prairie voles, OT and dopamine interact to promote partner preference formation, a laboratory measure of an enduring social bond between mates. Here we investigated the effects of MC receptor activation on partner preference formation in prairie voles, as well as the interaction between the MC and OT systems during this process. Peripheral administration of the brain penetrant MC3/4R receptor peptide agonist, Melanotan II (MTII), and the highly selective, small-molecule MC4R agonist, Pf-446687, enhanced partner preference formation in the prairie vole, but not in the non-monogamous meadow vole. MTII-induced partner preferences were enduring, as they were present 1 week after drug manipulation. The prosocial effects of MCR agonists may be mediated, in part, through modulation of OT, as coadministration of an OT receptor antagonist prevented MTII-induced partner preferences. MTII also selectively activated hypothalamic OT neurons and potentiated central OT release. As OT has been shown to enhance some aspects of social cognition in humans, our data suggest that the MC4R may be a viable therapeutic target for enhancing social function in psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia, potentially through activation of the OT system.

  17. Partner Loss in Monogamous Rodents: Modulation of Pain and Emotional Behavior in Male Prairie Voles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osako, Yoji; Nobuhara, Reiko; Arai, Young-Chang P; Tanaka, Kenjiro; Young, Larry J; Nishihara, Makoto; Mitsui, Shinichi; Yuri, Kazunari

    2018-01-01

    Pain is modulated by psychosocial factors, and social stress-induced hyperalgesia is a common clinical symptom in pain disorders. To provide a new animal model for studying social modulation of pain, we examined pain behaviors in monogamous prairie voles experiencing partner loss. After cohabitation with novel females, males (n = 79) were divided into two groups on the basis of preference test scores. Half of the males of each group were separated from their partner (loss group), whereas the other half remained paired (paired group). Thus, males from both groups experienced social isolation. Open field tests, plantar tests, and formalin tests were then conducted on males to assess anxiety and pain-related behaviors. Loss males showing partner preferences (n = 20) displayed a significant increase in anxiety-related behavior in the open-field test (central area/total distance: 13.65% [1.58%] for paired versus 6.45% [0.87%] for loss; p partner preferences (r = 0.15). Results indicate that social bonds and their disruption, but not social housing without bonding followed by isolation, modulate pain and emotion in male prairie voles. The prairie vole is a useful model for exploring the neural mechanisms by which social relationships contribute to pain and nociceptive processing in humans.

  18. Assessing range-wide habitat suitability for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jarnevich, Catherine S.; Holcombe, Tracy R.; Grisham, Blake A.; Timmer, Jennifer M.; Boal, Clint W.; Butler, Matthew; Pitman, James C.; Kyle, Sean; Klute, David; Beauprez, Grant M.; Janus, Allan; Van Pelt, William E.

    2016-01-01

    Population declines of many wildlife species have been linked to habitat loss incurred through land-use change. Incorporation of conservation planning into development planning may mitigate these impacts. The threatened Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) is experiencing loss of native habitat and high levels of energy development across its multijurisdictional range. Our goal was to explore relationships of the species occurrence with landscape characteristics and anthropogenic effects influencing its distribution through evaluation of habitat suitability associated with one particular habitat usage, lekking. Lekking has been relatively well-surveyed, though not consistently, in all jurisdictions. All five states in which Lesser Prairie-Chickens occur cooperated in development of a Maxent habitat suitability model. We created two models, one with state as a factor and one without state. When state was included it was the most important predictor, followed by percent of land cover consisting of known or suspected used vegetation classes within a 5000 m area around a lek. Without state, land cover was the most important predictor of relative habitat suitability for leks. Among the anthropogenic predictors, landscape condition, a measure of human impact integrated across several factors, was most important, ranking third in importance without state. These results quantify the relative suitability of the landscape within the current occupied range of Lesser Prairie-Chickens. These models, combined with other landscape information, form the basis of a habitat assessment tool that can be used to guide siting of development projects and targeting of areas for conservation.

  19. A multivariate analysis of biophysical parameters of tallgrass prairie among land management practices and years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffith, J.A.; Price, K.P.; Martinko, E.A.

    2001-01-01

    Six treatments of eastern Kansas tallgrass prairie - native prairie, hayed, mowed, grazed, burned and untreated - were studied to examine the biophysical effects of land management practices on grasslands. On each treatment, measurements of plant biomass, leaf area index, plant cover, leaf moisture and soil moisture were collected. In addition, measurements were taken of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is derived from spectral reflectance measurements. Measurements were taken in mid-June, mid-July and late summer of 1990 and 1991. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to determine whether there were differences in the set of variables among treatments and years. Follow-up tests included univariate t-tests to determine which variables were contributing to any significant difference. Results showed a significant difference (p treatments in the composite of parameters during each of the months sampled. In most treatment types, there was a significant difference between years within each month. The univariate tests showed, however, that only some variables, primarily soil moisture, were contributing to this difference. We conclude that biomass and % plant cover show the best potential to serve as long-term indicators of grassland condition as they generally were sensitive to effects of different land management practices but not to yearly change in weather conditions. NDVI was insensitive to precipitation differences between years in July for most treatments, but was not in the native prairie. Choice of sampling time is important for these parameters to serve effectively as indicators.

  20. Characterization of the oxytocin system regulating affiliative behavior in female prairie voles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, H E; Cole, C D; Smith, Y; Neumann, I D; Landgraf, R; Murphy, A Z; Young, L J

    2009-09-15

    Oxytocin regulates partner preference formation and alloparental behavior in the socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) by activating oxytocin receptors in the nucleus accumbens of females. Mating facilitates partner preference formation, and oxytocin-immunoreactive fibers in the nucleus accumbens have been described in prairie voles. However, there has been no direct evidence of oxytocin release in the nucleus accumbens during sociosexual interactions, and the origin of the oxytocin fibers is unknown. Here we show for the first time that extracellular concentrations of oxytocin are increased in the nucleus accumbens of female prairie vole during unrestricted interactions with a male. We further show that the distribution of oxytocin-immunoreactive fibers in the nucleus accumbens is conserved in voles, mice and rats, despite remarkable species differences in oxytocin receptor binding in the region. Using a combination of site-specific and peripheral infusions of the retrograde tracer Fluorogold, we demonstrate that the nucleus accumbens oxytocin-immunoreactive fibers likely originate from paraventricular and supraoptic hypothalamic neurons. This distribution of retrogradely labeled neurons is consistent with the hypothesis that striatal oxytocin fibers arise from collaterals of magnocellular neurons of the neurohypophysial system. If correct, this may serve to coordinate peripheral and central release of oxytocin with appropriate behavioral responses associated with reproduction, including pair bonding after mating, and maternal responsiveness following parturition and during lactation.

  1. Uptake of C14-atrazine by prairie grasses in a phytoremediation setting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khrunyk, Yuliya; Schiewer, Silke; Carstens, Keri L; Hu, Dingfei; Coats, Joel R

    2017-02-01

    Agrochemicals significantly contribute to environmental pollution. In the USA, atrazine is a widely used pesticide and commonly found in rivers, water systems, and rural wells. Phytoremediation can be a cost-effective means of removing pesticides from soil. The objective of this project was to investigate the ability of prairie grasses to remove atrazine. 14 C-labeled atrazine was added to sterilized sand and water/nutrient cultures, and the analysis was performed after 21 days. Switchgrass and big bluestem were promising species for phytoremediation, taking up about 40% of the applied [ 14 C] in liquid hydroponic cultures, and between 20% and 33% in sand cultures. Yellow Indiangrass showed low resistance to atrazine toxicity and low uptake of [ 14 C] atrazine in liquid hydroponic cultures. Atrazine degradation increased progressively from sand to roots and leaves. Most atrazine taken up by prairie grasses from sand culture was degraded to metabolites, which accounted for 60-80% of [ 14 C] detected in leaves. Deisopropylatrazine (DIA) was the main metabolite detected in sand and roots, whereas in leaves further metabolism took place, forming increased amounts of didealkylatrazine (DDA) and an unidentified metabolite. In conclusion, prairie grasses achieved high atrazine removal and degradation, showing a high potential for phytoremediation.

  2. Direct and indirect responses of tallgrass prairie butterflies to prescribed burning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vogel, Jennifer A.; Koford, Rolf R.; Debinski, Diane M.

    2010-01-01

    Fire is an important tool in the conservation and restoration of tallgrass prairie ecosystems. We investigated how both the vegetation composition and butterfly community of tallgrass prairie remnants changed in relation to the elapsed time (in months) since prescribed fire. Butterfly richness and butterfly abundance were positively correlated with the time since burn. Habitat-specialist butterfly richness recovery time was greater than 70 months post-fire and habitat-specialist butterfly abundance recovery time was approximately 50 months post-fire. Thus, recovery times for butterfly populations after prescribed fires in our study were potentially longer than those previously reported. We used Path Analysis to evaluate the relative contributions of the direct effect of time since fire and the indirect effects of time since fire through changes in vegetation composition on butterfly abundance. Path models highlighted the importance of the indirect effects of fire on habitat features, such as increases in the cover of bare ground. Because fire return intervals on managed prairie remnants are often less than 5 years, information on recovery times for habitat-specialist insect species are of great importance. ?? 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  3. Revegetation of wellsite disturbances on Fescue Prairie in east-central Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Woosaree, J.; Puhl, M.

    1999-01-01

    It has been observed that past methods of revegetating disturbed land in Alberta by using commercially-available species of grasses has had limited success in terms of biodiversity, the reason being that commercial forage species are highly competitive, and as such not only prevented the original prairie species from returning to reclaimed sites, but in some cases they have migrated from reclaimed sites and invaded surrounding native prairie. Alfalfa, crested wheatgrass, Kentucky bluegrass and Canada bluegrass are believed to be the most invasive of these commercially available species. Because their use in the past has resulted in landscape fragmentation, they are not recommended for use on wellsites located on native prairie. The limited mix of available native grass cultivars also have had limited success in increasing species diversity. Cross seeding has been suggested as one method for reducing the effect of inter-specific competition on the species emergence. However, the general view of government and industry is that improved methods of revegetation of wellsite disturbances and new guidelines for determining reclamation success are required to establish more ecologically compatible plant communities on well site disturbances 4 refs., 1 tab., 3 figs

  4. Arbuscular common mycorrhizal networks mediate intra- and interspecific interactions of two prairie grasses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weremijewicz, Joanna; da Silveira Lobo O'Reilly Sternberg, Leonel; Janos, David P

    2018-01-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi form extensive common mycorrhizal networks (CMNs) that may interconnect neighboring root systems of the same or different plant species, thereby potentially influencing the distribution of limiting mineral nutrients among plants. We examined how CMNs affected intra- and interspecific interactions within and between populations of Andropogon gerardii, a highly mycorrhiza dependent, dominant prairie grass and Elymus canadensis, a moderately dependent, subordinate prairie species. We grew A. gerardii and E. canadensis alone and intermixed in microcosms, with individual root systems isolated, but either interconnected by CMNs or with CMNs severed weekly. CMNs, which provided access to a large soil volume, improved survival of both A. gerardii and E. canadensis, but intensified intraspecific competition for A. gerardii. When mixed with E. canadensis, A. gerardii overyielded aboveground biomass in the presence of intact CMNs but not when CMNs were severed, suggesting that A. gerardii with intact CMNs most benefitted from weaker interspecific than intraspecific interactions across CMNs. CMNs improved manganese uptake by both species, with the largest plants receiving the most manganese. Enhanced growth in consequence of improved mineral nutrition led to large E. canadensis in intact CMNs experiencing water-stress, as indicated by 13 C isotope abundance. Our findings suggest that in prairie plant communities, CMNs may influence mineral nutrient distribution, water relations, within-species size hierarchies, and between-species interactions.

  5. Interactive effects of chemical and biological controls on food-web composition in saline prairie lakes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooper, Ryan N; Wissel, Björn

    2012-11-27

    Salinity is restricting habitatability for many biota in prairie lakes due to limited physiological abilities to cope with increasing osmotic stress. Yet, it remains unclear how salinity effects vary among major taxonomic groups and what role other environmental parameters play in shaping food-web composition. To answer these questions, we sampled fish, zooplankton and littoral macroinvertebrates in 20 prairie lakes (Saskatchewan, Canada) characterized by large gradients in water chemistry and lake morphometry. We showed that salinity thresholds differed among major taxonomic groups, as most fishes were absent above salinities of 2 g L-1, while littoral macroinvertebrates were ubiquitous. Zooplankton occurred over the whole salinity range, but changed taxonomic composition as salinity increased. Subsequently, the complexity of fish community (diversity) was associated with large changes in invertebrate communities. The directional changes in invertebrate communities to smaller taxa indicated that complex fish assemblages resulted in higher predation pressure. Most likely, as the complexity of fish community decreased, controls of invertebrate assemblages shifted from predation to competition and ultimately to productivity in hypersaline lakes. Surprisingly, invertebrate predators did not thrive in the absence of fishes in these systems. Furthermore, the here identified salinity threshold for fishes was too low to be a result of osmotic stress. Hence, winterkill was likely an important factor eliminating fishes in low salinity lakes that had high productivity and shallow water depth. Ultimately, while salinity was crucial, intricate combinations of chemical and biological mechanisms also played a major role in controlling the assemblages of major taxonomic groups in prairie lakes.

