Poster Session II

ROOM: HCCC, Ballroom C

1 Accounting for Spatio-Temporal Variation in State-Level White-Tailed Deer Distribution From Citizen-Science Run Camera Traps
Brent S. Pease; Krishna Pacifici; Roland Kays
Factors affecting the distribution of a species are likely to vary across their range, and across seasons, but this is rarely accounted for in distribution models because it requires dense population sampling over large areas. The proliferation of citizen science efforts has resulted in animal occurrence data over large geographical areas and time periods, which might be useful to detect spatio-temporal variation in ecological relationships. We present results from spatially-explicit models fit using seasonal and regional observations isolated to biologically relevant spatio-temporal windows – four regional ecotones and four primary seasons – allowing for comparisons of distribution across space and time. Specifically, using observations from volunteer-run camera traps from the North Carolina Candid Critters project, we account for the regional and seasonal spatio-temporal correlation of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) observations and relationships with the environment across the state of North Carolina using a Conditional Autoregressive spatial model. We model white-tailed deer distribution as a function of the proportion of land-use type, NDVI, forested canopy coverage, impervious surfaces, date, and human population density at two scales: A) at the home range of fawns and B) at the home range of non-breeding adults. Future research includes extending the current spatial model to allow for more than one species to address state-level management objectives of determining the effects of coyotes (Canis latrans) on deer populations in North Carolina.
2 Acoustic Recording Technology: an Application to Northern Bobwhite Populations
Nathan Wilhite; Jessica Mohlman; Rachel Gardner; I.B. Parnell; James A. Martin
Censuses, indices, and abundance estimates can all provide insight into local wildlife populations. For many avian species, these methods are conducted via auditory surveys which may be more efficient or necessary due to the life history, ecology, habitat selection, and behavior of a given species. As these methods have grown more common and applicable, new technology has been introduced to supplement or substitute for current survey methods. The use of acoustic recording devices (ARDs) is a rapidly growing method to bolster auditory surveys; however, ARDs have not been evaluated for monitoring Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). Estimating fall bobwhite abundances has historically been difficult due to their secretive nature and irregularity in calling rates under various weather conditions. Despite this, robust estimates of abundance are especially important when the population is harvested. Our goal is to evaluate bias, precision, and efficiency of ARDs for bobwhites compared to standard covey call surveys. We used clusters of three Wildlife Acoustics’ Song Meter 3 units to conduct fall covey call surveys on Di-Lane Wildlife Management Area in Burke County, Georgia. We deployed 54 clusters of ARDs for a total of 162 recording hours. Using signal strength and time-of-arrival, we will analyze these recordings by applying acoustic spatial capture-recapture methods to ARD clusters to individually identify vocalizing bobwhite coveys. We used spatially-explicit capture-mark-recapture for 26 nights across 262 total traps as our baseline abundance estimate. Current models from our trapping data predict a bobwhite abundance across the property to be 1631 individuals (SE ±232). This study was conducted as a comparison to standard covey call surveys that were performed simultaneously. Results of this study will seek to determine the effectiveness and feasibility of ARDs for bobwhite population estimation.
3 Comparison of Three Techniques for Estimating Population Size of Raccoons on Ruler’s Bar Hassock, New York
Jeanette Rodriguez; Russell Burke; Maureen Krause
Estimating population size is an essential part of many management and conservation decisions. The goal of this study is to compare the effectiveness and cost/sampling effort trade-offs of three techniques: traditional mark-recapture, DNA-based capture-recapture, and wildlife camera traps. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages in regards to invasiveness, cost, type of data obtained, and labor/time required. The model organism for this test, Procyon lotor (Raccoon), is common on the island of Ruler’s Bar Hassock (RBH), in Jamaica Bay, NY. Each technique was conducted over four sessions from 2015-2016 with 20-25 of each trap type placed at different locations across RBH. Traditional mark-recapture involved medium-sized box traps baited with cat food. Captured raccoons were sedated with Telazol and microchipped for future identification. Preliminary results using programs MARK and DENSITY show that the population size and density during this period was 11.2 raccoons and 0.47 individuals/ha, respectively. DNA-based capture-recapture involved collection of hair samples from baited “cubbies”, 5-gallon buckets anchored on their sides with barbed wire strands suspended inside in an inverted ‘V’. DNA was extracted from samples and amplified using standard PCR techniques and raccoon-specific primers. The results of microsatellite fragment analysis will provide a genetic fingerprint allowing individual identification and population size estimation using MARK. Unbaited wildlife camera traps were attached to vertical objects facing open ground. Results from camera traps will be used to estimate population size following a model proposed by Rowcliffe et al. (2008), which scales trapping rate linearly with animal density, based on biological variables and camera parameters. The benefit of this model is that it does not require individuals to have uniquely recognizable markings. This study will provide researchers interested in estimating population size a basic framework for selecting a technique that balances cost, labor, and time with short and long term goals.
4 Critical Evaluation of Michigan’s Spring Waterfowl Survey
Nathaniel Yost; David Luukkonen; Scott Winterstein; Sarah Mayhew
Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) collaborates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Canadian provinces, and Canadian Wildlife Service to monitor the status of important waterfowl populations. Beginning in 1992, MDNR began surveying abundance and population trends of breeding ducks and geese and developed goals for waterfowl population and habitat management tied to their spring waterfowl survey. MDNR uses fixed-winged aircrafts and helicopters to estimate breeding populations of Canada geese (Branta canadensis), mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), mute swans (Crygnus olor), and sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis). These species are of greatest management concern because some are hunted and in some cases, their high abundance has resulted in human-wildlife conflicts. Since detection is imperfect for fixed-wing aircraft, portions of fixed-winged transects are resurveyed using helicopters, and a visibility correction factor is estimated and used in the estimation of statewide abundance. There are different costs associated with helicopter and fixed-winged surveys and there may be an opportunity to better optimize the survey effort across aircraft types and between survey strata. Since helicopter costs have recently been reduced, it may even be possible to conduct the entire survey using only helicopters. A helicopter-based sampling design might reduce variance, increase precision, and achieve comparable precision on estimates from less area surveyed. To determine if a helicopter-based sampling design would be effective and to optimize survey effort, we will use historic data to compare fixed-winged and helicopter estimates and costs, estimate helicopter-based plot sample sizes, and field test a helicopter plot sampling method. For this presentation, we will compare historic estimates of abundance for key species based on helicopter and fixed-winged survey platforms and report on first-year results of an expanded helicopter sampling effort being implemented in spring 2018.
5 Landscape Effects on Population Distribution and Abundance Dynamics of Muskrats
Caleb M. Bomske; Adam A. Ahlers
The Flint ecoregion is the largest contiguous tract of tallgrass prairie remaining in North America. While this region has remained relatively undeveloped, aggressive eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) encroachment and persistent, large-scale prairie management (e.g. prairie burning) have the potential to impact matrix quality for dispersing semiaquatic species including muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus). To maintain functional connectivity between wetlands, we need a better understanding of how upland landscape management impacts occupancy and abundance dynamics of muskrats in these areas. We will use multiple survey techniques and a multiseason occupancy modeling approach to assess how landscape composition and configuration impact muskrat occupancy dynamics at wetlands in the Flint Hills. We will also conduct controlled movement experiments using radiomarked muskrats in different landscapes (e.g., recently burned, eastern redcedar, unburned prairie) to inform our colonization and extinction models. At sites occupied by muskrats, will conduct multiple live-trapping events and use N-mixture models to investigate how upland landscapes and local habitat quality influence muskrat abundances in wetlands occurring in this region. Our findings will likely help inform land-management decisions by both wildlife managers and landowners in the Flint Hills ecoregion.
6 Modeling Long-Term Genetic Diversity of Little Brown Bat Populations after Declines Due to White-Nose Syndrome
Erika Forest; Amy Russell
The little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus, is one of many North American bat species showing large population declines due to the spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease affecting hibernating bats. This disease has resulted in population declines of up to 99% in some colonies. However, long-term population viability studies have predicted improving survival rates after WNS detection and possible evolutionary rescue of M. lucifugus populations due to hypothesized inherited WNS resistance. The possibility of evolutionary rescue due to genetic WNS resistance hinges on the pattern of inheritance and frequency of the resistance allele(s) in the population before infection by WNS. We created forward-in-time simulations based on M. lucifugus populations using the population modeling software forqs in order to examine the resulting change in genetic diversity of population over time. These modeled populations varied in initial population size, pattern of WNS resistance inheritance, and initial allele frequencies. A fitness penalty was imposed on resistant phenotypes when WNS was not present in the population. The modeled populations were simulated to undergo levels of population decline due to WNS mortality as estimated from observed mortality in real WNS-infected M. lucifugus populations. Tracked changes in allele frequencies will allow for a determination of the possible long-term effects on population genetic diversity of the current declines caused by WNS in a variety of situations. This presentation will provide a forecast of the potential future impact of WNS syndrome on genetic diversity in M. lucifugus populations.
7 Modeling Point Pattern Data From GPS Logs of Mobile Detectors
Alec Wong; Angela Fuller; Jeffrey A. Royle
Point pattern models are of interest in many aspects of ecological research, and are used in modeling spatial structure in the distribution and abundance of organisms, or in the patterns of other aspects of their ecology such as dens, nests, mortalities, infections, or sign. In some cases, where capture-recapture methodology is not feasible or possible because of a lack of individual identification, estimates of abundance may be derived from other indices such as animal scat, which are related to the local abundance of individuals. We used scat detection dogs to locate moose scat and we intended to identify individual identities using genetic methods for use in spatial capture-recapture models to estimate moose (Alces alces) population density in the Adirondack Park, New York. However, low rates of PCR amplification did not provide genotypes and thus precluded the use of spatial capture-recapture analysis, prompting the development of alternative solutions to estimate abundance. Here, we present a method modeling scats as a thinned point process, and we estimate the thinning rate (detection probability) and intensity of the process using only the spatio-temporal data from GPS loggers fitted to the detection dogs used in our surveys.
