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96 record(s) found.

Papers & Reports Mapping climate-resistant vernal pools: hydrologic refugia for amphibian reproduction under droughts and climate change
Authors: Evan HC Grant; Jennifer M Cartwright; TL Morelli
Vernal pools of the northeastern United States provide important breeding habitat for amphibians but may be sensitive to droughts and climate change. These seasonal wetlands typically fill by early spring and dry by mid-to-late summer. Because climate change may produce earlier and stronger growing-season evapotranspiration combined with increasing droughts and shifts in precipitation timing, management concerns include the possibility that some pools will increasingly become dry earlier in the year, potentially interfering with amphibian life-cycle completion. In this context, a subset of pools that continue to provide wetland habitat later into the year under relatively dry conditions might function as ecohydrologic refugia, potentially supporting species persistence even as summer conditions become warmer and droughts more frequent. We used approximately 3,000 field observations of inundation from 450 pools to train machine-learning models that predict the likelihood of pool inundation based on pool size, day of the year, climate conditions, short-term weather patterns, and soil, geologic, and landcover attributes. Models were then used to generate predictions of pool wetness across five seasonal time points, three short-term weather scenarios, and four sets of downscaled climate projections. Model outputs are available through a user-friendly website allowing users to choose the inundation thresholds, time points, weather scenarios, and future climate projections most relevant to their management needs. Together with long-term monitoring of individual pools at the site scale, this regional-scale study can support amphibian conservation by helping to identify which pools may be most likely to function as ecohydrologic refugia from droughts and climate change.
Papers & Reports The Coyote Mountains’ Desert Snail (Sonorelix harperi carrizoensis), a Lazarus Species with the First Documentation of Live Individuals
Authors: R N Fisher; S R Fisher
Date: 2020-08 | Outlet: Bulletin Southern California Academy of Sciences 119:49-54.
The Coyote Mountain desert snail (Sonorelix harperi carrizoensis) was described in 1937 from 30 dry shells collected the previous year. We reviewed the literature and museum records and found two additional shell collections for this subspecies from the type locality one from 1958, and one from an adjacent mountain range in 1938. There is no evidence previously of any live snails being collected from the Coyote Mountains, Imperial County, California. All shell collections of S. harperi carrizoensis have the same locality data as the type series, which is Painted Gorge, Coyote Mountains except for one recorded collection of shells from the Vallecito Mountains from 1938. Using geological maps and other data sources, a potential mesic habitat was identified in the Coyote Mountains. During recent field work for salamanders at this location we detected two live specimens of S. harperi carrizoensis approximately 2 km north of its type location. This new data confirms this subspecies is still extant and has occurred at least at two sites historically in these mountains. Despite the presence of mesic habitats (i.e., mosses, liverworts and ferns) at the type locality, we found no evidence of S. harperi carrizoensis or salamanders.
Papers & Reports Baseline Conditions and Projected Future Hydro-Climatic Change in National Parks in the Conterminous United States
Authors: W A Battaglin
Date: 2020-06-15 | Outlet: Water 2020, 12(6), 1704; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061704
Abstract: The National Park Service (NPS) manages hundreds of parks in the United States, and many contain important aquatic ecosystems and/or threatened and endangered aquatic species vulnerable to hydro-climatic change. More effective management of park resources under future hydro-climatic uncertainty requires information on both baseline conditions and the range of projected future conditions. A monthly water balance model was used to assess baseline (1981–1999) conditions and a range of projected future hydro-climatic conditions in 374 NPS parks. General circulation model outputs representing 214 future climate simulations were used to drive the model. Projected future changes in air temperature (T), precipitation (p), and runoff (R) are expressed as departures from historical baselines. Climate simulations indicate increasing T by 2030 for all parks with 50th percentile simulations projecting increases of 1.67 °C or more in 50% of parks. Departures in 2030 p indicate a mix of mostly increases and some decreases, with 50th percentile simulations projecting increases in p in more than 70% of parks. Departures in R for 2030 are mostly decreases, with the 50th percentile simulations projecting decreases in R in more than 50% of parks in all seasons except winter. Hence, in many NPS parks, R is projected to decrease even when p is projected to increase because of increasing T in all parks. Projected changes in future hydro-climatic conditions can also be assessed for individual parks, and Rocky Mountain National Park and Congaree National Park are used as examples.
