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Sample records for habitat size brushtail

  1. Habitat size and bird community management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anderson, S.H.; Robbins, C.S.

    1981-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to review the results in the literature that show the effect of area of forest on nesting migratory bird species, and to present the results of additional field work that we have conducted in forest habitats in western Maryland. These results indicate the area sensitivity of many long distance migrants. Because 80 to 95 percent of the breeding birds in the northeastern deciduous forest are neotropical migrants, the changes in bird species composition as a result of forest fragmentation can be immense. Management strategies based on habitat size are suggested to assist in maintaining communities of nesting migratory birds.

  2. Inflatable rigidizable human habitat of large size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kondyurin, Alexey

    Human organism is sensitive to space environment factors such as temperature variations, ra-diation, microgravity, that exist in all space missions on the board of space ships and space stations on Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The materials and constructions of modern space ships and ISS provide acceptable conditions for human crew during some months on the LEO. Fu-ture space flights to Moon, Mars and further will require new materials and stronger protection against high intensity solar irradiation, which could kill living organisms when flight is over the radiation belt of Earth. One of the modern project for future space flight is a large size habitat based on inflatable technology with rigidization of the habitat walls after deployment. The requirements for radiation protection, stable inflating, rigidization and sufficient mechan-ical properties during long life-time of the habitat are key question for selection of a suitable materials of the habitat. The properties of the inflatable rigidizable habitat to save life in far space are considered and discussed.

  3. Drought sensitivity predicts habitat size sensitivity in an aquatic ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Amundrud, Sarah L; Srivastava, Diane S

    2015-07-01

    Species and trophic richness often increase with habitat size. Although many ecological processes have been evoked to explain both patterns, the environmental stress associated with small habitats has rarely been considered. We propose that larger habitats may be species rich simply because their environmental conditions are within the fundamental niche of more species; larger habitats may also have more trophic levels if traits of predators render them vulnerable to environmental stress. We test this hypothesis using the aquatic insect larvae in water-filled bromeliads. In bromeliads, the probability of desiccation is greatest in small plants. For the 10 most common bromeliad insect taxa, we ask whether differences in drought tolerance and regional abundances between taxa predict community and trophic composition over a gradient of bromeliad size. First, we used bromeliad survey data to calculate the mean habitat size of occurrence of each taxon. Comparing the observed mean habitat size of occurrence to that expected from random species assembly based on differences in their regional abundances allowed us to obtain habitat size sensitivity indices (as Z scores) for the various insect taxa. Second, we obtained drought sensitivity indices by subjecting individual insects to drought and measuring the effects on relative growth rates in a mesocosm experiment. We found that drought sensitivity strongly, predicts habitat size sensitivity in bromeliad insects. However, an increase in trophic richness with habitat size could not be explained by an increased sensitivity of predators to drought, but rather by sampling effects, as predators were rare compared to lower trophic levels. This finding suggests that physiological tolerance to environmental stress can be relevant in explaining the universal increase in species with habitat size. PMID:26378317

  4. Room to Live: the sizing of Lunar and Martian Habitats

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McGregor, Walter L.

    2006-01-01

    In order for man to return to space or extra terrestrial bodies for long duration missions it is important that adequate habitat volume be defined early to avoid costly delays and redesign. To properly define a habitat volume two major factors need to be considered. The first factor is the free or open space. This is the space that allows the crew room to move about the habitat. This space will vary based on crew size and length of the mission. The second major factor is the stowage space required for equipment and supplies. This includes both fixed volumes and consumables. Fixed volumes include items such as tools, communication equipment, Advanced Life Support (ALS) equipment, and support equipment. Consumables include items like filters, food, water and oxygen. This space is also dependent on crew size and mission length. A review of past missions into alien environments, such as deep sea habitats as well as space based habitats will be used to validate the assumption made in this paper. Once these key factors are defined trades must be run to optimize the overall volume of a habitat. This includes trades of disposable vs. reusable for items such as clothing, dishes, and water. Another factor to consider is the availability of in situ resources to aid in the construction of the habitat structure as well as re-supply of consumable items. A review of past missions into alien environments, such as deep sea habitats as well as space based habitats will be used to validate the assumption made in this paper. The result is a habitat sizing tool to provide a first order estimate of habitat volumes for extended mission to the surface of the moon and Mars.

  5. Repeated Habitat Disturbances by Fire Decrease Local Effective Population Size.

    PubMed

    Schrey, Aaron W; Ragsdale, Alexandria K; McCoy, Earl D; Mushinsky, Henry R

    2016-07-01

    Effective population size is a fundamental parameter in population genetics, and factors that alter effective population size will shape the genetic characteristics of populations. Habitat disturbance may have a large effect on genetic characteristics of populations by influencing immigration and gene flow, particularly in fragmented habitats. We used the Florida Sand Skink (Plestiodon reynoldsi) to investigate the effect of fire-based habitat disturbances on the effective population size in the highly threatened, severely fragmented, and fire dependent Florida scrub habitat. We screened 7 microsatellite loci in 604 individuals collected from 12 locations at Archbold Biological Station. Archbold Biological Station has an active fire management plan and detailed records of fires dating to 1967. Our objective was to determine how the timing, number, and intervals between fires affect effective population size, focusing on multiple fires in the same location. Effective population size was higher in areas that had not been burned for more than 10 years and decreased with number of fires and shorter time between fires. A similar pattern was observed in abundance: increasing abundance with time-since-fire and decreasing abundance with number of fires. The ratio of effective population size to census size was higher at sites with more recent fires and tended to decrease with time-since-last-fire. These results suggest that habitat disturbances, such as fire, may have a large effect in the genetic characteristics of local populations and that Florida Sand Skinks are well adapted to the natural fire dynamics required to maintain Florida scrub. PMID:26976940

  6. Habitat destruction and metacommunity size in pen shell communities.

    PubMed

    Munguia, Pablo; Miller, Thomas E

    2008-11-01

    1. In spatially structured communities, habitat destruction can have two effects: first, a main effect that occurs because of the loss of habitat area within a larger region, and a secondary effect due to changes in the spatial arrangement of local communities. Changes to the spatial arrangement can, in turn, affect the migration and extinction rates within local communities. 2. Our study involved the experimental destruction of entire local communities within larger regions in natural marine microcosms. Large and small arrays of dead pen shells were created in a shallow bay in north Florida, and the colonization by both encrusting and motile species on this empty substrate were followed through time. After most species had become established, half of the large arrays were perturbed to create small arrays by removal of half the shells, simulating habitat destruction. 3. After 48 days of further community development, comparisons of the large arrays, reduced arrays and original small arrays suggested that the mechanisms by which habitat destruction affects diversity could depend upon the size of the region affected and the natural history of the species being studied. 4. Habitat destruction reduced the diversity of motile species to a level lower than that found in the undisturbed small arrays, suggesting that the species that assembled in the original large metacommunities negatively influenced the species that occurred ultimately in the converted small arrays. 5. With sessile species, habitat destruction created richness levels that were intermediate to those of small and large arrays. The initial predestruction richness appears to have had a positive effect; because sessile species cannot disperse as adults, they may not respond to significant shifts in metacommunity size later in succession. Initial metacommunity size may be important for allowing individuals to select appropriate habitats before they settle. PMID:18637972

  7. Wolves adapt territory size, not pack size to local habitat quality.

    PubMed

    Kittle, Andrew M; Anderson, Morgan; Avgar, Tal; Baker, James A; Brown, Glen S; Hagens, Jevon; Iwachewski, Ed; Moffatt, Scott; Mosser, Anna; Patterson, Brent R; Reid, Douglas E B; Rodgers, Arthur R; Shuter, Jen; Street, Garrett M; Thompson, Ian D; Vander Vennen, Lucas M; Fryxell, John M

    2015-09-01

    1. Although local variation in territorial predator density is often correlated with habitat quality, the causal mechanism underlying this frequently observed association is poorly understood and could stem from facultative adjustment in either group size or territory size. 2. To test between these alternative hypotheses, we used a novel statistical framework to construct a winter population-level utilization distribution for wolves (Canis lupus) in northern Ontario, which we then linked to a suite of environmental variables to determine factors influencing wolf space use. Next, we compared habitat quality metrics emerging from this analysis as well as an independent measure of prey abundance, with pack size and territory size to investigate which hypothesis was most supported by the data. 3. We show that wolf space use patterns were concentrated near deciduous, mixed deciduous/coniferous and disturbed forest stands favoured by moose (Alces alces), the predominant prey species in the diet of wolves in northern Ontario, and in proximity to linear corridors, including shorelines and road networks remaining from commercial forestry activities. 4. We then demonstrate that landscape metrics of wolf habitat quality - projected wolf use, probability of moose occupancy and proportion of preferred land cover classes - were inversely related to territory size but unrelated to pack size. 5. These results suggest that wolves in boreal ecosystems alter territory size, but not pack size, in response to local variation in habitat quality. This could be an adaptive strategy to balance trade-offs between territorial defence costs and energetic gains due to resource acquisition. That pack size was not responsive to habitat quality suggests that variation in group size is influenced by other factors such as intraspecific competition between wolf packs. PMID:25757794

  8. Chinook salmon use of spawning patches: relative roles of habitat quality, size, and connectivity.

    PubMed

    Isaak, Daniel J; Thurow, Russell F; Rieman, Bruce E; Dunham, Jason B

    2007-03-01

    Declines in many native fish populations have led to reassessments of management goals and shifted priorities from consumptive uses to species preservation. As management has shifted, relevant environmental characteristics have evolved from traditional metrics that described local habitat quality to characterizations of habitat size and connectivity. Despite the implications this shift has for how habitats may be prioritized for conservation, it has been rare to assess the relative importance of these habitat components. We used an information-theoretic approach to select the best models from sets of logistic regressions that linked habitat quality, size, and connectivity to the occurrence of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) nests. Spawning distributions were censused annually from 1995 to 2004, and data were complemented with field measurements that described habitat quality in 43 suitable spawning patches across a stream network that drained 1150 km2 in central Idaho. Results indicated that the most plausible models were dominated by measures of habitat size and connectivity, whereas habitat quality was of minor importance. Connectivity was the strongest predictor of nest occurrence, but connectivity interacted with habitat size, which became relatively more important when populations were reduced. Comparison of observed nest distributions to null model predictions confirmed that the habitat size association was driven by a biological mechanism when populations were small, but this association may have been an area-related sampling artifact at higher abundances. The implications for habitat management are that the size and connectivity of existing habitat networks should be maintained whenever possible. In situations where habitat restoration is occurring, expansion of existing areas or creation of new habitats in key areas that increase connectivity may be beneficial. Information about habitat size and connectivity also could be used to strategically

  9. Predicting summer site occupancy for an invasive species, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), in an urban environment.

