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New pond BANWR
New pond BANWR
Brent Sigafus
News & Stories Information from ARMI surveys guides management action in the Desert Southwest
By: Sigafus BH, Hossack BR, Muths E; September 15, 2020
The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (BANWR) has developed a new pond designed to replicate ciénega conditions that will provide habitat for the federally threatened Chiricahua leopard frog. Reintroduced to the Refuge after extirpation in the early 2000s, the Chiricahua leopard frog has colonized areas beyond the initial reintroduction sites, now inhabiting several human-made stock tanks on the Refuge. The species’ persistence on the Refuge depends on the ongoing eradication of invasive bullfrogs and the availability of water. In desert habitats such as BANWR, the ciénega (a Spanish word for wetland) is a marsh-like habitat that is critical for numerous desert-dwelling creatures. Ciénegas on BANWR are characterized by a spring or seep that saturates the soil and allows water to pool in small areas (Hendrickson and Minckley, 1985). Ciénega vegetation includes rushes, watercress, and smartweed; they are often bordered by cottonwood and willow trees which the Refuge will plant at the new ciénega once the water has settled into the excavated depression. The new ciénega on BANWR is plumbed, meaning that water levels can be modified and maintained in response to environmental conditions that range from multi-year droughts to heavy monsoon conditions (Bezy et. al. 2007).

ARMI has collected data at BANWR since 2000, gathering information about native species (e.g., Chandler et al. 2015, Jarchow et al. 2016, , Howell et al. 2018, 2020a), invasive species such as American bullfrogs and sunfish (Suhr 2010, Howell et al. 2020b), and disease (Sigafus et al. 2014). Models assessing occupancy and movement of the Chiricahua leopard frog indicate that water availability and permanency are critical components to the its persistence at BANWR. The Refuge has used this information to make decisions about management actions such as building plumbed ponds — a non-trivial action in terms of cost and logistics. The new ciénega will not only support the Chiricahua leopard frog but will provide water for many other species that call BANWR home including the federally endangered masked bobwhite quail, great blue herons, yellow-billed cuckoos, and pronghorn.

Bezy, J., C. F. Hutchinson, and C. J. Bahre. 2007. Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge,
373 Arizona. Desert Plants 23:3–44.

Chandler, R., E. Muths, B. H. Sigafus, C.R. Schwalbe, C. Jarchow, and B.R. Hossack. 2015. Realizing the potential of spatially explicit metapopulation theory for predicting extinction risk. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12481.

Howell, P., E. Muths, B.R. Hossack, B.H. Sigafus, and R.B. Chandler. 2018. Increasing connectivity between metapopulation ecology and landscape ecology. Ecology 99: 1119-1128.

Howell, P.E., B.R. Hossack, E. Muths, B. Sigafus, A. Chenevert- Steffler, and R. Chandler. 2020a. A statistical forecasting approach to metapopulation viability analysis. Ecological Applications 30(2), e02038

Howell, P.E. E. Muths, B.H. Sigafus, and B.R. Hossack. 2020b. Survival estimates for the invasive American bullfrog. Amphibia-Reptilia.

Hendrickson, D. A. and W. L. Minckley. 1985. Ciénegas vanishing climax communities of the American southwest. Desert Plants 6 (3): 131-175.

Sigafus, B. H., C.R. Schwalbe, B.R. Hossack, and E. Muths. 2014. Prevalence of the amphibian chytrid fungus at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona. Herpetological Review 45: 41-42.

Suhre, D. O. 2010. Dispersal and demography of the American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) in a
455 semi-arid grassland. M.S. Thesis, University of Arizona, USA.
Papers & Reports Effects of experimental warming and nutrient enrichment on wetland communities at the Arctic’s edge
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Authors: Davenport JM, Fishback L, Hossack BR | 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.
Field research at Yosemite toad breeding site - Dana Meadows, Yosemite National Park
Field research at Yosemite toad breeding site - Dana Meadows, Yosemite National Park
Sadinski W
Papers & Reports Climate’s cascading effects on disease, predation, and hatching success in Anaxyrus canorus, the threatened Yosemite toad
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Authors: Sadinski W, Gallant A L, Cleaver J E | Date: 2020-09-01 | Outlet: Global Ecology and Conservation | Format: .PDF
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.
A pair of Green Treefrogs, [I]Hyla cinerea[/], located during nighttime surveys for amphibians in Big Thicket National Preserve.
A pair of Green Treefrogs, Hyla cinerea[/], located during nighttime surveys for amphibians in Big Thicket National Preserve.
Glorioso BM
Data Release Data from visual encounter and acoustic monitoring surveys targeting amphibians and reptiles in Big Thicket National Preserve in southeast Texas from August 2010 to September 2018
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Authors: Glorioso BM, Waddle JH | Date: 2020-08-07
This dataset contains data from visual encounter and acoustic surveys in Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas from August 2010 to September 2018. This dataset also includes salinity measurements from nine salinity loggers deployed in the study area.
Overview of the genus [I]Batrachoseps[/I]. California map (shaded by elevation) shows ranges of species in the [I]attenuatus[/I], [I]nigriventris[/I] and [I]pacificus[/I] species groups within the state; inset shows the species tree inferred from five nuclear genes. Asterisk indicates the Riverbank population of [I]B. attenuatus[/I], which may have been introduced. The map and tree are modified from [I]Jockusch, Martínez-Solano & Timpe (2015)[/I].
Overview of the genus Batrachoseps. California map (shaded by elevation) shows ranges of species in the attenuatus, nigriventris and pacificus species groups within the state; inset shows the species tree inferred from five nuclear genes. Asterisk indicates the Riverbank population of B. attenuatus, which may have been introduced. The map and tree are modified from Jockusch, Martínez-Solano & Timpe (2015).
https://peerj.com/articles/9599.pdf
News & Stories Urban Southern California is a Center of Diversification for Salamander Lineages
By: Fisher, R; August 15, 2020
The Southern California Biodiversity Hotspot has a complex geological history and has a human population of about 24 million people. A recent study of genetic diversity across salamanders that occur here found high levels of localized diversity representing ancient mitochondrial lineages. Several of these lineages are very geographically limited and occur only within this urban matrix. Each of the three National Parks (Channel Islands National Park, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area, and Cabrillo National Monument) in this southern California landscape will be important for the long term persistence of unique lineages that are almost micro-endemics to just these park units. Various Bureau of Land Management lands in this regional also house highly divergent lineages that could serve as conservation targets. Lastly, this work provides further support for the importance of the continued US Fish and Wildlife program of Habitat Conservation Planning within this Biodiversity Hotspot for conserving undescribed ancient patterns of genetic diversity.

peerj.com/articles/9599.pdf
The Eastern Newt ([I]Notophthalmus viridescens[/I], a targeted species in the eastern United States during this study due to its known susceptibility to the chytrid fungus.
The Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens, a targeted species in the eastern United States during this study due to its known susceptibility to the chytrid fungus.
Glorioso BM
News & Stories Devastating Salamander Chytrid Fungus Not Detected in National Survey Led by ARMI
By: Waddle JH; July 22, 2020
The salamander chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans), commonly known as Bsal, has caused massive mortality of salamanders in Europe. There is a high potential for spread of the disease to North America through the international pet trade. Because North America has the highest diversity of salamanders in the world there is heightened concern about the potential for this devastating disease if it becomes established in the U.S. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared many salamanders as injurious under the Lacey Act and prohibits the importation of them to the U.S., but there are still potential means for the disease to spread. We conducted a large-scale surveillance effort for Bsal across the U.S. taking 11,189 samples from 594 sites in 223 counties within 35 U.S. states and one site in Mexico. We targeted sites that were believed to have high risk of Bsal introduction or where the consequence of a Bsal introduction would be high. We sampled for Bsal by swabbing amphibians, primarily newts, and attempting to detect the DNA of Bsal using standard genetic techniques. We found no evidence of Bsal in any of our samples, and our modeling suggests that it is highly unlikely that Bsal is widespread if it is present at all in North America at this time. The apparent absence of Bsal in North America suggests that efforts to prevent and prepare for its introduction are productive.

E Muths
Papers & Reports Determinants and consequences of dispersal in vertebrates with complex life cycles: a review of pond-breeding amphibians
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Authors: Cayuela H, Valenzuela-Sanchez A, Teulier L, Martinez-Solano I, Lena JP, Merila J, Muths E, Shine R, Quay L, Denoel M, Clobert J, Schmidt BR | Date: 2020-02 | Outlet: The Quarterly Review of Biology | Format: .PDF
Dispersal is a central process in ecology and evolution. It strongly influences the dynamics of spatially structured populations and affects evolutionary processes by shaping patterns of gene flow. For these reasons, dispersal has received considerable attention from ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and conservationists. However, although it has been studied extensively in taxa such as birds and mammals, much less is known about dispersal in vertebrates with complex life cycles such as pond-breeding amphibians. Over the past two decades researchers have taken an ever-increasing interest in amphibian dispersal and initiated both fundamental and applied studies, using a broad range of experimental and observational approaches. This body of research reveals complex dispersal patterns, causations and syndromes, with dramatic consequences for the demography, genetic, and the conservation of amphibian populations. In this review, our goals are to (1) redefine and clarify the concept of amphibian dispersal, (2) review current knowledge about the effects of individual (i.e., condition-dependent dispersal) and environmental (i.e., context-dependent dispersal) factors during the three stages of dispersal (i.e., emigration, immigration, transience), (3) identify the demographic and genetic consequences of dispersal in spatially structured amphibian populations, and (4) propose new research avenues to extend our understanding of amphibian dispersal.
Sampling for stream salamanders
Sampling for stream salamanders
EHC Grant
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
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Authors: Eagles-Smith CA, Willaker JJ, Nelson SJ, Flanagan CM, Krabbenhoft DP, Chen CY, Ackerman JT, Grant EHC, Pilliod D | 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.
Researcher measures the length of a Gulf Coast Waterdog
Researcher measures the length of a Gulf Coast Waterdog
Lindy Muse
Data Release Data from a 2015 trapping survey targeting the Gulf Coast Waterdog, Necturus beyeri, in Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana
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Authors: Glorioso BM, Waddle JH | Date: 2020-06-05 | Format: URL
This dataset provides the data associated with a 2015 project to examine factors affecting the occupancy of Gulf Coast Waterdogs along Bayou Lacombe, Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Data include site locations and distance from headwaters, water data (pH, turbidity, salinity, and depth), and capture data from trap checks. For Necturus beyeri captures, the datatset provides the sex of captures and length and mass measurements. The dataset states whether eggs were visible in females, whether each animal was swabbed for disease and whether tissue was clipped for genetics.
Photo of a [I]Batrachoseps major[/I] being screened for fungal disease at Los Angeles World Airways.
Photo of a Batrachoseps major being screened for fungal disease at Los Angeles World Airways.
Robert Fisher, U.S. Geological Survey
Papers & Reports Slender salamanders (genus Batrachoseps) reveal Southern California to be a center for the diversification, persistence, and introduction of salamander lineages
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Authors: Jockusch E L, Hansen R W, Fisher R N, Wake D B | Date: 2020-08-14 | Outlet: PeerJ 8:e9599 | Format: .PDF
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.