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This is an ARMI Product. Regional variation in drivers of connectivity for two frog species (Rana pretiosa and R. luteiventris) from the U.S. Pacific Northwest
Authors: Robertson JM, Murphy MA, Pearl CA, Adams MJ, P?ez-Vacas MI, Haig SM, Pilliod DS, Storfer A, Funk WC | Date: 2018-07-16 | Outlet: Molecular Ecology | Format: .PDF
Comparative landscape genetics has uncovered high levels of variability in which landscape factors affect connectivity among species and regions. However, the relative importance of species traits vs. environmental variation for predicting landscape patterns of connectivity is unresolved. We provide a test with a landscape genetics study of two sister taxa of frogs, the Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) and the Columbia spotted frog (R. luteiventris) in Oregon and Idaho, USA. Rana pretiosa is relatively more dependent on moisture for dispersal than R. luteiventris, so if species traits influence connectivity, we predicted that connectivity among R. pretiosa populations would be more positively associated with moisture than R. luteiventris. However, if environmental differences are important drivers of gene flow, we predicted that connectivity would be more positively related to moisture in arid regions. We tested these predictions using eight microsatellite loci and gravity models in two R. pretiosa regions and four R. luteiventris regions (n = 1,168 frogs). In R. pretiosa, but not R. luteiventris, connectivity was positively related to mean annual precipitation, supporting our first prediction. In contrast, connectivity was not more positively related to moisture in more arid regions. Various temperature metrics were important predictors for both species and in all regions, but the directionality of their effects varied. Therefore, the pattern of variation in drivers of connectivity was consistent with predictions based on species traits rather than on environmental variation.

This is an ARMI Product. Pre-publication communication of research results
Authors: Adams MJ, Harris RN, Grant EHC, Gray MJ, Hopkins MC, Iverson SA, Likens R, Mandica M, Olson DH, Shepack A, Waddle H | Date: 2018-08-11 | Outlet: EcoHealth | Format: .PDF
Until publication, communication of provisional scientific findings beyond participants in the study is typically limited. This practice helps assure scientific integrity. However, a dilemma arises when a provisional finding has urgent societal consequences that may be exacerbated by delay. This dilemma may be particularly pronounced when a discovery concerns wildlife health, which could have implications for conservation, public health, or domestic animal health. Eleven researchers suggest that common concerns about directed prepublication communication largely stem from misperceptions and that none should cause a delay in the communication of time-sensitive provisional findings to appropriate authorities. Instead, they suggest that rapid communication of a provisional discovery could be beneficial, such as in the example they use involving the potential discovery of the amphibian fungal pathogen Bsal that is currently causing salamander die-offs in Europe.

This is an ARMI Product. Pharmaceuticals, Hormones, Pesticides, and other Bioactive Contaminants in Water, Sediment, and Tissue from Rocky Mountain National Park, 2012-2013
Authors: Battaglin W, Bradley P, Iwanowicz L, Journey C, Blazer V | Date: 2018-06-05 | Outlet: Science of the Total Environment 643:651-673 | Format: .PDF
Pharmaceuticals, hormones, pesticides, and other bioactive contaminants (BCs) are commonly detected in surface water and bed sediment in urban and suburban areas, but these contaminants are understudied in remote locations. In Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), Colorado, USA, BCs may threaten the reproductive success and survival of native aquatic species, benthic communities, and pelagic food webs. In 2012-2013, 67 water, 57 sediment, 63 fish, 10 frog, and 12 quality-control samples (8 water and 4 sediment) were collected from 20 sites in RMNP. Samples were analyzed for 369 parameters including 149 pharmaceuticals, 22 hormones, 137 pesticides, and 61 other chemicals or conditions to provide a representative assessment of BC occurrence within RMNP. Results indicate that BCs were detected in water and/or sediment from both remote and more accessible locations in RMNP. The most commonly detected BCs in water were caffeine, camphor, para-cresol, and DEET; and the most commonly detected BCs in sediment were indole, 3-methyl-1H-indole, para-cresol, and 2,6-dimethyl-naphthalene. Some detected contaminants, including carbaryl, caffeine, and oxycodone, are clearly attributable to direct local human input, whereas others may be transported into the park atmospherically (e.g., atrazine) or have local natural sources (e.g., para-cresol). One or more pharmaceuticals were detected in at least 1 sample from 15 of 20 sites. Most of the 29 detected pharmaceuticals are excreted primarily in human urine, not feces. Elevated net estrogenicity was observed in 18% of water samples, and elevated vitellogenin in blood was observed in 12% of male trout, both evidence of potential endocrine disruption. Hormone concentrations in sediment tended to be greater than concentrations in water. Most BCs were observed at concentrations below those not expected to pose adverse effects to aquatic life. Results indicate that even in remote locations aquatic wildlife can be exposed to pharmaceuticals, hormones, pesticides, and other bioactive contaminants.