    PubMed

    Adams, Amy L; Dickinson, Katharine J M; Robertson, Bruce C; van Heezik, Yolanda

    2013-01-01

    Invasive species are often favoured in fragmented, highly-modified, human-dominated landscapes such as urban areas. Because successful invasive urban adapters can occupy habitat that is quite different from that in their original range, effective management programmes for invasive species in urban areas require an understanding of distribution, habitat and resource requirements at a local scale that is tailored to the fine-scale heterogeneity typical of urban landscapes. The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is one of New Zealand's most destructive invasive pest species. As brushtail possums traditionally occupy forest habitat, control in New Zealand has focussed on rural and forest habitats, and forest fragments in cities. However, as successful urban adapters, possums may be occupying a wider range of habitats. Here we use site occupancy methods to determine the distribution of brushtail possums across five distinguishable urban habitat types during summer, which is when possums have the greatest impacts on breeding birds. We collected data on possum presence/absence and habitat characteristics, including possible sources of supplementary food (fruit trees, vegetable gardens, compost heaps), and the availability of forest fragments from 150 survey locations. Predictive distribution models constructed using the programme PRESENCE revealed that while occupancy rates were highest in forest fragments, possums were still present across a large proportion of residential habitat with occupancy decreasing as housing density increased and green cover decreased. The presence of supplementary food sources was important in predicting possum occupancy, which may reflect the high nutritional value of these food types. Additionally, occupancy decreased as the proportion of forest fragment decreased, indicating the importance of forest fragments in determining possum distribution. Control operations to protect native birds from possum predation in cities should

  10. Predicting Summer Site Occupancy for an Invasive Species, the Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), in an Urban Environment

    PubMed Central

    Adams, Amy L.; Dickinson, Katharine J. M.; Robertson, Bruce C.; van Heezik, Yolanda

    2013-01-01

    Invasive species are often favoured in fragmented, highly-modified, human-dominated landscapes such as urban areas. Because successful invasive urban adapters can occupy habitat that is quite different from that in their original range, effective management programmes for invasive species in urban areas require an understanding of distribution, habitat and resource requirements at a local scale that is tailored to the fine-scale heterogeneity typical of urban landscapes. The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is one of New Zealand’s most destructive invasive pest species. As brushtail possums traditionally occupy forest habitat, control in New Zealand has focussed on rural and forest habitats, and forest fragments in cities. However, as successful urban adapters, possums may be occupying a wider range of habitats. Here we use site occupancy methods to determine the distribution of brushtail possums across five distinguishable urban habitat types during summer, which is when possums have the greatest impacts on breeding birds. We collected data on possum presence/absence and habitat characteristics, including possible sources of supplementary food (fruit trees, vegetable gardens, compost heaps), and the availability of forest fragments from 150 survey locations. Predictive distribution models constructed using the programme PRESENCE revealed that while occupancy rates were highest in forest fragments, possums were still present across a large proportion of residential habitat with occupancy decreasing as housing density increased and green cover decreased. The presence of supplementary food sources was important in predicting possum occupancy, which may reflect the high nutritional value of these food types. Additionally, occupancy decreased as the proportion of forest fragment decreased, indicating the importance of forest fragments in determining possum distribution. Control operations to protect native birds from possum predation in cities should

  11. Dominant predators mediate the impact of habitat size on trophic structure in bromeliad invertebrate communities.

    PubMed

    Petermann, Jana S; Farjalla, Vinicius F; Jocque, Merlijn; Kratina, Pavel; MacDonald, A Andrew M; Marino, Nicholas A C; De Omena, Paula M; Piccoli, Gustavo C O; Richardson, Barbara A; Richardson, Michael J; Romero, Gustavo Q; Videla, Martin; Srivastava, Diane S

    2015-02-01

    Local habitat size has been shown to influence colonization and extinction processes of species in patchy environments. However, species differ in body size, mobility, and trophic level, and may not respond in the same way to habitat size. Thus far, we have a limited understanding of how habitat size influences the structure of multitrophic communities and to what extent the effects may be generalizable over a broad geographic range. Here, we used water-filled bromeliads of different sizes as a natural model system to examine the effects of habitat size on the trophic structure of their inhabiting invertebrate communities. We collected composition and biomass data from 651 bromeliad communities from eight sites across Central and South America differing in environmental conditions, species pools, and the presence of large-bodied odonate predators. We found that trophic structure in the communities changed dramatically with changes in habitat (bromeliad) size. Detritivore : resource ratios showed a consistent negative relationship with habitat size across sites. In contrast, changes in predator: detritivore (prey) ratios depended on the presence of odonates as dominant predators in the regional pool. At sites without odonates, predator: detritivore biomass ratios decreased with increasing habitat size. At sites with odonates, we found odonates to be more frequently present in large than in small bromeliads, and predator: detritivore biomass ratios increased with increasing habitat size to the point where some trophic pyramids became inverted. Our results show that the distribution of biomass amongst food-web levels depends strongly on habitat size, largely irrespective of geographic differences in environmental conditions or detritivore species compositions. However, the presence of large-bodied predators in the regional species pool may fundamentally alter this relationship between habitat size and trophic structure. We conclude that taking into account the

  12. Habitat patch size and mating system as determinants of social group size in coral-dwelling fishes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thompson, V. J.; Munday, P. L.; Jones, G. P.

    2007-03-01

    It is thought that the size and dispersion of habitat patches can determine the size and composition of animal social groups, however, this has rarely been tested. The relationship between group size, the mating system, and habitat patch size in six species of coral-dwelling gobies was examined. For all species, there was a positive correlation between coral colony size and social group size, however the strength of this relationship varied among species. Paragobiodon xanthosomus exhibited the strongest relationship and a manipulative field experiment confirmed that coral colony size limited group size in this species. For other species including Paragobiodon melanosomus and Eviota bifasciata, either a highly conservative mating system ( P. melanosomus), or increased mobility ( E. bifasciata) appeared to disrupt the relationship between habitat patch size and group size. There was no consistent relationship between the mating system exhibited and group size among the species investigated. These results demonstrate that habitat patch size, mobility, and mating systems can interact in complex ways to structure group size even among closely related species.

  13. The effect of fragment shape and species' sensitivity to habitat edges on animal population size.

    PubMed

    Ewers, Robert M; Didham, Raphael K

    2007-08-01

    Habitat fragmentation causes extinction of local animal populations by decreasing the amount of viable "core" habitat area and increasing edge effects. It is widely accepted that larger fragments make better nature reserves because core-dwelling species have a larger amount of suitable habitat. Nevertheless, fragments in real landscapes have complex, irregular shapes. We modeled the population sizes of species that have a representative range of preferences for or aversions to habitat edges at five spatial scales (within 10, 32, 100, 320, and 1000 m of an edge) in a nation-wide analysis of forest remnants in New Zealand. We hypothesized that the irregular shapes of fragments in real landscapes should generate statistically significant correlations between population density and fragment area, purely as a "geometric" effect of varying species responses to the distribution of edge habitat. Irregularly shaped fragments consistently reduced the population size of core-dwelling species by 10-100%, depending on the scale over which species responded to habitat edges. Moreover, core populations within individual fragments were spatially discontinuous, containing multiple, disjunct populations that inhabited small spatial areas and had reduced population size. The geometric effect was highly nonlinear and depended on the range of fragment sizes sampled and the scale at which species responded to habitat edges. Fragment shape played a strong role in determining population size in fragmented landscapes; thus, habitat restoration efforts may be more effective if they focus on connecting disjunct cores rather than isolated fragments. PMID:17650243

  14. Effect of Group-Selection Opening Size on Breeding Bird Habitat Use in a Bottomland Forest

    SciTech Connect

    Moorman, C.E.; D.C. Guynn, Jr.

    2001-12-01

    Research on the effects of creating group-selection openings of various sizes on breeding birds habitat use in a bottomland hardwood forest of the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Creation of 0.5-ha group selection openings in southern bottomland forests should provide breeding habitat for some field-edge species in gaps and habitat for forest-interior species and canopy-dwelling forest-edge species between gaps provided that enough mature forest is made available.

  15. Scale-Dependent Habitat Selection and Size-Based Dominance in Adult Male American Alligators.

    PubMed

    Strickland, Bradley A; Vilella, Francisco J; Belant, Jerrold L

    2016-01-01

    Habitat selection is an active behavioral process that may vary across spatial and temporal scales. Animals choose an area of primary utilization (i.e., home range) then make decisions focused on resource needs within patches. Dominance may affect the spatial distribution of conspecifics and concomitant habitat selection. Size-dependent social dominance hierarchies have been documented in captive alligators, but evidence is lacking from wild populations. We studied habitat selection for adult male American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis; n = 17) on the Pearl River in central Mississippi, USA, to test whether habitat selection was scale-dependent and individual resource selectivity was a function of conspecific body size. We used K-select analysis to quantify selection at the home range scale and patches within the home range to determine selection congruency and important habitat variables. In addition, we used linear models to determine if body size was related to selection patterns and strengths. Our results indicated habitat selection of adult male alligators was a scale-dependent process. Alligators demonstrated greater overall selection for habitat variables at the patch level and less at the home range level, suggesting resources may not be limited when selecting a home range for animals in our study area. Further, diurnal habitat selection patterns may depend on thermoregulatory needs. There was no relationship between resource selection or home range size and body size, suggesting size-dependent dominance hierarchies may not have influenced alligator resource selection or space use in our sample. Though apparent habitat suitability and low alligator density did not manifest in an observed dominance hierarchy, we hypothesize that a change in either could increase intraspecific interactions, facilitating a dominance hierarchy. Due to the broad and diverse ecological roles of alligators, understanding the factors that influence their social dominance