  6. Production of germline transgenic prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) using lentiviral vectors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donaldson, Zoe R; Yang, Shang-Hsun; Chan, Anthony W S; Young, Larry J

    2009-12-01

    The study of alternative model organisms has yielded tremendous insights into the regulation of behavioral and physiological traits not displayed by more widely used animal models, such as laboratory rats and mice. In particular, comparative approaches often exploit species ideally suited for investigating specific phenomenon. For instance, comparative studies of socially monogamous prairie voles and polygamous meadow voles have been instrumental toward gaining an understanding of the genetic and neurobiological basis of social bonding. However, laboratory studies of less commonly used organisms, such as prairie voles, have been limited by a lack of genetic tools, including the ability to manipulate the genome. Here, we show that lentiviral vector-mediated transgenesis is a rapid and efficient approach for creating germline transgenics in alternative laboratory rodents. Injection of a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing lentiviral vector into the perivitelline space of 23 single-cell embryos yielded three live offspring (13 %), one of which (33%) contained germline integration of a GFP transgene driven by the human ubiquitin-C promoter. In comparison, transfer of 23 uninjected embryos yielded six live offspring (26%). Green fluorescent protein is present in all tissues examined and is expressed widely in the brain. The GFP transgene is heritable and stably expressed until at least the F(2) generation. This technology has the potential to allow investigation of specific gene candidates in prairie voles and provides a general protocol to pursue germline transgenic manipulation in many different rodent species.

  7. Environmental Impacts of Wind Power Development on the Population Biology of Greater Prairie-Chickens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sandercock, Brett K. [Kansas State University

    2013-05-22

    Executive Summary 1. We investigated the impacts of wind power development on the demography, movements, and population genetics of Greater Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) at three sites in northcentral and eastern Kansas for a 7-year period. Only 1 of 3 sites was developed for wind power, the 201MW Meridan Way Wind Power Facility at the Smoky Hills site in northcentral Kansas. Our project report is based on population data for prairie chickens collected during a 2-year preconstruction period (2007-2008), a 3-year postconstruction period (2009-2011) and one final year of lek surveys (2012). Where relevant, we present preconstruction data from our field studies at reference sites in the northern Flint Hills (2007-2009) and southern Flint Hills (2006-2008). 2. We addressed seven potential impacts of wind power development on prairie chickens: lek attendance, mating behavior, use of breeding habitat, fecundity rates, natal dispersal, survival rates, and population numbers. Our analyses of pre- and postconstruction impacts are based on an analysis of covariance design where we modeled population performance as a function of treatment period, distance to eventual or actual site of the nearest wind turbine, and the interaction of these factors. Our demographic and movement data from the 6-year study period at the Smoky Hills site included 23 lek sites, 251 radio-marked females monitored for 287 bird-years, and 264 nesting attempts. Our genetic data were based on genotypes of 1,760 females, males and chicks that were screened with a set of 27 microsatellite markers that were optimized in the lab. 3. In our analyses of lek attendance, the annual probability of lek persistence during the preconstruction period was ~0.9. During the postconstruction period, distance to nearest turbine did not have a significant effect on the probability of lek persistence. However, the probability of lek persistence increased from 0.69 at 0 m to 0.89 at 30 km from turbines, and most

  8. Using occupancy models to investigate the prevalence of ectoparasitic vectors on hosts: an example with fleas on prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A.; Biggins, Dean E.; Doherty, Paul F.; Gage, Kenneth L.; Huyvaert, Kathryn P.; Long, Dustin H.; Antolin, Michael F.

    2013-01-01

    Ectoparasites are often difficult to detect in the field. We developed a method that can be used with occupancy models to estimate the prevalence of ectoparasites on hosts, and to investigate factors that influence rates of ectoparasite occupancy while accounting for imperfect detection. We describe the approach using a study of fleas (Siphonaptera) on black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). During each primary occasion (monthly trapping events), we combed a prairie dog three consecutive times to detect fleas (15 s/combing). We used robust design occupancy modeling to evaluate hypotheses for factors that might correlate with the occurrence of fleas on prairie dogs, and factors that might influence the rate at which prairie dogs are colonized by fleas. Our combing method was highly effective; dislodged fleas fell into a tub of water and could not escape, and there was an estimated 99.3% probability of detecting a flea on an occupied host when using three combings. While overall detection was high, the probability of detection was always dogs, flea occupancy was heightened in old/natural colonies of prairie dogs, and on hosts that were in poor condition. Occupancy was initially low in plots with high densities of prairie dogs, but, as the study progressed, the rate of flea colonization increased in plots with high densities of prairie dogs in particular. Our methodology can be used to improve studies of ectoparasites, especially when the probability of detection is low. Moreover, the method can be modified to investigate the co-occurrence of ectoparasite species, and community level factors such as species richness and interspecific interactions.

  9. An emerging crisis across northern prairie refuges: Prevalence of invasive plants and a plan for adaptive management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grant, T.A.; Flanders-Wanner, B.; Shaffer, T.L.; Murphy, R.K.; Knutsen, G.A.

    2009-01-01

    In the northern Great Plains, native prairies managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) can be pivotal in conservation of North America's biological diversity. From 2002 to 2006, we surveyed 7,338 belt transects to assess the general composition of mixed-grass and tallgrass prairie vegetation across five "complexes" (i.e., administrative groupings) of national wildlife refuges managed by the Service in North Dakota and South Dakota. Native grasses and forbs were common (mean frequency of occurrence 47%-54%) on two complexes but uncommon (4%-13%) on two others. Conversely, an introduced species of grass, smooth brome (Bromus inermis), accounted for 45% to 49% of vegetation on two complexes and another species, Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) accounted for 27% to 36% of the vegetation on three of the complexes. Our data confirm prior suspicions of widespread invasion by introduced species of plants on Service-owned tracts of native prairie, changes that likely stem in part from a common management history of little or no disturbance (e.g., defoliation by grazing or fire). However, variability in the degree and type of invasion among prairie tracts suggests that knowledge of underlying causes (e.g., edaphic or climatic factors, management histories) could help managers more effectively restore prairies. We describe an adaptive management approach to acquire such knowledge while progressing with restoration. More specifically, we propose to use data from inventories of plant communities on Service-owned prairies to design and implement, as experiments, optimal restoration strategies. We will then monitor these experiments and use the results to refine future strategies. This comprehensive, process-oriented approach should yield reliable and robust recommendations for restoration and maintenance of native prairies in the northern Great Plains. 2009 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.

  10. An adaptive approach to invasive plant management on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-owned native prairies in the Prairie Pothole Region: decision support under uncertainity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gannon, Jill J.; Moore, Clinton T.; Shaffer, Terry L.; Flanders-Wanner, Bridgette

    2011-01-01

    Much of the native prairie managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is extensively invaded by the introduced cool-season grasses smooth brome (Bromus inermis) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis). The central challenge to managers is selecting appropriate management actions in the face of biological and environmental uncertainties. We describe the technical components of a USGS management project, and explain how the components integrate and inform each other, how data feedback from individual cooperators serves to reduce uncertainty across the whole region, and how a successful adaptive management project is coordinated and maintained on a large scale. In partnership with the Service, the U.S. Geological Survey is developing an adaptive decision support framework to assist managers in selecting management actions under uncertainty and maximizing learning from management outcomes. The framework is built around practical constraints faced by refuge managers and includes identification of the management objective and strategies, analysis of uncertainty and construction of competing decision models, monitoring, and mechanisms for model feedback and decision selection. Nineteen Service field stations, spanning four states of the PPR, are participating in the project. They share a common management objective, available management strategies, and biological uncertainties. While the scope is broad, the project interfaces with individual land managers who provide refuge-specific information and receive updated decision guidance that incorporates understanding gained from the collective experience of all cooperators.

  11. Social isolation disrupts innate immune responses in both male and female prairie voles and enhances agonistic behavior in female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scotti, Melissa-Ann L; Carlton, Elizabeth D; Demas, Gregory E; Grippo, Angela J

    2015-04-01

    Psychosocial stress, specifically social isolation, is an important risk factor for the development of a variety of psychological and physiological disorders. Changes in immune function have been hypothesized to mediate this relationship. The current study used the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) model of isolation-induced depressive-like behavior to test whether social isolation led to changes in innate immune function. Specifically, we used hemolytic complement (CH50) and bacteria killing assays to assess innate immunity, in paired or singly housed male and female prairie voles. Further, in a second experiment we tested whether females exposed to an additional short-term social stressor, a resident-intruder trial, would show changes in immune function as well as enhanced hypothalamic pituitary axis (HPA) activity as indicated by elevated plasma corticosterone levels. Socially isolated animals, regardless of sex, had significantly reduced CH50s and bacteria killing ability. Socially isolated females exposed to a resident-intruder stressor also showed reduced CH50s and bacteria killing ability as well as significant increases in aggressive behavior, however, they did not show elevated circulating corticosterone levels. Collectively, these data will help inform our understanding of the relationship between social isolation and physiological and psychological health. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. Dynamic Disturbance Processes Create Dynamic Lek Site Selection in a Prairie Grouse.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Torre J Hovick

    Full Text Available It is well understood that landscape processes can affect habitat selection patterns, movements, and species persistence. These selection patterns may be altered or even eliminated as a result of changes in disturbance regimes and a concomitant management focus on uniform, moderate disturbance across landscapes. To assess how restored landscape heterogeneity influences habitat selection patterns, we examined 21 years (1991, 1993-2012 of Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido lek location data in tallgrass prairie with restored fire and grazing processes. Our study took place at The Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve located at the southern extent of Flint Hills in northeastern Oklahoma. We specifically addressed stability of lek locations in the context of the fire-grazing interaction, and the environmental factors influencing lek locations. We found that lek locations were dynamic in a landscape with interacting fire and grazing. While previous conservation efforts have treated leks as stable with high site fidelity in static landscapes, a majority of lek locations in our study (i.e., 65% moved by nearly one kilometer on an annual basis in this dynamic setting. Lek sites were in elevated areas with low tree cover and low road density. Additionally, lek site selection was influenced by an interaction of fire and patch edge, indicating that in recently burned patches, leks were located near patch edges. These results suggest that dynamic and interactive processes such as fire and grazing that restore heterogeneity to grasslands do influence habitat selection patterns in prairie grouse, a phenomenon that is likely to apply throughout the Greater Prairie-Chicken's distribution when dynamic processes are restored. As conservation moves toward restoring dynamic historic disturbance patterns, it will be important that siting and planning of anthropogenic structures (e.g., wind energy, oil and gas and management plans not view lek

  13. New insights into the phylogenetics and population structure of the prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doyle, Jacqueline M.; Bell, Douglas A.; Bloom, Peter H.; Emmons, Gavin; Fesnock, Amy; Katzner, Todd; LePre, Larry; Leonard, Kolbe; SanMiguel, Phillip; Westerman, Rick; DeWoody, J. Andrew

    2018-01-01

    BackgroundManagement requires a robust understanding of between- and within-species genetic variability, however such data are still lacking in many species. For example, although multiple population genetics studies of the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) have been conducted, no similar studies have been done of the closely-related prairie falcon (F. mexicanus) and it is unclear how much genetic variation and population structure exists across the species’ range. Furthermore, the phylogenetic relationship of F. mexicanus relative to other falcon species is contested. We utilized a genomics approach (i.e., genome sequencing and assembly followed by single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping) to rapidly address these gaps in knowledge.ResultsWe sequenced the genome of a single female prairie falcon and generated a 1.17 Gb (gigabases) draft genome assembly. We generated maximum likelihood phylogenetic trees using complete mitochondrial genomes as well as nuclear protein-coding genes. This process provided evidence that F. mexicanus is an outgroup to the clade that includes the peregrine falcon and members of the subgenus Hierofalco. We annotated > 16,000 genes and almost 600,000 high-quality single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the nuclear genome, providing the raw material for a SNP assay design featuring > 140 gene-associated markers and a molecular-sexing marker. We subsequently genotyped ~ 100 individuals from California (including the San Francisco East Bay Area, Pinnacles National Park and the Mojave Desert) and Idaho (Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area). We tested for population structure and found evidence that individuals sampled in California and Idaho represent a single panmictic population.ConclusionsOur study illustrates how genomic resources can rapidly shed light on genetic variability in understudied species and resolve phylogenetic relationships. Furthermore, we found evidence of a single, randomly mating

  14. Deltamethrin flea-control preserves genetic variability of black-tailed prairie dogs during a plague outbreak

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, P.H.; Biggins, D.E.; Eads, D.A.; Eads, S.L.; Britten, H.B.

    2012-01-01

    Genetic variability and structure of nine black-tailed prairie dog (BTPD, Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies were estimated with 15 unlinked microsatellite markers. A plague epizootic occurred between the first and second years of sampling and our study colonies were nearly extirpated with the exception of three colonies in which prairie dog burrows were previously dusted with an insecticide, deltamethrin, used to control fleas (vectors of the causative agent of plague, Yersinia pestis). This situation provided context to compare genetic variability and structure among dusted and non-dusted colonies pre-epizootic, and among the three dusted colonies pre- and post-epizootic. We found no statistical difference in population genetic structures between dusted and non-dusted colonies pre-epizootic. On dusted colonies, gene flow and recent migration rates increased from the first (pre-epizootic) year to the second (post-epizootic) year which suggested dusted colonies were acting as refugia for prairie dogs from surrounding colonies impacted by plague. Indeed, in the dusted colonies, estimated densities of adult prairie dogs (including dispersers), but not juveniles (non-dispersers), increased from the first year to the second year. In addition to preserving BTPDs and many species that depend on them, protecting colonies with deltamethrin or a plague vaccine could be an effective method to preserve genetic variability of prairie dogs. ?? 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  15. Valuing ecosystem and economic services across land-use scenarios in the Prairie Pothole Regions of the Dakotas, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gascoigne, William R.; Hoag, Dana; Koontz, Lynne; Tangen, Brian A.; Shaffer, Terry L.; Gleason, Robert A.