B. Sigafus  
This is an ARMI Product. Quantifying Climate Sensitivity and Climate Driven Change in North American Amphibian Communities
Authors: Miller DAW, Grant EHC, Muths E, Amburgey SM, Adams MJ, Joseph MB, Waddle JH, Johnson PTJ, Ryan ME, Schmidt BR, Calhoun DL, Davis CL, Fisher RN, Green DM, Hossack BR, Rittenhouse TAG, Walls SC, Bailey LL, Cruickshank SS, Fellers GM, Gorman TA, Haas CA, Hughson W, Pilliod DS, Pric | Date: 2018-08 | Outlet: Nature Communications
We quantified the response of amphibian communities to climatic variability across the United States and Canada using more than 500,000 observations for 81 species across 86 study areas. We estimated the relationships between annual variation in climate variables and local colonization and persistence probabilities across more than 5000 surveyed sites. This allowed us to estimate sensitivity to change in five climate variables. Climate sensitivity differs greatly among eco-regions and depends on local climate, species life-history, and phylogeny. Local species richness was especially sensitive to changes in water availability during breeding and changes in winter temperature. These results allowed us to ask whether changing climate explains strong overall rates of decline in species richness observed in our data set. We found that recent change in the climate variables we measured does not explain why North American amphibian richness is rapidly declining, but does explain why some populations decline faster than others. 

M Vandever  
This is an ARMI Product. Exploring the amphibian exposome in an agricultural landscape using telemetry and passive sampling
Authors: Swanson JE, Muths E, Pierce CL, Dinsmore SJ, Vandever MW, Hladik ML, Smalling KL | Date: 2018-07-03 | Outlet: Scientific Reports (2018) 8:10045 | Format: .PDF
This is the first field study of its kind to combine radio telemetry, passive samplers, and pesticide accumulation in tissues to characterize the amphibian exposome as it relates to pesticides. Understanding how habitat drives exposure in individuals (i.e., their exposome), and how that relates to individual health is critical to managing species in an agricultural landscape where pesticide exposure is likely. We followed 72 northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens) in two agricultural wetlands for insight into where and when individuals are at high risk of pesticide exposure. Novel passive sampling devices (PSDs) were deployed at sites where telemetered frogs were located, then moved to subsequent locations as frogs were radio-tracked. Pesticide concentration in PSDs varied by habitat and was greatest in agricultural fields where frogs were rarely found. Pesticide concentrations in frogs were greatest in spring when frogs were occupying wetlands compared to late summer when frogs occupied terrestrial habitats. Our results indicate that habitat and time of year influence exposure and accumulation of pesticides in amphibians. Our study illustrates the feasibility of quantifying the amphibian exposome to interpret the role of habitat use in pesticide accumulation in frogs to better manage amphibians in agricultural landscapes.

B. Hossack  
This is an ARMI Product. Beyond the swab: ecosystem sampling to understand the persistence of an amphibian pathogen
Authors: Mosher BA, Huyvaert KP, Bailey LL | Date: 2018 | Outlet: Oecologia, | Format: .PDF
Understanding the ecosystem-level persistence of pathogens is essential for predicting
and measuring host-pathogen dynamics. However, this process is often masked, in
part due to a reliance on host-based pathogen detection methods. The amphibian
pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal) are
pathogens of global conservation concern. Despite having free-living life stages, little is
known about the distribution and persistence of these pathogens outside of their
amphibian hosts. We combine historic amphibian monitoring data with contemporary
host- and environment-based pathogen detection data to obtain estimates of Bd
occurrence independent of amphibian host distributions. We also evaluate differences
in filter- and swab-based detection probability and assess inferential differences arising
from using different decision criteria used to classify samples as positive or negative.
Water filtration-based detection probabilities were lower than those from swabs but
were >10%, and swab-based detection probabilities varied seasonally, declining in the
early fall. The decision criterion used to classify samples as positive or negative was
important; using a more liberal criterion yielded higher estimates of Bd occurrence than
when a conservative criterion was used. Different covariates were important when
using the liberal or conservative criterion in modeling Bd detection. We found evidence
of long-term Bd persistence for several years after an amphibian host species of
conservation concern, the boreal toad (Anaxyrus boreas boreas), was last detected.
Our work provides evidence of long-term Bd persistence in the ecosystem and
underscores the importance of environmental samples for understanding and
mitigating disease-related threats to amphibian biodiversity.