8 Modeling the Relationship between Movement Behavior of Dispersing Animals and the Distribution of Active Subsidies
Daniel K. Bampoh
Active subsidies are resource transfers by animals navigating ecosystems within landscapes. Characteristic animal movement behavior has the potential to significantly mediate the extent and intensity of ecological subsidies and corresponding ecosystem responses. Correlated random walk (CRW) and Lévy walk (LW) models are stochastic random-walk patterns that simulate animal dispersal and foraging movement behavior. We use a spatially explicit individual-based model (IBM) simulations to investigate the relative effect of movement pattern and scale in CRW and LW with mortality on the intensity and extent of nutrient (dead) and consumer (living) subsidy distribution. We found that variation in movement pattern scaling is the most significant determinant of the distances over which subsidies are deposited and the mortality probability was the strongest predictor of the impact or density of subsidy deposition for both living (consumer) and dead (nutrient or energy) subsidies. Consumer subsidies deposit further and at lower densities than nutrient subsidies, and straighter (CRW) and more scale-invariant (LW) movement result in the further displacement at lower densities for both consumer and nutrient subsidies. More scale-invariant (LW) movement at lower mortality deposits subsidies further and at lower densities than straighter (CRW) movements for both consumer and nutrient subsidies. Sinuous (CRW) and less scale-invariant (LW) movements deposit subsidies closer to the ecosystem boundary with higher densities at high mortality. Mortality as a function of distance deposits higher amounts of nutrient subsidies at lower densities than mortality as a function of time, with more pronounced effects for LW than CRW. The results underscore the importance of characteristic animal movement behavior for understanding and potentially prediction variations in the impacts of animal-transported subsidies, with implications for species conservation, wildlife, and invasive species management.
9 Population Viability Analysis for Long-Lived Species and Applications to the Federal Species Status Assessments
Nicole F. Angeli; Conor P. McGowan
Population viability analyses (PVA) estimate the ability of species to persist in our rapidly changing world. Creating robust population viability projection models predicting the short-term effects of global change on species with long-life spans and relatively long generation times is difficult. For species living for more than 100 years, PVA timelines may inform conservation action affecting one or fewer generations of a species. In those cases, creative choices in choosing to project into the future the threats rather than the life histories of focal species may better inform conservation action and decision-making. Herein, we discuss completed and on-going projects to collaboratively assess the current and future status of species with varying lifespans including Puerto Rican Boas, Sonoran Desert Tortoises, and Whitebark Pines with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the new Species Status Assessments (SSA).
11 “Critter Crossings” in the Classroom
Nova O. Simpson
A local elementary school has integrated Project Based Learning (PBL) into classroom curriculum. The PBL units require students investigate a local problem, research a solution, write a proposal, design a model to solve the problem, and present their results to an authentic audience. One second grade class was studying wildlife habitat when they came across the concept of ‘Critter Crossings’ as presented by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) ( The students were fascinated and focused their PBL unit on how they could integrate ‘Critter Crossings’ into their community. The students learned about native wildlife through visiting local parks, speaking with wildlife professionals, and utilizing the internet. They wrote proposals and created 3-D models out of recycled and native materials. During the process, staff from the local Department of Transportation (DOT) jumped at the opportunity to be the authentic audience as well as talk to the students about ‘Critter Crossings’ in their home state. Inspired by this experience, both education professionals and DOT staff are jointly developing formal K-12 curriculum around “Critter Crossings” to encourage exploration into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as utilizing PBL units. This project embraces the integration of ‘Critter Crossings’ into the classroom at an early age, as well as the integration of them into our highway infrastructure. Using K-12 class projects and laboratories, the project suggests a viable, STEM-centric pathway that raises awareness of the threats that wildlife-vehicle collisions pose; the threats that ecosystem and habitat fragmentation pose to both wildlife and human health and wellbeing; the multi-objective countermeasures available to transportation and wildlife management agencies; and, the relative advantages of corridor-based mitigation. We believe this will increase public awareness and improve public support for reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions, as well as promote and encourage STEM classes and PBL units within the education systems.
12 Framings of Nature in Planet Earth Ii and Wild Safarilive
Josh Gross
In an age of increasing urbanization and biodiversity loss, connecting diverse publics to the natural world should be a top priority. Wildlife television programs might be useful tools for communicating about nonhuman nature with a wide range of people. Unfortunately, wildlife programs have been criticized for constructing unrealistic and unhelpful depictions of the natural world. The academic literature has also lagged behind recent developments in the wildlife genre of television. This thesis will examine which messages are being delivered to audiences through wildlife television programs – while simultaneously updating the literature on the genre – by applying the concept of framing to two recent but radically different examples of wildlife programming: Planet Earth II and Wild SafariLIVE. By combining methodological frameworks from visual anthropology and social semiotics, it will determine how the various elements of each program (dialogue, editing rhythm, camera angles, etc.) create patterns of culturally significant meanings – or frames. While this research is still ongoing, it is expected that ‘nature is awesome’ and ‘kill or be killed’ will be dominant frames in Planet Earth II. ‘Nature is awesome’ will likely resurface in Wild SafariLIVE, although it will apply to a wider range of organisms and be less emotionally powerful than in Planet Earth II. In addition, SafariLIVE will probably be structured around an overarching ‘immersion’ frame.
13 Modern Misuse of Habitat Terminology in Ecology
Jordan Tandy; Andrea Darracq
Scientific communication across disciplines depends on individuals having a shared understanding of what a word means. Poorly executed definitions can make interpreting, communicating, and applying the results of research difficult. Habitat is an important term used across ecological disciplines and the use of this term has been addressed in literature on birds and mammals. These studies found that the use of habitat terminology in scientific journals and agency documents was ambiguous and imprecise. Consequently, the objective of our research was to determine if the issues with the use of habitat terminology in the scientific literature stills exists, 20 years after the seminal publication on this topic in The Journal of Wildlife Management (JWM). We analyzed articles from two ecological journals, JWM and the Journal of Mammalogy (JM). We collected 80 articles total; two per year for the past twenty years from each journal. We analyzed each article’s use of the terms ‘habitat’ and ‘habitat type.’ We found that an average of 4.1% of articles used the term ‘habitat’ correctly, 62.5% fluctuated between correct and incorrect use, and 31.1 % used it incorrectly. The term habitat type, which generally should not be used to describe wildlife-habitat relationships, was used in 57.5 % and 62.5 % of the JWM and JM articles we analyzed, respectively. Correct use of habitat terminology in these journals has not improved in the past twenty years. The use of the term ‘habitat’ often ignored that it is species-specific and the most frequent mistake was using the term ‘habitat’ instead of vegetation association or vegetation type. Generalizations of the term ‘habitat’ may lead to poorly executed management and makes it difficult to communicate, both within the scientific community and to the general public.
14 Demetr: A Bayesian Population Simulation Web-Application for Harvest Management
Florent Bled; Jerrold L. Belant
Management of large carnivore populations represents an important challenge in conservation, requiring balancing their cultural, economic, and ecological value with potential risks of human-wildlife conflicts. Harvest can provide an effective tool for managing populations, but it can be difficult to define appropriate harvest quotas or assess the consequences of other conservation measures. We introduce the web-application ‘demetR’ (available at to evaluate the effects of harvest scenarios and other conservation policies on brown bear (Ursus arctos) and American black bear (U. americanus) populations. We developed a Bayesian population trajectory model to simulate brown bear and black bear populations in response to user-defined demographic parameters and harvest. Model simulations are performed using fixed or stochastic demographic parameters, allowing for informative and non-informative priors. We provide an overview of the general layout, along with descriptions of model inputs and outputs. We then provide examples of bear populations simulated using deterministic and stochastic approaches with varying levels of harvest. Performing computer simulations of different management scenarios offers an economical and efficient way to test practices before their application, and can be valuable for decision making. This model can also be applied to other species with similar life history traits. Future developments will provide users with greater input flexibility and adaptations to specific population structures of other large carnivores. Management decisions can be costly with long-lasting ecological and economic consequences. Models such as the one we present here, in the context of structured decision making and adaptive management, can improve the quality and quantity of information needed to make these decisions.
15 Wind Energy and Wildlife in the West: Perspectives on Developing Forested Ridgelines
Quentin R. Hays; Joel Thompson; Erik Jansen
Forested ridgelines throughout North America present substantial opportunities for wind resource development, but also present unique challenges when seeking to minimize impacts to wildlife. In the eastern United States, wind energy development on forested ridgelines has occurred for a number of years, with varying degrees of direct and indirect impacts on wildlife, including birds and bats. In the western United States, with few exceptions, wind energy development has occurred away from forested ridgelines. Reasons for this pattern in the West include the preponderance of public land, difficult access and challenging terrain, and widespread wind resources in more easily accessible areas. However, as wind energy development in the West continues to expand, developers are exploring the potential of forested ridgelines. Advancements in wind energy generation technology and state-level renewable mandates have combined to make forested ridgeline development practicable. Here we outline the unique challenges of minimizing impacts to wildlife from wind energy development on forested ridgelines in the West, while drawing from lessons learned in the eastern United States. Publicly available data from relevant wind facilities are used as case studies, and recent experience with western wind projects in forest environments is described.