  16. Habitat-specific clutch size and cost of incubation in eiders reconsidered.

    PubMed

    Ost, Markus; Wickman, Mikael; Matulionis, Edward; Steele, Benjamin

    2008-11-01

    The energetic incubation constraint hypothesis (EICH) for clutch size states that birds breeding in poor habitat may free up resources for future reproduction by laying a smaller clutch. The eider (Somateria mollissima) is considered a candidate for supporting this hypothesis. Clutch size is smaller in exposed nests, presumably because of faster heat loss and higher incubation cost, and, hence, smaller optimal clutch size. However, an alternative explanation is partial predation: the first egg(s) are left unattended and vulnerable to predation, which may disproportionately affect exposed nests, so clutch size may be underestimated. We experimentally investigated whether predation on first-laid eggs in eiders depends on nest cover. We then re-evaluated how nesting habitat affects clutch size and incubation costs based on long-term data, accounting for confounding effects between habitat and individual quality. We also experimentally assessed adult survival costs of nesting in sheltered nests. The risk of egg predation in experimental nests decreased with cover. Confounding between individual and habitat quality is unlikely, as clutch size was also smaller in open nests within individuals, and early and late breeders had similar nest cover characteristics. A trade-off between clutch and female safety may explain nest cover variation, as the risk of female capture by us, mimicking predation on adults, increased with nest cover. Nest habitat had no effect on female hatching weight or weight loss, while lower temperature during incubation had an unanticipated positive relationship with hatching weight. There were no indications of elevated costs of incubating larger clutches, while clutch size and colony size were positively correlated, a pattern not predicted by the 'energetic incubation constraint' hypothesis. Differential partial clutch predation thus offers the more parsimonious explanation for clutch size variation among habitats in eiders, highlighting the need

  17. Habitat richness affects home range size in a monogamous large rodent.

    PubMed

    Lovari, Sandro; Sforzi, Andrea; Mori, Emiliano

    2013-10-01

    In monogamous species, after pair formation, the main reason for ranging movements is not searching for a mate, but for other important resources e.g. food. We monitored a total of 20 radio-tagged adult, paired crested porcupines in four areas of different habitat richness. No sexual size dimorphism was assessed. Body mass and habitat richness showed collinearity. For both sexes, home range size was correlated to habitat richness, with a significant inverse exponential regression. Opposite to natural foragers, living in poor habitats, crop foragers had smaller home ranges, with their dens significantly closer to cultivations. Both availability of food resources and den sites are key variables to determine home range size. PMID:23796772

  18. Habitat traits and species interactions differentially affect abundance and body size in pond-breeding amphibians.

    PubMed

    Ousterhout, Brittany H; Anderson, Thomas L; Drake, Dana L; Peterman, William E; Semlitsch, Raymond D

    2015-07-01

    In recent studies, habitat traits have emerged as stronger predictors of species occupancy, abundance, richness and diversity than competition. However, in many cases, it remains unclear whether habitat also mediates processes more subtle than competitive exclusion, such as growth, or whether intra- and interspecific interactions among individuals of different species may be better predictors of size. To test whether habitat traits are a stronger predictor of abundance and body size than intra- and interspecific interactions, we measured the density and body size of three species of larval salamanders in 192 ponds across a landscape. We found that the density of larvae was best predicted by models that included habitat features, while models incorporating interactions among individuals of different species best explained the body size of larvae. Additionally, we found a positive relationship between focal species density and congener density, while focal species body size was negatively related to congener density. We posit that salamander larvae may not experience competitive exclusion and thus reduced densities, but instead compensate for increased competition behaviourally (e.g. reduced foraging), resulting in decreased growth. The discrepancy between larval density and body size, a strong predictor of fitness in this system, also highlights a potential shortcoming in using density or abundance as a metric of habitat quality or population health. PMID:25643605

  19. Habitat complexity does not promote coexistence in a size-structured intraguild predation system.

    PubMed

    Reichstein, Birte; Schröder, Arne; Persson, Lennart; De Roos, André M

    2013-01-01

    Size-dependent interactions and habitat complexity have been identified as important factors affecting the persistence of intraguild predation (IGP) systems. Habitat complexity has been suggested to promote intraguild (IG) prey and intraguild predator coexistence through weakening trophic interactions particularly the predation link. Here, we experimentally investigate the effects of habitat complexity on coexistence and invasion success of differently sized IG-predators in a size-structured IGP system consisting of the IG-predator Poecilia reticulata and a resident Heterandria formosa IG-prey population. The experiments included medium-long and long-term invasion experiments, predator-prey experiments and competition experiments to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the effect of prey refuges. Habitat complexity did not promote the coexistence of IG-predator and IG-prey, although the predation link was substantially weakened. However, the presence of habitat structure affected the invasion success of large IG-predators negatively and the invasion success of small IG-predators positively. The effect of refuges on size-dependent invasion success could be related to a major decrease in the IG-predator's capture rate and a shift in the size distribution of IG-predator juveniles. In summary, habitat complexity had two main effects: (i) the predation link was diminished, resulting in a more competition driven system and (ii) the overall competitive abilities of the two species were equalized, but coexistence was not promoted. Our results suggest that in a size-structured IGP system, individual level mechanisms may gain in importance over species level mechanisms in the presence of habitat complexity. PMID:23004014

  20. Relationship between channel morphology and foraging habitat for stream salmonids: Effects of body size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cienciala, P.; Hassan, M. A.

    2014-12-01

    Channel morphology and dynamics strongly influence fish populations in running waters by defining habitat template for movement, spawning, incubation, and foraging. In this research we adopted a modeling approach to investigate how body size controls the relationship between salmonid fish and their foraging habitat in streams. Body size is a fundamental ecological parameter which affects resource acquisition, locomotory costs, metabolic rates, and competitive abilities. We focus on two specific questions. First, we examined how distinct types of channel morphology and associated flow fields shape specific growth potential for different body size classes of trout. Second, we modeled these fish-habitat relationships in a size-structured population in the presence of intraspecific competition. In the latter scenario, fish may not be able to occupy energetically optimal foraging habitat and the predicted specific growth potential may differ from the intrinsic habitat quality. To address the research questions, we linked a 2D hydrodynamic model with a bioenergetic foraging model for drift-feeding trout. Net energy intake, simulated for four study reaches with different channel morphology, was converted into maps of specific growth rate potential. We extended this model by including a component that enabled us to estimate territory size for fish of a given body size and account for the effects of competition on spatial distribution of fish. The predictions that emerge from our simulations highlight that fish body size is an important factor that determines the relationship between channel morphology and the quality of foraging habitat. The results also indicate that distinct types of channel morphology may give rise to different energetic conditions for different body size classes of drift-feeding salmonids.

  1. Habitat degradation and fishing effects on the size structure of coral reef fish communities.

    PubMed

    Wilson, S K; Fisher, R; Pratchett, M S; Graham, N A J; Dulvy, N K; Turner, R A; Cakacaka, A; Polunin, N V C

    2010-03-01

    Overfishing and habitat degradation through climate change pose the greatest threats to sustainability of marine resources on coral reefs. We examined how changes in fishing pressure and benthic habitat composition influenced the size spectra of island-scale reef fish communities in Lau, Fiji. Between 2000 and 2006 fishing pressure declined in the Lau Islands due to declining human populations and reduced demand for fresh fish. At the same time, coral cover declined and fine-scale architectural complexity eroded due to coral bleaching and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci. We examined the size distribution of reef fish communities using size spectra analysis, the linearized relationship between abundance and body size class. Spatial variation in fishing pressure accounted for 31% of the variation in the slope of the size spectra in 2000, higher fishing pressure being associated with a steeper slope, which is indicative of fewer large-bodied fish and/or more small-bodied fish. Conversely, in 2006 spatial variation in habitat explained 53% of the variation in the size spectra slopes, and the relationship with fishing pressure was much weaker (approximately 12% of variation) than in 2000. Reduced cover of corals and lower structural complexity was associated with less steep size spectra slopes, primarily due to reduced abundance of fish < 20 cm. Habitat degradation will compound effects of fishing on coral reefs as increased fishing reduces large-bodied target species, while habitat loss results in fewer small-bodied juveniles and prey that replenish stocks and provide dietary resources for predatory target species. Effective management of reef resources therefore depends on both reducing fishing pressure and maintaining processes that encourage rapid recovery of coral habitat. PMID:20405798

  2. Influence of habitat quality, population size, patch size, and connectivity on patch-occupancy dynamics of the middle spotted woodpecker.

    PubMed

    Robles, Hugo; Ciudad, Carlos

    2012-04-01

    Despite extensive research on the effects of habitat fragmentation, the ecological mechanisms underlying colonization and extinction processes are poorly known, but knowledge of these mechanisms is essential to understanding the distribution and persistence of populations in fragmented habitats. We examined these mechanisms through multiseason occupancy models that elucidated patch-occupancy dynamics of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos medius) in northwestern Spain. The number of occupied patches was relatively stable from 2000 to 2010 (15-24% of 101 patches occupied every year) because extinction was balanced by recolonization. Larger and higher quality patches (i.e., higher density of oaks >37 cm dbh [diameter at breast height]) were more likely to be occupied. Habitat quality (i.e., density of large oaks) explained more variation in patch colonization and extinction than did patch size and connectivity, which were both weakly associated with probabilities of turnover. Patches of higher quality were more likely to be colonized than patches of lower quality. Populations in high-quality patches were less likely to become extinct. In addition, extinction in a patch was strongly associated with local population size but not with patch size, which means the latter may not be a good surrogate of population size in assessments of extinction probability. Our results suggest that habitat quality may be a primary driver of patch-occupancy dynamics and may increase the accuracy of models of population survival. We encourage comparisons of competing models that assess occupancy, colonization, and extinction probabilities in a single analytical framework (e.g., dynamic occupancy models) so as to shed light on the association of habitat quality and patch geometry with colonization and extinction processes in different settings and species. PMID:22268847

  3. Polymorphic mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) in a coastal riverscape: size class assemblages, distribution, and habitat associations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Starr, James C.; Torgersen, Christian

    2015-01-01

    We compared the assemblage structure, spatial distributions, and habitat associations of mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) morphotypes and size classes. We hypothesised that morphotypes would have different spatial distributions and would be associated with different habitat features based on feeding behaviour and diet. Spatially continuous sampling was conducted over a broad extent (29 km) in the Calawah River, WA (USA). Whitefish were enumerated via snorkelling in three size classes: small (10–29 cm), medium (30–49 cm), and large (≥50 cm). We identified morphotypes based on head and snout morphology: a pinocchio form that had an elongated snout and a normal form with a blunted snout. Large size classes of both morphotypes were distributed downstream of small and medium size classes, and normal whitefish were distributed downstream of pinocchio whitefish. Ordination of whitefish assemblages with nonmetric multidimensional scaling revealed that normal whitefish size classes were associated with higher gradient and depth, whereas pinocchio whitefish size classes were positively associated with pool area, distance upstream, and depth. Reach-scale generalised additive models indicated that normal whitefish relative density was associated with larger substrate size in downstream reaches (R2 = 0.64), and pinocchio whitefish were associated with greater stream depth in the reaches farther upstream (R2 = 0.87). These results suggest broad-scale spatial segregation (1–10 km), particularly between larger and more phenotypically extreme individuals. These results provide the first perspective on spatial distributions and habitat relationships of polymorphic mountain whitefish.