Papers & Reports Effects of experimental warming and nutrient enrichment on wetland communities at the Arctic’s edge
Authors: J M Davenport; L Fishback; Blake R Hossack
Date: 2020-09 | Outlet: Hydrobiologia
The disproportionate effects of warming for high-latitude, freshwater ecosystems has been well documented, but in some areas, changes have been further impacted by human-subsidized increases of waterfowl. To gain insight into how predicted changes in temperature and nutrient inputs might affect ecosystem function, we conducted a mesocosm experiment in the Canadian Subarctic with three levels of simulated goose enrichment and warming to measure changes in size and survival of larval wood frogs and boreal chorus frogs and primary productivity (phytoplankton and periphyton biomass). Our results highlight that the consequences of these rapid changes are non-linear and even non-intuitive, with species-specific consumer and ecosystem responses that depend on the magnitude of temperature and nutrient changes as well as community composition.
Papers & Reports Climate’s cascading effects on disease, predation, and hatching success in Anaxyrus canorus, the threatened Yosemite toad
Authors: W J Sadinski; A L Gallant; J Cleaver
Date: 2020-09-01 | Outlet: Global Ecology and Conservation
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed Anaxyrus canorus, the Yosemite toad, as federally threatened in 2014 based upon reported population declines and vulnerability to global-change factors. A. canorus lives only in California’s central Sierra Nevada at medium to sub-alpine elevations. Lands throughout its range are protected from development, but climate and other global-change factors potentially can limit populations. A. canorus reproduces in ultra-shallow wetlands that typically hydrate seasonally via melting of the winter snowpack. Lesser snowpacks in drier years can render wetland water volumes and hydroperiods insufficient to allow for successful breeding and reproduction. Additionally, breeding and embryogenesis occur very soon after wetlands thaw when overnight temperatures can be below freezing. Diseases, such as chytridiomycosis, which recently decimated regional populations of ranid species, also might cause declines of A. canorus populations. However, reported studies focused on whether climate interacts with any pathogens to affect fitness in A. canorus have been scarce. We investigated effects of these factors on A. canorus near Tioga Pass from 1996 to 2001. We found breeding subpopulations were distributed widely but inconsistently among potentially suitable wetlands and frequently consisted of small numbers of adults. We occasionally observed small but not alarming numbers of dead adults at breeding sites. In contrast, embryo mortality often was notably high, with the majority of embryos dead in some egg masses while mortality among coincidental Pseudacris regilla (Pacific treefrog) embryos in deeper water was lower. After sampling and experimentation, we concluded that freezing killed A. canorus embryos, especially near the tops of egg masses, which enabled Saprolegnia diclina (a water mold [Oomycota]) to infect and then spread through egg masses and kill more embryos, often in conjunction with predatory flatworms (Turbellaria spp.). We also concluded exposure to ultraviolet-B radiation did not play a role. Based upon our assessments of daily minimum temperatures recorded around snow-off during years before and after our field study, the freezing potential we observed at field sites during embryogenesis might have been commonplace beyond the years of our field study. However, interactions among snow quantity, the timing of snow-off, and coincidental air temperatures that determine such freezing potential make projections of future conditions highly uncertain, despite overall warming trends. Our results describe important effects from ongoing threats to the fitness and abundance of A. canorus via reduced reproduction success and demonstrate how climate conditions can exacerbate effects from pathogens to threaten the persistence of amphibian populations.
