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Papers & Reports A National-Scale Assessment of Mercury Bioaccumulation in United 2 States National Parks Using Dragonfly Larvae As Biosentinels 3 through a Citizen-Science Framework
Authors: Collin A Eagles-Smith; J J Willaker; S J Nelson; C M Flanagan; D P Krabbenhoft; C Y Chen; J T Ackerman; Evan HC Grant; David S Pilliod
Outlet: Environmental Science and Technology
ABSTRACT: We conducted a national-scale assessment of mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation in aquatic ecosystems using dragonfly
larvae as biosentinels by developing a citizen-science network to facilitate biological sampling. Implementing a carefully designed
sampling methodology for citizen scientists, we developed an effective framework for a landscape-level inquiry that might otherwise
be resource limited. We assessed the variation in dragonfly Hg concentrations across >450 sites spanning 100 United States National
Park Service units and examined intrinsic and extrinsic factors associated with the variation in Hg concentrations. Mercury
concentrations ranged between 10.4 and 1411 ng/g of dry weight across sites and varied among habitat types. Dragonfly total Hg
(THg) concentrations were up to 1.8-fold higher in lotic habitats than in lentic habitats and 37% higher in waterbodies, with
abundant wetlands along their margins than those without wetlands. Mercury concentrations in dragonflies differed among families
but were correlated (R2 > 0.80) with each other, enabling adjustment to a consistent family to facilitate spatial comparisons among
sampling units. Dragonfly THg concentrations were positively correlated with THg in both fish and amphibians from the same
locations, indicating that dragonfly larvae are effective indicators of Hg bioavailability in aquatic food webs. Collectively, this
continental-scale study demonstrates the utility of dragonfly larvae for estimating the potential mercury risk to fish and wildlife in
aquatic ecosystems and provides a framework for engaging citizen science as a component of landscape Hg monitoring programs.
Papers & Reports Slender salamanders (genus Batrachoseps) reveal Southern California to be a center for the diversification, persistence, and introduction of salamander lineages
Authors: E Jockusch; R Hansen; R N Fisher; D Wake
Date: 2020-08-14 | Outlet: PeerJ 8:e9599
Background. The southern California biodiversity hotspot has had a complex geological history, with both plate tectonic forces and sea level changes repeatedly reconfiguring the region, and likely driving both lineage splittings and extinctions. Here we investigate patterns of genetic divergence in two species of slender salamanders (Plethodontidae: Batrachoseps) in this region. The complex geological history in combination with several organismal traits led us to predict that these species harbor multiple ancient mitochondrial lineages endemic to southern California. These species belong to a clade characterized by fine-scale mitochondrial structure, which has been shown to track ancient splits. Both focal species, Batrachoseps major and B. nigriventris, are relatively widely distributed in southern California, and estimated to have persisted there across millions of years. Recently several extralimital populations of Batrachoseps were found in the San Joaquin Valley of California, a former desert area that has been extensively modified for agriculture. The origins of these populations are unknown, but based on morphology, they are hypothesized to result from human-mediated introductions of B. major.
Methods. We sequenced the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b from a geographically comprehensive sampling of the mitochondrial lineages of B. major and B. nigriventris that are endemic to southern California. We used phylogenetic analyses to characterize phylogeographic structure and identify mitochondrial contact zones. We also included the San Joaquin Valley samples to test whether they resulted from introductions. We used a bootstrap resampling approach to compare the strength of isolation-by-distance in both Batrachoseps species and four other salamander species with which they co-occur in southern California.
Results. The northern lineage of B. major harbors at least eight deeply differentiated, geographically cohesive mitochondrial subclades. We identify geographic contact between many of these mtDNA lineages and some biogeographic features that are concordant with lineage boundaries. Batrachoseps nigriventris also has multiple deeply differentiated clades within the region. Comparative analyses highlight the smaller spatial scales over which mitochondrial divergence accumulates in Batrachoseps relative to most other salamander species in southern California. The extralimital populations of Batrachoseps from the San Joaquin Valley are assigned to B. major based on their mitochondrial haplotypes and are shown to result from at least two independent introductions from different source populations. We also suggest that B. major on Catalina Island, where it is considered native, may be the result of an introduction. Some of the same traits that facilitate the build-up of deep phylogeographic structure in Batrachoseps likely also contribute to its propensity for introductions, and we anticipate that additional introduced populations will be discovered.