    2011-01-01

    This study uses biophysical values derived for the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North and South Dakota, in conjunction with value transfer methods, to assess environmental and economic tradeoffs under different policy-relevant land-use scenarios over a 20-year period. The ecosystem service valuation is carried out by comparing the biophysical and economic values of three focal services (i.e. carbon sequestration, reduction in sedimentation, and waterfowl production) across three focal land uses in the region [i.e. native prairie grasslands, lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve and Wetlands Reserve Programs (CRP/WRP), and cropland]. This study finds that CRP/WRP lands cannot mitigate (hectare for hectare) the loss of native prairie from a social welfare standpoint. Land use scenarios where native prairie loss was minimized, and CRP/WRP lands were increased, provided the most societal benefit. The scenario modeling projected native prairie conversion to cropland over the next 20 years would result in a social welfare loss valued at over $4 billion when considering the study's three ecosystem services, and a net loss of about $3.4 billion when reductions in commodity production are accounted for.

  16. Age at Vaccination May Influence Response to Sylvatic Plague Vaccine (SPV) in Gunnison's Prairie Dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocke, Tonie E; Tripp, Dan; Lorenzsonn, Faye; Falendysz, Elizabeth; Smith, Susan; Williamson, Judy; Abbott, Rachel

    2015-06-01

    Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) have been considered at greater risk from Yersinia pestis (plague) infection in the montane portion of their range compared to populations at lower elevations, possibly due to factors related to flea transmission of the bacteria or greater host susceptibility. To test the latter hypothesis and determine whether vaccination against plague with an oral sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) improved survival, we captured prairie dogs from a C. g. gunnisoni or "montane" population and a C. g. zuniensis or "prairie" population for vaccine efficacy and challenge studies. No differences (P = 0.63) were found in plague susceptibility in non-vaccinated animals between these two populations; however, vaccinates from the prairie population survived plague challenge at significantly higher rates (P plague challenge at a much higher rate than adults (P plague in the C. g. gunnisoni or "montane" populations of Gunnison's prairie dogs, and that SPV could be a useful plague management tool for this species, particularly if targeted at younger cohorts.

  17. SEASON OF DELTAMETHRIN APPLICATION AFFECTS FLEA AND PLAGUE CONTROL IN WHITE-TAILED PRAIRIE DOG (CYNOMYS LEUCURUS) COLONIES, COLORADO, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tripp, Daniel W; Streich, Sean P; Sack, Danielle A; Martin, Daniel J; Griffin, Karen A; Miller, Michael W

    2016-07-01

    In 2008 and 2009, we evaluated the duration of prophylactic deltamethrin treatments in white-tailed prairie dog ( Cynomys leucurus ) colonies and compared effects of autumn or spring dust application in suppressing flea numbers and plague. Plague occurred before and during our experiment. Overall, flea abundance tended to increase from May or June to September, but it was affected by deltamethrin treatment and plague dynamics. Success in trapping prairie dogs (animals caught/trap days) declined between June and September at all study sites. However, by September trap success on dusted sites (19%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 16-22%) was about 15-fold greater than on undusted control sites (1%; CI 0.3-4%; P≤0.0001). Applying deltamethrin dust as early as 12 mo prior seemed to afford some protection to prairie dogs. Our data showed that dusting even a portion of a prairie dog colony can prolong its persistence despite epizootic plague. Autumn dusting may offer advantages over spring in suppressing overwinter or early-spring flea activity, but timing should be adjusted to precede the annual decline in aboveground activity for hibernating prairie dog species. Large colony complexes or collections of occupied but fragmented habitat may benefit from dusting some sites in spring and others in autumn to maximize flea suppression in a portion of the complex or habitat year-round.

  18. Effects of Grazing and Fire Frequency on Floristic Quality and its Relationship to Indicators of Soil Quality in Tallgrass Prairie.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manning, George C; Baer, Sara G; Blair, John M

    2017-12-01

    Fire and grazing are widely used to manage grasslands for conservation purposes, but few studies have evaluated the effects of these drivers on the conservation value of plant communities measured by the floristic quality index (FQI). Further, the influence of fire and grazing on soil properties and functions are difficult for land managers and restoration practitioners to assess. The objectives of this study were to: (1) quantify the independent and interactive effects of grazing and fire frequency on floristic quality in native tallgrass prairie to provide potential benchmarks for community assessment, and (2) to explore whether floristic quality can serve as an indicator of soil structure and function for more holistic ecosystem assessments. A factorial combination of fire frequencies (1-2, 4, and 20 years return intervals) and grazing (by bison or ungrazed) treatments were sampled for plant species composition, and for several indicators of soil quality in lowland tallgrass prairie. Floristic quality, diversity, and richness were higher in grazed than ungrazed prairie over all fire frequencies (P soil bulk density were also higher in grazed prairie soil over all fire frequencies (P soil N were positively correlated with FQI (P soil N pools are more strongly influenced by grazing than fire and that floristic quality can be an indicator of total soil C and N stocks in never cultivated lowland prairie.

  19. Effects of Grazing and Fire Frequency on Floristic Quality and its Relationship to Indicators of Soil Quality in Tallgrass Prairie

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manning, George C.; Baer, Sara G.; Blair, John M.

    2017-12-01

    Fire and grazing are widely used to manage grasslands for conservation purposes, but few studies have evaluated the effects of these drivers on the conservation value of plant communities measured by the floristic quality index (FQI). Further, the influence of fire and grazing on soil properties and functions are difficult for land managers and restoration practitioners to assess. The objectives of this study were to: (1) quantify the independent and interactive effects of grazing and fire frequency on floristic quality in native tallgrass prairie to provide potential benchmarks for community assessment, and (2) to explore whether floristic quality can serve as an indicator of soil structure and function for more holistic ecosystem assessments. A factorial combination of fire frequencies (1-2, 4, and 20 years return intervals) and grazing (by bison or ungrazed) treatments were sampled for plant species composition, and for several indicators of soil quality in lowland tallgrass prairie. Floristic quality, diversity, and richness were higher in grazed than ungrazed prairie over all fire frequencies ( P total N, and soil bulk density were also higher in grazed prairie soil over all fire frequencies ( P total organic C, and total soil N were positively correlated with FQI ( P quality and soil N pools are more strongly influenced by grazing than fire and that floristic quality can be an indicator of total soil C and N stocks in never cultivated lowland prairie.

  20. Use of vegetation sampling and analysis to detect a problem within a portion of a prairie restoration project.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Franson, Raymond; Scholes, Chad; Krabbe, Stephen

    2017-01-02

    In June 2005, the Department of Energy (DOE) began establishing the 60-ha Howell Prairie around the disposal cell at the DOE Weldon Spring Site (WSS). Prairies were historically present in the area of the site. Quantitative Cover sampling was used to quantify Total Cover, Native Grass Cover, Non-Native Grass Cover, Native Forb Cover, Non-Native Forb Cover, Warm Season (C 4 Grass), Cool Season (C 3 Grass), Perennial Cover and Annual Cover, Litter, and Bare Ground. Four permanent vegetation sampling plots were established. The first 4 years of vegetation measurements at Howell Prairie were made during above-average rainfall years on burned and unburned plots. The fifth-year (2012) vegetation measurements were made after below-average rainfall. Five years of results not only document the consistency of the restoration effort in three areas, but also demonstrate deficiencies in Grass Cover in a fourth area. The results are not only useful for Howell Prairie, but will be useful for restoration work throughout the region. Restoration work suffers from a lack of success monitoring and in this case from a lack of available reference areas. Floristic Quality Indices are used to make qualitative comparisons of the site to Konza Prairie sites.

  1. Long-term prairie falcon population changes in relation to prey abundance, weather, land uses, and habitat conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steenhof, Karen; Kochert, Michael N.; Carpenter, L.B.; Lehman, Robert N.

    1999-01-01

    We studied a nesting population of Prairie Falcons (Falco mexicanus) in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) from 1974-1997 to identify factors that influence abundance and reproduction. Our sampling period included two major droughts and associated crashes in Townsend's ground squirrel (Spermophilus townsendii) populations. The number of Prairie Falcon pairs found on long-term survey segments declined significantly from 1976-1997. Early declines were most severe at the eastern end of the NCA, where fires and agriculture have changed native shrubsteppe habitat. More recent declines occurred in the portion of canyon near the Orchard Training Area (OTA), where the Idaho Army National Guard conducts artillery firing and tank maneuvers. Overall Prairie Falcon reproductive rates were tied closely to annual indexes of ground squirrel abundance, but precipitation before and during the breeding season was related inversely to some measures of reproduction. Most reproductive parameters showed no significant trends over time, but during the 1990s, nesting success and productivity were lower in the stretch of canyon near the OTA than in adjacent areas. Extensive shrub loss, by itself, did not explain the pattern of declines in abundance and reproduction that we observed. Recent military training activities likely have interacted with fire and livestock grazing to create less than favorable foraging opportunities for Prairie Falcons in a large part of the NCA. To maintain Prairie Falcon populations in the NCA, managers should suppress wildfires, restore native plant communities, and regulate potentially incompatible land uses.

  2. Age at vaccination may influence response to sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) in Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rocke, Tonie E.; Tripp, Daniel W.; Lorenzsonn, Faye; Falendysz, Elizabeth A.; Smith, Susan; Williamson, Judy L.; Abbott, Rachel C.

    2015-01-01

    Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) have been considered at greater risk from Yersinia pestis (plague) infection in the montane portion of their range compared to populations at lower elevations, possibly due to factors related to flea transmission of the bacteria or greater host susceptibility. To test the latter hypothesis and determine whether vaccination against plague with an oral sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) improved survival, we captured prairie dogs from a C. g. gunnisoni or “montane” population and a C. g. zuniensis or “prairie” population for vaccine efficacy and challenge studies. No differences (P = 0.63) were found in plague susceptibility in non-vaccinated animals between these two populations; however, vaccinates from the prairie population survived plague challenge at significantly higher rates (P age, as the prairie group was much younger on average than the montane group. Vaccinates that were juveniles or young adults survived plague challenge at a much higher rate than adults (P ages. These results suggest that host susceptibility is probably not related to the assumed greater risk from plague in the C. g. gunnisoni or “montane” populations of Gunnison’s prairie dogs, and that SPV could be a useful plague management tool for this species, particularly if targeted at younger cohorts.

  3. Flea abundance, diversity, and plague in Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) and their burrows in montane grasslands in northern New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Megan M. Friggens; Robert R. Parmenter; Michael Boyden; Paulette L. Ford; Kenneth Gage; Paul Keim

    2010-01-01

    Plague, a flea-transmitted infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, is a primary threat to the persistence of prairie dog populations (Cynomys spp.). We conducted a 3-yr survey (2004-2006) of fleas from Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) and their burrows in montane grasslands in Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico. Our...

  4. Land-use change, economics, and rural well-being in the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gascoigne, William R.; Hoag, Dana L.K.; Johnson, Rex R.; Koontz, Lynne M.; Thomas, Catherine Cullinane

    2013-01-01

    This fact sheet highlights findings included in a comprehensive new report (see USGS Professional Paper 1800) which investigated land-use change, economic characteristics, and rural community well-being in the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States. Once one of the largest grassland-wetlands ecosystems on earth, the North American prairie has experienced extensive conversion to cultivated agriculture, with farming becoming the dominant land use in the region over the last century. Both perennial habitat lands and agricultural croplands retain importance economically, socially, and culturally. Greatly increased oil and gas development in recent years brought rises in employment and income but also stressed infrastructure, cost of living, and crime rates. Research described in these reports focuses on land-use dynamics and illuminates how economic variables and rural development in the Prairie Pothole Region might be influenced as land uses change.

  5. Determinants of family planning use among married women in bale eco-region, Southeast Ethiopia: a community based study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonie, Alemayehu; Wudneh, Alemayehu; Nigatu, Dejene; Dendir, Zelalem

    2018-03-12

    Family planning is the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. Providing family planning could prevent maternal deaths by allowing women to delay motherhood, space births, avoid unintended pregnancies and abortions, and stop childbearing when they reach their desired family size. Despite the fact that family planning is advantageous for maternal and newborn health and the services and commodities are free of charge, the reason of not using modern family planning methods is unclear in Bale Eco-Region. Therefore, this study assessed the contraceptive prevalence rate and its determinants among women in Bale Eco-Region, Ethiopia. A community-based cross-sectional study design (both quantitative and qualitative methods) was conducted from December 2016 to February 2017. Five hundred sixty-seven women were successfully interviewed using structured and pre-tested questionnaire. A multistage sampling technique was employed. Data were entered into Epi-data version 3.1 and exported to SPSS version 21. Logistic regression analyses were done and a significant association was declared at p-value less than 0.05. All focus group discussions and key informant interviews were recorded and analyzed thematically. The overall contraceptive prevalence rate was 41.5%. Injectable (48.1%), implants (22.6%) and pills (20.0%) were the most contraceptive methods utilized by study participants. Spousal (husband's) opposition (38.8%), religious beliefs (17.7%), concern and fear of side effects (14.8%), and distance of family planning service (5.9%) were the reasons for not using contraceptive methods. Having more than seven deliveries (AOR = 2.98, CI = 1.91-6.10, P = 0.000) and having birth interval less than 24 months between the last two children (AOR = 3.8, CI = 13.41-21.61, P = 0.003) were significantly associated with utilization of contraceptive methods. Low

  6. Venomics and antivenomics of Bothrops erythromelas from five geographic populations within the Caatinga ecoregion of northeastern Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jorge, Roberta Jeane B; Monteiro, Helena S A; Gonçalves-Machado, Larissa; Guarnieri, Míriam C; Ximenes, Rafael M; Borges-Nojosa, Diva M; Luna, Karla P de O; Zingali, Russolina B; Corrêa-Netto, Carlos; Gutiérrez, José María; Sanz, Libia; Calvete, Juan J; Pla, Davinia

    2015-01-30

    The Caatinga lancehead, Bothrops erythromelas, is a medically relevant species, responsible for most of the snakebite accidents in most parts of its distribution range in northeastern Brazil. The spectrum and geographic variability of its venom toxins were investigated applying a venomics approach to venom pools from five geographic areas within the Caatinga ecoregion. Despite its wide habitat, populations of B. erythromelas from Ceará, Pernambuco, Juazeiro, Paraiba, and Ilha de Itaparica exhibit highly conserved venom proteomes. Mirroring their compositional conservation, the five geographic venom pools also showed qualitatively and quantitatively overlapping antivenomic profiles against antivenoms generated in Vital Brazil (BR) and Clodomiro Picado (CR) Institutes, using different venoms in the immunization mixtures. The paraspecificity exhibited by the Brazilian SAB and the Costa Rican BCL antivenoms against venom toxins from B. erythromelas indicates large immunoreactive epitope conservation across genus Bothrops during the last ~14 million years, thus offering promise for the possibility of generating a broad-spectrum bothropic antivenom. Biological Significance Accidental snakebite envenomings represent an important public health hazard in Brazil. Ninety per cent of the yearly estimated 20-30,000 snakebite accidents are caused by species of the Bothrops genus. Bothrops erythromelas, a small, moderately stocky terrestrial venomous snake, is responsible for most of the snakebite accidents in its broad distribution range in the Caatinga, a large ecoregion in northeastern Brazil. To gain a deeper insight into the spectrum of medically important toxins present in the venom of the Caatinga lancehead, we applied a venomics approach to define the proteome and geographic variability of adult B. erythromelas venoms from five geographic regions. Although intraspecific compositional variation between venoms among specimens from different geographic regions has long been

  7. Black-footed ferrets and recreational shooting influence the attributes of black-tailed prairie dog burrows

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biggins, Dean E.; Ramakrishnan, Shantini; Goldberg, Amanda R.; Eads, David A.