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 A Synthesis of Evidence of Drivers of Amphibian Decline
Authors: Evan HC Grant; David AW Miller; Erin Muths
Outlet: Herpetologica
ABSTRACT:—Early calls for robust long-term time series of amphibian population data are now being realized after 25 years of focused research. Inference from individual studies and locations have contributed to a basic consensus on drivers of these declines. Until recently there were no large-scale syntheses of long-term time series to test hypotheses about the generality of factors driving population dynamics at broad spatial scales. Through the U.S. Geological Survey Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis, we brought together a group of scientists to elucidate mechanisms underlying amphibian declines in North America and Europe. We used time series of field data collected across dozens of study areas to make inferences with these combined data using hierarchical and spatial models. We bring together results from four syntheses of these data to summarize our state of knowledge of amphibian declines, identify commonalities among the results that suggest further avenues of study, and suggest a way forward in addressing amphibian declines – by looking beyond specific drivers to how to achieve stability in remaining populations. The common thread of these syntheses is that declines are real but not ubiquitous, and that multiple factors drive declines but the relative importance of each factor varies among species, populations and regions. We also found that climate is an important driver of amphibian population dynamics. However, the sensitivity to change varies among species in ways unlikely to explain overall rates of decline. Thirty years after the initial identification of a major catastrophe for global biodiversity, the scientific community has empirically demonstrated the reality of the problem, identified putative causes, provided evidence of their impacts, invested in broader scale actions, and attempted meta-analyses to search out global drivers. We suggest an approach that focuses on key demographic rates that may improve amphibian population trends at multiple sites across the landscape.
Papers & Reports Effects of Snowpack, Temperature, and Disease on Demography in a Wild Population of Amphibians
Authors: Erin Muths; Blake R Hossack; Evan HC Grant; David S Pilliod; B A Mosher
Date: 2020-06 | Outlet: Herpetologica
Understanding the demographic consequences of interactions among pathogens, hosts, and weather conditions is critical in determining how amphibian populations respond to disease and in identifying site-specific conservation actions that can be developed to bolster persistence of amphibian populations. We investigated population dynamics in Boreal Toads relative to abiotic (fall temperatures and snowpack) and biotic (the abundance of another anuran host and disease) characteristics of the local environment in Wyoming, USA. We used capture-recapture data and a multi-state model where state is treated as a hidden Markov process to incorporate disease state uncertainty and assess our a priori hypotheses. Our results indicate that snowpack during the coldest week of the winter is more influential to toad survival, disease transition probabilities, and the population-level prevalence of the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in the spring, than temperatures in the fall or the presence of another host. As hypothesized, apparent survival at low (i.e., <25 cm) snowpack (0.22 [CI: 0.15–0.31]) was lower than apparent survival at high snowpack (90.65 [CI: 0.50–0.78]). Our findings highlight the potential for local environmental factors, like snowpack, to influence disease and host persistence, and demonstrate the ecological complexity of disease effects on population demography in natural environments. This work further emphasizes the need for improved understanding of how climate change may influence the relationships among pathogens, hosts, and their environment for wild animal populations challenged by disease.
Papers & Reports Amphibian responses in the aftermath of extreme climate events
Authors: G Bucciarelli; M Clark; K S Delaney; S Riley; H Shaffer; R N Fisher; R L Honeycutt; L Kats
Date: 2020-02-25 | Outlet: Scientific Reports 10:3409
Climate change-induced extinctions are estimated to eliminate one in six known species by the end
of the century. One major factor that will contribute to these extinctions is extreme climatic events.
Here, we show the ecological impacts of recent record warm air temperatures and simultaneous peak
drought conditions in California. From 2008–2016, the southern populations of a wide-ranging endemic
amphibian (the California newt, Taricha torosa) showed a 20% reduction to mean body condition and
significant losses to variation in body condition linked with extreme climate deviations. However,
body condition in northern populations remained relatively unaffected during this period. Range-wide
population estimates of change to body condition under future climate change scenarios within the
next 50 years suggest that northern populations will mirror the loss of body condition recently observed
in southern populations. This change is predicated on latter 21st century climate deviations that
resemble recent conditions in Southern California. Thus, the ecological consequences of climate change
have already occurred across the warmer, drier regions of Southern California, and our results suggest
that predicted climate vulnerable regions in the more mesic northern range likely will not provide
climate refuge for numerous amphibian communities.