Papers & Reports Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) migration from an aquatic overwintering site: Timing, duration, and potential environmental cues
Authors: J Bowerman; C A Pearl
Date: 2020-07-16 | Outlet: The American Midland Naturalist 184:87-97
Relatively few North American anurans overwinter in water and information is sparse on their movement from overwintering habitat to breeding sites. Oregon spotted frogs (Rana pretiosa) breed explosively in early spring and often overwinter submerged at sites that are distanced from breeding habitats. In montane parts of their range, wintering and breeding habitats can remain frozen for months. We investigated timing, duration, and potential cues for R. pretiosa migrations from a wintering lake near the Cascade Mountains in central Oregon, U.S.A. First and median migrant males moved slightly earlier than females. Onset of migration was as early as February 12 (males) and as late as April 4 (females) in years of mild and extended winters, respectively. Frogs were active at water temperatures below those associated with early breeding activities in one lowland R. pretiosa population. Higher proportions of frogs migrated before ice-out in years of prolonged winter conditions. Migrations were temporally compressed in years of later movement. This migration ‘rush’, along with the ability to move at cold temperatures and to vary timing of migrations likely helps montane R. pretiosa deal with colder and more variable spring conditions than lowland populations.
Papers & Reports Time-to-detection occupancy methods: performance and utility for improving efficiency of surveys
Authors: Brian J Halstead; Jonathan P Rose; Patrick M Kleeman
Date: 2020-11-25 | Outlet: Ecological Applications
Occupancy methods propelled the quantitative study of species distributions forward by separating the observation process, or the imperfect detectability of species, from the ecological processes of interest governing species distributions. Occupancy studies come at a cost, however: the collection of additional data to account for nondetections at sites where the species is present. The most common occupancy designs (repeated measures designs) require repeat visits to sites or the use of multiple observers or detection methods. Time-to-detection methods have been identified as a potentially efficient alternative, requiring only one visit to each site by a single observer. A comparison of time-to-detection methods to repeated measures designs for visual encounter surveys would allow researchers to evaluate whether time-to-detection methods might be appropriate for their study system and can inform optimal survey design. We collected time-to-detection data during two different repeated measures design occupancy surveys for four amphibians and compared the performance of time-to-detection methods to the other designs using the location (potential bias) and precision of posterior distributions for occurrence parameters. We further used results of time-to-detection surveys to optimize survey design. Time-to-detection methods performed best for species that are widespread and have high detection probabilities and rates, but performed less well for cryptic species with lower probability of occurrence or whose detection was strongly affected by survey conditions. In all cases single surveys were most efficient in terms of person-hours expended, but under some conditions the survey duration required to achieve high detection probabilities would be prohibitively long for a single survey. Regardless of occupancy survey design, time-to-detection methods provide important information that can be used to optimize surveys, allowing researchers and resource managers to efficiently achieve monitoring and conservation goals. Collecting time-to-detection data while conducting repeated measures occupancy surveys requires only small modifications to field methods but could have large benefits in terms of time spent surveying in the long-term.
Papers & Reports Multi-Taxa Database Data Dictionary
Authors: E Watson; C J Rochester; C W Brown; D Holmes; S A Hathaway; R N Fisher
Date: 2021-02-09 | Outlet: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 16-B1, 149 p.
The conservation of biological resources relies on the successful management of ecological and physiological research data. The Western Ecological Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey is working with researchers, land managers and decision makers from non-government organizations, and city, county, state and federal resource agencies to develop data management methods. Access to the most current and applicable research data available in making sound decisions to conserve species diversity is foundational. We sought to accomplish several goals in developing the data management strategy used in the Multi-Taxa database (MTX). Data persistence and availability are primary goals of well-developed databases. By documenting and sharing the structure and definitions of MTX, we hope to further the successful management of these crucial data.
Papers & Reports Estimation of metademographic rates and landscape connectivity for a conservation-reliant anuran
Authors: Adam Duarte; J T Peterson; C A Pearl; J C Rowe; B McCreary; S Galvan; M J Adams
Outlet: Landscape Ecology
Context Amphibian conservation efforts commonly assume populations are tied to waterbodies that collectively function as a metapopulation. This assumption is rarely evaluated, and there is a need to understand the degree of connectivity among patches to appropriately define, manage, and conserve biological populations.

Objectives Our objectives were to quantify local persistence, colonization, and recruitment (metademographic rates) in relation to habitat attributes, evaluate the influence of the spatial arrangement of patches on landscape-scale population dynamics, and estimate the scale at which metapopulation dynamics are occurring for the Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa).

Methods We collected R. pretiosa detection/non-detection data and habitat information from 93 sites spread throughout the species’ core extant range in Oregon, USA, 2010–2018. We developed a spatial multistate dynamic occupancy model to analyze these data.