16 Adult Hunter Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation (R3) in Illinois
Adam Wojciechowski; Kristen Black; Daniel J. Stephens; Craig A. Miller
The Illinois Learn to Hunt program is a collaborative effort between the Illinois Natural History Survey and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources designed to recruit, retain, and reactivate adult hunters. Using web tracking, hunter harvest surveys, license buying data, focus groups, and socioeconomic data the Learn to Hunt program was able to define the need for an adult-centered R3 program in Illinois. Adults pose a uniquely accessible market for R3 efforts due to availability of time, disposable income, and willingness to learn a new skill of their own volition. Learn to Hunt program events (e.g. workshops, seminars, mentored hunts) were carefully designed to address common constraints for adults and allowed for testing various program designs. Moving forward, R3 programs will need to develop programs that cater to adults and define metrics that will allow for a long-term comparison of the efficacy of youth vs adult R3 programs.
17 Assessing Attitudes Towards Bears and Their Management at Local and Global Scales
Haley Netherton; Mike Rader; Shawn Crimmins; Brenda Lackey; Cady Sartini
Increasing global bear populations and human-bear conflicts have made it more imperative to understand public attitudes towards bears and management interventions. Management methods vary in effectiveness and public support, further complicating the management of bears and other large carnivores. Without proper understanding of public attitudes towards bears and specific management actions, conflict can ensue between stakeholders and managers. To address this need for greater understanding of public attitudes locally and globally, we will be conducting a quantitative study in two phases, (1) a meta-analysis examining public attitudes towards bears and their management and human-bear conflict from studies around the world and (2) a survey of students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), as these students will become the next stakeholders and policymakers. The objectives of our study are to (1) synthesize and assess the global differences in public attitudes towards bears and their management and determine the associated factors, including personal experience with bears, socio-cultural influences, and stakeholder group membership and (2) evaluate university student attitudes towards bears and their management, and compare those attitudes to the meta-analysis results. The meta-analysis will utilize a strict search protocol, coding process, and modelling to identify and analyze relevant primary studies. The survey will sample from the enrolled student population at UWSP and assess attitudes through responses to questions concerning personal experience, proposed management scenarios, and agreement with belief statements, in addition to demographic information including major and stakeholder group affiliation. Stakeholder group membership, personal experience with bears, socio-cultural factors, and residential status are expected to influence attitudes towards bears and their management both locally and globally. The results of this study will contribute to the greater body of literature that can be used to inform the best management options for bears and other large carnivores in a particular socio-demographic context.
18 Developing Best Management Practices with Social & Ecological Science: the Case of Managing Disturbances to Migrating Shorebirds
Lara Mengak; Ashley A. Dayer; Rebecca Longenecker; Caleb Spiegel
Human disturbance represents a serious threat facing shorebirds throughout their annual cycle. Yet, most of the current research and management on disturbance to shorebirds focuses on the breeding or nesting season. To address this gap, we developed a Best Management Practices (BMPs) document for evaluating and managing human disturbance of shorebirds at fall migratory stopovers in the Northeastern US using both social and ecological science. Utilizing a transdisciplinary approach to create this document allowed for a more comprehensive set of guidelines. We applied the Delphi Technique, an iterative consensus-building social science method, to bring scientists and managers together to develop a consensus definition of “human disturbance to shorebirds” and a list of priority disturbance types that affect migratory shorebirds. Managers and scientists with extensive knowledge on human disturbance to shorebirds in the Northeast Region were solicited to participate. Next, we collated literature (including peer-reviewed publications, conservation plans, and gray literature) into a database focused on human disturbance during migration. We synthesized the literature in four key categories: impacts of disturbance, thresholds at which shorebirds experience harmful effects, drivers of human behavior related to disturbance or potential management actions, and recommended management actions to reduce disturbance. Then, through manager interviews, we examined how shorebird management decisions are made during migration, identified what managers need to support science-based management, and explored how managers balance the needs of shorebirds and public use of their sites. Finally, we developed and field-tested methods for evaluating shorebird disturbance at the site level, which will serve as a standardized monitoring tool for managers. These components were integrated into a BMP document that was made available to coastal land managers. Our work demonstrates how social and ecological sciences can be integrated in developing BMPs, providing lessons learned to those who work in coastal and non-coastal systems.
19 Expectations and Satisfaction of Waterfowl Hunters Across the Central Flyway: What Waterfowl Hunters Want and Did They Attain It?
Matthew P. Gruntorad; Christopher J. Chizinski; Mark P. Vrtiska
Knowledge of people’s perceptions and satisfaction about their hunting experiences is an important component for the management of game populations. For waterfowl hunting in the Central Flyway, hunting pressure, access, timing of waterfowl presence, and abundance of waterfowl available for harvest may vary among geographic regions. Variance in hunting opportunity may give rise to differences in hunter expectations for opportunity to harvest. The objective of this study was to investigate how expectations of harvest opportunity, hunting effort, and individual ratings of specific waterfowl-hunting attributes affected hunter satisfaction. We administered a web-based questionnaire to a sub-sample of duck and goose hunters from each state in the Central Flyway and asked participants to answer questions pertaining to their 2017 waterfowl-hunting experience. We found that while many hunters derive satisfaction from similar attributes (e.g., number of birds seen, daily bag limits, and number of birds available to harvest within the timing of the hunting season), perceptions and hunting expectations were not always shared by hunters among each state within the Central Flyway. Understanding hunter expectations and those attributes that contribute most to satisfaction within the Central Flyway will aid in making more informed decisions regarding duck and goose hunting opportunities.
20 From Human Dimensions to Conservation Social Sciences: an Evolution of Scholarship and Engagement
Bruce Lauber; Richard Stedman; Shorna Allred; Barbara Knuth
Established in the 1970’s to focus on outdoor recreation, the scholarly trajectory of wildlife-related work of the Human Dimensions Research Unit (HDRU) at Cornell University tracks the evolution of challenges in wildlife management. We documented this trajectory through a systematic review of HDRU and other literature. Originally focused primarily on understanding hunters and farmers and informing state wildlife agency harvest-related decisions, early HDRU publications on wildlife explored hunter participation and satisfaction, farmers’ willingness to incur deer damage, and attitudes toward black bear. In the decades since, HDRU’s focus has broadened in four primary ways: (1) Our focus expanded from harvest-related benefits and agricultural damage to an array of benefits (such as nonconsumptive recreation) and damage concerns (such as deer-vehicle collisions). (2) Stakeholders central to our work expanded beyond hunters and farmers to include businesses, urban and suburban residents, and those with animal welfare concerns. (3) The components of ecological systems we study have broadened beyond game species and now range from rare species to invasive species. (4) The HDRU has explored once-novel management processes, such as stakeholder engagement, community-based management, and structured decision making. In 2018, the HDRU became the Cornell Center for Conservation Social Sciences (CCSS), signaling inquiry and support to wildlife management agencies on a broader array of societally-relevant challenges. As the needs of wildlife management broadened, so too has Cornell’s empirical work, informing and responding to those management changes.
21 Hunting and Fishing Participation Among College Students: Implications for Wildlife Conservation
Victoria Vayer; Lincoln Larson; Kangjae Lee; M. Nils Peterson; Adam Ahlers; Ryan Sharp; Kris Irwin; Kyle Woosnam; Samuel Keith; James Farmer; Shawn Riley; Chris Henderson; Elizabeth Metcalf; Tim Van Deelen; Christine Anhalt-Depies; Jeremy Bruskotter; Rich
As the number of consumptive recreationists (and corresponding conservation funding) in the country declines, initiatives to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters and anglers have been on the rise. College campuses, where millions of millenials are eager to learn new things and try out new activities, represent one promising target for these “R3” efforts. But to what extent do college students hunt and fish, and how likely are they to engage in these activities in the future? To answer these questions, we surveyed randomly selected college students at 13 major public universities across all regions of the United States. This ongoing data collection effort will conclude in June 2018, but preliminary results from several campuses (n=2,889) suggest that R3 efforts targeting college students may indeed be fruitful. For example, 30% of students said they had gone hunting before, and 88% said they had gone fishing. About 35% of students said they would likely hunt in the future, and 23% indicated they would hunt regularly; 64% of students said they would likely go fishing in the future, and 42% said they would fish regularly. Most students likely to engage in future hunting were white (90%), but significant proportions of individuals from non-traditional hunting backgrounds also expressed interest in hunting. For example, 33% of these individuals were women, 40% grew up in urban areas (cities with >50,000 residents), and 62% were majoring in disciplines other than agriculture or natural resources. Populations of future anglers were even more diverse: 51% of these individuals were women, 49% grew up in urban areas, and 80% were majoring in non-natural resource disciplines. Considering these trends, research should continue to explore the potentially valuable contributions of colleges and universities to recruitment and retention of hunters and anglers and enhanced stakeholder engagement in wildlife conservation.
22 Managing Unowned, Free-Roaming Cats: What Does “Conservation Success” Look Like?
Peter J. Wolf
Among the many topics discussed under the broad category of “human dimensions,” few are as contentious as the management of unowned, free-roaming cats. For years now, some in the conservation community have actively opposed the trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) method of managing “feral” cats—arguing that they have science on their side, and dismissing TNVR advocates as “emotional” or, more recently, as “Merchants of Doubt.” However, a review of the evidence presented by those opposed to TNVR reveals an unsettling pattern of cherry-picked literature reviews, dubious research methods, and contradictory findings—all of which raises serious questions about the conclusions typically drawn from such work (and any related public policy). Another question—one prompted by this year’s conference theme—is: What does “conservation success” look like when it comes to managing unowned, free-roaming cats? There’s general agreement that complaint-based impoundment followed by lethal injection of “unadoptable” cats, the approach that’s been used for 100 years or more in the U.S., has failed to reduce the population of unowned, free-roaming cats. What about eradication? Even the most intensive eradication campaigns—such as those using poison, disease, lethal trapping, and hunting on small, uninhabited oceanic islands—are not always successful, and sometimes backfire. Moreover, their costs can exceed $100,000 per square mile. All of which makes eradication campaigns non-starters in the U.S. And the few attempts at intensive roundups led by animal control agencies have failed due largely to lack of resources and strong public opposition. Imperfect as it may be, then, TNVR deserves serious consideration. The proposed presentation will summarize the results of various well-documented management efforts (including TNVR), prompting attendees to question some of the “conventional wisdom” surrounding this controversial topic and recognize the often-overlooked common ground shared by the conservation and animal welfare communities.