  4. DIATOM SPECIES RICHNESS IN STREAMS OF THE EASTERN US: STREAM SIZE AND HABITAT EFFECTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    We analyzed the relationship between benthic diatom assemblages, stream size, and habitat characteristics in 445 first through seventh order streams in the Mid-Atlantic (n=230), South Atlantic (n=61), Ohio (n=140), and Tennessee (n=14) hydrologic regions. Diatom samples were col...

  5. Size of age-0 crappies (Pomoxis spp.) relative to reservoir habitats and water levels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kaczka, Levi J.; Miranda, Leandro E.

    2014-01-01

    Variable year-class strength is common in crappie Pomoxis spp. populations in many reservoirs, yet the mechanisms behind this variability are poorly understood. Size-dependent mortality of age-0 fishes has long been recognized in the population ecology literature; however, investigations about the effects of environmental factors on age-0 crappie size are lacking. The objective of this study was to determine if differences existed in total length of age-0 crappies between embayment and floodplain habitats in reservoirs, while accounting for potential confounding effects of water level and crappie species. To this end, we examined size of age-0 crappies in four flood-control reservoirs in northwest Mississippi over 4years. Age-0 crappies inhabiting uplake floodplain habitats grew to a larger size than fish in downlake embayments, but this trend depended on species, length of time a reservoir was dewatered in the months preceding spawning, and reservoir water level in the months following spawning. The results from our study indicate that water-level management may focus not only on allowing access to quality nursery habitat, but that alternating water levels on a multiyear schedule could increase the quality of degraded littoral habitats.

  6. How big and how close? Habitat patch size and spacing to conserve a threatened species

    EPA Science Inventory

    We present results of a spatially-explicit, individual-based stochastic dispersal model (HexSim) to evaluate effects of size and spacing of patches of habitat of Northern Spotted Owls (NSO; Strix occidentalis caurina) in Pacific Northwest, USA, to help advise USDI Fish and Wildli...

  7. Fish movement and habitat use depends on water body size and shape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Woolnough, D.A.; Downing, J.A.; Newton, T.J.

    2009-01-01

    Home ranges are central to understanding habitat diversity, effects of fragmentation and conservation. The distance that an organism moves yields information on life history, genetics and interactions with other organisms. Present theory suggests that home range is set by body size of individuals. Here, we analyse estimates of home ranges in lakes and rivers to show that body size of fish and water body size and shape influence home range size. Using 71 studies including 66 fish species on five continents, we show that home range estimates increased with increasing water body size across water body shapes. This contrasts with past studies concluding that body size sets home range. We show that water body size was a consistently significant predictor of home range. In conjunction, body size and water body size can provide improved estimates of home range than just body size alone. As habitat patches are decreasing in size worldwide, our findings have implications for ecology, conservation and genetics of populations in fragmented ecosystems. ?? 2008 Blackwell Munksgaard.

  8. Male Kirtland's Warblers' patch-level response to landscape structure during periods of varying population size and habitat amounts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Donner, D.M.; Ribic, C.A.; Probst, J.R.

    2009-01-01

    Forest planners must evaluate how spatiotemporal changes in habitat amount and configuration across the landscape as a result of timber management will affect species' persistence. However, there are few long-term programs available for evaluation. We investigated the response of male Kirtland's Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii) to 26 years of changing patch and landscape structure during a large, 26-year forestry-habitat restoration program within the warbler's primary breeding range. We found that the average density of male Kirtland's Warblers was related to a different combination of patch and landscape attributes depending on the species' regional population level and habitat amounts on the landscape (early succession jack pine (Pinus banksiana) forests; 15-42% habitat cover). Specifically, patch age and habitat regeneration type were important at low male population and total habitat amounts, while patch age and distance to an occupied patch were important at relatively high population and habitat amounts. Patch age and size were more important at increasing population levels and an intermediate amount of habitat. The importance of patch age to average male density during all periods reflects the temporal buildup and decline of male numbers as habitat suitability within the patch changed with succession. Habitat selection (i.e., preference for wildfire-regenerated habitat) and availability may explain the importance of habitat type and patch size during lower population and habitat levels. The relationship between male density and distance when there was the most habitat on the landscape and the male population was large and still increasing may be explained by the widening spatial dispersion of the increasing male population at the regional scale. Because creating or preserving habitat is not a random process, management efforts would benefit from more investigations of managed population responses to changes in spatial structure that occur through habitat gain

  9. Photoreceptor topography and spectral sensitivity in the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    Vlahos, Lisa M; Knott, Ben; Valter, Krisztina; Hemmi, Jan M

    2014-10-15

    Marsupials are believed to be the only non-primate mammals with both trichromatic and dichromatic color vision. The diversity of color vision systems present in marsupials remains mostly unexplored. Marsupials occupy a diverse range of habitats, which may have led to considerable variation in the presence, density, distribution, and spectral sensitivity of retinal photoreceptors. In this study we analyzed the distribution of photoreceptors in the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Immunohistochemistry in wholemounts revealed three cone subpopulations recognized within two spectrally distinct cone classes. Long-wavelength sensitive (LWS) single cones were the largest cone subgroup (67-86%), and formed a weak horizontal visual streak (peak density 2,106 ± 435/mm2) across the central retina. LWS double cones were strongly concentrated ventrally (569 ± 66/mm2), and created a "negative" visual streak (134 ± 45/mm2) in the central retina. The strong regionalization between LWS cone topographies suggests differing visual functions. Short-wavelength sensitive (SWS) cones were present in much lower densities (3-10%), mostly located ventrally (179 ± 101/mm2). A minority population of cones (0-2.4%) remained unlabeled by both SWS- and LWS-specific antibodies, and may represent another cone population. Microspectrophotometry of LWS cone and rod visual pigments shows peak spectral sensitivities at 544 nm and 500 nm, respectively. Cone to ganglion cell convergences remain low and constant across the retina, thereby maintaining good visual acuity, but poor contrast sensitivity during photopic vision. Given that brushtail possums are so strongly nocturnal, we hypothesize that their acuity is set by the scotopic visual system, and have minimized the number of cones necessary to serve the ganglion cells for photopic vision. PMID:24737644

  10. Habitat selection by breeding waterbirds at ponds with size-structured fish populations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kloskowski, Janusz; Nieoczym, Marek; Polak, Marcin; Pitucha, Piotr

    2010-07-01

    Fish may significantly affect habitat use by birds, either as their prey or as competitors. Fish communities are often distinctly size-structured, but the consequences for waterbird assemblages remain poorly understood. We examined the effects of size structure of common carp ( Cyprinus carpio) cohorts together with other biotic and abiotic pond characteristics on the distribution of breeding waterbirds in a seminatural system of monocultured ponds, where three fish age classes were separately stocked. Fish age corresponded to a distinct fish size gradient. Fish age and total biomass, macroinvertebrate and amphibian abundance, and emergent vegetation best explained the differences in bird density between ponds. Abundance of animal prey other than fish (aquatic macroinvertebrates and larval amphibians) decreased with increasing carp age in the ponds. Densities of ducks and smaller grebes were strongly negatively associated with fish age/size gradient. The largest of the grebes, the piscivorous great crested grebe ( Podiceps cristatus), was the only species that preferred ponds with medium-sized fish and was positively associated with total fish biomass. Habitat selection by bitterns and most rallids was instead strongly influenced by the relative amount of emergent vegetation cover in the ponds. Our results show that fish size structure may be an important cue for breeding habitat choice and a factor affording an opportunity for niche diversification in avian communities.

  11. Patterns in estuarine macrofauna body size distributions: The role of habitat and disturbance impact

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dolbeth, Marina; Raffaelli, Dave; Pardal, Miguel Ângelo

    2014-01-01

    Schwinghamer's (1981) habitat architecture hypothesis for body mass spectra in marine sediments predicts a single macrofauna mode in response to the bulk nature of the sediment. This proposition was examined for intertidal macrofauna from a well-studied estuarine system, using kernel density estimation to define modality and the locations of peaks and troughs. Three sedimentary environments and habitats were examined along a disturbance gradient related to eutrophication. Our results indicate that bimodality is likely to occur within the macrofauna size range, which weakens the habitat architecture model and casts doubts on the mechanisms behind other modes in benthic size spectra. The location of the modes and intervening trough were not conservative and not apparently related to sediment grain size or habitat structure, but somewhat dependent on the presence of particular species: the presence or absence of large numbers of individuals of Hydrobia ulvae and larger-bodied taxa such as Scrobicularia plana and Hediste diversicolor. Alternative competing hypotheses are explored for the observed results, including Warwick's (1984) phylogenetic explanation, but taking into consideration both species composition and disturbance impact, it seems most likely Holling's (1992) textural discontinuity hypothesis, as a measure of resilience, could be a plausible explanation.