    2012-01-01

    Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) plug burrows occupied by black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes), and they also plug burrows to entomb dead prairie dogs. We further evaluated these phenomena by sampling connectivity and plugging of burrow openings on prairie dog colonies occupied by ferrets, colonies where recreational shooting was allowed, and colonies with neither shooting nor ferrets. We counted burrow openings on line surveys and within plots, classified surface plugging, and used an air blower to examine subsurface connectivity. Colonies with ferrets had lower densities of openings, fewer connected openings (suggesting increased subsurface plugging), and more surface plugs compared to colonies with no known ferrets. Colonies with recreational shooting had the lowest densities of burrow openings, and line-survey data suggested colonies with shooting had intermediate rates of surface plugging. The extent of surface and subsurface plugging could have consequences for the prairie dog community by changing air circulation and escape routes of burrow systems and by altering energetic relationships. Burrow plugging might reduce prairie dogs' risk of predation by ferrets while increasing risk of predation by American badgers (Taxidea taxus); however, the complexity of the trade-off is increased if plugging increases the risk of predation on ferrets by badgers. Prairie dogs expend more energy plugging and digging when ferrets or shooting are present, and ferrets increase their energy expenditures when they dig to remove those plugs. Microclimatic differences in plugged burrow systems may play a role in flea ecology and persistence of the flea-borne bacterium that causes plague (Yersinia pestis).

  8. Nesting ecology and nest survival of lesser prairie-chickens on the Southern High Plains of Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grisham, Blake A.; Borsdorf, Philip K.; Boal, Clint W.; Boydston, Kathy K.

    2014-01-01

    The decline in population and range of lesser prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) throughout the central and southern Great Plains has raised concerns considering their candidate status under the United States Endangered Species Act. Baseline ecological data for lesser prairie-chickens are limited, especially for the shinnery oak-grassland communities of Texas. This information is imperative because lesser prairie-chickens in shinnery oak grasslands occur at the extreme southwestern edge of their distribution. This geographic region is characterized by hot, arid climates, less fragmentation, and less anthropogenic development than within the remaining core distribution of the species. Thus, large expanses of open rangeland with less anthropogenic development and a climate that is classified as extreme for ground nesting birds may subsequently influence nest ecology, nest survival, and nest site selection differently compared to the rest of the distribution of the species. We investigated the nesting ecology of 50 radio-tagged lesser prairie-chicken hens from 2008 to 2011 in the shinnery oak-grassland communities in west Texas and found a substantial amount of inter-annual variation in incubation start date and percent of females incubating nests. Prairie-chickens were less likely to nest near unimproved roads and utility poles and in areas with more bare ground and litter. In contrast, hens selected areas dominated by grasses and shrubs and close to stock tanks to nest. Candidate models including visual obstruction best explained daily nest survival; a 5% increase in visual obstruction improved nest survival probability by 10%. The model-averaged probability of a nest surviving the incubation period was 0.43 (SE = 0.006; 95% CI: 0.23, 0.56). Our findings indicate that lesser prairie-chicken reproduction during our study period was dynamic and was correlated with seasonal weather patterns that ultimately promoted greater grass growth earlier in the

  9. Regional differences in mu and kappa opioid receptor G-protein activation in brain in male and female prairie voles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin, T J; Sexton, T; Kim, S A; Severino, A L; Peters, C M; Young, L J; Childers, S R

    2015-12-17

    Prairie voles are unusual mammals in that, like humans, they are capable of forming socially monogamous pair bonds, display biparental care, and engage in alloparental behaviors. Both mu and kappa opioid receptors are involved in behaviors that either establish and maintain, or result from pair bond formation in these animals. Mu and kappa opioid receptors both utilize inhibitory G-proteins in signal transduction mechanisms, however the efficacy by which these receptor subtypes stimulate G-protein signaling across the prairie vole neuraxis is not known. Utilizing [(35)S]GTPγS autoradiography, we characterized the efficacy of G-protein stimulation in coronal sections throughout male and female prairie vole brains by [D-Ala2,NMe-Phe4,Gly-ol5]-enkephalin (DAMGO) and U50,488H, selective mu and kappa opioid agonists, respectively. DAMGO stimulation was highest in the forebrain, similar to that found with other rodent species. U-50,488H produced greater stimulation in prairie voles than is typically seen in mice and rats, particularly in select forebrain areas. DAMGO produced higher stimulation in the core versus the shell of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) in females, while the distribution of U-50,488H stimulation was the opposite. There were no gender differences for U50,488H stimulation of G-protein activity across the regions examined, while DAMGO stimulation was greater in sections from females compared to those from males for NAc core, entopeduncular nucleus, and hippocampus. These data suggest that the kappa opioid system may be more sensitive to manipulation in prairie voles compared to mice and rats, and that female prairie voles may be more sensitive to mu agonists in select brain regions than males. Copyright © 2015 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Forage preferences in two species of prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens and Cynomus ludovicianus): Implications for hibernation and facultative heterothermy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lehmer, E.M.; Biggins, D.E.; Antolin, M.F.

    2006-01-01

    Several laboratory studies have shown that the ingestion of dietary linoleic (18:2 ??6) acid before winter can promote deep and continuous torpor, whereas excess consumption of ??-linolenic acid (18:3 ??3) can interfere with an animal's ability to reach and maintain low body temperatures during torpor. As mammalian heterotherms obtain linoleic and ??-linolenic acid strictly from the diet, diet selection has been proposed as a mechanism that allows hibernators to ingest levels of linoleic and ??-linolenic acid that promote favorable torpor patterns. Here diet, dietary nutrient content and patterns of forage preference of a representative hibernator, the Utah prairie dog Cynomys parvidens, and a facultative heterotherm, the black-tailed prairie dog Cynomys ludovicianus, were examined under natural field conditions. Diets of black-tailed (BTPD) and Utah prairie dogs (UTPD) differed across seasons (BTPD F26,108=9.59, Pplant species relative to their abundance on colonies in any season. Black-tailed prairie dogs did not consume or avoid consumption of plant species based on levels of total lipids, linoleic acid, ??-linolenic acid or nitrogen. Considering only the plants consumed, black-tailed prairie dogs appeared to prefer plants with low levels of ??-linolenic acid (F1,19=5.81, P=0.03), but there were no detectable relationships between preference and other nutrients. Utah prairie dogs consumed plants higher in ??-linolenic acid (t=1.98, P=0.05) and avoided plants high in linoleic acid (t=-2.02, P=0.04), but consumption-avoidance decisions did not appear to be related to nitrogen or total lipids. Of the plants consumed, Utah prairie dogs again preferred plants high in ??-linolenic acid (F1,17=4.62, P=0.05). Levels of linoleic and ??-linolenic acid were positively correlated in plants consumed by prairie dogs (BTPD Pearson r=0.66, P<0.01; UTPD Pearson r=0.79, P<0.01), reducing the opportunity for independent selection of either lipid. ?? 2006 The Authors.

  11. Autonomic substrates of the response to pups in male prairie voles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    William M Kenkel

    Full Text Available Caregiving by nonparents (alloparenting and fathers is a defining aspect of human social behavior, yet this phenomenon is rare among mammals. Male prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster spontaneously exhibit high levels of alloparental care, even in the absence of reproductive experience. In previous studies, exposure to a pup was selectively associated with increased activity in oxytocin and vasopressin neurons along with decreased plasma corticosterone. In the present study, physiological, pharmacological and neuroanatomical methods were used to explore the autonomic and behavioral consequences of exposing male prairie voles to a pup. Reproductively naïve, adult male prairie voles were implanted with radiotransmitters used for recording ECG, temperature and activity. Males responded with a sustained increase in heart-rate during pup exposure. This prolonged increase in heart rate was not explained by novelty, locomotion or thermoregulation. Although heart rate was elevated during pup exposure, respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA did not differ between these males and males exposed to control stimuli indicating that vagal inhibition of the heart was maintained. Blockade of beta-adrenergic receptors with atenolol abolished the pup-induced heart rate increase, implicating sympathetic activity in the pup-induced increase in heart rate. Blockade of vagal input to the heart delayed the males' approach to the pup. Increased activity in brainstem autonomic regulatory nuclei was also observed in males exposed to pups. Together, these findings suggest that exposure to a pup activates both vagal and sympathetic systems. This unique physiological state (i.e. increased sympathetic excitation of the heart, while maintaining some vagal cardiac tone associated with male caregiving behavior may allow males to both nurture and protect infants.

  12. Characteristics of lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) long-distance movements across their distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Earl, Julia E.; Fuhlendorf, Samuel D.; Haukos, David A.; Tanner, Ashley M.; Elmore, Dwayne; Carleton, Scott A.

    2016-01-01

    Long-distance movements are important adaptive behaviors that contribute to population, community, and ecosystem connectivity. However, researchers have a poor understanding of the characteristics of long-distance movements for most species. Here, we examined long-distance movements for the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a species of conservation concern. We addressed the following questions: (1) At what distances could populations be connected? (2) What are the characteristics and probability of dispersal movements? (3) Do lesser prairie-chickens display exploratory and round-trip movements? (4) Do the characteristics of long-distance movements vary by site? Movements were examined from populations using satellite GPS transmitters across the entire distribution of the species in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. Dispersal movements were recorded up to 71 km net displacement, much farther than hitherto recorded. These distances suggest that there may be greater potential connectivity among populations than previously thought. Dispersal movements were displayed primarily by females and had a northerly directional bias. Dispersal probabilities ranged from 0.08 to 0.43 movements per year for both sexes combined, although these movements averaged only 16 km net displacement. Lesser prairie-chickens displayed both exploratory foray loops and round-trip movements. Half of round-trip movements appeared seasonal, suggesting a partial migration in some populations. None of the long-distance movements varied by study site. Data presented here will be important in parameterizing models assessing population viability and informing conservation planning, although further work is needed to identify landscape features that may reduce connectivity among populations.

  13. Cover Image Identification of Plant Species for Crop Pollinator Habitat Enhancement in the Northern Prairies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diana Bizecki Robson

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Wild pollinators have a positive impact on the productivity of insect-pollinated crops. Consequently, landowners are being encouraged to maintain and grow wildflower patches to provide habitat for important pollinators. Research on plant-pollinator interaction matrices indicates that a small number of “core” plants provide a disproportionately high amount of pollen and nectar to insects. This matrix data can be used to help design wildflower plantings that provide optimal resources for desirable pollinators. Existing interaction matrices from three tall grass prairie preserves in the northern prairies were used to identify core plant species that are visited by wild pollinators of a common insect-pollinated crop, namely canola (Brassica napus L.. The wildflower preferences of each insect taxon were determined using quantitative insect visitation and floral abundance data. Phenology data were used to calculate the degree of floral synchrony between the wildflowers and canola. Using this information I ranked the 41 wildflowers that share insect visitors with canola according to how useful they are for providing pollinators with forage before and after canola flowers. The top five species were smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve (L. A. & D. Löve, stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida L., wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa L., purple prairie-clover (Dalea purpurea Vent. and Lindley’s aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum (Lindl. A. & D. Löve. By identifying the most important wild insects for crop pollination, and determining when there will be “pollen and nectar gaps”, appropriate plant species can be selected for companion plantings to increase pollinator populations and crop production.

  14. Evaluation of capture techniques on lesser prairie-chicken trap injury and survival

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grisham, Blake A.; Boal, Clint W.; Mitchell, Natasia R.; Gicklhorn, Trevor S.; Borsdorf, Philip K.; Haukos, David A.; Dixon, Charles

    2015-01-01

    Ethical treatment of research animals is required under the Animal Welfare Act. This includes trapping methodologies that reduce unnecessary pain and duress. Traps used in research should optimize animal welfare conditions within the context of the proposed research study. Several trapping techniques are used in the study of lesser prairie-chickens, despite lack of knowledge of trap injury caused by the various methods. From 2006 to 2012, we captured 217, 40, and 144 lesser prairie-chickens Tympanuchus pallidicinctus using walk-in funnel traps, rocket nets, and drop nets, respectively, in New Mexico and Texas, to assess the effects of capture technique on injury and survival of the species. We monitored radiotagged, injured lesser prairie-chickens 7–65 d postcapture to assess survival rates of injured individuals. Injuries occurred disproportionately among trap type, injury type, and sex. The predominant injuries were superficial cuts to the extremities of males captured in walk-in funnel traps. However, we observed no mortalities due to trapping, postcapture survival rates of injured birds did not vary across trap types, and the daily survival probability of an injured and uninjured bird was ≥99%. Frequency and intensity of injuries in walk-in funnel traps are due to the passive nature of these traps (researcher cannot select specific individuals for capture) and incidental capture of individuals not needed for research. Comparatively, rocket nets and drop nets allow observers to target birds for capture and require immediate removal of captured individuals from the trap. Based on our results, trap injuries would be reduced if researchers monitor and immediately remove birds from walk-in funnels before they injure themselves; move traps to target specific birds and reduce recaptures; limit the number of consecutive trapping days on a lek; and use proper netting techniques that incorporate quick, efficient, trained handling procedures.