23 Private Landowner Participation in Minnesota’s Walk-In Access Program
Evan Salcido; David Fulton; Scott Roemhildt; Greg Hoch
This research-in-progress is focused on Minnesota’s Walk-In Access (WIA) Program, a landowner-driven program to provide public hunting access to wildlife habitat on private lands. Although a previous study (Cross 2014) has produced a deeper understanding of WIA users’ experiences and values, Minnesota landowners’ perceptions of the state’s WIA program remain unaddressed. Landowners’ voluntary involvement provides access to the private land that affords the WIA program; therefore, better understanding their decisions to enroll their property in WIA is crucial to the program’s success. In order to address this deficit in our knowledge, we are currently conducting a social survey of landowners who live or own property within Minnesota’s 46 WIA-eligible counties. We also plan to employ GIS approaches to better understand land use and spatial characteristics related to enrollment of private properties. The survey questions use social psychology concepts – values, attitudes, norms, beliefs and motivations – to better understand landowners’ decisions about whether or not to enroll land in the WIA Program. Our landowner sample has been collected through collaboration with the Minnesota DNR and research of county landownership records, and consists of approximately 250 landowners who have previously enrolled property within WIA, as well as approximately 2600 non-enrolled landowners with WIA-eligible properties. The information from this study will provide an assessment of Minnesota landowners’ dispositions towards current WIA policies; produce a better understanding of variables that are most capable of predicting landowners’ decisions to enroll property in WIA; and contribute to the development of a model that will help managers better understand which landowners have the highest potential for future participation.
24 The Mood Meter: A Tool for Measuring Emotional Responses to Wildlife
Charmaine Pedrozo; Caren Cooper; Kathryn Stevenson; Roland Kays; Stephanie Schuttler; Lincoln Larson
After years of focusing nearly exclusively on cognitions, researchers are now recognizing the important role of affect in human-wildlife interactions. When it comes to emotionally charged human-wildlife encounters, an individual’s sense of fear, calm, excitement, or anger may influence their behavioral response. However, emotions are notoriously difficult to measure. This study introduces a new method to measure people’s emotions: an adapted version of Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence’s Mood Meter. The scale is divided into four quadrants each representing different sets of feelings based on pleasantness (x-axis) and intensity levels (y-axis). We sought to validate the Mood Meter for use in a wildlife context by surveying adults (n=69) at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and students (n=27) at a Raleigh, North Carolina middle school during spring of 2018. Respondents were asked to complete a survey containing open-ended, scaled, and Mood Meter questions about their feelings if they were to see a deer and a coyote near their home. Emotional responses to deer were similar for adults and youth, with both groups reporting feeling calm and relaxed (low intensity, high pleasantness). Emotional responses towards coyote differed among adults and youth, with adults typically feeling tense and surprised (high intensity, low pleasantness) while youth typically feeling happy and excited (high intensity, high pleasantness). Triangulation of results combining other items with Mood Meter responses suggest the adapted Mood Meter scale is a valid and reliable tool for assessing emotional reactions to wildlife. The Mood Meter could be used to assess affective dimensions of human-wildlife interactions to predict potential behavioral responses in a variety of contexts. Currently, we are using the tool to explore the impacts of North Carolina’s Candid Critters citizen science project on participants’ wildlife attitudes and behaviors.
25 Using Social Network Analysis to Assess Relationship Building and Partnerships Under the Michigan Dnr’s Habitat Grant Programs
Sarah Burton; Daniel Kramer
The Michigan DNR’s Wildlife Habitat Grant Program, Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative, and Deer PLAN Grant Program provide funding to government, profit and non-profit organizations, and individuals to assist the Wildlife Division (WD) in 1) developing and improving habitat for wildlife, and 2) strengthening relationships and partnerships with and perceptions of the WD. While assessment of the first objective is already within the evaluative scope of the various grant administrators, there has been no systematic assessment of the equally important second objective. The main objective of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of these grant programs in building successful relationships with and positive perceptions of the WD among the program’s grantees and collaborators. In this work, a Social Network Analysis (SNA) is conducted for the grantees and their contributors and a complementary survey will be administered to evaluate perspectives. The SNA provides basic metrics of the network structure that help determine how robust the network is surrounding the programs. The results deliver a visualization of the social network and insight into why these organizations are selecting one another as partners. This valuable information will help the DNR to understand what drives the networks they are involved in and adjust management as needed to address any shortcomings.
26 Decreasing Available Bobcat Tags Appears to Have Increased Success, Interest, and Participation Among Hunters
Maximilian L. Allen; Morgan J. Morales; Nathan M. Roberts; Timothy R. Van Deelen
Management of wildlife populations has changed in the last century, coinciding with a decrease in the number of hunters for many species, along with general declines in hunter participation and interest as the hunter population has aged. The law of supply and demand suggests reducing the number of tags available could cause an increase in the perceived value of the tags, potentially leading to increased interest in obtaining a tag and effort and motivation among hunters who obtain tags. We used annual harvest data and surveys to determine the factors responsible for bobcat harvest and hunter participation in Wisconsin. Tags issued was common variable among all top models for annual bobcat harvest and hunter participation, highlighting the critical role supply of available tags has in furbearer management and hunter participation. A decrease in supply of tags was strongly correlated with increases in number of applications for tags and hunter participation. The increased interest (applications and participation) was also correlated with success (percent of filled tags). Contrary to other furbearer research, pelt price and other socioeconomic factors had less importance in our models than management variables. The trends of increasing bobcat hunter populations and interest in Wisconsin run counter to general trends of decreasing or stable hunter numbers seen across much of North America.
27 Effects of Mid-Rotation Management in Loblolly Pine Plantations on Vegetation Response and Northern Bobwhite Habitat
Allison G. Colter; Darren A. Miller; Kristina L. Johannsen; Karl V. Miller; Bronson P. Bullock; William D. Gulsby; Kent A. Keene; James A. Martin
Managed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantations are common across the southeastern U.S. landscape. Although the primary purpose of pine plantations is often to produce income for forest landowners, they also provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Some species, such as Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus; bobwhite), depend on the presence of a diverse herbaceous plant community, a condition that generally occurs soon after planting and post-thinning within working pine forests. Thinning, prescribed fire, and associated disturbances to vegetation communities can set back succession multiple times throughout a forest rotation. We used a split-plot design in a randomized complete block context to estimate effects of forest thinning intensity (i.e., 40, 60, and 80 ft2 acre-1 residual basal area) on bobwhite habitat conditions in five managed loblolly pine plantations in the Piedmont of Georgia. We also took advantage of a natural experiment whereby forest thinning operations occurred throughout the 2017 growing season allowing us to elucidate the effects of harvest timing. We evaluated horizontal cover and food resource availability along 10 randomly placed 20-m line transects within each plot (n = 30). We used cone and disc of vulnerability at each transect’s mid-point to estimate bobwhite vulnerability to predation. Pine litter represented most (60%) of the horizontal cover with remaining cover being vegetation (36%) and bare ground (4%). Food resource availability for bobwhite was 52% ± 1% of the total resources present among all treatments. The 40 ft2 ac-1 had the greatest cone of vulnerability because of the lack of pine stems obstructing a raptor’s field-of-view. There is currently no difference in disc of vulnerability among treatments. In 2018, late dormant season prescribed fire treatments and we will continue to measure treatment effects This study will inform landowners and decision makers about tradeoffs between thinning intensity and habitat conditions for bobwhite.
28 Fish and Freighters – Habitat Restoration Alongside the Cuyahoga River’s Shipping Channel
Valerie Carter-Stone
Fish and Freighters – Habitat Restoration Alongside the Cuyahoga River’s Shipping Channel Natural Resources Management This restoration of 3,000 feet of natural shoreline and 11-acres along the Cuyahoga River serves as a national test model for creating fish and wildlife habitat within urban shipping lanes. Methods Four basins with natural riverbanks were created in 2013 by removing bulkheads, dredging, and grading. In 2014, uplands received native plantings, while rock socks, coir logs, and coir root carpets were installed along the shoreline and in near-shore areas. An artificial floating wetland was also deployed, a rare usage within a river environment. The basins were lined by floating booms to screen floating debris and exclude recreational boats. Readily available designs frequently broke here, though, and Cleveland Institute of Arts customized a prototype floating boom system based on biomimicry principles. Results Within four years, electroshocking surveys show improvements in fish numbers and diversity of fish species. Noteworthy findings include the first recorded Northern pike (Esox lucius) within the shipping channel. Bird surveys likewise show increases in puddle and diving ducks, wading birds, and wetland-specialists, and a significant rise in passerines during spring and fall migrations. Sixty-nine avian species were recorded 2010 to 2014, with 34 additional species appearing 2014 to 2017. Ironically, in a site created to provide fish and wildlife habitat, wildlife herbivory now poses a significant threat. Canada geese (Branta canadensis) and mute swans (Cygnus olor) have destroyed herbaceous vegetation, while shrubs and trees are targeted by rabbits and beavers, including traditionally non-desirable trees like white pines (Pinus strobus). Conclusions Fish and wildlife improvements have been significant, although success has meant wildlife management challenges. These eleven acres of restored terrestrial and aquatic habitats now attract and support increasing migrant and resident species alongside a busy shipping channel within a heavily industrialized setting.