Robert Fisher, USGS  
This is an ARMI Product. Amphibians of the Pacific: natural history and conservation.
Authors: Zug G, Fisher RN | Date: 2018 | Outlet: in: Status of Conservation and Decline of Amphibians: Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands. Clayton, Vic. CSIRO Publishing. | Format: .PDF
Endemic anurans occur, with only three exceptions, on the periphery of the Pacific Basin, and only one island group, the Solomon Islands, is a "stepping stone" archipelago that, although lacking past land connections, was nearly connected to a continent or continental islands. This fauna is dominated by species within the family Ceratobatrachidae, all of which have direct development in their eggs, and lack a free living larval stage, an important life-history characteristic when living on variable island habitats where water might be greatly limited. This chapter examines the diversity of native frogs and the current environmental conditions that continue to support the persistence of frog populations and those conditions that push frog populations to local extirpation and eventually to extinction. The non-native (alien) frogs, cane toad, and the diverse anuran fauna of Guam, allow an examination of the physical and biotic environment that permits successful establishment of frogs, and the physiological and behavioural characteristics of successful, invasive species of frogs.

Robert Fisher, USGS  
This is an ARMI Product. Setting priorities for private land conservation in fire-prone landscapes: Are fire risk reduction and biodiversity conservation competing or compatible objectives?
Authors: Syphard AD, Butsic V, Bar-Massada A, Keeley JE, Tracey JA, Fisher RN | Date: 2016 | Outlet: Ecology and Society 21(3):2. | Format: .PDF
Although wildfire plays an important role in maintaining biodiversity in many ecosystems, fire management to protect human assets is often carried out by different agencies than those tasked for conserving biodiversity. In fact, fire risk reduction and biodiversity conservation are often viewed as competing objectives. Here we explored the role of management through private land conservation and asked whether we could identify private land acquisition strategies that fulfill the mutual objectives of biodiversity conservation and fire risk reduction, or whether the maximization of one objective comes at a detriment to the other. Using a fixed budget and number of homes slated for development, we simulated 20 years of housing growth under alternative conservation selection
strategies, and then projected the mean risk of fires destroying structures and the area and configuration of important habitat types in San Diego County, California, USA. We found clear differences in both fire risk projections and biodiversity impacts based on the way conservation lands are prioritized for selection, but these differences were split between two distinct groupings. If no conservation lands were purchased, or if purchases were prioritized based on cost or likelihood of development, both the projected fire risk and biodiversity impacts were much higher than if conservation lands were purchased in areas with high fire hazard or high species richness. Thus, conserving land focused on either of the two objectives resulted in nearly equivalent mutual benefits for both. These benefits not only resulted from preventing development in sensitive areas, but they were also due to the different housing patterns and arrangements that occurred as development was displaced from those areas. Although biodiversity conflicts may still arise using other fire management strategies, this study shows that mutual objectives can be attained through land-use planning in this region. These results likely generalize to any place where high species richness overlaps with hazardous wildland vegetation.

This is an ARMI Product. Mapping habitat for multiple species in the Desert Southwest.
Authors: Inman RD, Nussear KE, Esque TC, Vandergast AG, Hathaway SA, Wood DA, Barr KR, Fisher RN | Date: 2014 | Outlet: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1134, pp. 92 | Format: .PDF
Many utility scale renewable energy projects are currently proposed across the Mojave Ecoregion. Agencies that manage biological resources throughout this region need to understand the potential impacts of these renewable energy projects and their associated infrastructure (for example, transmission corridors, substations, access roads, etc.) on species movement, genetic exchange among
populations, and species’ abilities to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Understanding these
factors will help managers select appropriate project sites and possibly mitigate for anticipated effects of management activities. We used species distribution models to map habitat for 15 species across the Mojave Ecoregion to aid regional land-use management planning. Models were developed using a common 1 Ă— 1 kilometer resolution with maximum entropy and generalized additive models. Occurrence data were compiled from multiple sources, including VertNet (, HerpNET (, and MaNIS (, as well as from internal U.S. Geological Survey databases and other biologists. Background data included 20 environmental covariates representing terrain, vegetation, and climate covariates. This report summarizes these environmental covariates and species distribution models used to predict habitat for the 15 species across the Mojave Ecoregion.

Elizabeth Gallegos, USGS  
This is an ARMI Product. Chapter D. Summary and conclusions.
Authors: Schroeder RA, Gallegos EA, Smith GA, Martin P, Fisher RN | Date: 2015 | Outlet: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report pp 97-106
Hydrological and biological investigations were done during 2005 and 2006 in cooperation with the U.S. National Park Service at Darwin Falls in Death Valley National Park, Piute Spring in Mojave National Preserve, and Fortynine Palms Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park where discharge from springs or groundwater seeps sustains rare perennial streams in the otherwise arid environment of the Mojave Desert in which surface water is scarce and usually ephemeral. The study collected data on water quantity (discharge), temperature, water quality, and endemic anuran (frog and toad) populations and their health. In addition, a single survey of endemic anuran populations and their health was completed at Rattlesnake Canyon in the Joshua Tree National Park. Results from this study were compared to historical data, and can provide a baseline for future hydrological and biological investigations to evaluate health and sustainability of the resource as well as its response to changing climate and increases in human use.

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