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Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative

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Recent Products

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 × 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.

This is an ARMI Product. Chapter C. Anuran abundance and health at selected springs in the Mojave network parks.
Authors: Gallegos EA, Fisher RN | Date: 2015 | Outlet: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report pp. 77-95
Data collected from the biological surveys completed for this study were evaluated to document the reproduction, estimate the population, and assess the overall health of each of the endemic anuran species present at the Darwin Falls, Piute Spring, and Fortynine Palms Oasis study areas. Where available, historical biological data also were evaluated.

Robert Fisher, USGS  
This is an ARMI Product. Conservation and recovery of the mountain yellow-legged frog in southern California, USA.
Authors: Backlin AR, Gallegos EA, Fisher RN | Date: 2012 | Outlet: Global Re-introduction perspectives:2011, more case studies from around the globe, Soorae, P.S., ed. Re-introduction specialist Group and Abu Dhabi, UAE: Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi. Gland, Switzerland pp. 77-80 | Format: .PDF

Boris Kuperman, SDSU  
This is an ARMI Product. Chapter 6. Voucher specimens: Appendix C. Field parasitology techniques for reptile surveys.
Authors: Gardner SL, Fisher RN, Berry SJ | Date: 2012 | Outlet: Reptile Biodiversity: Standard Methods of Inventory and Monitoring | Format: .PDF
Studies of the systematics and ecological characteristics of hosts and their parasites require proper identification of both groups. When the parasites associated with a host are not collected
and preserved properly, species- level diagnostic characters (i.e., morphological characters) are usually destroyed. In addition, improper preservation of parasites severely limits,
or more likely prevents, studies based on DNA from those specimens.

This is an ARMI Product. Chapter 4. Planning and associated data: Data quality assurance and quality control.
Authors: Atkinson A, Rochester CJ, Fisher RN | Date: 2012 | Outlet: Reptile Biodiversity: Standard Methods of Inventory and Monitoring | Format: .PDF

This is an ARMI Product. Chapter 4. Planning and associated data: Databases, metadata, and integrated data management.
Authors: Brown CW, Fisher RN | Date: 2012 | Outlet: in: Reptile Biodiversity: Standard Methods of Inventory and Monitoring | Format: .PDF
One end goal of a study is to analyze and synthesize the data collected in an effort to understand their meaning. Most data from field studies are analyzed in an electronic format, using modern software packages for models and statistics. Consequently, how the data are stored is important and should be considered simultaneously with protocol development. Data definitions and data storage should reflect how the data are collected in the field and how they ultimately will be analyzed.

Carlton Rochester, USGS  
This is an ARMI Product. Chapter 4. Planning and associated data: Handheld computers for digital data collection.
Authors: Rochester CJ, Fisher RN | Date: 2012 | Outlet: in: Reptile Biodiversity: Standard Methods of Inventory and Monitoring | Format: .PDF
Here, we describe an alternative to traditional penand-paper data recording. With recent advancements in handheld computers and their software applications, the development and use of electronic forms for recording data (using Personal Digital Assistants, or PDAs), a topic that has only been mentioned briefly in previous literature (e.g., Donnelly and Guyer 1994), has become a reality. Multiple operating platforms for PDAs, including handheld PCs, Pocket PCs, and the Palm OS (see Appendix II), are now on the market. Each one offers mobile, electronic data collection and its associated benefits to investigators in the fi eld. Below, we outline some of the advancements that have been made over the past 10 years in the use of PDAs for recording data, and we compare the benefits of recording field data electronically with those of data entry on paper sheets.

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