29 Landscape Assessments in Agroecosystems
Melanie J. Dubois; Ryan Brook
Managing resources on a landscape scale can be challenging at the best of times. Managing resources on the interface of agriculture and natural ecosystems comes with the added layer of complexity resulting from significant human alteration of natural processes. Assessing the degree of alteration and impairment in order to guide recommendations for mitigation requires building or adapting tools that can examine the agricultural practices, the impacted areas, remaining intact areas and the interactions between them. These assessments can require a high level of technical expertise that blends an understanding of agroecosystems, and farm practises with a background in wildlife and botany. Three assessments that serve as examples of this approached are riparian health assessments, on-farm risk assessments for livestock predation and pollinator habitat assessments. Each is a blend of quantifying landscape features, characteristics of the flora/fauna, and farm production/operational practises. The key feature these also share is the development of targeted beneficial farm management practices and improvement in condition over time as the outcome. Two of the assessments deal with potentially sensitive topics of predator control and the use of pesticides which introduces a clear need for human dimensions work as well as relationship and trust building between those undertaking the assessments and those contributing information to them. The assessments have been used in the agricultural region of Manitoba to various degrees and with various levels of success. How they were developed/adapted, incorporated into programs and supported will be discussed with examples and lessons learned for each.
30 Occupancy and Co-Existence of Domestic Cats and Mesocarnivores in a Suburban Preserve System
John Vanek
Domestic cats (Felis domesticus) are considered a major threat to global biodiversity (Loss et al. 2013, Doherty et al. 2016), yet we know surprisingly little about their ecology. Recent work suggests that cats may avoid natural reserves, presumably due to the presence of other mesocarnivores, such as coyotes (Canis latrans) (Gehrt et al. 2013, Kays et al. 2015). However, Kays et al. (2015) also suggested that “additional research will be needed to evaluate how predators and cats interact in the varied urban landscapes around the country, including those with more urbanized coyotes”. Using data from a long-term and ongoing wildlife monitoring program in northeastern Illinois, I will explicitly test if native mesocarnivores negatively impact domestic cat occupancy, detection, and persistence across varying levels of urbanization. Presence-absence data from baited camera traps at 232 randomly distributed plots within 55 nature preserves will be used to construct multi-season species co-existence models (MacKenzie et al. 2004, MacKenzie et al. 2017) in the r package ‘RMark’ (Laake 2013). Initial results (2009-2016) show that domestic cats were detected much less frequently (40 unique points within 26 forest preserves), than sympatric native mesocarnivores (e.g. coyotes: >300 detections at 41 preserves and 114 points). Finally, preliminary logistic regression (i.e. not corrected for detection) shows a positive relationship between urban landcover and domestic cat presence and all other detected mesocarnivores, suggesting habitat overlap and the potential for competition/exclusion.
31 Potential Effects of Temperature on Aerial Surveys for White-Tailed Deer
Aaron M. Foley; David Hewitt; Randy DeYoung; Charles DeYoung; Bruce Roberts
Aerial surveys are conducted to gain information on population sizes and demographics. Most surveys are conducted during autumn (September to October) prior to hunting seasons. On-going research has indicated that hourly observation rates (observations per hour flown) of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in south Texas were 20–24% lower during mid-day hours than morning and evening hours. The reduction in observation rate suggests that deer become less available to be seen during mid-day hours, which may be partly attributable to their crepuscular pattern of activity. However, autumn temperatures in south Texas are usually warm (29–33°C). The warm temperatures may increase availability bias because animals may be less likely to reveal themselves. We investigated the influence of canopy cover and temperature as it relates to deer observation rates during fixed-width strip transect helicopter surveys on King Ranch in south Texas during 2011-2015. For each hour flown, we obtained transect-specific canopy cover (200-m width) and ambient temperature. Results of our linear model with year treated as a nuisance fixed effect indicated that the temperature effect (ß = -8.2) was almost two times greater than the canopy cover effect (ß = -4.7). However, there was an interaction between temperature and canopy cover; the effect of canopy cover increased 2.8 times for each unit increase in temperature. This suggests that deer may be seeking thermal refuge as temperature increases, resulting in an increase in availability bias. Thus, ambient temperature should be considered as a potential influence on population estimates generated from aerial surveys of large mammals. Additional studies using marked deer are needed to quantify the influence of temperature on aerial surveys.
32 Testing the Effectiveness of Muskrats as a Native Biocontrol of Invasive Hybrid Cattails.
Benjamin R. Matykiewicz; Steve K. Windels; Bryce Olson; Adam A. Ahlers
Invasive hybrid cattails (T. x glauca) are expanding their distribution in the United States and out-competing wetland native vegetation. T. x glauca can grow in deeper water and much denser stands than native cattail species thereby reducing open water habitats available to native wetland species. Current management of T. x glauca includes herbicide treatments and mechanical removal. These techniques are costly and can be destructive in pristine wetland ecosystems. Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) are native semiaquatic herbivores that feed on T. x glauca, in addition to other native plant species, and have the ability to control aquatic vegetation through intense herbivory. We will test the effectiveness of muskrats as a native biocontrol for T. x glauca within Voyageurs National Park (VNP), USA. Native cattails are nearly absent in VNP and large-scale mechanical removal of T. x glauca was initiated in fall 2017 and will continue through fall 2018. We will translocate muskrats to selected muskrat-absent wetlands beginning summer 2018 at 1, 2, and 3 times their natural density. We will compare biodiversity responses (e.g., native vegetation and T. x glauca growth, marsh songbird occupancy, crayfish abundance) in wetlands where T. x glauca has been mechanically removed to wetlands with enhanced muskrat abundances. We will use unmanaged, muskrat-absent wetlands as a control. We will mark 60 of the stocked muskrats with VHF radio-transmitters to monitor survival and movements of muskrats post translocation. Our research will help managers understand the impacts of mechanical cattail removal techniques on wetland biodiversity and also test alternative methods for controlling T. x glauca.
33 Tourism and Dolphin Conservation on the Irrawaddy River
Luca Opperman; Paola Bernazzani; Thant Zin
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} The Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) is a small, freshwater dolphin found in river and coastal habitats in Southeast Asia. The first dolphin surveys in Myanmar were conducted in 2002, which found them along a 300-mile stretch of river north of Mandalay. This dolphin is extremely endangered, and their numbers in the Irrawaddy have declined due to electrofishing, gill nets, and pollution. Approximately 70 dolphins are currently found in Myanmar. The population in the Irrawaddy is the only dolphin known to engage in cooperative fishing whereby a pod of dolphins herds fish toward fishermen, improving fish catch for both. Recently, cooperative dolphin fishing has become an important revenue source for numerous fishing villages along the Irrawaddy, primarily through a Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) ecotourism program. Through a series of site visits and based on four years of data collected by WCS, we explored the growth of dolphin ecotourism in the region. Tourists pay to spend multiple days on a boat and view cooperative fishing. Costs also include village tours and meals prepared by villagers. Annual visitors have increased from 46 in 2014 to 609 in 2017. Over this time period, visitor expenditures have remained steady at approximately 200 USD per person, resulting in a net revenue increase of 9,000 USD to 120,000 USD per year over that time, with most of the funds going to boat captains, guides, and homes that provide meals. A portion of these funds is also allocated to village development projects. Recent projects have included sanitation and school development. Ecotourism promises to be an important mechanism for valuing wildlife in Myanmar and is poised to expand, thus benefiting both local villagers and the dolphin.
34 Comparing Wildlife Tracking Technology: Where Are We Going?
Miranda C. Reinson; Nate Bickford; Dustin H. Ranglack
We currently use a wide range of technologies to gather location data on wildlife. This information helps answer questions on spatial ecology by using global positioning systems (GPS) location data to better understand how an animal is using the landscape and ultimately allow us to better conserve populations. This technology exploded since its development in the 1960s. Now biologists can choose from several different companies manufacturing tracking devices to fit their specific needs and species type. Satellite and cellular tracking technology are both used to track wildlife species movements. These devices run off battery power; either from a battery pack or a solar charging panel. Our objective was to compare and contrast both types of transmitters, providing information on where each piece of equipment can succeed and demonstrate the relative advantages of solar and battery powered devices. We have deployed both GPS satellite transmitters powered by a battery pack and GPS cellular transmitters charged by solar power on white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in south central Nebraska as part of a larger study on how white-tailed deer are being impacted by an intensively cultivated and fragmented landscape. We hope our findings will improve the technology of both transmitter types, as well as demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses in each to allow wildlife managers and biologist to choose the most appropriate technology for their specific needs.
35 Comparison of Inexpensive GPS with Traditional Vhf Telemetry: Tests for Error and Effects on Home Range Estimation on a Terrestrial Turtle.
Miranda Figueras; Timothy Green; Russell Burke
The eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina, EBT) is a widespread terrestrial turtle that exhibits site fidelity. Movements of turtles have been studied previously using three main techniques: thread trailing, radio telemetry, and mark recapture. Due to personnel availability, weather conditions, and physical accessibility, sampling efforts using traditional methods are usually limited. Newly available miniature, low cost, GPS loggers (i.e., i-gotu GT 120) could collect and record EBT location data almost continuously, with less labor costs and less animal disturbance. We attached traditional VHF radio-telemetry transmitters to 25 EBT as part of a long-term movement study on Long Island, New York, and they were located twice a day, 5 days per week, during the summer of 2017. Eight turtles were additionally equipped with GPS loggers that recorded each turtle’s location approximately every 30 minutes. Due to concerns about excessive weight, GPS units were attached to EBT for one week, then removed for one week, before re-attaching. Home range estimates were created in QGIS, using minimum convex polygons (MCPs). Home range estimates were compared to location data collected solely through telemetry during the same time period using all locations collected by the GPS loggers, and when only the locations collected by GPS loggers corresponded to those collected through telemetry (within a 1 hour). Paired t-tests showed that GPS-sourced home range estimates were significantly larger than home range estimates generated from VHF telemetry data collected simultaneously. However, home range estimates created with only corresponding locations were not significantly different. The GPS loggers were able to collect substantially more (approximately 100% greater) locations per turtle than traditional telemetry, leading to a more representative home range. As previous studies have shown, a greater number of GPS points led to larger home range estimates because there is a greater chance of including infrequent, short-term long-distance movements.