Papers & Reports A three-pipe problem: dealing with complexity to halt amphibian declines
Authors: S J Converse; Evan HC Grant
Outlet: Biological Conservation
Natural resource managers are increasingly faced with threats to managed ecosystems that are largely outside of their control. Examples include land development, climate change, invasive species, and emerging infectious diseases. All of these are characterized by large uncertainties in timing, magnitude, and effects on species. In many cases, the conservation of species will only be possible through concerted action on the limited elements of the system that managers can control. However, before an action is taken, a manager must decide how to act, which is ? if done well ? not easy. In addition to dealing with uncertainty, managers must balance multiple potentially competing objectives, often in cases when the management actions available to them are limited. Guidance in making these types of challenging decisions can be found in the practice known as decision analysis. We demonstrate how using a decision-analytic approach to frame decisions can help identify and address impediments to improved conservation decision making. We demonstrate the application of decision analysis to two high-elevation amphibian species. An inadequate focus on the decision-making process, and an assumption that scientific information is adequate to solve conservation problems, must be overcome to advance the conservation of amphibians and other highly threatened taxa.
Papers & Reports Effects of experimental warming and simulated goose enrichment on wetland communities at the Arctic?s edge
Authors: J M Davenport; L Fishback; Blake R Hossack
Date: 2020 | Outlet: Hydrobiologia (2020) 847:3677–3690
Global warming-related changes to freshwater
ecosystems in Arctic and Subarctic regions have
been magnified by nutrient input from increasing
waterfowl populations. To gain insight into how these
changes might affect ecosystem function, we conducted
a mesocosm experiment in the Subarctic by
enriching N and P (1 9, 10 9, and 20 9 treatments)
and increasing mean water temperatures B 3C. We
measured responses of two species of larval amphibians,
periphyton, and phytoplankton. Wood frog
(Rana sylvatica) larvae developed quicker (odds ratio
[OR] for 1C increase = 0.903, 95% CI 0.892–0.912)
and were more likely to metamorphose (OR 1.076,
95% CI 0.022–14.73) in warmer waters. Boreal chorus
frogs (Pseudacris maculata) also developed quicker
with warmer temperatures (OR 0.880, 95% CI
0.860–0.900), despite a non-significant trend toward
reduced survival (OR 0.853, 95% CI 0.696–1.039).
Periphyton and phytoplankton concentrations
increased with nutrient additions, as did size of wood
frog metamorphs. Periphyton and phytoplankton did
not vary with temperature, but periphyton was limited
by tadpole abundance. Our results highlight the
potential for non-linear responses to ecosystem
change, with species-specific consumer and ecosystem
responses that depend on the magnitude of
changes.
Papers & Reports A statistical forecasting approach to metapopulation viability analysis
Authors: P E Howell; Blake R Hossack; Erin Muths; Brent H Sigafus; A Chenevert-Steffler; R B Chandler
Date: 2020 | Outlet: Ecological Applications 2020:e02038
Conservation of at-risk species is aided by reliable forecasts of the consequences of environmental change and management actions on population viability. Forecasts from conventional population viability analysis (PVA) are made using a two-step procedure in which parameters are estimated, or elicited from expert opinion, and then plugged into a stochastic population model without accounting for parameter uncertainty. Recently-developed statistical PVAs differ because forecasts are made conditional on models that are fitted to empirical data. The statistical forecasting approach allows for uncertainty about parameters, but it has rarely been applied in metapopulation contexts where spatially-explicit inference is needed about colonization and extinction dynamics and other forms of stochasticity that influence metapopulation viability. We conducted a statistical metapopulation viability analysis (MPVA) using 11 years of data on the federally-threatened Chiricahua leopard frog to forecast responses to landscape heterogeneity, drought, environmental stochasticity, and management. We evaluated several future environmental scenarios and pond restoration options designed to reduce extinction risk. Forecasts over a 50-yr time horizon indicated that metapopulation extinction risk was <8% for all scenarios, but uncertainty was high. Without pond restoration, extinction risk is forecasted to be 5.6% (95% CI: 0?60%) by year 2060. Restoring six ponds by increasing hydroperiod reduced extinction risk to 1.0% (0 ? 11%) in year 2060. We found little evidence that drought influences metapopulation viability when managers have the ability to maintain ponds that hold water throughout the year and are free of invasive species. Our study illustrates the utility of the spatially explicit statistical forecasting approach to MPVA in conservation planning efforts.
Papers & Reports Seeking shelter from the storm: Conservation and management of imperiled species in a changing climate.
Authors: Susan C Walls; William J Barichivich; J Chandler; A M Meade; M Milinichik; K M O'Donnell; M E Owens; T Peacock; J Reinman; O E Wetsch
Date: 2019-05-30 | Outlet: Ecology and Evolution 9(12): 7122-7133.