  12. Habitat corridors facilitate genetic resilience irrespective of species dispersal abilities or population sizes

    PubMed Central

    Christie, Mark R; Knowles, L Lacey

    2015-01-01

    Corridors are frequently proposed to connect patches of habitat that have become isolated due to human-mediated alterations to the landscape. While it is understood that corridors can facilitate dispersal between patches, it remains unknown whether corridors can mitigate the negative genetic effects for entire communities modified by habitat fragmentation. These negative genetic effects, which include reduced genetic diversity, limit the potential for populations to respond to selective agents such as disease epidemics and global climate change. We provide clear evidence from a forward-time, agent-based model (ABM) that corridors can facilitate genetic resilience in fragmented habitats across a broad range of species dispersal abilities and population sizes. Our results demonstrate that even modest increases in corridor width decreased the genetic differentiation between patches and increased the genetic diversity and effective population size within patches. Furthermore, we document a trade-off between corridor quality and corridor design whereby populations connected by high-quality habitat (i.e., low corridor mortality) are more resilient to suboptimal corridor design (e.g., long and narrow corridors). The ABM also revealed that species interactions can play a greater role than corridor design in shaping the genetic responses of populations to corridors. These results demonstrate how corridors can provide long-term conservation benefits that extend beyond targeted taxa and scale up to entire communities irrespective of species dispersal abilities or population sizes. PMID:26029259

  13. Patch size and distance: modelling habitat structure from the perspective of clonal growth

    PubMed Central

    Oborny, Beáta; Hubai, Andras G.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims This study considers the spatial structure of patchy habitats from the perspective of plants that forage for resources by clonal growth. Modelling is used in order to compare two basic strategies, which differ in the response of the plant to a patch boundary. The ‘avoiding plant’ (A) never grows out of a good (resource-rich) patch into a bad (resource-poor) region, because the parent ramet withdraws its subsidy from the offspring. The ‘entering plant’ (E) always crosses the boundary, as the offspring is subsidized at the expense of the parent. In addition to these two extreme scenarios, an intermediate mixed strategy (M) will also be tested. The model is used to compare the efficiency of foraging in various habitats in which the proportion of resource-rich areas (p) is varied. Methods A stochastic cellular automata (CA) model is developed in which habitat space is represented by a honeycomb lattice. Each cell within the lattice can accommodate a single ramet, and colonization can occur from a parent ramet's cell into six neighbouring cells. The CA consists of two layers: the population layer and the habitat. In the population layer, a cell can be empty or occupied by a ramet; in the habitat layer, a cell can be good (resource-rich) or bad (resource-poor). The habitat layer is constant; the population layer changes over time, according to the birth and death of ramets. Key Results Strategies M and E are primarily limited by patch distance, whereas A is more sensitive to patch size. At a critical threshold of the proportion of resource-rich areas, p = 0·5, the mean patch size increases abruptly. Below the threshold, E is more efficient than A, whilst above the threshold the opposite is true. The mixed strategy (M) is more efficient than either of the pure strategies across a broad range of p values. Conclusions The model predicts more species/genotypes with the ‘entering’ strategy, E, in habitats where resource-rich patches are

  14. Landscape selection by piping plovers has implications for measuring habitat and population size

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anteau, Michael J.; Shaffer, Terry L.; Wiltermuth, Mark T.; Sherfy, Mark H.

    2014-01-01

    How breeding birds distribute in relation to landscape-scale habitat features has important implications for conservation because those features may constrain habitat suitability. Furthermore, knowledge of these associations can help build models to improve area-wide demographic estimates or to develop a sampling stratification for research and monitoring. This is particularly important for rare species that have uneven distributions across vast areas, such as the federally listed piping plover (Charadrius melodus; hereafter plover). We examined how remotely-sensed landscape features influenced the distribution of breeding plover pairs among 2-km shoreline segments during 2006–2009 at Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota, USA. We found strong associations between remotely-sensed landscape features and plover abundance and distribution (R2 = 0.65). Plovers were nearly absent from segments with bluffs (>25 m elevation increase within 250 m of shoreline). Relative plover density (pairs/ha) was markedly greater on islands (4.84 ± 1.22 SE) than on mainlands (0.85 ± 0.17 SE). Pair numbers increased with abundance of nesting habitat (unvegetated-flat areas β^=0.28±0.08SE ). On islands, pair numbers also increased with the relative proportion of the total area that was habitat ( β^=3.27±0.46SE ). Our model could be adapted to estimate the breeding population of plovers or to make predictions that provide a basis for stratification and design of future surveys. Knowledge of landscape features, such as bluffs, that exclude use by birds refines habitat suitability and facilitates more accurate estimates of habitat and population abundance, by decreasing the size of the sampling universe. Furthermore, techniques demonstrated here are applicable to other vast areas where birds breed in sparse or uneven densities.

  15. Trophic levels colonize sequentially but effects of habitat size and quality are transient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piechnik, Denise A.

    2013-02-01

    Ecologists study assembling communities to understand mechanisms responsible for community-level patterns such as trophic structure. As communities assemble the incidence of each trophic level is conditional upon available resources such as prey, habitat area and productivity. Larger, more productive habitats may have more resources, increasing the potential to attract and to support greater species diversity, abundance, and more trophic levels. Predator trophic breadth and prey incidence may influence colonization order because obligate specialists have stricter prey dependencies than generalists do. In a system of stacked specialists, colonization may occur sequentially by trophic level because prey must be present before the next higher trophic level can colonize. Sequential colonization ordered by trophic level and by trophic breadth were tested with a field experiment and a Monte Carlo simulation. Community assembly was observed for an aphid food-web module composed of nine specialist and generalist predators colonizing plots seeded with California native annuals. To test the importance of habitat quality and resources, plots were manipulated for size (1 m2 and 10 m2) and productivity (+/0 fertilizer), and then sampled for colonists many times during the growing season of 2003. Specialists from higher trophic levels were observed to colonize after their prey had arrived in the field experiment only, providing field support for the hypothesis of sequential colonization ordered by trophic level during community assembly. Intriguingly, generalist predators colonized later than specialists, despite the high and early availability of aphid prey. This finding contradicts the assumption that a narrow trophic breadth may disadvantage specialist colonizers. Initially, predator and prey densities increased on fertilized plots, but later this pattern was observed only on small plots. Patterns of sequential colonization order by trophic level and trophic breadth were

  16. Effect of Habitat Size, Quality, and Isolation on Functional Groups of Beetles in Hollow Oaks.

    PubMed

    Pilskog, Hanne Eik; Birkemoe, Tone; Framstad, Erik; Sverdrup-Thygeson, Anne

    2016-01-01

    One of the largest threats to biodiversity is land use change and habitat loss. Hollow oaks (Quercus spp. L.) are well-defined patches that are hotspots for biodiversity and red-listed species, but they are often rare and fragmented in the landscape. We investigated the effect of patch size, habitat quality, and isolation on functional groups and red-listed saproxylic beetles in hollow oaks (n = 40) in Norway. The groups were defined by host tree association, trophic grouping, and red-listed status. Habitat quality, represented by tree form was most important in explaining species richness for most groups. Patch size, represented by circumference and amount of dead branches, was most important in explaining abundance. Isolation, that is single oaks compared with oaks in groups, had a negative effect on the abundance of beetles feeding both on wood and fungi (xylomycethopagous), as well as on species associated with broadleaved trees (oak semi-specialists), but did not affect species richness. This indicates that at this scale and in this landscape, isolated oaks are as species rich and valuable for conservation as other oaks, although some functional groups may be more vulnerable to isolation than others. The red-listed species only responded to patch size, indicating that oaks with large circumference and many dead branches are especially important for red-listed species and for conservation. PMID:26945089

  17. Effect of Habitat Size, Quality, and Isolation on Functional Groups of Beetles in Hollow Oaks

    PubMed Central

    Pilskog, Hanne Eik; Birkemoe, Tone; Framstad, Erik; Sverdrup-Thygeson, Anne

    2016-01-01

    One of the largest threats to biodiversity is land use change and habitat loss. Hollow oaks (Quercus spp. L.) are well-defined patches that are hotspots for biodiversity and red-listed species, but they are often rare and fragmented in the landscape. We investigated the effect of patch size, habitat quality, and isolation on functional groups and red-listed saproxylic beetles in hollow oaks (n = 40) in Norway. The groups were defined by host tree association, trophic grouping, and red-listed status. Habitat quality, represented by tree form was most important in explaining species richness for most groups. Patch size, represented by circumference and amount of dead branches, was most important in explaining abundance. Isolation, that is single oaks compared with oaks in groups, had a negative effect on the abundance of beetles feeding both on wood and fungi (xylomycethopagous), as well as on species associated with broadleaved trees (oak semi-specialists), but did not affect species richness. This indicates that at this scale and in this landscape, isolated oaks are as species rich and valuable for conservation as other oaks, although some functional groups may be more vulnerable to isolation than others. The red-listed species only responded to patch size, indicating that oaks with large circumference and many dead branches are especially important for red-listed species and for conservation. PMID:26945089

  18. Relationships of habitat patch size to predator community and survival of duck nests

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sovada, M.A.; Zicus, M.C.; Greenwood, R.J.; Rave, D.P.; Newton, W.E.; Woodward, R.O.; Beiser, J.A.

    2000-01-01

    We studied duck nest success and predator community composition in relation to size of discrete patches of nesting cover in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the United States in 1993-95. We focused on nests in uplands that were seeded to perennial grasses and forbs and enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We estimated daily survival rates (DSRs) of upland duck nests and indices of activity for red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), coyotes (Canis latrans), American badgers (Taxidea taxus), striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), and Franklin's ground squirrels (Spermophilus franklinii), and related these variables to habitat patch size. The effect of patch size (small vs. large) on estimated annual mean DSR was dependent on date of nest initiation (early vs. late) and year. Examination of within-year comparisons for early and late nests suggested that DSR was generally greater in larger habitat patches. Activity indices for the 5 mammalian nest predators were influenced differently by year, location, and patch size. Activity indices of the red fox were greatest in small patches. Coyote indices were the most inconsistent, demonstrating a year X location X patch size interaction. Activity indices of the striped skunk and American badger varied only among years. Franklin's ground squirrel indices were affected by study area location, with higher indices in the southeast than the northwest. Red fox activity was weakly correlated with that of the striped skunk and coyote. Although a positive relationship between habitat patch size and nest success probably exists, we believe the experiment to fully test this hypothesis will continue to be elusive.