36 Horizontal and Vertical Camera Trapping Designs Produce Different Species Richness in Carrion Food Webs
Claire O’Connell; C. Baruzzi; D. Mason; G. Jones; M. Cove; B. Barton; M. Lashley
Camera traps are a widely used tool in wildlife studies; they are commonly used to estimate species abundance and richness and monitor occupancy and animal behavior. More recently, researchers have begun using camera trapping to monitor scavengers in the carrion food web. One of the main problems with camera trap designs is detection bias which is particularly strong in the carrion food web because the traditional horizontal camera trap design detects different sized species based on the height of the camera so smaller species are more easily obstructed by a carcass. We designed an elevated vertical camera trap design focused downward on carrion to determine if that design would better detect those small vertebrate species. We compared species richness detected by paired horizontal and vertical camera trap designs in 18-10m diameter carrion plots with 5 to 7 feral swine (Sus scrofa) carcasses at Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi, United States. Total species richness and scavenger species richness was consistently higher in the horizontal cameras likely because a larger area was being monitored. However, although vertical cameras did not increase vertebrate scavenger species richness estimates, they did detect several species not detected by horizontal cameras. Vertical cameras were the only ones that detected necrophagous insects and insectivores including blowfly larvae (Calliphoridae) and silphid beetle (Silphidae) which have not previously been reported in the carrion food web. Pairing horizontal and vertical camera traps may give the most complete estimate of species interacting in the camera food web.
38 What’s New at the Bbl? Preparing for the Next Century of Bird Banding
Jennifer Malpass
The USGS Bird Banding Lab (BBL) has been a leader of the North American Bird Banding Program since the inception of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918. BBL operations have adapted over the past century to address changes in bird banding practices and availability of new data management processes. Today the BBL is initiating major revisions to better serve the needs of contemporary bird banders and users of bird banding data. The BBL is redesigning, the website where members of the public can report encounters of banded birds. The BBL is also preparing to transition its banding data submission software (BANDIT) to a web-based platform that will allow banders to directly connect with the BBL database. The BBL is exploring the development of mobile data entry programs to allow bird banders to submit data from the field. In addition, the revised BBL website will allow bird watchers, bird banders, and data users access to a variety of self-serve features that were previously only available by contacting staff directly. These projects offer rewarding opportunities to leverage expertise from local universities and others through novel collaborations, streamline operations to reduce staff workload, and modernize practices to facilitate the next century of bird banding.
39 Anthropogenic Environmental Change and Zoonotic Disease Risk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Sabrina Bradford
Pathogen pollution is an ecosystem stressor in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) which is deeply entangled with human-wildlife conflict. In the early 1900s, sarcoptic mange was intentionally introduced into the ecosystem as part of predator eradication efforts. By contrast, the spillover of brucellosis from domestic cattle to elk and bison was accidental and even today has negative economic impacts on the ranching industry geographically close to Yellowstone National Park. Within the context of evaluating the impact pathogens have on human-wildlife conflict within the GYE, I examined the vulnerability of humans to potential Echinococcus granulosus infection. This parasite requires two hosts to complete its life cycle and causes cysts to develop in the liver, lungs or brain of the intermediate host, causing a condition known as echinococcosis or hydatid disease. Domesticated dogs and grey wolves are definitive hosts while humans and ungulates are intermediate hosts. The people interviewed for this study live in the GYE and own domesticated dogs on landscapes where humans, ungulates, wolves, and domesticated dogs are sympatric. The responses to the interview questions yielded information regarding transmission risk between infectious definitive hosts and likelihood of a dog owner becoming an intermediate host. To assess this, questions were asked to determine how often the domesticated dogs had been dewormed and what type of dewormer had been used. The next phase of this study will involve testing domesticated dogs that were at risk for Echinococcus granulosus infection to determine each owner’s risk of infection.
40 Comparing Parasite Diversity and Abundance in Rural and Urban Eastern Cottontail Rabbits in Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Sabrina Claeys; Hannah Schley; Katherine Rexroad
The eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) is an abundant species throughout the Midwestern United States. Cottontail rabbits serve as a prey base for many of the predators and as hosts to several endo-parasites; however, parasites in cottontails are rarely observed and documented. Observations of eastern cottontail rabbit parasites have not been published in Wisconsin since the 1950’s. Since then, many areas in Wisconsin have urbanized due to an increase in population. Our objective is to observe the endo-parasites of eastern cottontail rabbits in Stevens Point, Wisconsin in order to compare the diversity and abundance of parasites between hosts in rural and urban areas. For our pilot study, we set 10 Tomahawk traps on personal properties in the Stevens Point neighborhood and 10 Tomahawk traps on the Izaak Walton League property. Traps were set in the evenings from February – March and were baited with sweet feed. Captured cottontail rabbis received an ear tag, and fecal samples were collected for endo-parasites. Parasites were analyzed by conducing fecal floats and identified using microscopic observations. Our results showed no significant difference between the two groups of rabbits but provided more data to this area of study.
41 Diversity and Intensity of Ectoparasites of Breeding Seabirds on Middleton Island, Alaska and Their Growth Impacts on Nesting Black-Legged Kittiwake Chicks
Brianna M. Williams; Andrew Ramey; Scott Hatch; Michael J. Yabsley
Nesting bird colonies on Middleton Island, Alaska have undergone population fluctuations including a decline of breeding Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) since the 1980s. These population fluctuations are likely due to a variety of factors, but ectoparasites could contributingas studies on other bird species indicate fitness may be reduced with high tick intensities. From June-August 2014 and 2015, we sampled Black-legged Kittiwakes (n=611), Pelagic Cormorants (Phalocrocorax pelagicus) (n=154), Tufted Puffins (Fratercula cirrhata) (n=85), and Rhinoceros Auklets (Cerorhinca monocerata) (n=125) to: 1) determine prevalence and diversity of ixodid ectoparasites 2) conduct a molecular survey for haemoparasites and 3) test if treatment of kittiwake nest sites with an insecticide reduces parasite loads and/or results in increased growth of nestlings. Our data indicate there were high burdens of Ixodes uriae on kittiwakes (chicks: x̅=6 [0-40], 63% prevalence; adults: x̅=0.14 [0-5], 10% prevalence) and cormorants (chicks: x̅=3.57 [0-16], 73%; adults: x̅=1.07 [0-20], 19%), whereas lower tick burdens and prevalence were noted on puffin chicks (x̅=1 [0-3], 10) and auklet chicks (x̅=1, [0-2], 12%). Ixodes signatus was only detected on cormorants in low numbers (x̅=1, [0-29]). Kittiwake chicks sampled in 2015 (n=101) had higher tick burdens, lower weight, and lower fledging success compared to 2014 (n=151). Kittiwake chicks from treated nest sites (n=139) had significantly lower average tick body burdens across years and higher average body weights across discrete time periods than those from untreated sites (n=113). Preliminary analyses indicate treatment had a positive effect on fledge success (p=0.006, logistic regression) and growth rate over a forty day period prior to fledging (p=0.004, repeated measures ANOVA). No vector-borne pathogens were detected by PCR in subsampled birds (n=747). These data suggest while vector-borne pathogens are not transmitted at this site, ixodid ectoparasites may be common among seabirds on Middleton Island and could have negative effects on productivity.
42 Evaluations of Drinking Water as a Transmission Route of Dracunculus Species, Parasites of Dogs, Raccoons, and Humans.
Kayla B. Garrett; Erin K. Box; Christopher A. Cleveland; Michael J. Yabsley
Dracunculus species are parasitic nematodes that, depending on species, can infect a variety of hosts, including humans, dogs, raccoons, otters, mink, etc. Dracunculus medinensis, the parasite that causes Guinea worm (GW) disease in humans was historically widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and south Asia; however, prevention measures by the Carter Center’s GW Eradication Program has eliminated GW transmission in 17 of 21 endemic countries. In 2010, Chad reported its first human case of GW disease in 10 years and reports of GW infections in dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) were reported in 2011. Dracunculus insignis has a similar lifecycle to D. medinensis, but infects meso-mammals and dogs in North America. The life cycle of Dracunculus spp. requires an intermediate host (cyclopoid copepod) in which larvae mature to infectious third stage. Classical transmission route involves drinking water containing infected copepods. Because GW cases in dogs do not follow the typical epidemiologic pattern, it is hypothesized that transmission may be atypical. Therefore, it is important to determine if hosts such as dogs ingest copepods while drinking water. When dogs lap water, they create a disturbance which we hypothesize decreases likelihood of copepod ingestion. We performed lapping trials to quantify likelihood of copepod ingestion by dogs. Dogs were provided 2 liters of water containing copepods (0, 50, 100, 500 or 1000) and allowed to drink for one hour. Remaining copepods were quantified and data analyzed using a generalized linear mixed model. We found that as copepod density increases, the number of copepods/ml consumed also increases; however, the highest densities are much higher than typical copepod densities in natural conditions. Therefore, while our results show dogs ingest copepods while drinking, the classical transmission route may not explain the epidemiology of Dracunculus spp. infections in nature.