  15. Social isolation induces behavioral and neuroendocrine disturbances relevant to depression in female and male prairie voles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grippo, Angela J; Gerena, Davida; Huang, Jonathan; Kumar, Narmda; Shah, Maulin; Ughreja, Raj; Carter, C Sue

    2007-01-01

    Supportive social interactions may be protective against stressors and certain mental and physical illness, while social isolation may be a powerful stressor. Prairie voles are socially monogamous rodents that model some of the behavioral and physiological traits displayed by humans, including sensitivity to social isolation. Neuroendocrine and behavioral parameters, selected for their relevance to stress and depression, were measured in adult female and male prairie voles following 4 weeks of social isolation versus paired housing. In Experiment 1, oxytocin-immunoreactive cell density was higher in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and plasma oxytocin was elevated in isolated females, but not in males. In Experiment 2, sucrose intake, used as an operational definition of hedonia, was reduced in both sexes following 4 weeks of isolation. Animals then received a resident-intruder test, and were sacrificed either 10 min later for the analysis of circulating hormones and peptides, or 2h later to examine neural activation, indexed by c-Fos expression in PVN cells immunoreactive for oxytocin or corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). Compared to paired animals, plasma oxytocin, ACTH and corticosterone were elevated in isolated females and plasma oxytocin was elevated in isolated males, following the resident-intruder test. The proportion of cells double-labeled for c-Fos and oxytocin or c-Fos and CRF was elevated in isolated females, and the proportion of cells double-labeled for c-Fos and oxytocin was elevated in isolated males following this test. These findings suggest that social isolation induces behavioral and neuroendocrine responses relevant to depression in male and female prairie voles, although neuroendocrine responses in females may be especially sensitive to isolation.

  16. Life cycle assessment of camelina oil derived biodiesel and jet fuel in the Canadian Prairies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Li, Xue; Mupondwa, Edmund

    2014-01-01

    This study evaluated the environmental impact of biodiesel and hydroprocessed renewable jet fuel derived from camelina oil in terms of global warming potential, human health, ecosystem quality, and energy resource consumption. The life cycle inventory is based on production activities in the Canadian Prairies and encompasses activities ranging from agricultural production to oil extraction and fuel conversion. The system expansion method is used in this study to avoid allocation and to credit input energy to co-products associated with the products displaced in the market during camelina oil extraction and fuel processing. This is the preferred allocation method for LCA analysis in the context of most renewable and sustainable energy programs. The results show that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 1 MJ of camelina derived biodiesel ranged from 7.61 to 24.72 g CO 2 equivalent and 3.06 to 31.01 kg CO 2 /MJ equivalent for camelina HRJ fuel. Non-renewable energy consumption for camelina biodiesel ranged from 0.40 to 0.67 MJ/MJ; HRJ fuel ranged from − 0.13 to 0.52 MJ/MJ. Camelina oil as a feedstock for fuel production accounted for the highest contribution to overall environmental performance, demonstrating the importance of reducing environmental burdens during the agricultural production process. Attaining higher seed yield would dramatically lower environmental impacts associated with camelina seed, oil, and fuel production. The lower GHG emissions and energy consumption associated with camelina in comparison with other oilseed derived fuel and petroleum fuel make camelina derived fuel from Canadian Prairies environmentally attractive. - Highlights: • LCA of camelina-derived biodiesel and jet fuel was based on the Canadian Prairies. • Overall, camelina-derived biodiesel had lower GHG emissions than is biojet fuel. • Camelina jet fuel had lower non-renewable energy (NRE) use than its biodiesel. • Camelina biofuels reduced GHG emissions and NRE use

  17. Developing a framework for evaluating tallgrass prairie reconstruction methods and management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larson, Diane L.; Ahlering, Marissa; Drobney, Pauline; Esser, Rebecca; Larson, Jennifer L.; Viste-Sparkman, Karen

    2018-01-01

    The thousands of hectares of prairie reconstructed each year in the tallgrass prairie biome can provide a valuable resource for evaluation of seed mixes, planting methods, and post-planting management if methods used and resulting characteristics of the prairies are recorded and compiled in a publicly accessible database. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of such data to understand the outcomes of reconstructions over a 10-year period at two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuges. Variables included number of species planted, seed source (combine-harvest or combine-harvest plus hand-collected), fire history, and planting method and season. In 2015 we surveyed vegetation on 81 reconstructions and calculated proportion of planted species observed; introduced species richness; native species richness, evenness and diversity; and mean coefficient of conservatism. We conducted exploratory analyses to learn how implied communities based on seed mix compared with observed vegetation; which seeding or management variables were influential in the outcome of the reconstructions; and consistency of responses between the two refuges. Insights from this analysis include: 1) proportion of planted species observed in 2015 declined as planted richness increased, but lack of data on seeding rate per species limited conclusions about value of added species; 2) differing responses to seeding and management between the two refuges suggest the importance of geographic variability that could be addressed using a public database; and 3) variables such as fire history are difficult to quantify consistently and should be carefully evaluated in the context of a public data repository.

  18. Modelling of seasonal dynamics of Wetland-Groundwater flow interaction in the Canadian Prairies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ali, Melkamu; Nussbaumer, Raphaël; Ireson, Andrew; Keim, Dawn

    2015-04-01

    Wetland-shallow groundwater interaction is studied at the St. Denis National Wildlife Area in Saskatchewan, Canada, located within the northern glaciated prairies of North America. Ponds in the Canadian Prairies are intermittently connected by fill-spill processes in the spring and growing season of some wetter years. The contribution of the ponds and wetlands to groundwater is still a significant research challenge. The objective of this study is to evaluate model's ability to reproduce observed effects of groundwater-wetland interactions including seasonal pattern of shallow groundwater table, intended flow direction and to quantify the depression induced infiltration from the wetland to the surrounding uplands. The integrated surface-wetland-shallow groundwater processes and the changes in land-energy and water balances caused by the flow interaction are simulated using ParFlow-CLM at a small watershed of 1km2 containing both permanent and seasonal wetland complexes. We compare simulated water table depth with piezometers reading monitored by level loggers at the watershed. We also present the strengths and limitations of the model in reproducing observed behaviour of the groundwater table response to the spring snowmelt and summer rainfall. Simulations indicate that the shallow water table at the uphill recovers quickly after major rainfall events in early summer that generates lateral flow to the pond. In late summer, the wetland supplies water to the surrounding upland when the evapotranspiration is higher than the precipitation in which more water from the root zone is up taken by plants. Results also show that Parflow-CLM is able to reasonably simulate the water table patterns response to summer rainfall, while it is insufficient to reproduce the spring snowmelt infiltration which is the most dominant hydrological process in the Prairies.

  19. Life cycle assessment of camelina oil derived biodiesel and jet fuel in the Canadian Prairies

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Li, Xue; Mupondwa, Edmund, E-mail: Edmund.Mupondwa@agr.gc.ca

    2014-05-01

    This study evaluated the environmental impact of biodiesel and hydroprocessed renewable jet fuel derived from camelina oil in terms of global warming potential, human health, ecosystem quality, and energy resource consumption. The life cycle inventory is based on production activities in the Canadian Prairies and encompasses activities ranging from agricultural production to oil extraction and fuel conversion. The system expansion method is used in this study to avoid allocation and to credit input energy to co-products associated with the products displaced in the market during camelina oil extraction and fuel processing. This is the preferred allocation method for LCA analysis in the context of most renewable and sustainable energy programs. The results show that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 1 MJ of camelina derived biodiesel ranged from 7.61 to 24.72 g CO{sub 2} equivalent and 3.06 to 31.01 kg CO{sub 2}/MJ equivalent for camelina HRJ fuel. Non-renewable energy consumption for camelina biodiesel ranged from 0.40 to 0.67 MJ/MJ; HRJ fuel ranged from − 0.13 to 0.52 MJ/MJ. Camelina oil as a feedstock for fuel production accounted for the highest contribution to overall environmental performance, demonstrating the importance of reducing environmental burdens during the agricultural production process. Attaining higher seed yield would dramatically lower environmental impacts associated with camelina seed, oil, and fuel production. The lower GHG emissions and energy consumption associated with camelina in comparison with other oilseed derived fuel and petroleum fuel make camelina derived fuel from Canadian Prairies environmentally attractive. - Highlights: • LCA of camelina-derived biodiesel and jet fuel was based on the Canadian Prairies. • Overall, camelina-derived biodiesel had lower GHG emissions than is biojet fuel. • Camelina jet fuel had lower non-renewable energy (NRE) use than its biodiesel. • Camelina biofuels reduced GHG emissions and NRE

  20. Early Intranasal Vasopressin Administration Impairs Partner Preference in Adult Male Prairie Voles (Microtus ochrogaster

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Trenton C. Simmons

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Research supports a modulatory role for arginine vasopressin (AVP in the expression of socially motivated behaviors in mammals. The acute effects of AVP administration are demonstrably pro-social across species, providing the justification for an ever-increasing measure of clinical interest over the last decade. Combining these results with non-invasive intranasal delivery results in an attractive system for offering intranasal AVP (IN-AVP as a therapeutic for the social impairments of children with autism spectrum disorder. But, very little is known about the long-term effects of IN-AVP during early development. In this experiment, we explored whether a single week of early juvenile administration of IN-AVP (low = 0.05 IU/kg, medium = 0.5 IU/kg, high = 5.0 IU/kg could impact behavior across life in prairie voles. We found increases in fecal boli production during open field and novel object recognition testing for the medium dose in both males and females. Medium-dose females also had significantly more play bouts than control when exposed to novel conspecifics during the juvenile period. Following sexual maturity, the medium and high doses of IN-AVP blocked partner preference formation in males, while no such impairment was found for any of the experimental groups in females. Finally, the high-dose selectively increased adult male aggression with novel conspecifics, but only after extended cohabitation with a mate. Our findings confirm that a single week of early IN-AVP treatment can have organizational effects on behavior across life in prairie voles. Specifically, the impairments in pair-bonding behavior experienced by male prairie voles should raise caution when the prosocial effects of acute IN-AVP demonstrated in other studies are extrapolated to long-term treatment.

  1. Plasma progesterone levels and corpus luteum morphology in the female prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foreman, D; Garris, D

    1984-08-01

    Plasma progesterone levels in female prairie dogs were determined by a radioimmunoassay specific for progesterone. Plasma progesterone levels were determined in samples taken before estrus, at estrus, during the luteal phase, and during anestrus from females maintained all year in the laboratory. Progesterone levels were also determined in plasma samples taken in the laboratory from two pregnant and three postparturient females captured in the field. Progesterone levels were low before estrus and continued low during estrus. They rose on the first week after estrus to 0.8 ng/ml or above and continued at or above this level for 9-14 weeks following estrus. Gestation in prairie dogs is 35 days in this species. Progesterone levels of three postparturient females were above 1.0 ng/ml for 7 weeks after their arrival in the laboratory. These females all had uterine scars showing that they had delivered their litters before they were captured. Two females were determined to be pregnant at the time of their capture. These females later reabsorbed their fetuses (determined by laparotomy). Progesterone values of samples from these females were all above 1.0 ng/ml except for one low value in one female which occurred 3 weeks after her capture and after reabsorption of her fetuses was in progress. The cells of the corpus lutea (CL) of nonpregnant, pregnant, and postparturient females had well-developed rings of cytoplasmic basophilia but as the CL regressed this pattern became disorganized and disappeared. The function of this basophilia is not known. The long luteal phase found in female prairie dogs is compared to those found in other species of mammals. This is the first annually breeding rodent reported to have a longer luteal phase that the period of gestation.

  2. Monkeypox disease transmission in an experimental setting: prairie dog animal model.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christina L Hutson

    Full Text Available Monkeypox virus (MPXV is considered the most significant human public health threat in the genus Orthopoxvirus since the eradication of variola virus (the causative agent of smallpox. MPXV is a zoonotic agent endemic to forested areas of Central and Western Africa. In 2003, MPXV caused an outbreak in the United States due to the importation of infected African rodents, and subsequent sequential infection of North American prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus and humans. In previous studies, the prairie dog MPXV model has successfully shown to be very useful for understanding MPXV since the model emulates key characteristics of human monkeypox disease. In humans, percutaneous exposure to animals has been documented but the primary method of human-to-human MPXV transmission is postulated to be by respiratory route. Only a few animal model studies of MPXV transmission have been reported. Herein, we show that MPXV infected prairie dogs are able to transmit the virus to naive animals through multiple transmission routes. All secondarily exposed animals were infected with MPXV during the course of the study. Notably, animals secondarily exposed appeared to manifest more severe disease; however, the disease course was very similar to those of experimentally challenged animals including inappetence leading to weight loss, development of lesions, production of orthopoxvirus antibodies and shedding of similar levels or in some instances higher levels of MPXV from the oral cavity. Disease was transmitted via exposure to contaminated bedding, co-housing, or respiratory secretions/nasal mucous (we could not definitively say that transmission occurred via respiratory route exclusively. Future use of the model will allow us to evaluate infection control measures, vaccines and antiviral strategies to decrease disease transmission.

  3. Use of Rhodamine B as a biomarker for oral plague vaccination of prairie dogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernandez, Julia Rodriguez-Ramos; Rocke, Tonie E.

    2011-01-01

    Oral vaccination against Yersinia pestis could provide a feasible approach for controlling plague in prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) for conservation and public health purposes. Biomarkers are useful in wildlife vaccination programs to demonstrate exposure to vaccine baits. Rhodamine B (RB) was tested as a potential biomarker for oral plague vaccination because it allows nonlethal sampling of animals through hair, blood, and feces. We found that RB is an appropriate marker for bait uptake studies of C. ludovicianus) when used at concentrations 10 mg RB per kg target animal mass. Whiskers with follicles provided the best sample for RB detection.

  4. Conflicting research on the demography, ecology, and social behavior of Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoogland, John L.; Cully, Jack F.; Rayor, Linda S.; Fitzgerald, James P.

    2012-01-01

    Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) are rare, diurnal, colonial, burrowing, ground-dwelling squirrels. Studies of marked individuals living under natural conditions in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s showed that males are heavier than females throughout the year; that adult females living in the same territory are consistently close kin; and that females usually mate with the sexually mature male(s) living in the home territory. Research from 2007 through 2010 challenges all 3 of these findings. Here we discuss how different methods might have led to the discrepancies.

  5. Transformation of Chlorpyrifos and Chlorpyrifos-Methyl in Prairie Pothole Porewaters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, R. M.; Chin, Y. P.

    2014-12-01

    The prairie pothole region (PPR) extends over approximately 700,000 km2 in the Great Plains region in United States and Canada and is a critical breeding ground for migratory waterfowl, as well as an important ecosystem for diverse invertebrates and aquatic plants (van der Valk, 2003). Consisting of up to 12 million permanent and temporary depressional wetlands, the PPR is negatively impacted by non-point source pesticide pollution due to extensive agricultural development in the region. Recent studies have shown that high (mM) levels of sulfate in the pothole lakes are capable of abiotically reducing dinitroaniline and chloroacetanilide pesticides (Zeng, 2011; Zeng, 2012). In this study the transformation of the organophosphorus pesticide chlorpyrifos (CP) and its analog chlorpyrifos-methyl (CPM) was studied using pore waters sampled from two pothole lakes. CP and CPM have been found to react in the laboratory with sulfur species via a SN2 mechanism, with degradation by sulfur compounds occurring faster than hydrolysis at high pH (Wu, 2006). To date the reaction of CP and CPM in natural environments with sulfur species has not been studied. Chlorpyrifos-methyl underwent rapid degradation in the presence of reduced sulfur species in pore water, while chlorpyrifos degradation occurred at significantly slower rates. Both CP and CPM degradation occurred at comparable rates to what has been previously observed in the laboratory (Wu, 2006). References van der Valk, Arnold G., and Roger L. Pederson. "The SWANCC decision and its implications for prairie potholes." Wetlands 23.3 (2003): 590-596. Wu, Tong, Qiu Gan, and Urs Jans. "Nucleophilic Substitution of Phosphorothionate Ester Pesticides with Bisulfide (HS-) and Polysulfides (Sn2-)." Environmental science & technology 40.17 (2006): 5428-5434. Zeng, Teng, et al. "Pesticide processing potential in prairie pothole porewaters."Environmental science & technology 45.16 (2011): 6814-6822. Zeng, Teng, Yu-Ping Chin, and William

  6. Chlorophacinone residues in mammalian prey at a black-tailed prairie dog colony

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vyas, Nimish B.; Hulse, Craig S.; Rice, Clifford P.

    2012-01-01

    Black-tailed prairie dogs (BTPDs), Cynomys ludovicianus, are an important prey for raptors; therefore, the use of the rodenticide Rozol (0.005% chlorophacinone active ingredient) to control BTPDs raises concern for secondary poisonings resulting from the consumption of contaminated prey by raptors. In the present study, the authors observed Rozol exposure and adverse effects to mammalian prey on 11 of 12 search days of the study. Mammalian hepatic chlorophacinone residues ranged from 0.44 to 7.56 µg/g. Poisoned prey availability was greater than previously reported.

  7. Spatially explicit modeling of lesser prairie-chicken lek density in Texas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Timmer, Jennifer M.; Butler, M.J.; Ballard, Warren; Boal, Clint W.; Whitlaw, Heather A.

    2014-01-01

    As with many other grassland birds, lesser prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) have experienced population declines in the Southern Great Plains. Currently they are proposed for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. In addition to a history of land-uses that have resulted in habitat loss, lesser prairie-chickens now face a new potential disturbance from energy development. We estimated lek density in the occupied lesser prairie-chicken range of Texas, USA, and modeled anthropogenic and vegetative landscape features associated with lek density. We used an aerial line-transect survey method to count lesser prairie-chicken leks in spring 2010 and 2011 and surveyed 208 randomly selected 51.84-km(2) blocks. We divided each survey block into 12.96-km(2) quadrats and summarized landscape variables within each quadrat. We then used hierarchical distance-sampling models to examine the relationship between lek density and anthropogenic and vegetative landscape features and predict how lek density may change in response to changes on the landscape, such as an increase in energy development. Our best models indicated lek density was related to percent grassland, region (i.e., the northeast or southwest region of the Texas Panhandle), total percentage of grassland and shrubland, paved road density, and active oil and gas well density. Predicted lek density peaked at 0.39leks/12.96km(2) (SE=0.09) and 2.05leks/12.96km(2) (SE=0.56) in the northeast and southwest region of the Texas Panhandle, respectively, which corresponds to approximately 88% and 44% grassland in the northeast and southwest region. Lek density increased with an increase in total percentage of grassland and shrubland and was greatest in areas with lower densities of paved roads and lower densities of active oil and gas wells. We used the 2 most competitive models to predict lek abundance and estimated 236 leks (CV=0.138, 95% CI=177-306leks) for our sampling area. Our results suggest that

  8. Burning management in the tallgrass prairie affects root decomposition, soil food web structure and carbon flow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shaw, E. A.; Denef, K.; Milano de Tomasel, C.; Cotrufo, M. F.; Wall, D. H.

    2015-09-01

    Root litter decomposition is a major component of carbon (C) cycling in grasslands, where it provides energy and nutrients for soil microbes and fauna. This is especially important in grasslands where fire is a common management practice and removes aboveground litter accumulation. In this study, we investigated whether fire affects root decomposition and C flow through the belowground food web. In a greenhouse experiment, we applied 13C-enriched big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) root litter to intact tallgrass prairie soil cores collected from annually burned (AB) and infrequently burned (IB) treatments at the Konza Prairie Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site. Incorporation of 13C into microbial phospholipid fatty acids and nematode trophic groups was measured on six occasions during a 180-day decomposition study to determine how C was translocated through the soil food web. Results showed significantly different soil communities between treatments and higher microbial abundance for IB. Root decomposition occurred rapidly and was significantly greater for AB. Microbes and their nematode consumers immediately assimilated root litter C in both treatments. Root litter C was preferentially incorporated in a few groups of microbes and nematodes, but depended on burn treatment: fungi, Gram-negative bacteria, Gram-positive bacteria, and fungivore nematodes for AB and only omnivore nematodes for IB. The overall microbial pool of root litter-derived C significantly increased over time but was not significantly different between burn treatments. The nematode pool of root litter-derived C also significantly increased over time, and was significantly higher for the AB treatment at 35 and 90 days after litter addition. In conclusion, the C flow from root litter to microbes to nematodes is not only measurable, but significant, indicating that higher nematode trophic levels are critical components of C flow during root decomposition which, in turn, is significantly

  9. Microsatellite Markers in the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid, Platanthera praeclara (Orchidaceae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew A. Ross

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Premise of the study: Primers for 31 microsatellite-containing loci were developed for the threatened orchid Platanthera praeclara to enable characterization of the population genetics of this tallgrass prairie native. Methods and Results: Sixteen polymorphic microsatellite loci were identified from four populations. Six of these loci were not in linkage disequilibrium. The average number of alleles per locus per population ranged from 6.4 to 8.9. Conclusions: The results indicate that six of the polymorphic loci will be useful in future studies of population structure, gene flow, and genetic diversity.

  10. Native Prairie Adaptive Management: a multi region adaptive approach to invasive plant management on Fish and Wildlife Service owned native prairies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gannon, Jill J.; Shaffer, Terry L.; Moore, Clinton T.

    2013-01-01

    Much of the native prairie managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the northern Great Plains is extensively invaded by the introduced cool-season grasses, smooth brome (Bromus inermis) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis). Management to suppress these invasive plants has had poor to inconsistent success. The central challenge to managers is selecting appropriate management actions in the face of biological and environmental uncertainties. In partnership with the FWS, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) developed an adaptive decision support framework to assist managers in selecting management actions under uncertainty and maximizing learning from management outcomes. This joint partnership is known as the Native Prairie Adaptive Management (NPAM) initiative. The NPAM decision framework is built around practical constraints faced by FWS refuge managers and includes identification of the management objective and strategies, analysis of uncertainty and construction of competing decision models, monitoring, and mechanisms for model feedback and decision selection. Nineteen FWS field stations, spanning four states of the PPR, have participated in the initiative. These FWS cooperators share a common management objective, available management strategies, and biological uncertainties. Though the scope is broad, the initiative interfaces with individual land managers who provide site-specific information and receive updated decision guidance that incorporates understanding gained from the collective experience of all cooperators. We describe the technical components of this approach, how the components integrate and inform each other, how data feedback from individual cooperators serves to reduce uncertainty across the whole region, and how a successful adaptive management project is coordinated and maintained on a large scale. During an initial scoping workshop, FWS cooperators developed a consensus management objective

  11. Genome-wide analysis reveals signatures of selection for important traits in domestic sheep from different ecoregions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Zhaohua; Ji, Zhibin; Wang, Guizhi; Chao, Tianle; Hou, Lei; Wang, Jianmin

    2016-11-03

    Throughout a long period of adaptation and selection, sheep have thrived in a diverse range of ecological environments. Mongolian sheep is the common ancestor of the Chinese short fat-tailed sheep. Migration to different ecoregions leads to changes in selection pressures and results in microevolution. Mongolian sheep and its subspecies differ in a number of important traits, especially reproductive traits. Genome-wide intraspecific variation is required to dissect the genetic basis of these traits. This research resequenced 3 short fat-tailed sheep breeds with a 43.2-fold coverage of the sheep genome. We report more than 17 million single nucleotide polymorphisms and 2.9 million indels and identify 143 genomic regions with reduced pooled heterozygosity or increased genetic distance to each other breed that represent likely targets for selection during the migration. These regions harbor genes related to developmental processes, cellular processes, multicellular organismal processes, biological regulation, metabolic processes, reproduction, localization, growth and various components of the stress responses. Furthermore, we examined the haplotype diversity of 3 genomic regions involved in reproduction and found significant differences in TSHR and PRL gene regions among 8 sheep breeds. Our results provide useful genomic information for identifying genes or causal mutations associated with important economic traits in sheep and for understanding the genetic basis of adaptation to different ecological environments.

  12. Land use patterns, ecoregion, and microcystin relationships in U.S. lakes and reservoirs: a preliminary evaluation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beaver, John R.; Manis, Erin E.; Loftin, Keith A.; Graham, Jennifer L.; Pollard, Amina I.; Mitchell, Richard M.

    2014-01-01

    A statistically significant association was found between the concentration of total microcystin, a common class of cyanotoxins, in surface waters of lakes and reservoirs in the continental U.S. with watershed land use using data from 1156 water bodies sampled between May and October 2007 as part of the USEPA National Lakes Assessment. Nearly two thirds (65.8%) of the samples with microcystin concentrations ≥1.0 μg/L (n = 126) were limited to three nutrient and water quality-based ecoregions (Corn Belt and Northern Great Plains, Mostly Glaciated Dairy Region, South Central Cultivated Great Plains) in watersheds with strong agricultural influence. canonical correlation analysis (CCA) indicated that both microcystin concentrations and cyanobacteria abundance were positively correlated with total nitrogen, dissolved organic carbon, and temperature; correlations with total phosphorus and water clarity were not as strong. This study supports a number of regional lake studies that suggest that land use practices are related to cyanobacteria abundance, and extends the potential impacts of agricultural land use in watersheds to include the production of cyanotoxins in lakes.

  13. Agricultural land change in the Carpathian ecoregion after the breakdown of socialism and expansion of the European Union

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffiths, Patrick; Müller, Daniel; Kuemmerle, Tobias; Hostert, Patrick

    2013-12-01

    Widespread changes of agricultural land use occurred in Eastern Europe since the collapse of socialism and the European Union’s eastward expansion, but the rates and patterns of recent land changes remain unclear. Here we assess agricultural land change for the entire Carpathian ecoregion in Eastern Europe at 30 m spatial resolution with Landsat data and for two change periods, between 1985-2000 and 2000-2010. The early period is characterized by post-socialist transition processes, the late period by an increasing influence of EU politics in the region. For mapping and change detection, we use a machine learning approach (random forests) on image composites and variance metrics which were derived from the full decadal archive of Landsat imagery. Our results suggest that cropland abandonment was the most prevalent change process, but we also detected considerable areas of grassland conversion and forest expansion on non-forest land. Cropland abandonment was most extensive during the transition period and predominantly occurred in marginal areas with low suitability for agriculture. Conversely, we observed substantial recultivation of formerly abandoned cropland in high-value agricultural areas since 2000. Hence, market forces increasingly adjust socialist legacies of land expansive production and agricultural land use clusters in favorable areas while marginal lands revert to forest.

  14. Agricultural land change in the Carpathian ecoregion after the breakdown of socialism and expansion of the European Union

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Griffiths, Patrick; Müller, Daniel; Kuemmerle, Tobias; Hostert, Patrick

    2013-01-01

    Widespread changes of agricultural land use occurred in Eastern Europe since the collapse of socialism and the European Union’s eastward expansion, but the rates and patterns of recent land changes remain unclear. Here we assess agricultural land change for the entire Carpathian ecoregion in Eastern Europe at 30 m spatial resolution with Landsat data and for two change periods, between 1985–2000 and 2000–2010. The early period is characterized by post-socialist transition processes, the late period by an increasing influence of EU politics in the region. For mapping and change detection, we use a machine learning approach (random forests) on image composites and variance metrics which were derived from the full decadal archive of Landsat imagery. Our results suggest that cropland abandonment was the most prevalent change process, but we also detected considerable areas of grassland conversion and forest expansion on non-forest land. Cropland abandonment was most extensive during the transition period and predominantly occurred in marginal areas with low suitability for agriculture. Conversely, we observed substantial recultivation of formerly abandoned cropland in high-value agricultural areas since 2000. Hence, market forces increasingly adjust socialist legacies of land expansive production and agricultural land use clusters in favorable areas while marginal lands revert to forest. (letter)

  15. The influence of environment, sex, and innate timing mechanisms on body temperature patterns of free-ranging black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lehmer, Erin M; Bossenbroek, Jonathan M; Van Horne, Beatrice

    2003-01-01

    Mechanisms that influence body temperature patterns in black-tailed prairie dogs are not well understood. Previous research on both free-ranging and laboratory populations of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) has suggested that reductions in ambient temperature and food and water deprivation are the primary factors that stimulate torpor in this species. In other species, however, torpor has been shown to be influenced by a multitude of factors, including innate circadian and circannual timing mechanisms, energy status, and reproductive behaviors. Our objective was to clarify the influence of weather, sex, and intrinsic timing mechanisms on the body temperature patterns of free-ranging black-tailed prairie dogs. We monitored body temperatures of eight adult (>1 yr) prairie dogs from November 1999 to June 2000. Prairie dogs showed distinct daily and seasonal body temperature patterns, which reflected changes in ambient temperatures that occurred during these periods. These patterns of daily and seasonal heterothermy suggest that body temperature patterns of black-tailed prairie dogs may be driven by an innate timing mechanism. All prairie dogs entered torpor intermittently throughout winter and spring. Torpor bouts appeared to be influenced by precipitation and reductions in ambient temperature. Our results also suggest that reproductive behaviors and circadian timing may influence torpor in this species.

  16. Responses of prairie arthropod communities to fire and fertilizer: Balancing plant and arthropod conservation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hartley, M.K.; Rogers, W.E.; Siemann, E.; Grace, J.

    2007-01-01

    Fire is an important tool for limiting woody plant invasions into prairies, but using fire management to maintain grassland plant communities may inadvertently reduce arthropod diversity. To test this, we established twenty-four 100 m2 plots in a tallgrass prairie in Galveston County, Texas, in spring 2000. Plots were assigned a fire (no burn, one time burn [2000], two time burn [2000, 2001]) and fertilization treatment (none, NPK addition) in a full factorial design. Fertilization treatments allowed us to examine the effects of fire at a different level of productivity. We measured plant cover by species and sampled arthropods with sweep nets during the 2001 growing season. Path analysis indicated that fertilization reduced while annual fires increased arthropod diversity via increases and decreases in woody plant abundance, respectively. There was no direct effect of fire on arthropod diversity or abundance. Diptera and Homoptera exhibited particularly strong positive responses to fires. Lepidoptera had a negative response to nutrient enrichment. Overall, the negative effects of fire on the arthropod community were minor in contrast to the strong positive indirect effects of small-scale burning on arthropod diversity if conservation of particular taxa is not a priority. The same fire regime that minimized woody plant invasion also maximized arthropod diversity.

  17. Increased rainfall variability and N addition accelerate litter decomposition in a restored prairie.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuster, Michael J

    2016-03-01

    Anthropogenic nitrogen deposition and projected increases in rainfall variability (the frequency of drought and heavy rainfall events) are expected to strongly influence ecosystem processes such as litter decomposition. However, how these two global change factors interact to influence litter decomposition is largely unknown. I examined how increased rainfall variability and nitrogen addition affected mass and nitrogen loss of litter from two tallgrass prairie species, Schizachyrium scoparium and Solidago canadensis, and isolated the effects of each during plant growth and during litter decomposition. I increased rainfall variability by consolidating ambient rainfall into larger events and simulated chronic nitrogen deposition using a slow-release urea fertilizer. S. scoparium litter decay was more strongly regulated by the treatments applied during plant growth than by those applied during decomposition. During plant growth, increased rainfall variability resulted in S. scoparium litter that subsequently decomposed more slowly and immobilized more nitrogen than litter grown under ambient conditions, whereas nitrogen addition during plant growth accelerated subsequent mass loss of S. scoparium litter. In contrast, S. canadensis litter mass and N losses were enhanced under either N addition or increased rainfall variability both during plant growth and during decomposition. These results suggest that ongoing changes in rainfall variability and nitrogen availability are accelerating nutrient cycling in tallgrass prairies through their combined effects on litter quality, environmental conditions, and plant community composition.

  18. Climate variability and change and water supply on the Canadian Prairies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nicholaichuk, W.

    1991-01-01

    The status of water resources on the Canadian Prairies, the related results of recent climate change studies, and research needs, are reviewed. With climate change, it is expected that farming practices will be pushed northwards, the precipitation/evapotranspiration balance will shift, and changes will occur in streamflow, flood risk and water quality. While all models show a warming trend on the Prairies, they differ on changes that might be expected. Some indicate increases in precipitation while others indicate decreases. Required research needed to improve understanding of the issues includes: models to improve computations of evapotranspiration and evaporation over large areas; reliable models of glacier behavior and responses to climatic variation and change; improved areal measurements for precipitation, evaporation, soil moisture, groundwater and runoff; improvements in global circulation models that include feedback mechanisms based on physical land/atmosphere processes; validation of hydrological processes at different levels; and assessment of the role of landscape in regional processes under natural conditions and human influence. 6 refs., 1 tab

  19. Implications of climate change for wetland-dependent birds in the Prairie Pothole Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steen, Valerie; Skagen, Susan K.; Melcher, Cynthia P.

    2016-01-01

    The habitats and food resources required to support breeding and migrant birds dependent on North American prairie wetlands are threatened by impending climate change. The North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) hosts nearly 120 species of wetland-dependent birds representing 21 families. Strategic management requires knowledge of avian habitat requirements and assessment of species most vulnerable to future threats. We applied bioclimatic species distribution models (SDMs) to project range changes of 29 wetland-dependent bird species using ensemble modeling techniques, a large number of General Circulation Models (GCMs), and hydrological climate covariates. For the U.S. PPR, mean projected range change, expressed as a proportion of currently occupied range, was −0.31 (± 0.22 SD; range − 0.75 to 0.16), and all but two species were projected to lose habitat. Species associated with deeper water were expected to experience smaller negative impacts of climate change. The magnitude of climate change impacts was somewhat lower in this study than earlier efforts most likely due to use of different focal species, varying methodologies, different modeling decisions, or alternative GCMs. Quantification of the projected species-specific impacts of climate change using species distribution modeling offers valuable information for vulnerability assessments within the conservation planning process.

  20. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center—Celebrating 50 years of science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Austin, Jane E.; Shaffer, Terry L.; Igl, Lawrence D.; Johnson, Douglas H.; Krapu, Gary L.; Larson, Diane L.; Mech, L. David; Mushet, David M.; Sovada, Marsha A.

    2017-10-30

    The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2015. This report is written in support of that observance. We document why and how the NPWRC came to be and describe some of its many accomplishments and the influence the Center’s research program has had on natural resource management. The history is organized by major research themes, proceeds somewhat chronologically within each theme, and covers the Center’s first 50 years of research. During that period, Center scientists authored more than 1,700 publications and reports. More than 1,000 seasonal or temporary field personnel, and more than 100 graduate students, contributed to the Center’s success; many went on to have exemplary careers in natural resource management, conservation, and education. The mission of the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center today remains true to the original vision: to provide the knowledge needed to understand, conserve, and manage the Nation’s natural resources for current and future generations, with an emphasis on species and ecosystems of the northern Great Plains. The Center’s first 50 years of applied biological research provides a deep scientific foundation on which to address emerging issues for the natural resources in the northern Great Plains and beyond.

  1. Groundwater connectivity of upland-embedded wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neff, Brian; Rosenberry, Donald O.

    2018-01-01

    Groundwater connections from upland-embedded wetlands to downstream waterbodies remain poorly understood. In principle, water from upland-embedded wetlands situated high in a landscape should flow via groundwater to waterbodies situated lower in the landscape. However, the degree of groundwater connectivity varies across systems due to factors such as geologic setting, hydrologic conditions, and topography. We use numerical models to evaluate the conditions suitable for groundwater connectivity between upland-embedded wetlands and downstream waterbodies in the prairie pothole region of North Dakota (USA). Results show groundwater connectivity between upland-embedded wetlands and other waterbodies is restricted when these wetlands are surrounded by a mounding water table. However, connectivity exists among adjacent upland-embedded wetlands where water–table mounds do not form. In addition, the presence of sand layers greatly facilitates groundwater connectivity of upland-embedded wetlands. Anisotropy can facilitate connectivity via groundwater flow, but only if it becomes unrealistically large. These findings help consolidate previously divergent views on the significance of local and regional groundwater flow in the prairie pothole region.

  2. Water resources of the Prairie Island Indian Reservation, Minnesota, 1994-97

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cowdery, Timothy K.

    1999-01-01

    This evaluation of the water resources on the Prairie Island Indian Reservation includes data collected from 8 surface-water sites and 22 wells during 1994–97 and historical data. The Mississippi River and the lakes and wetlands connected to it are separated from the Vermillion River and the lakes and wetlands connected to it by the surficial aquifer on Prairie Island and by Lock and Dam Number 3. These surface-water groups form hydrologic boundaries of the surficial aquifer. The aquifer is 130–200 feet thick, extends to bedrock (the Franconia Formation, which is also an aquifer), and is composed primarily of sand and gravel, but also contains thin, isolated lenses of finer-grained material. Flow in the surficial aquifer is normally from the Mississippi River to the Vermillion River (southwest). During spring snowmelt or heavy rains, a ground-water mound forms in the center of the study area and causes radial ground-water flow toward the surrounding surface waters.

  3. Regional Variation in mtDNA of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagen, Christian A.; Pitman, James C.; Sandercock, Brett K.; Wolfe, Don H.; Robel, Robel J.; Applegate, Roger D.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.

    2010-01-01

    Cumulative loss of habitat and long-term decline in the populations of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) have led to concerns for the species' viability throughout its range in the southern Great Plains. For more efficient conservation past and present distributions of genetic variation need to be understood. We examined the distribution of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in the Lesser Prairie-Chicken across Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Throughout the range we found little genetic differentiation except for the population in New Mexico, which was significantly different from most other publications. We did, however, find significant isolation by distance at the rangewide scale (r=0.698). We found no relationship between haplotype phylogeny and geography, and our analyses provide evidence for a post-glacial population expansion within the species that is consistent with the idea that speciation within Tympanuchus is recent. Conservation actions that increase the likelihood of genetically viable populations in the future should be evaluated for implementation.

  4. Breaking sod or breaking even? Flax on the northern Great Plains and Prairies, 1889-1930.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacFayden, Joshua D

    2009-01-01

    A new thirst for paint and color in cities made extensive flax production profitable in the northern Great Plains and Prairies and contributed to the cultivation of the most fragile grassland ecosystems. The production of flax seed for linseed oil became an early spin-off of the Prairie wheat economy but, unlike wheat, flax vanished from old land after one or two rotations and reappeared in districts with the most new breaking. Officials explained the migrant crop as preparing native grasslands for cultivation or exhausting soil in old land, but farmers brought flax to their new breaking for other reasons. Producers would only put flax on any land when a range of economic and environmental conditions were in place. It was never sown without promise of adequately high prices or in the absence of affordable seed and other inputs. When price allowed, it usually appeared on new breaking because it could be planted later and transported further without upsetting the balance of other activities and without farmers learning many new techniques. Scientists discovered that diseased soil drove flax off old land, not soil exhaustion. Circumventing the disease was possible but costly, and farmers simply replaced flax with the next most lucrative commodity.

  5. Predator selection of prairie landscape features and its relation to duck nest success

    Science.gov (United States)

    Phillips, M.L.; Clark, W.R.; Sovada, M.A.; Horn, D.J.; Koford, Rolf R.; Greenwood, R.J.

    2003-01-01

    Mammalian predation is a major cause of mortality for breeding waterfowl in the U.S. Northern Great Plains, and yet we know little about the selection of prairie habitats by predators or how this influences nest success in grassland nesting cover. We selected 2 41.4-km2 study areas in both 1996 and 1997 in North Dakota, USA, with contrasting compositions of perennial grassland. A study area contained either 15-20% perennial grassland (Low Grassland Composition [LGC]) or 45-55% perennial grassland (High Grassland Composition [HGC]). We used radiotelemetry to investigate the selection of 9 landscape cover types by red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), while simultaneously recording duck nest success within planted cover. The cover types included the edge and core areas of planted cover, wetland edges within planted cover or surrounded by cropland, pastureland, hayland, cropland, roads, and miscellaneous cover types. Striped skunks selected wetland edges surrounded by agriculture over all other cover types in LGC landscapes (P-values for all pairwise comparisons were foraging efficiency in the interior areas of planted cover and contributed to higher nest success in HGC landscapes. Our observations of predator cover-type selection not only support the restoration and management of large blocks of grassland but also indicate the influence of alternative cover types for mitigating nest predation in the Prairie Pothole Region.