  19. Spatial variation in density and size structure indicate habitat selection throughout life stages of two Southwestern Atlantic snappers.

    PubMed

    Aschenbrenner, Alexandre; Hackradt, Carlos Werner; Ferreira, Beatrice Padovani

    2016-02-01

    The early life history of Lutjanus alexandrei and Lutjanus jocu in Southwestern Atlantic is still largely unknown. Habitat use of different life stages (i.e. size categories and densities) of the Brazilian snapper (L. alexandrei) and dog snapper (L. jocu) was examined in a tropical portion of NE coast of Brazil. Visual surveys were conducted in different shallow habitats (mangroves and reefs). Both snapper species showed higher densities in early life stages in mangrove habitat, with a clear increase in fish size from mangrove to adjacent reefs. Post-settler individuals were exclusively found in mangroves for both species. Juveniles of L. alexandrei were also registered only in mangroves, while sub-adult individuals were associated with both mangrove and reef habitats. Mature individuals of L. alexandrei were only observed in reef habitats. Juvenile and sub-adult individuals of the dog snapper were both associated with mangrove and reef habitats, with high densities registered in mangroves. Mature individuals of L. jocu were not registered in the study area. This pattern suggests preference for mangrove habitat in early life stages for both species. Ontogenetic movement between habitats was also recorded. This pattern denotes habitat selection across different life cycle of both species. Such information highlights the importance of directing management and conservation efforts to these habitats to secure the continuity of contribution to adult populations. PMID:26599976

  20. The phylogenetic structure of plant-pollinator networks increases with habitat size and isolation.

    PubMed

    Aizen, Marcelo A; Gleiser, Gabriela; Sabatino, Malena; Gilarranz, Luis J; Bascompte, Jordi; Verdú, Miguel

    2016-01-01

    Similarity among species in traits related to ecological interactions is frequently associated with common ancestry. Thus, closely related species usually interact with ecologically similar partners, which can be reinforced by diverse co-evolutionary processes. The effect of habitat fragmentation on the phylogenetic signal in interspecific interactions and correspondence between plant and animal phylogenies is, however, unknown. Here, we address to what extent phylogenetic signal and co-phylogenetic congruence of plant-animal interactions depend on habitat size and isolation by analysing the phylogenetic structure of 12 pollination webs from isolated Pampean hills. Phylogenetic signal in interspecific interactions differed among webs, being stronger for flower-visiting insects than plants. Phylogenetic signal and overall co-phylogenetic congruence increased independently with hill size and isolation. We propose that habitat fragmentation would erode the phylogenetic structure of interaction webs. A decrease in phylogenetic signal and co-phylogenetic correspondence in plant-pollinator interactions could be associated with less reliable mutualism and erratic co-evolutionary change. PMID:26493295

  1. Drought survival is a threshold function of habitat size and population density in a fish metapopulation.

    PubMed

    White, Richard S A; McHugh, Peter A; McIntosh, Angus R

    2016-10-01

    Because smaller habitats dry more frequently and severely during droughts, habitat size is likely a key driver of survival in populations during climate change and associated increased extreme drought frequency. Here, we show that survival in populations during droughts is a threshold function of habitat size driven by an interaction with population density in metapopulations of the forest pool dwelling fish, Neochanna apoda. A mark-recapture study involving 830 N. apoda individuals during a one-in-seventy-year extreme drought revealed that survival during droughts was high for populations occupying pools deeper than 139 mm, but declined steeply in shallower pools. This threshold was caused by an interaction between increasing population density and drought magnitude associated with decreasing habitat size, which acted synergistically to increase physiological stress and mortality. This confirmed two long-held hypotheses, firstly concerning the interactive role of population density and physiological stress, herein driven by habitat size, and secondly, the occurrence of drought survival thresholds. Our results demonstrate how survival in populations during droughts will depend strongly on habitat size and highlight that minimum habitat size thresholds will likely be required to maximize survival as the frequency and intensity of droughts are projected to increase as a result of global climate change. PMID:26929393

  2. VARIATION IN JUVENILE COHO SALMON END-OF-SUMMER SIZE AND ABUNDANCE: HIERARCHICAL ANALYSIS OF HABITAT EFFECTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The size of coho salmon juveniles entering the winter has been shown to influence overwinter survival, and hence may be a useful indicator of linkages between summer habitat conditions and subsequent smolt production. We are investigating habitat-specific demographics of juvenile...

  3. Asian elephants in China: estimating population size and evaluating habitat suitability.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Li; Dong, Lu; Lin, Liu; Feng, Limin; Yan, Fan; Wang, Lanxin; Guo, Xianming; Luo, Aidong

    2015-01-01

    We monitored the last remaining Asian elephant populations in China over the past decade. Using DNA tools and repeat genotyping, we estimated the population sizes from 654 dung samples collected from various areas. Combined with morphological individual identifications from over 6,300 elephant photographs taken in the wild, we estimated that the total Asian elephant population size in China is between 221 and 245. Population genetic structure and diversity were examined using a 556-bp fragment of mitochondrial DNA, and 24 unique haplotypes were detected from DNA analysis of 178 individuals. A phylogenetic analysis revealed two highly divergent clades of Asian elephants, α and β, present in Chinese populations. Four populations (Mengla, Shangyong, Mengyang, and Pu'Er) carried mtDNA from the α clade, and only one population (Nangunhe) carried mtDNA belonging to the β clade. Moreover, high genetic divergence was observed between the Nangunhe population and the other four populations; however, genetic diversity among the five populations was low, possibly due to limited gene flow because of habitat fragmentation. The expansion of rubber plantations, crop cultivation, and villages along rivers and roads had caused extensive degradation of natural forest in these areas. This had resulted in the loss and fragmentation of elephant habitats and had formed artificial barriers that inhibited elephant migration. Using Geographic Information System, Global Positioning System, and Remote Sensing technology, we found that the area occupied by rubber plantations, tea farms, and urban settlements had dramatically increased over the past 40 years, resulting in the loss and fragmentation of elephant habitats and forming artificial barriers that inhibit elephant migration. The restoration of ecological corridors to facilitate gene exchange among isolated elephant populations and the establishment of cross-boundary protected areas between China and Laos to secure their natural

  4. Asian Elephants in China: Estimating Population Size and Evaluating Habitat Suitability

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Li; Dong, Lu; Lin, Liu; Feng, Limin; Yan, Fan; Wang, Lanxin; Guo, Xianming; Luo, Aidong

    2015-01-01

    We monitored the last remaining Asian elephant populations in China over the past decade. Using DNA tools and repeat genotyping, we estimated the population sizes from 654 dung samples collected from various areas. Combined with morphological individual identifications from over 6,300 elephant photographs taken in the wild, we estimated that the total Asian elephant population size in China is between 221 and 245. Population genetic structure and diversity were examined using a 556-bp fragment of mitochondrial DNA, and 24 unique haplotypes were detected from DNA analysis of 178 individuals. A phylogenetic analysis revealed two highly divergent clades of Asian elephants, α and β, present in Chinese populations. Four populations (Mengla, Shangyong, Mengyang, and Pu’Er) carried mtDNA from the α clade, and only one population (Nangunhe) carried mtDNA belonging to the β clade. Moreover, high genetic divergence was observed between the Nangunhe population and the other four populations; however, genetic diversity among the five populations was low, possibly due to limited gene flow because of habitat fragmentation. The expansion of rubber plantations, crop cultivation, and villages along rivers and roads had caused extensive degradation of natural forest in these areas. This had resulted in the loss and fragmentation of elephant habitats and had formed artificial barriers that inhibited elephant migration. Using Geographic Information System, Global Positioning System, and Remote Sensing technology, we found that the area occupied by rubber plantations, tea farms, and urban settlements had dramatically increased over the past 40 years, resulting in the loss and fragmentation of elephant habitats and forming artificial barriers that inhibit elephant migration. The restoration of ecological corridors to facilitate gene exchange among isolated elephant populations and the establishment of cross-boundary protected areas between China and Laos to secure their natural

  5. Size matters at deep-sea hydrothermal vents: different diversity and habitat fidelity patterns of meio- and macrofauna

    PubMed Central

    Gollner, Sabine; Govenar, Breea; Fisher, Charles R.; Bright, Monika

    2015-01-01

    Species with markedly different sizes interact when sharing the same habitat. Unravelling mechanisms that control diversity thus requires consideration of a range of size classes. We compared patterns of diversity and community structure for meio- and macrofaunal communities sampled along a gradient of environmental stress at deep-sea hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise (9° 50′ N) and neighboring basalt habitats. Both meio- and macrofaunal species richnesses were lowest in the high-stress vent habitat, but macrofaunal richness was highest among intermediate-stress vent habitats. Meiofaunal species richness was negatively correlated with stress, and highest on the basalt. In these deep-sea basalt habitats surrounding hydrothermal vents, meiofaunal species richness was consistently higher than that of macrofauna. Consideration of the physiological capabilities and life history traits of different-sized animals suggests that different patterns of diversity may be caused by different capabilities to deal with environmental stress in the 2 size classes. In contrast to meiofauna, adaptations of macrofauna may have evolved to allow them to maintain their physiological homeostasis in a variety of hydrothermal vent habitats and exploit this food-rich deep-sea environment in high abundances. The habitat fidelity patterns also differed: macrofaunal species occurred primarily at vents and were generally restricted to this habitat, but meiofaunal species were distributed more evenly across proximate and distant basalt habitats and were thus not restricted to vent habitats. Over evolutionary time scales these contrasting patterns are likely driven by distinct reproduction strategies and food demands inherent to fauna of different sizes. PMID:26166922

  6. Habitat structure and body size distributions: cross-ecosystem comparison for taxa with determinate and indeterminate growth

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nash, Kirsty L.; Allen, Craig R.; Barichievy, Chris; Nystrom, Magnus; Sundstrom, Shana M.; Graham, Nicholas A.J.