43 Insecticide Exposure Risk for Grassland Wildlife on Public Land in Southwestern Minnesota
Katelin M. Goebel; Nicole M. Davros; David E. Andersen; Pamela J. Rice
Increasing evidence suggests that acute toxicity to pesticides may be a greater threat to grassland wildlife than habitat loss due to agricultural intensification. In Minnesota, many remaining grasslands are fragmented and surrounded by row crops, including over 3 million hectares of soybeans. Insecticides are widely used in Minnesota’s agricultural region to combat soybean aphids, which feed on soybean plants and negatively impact yield. The insecticides used to control soybean aphids, chlorpyrifos, lambda-cyhalothrin, and bifenthrin, have been shown to be highly toxic to non-target organisms such as birds and pollinators. Members of the public and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife managers report observing fewer birds and insects after these chemicals are applied in late summer, raising concerns about the potential impacts of these chemicals on grassland wildlife. Our objectives are to assess potential direct and indirect exposure of grassland birds and their insect food resources to soybean aphid insecticides under routine agricultural practices. Specifically, we are (1) measuring the deposition of soybean aphid insecticides from the edges of sprayed fields to the interiors of adjacent grasslands, (2) comparing chemical residues on invertebrates collected prior to and post-spraying, and (3) comparing the relative abundance, richness, diversity, and biomass of invertebrates along a gradient from soybean field edge to grassland interior prior to and post-application of insecticides. We collected insecticide drift and invertebrate samples in grasslands bordering soybean fields treated with foliar insecticides in southwestern Minnesota during the summers of 2017 and 2018. Our research will allow us to inform decision-making by land managers and private landowners so they can better design areas set aside for wildlife, thus reducing the potential impacts of insecticide drift on grassland wildlife.
44 Interspecific Transmission of Protostrongylus between Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep
rocky spencer; Claire Ramos; Brian Vanden Heuvel
Rocky Mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) are one of the most understudied large mammals in North America. Rocky Mountain goats became locally extinct in Colorado in 1859, then were reintroduced in 1947. Once restored, the Rocky Mountain goats expanded into the same habitat as the bighorn sheep. Bighorn sheep are affected by Protostrongylus spp., a genus of nematode that causes high mortality in lambs. When multiple potential hosts live in close proximity, the chance of transfer of Protostrongylus spp. between species through the feces is high. The purpose of this project was to determine if mountain goats also contract the Protostrongylus spp. parasite and if proximity to bighorn sheep influences infection rates. Feces of the mountain goats and bighorn sheep were collected from locations in Colorado where they coexist and in locations where species are isolated. Protostrongylus spp. will be extracted from the feces and identified using PCR amplification of parasite DNA to determine if Protostrongylus stili,the primary parasite affecting bighorn sheep, exists in the Rocky Mountain goats and if presence of the parasite is influenced by contact with bighorn sheep. Understanding the distribution and interspecific transmission of Protostrongylus spp. could be critical for conservation efforts of both mountain goats and bighorn sheep.
45 Modifying Forest Ground Cover to Reduce Tick Populations
Anthony N. Mesa; Lucas E. Price; John W. Edwards; Sheldon F. Owen; Raymond E. Rainbolt
The presence of large tick populations can pose significant health risks to many individuals who frequent forested areas. Ticks can serve as vectors for zoonotic pathogens, such as Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), and their small size and resilient nature creates difficulties in management. Our objective is to reduce tick abundance (primarily the black-legged tick; Ixodes scapularis) from coniferous and mixed forests by creating a less desirable ground environment. Our study site is located on the Fort Drum Military Installation in New York. This change in habitat will be achieved by removing the pine needle litter layer from the forest floor. Removing the litter layer will allow more light to reach the duff layer, creating a warmer and drier environment. This altered habitat is likely to discourage tick presence. To conduct this research, 10 managed (raked) coniferous and mixed forest plots will be paired with 10 non-managed (control) plots of the same cover type. Every 2 weeks, tick populations will be sampled, using a tick drag method, which is to be performed with a 1-m2 piece of fabric. Each plot will have three 50-meter parallel transects where the tick drag will occur. Every 10 meters, collected ticks will be counted and categorized by life stage (larva, nymph, or adult). From tick drag counts, indices of tick abundance will be created for each plot. Indices of abundance can be compared between managed and non-managed sites using paired statistical tests, such as a paired t-test. This research will provide insight into the importance of leaf litter on tick abundance, aiding in the development of management plans seeking to reduce tick populations. Ground litter removal can be conducted through several different methods and is a feasible management technique for sites such as Fort Drum.
46 Movement Patterns of Escaped Captive Cervids in Ohio
Laura Graber
Ohio’s first Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) positive white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was shot on a shooting preserve in Holmes County, October 2014. Since then, 93 escaped cervids have been documented and 85 tested for CWD. Of the 93 escapes, 45 had official United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ID tags. Forty seven (47) escaped cervids were able to be traced to an owner with the help of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). Ohio state law requires any escaped cervid to be reported within 48 hours. However, not all captive deer are required to be marked and not all deer that escape are reported which makes it difficult to know exactly how many escaped deer are on the landscape. Fallow deer (Dama dama) are a newly emerging threat that have little regulatory oversight in Ohio. Although fallow deer are not a CWD susceptible species they can carry bTB and can displace native deer. Furthermore, many cervid farmers that own fallow deer likely own other CWD susceptible species. Given the number of escaped cervids and related disease concerns, we began tracking, monitoring, and recording distances using a variety of means. We found that the average distance traveled by those escapes for which reliable estimates were available (n=the number that is used to generate the average of 3.9km) was 3.9 kilometers. This is the distance from the facility where the deer escaped from to where the deer was ultimately collected. The final disposition of escapes reported to the ODA is not always available. Some may die of natural causes in the wild while others might get harvested and go unreported. Working with ODA, the captive cervid industry, and the legislature is needed to ensure Ohio’s wild deer herd remains disease free.
47 Plague Vaccine Field Trials
Tonie Rocke; Robin Russell; Rachel Abbott; Martin Grunnill
We present results of a three year fiel trial of an oral sylvatic plague vaccine. Results include analyses of priarie dog survival, densities, flea loads, and bait uptake rates as their relationships with the occurrence of plague, vaccination, and environmental variables. Our data sets consist of thousands of prairie dogs sampled across 29 sites located along a latitudinal gradient from Texas to Montana, and including four species of prairie dogs (black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison’s and Utah). Our results indicate partial effectiveness of the plague vaccine, high bait uptake rates that improve as the season progresses, less forage is available, and juveniles are large, flea loads that display complex relationships with environmental variables (precipitation and temperature), and differences in densities between prairie dog species, and in response to treatments. We summarize this information and describe how we are using models to synthesize these results to optimize management for prairie dogs and predict the effects of climate change on plague outbreak frequency.
48 Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Hudson River Estuaries: A Test with Diamondback Terrapins
Marian Vargas; Niveen S. Ismail; Maya Sleiman; Alexandra Kanonik; Russell L. Burke
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are endocrine disrupting chemicals that resist environmental degradation due to their lipophilic nature. These pervasive compounds are detrimental to reproduction, development, and normal endocrine function. POPs include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were used in plastics, adhesives, and electrical components until 1977 after they were found to cause birth defects and cancer. There are limited data on how POPs affect reptiles despite the tendency for bioaccumulation in long-lived animals that are top consumers. Diamondback Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) from urban estuaries were chosen as a model species to investigate PCB uptake and trophic transfer. Terrapins are especially at risk of accumulating toxins, as they can live for up to forty years and are top-level consumers that typically prey on marine invertebrates. These reasons, in addition to their wide geographic range and high site fidelity, make terrapins a useful indicator species for aquatic ecosystem health, as various biomonitoring studies have shown. The study populations inhabit Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, NY (JB); the Hackensack Meadowlands, NJ (HM); and Flax Pond, NY (FP). JB and HM are polluted by wastewater, raw sewage, and/or industrial waste whereas FP is a relatively clean control site. The JB population is of particular interest because of previously documented reproductive issues. Terrapin eggs and prey were sampled and analyses are underway to quantify PCB congeners and biomagnification factors using gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Eggs are representative of adult female loads due to PCB maternal transfer; therefore, egg sampling is sufficient and preferred as a non-invasive technique.
49 Recovery of Guinea Worm (Dracunculus medinensis) Third Stage Larvae From Amphibian Paratenic Hosts in Chad, Africa.
Christopher A. Cleveland; Mark L. Eberhard; Alec T. Thompson; Liandrie Swanepoel; Hubert Zirimwabagabo; Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben; Michael J. Yabsley
Dracunculiasis, or infection with the human Guinea Worm, Dracunculus medinensis, has been the target of a global eradication campaign that has successfully eliminated transmission in 17 of 21 previously endemic countries. Recently, an unprecedented increase in D. medinensis infections in dogs has been reported in Chad, Africa coupled with an absence of human cases and a peculiar epidemiology in dog infections that do not coincide with the typical water-borne route of classical Guinea Worm transmission. This has led to the hypothesis that transmission of Guinea Worm is occurring by different means such as the use of aquatic paratenic hosts, in particular amphibians. Experimentally, several species of amphibians are susceptible to D. medinensis and the closely related North American species D. insignis. However, it is unknown if amphibians are naturally-infected with third stage D. medinensis larvae in Chad. The purpose of our study is to investigate the prevalence of D. medinensis-infection of amphibians and other possible paratenic hosts. In addition, we aimed to identify any species of amphibians that may be used as a food source by humans or are brought into close proximity to dogs to facilitate transmission. We have surveyed 236 amphibians, representing 6 genera, as well as other alternative paratenic hosts (170 fish of 7 genera, 2 Nile monitors-Varanus niloticus and 2 side-necked turtles-Pelusios spp.). To date, we have recovered 3 larvae from two frog species (puddle frog- Phrynobatrachus francisci and Crowned bullfrog-Hoplobatrachus occipitalis), the latter identified as a human food source. While the relative prevalence of D. medinensis larvae in amphibian paratenic hosts is low, understanding the relationship between dogs, frogs and humans will inform current eradication strategies and may inform on the mechanisms underlying dog infections and aid in the success of the Guinea Worm Eradication Program in Chad.