Climate change is anticipated to exacerbate the extinction risk of species whose persistence is already compromised by habitat loss, invasive species, disease, and other stressors. In coastal areas of the southeastern United States, many imperiled vertebrates are vulnerable to hurricanes, which climate models predict to become more severe in the 21st century. Despite this escalating threat, explicit adaptation strategies that address hurricane threats, in particular, and climate change more generally, are largely underrepresented in recovery planning and implementation. Our purpose herein is to provide a basis for stronger emphasis on strategic planning for imperiled species facing the increasing threat of catastrophic hurricanes. Our reasoning comes from observations of short-term environmental and biological impacts of Hurricane Michael, which impacted the Gulf Coast of the southeastern USA in October 2018. During this storm, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, located along the northern Gulf of Mexico?s coast in the panhandle region of Florida, experienced storm surge that was 2.3 to 3.3 m above sea level. Storm surge pushed sea water into some ephemeral freshwater ponds used for breeding by the federally-threatened Frosted Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum). After the storm, specific conductance across all ponds varied from 80 to 23,100 ?S/cm,compared to 75 to 445 uS/cm in Spring 2018. For those overwashed wetlands that were measured in both Spring and Fall 2018, post-hurricane conductance observations averaged nearly 100 times greater than in the previous Spring, setting the stage for varying population responses across this coastal landscape. Importantly, we found live individual flatwoods salamanders at both overwashed and non-overwashed sites, although we cannot yet assess the demographic consequences of this storm. We outline actions that could be incorporated into climate adaptation strategies and recovery planning for imperiled species, like A. cingulatum, that are associated with freshwater coastal wetlands in hurricane-prone regions.
Papers & Reports Managing the trifecta of disease, climate, and contaminants: Searching for robust choices under multiple sources of uncertainty
Authors: K L Smalling; Collin A Eagles-Smith; R A Katz; Evan HC Grant
Date: 2019-05-30 | Outlet: Biological Conservation 236: 153-161
Amphibian populations are exposed to multiple stressors, with potential for synergistic effects. These synergies can increase uncertainty in our ability to characterize the effects of each stressor and to understand the degree to which their effects interact to impact population processes. This uncertainty challenges our ability to identify appropriate management alternatives. Finding solutions that are robust to these uncertainties can improve management when knowledge is absent or equivocal and identify critical knowledge gaps. Bayesian Belief Networks (BBNs) are probabilistic graphical models that explicitly account for various sources of uncertainty and are used increasingly by environmental practitioners because of their broad applicability to ecological risk assessments. BBNs allow the user to: 1) generate a conceptual model to link actions to outcomes, 2) use a variety of source data (empirical or expert opinion), 3) explore robust management strategies under uncertainty, 4) use sensitivity analysis to identify opportunities for developing new management actions, and 5) guide the design of data collection for monitoring to improve management decisions. BBNs contribute considerably to environmental research and management because they are transparent and treat uncertainty explicitly. Because of the high level of uncertainty in stressor response, we developed a BBN to conceptually evaluate the effects of potential management actions on amphibian populations exposed to disease, environmental contaminants, and increasingly frequent and severe droughts
Papers & Reports Timing of first and last calls and median calling peaks for Pseudacris crucifer, and of the first call for Hyla chrysoscelis/versicolor, at six wetlands in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway from 2008-2012
Authors: W J Sadinski; M Roth
Date: 2018-09-06 | Outlet: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7CR5SBH.
To better understand relations of annual calling phenophases for Pseudacris crucifer, and of the first calls of the season for Hyla chrysoscelis/versicolor, to the timing of the start of the calling season, we compared these dynamics for six wetlands in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway from 2008 to 2012. We installed an acoustic recorder at each site prior to the start of each calling season and programmed it to record for five minutes at the top of every hour until late summer. We then used the Songscape option in Songscope software to generate annual summaries of all acoustic files recorded at each site. We created contour plots of the summarized median dB values across bandwidths in each recording and then assessed individual calls and calling peaks by visually examining these plots to identify first (and last) calls via the unique call signatures for these two species. We examined individual five-minute recordings aurally and visually as necessary when sound images represented on the contour plots were confounded and to ensure that the calling peaks described below were dates when calling activity was relatively intense. We also determined the daily median dB levels for frequencies across 2900 to 3200 Hz during 2100 to 2300 h, the bandwidth that typically encompassed the primary energy peak in P. crucifer calls and a time period during which P. crucifer typically called most consistently throughout their calling season. We did this for each day from the date when P. crucifer first called during each year to the date when they last called during each year. Because calling activity could vary from one hour to the next, we integrated the area under the curve for the daily median dB levels from 2900 to 3200 Hz during 2100 to 2300 h. We removed dates when overlapping sounds from storms or other sources rendered comparisons to calls of P. crucifer inaccurate. We used the resultant set of integrands to represent the relative sound intensity (as an indicator of calling activity) for P. crucifer across those hours for each date. We then used these integrands to determine the three highest peak calling dates for this species and used the median of those three dates as the overall median peak date for each site in each year.
Papers & Reports The eight-day interval during which amphibians first called annually at individual study wetlands across four study areas.
Authors: W J Sadinski; M Roth
Date: 2018-09-06 | Outlet: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7CR5SBH
To help determine when winter conditions were changing to spring conditions annually in our four study areas, we determined the first eight-day interval (in accordance with the scale limitations of satellite data we used to assess the presence of snow) during which the first amphibian of the season called at each of our study wetlands in those areas. To do this, we examined contour plots of summaries of all the acoustic data we collected at that site in a given year to identify the unique call signatures of individual amphibian species by date and time. When necessary due to potential confounding on a contour plot, we also examined relevant individual five-minute recordings aurally and visually to confirm whether a call occurred. When we confirmed the date of the first call we recorded in a given season, we identified the eight-day interval in which that date fell, with the first such interval beginning on January 1 of each year.
Papers & Reports Seasonal median daily water depths for study wetlands in the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, the North Temperate Lakes Long-term Research area, and the Upper Mississippi River study area from 2008-2012
Authors: W J Sadinski; M Roth
Date: 2018-09-06 | Outlet: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7CR5SBH.
To relate water levels in our study wetlands to temperature, precipitation, wetland water depth, and amphibian calling activity, we installed one pressure logger in the deepest spot we could find in each wetland. Soon after thawing conditions allowed, we drove a plastic pipe (anchor pipe) into the sediments at the deepest location and secured another pipe to it that contained one pressure logger (Global Water Model 14 and 15 [College Station, TX, USA] or Onset Computer Corporation Model U20-001-04 [Bourne, MA, USA]) suspended approximately 2.5 cm above the sediments. We installed additional individual pressure loggers in the upper part of the logger pipes (in air) at select locations to measure barometric pressure for calibrating the submerged loggers’ readings. We measured pressure once per hour and used software supplied by the logger manufacturers to upload and convert data to depth at the end of each season.
Papers & Reports Daily calling activity for Pseudacris crucifer at site SC4DAI2 in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway from 2008 to 2012, as indicated by the results of integrating daily median dB values across 2900 to 3200 Hz and 2100 to 2300 h
Authors: W J Sadinski; M Roth
Date: 2018-09-06 | Outlet: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7CR5SBH
To describe calling activity of Pseudacris crucifer in relation to temperature, precipitation, and wetland water levels, we programmed an acoustic recorder (Wildlife Acoustics) to sample seasonal amphibian calls remotely at study site SC4DAI2 in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway from 2008 to 2012. We programmed the recorder to sample for five minutes at the top of every hour of every day from late winter/early spring through late summer. We used the Songscape option in Songscope software to generate annual summaries of all of our acoustic samples from SC4DAI2. These summaries included a median dB level for each prescribed frequency within each recording. Pseudacris crucifer, the spring peeper, inhabited SC4DAI2 and typically called over several weeks each year, depending upon weather conditions and surface-water availability. Most of the energy in their individual calls occurred between 2900 and 3200 Hz, which provided a unique acoustic signature compared with the other anurans that called from the site. We used this information as part of a case study to better understand how the daily calling activity of P. crucifer varied relative to air temperature, precipitation, and water depth at SC4DAI2 across years. We first determined the daily median dB levels for frequencies across 2900 to 3200 Hz during 2100 to 2300 h, a time period during which P. crucifer typically called throughout their calling season. We did this for each day from the date when P. crucifer first called each year to the date when they last called each year and considered any day in this range as one during which they potentially could call. Because calling activity could vary from one hour to the next, we integrated the area under the curve for the daily median dB levels from 2900 to 3200 Hz during 2100 to 2300 h. We removed dates when overlapping sounds from storms or other sources rendered comparisons to calls of P. crucifer inaccurate. We used the resultant set of integrands to represent the relative sound intensity (as an indicator of calling activity) for P. crucifer across those hours for each date. Those integrands are contained in this data set. These data enabled us to then compare daily integrand values with daily measurements of air temperature, precipitation totals, and water depth.