    2014-01-01

    Habitat structure across multiple spatial and temporal scales has been proposed as a key driver of body size distributions for associated communities. Thus, understanding the relationship between habitat and body size is fundamental to developing predictions regarding the influence of habitat change on animal communities. Much of the work assessing the relationship between habitat structure and body size distributions has focused on terrestrial taxa with determinate growth, and has primarily analysed discontinuities (gaps) in the distribution of species mean sizes (species size relationships or SSRs). The suitability of this approach for taxa with indeterminate growth has yet to be determined. We provide a cross-ecosystem comparison of bird (determinate growth) and fish (indeterminate growth) body mass distributions using four independent data sets. We evaluate three size distribution indices: SSRs, species size–density relationships (SSDRs) and individual size–density relationships (ISDRs), and two types of analysis: looking for either discontinuities or abundance patterns and multi-modality in the distributions. To assess the respective suitability of these three indices and two analytical approaches for understanding habitat–size relationships in different ecosystems, we compare their ability to differentiate bird or fish communities found within contrasting habitat conditions. All three indices of body size distribution are useful for examining the relationship between cross-scale patterns of habitat structure and size for species with determinate growth, such as birds. In contrast, for species with indeterminate growth such as fish, the relationship between habitat structure and body size may be masked when using mean summary metrics, and thus individual-level data (ISDRs) are more useful. Furthermore, ISDRs, which have traditionally been used to study aquatic systems, present a potentially useful common currency for comparing body size distributions

  7. Fish otoliths: do sizes correlate with taxonomic group, habitat and/or luminescence?

    PubMed

    Paxton, J R

    2000-09-29

    Otoliths are dense structures in the ears of fishes that function in hearing and gravity perception. Otolith (sagitta) diameters, as percentages of standard length (% SL), are calculated for 247 marine fish species in 147 families and compared by taxonomic group (usually order), habitat and presence or absence of luminescence. Otolith sizes range from 0.4-31.4 mm and 0.08-11.2% SL. The eel and spiny eel orders Anguilliformes and Notacanthiformes have small to very small otoliths, as do the triggerfish order Tetraodontiformes, pipefish order Gasterosteiformes, billfish suborder Scombroidei and many of the dragonfish order Stomiiformes. The soldierfish order Beryciformes has moderate to very large otoliths. The perch order Perciformes has a wide range of otolith sizes but most have small to moderate otoliths 2-5% SL. Only 16 out of the 247 species have the relatively largest otoliths, over 7% SL. Seven out of these 16 species are also luminous from a variety of habitats. Luminous species have slightly to much larger otoliths than non-luminous species in the same family Both beryciforms and luminous fishes live in low-light environments, where acute colour vision is probably impossible. Most fishes of the epipelagic surface waters have very small otoliths, perhaps due to background noise and/or excessive movement of heavy otoliths in rough seas. Bathypelagic species usually have small otoliths and regressed or absent swimbladders. Other habitats have species with a range of otolith sizes. While the relationship between hearing ability and otolith length is unknown, at least some groups with modified swim-bladders have larger otoliths, which may be associated with more acute hearing. PMID:11079419

  8. Fish otoliths: do sizes correlate with taxonomic group, habitat and/or luminescence?

    PubMed Central

    Paxton, J R

    2000-01-01

    Otoliths are dense structures in the ears of fishes that function in hearing and gravity perception. Otolith (sagitta) diameters, as percentages of standard length (% SL), are calculated for 247 marine fish species in 147 families and compared by taxonomic group (usually order), habitat and presence or absence of luminescence. Otolith sizes range from 0.4-31.4 mm and 0.08-11.2% SL. The eel and spiny eel orders Anguilliformes and Notacanthiformes have small to very small otoliths, as do the triggerfish order Tetraodontiformes, pipefish order Gasterosteiformes, billfish suborder Scombroidei and many of the dragonfish order Stomiiformes. The soldierfish order Beryciformes has moderate to very large otoliths. The perch order Perciformes has a wide range of otolith sizes but most have small to moderate otoliths 2-5% SL. Only 16 out of the 247 species have the relatively largest otoliths, over 7% SL. Seven out of these 16 species are also luminous from a variety of habitats. Luminous species have slightly to much larger otoliths than non-luminous species in the same family Both beryciforms and luminous fishes live in low-light environments, where acute colour vision is probably impossible. Most fishes of the epipelagic surface waters have very small otoliths, perhaps due to background noise and/or excessive movement of heavy otoliths in rough seas. Bathypelagic species usually have small otoliths and regressed or absent swimbladders. Other habitats have species with a range of otolith sizes. While the relationship between hearing ability and otolith length is unknown, at least some groups with modified swim-bladders have larger otoliths, which may be associated with more acute hearing. PMID:11079419

  9. Estimates of minimum patch size depend on the method of estimation and the condition of the habitat.

    PubMed

    McCoy, Earl D; Mushinsky, Henry R

    2007-06-01

    Minimum patch size for a viable population can be estimated in several ways. The density-area method estimates minimum patch size as the smallest area in which no new individuals are encountered as one extends the arbitrary boundaries of a study area outward. The density-area method eliminates the assumption of no variation in density with size of habitat area that accompanies other methods, but it is untested in situations in which habitat loss has confined populations to small areas. We used a variant of the density area method to study the minimum patch size for the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) in Florida, USA, where this keystone species is being confined to ever smaller habitat fragments. The variant was based on the premise that individuals within populations are likely to occur at unusually high densities when confined to small areas, and it estimated minimum patch size as the smallest area beyond which density plateaus. The data for our study came from detailed surveys of 38 populations of the tortoise. For all 38 populations, the areas occupied were determined empirically, and for 19 of them, duplicate surveys were undertaken about a decade apart. We found that a consistent inverse density area relationship was present over smaller areas. The minimum patch size estimated from the density-area relationship was at least 100 ha, which is substantially larger than previous estimates. The relative abundance of juveniles was inversely related to population density for sites with relatively poor habitat quality, indicating that the estimated minimum patch size could represent an extinction threshold. We concluded that a negative density area relationship may be an inevitable consequence of excessive habitat loss. We also concluded that any detrimental effects of an inverse density area relationship may be exacerbated by the deterioration in habitat quality that often accompanies habitat loss. Finally, we concluded that the value of any estimate of

  10. Design and Parametric Sizing of Deep Space Habitats Supporting NASA'S Human Space Flight Architecture Team

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Toups, Larry; Simon, Matthew; Smitherman, David; Spexarth, Gary

    2012-01-01

    NASA's Human Space Flight Architecture Team (HAT) is a multi-disciplinary, cross-agency study team that conducts strategic analysis of integrated development approaches for human and robotic space exploration architectures. During each analysis cycle, HAT iterates and refines the definition of design reference missions (DRMs), which inform the definition of a set of integrated capabilities required to explore multiple destinations. An important capability identified in this capability-driven approach is habitation, which is necessary for crewmembers to live and work effectively during long duration transits to and operations at exploration destinations beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO). This capability is captured by an element referred to as the Deep Space Habitat (DSH), which provides all equipment and resources for the functions required to support crew safety, health, and work including: life support, food preparation, waste management, sleep quarters, and housekeeping.The purpose of this paper is to describe the design of the DSH capable of supporting crew during exploration missions. First, the paper describes the functionality required in a DSH to support the HAT defined exploration missions, the parameters affecting its design, and the assumptions used in the sizing of the habitat. Then, the process used for arriving at parametric sizing estimates to support additional HAT analyses is detailed. Finally, results from the HAT Cycle C DSH sizing are presented followed by a brief description of the remaining design trades and technological advancements necessary to enable the exploration habitation capability.

  11. Preferred habitat and effective population size drive landscape genetic patterns in an endangered species.

    PubMed

    Weckworth, Byron V; Musiani, Marco; Decesare, Nicholas J; McDevitt, Allan D; Hebblewhite, Mark; Mariani, Stefano

    2013-10-22

    Landscape genetics provides a framework for pinpointing environmental features that determine the important exchange of migrants among populations. These studies usually test the significance of environmental variables on gene flow, yet ignore one fundamental driver of genetic variation in small populations, effective population size, N(e). W(e) combined both approaches in evaluating genetic connectivity of a threatened ungulate, woodland caribou. We used least-cost paths to calculate matrices of resistance distance for landscape variables (preferred habitat, anthropogenic features and predation risk) and population-pairwise harmonic means of N(e), and correlated them with genetic distances, FST and D(c). Results showed that spatial configuration of preferred habitat and Ne were the two best predictors of genetic relationships. Additionally, controlling for the effect of Ne increased the strength of correlations of environmental variables with genetic distance, highlighting the significant underlying effect of Ne in modulating genetic drift and perceived spatial connectivity. We therefore have provided empirical support to emphasize preventing increased habitat loss and promoting population growth to ensure metapopulation viability. PMID:24004939

  12. The minimal habitat size for spreading in a weak competition system with two free boundaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Chang-Hong

    2015-08-01

    In this paper, we focus on the dynamics for a Lotka-Volterra type weak competition system with two free boundaries, where free boundaries which may intersect each other as time evolves are used to describe the spreading of two competing species, respectively. In the weak competition case, the dynamics of this model can be classified into four cases, which forms a spreading-vanishing quartering. The notion of the minimal habitat size for spreading is introduced to determine if species can always spread. Some sufficient conditions for spreading and vanishing are established. Also, when spreading occurs, some rough estimates for spreading speed and the long-time behavior of solutions are established.

  13. Prevalence and Genetic Characterization of Cryptosporidium Isolates from Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) Adapted to Urban Settings▿

    PubMed Central

    Hill, Nichola J.; Deane, Elizabeth M.; Power, Michelle L.