50 The Distribution and Impacts of Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease on Wild Ruminant Populations in Western North America
Kayla M. Kauffman; Todd Cornish; Kevin Monteith; Brant Schumaker; Myrna Miller
Adenovirus hemorrhagic disease (AHD) was recognized in 1993 during an outbreak that killed over 1,000 mule deer in California. It is now identified throughout the Western United States, Iowa, Alaska, and parts of Canada. The disease affects mule deer (Odocoileus heminous), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), moose (Alces alces), elk (Cervus candensis), and pronghorn (Antilocapra americana). AHD is grossly indistinguishable from bluetongue and epizootic hemorrhagic disease, and causes sporadic mortalities, primarily in young animals in endemic and epidemic cycles. An ongoing study of mule deer fawn recruitment found AHD associated with up to 20% of neonatal deaths. Whole genome analysis of the AHD virus (Deer atadenovirus A) identified three genotypes (A, B, C). The incidence, distribution, and population effects of AHD are poorly understood. Aim one of our study is to describe the occurrence of these genotypes by host demographics, geographic distribution, and in vitro replication kinetics. Diagnostic samples are genotyped, and the case information is used to investigate distribution. Preliminary findings indicate genotype C is geographically limited to the west coast of the United States, where large-scale mortality events have been observed. Genotype B is limited to mule deer and white-tailed deer. Genotype A is not limited by species or geography. We also discovered a proposed fourth genotype for which whole genome sequencing is in progress. Initial in vitro work indicates differences in cytopathic effect and growth curves between genotypes. Aim 2 of our study is to investigate the maternal transmission of AHD. Pregnant females from herds being monitored for recruitment studies will be tested when VITs are inserted, then expelled VITs and samples from fawns will be collected postpartum. The importance of the AHD genotypes on its distribution and further understanding its contribution to recruitment failure will provide a basis for the understanding the epidemiology of AHD.
51 Tick Blood Meal Sources and Reservoirs of Lyme Disease at Fort Drum, New York
Lucas E. Price; Amy B. Welsh; Raymond E. Rainbolt; Sheldon F. Owen; John W. Edwards
Lyme disease (caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi) is a serious health concern in the United States. Peromyscus spp. are an important host of Lyme disease in the Northeast, but do not appear to be in high abundance at Fort Drum, a military installation in upstate New York. Research is currently being conducted to determine the major vertebrate reservoirs of Lyme disease at Fort Drum. The objectives of this study are to quantify the percentage of ticks (primarily black-legged ticks; Ixodes scapularis) with Lyme disease, determine the blood meal source of ticks, and determine which animals are infecting ticks with Lyme disease. Ticks will be collected biweekly from 50 sample locations across Fort Drum. We will collect 1200 to 1800 ticks per summer from 2018 to 2020, with a focus on nymphal ticks. DNA will be extracted from ticks using Qiagen extraction kits. Once DNA is extracted, we will amplify and sequence the DNA of Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes from the tick and a mitochondrial 12S segment of vertebrate DNA (approximately 100 to 150 base pairs) from remnants of the last blood meal. For this research, we are focusing on nymphal ticks because most nymphs have only had one blood meal, giving us a direct connection between the blood meal and infection with Lyme disease. This research will allow better understanding of tick and Lyme disease ecology on Fort Drum and identify where management funds could best be utilized. Identifying which vertebrates are serving as Lyme reservoirs will allow Fort Drum to monitor and adapt conditions for species important in the disease system.
52 Toxoplasma Gondii and Environmental Contamination: A One Health Concern
Grant C. Sizemore
One Health is the concept that human, domestic animal, and wildlife health are interrelated and employs a holistic view to encourage greater public, veterinary, and ecosystem health. Toxoplasma gondii, a global parasite which may infect any homeothermic animal, qualifies as a One Health concern. We reviewed the natural history of T. gondii and its impacts on various groups of animals as well as major transmission routes. Given the growing literature of widespread environmental contamination; widespread prevalence of domestic cats (Felis catus), a definitive host of the parasite; and acute and chronic symptoms of infection on people, domestic animals, and wildlife, we call for greater outreach and control efforts following a One Health approach to limit environmental transmission.
53 Rare Saproxylic Hover Flies (Diptera: Syrphidae) Inhabiting Old Growth Forest Habitats of New York State: One Component of the Empire State Native Pollinator Survey
Carmen Greenwood; Jeff Corser; Zachary Jacobson; Liam S. Somers; Matthew Schlesinger; Erin White
Native pollinators play a critical role in supporting plant biodiversity and wildlife habitat. While bees are widely recognized in this role, flies are probably the second most important group with at least 70 families worldwide, that are known to be important pollinators. Syrphidae, with over 800 species is one of the most diverse and prolific pollinating taxa. This study focused on assessing the status of 80-100 species, contained in 25 genera of Syrphidae that are saproxylics, meaning that they require old-growth forest tree holes for reproduction. Target species were selected by examining historical data to identify taxa of concern. Because these saproxylic flies breed in declining old growth forests the status of these taxa is uncertain and may be in jeopardy of decline due to deforestation. Some of these target taxa exhibit hilltopping behavior, with males lekking at the summit to attract females. For this study 54 potential sampling sites were pre-selected, consisting of a variety of old-growth forest habitat types which often occur at high elevations conducive to the hilltopping behavior of the target taxa. Our preliminary sampling in 2017 consisted of targeted sweeps and Malaise trap sampling at three study locations in the Catskills, Adirondacks, and on Goose Egg Mountain for a 12 day period in June and in August. All Syrphidae were identified and enumerated. This preliminary study yielded 12 of the target species in 8 different genera and some of them were new state and county records. The presence of these species in old growth habitats reinforces the need to conserve this rare habitat type. Our goal is to survey as many of these sites as possible within our 4 year sampling effort. This survey is one component of the larger Empire State Native Pollinator Survey effort.
54 Models to Predict Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in Alberta
Eleanor Stern; Anne Hubbs; Brad Stelfox; Margo Pybus; Mark Ball; Evelyn Merrill
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an emerging threat to cervid populations in North America, and now other portions of the world. A growing body of research is working to explain the transmission of CWD, but a better understanding of animal and environmental factors influencing the disease spread is needed to support management programs. We use ALCES Online (, a spatially explicit landscape and population simulation model to predict the rate of spread of CWD through eastern Alberta based on predicted landscape and anthropogenic changes. The model is parameterized for sympatric sub-populations of positive and negative mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in eastern Alberta based on movement, habitat selection, reproductive and survival data from local telemetry studies, population size and composition from aerial surveys, age structure from teeth, and hunter harvest data. The model was calibrated retrospectively predicting the observed spread of CWD over a 12-year period since its first detection in 2 areas of Alberta in 2005 using continuous, harvest-based surveillance data. We present a sensitivity analysis to major model components (e.g., deer densities, landscape patterns, harvest rates, and assumptions in animal-to-animal and environmental disease transmission) and project the future spread of CWD in mule deer over the next 15 years under multiple harvest scenarios with and without anticipated landscape change. The effort supports a Canadian and international initiative to better understand how this disease moves, and will provide information that is integral to forming a proactive and effective strategy to managing CWD in Alberta.
55 Social Identity and Perception of Animal “Nativeness” Shape Public Attitudes towards Wildlife Management
Lily van Eeden; Thomas Newsome; Mathew Crowther; Chris Dickman; Jeremy Bruskotter
Public backlash against wildlife control increasingly shapes wildlife management programs so it’s critical we understand public values to develop management plans with public support. We conducted a nation-wide survey of public attitudes towards lethal and non-lethal management of kangaroos, dingoes introduced red foxes and wild horses in Australia. Using the Potential for Conflict Index, we found that there was support and low conflict for non-lethal management of all four species and for the suggestion to reintroduce/retain dingoes (a top predator) to control kangaroos and red foxes. Differences in support for lethal control and taking no action (do nothing approach) were observed between different social identities, with animal rights activists likely to disapprove of lethal management and approve of taking no action, and vice versa for respondents who identified as farmers. The broader public held similar views to the subset that identified as wildlife conservation advocates suggesting that the public generally hold pro-conservation values. The public generally support managing wildlife but lethal methods are likely to elicit disapproval from most groups, particularly regarding control of species regarded as native (dingoes and kangaroos) or charismatic species (horses) while there was support for lethal control of species regarded by most as non-native and a pest (foxes). We show that population suppression by wild predators was preferred over human-imposed lethal control. We discuss how an understanding of the diversity of public views can help shape science communication to improve stakeholder engagement and public support for wildlife conservation and management.
56 Designing and Implementing a Distance Sampling Protocol for Southeastern Pocket Gophers
JT Pynne; Steven B. Castleberry; L. Michael Conner; Elizabeth Parsons; Robert Gitzen; Sarah Duncan; Robert McCleery; James D. Austin
Natural open pine forests, particularly longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), contain diverse faunal communities. Due to extensive degradation and fragmentation, many taxa within the longleaf pine forest are species of conservation concern. The southeastern pocket gopher (Geomys pinetis) is a fossorial rodent that can be considered an ecosystem engineer within open pine forests due their consumption of roots and vegetation and due to their creation of mounds of soil resulting from tunneling activities. To better understand and manage this species, we developed a modified line transect distance sampling protocol to assess suitable habitat and monitor population abundance of southeastern pocket gophers using a rangefinder and GPS devices. The methodology will aid in the development of a decision support tool to inform management strategies for the species, including implications for translocation protocols. We implemented this protocol throughout the range of the species at 58 sites in Alabama, 55 sites in Florida, and 76 sites in Georgia randomly selected and stratified within accessible private and public land with a National Landcover Database category including pine or grassland. Rangefinder distances showed higher abundance, but shorter distances. Georeferenced distances showed lower abundance across the range. Abundance estimates were low throughout the range, but individual high-density sites showed much greater abundance, showing the species has been extirpated from much of its range.


Location: Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland Date: October 9, 2018 Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm