Larissa Bailey (Colorado State), USGS, FWS, and SCC volunteers building vernal pools at Patuxent NWR, to adaptively manage for climate change. Photo by: A. Green.
Only a few years ago, amphibians were rarely considered in the development and implementation of management plans. But now, it's not uncommon to see amphibian populations as the primary targets of management activities.
ARMI scientists conduct research on the impacts of various traditional management actions on amphibians, and have worked with partners to develop and test novel management options specifically to benefit amphibians.
Important decisions are made every day on management and policy that affect multiple wildlife species. ARMI works with its partners in Federal and State agencies to develop processes for structuring their natural resource decisions to achieve their conservation objectives related to amphibians.
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The relative efficiency of native and non-native aquatic species as predators of potential disease vectors: Invasive crayfish enhance the survival of mosquitoes
Authors: Bucciarelli G, Suh D, Davis A, Sharpton D, Roberts D, Shaffer HB, Fisher RN, Kats L | Date: 2018-08-06 | Outlet: Conservation Biology | Format: .PDF
The introductions of non-native predators often reduce biodiversity and affect natural predator-prey relationships. However, non-native predators may increase the abundance of potential disease vectors (e.g. mosquitoes) indirectly through competition or predation cascades. The Santa Monica
Mountains, situated in a global biodiversity hotspot, is an area of conservation concern due to climate change, urbanization, and the introduction of non-native species. We examined the effect that non-native crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) have on an existing native predator, dragonfly nymphs (Aeshna sp.) and their mosquito larvae (Anopheles sp.) prey. We used laboratory experiments to compare the predation efficiency of both predators, separately and together, and field data on counts of dragonfly nymphs and mosquito larvae sampled from 13 local streams. We predicted a lower predation efficiency of crayfish compared to native dragonfly nymphs as well as a reduced efficiency of dragonfly nymphs in the presence of crayfish. Dragonfly nymphs were an order of magnitude more efficient mosquito predators compared to crayfish and dragonfly
nymphs suffered reduced efficiency in the presence of crayfish. Analyses of field count data showed that populations of dragonfly nymphs and mosquito larvae were strongly correlated with crayfish presence in streams, such that sites with crayfish tended to have fewer dragonfly
nymphs and more mosquito larvae. Under natural conditions, it is likely that crayfish reduce the abundance of dragonfly nymphs and their predation efficiency, and thereby, directly and indirectly, lead to higher mosquito populations and a loss of ecosystem services related to disease vector control.
Exploring the amphibian exposome in an agricultural landscape using telemetry and passive sampling
Authors: Swanson JE, Muths E, Pierce CL, Dinsmore SJ, Vandever MW, Hladik ML, Smalling KL | Date: 2018-07-03 | Outlet: Scientific Reports (2018) 8:10045 | Format: .PDF
This is the first field study of its kind to combine radio telemetry, passive samplers, and pesticide accumulation in tissues to characterize the amphibian exposome as it relates to pesticides. Understanding how habitat drives exposure in individuals (i.e., their exposome), and how that relates to individual health is critical to managing species in an agricultural landscape where pesticide exposure is likely. We followed 72 northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens) in two agricultural wetlands for insight into where and when individuals are at high risk of pesticide exposure. Novel passive sampling devices (PSDs) were deployed at sites where telemetered frogs were located, then moved to subsequent locations as frogs were radio-tracked. Pesticide concentration in PSDs varied by habitat and was greatest in agricultural fields where frogs were rarely found. Pesticide concentrations in frogs were greatest in spring when frogs were occupying wetlands compared to late summer when frogs occupied terrestrial habitats. Our results indicate that habitat and time of year influence exposure and accumulation of pesticides in amphibians. Our study illustrates the feasibility of quantifying the amphibian exposome to interpret the role of habitat use in pesticide accumulation in frogs to better manage amphibians in agricultural landscapes.
Robert Fisher USGS
Prioritizing conserved areas threatened by wildfire for monitoring and management
Authors: Tracey JA, Rochester CJ, Hathaway SA, Preston KL, Syphard AD, Vandergast AG, Diffendorfer JE, Franklin J, MacKenzie JB, Oberbauer TA, Tremor S, Winchell C, Fisher RN | Date: 2018-09-07 | Outlet: PLoS ONE | Format: .PDF
In many parts of the world, the combined effects of habitat fragmentation and altered disturbance regimes pose a significant threat to biodiversity. This is particularly true in Mediterranean-type ecosystems (MTEs), which tend to be fire-prone, species rich, and heavily impacted by human land use. Given the spatial complexity of overlapping threats and species? vulnerability along with limited conservation budgets, methods are needed for prioritizing areas for monitoring and management in these regions. We developed a multi-criteria Pareto ranking methodology for prioritizing spatial units for conservation and applied it to fire threat, habitat fragmentation threat, species richness, and genetic biodiversity criteria in San Diego County, California, USA. We summarized the criteria and Pareto ranking results (from west to east) within the maritime, coastal, transitional, inland climate zones within San Diego County. Fire threat increased from the maritime zone eastward to the transitional zone, then decreased in the mountainous inland climate zone. Number of fires and fire return interval departure were strongly negatively correlated. Fragmentation threats, particularly road density and development density, were highest in the maritime climate zone and declined as we moved eastward and were positively correlated. Species richness criteria showed distributions among climate zones similar to that of the fire threat variables. When using species richness and fire threat criteria, most lower-ranked (higher conservation priority) units occurred in the coastal and transitional zones. When considering genetic biodiversity, lower-ranked units occurred more often in the mountainous inland zone. With Pareto ranking, there is no need to select criteria weights as part of the decision-making process. However, negative correlations and larger numbers of criteria can result in more units assigned to the same rank. Pareto ranking is broadly applicable and can be used as a standalone decision analysis method or in conjunction with other methods.