Results Results indicated the proportion of sites occupied by R. pretiosa was relatively stable despite regular turnover in site occupancy. Connectivity was highest when the distance between sites was within 4.49–7.70 km, and populations within 1 km are at the appropriate spatial scale for effective population management. Rana pretiosa metademographic rates were strongly tied to water availability, vegetation characteristics, and beaver dams.

Conclusions Our analysis provides critical information to identify the appropriate spatial scale for effective population management, estimates the distance at which populations are connected, and quantifies the effects of hypothesized threats to species at a landscape scale. We believe this type of model can inform conservation and management strategies for multiple species.
Papers & Reports ACRIS BLANCHARDI (Blanchard's Cricket Frog). Predation.
Authors: B R Maldonado; B M Glorioso; R P Kidder
Date: 2020-06 | Outlet: Herpetological Review 51(2):296
A natural history note describing predation of a Blanchard's Cricket Frog by a wolf spider at an elevated height.
Papers & Reports OSTEOPILUS SEPTENTRIONALIS (Cuban Treefrog)
Authors: B M Glorioso; P Vanbergen; J Roy; M Walter; L Leonpacher; M Freistak
Date: 2018 | Outlet: Herpetological Review 49(1):70-71
A note on the geographic distribution of the Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis), describing new parish records in East Baton Rouge Parish and Lafayette Parish.
Papers & Reports Historical museum collections and contemporary population studies implicate roads and introduced predatory bullfrogs in the decline of western pond turtles
Authors: E Nicholson; S Manzo; Z Devereux; T Morgan; R N Fisher; C W Brown; R G Dagit; P Scott; H Shaffer
Date: 2020-06-12 | Outlet: PeerJ 8:e9248 DOI 10.7717/peerj.9248
The western pond turtle (WPT), recently separated into two paripatrically distributed species (Emys pallida and Emys marmorata), is experiencing significant reductions in its range and population size. In addition to habitat loss, two potential causes of decline are female-biased road mortality and high juvenile mortality from non-native predatory bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana). However, quantitative analyses of these threats have never been conducted for either species of WPT. We used a combination of historical museum samples and published and unpublished field studies shared with us through personal communications with WPT field researchers (B Shaffer, P Scott, R Fisher, C Brown, R Dagit, L Patterson, T Engstrom, 2019, personal communications) to quantify the effect of roads and bullfrogs on WPT populations along the west coast of the United States. Both species of WPT shift toward increasingly male biased museum collections over the last century, a trend consistent with increasing, female-biased road mortality. Recent WPT population studies revealed that road density and proximity were significantly associated with increasingly male-biased sex ratios, further suggesting female-biased road mortality. The mean body size of museum collections of E. marmorata, but not E. pallida, has increased over the last 100 years, consistent with reduced recruitment and aging populations that could be driven by invasive predators. Contemporary WPT population sites that co-occur with bullfrogs had significantly greater average body sizes than population sites without bullfrogs, suggesting strong bullfrog predation on small WPT hatchlings and juveniles. Overall, our findings indicate that both species of WPT face demographic challenges which would have been difficult to document without the use of both historical data from natural history collections and contemporary demographic field data. Although correlational, our analyses suggest that female-biased road mortality and predation on small turtles by non-native bullfrogs are occurring, and that conservation strategies reducing both may be important for WPT recovery.
Papers & Reports Changes in capture rates and body size among vertebrate species occupying an insular urban habitat reserve
Authors: T R Stanley; R W Clark; R N Fisher; C J Rochester; S A Root; K J Lombardo; S D Ostermann-Kelm
Date: 2020-06-29 | Outlet: Conservation Science and Practice 2020;e245.
Long-term ecological monitoring provides valuable and objective scientific information to inform management and decision making. In this paper we analyze 22 years of herpetofauna monitoring data from the Point Loma Ecological Conservation Area (PLECA), an insular urban reserve near San Diego, California. Our analysis showed that counts of individuals for one of the four most common terrestrial vertebrates declined, whereas counts for other common species increased or remained stable. Two species exhibited declines in adult body length, whereas biomass pooled over the five most common species increased over time and was associated with higher wet season precipitation. Although the habitat and vegetation at PLECA have remained protected and intact, we suspect that changes in arthropod communities may be driving changes in the abundance, growth, and development of insectivorous lizards. This study underscores the value of long-term monitoring for establishing quantitative baselines to assess biological changes that would otherwise go undetected.
Papers & Reports Pseudacris ornata
Authors: B M Glorioso
Date: 2010 | Outlet: Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles
An in-depth species account of the ornate chorus frog (Pseudacris ornata).
Papers & Reports Growth, survival, longevity, and population size of the Big Mouth Cave Salamander (Gyrinophilus palleucus necturoides) from the type locality in Grundy County, Tennessee, USA
Authors: Mathew L Niemiller; B M Glorioso; Dante B Fenolio; R G Reynolds; S J Taylor; B T Miller
Date: 2016 | Outlet: Copeia 104(1):35-41
Salamander species that live entirely in subterranean habitats have evolved adaptations that allow them to cope with perpetual darkness and limited energy resources. We conducted a 26-month mark–recapture study to better understand the individual growth and demography of a population of the Big Mouth Cave Salamander (Gyrinophilus palleucus necturoides). We employed a growth model to estimate growth rates, age at sexual maturity, and longevity, and an open population model to estimate population size, density, detectability, and survival rates. Furthermore, we examined cover use and evidence of potential predation. Individuals probably reach sexual maturity in 3–5 years and live at least nine years. Survival rates were generally high (>75%) but declined during the study. More than 30% of captured salamanders had regenerating tails or tail damage, which presumably represent predation attempts by conspecifics or crayfishes. Most salamanders (>90%) were found under cover (e.g., rocks, trash, decaying plant material). Based on 11 surveys during the study, population size estimates ranged from 21 to 104 individuals in the ca. 710 m² study area. Previous surveys indicated that this population experienced a significant decline from the early 1970s through the 1990s, perhaps related to silvicultural and agricultural practices. However, our data suggest that this population has either recovered or stabilized during the past 20 years. Differences in relative abundance between early surveys and our survey could be associated with differences in survey methods or sampling conditions rather than an increase in population size. Regardless, our study demonstrates that this population is larger than previously thought and is in no immediate risk of extirpation, though it does appear to exhibit higher rates of predation than expected for a species believed to be an apex predator of subterranean food webs.
Papers & Reports Herpetofauna of the cedar glades and associated habitats of the Inner Central Basin of Middle Tennessee
Authors: Mathew L Niemiller; R G Reynolds; B M Glorioso; J Spiess; B T Miller
Date: 2011 | Outlet: Herpetological Conservation and Biology6(1):127-141
The cedar glades and barrens of the Inner Central Basin (ICB) of middle Tennessee support a unique and diverse flora and fauna and represent some of the state’s most valued natural areas. We conducted herpetofaunal inventories of the cedar glades, associated barrens, cedar-hardwood forest, and adjacent aquatic habitats of the Stones River drainage of Middle Tennessee, focusing our sampling effort primarily at seven state- or federally owned properties in Rutherford and Wilson counties. These properties included Stones River National Battlefield (SRNB), Flat Rock State Natural Area (FRSNA), Vesta Cedar Glade State Natural Area (VSNA), Fall Creek Recreation Area (FCRA) on J. Percy Priest Wildlife Management Area, Cedars of Lebanon State Forest (CLSF), Cedars of Lebanon State Forest Natural Area (CLSNA), and Cedars of Lebanon State Park (CLSP). We used a variety of inventory techniques in terrestrial, aquatic, and subterranean habitats to survey these properties periodically from 1989 to 2010. We documented 49 species (22 amphibian and 27 reptile) accounting for 75.4% of the 65 herpetofaunal species thought to occur in the ICB, including records for Cemophora coccinea, Aneides aeneus, Gyrinophilus palleucus, Ambystoma barbouri, and Pseudotriton montanus. We found differences in alpha and beta diversity between sites, with the CLSF complex containing a high of 41 herpetofaunal species and FRSNA containing a low of 23 species. Beta diversity comparisons indicated similarity in amphibian species composition between FRSNA and CLSF and between SRNB and CLSF (9 shared species), and in reptile species composition between VSNA and the CLSF complex (16 shared species). We compare the results of our inventory with two previous studies conducted in the area and discuss the relative abundance, conservation, and threats to the herpetofaunal community of these habitats.
Papers & Reports OSTEOPILUS SEPTENTRIONALIS (Cuban Treefrog)
Authors: B M Glorioso; A P Steece; Z K Lemann; R Lazare; J W Beck
Date: 2016 | Outlet: Herpetological Review 47(2):249
A note on the geographic distribution of the Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis), describing new parish records in St. Tammany Parish and Orleans Parish.
Papers & Reports OSTEOPILUS SEPTENTRIONALIS (Cuban Treefrog)
Authors: B M Glorioso; K Macedo; B R Maldonado; C J Hillard; I N Morenc; E S Grimes
Date: 2018 | Outlet: Herpetological Review 49(4):709
A note on the geographic distribution of the Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis), describing a new parish record and probable establishment in St. Charles Parish.