  6. Ecological and Landscape Drivers of Neonicotinoid Insecticide Detections and Concentrations in Canada's Prairie Wetlands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Main, Anson R; Michel, Nicole L; Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M; Morrissey, Christy A

    2015-07-21

    Neonicotinoids are commonly used seed treatments on Canada's major prairie crops. Transported via surface and subsurface runoff into wetlands, their ultimate aquatic fate remains largely unknown. Biotic and abiotic wetland characteristics likely affect neonicotinoid presence and environmental persistence, but concentrations vary widely between wetlands that appear ecologically (e.g., plant composition) and physically (e.g., depth) similar for reasons that remain unclear. We conducted intensive surveys of 238 wetlands, and documented 59 wetland (e.g., dominant plant species) and landscape (e.g., surrounding crop) characteristics as part of a novel rapid wetland assessment system. We used boosted regression tree (BRT) analysis to predict both probability of neonicotinoid analytical detection and concentration. BRT models effectively predicted the deviance in neonicotinoid detection (62.4%) and concentration (74.7%) from 21 and 23 variables, respectively. Detection was best explained by shallow marsh plant species identity (34.8%) and surrounding crop (13.9%). Neonicotinoid concentration was best explained by shallow marsh plant species identity (14.9%) and wetland depth (14.2%). Our research revealed that plant composition is a key indicator and/or driver of neonicotinoid presence and concentration in Prairie wetlands. We recommend wetland buffers consisting of diverse native vegetation be retained or restored to minimize neonicotinoid transport and retention in wetlands, thereby limiting their potential effects on wetland-dependent organisms.

  7. Social isolation alters central nervous system monoamine content in prairie voles following acute restraint.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNeal, Neal; Anderson, Eden M; Moenk, Deirdre; Trahanas, Diane; Matuszewich, Leslie; Grippo, Angela J

    2018-04-01

    Animal models have shown that social isolation and other forms of social stress lead to depressive- and anxiety-relevant behaviors, as well as neuroendocrine and physiological dysfunction. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of prior social isolation on neurotransmitter content following acute restraint in prairie voles. Animals were either paired with a same-sex sibling or isolated for 4 weeks. Plasma adrenal hormones and ex vivo tissue concentrations of monoamine neurotransmitters and their metabolites were measured following an acute restraint stressor in all animals. Isolated prairie voles displayed significantly increased circulating adrenocorticotropic hormone levels, as well as elevated serotonin and dopamine levels in the hypothalamus, and potentially decreased levels of serotonin in the frontal cortex. However, no group differences in monoamine levels were observed in the hippocampus or raphe. The results suggest that social stress may bias monoamine neurotransmission and stress hormone function to subsequent acute stressors, such as restraint. These findings improve our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the consequences of social stress.

  8. Testing nickel tolerance of Sorghastrum nutans and its associated soil microbial community from serpentine and prairie soils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Doherty, Jennifer H.; Ji Baoming; Casper, Brenda B.

    2008-01-01

    Ecotypes of Sorghastrum nutans from a naturally metalliferous serpentine grassland and the tallgrass prairie were assessed for Ni tolerance and their utility in remediation of Ni-polluted soils. Plants were inoculated with serpentine arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) root inoculum or whole soil microbial communities, originating from either prairie or serpentine, to test their effects on plant performance in the presence of Ni. Serpentine plants had marginally higher Ni tolerance as indicated by higher survival. Ni reduced plant biomass and AM root colonization for both ecotypes. The serpentine AM fungi and whole microbial community treatments decreased plant biomass relative to uninoculated plants, while the prairie microbial community had no effect. Differences in how the soil communities affect plant performance were not reflected in patterns of root colonization by AM fungi. Thus, serpentine plants may be suited for reclamation of Ni-polluted soils, but AM fungi that occur on serpentine do not improve Ni tolerance. - Ni tolerance of Sorghastrum nutans differs slightly between serpentine and prairie populations and is negatively affected by serpentine soil and root inoculation

  9. Nest Success and Cause-Specific Nest Failure of Grassland Passerines Breeding in Prairie Grazed by Livestock

    Science.gov (United States)

    This manuscript describes two years of field research on ground-nesting songbird species at Zumwalt Prairie Reserve, northeastern Oregon, USA. Cattle-grazing has long been suspected in declines of ground-nesting songbirds in grazed grassland, primarily due to increased trampling...

  10. Droughts may increase susceptibility of prairie dogs to fleas: Incongruity with hypothesized mechanisms of plague cycles in rodents

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A.; Biggins, Dean E.; Long, Dustin H.; Gage, Kenneth L.; Antolin, Michael F.

    2016-01-01

    Plague is a reemerging, rodent-associated zoonosis caused by the flea-borne bacterium Yersinia pestis. As a vector-borne disease, rates of plague transmission may increase when fleas are abundant. Fleas are highly susceptible to desiccation under hot-dry conditions; we posited that their densities decline during droughts. We evaluated this hypothesis with black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) in New Mexico, June–August 2010–2012. Precipitation was relatively plentiful during 2010 and 2012 but scarce during 2011, the driest spring–summer on record for the northeastern grasslands of New Mexico. Unexpectedly, fleas were 200% more abundant in 2011 than in 2010 and 2012. Prairie dogs were in 27% better condition during 2010 and 2012, and they devoted 287% more time to grooming in 2012 than in 2011. During 2012, prairie dogs provided with supplemental food and water were in 23% better condition and carried 40% fewer fleas. Collectively, these results suggest that during dry years, prairie dogs are limited by food and water, and they exhibit weakened defenses against fleas. Long-term data are needed to evaluate the generality of whether droughts increase flea densities and how changes in flea abundance during sequences of dry and wet years might affect plague cycles in mammalian hosts.

  11. Prescribed fire: A proposed management tool to facilitate black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colony expansion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Felicia D. Archuleta; Paulette L. Ford

    2013-01-01

    Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are considered a keystone species in grassland ecosystems. Through their burrowing activities, they conspicuously alter grassland landscapes and provide foraging, shelter and nesting habitat for a diverse array of grassland species, in addition to serving as prey for the endangered black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes...

  12. 77 FR 57082 - Prairie Rose Wind, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-17

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER12-2542-000] Prairie Rose Wind, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market- Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket... Rose Wind, LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate schedule...

  13. A proxy of social mate choice in prairie warblers is correlated with consistent, rapid, low-pitched singing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruce E. Byers; Michael E. Akresh; David I. King

    2015-01-01

    In songbirds, female mate choice may be influenced by how well a male performs his songs. Performing songs well may be especially difficult if it requires maximizingmultiple aspects of performance simultaneously.We therefore hypothesized that, in a population of prairie warblers, the males most attractive to females would be those with superior performance in more than...

  14. 75 FR 44292 - Northern States Power Company; Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2; Notice of...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-28

    ... and DPR-60] Northern States Power Company; Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2... assessment, and behavioral observation) of the unescorted access authorization program when making the... under consideration to determine whether it met the criteria established in NRC Management Directive (MD...

  15. Assessing the Impact of Climate Variability on Cropland Productivity in the Canadian Prairies Using Time Series MODIS FAPAR

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Taifeng Dong

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Cropland productivity is impacted by climate. Knowledge on spatial-temporal patterns of the impacts at the regional scale is extremely important for improving crop management under limiting climatic factors. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of climate variability on cropland productivity in the Canadian Prairies between 2000 and 2013 based on time series of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer FAPAR (Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation product. Key phenological metrics, including the start (SOS and end of growing season (EOS, and the cumulative FAPAR (CFAPAR during the growing season (between SOS and EOS, were extracted and calculated from the FAPAR time series with the Parametric Double Hyperbolic Tangent (PDHT method. The Mann-Kendall test was employed to assess the trends of cropland productivity and climatic variables, and partial correlation analysis was conducted to explore the potential links between climate variability and cropland productivity. An assessment using crop yield statistical data showed that CFAPAR can be taken as a surrogate of cropland productivity in the Canadian Prairies. Cropland productivity showed an increasing trend in most areas of Canadian Prairies, in general, during the period from 2000 to 2013. Interannual variability in cropland productivity on the Canadian Prairies was influenced positively by rainfall variation and negatively by mean air temperature.

  16. Assessing changes in biomass, productivity, and C and N stores following Juniperus virginiana forest expansion into tallgrass prairie

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Norris, M. D.; Blair, J. M.; Johnson, L. C. [Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS (United States); McKane, R. B. [Environmental Protection Agency, Western Ecology Division, Corvallis, OR (United States)

    2001-11-01

    The objective of this study was to assess changes in plant productivity and above-ground plant biomass associated with red cedar forest expansion into areas formerly dominated by tallgrass prairie. Regionally appropriate allometric biomass regression equations were developed for the nondestructive estimation of red cedar biomass in eastern Kansas, followed by quantification of the carbon and nitrogen content of selected biomass components. The equations were applied, along with measurements of leaf litter production, to selected local stands of mature closed-canopy red cedars to estimate above-ground biomass, standing stocks of carbon and nitrogen and annual above-ground net primary productivity. Above-ground plant biomass for these red cedar-dominated sites ranged from 114,100 kg/ha for the youngest stand to 210,700 kg/ha for the oldest. Annual above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP) ranged from 7,250 to 10,440 kg/ha/yr for the oldest and younger red cedar stands respectively. The ANPP in comparable tallgrass prairie sites in this region averages 3,690 k/ha/yr, indicating a large increase in carbon uptake and above-ground storage as a result of the change from prairie to red cedar forests. Comparing these results with similar published data from other sites led to the conclusion that the widespread change from tallgrass to red cedars across the woodland-prairie ecotone has important consequences for regional carbon storage.37 refs., 3 tabs., 3 figs.

  17. Investigating temporal patterns of a native bee community in a remnant North American bunchgrass prairie using blue vane traps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kimoto, Chiho; Debano, Sandra J; Thorp, Robbin W; Rao, Sujaya; Stephen, William P

    2012-01-01

    Native bees are important ecologically and economically because their role as pollinators fulfills a vital ecosystem service. Pollinators are declining due to various factors, including habitat degradation and destruction. Grasslands, an important habitat for native bees, are particularly vulnerable. One highly imperiled and understudied grassland type in the United States is the Pacific Northwest Bunchgrass Prairie. No studies have examined native bee communities in this prairie type. To fill this gap, the bee fauna of the Zumwalt Prairie, a large, relatively intact remnant of the Pacific Northwest Bunchgrass Prairie, was examined. Native bees were sampled during the summers of 2007 and 2008 in sixteen 40-ha study pastures on a plateau in northeastern Oregon, using a sampling method not previously used in grassland studies-blue vane traps. This grassland habitat contained an abundant and diverse community of native bees that experienced marked seasonal and inter-annual variation, which appears to be related to weather and plant phenology. Temporal variability evident over the entire study area was also reflected at the individual trap level, indicating a consistent response across the spatial scale of the study. These results demonstrate that temporal variability in bee communities can have important implications for long-term monitoring protocols. In addition, the blue vane trap method appears to be well-suited for studies of native bees in large expanses of grasslands or other open habitats, and may be a useful tool for monitoring native bee communities in these systems.

  18. Contributions of seed bank and vegetative propagules to vegetation composition on prairie dog colonies in western South Dakota

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emily R. Helms; Lan Xu; Jack L. Butler

    2012-01-01

    Characterizing the contributions of the seed bank and vegetative propagules will enhance our understanding of community resiliency associated with prairie dog disturbances. Our objective was to determine the effects of ecological condition (EC) and distance from burrows on the soil seed bank and vegetative propagules. Based on species composition of the extant...

  19. Resource selection models are useful in predicting fine-scale distributions of black-footed ferrets in prairie dog colonies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eads, David A.; Jachowski, David S.; Biggins, Dean E.; Livieri, Travis M.; Matchett, Marc R.; Millspaugh, Joshua J.

    2012-01-01

    Wildlife-habitat relationships are often conceptualized as resource selection functions (RSFs)—models increasingly used to estimate species distributions and prioritize habitat conservation. We evaluated the predictive capabilities of 2 black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) RSFs developed on a 452-ha colony of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) in the Conata Basin, South Dakota. We used the RSFs to project the relative probability of occurrence of ferrets throughout an adjacent 227-ha colony. We evaluated performance of the RSFs using ferret space use data collected via postbreeding spotlight surveys June–October 2005–2006. In home ranges and core areas, ferrets selected the predicted "very high" and "high" occurrence categories of both RSFs. Count metrics also suggested selection of these categories; for each model in each year, approximately 81% of ferret locations occurred in areas of very high or high predicted occurrence. These results suggest usefulness of the RSFs in estimating the distribution of ferrets throughout a black-tailed prairie dog colony. The RSFs provide a fine-scale habitat assessment for ferrets that can be used to prioritize releases of ferrets and habitat restoration for prairie dogs and ferrets. A method to quickly inventory the distribution of prairie dog burrow openings would greatly facilitate application of the RSFs.

  20. Fine-scale habitat use of reintroduced black-footed ferrets on prairie dog colonies in New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chipault, Jennifer G.; Biggins, Dean E.; Detling, James K.; Long, Dustin H.; Reich, Robin M.

    2012-01-01

    Black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) are among the most endangered animals in North America. Reintroductions of captive-born ferrets onto prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) colonies are crucial to the conservation of the species. In September 2007, captive-born ferrets were released on a black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colony at the Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico. Ferret kits experimentally released in areas of comparatively low and high prairie dog burrow densities were located via spotlight surveys. Some maturing ferret kits were subsequently translocated to areas of low and high burrow densities on nearby prairie dog colonies. For 2 months, fine-scale habitat use was quantified by mapping all burrow openings within a 30-m radius of each ferret location. Spatial statistics accounted for autocorrelation in the burrow densities in areas used by ferrets. It was hypothesized that ferrets would select areas of high burrow densities within colonies; however, burrow densities in areas used by ferrets were generally similar to the available burrow densities. Because ferrets used areas with burrow densities similar to densities available at the colony level and because of the potential energetic benefits for ferrets using areas with high burrow densities, releasing ferrets on colonies with high burrow densities might increase reintroduction success.