Papers & Reports Challenges in complementing data from ground-based sensors with satellite-derived products to measure ecological changes in relation to climate?lessons from temperate wetland-upland landscapes
Authors: A L Gallant; W J Sadinski; J Brown; G B Senay; M R Roth
Date: 2018-03-16 | Outlet: Sensors 18(3)880
Assessing climate-related ecological changes across spatiotemporal scales meaningful to resource managers is challenging because no one method reliably produces essential data at both fine and broad scales. We recently confronted such challenges while integrating data from ground- and satellite-based sensors for an assessment of four wetland-rich study areas in the U.S. Midwest. We examined relations between temperature and precipitation and a set of variables measured on the ground at individual wetlands and another set measured via satellite sensors within surrounding 4 km2 landscape blocks. At the block scale, we used evapotranspiration and vegetation greenness as remotely sensed proxies for water availability and to estimate seasonal photosynthetic activity. We used sensors on the ground to coincidentally measure surface-water availability and amphibian calling activity at individual wetlands within blocks. Responses of landscape blocks generally paralleled changes in conditions measured on the ground, but the latter were more dynamic, and changes in ecological conditions on the ground that were critical for biota were not always apparent in measurements of related parameters in blocks. Here, we evaluate the effectiveness of decisions and assumptions we made in applying the remotely sensed data for the assessment and the value of integrating observations across scales, sensors, and disciplines.
Papers & Reports Multi-year data from satellite- and ground-based sensors show details and scale matter in assessing climate's effects on wetland surface water, amphibians, and landscape conditions
Authors: W J Sadinski; A L Gallant; M Roth; J Brown; G Senay; W Brininger; P M Jones; J Stoker
Date: 2018-09-07 | Outlet: PLoS ONE 13(9): e0201951
Long-term, interdisciplinary studies of relations between climate and ecological conditions on wetland-upland landscapes have been lacking, especially studies integrated across scales meaningful for adaptive resource management. We collected data in situ at individual wetlands, and via satellite for surrounding 4-km2 landscape blocks, to assess relations between annual weather dynamics, snow duration, phenology, wetland surface-water availability, amphibian presence and calling activity, greenness, and evapotranspiration in four U.S. conservation areas from 2008 to 2012. Amid recent decades of relatively warm growing seasons, 2012 and 2010 were the first and second warmest seasons, respectively, dating back to 1895. Accordingly, we observed the earliest starts of springtime biological activity during those two years. In all years, early-season amphibians first called soon after daily mean air temperatures were ? 0°C and snow had mostly melted. Similarly, satellite-based indicators suggested seasonal leaf-out happened soon after snowmelt and temperature thresholds for plant growth had occurred. Daily fluctuations in weather and water levels were related to amphibian calling activity, including decoupling the timing of the onset of calling at the start of season from the onset of calling events later in the season. Within-season variation in temperature and precipitation also was related to vegetation greenness and evapotranspiration, but more at monthly and seasonal scales. Wetland water levels were moderately to strongly associated with precipitation and early or intermittent wetland drying likely reduced amphibian reproduction success in some years, even though Pseudacris crucifer occupied sites at consistently high levels. Notably, satellite-based indicators of landscape water availability did not suggest such consequential, intra-seasonal variability in wetland surface-water availability. Our cross-disciplinary data show how temperature and precipitation interacted to affect key ecological relations and outcomes on our study landscapes. These results demonstrate the value of multi-year studies and the importance of scale for understanding actual climate-related effects in these areas.