Papers & Reports Feeding times of Amphiuma tridactylum at Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee
Authors: B M Glorioso; Mathew L Niemiller; V A Cobb
Date: 2010 | Outlet: Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 85(3-4):87-90
Feeding activity times were determined for Amphiuma tridactylum in a roadside slough adjacent to Reelfoot Lake in northwestern Tennessee. Twenty-nine A. tridactylum were captured using baited deep-water crawfish nets, with more than half of the captures being large adults. Despite the majority (82.4%) of trapping effort being concentrated in daytime hours, 82.7% of A. tridactylum captures were at night. Capture rates during nighttime hours were more than 25 times greater than during daytime capture rates. Though nocturnal, the mid-day captures indicated that A. tridactylum may exit their burrows during the day. This study also provides an alternative trapping method for Amphiuma, in which feeding times can be accurately determined.
Papers & Reports AMBYSTOMA MACULATUM (Spotted Salamander). REPRODUCTION.
Authors: B M Glorioso; J Hardin Waddle; J M Hefner
Date: 2012 | Outlet: Herpetological Review 43(4):627-628
This is a note on reproduction in Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) describing clutch sizes and several instances of inadvertant passive integrated transponder tag loss by tagged females via oviposition.
Papers & Reports Nocturnal arboreality in snakes in the swamplands of the Atchafalaya Basin of south-central Louisiana and Big Thicket National Preserve of southeast Texas
Authors: B M Glorioso; J Hardin Waddle
Date: 2017-03-29 | Outlet: The Journal of North American Herpetology 2017(1):11-18
The southeastern United States is home to a diverse assemblage of snakes, but only one species, the Rough Greensnake (Opheodrys aestivus), is considered specialized for a predominantly arboreal lifestyle. Other species, such as Ratsnakes (genus Pantherophis) and Ribbonsnakes/Gartersnakes (genus Thamnophis), are widely known to climb into vegetation and trees. Some explanations given for snake climbing behavior are foraging, thermoregulation, predator avoidance, and response to flood. Reports of arboreality in snake species typically not associated with life in the trees (such as terrestrial, aquatic, and even fossorial species) usually come from single observations, with no knowledge of prevalence of the behavior. Here, we report on arboreality of snake species detected during 8 years of night surveys in the Atchafalaya Basin of south-central Louisiana and 5+ years of night surveys in Big Thicket National Preserve in southeast Texas. We recorded a total of 1,088 detections of 19 snake species between the two study areas, with 348 detections above ground level (32%). The Rough Greensnake and Western Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis proximus) accounted for nearly 75% of total arboreal detections among the two study areas. However, with one exception, all snake species detected more than once between both study areas had at least one arboreal detection. These observations demonstrate that snakes with widely varying natural histories may be found in the trees at night, and for some species, this behavior may be more common than previously believed.
Papers & Reports A trapping survey targeting head-started alligator snapping turtles in southwest Louisiana
Authors: B M Glorioso; L J Muse; C J Hillard; B R Maldonado; J Streeter; C D Battaglia; J Hardin Waddle
Date: 2020 | Outlet: Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
Authors: Brian J Halstead; Caren S Goldberg; Robert B Douglas; Patrick M Kleeman; David W Ulrich
Date: 2020-12-31 | Outlet: Northwestern Naturalist 101(3):194-209
Stream-obligate amphibians are important indicators of ecosystem health in the Pacific Northwest, but distributional information to improve forest management is lacking in many regions. We analyzed archived DNA extracted from water samples in 60 pools within streams in private timberlands in Mendocino County, California, for 3 California Species of Special Concern—Coastal Tailed Frogs (Ascaphus truei), Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs (Rana boylii), and Southern Torrent Salamanders (Rhyacotriton variegatus)—to better understand their distributions in the region. Both Coastal Tailed Frog and Foothill Yellow-legged Frog occurrence was affected by whether silt or organic matter was a dominant substrate in the sampled pool, and Foothill Yellow-legged Frog occurrence also was affected by water temperature. Foothill Yellow-legged Frog occurrence had a strong, positive association with water temperature, with occurrence unlikely below 14°C and very likely above 16°C, and a positive association with silt or organic substrates in pools, which was likely an indicator of higher-order stream reaches. In contrast, Coastal Tailed Frogs had a negative association with silt or organic substrates. Historical visual detections were generally congruent with findings using eDNA, but differences highlight important areas for further study. Detection probabilities of eDNA of both frogs was positively affected by water temperature. We did not detect Southern Torrent Salamanders using eDNA at any sites. Our study reinforces that ecological relationships of these species are varied and indicates the importance of maintaining the integrity of streams with diverse characteristics for conserving stream amphibians.