    2008-01-01

    The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is one of the most abundant native marsupials in urban Australia, having successfully adapted to utilize anthropogenic resources. The habituation of possums to food and shelter available in human settlements has facilitated interaction with people, pets, and zoo animals, increasing the potential for transmission of zoonotic Cryptosporidium pathogens. This study sought to examine the identity and prevalence of Cryptosporidium species occurring in possums adapted to urban settings compared to possums inhabiting remote woodlands far from urban areas and to characterize the health of the host in response to oocyst shedding. Findings indicated that both populations were shedding oocysts of the same genotype (brushtail possum 1 [BTP1]) that were genetically and morphologically distinct from zoonotic species and genotypes and most closely related to Cryptosporidium species from marsupials. The urban population was shedding an additional five Cryptosporidium isolates that were genetically distinct from BTP1 and formed a sister clade with Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium hominis. Possums that were shedding oocysts showed no evidence of pathogenic changes, including elevated levels of white blood cells, diminished body condition (body mass divided by skeletal body length), or reduced nutritional state, suggesting a stable host-parasite relationship typical of Cryptosporidium species that are adapted to the host. Overall, Cryptosporidium occurred with a higher prevalence in possums from urban habitat (11.3%) than in possums from woodland habitat (5.6%); however, the host-specific nature of the genotypes may limit spillover infection in the urban setting. This study determined that the coexistence of possums with sympatric populations of humans, pets, and zoo animals in the urban Australian environment is unlikely to present a threat to public health safety. PMID:18641156

  14. Climate-driven habitat size determines the latitudinal diversity gradient in temporary ponds.

    PubMed

    Kneitel, Jamie M

    2016-04-01

    The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) has been one of the most documented patterns in ecology, typically showing decreasing species diversity with increasing latitude. Studies of these patterns also used different spatial scales and dispersal traits to better understand the underpinning ecological factors. Seasonal freshwater ecosystems are less studied and may exhibit different patterns because they are more sensitive to climatic variation, which result in an inundation-desiccation cycle. In California, precipitation increases and temperature decreases with increasing latitude and thus the LDG pattern may be associated with this climatic gradient. Using collected data and United States Fish and Wildlife Service reports across seven degrees of latitude, analysis of California vernal pool invertebrate community (total richness and richness of passive and active dispersers) was conducted using correlations (Spearman rank and partial). Alpha diversity (total and passive dispersers) increased and beta diversity (passive dispersers) decreased with increasing latitude. Vernal pool surface area was correlated with active disperser alpha and passive disperser beta diversity. This suggests that climate-driven habitat size influences alpha and beta diversity patterns depending on dispersal ability. Active dispersers and predators exhibited higher beta diversity than passive dispersers and prey, respectively. Species composition differed among counties and some of these differences were correlated with pool depth and temperature. These results suggest that seasonal habitats will have diversity patterns strongly associated with local scale characteristics (habitat size and hydroperiod) determined by climate variation along the latitudinal gradient. Understanding these diversity patterns along the gradient will also contribute to management and restoration of these ecosystems with high endemism and diversity. PMID:27220212

  15. Movements, Home-Range Size and Habitat Selection of Mallards during Autumn Migration

    PubMed Central

    Bengtsson, Daniel; Avril, Alexis; Gunnarsson, Gunnar; Elmberg, Johan; Söderquist, Pär; Norevik, Gabriel; Tolf, Conny; Safi, Kamran; Fiedler, Wolfgang; Wikelski, Martin; Olsen, Björn; Waldenström, Jonas

    2014-01-01

    The mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is a focal species in game management, epidemiology and ornithology, but comparably little research has focused on the ecology of the migration seasons. We studied habitat use, time-budgets, home-range sizes, habitat selection, and movements based on spatial data collected with GPS devices attached to wild mallards trapped at an autumn stopover site in the Northwest European flyway. Sixteen individuals (13 males, 3 females) were followed for 15–38 days in October to December 2010. Forty-nine percent (SD = 8.4%) of the ducks' total time, and 85% of the day-time (SD = 28.3%), was spent at sheltered reefs and bays on the coast. Two ducks used ponds, rather than coast, as day-roosts instead. Mallards spent most of the night (76% of total time, SD = 15.8%) on wetlands, mainly on alvar steppe, or in various flooded areas (e.g. coastal meadows). Crop fields with maize were also selectively utilized. Movements between roosting and foraging areas mainly took place at dawn and dusk, and the home-ranges observed in our study are among the largest ever documented for mallards (mean  = 6,859 ha; SD = 5,872 ha). This study provides insights into relatively unknown aspects of mallard ecology. The fact that autumn-staging migratory mallards have a well-developed diel activity pattern tightly linked to the use of specific habitats has implications for wetland management, hunting and conservation, as well as for the epidemiology of diseases shared between wildlife and domestic animals. PMID:24971887

  16. Morphological variation of Aechmea distichantha (Bromeliaceae) in a Chaco forest: habitat and size-related effects.

    PubMed

    Cavallero, L; López, D; Barberis, I M

    2009-05-01

    Plants show different morphologies when growing in different habitats, but they also vary in their morphology with plant size. We examined differences in sun- and shade-grown plants of the bromeliad Aechmea distichantha with respect to relationships between plant size and variables related to plant architecture, biomass allocation and tank water dynamics. We selected vegetative plants from the understorey and from forest edges of a Chaco forest, encompassing the whole size range of this bromeliad. Plant biomass was positively correlated with most architectural variables and negatively correlated with most biomass allocation variables. Understorey plants were taller and had larger diameters, whereas sun plants had more leaves, larger sheath area, sheath biomass and sheath mass fraction. All tank water-related variables were positively correlated with plant biomass. Understorey plants had a greater projected leaf area, whereas sun plants had higher water content and evaporative area. Plasticity indices were higher for water-related than for allocation variables. In conclusion, there were architectural and biomass allocation differences between sun- and shade-grown plants along a size gradient, which, in turn, affected tank water-related variables. PMID:19470109

  17. Habitat association, size, stomach contents, and reproductive condition of Puerto Rican boas (Epicrates inornatus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wiley, J.W.

    2003-01-01

    The Puerto Rican boa occurs in a variety of habitats, including wet montane forest, lowland wet forest, mangrove forest, wet limestone karst, and offshore cays, and from sea level to 480 m. Mean SVL of 49 encountered boas (live and road-killed) was 136.9 ?? 35.1 (range = 38.8-205 cm), with a mean mass of 952.1 ?? 349.0 g (n = 47; range = 140-1662 g). Prey in digestive tracts (n = 29) included remains of black rats, house mice, three species of anoles, bats, common ground-doves, domestic fowl chicks, and invertebrates. Females were in reproductive condition in late April through mid-August and had an average brood size of 21.8 ?? 6.0 (n = 9, range = 13-30 ).

  18. Herbivore impact on grassland plant diversity depends on habitat productivity and herbivore size.

    PubMed

    Bakker, Elisabeth S; Ritchie, Mark E; Olff, Han; Milchunas, Daniel G; Knops, Johannes M H

    2006-07-01

    Mammalian herbivores can have pronounced effects on plant diversity but are currently declining in many productive ecosystems through direct extirpation, habitat loss and fragmentation, while being simultaneously introduced as livestock in other, often unproductive, ecosystems that lacked such species during recent evolutionary times. The biodiversity consequences of these changes are still poorly understood. We experimentally separated the effects of primary productivity and herbivores of different body size on plant species richness across a 10-fold productivity gradient using a 7-year field experiment at seven grassland sites in North America and Europe. We show that assemblages including large herbivores increased plant diversity at higher productivity but decreased diversity at low productivity, while small herbivores did not have consistent effects along the productivity gradient. The recognition of these large-scale, cross-site patterns in herbivore effects is important for the development of appropriate biodiversity conservation strategies. PMID:16796567

  19. Effects of spatial subsidies and habitat structure on the foraging ecology and size of geckos

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Briggs, Amy A.; Young, Hillary S.; McCauley, Douglas J.; Hathaway, Stacie A.; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Fisher, Robert N.

    2012-01-01

    While it is well established that ecosystem subsidies—the addition of energy, nutrients, or materials across ecosystem boundaries—can affect consumer abundance, there is less information available on how subsidy levels may affect consumer diet, body condition, trophic position, and resource partitioning among consumer species. There is also little information on whether changes in vegetation structure commonly associated with spatial variation in subsidies may play an important role in driving consumer responses to subsidies. To address these knowledge gaps, we studied changes in abundance, diet, trophic position, size, and body condition of two congeneric gecko species (Lepidodactylus spp.) that coexist in palm dominated and native (hereafter dicot dominated) forests across the Central Pacific. These forests differ trongly both in the amount of marine subsidies that they receive from seabird guano and carcasses, and in the physical structure of the habitat. Contrary to other studies, we found that subsidy level had no impact on the abundance of either gecko species; it also did not have any apparent effects on resource partitioning between species. However, it did affect body size, dietary composition, and trophic position of both species. Geckos in subsidized, dicot forests were larger, had higher body condition and more diverse diets, and occupied a much higher trophic position than geckos found in palm dominated, low subsidy level forests. Both direct variation in subsidy levels and associated changes in habitat structure appear to play a role in driving these responses. These results suggest that variation in subsidy levels may drive important behavioral responses in predators, even when their numerical response is limited. Strong changes in trophic position of consumers also suggest that subsidies may drive increasingly complex food webs, with longer overall food chain length.

  20. Size structure of marine soft-bottom macrobenthic communities across natural habitat gradients: implications for productivity and ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Macdonald, Tara A; Burd, Brenda J; van Roodselaar, Albert

    2012-01-01

    Size distributions of biotic assemblages are important modifiers of productivity and function in marine sediments. We investigated the distribution of proportional organic biomass among logarithmic size classes (2(-6)J to 2(16)J) in the soft-bottom macrofaunal communities of the Strait of Georgia, Salish Sea on the west coast of Canada. The study examines how size structure is influenced by 3 fundamental habitat descriptors: depth, sediment percent fines, and organic flux (modified by quality). These habitat variables are uncorrelated in this hydrographically diverse area, thus we examine their effects in combination and separately. Cluster analyses and cumulative biomass size spectra reveal clear and significant responses to each separate habitat variable. When combined, habitat factors result in three distinct assemblages: (1) communities with a high proportion of biomass in small organisms, typical of shallow areas (<10 m) with coarse sediments (<10% fines) and low accumulation of organic material (<3.0 gC/m(2)/yr/δ(15)N); (2) communities with high proportion of biomass in the largest organisms found in the Strait, typical of deep, fine sediments with high modified organic flux (>3 g C/m(2)/yr/δ(15)N) from the Fraser River; and (3) communities with biomass dominated by moderately large organisms, but lacking the smallest and largest size classes, typical of deep, fine sediments experiencing low modified organic flux (<3.0 gC/m(2)/yr/δ(15)N). The remaining assemblages had intermediate habitat types and size structures. Sediment percent fines and flux appear to elicit threshold responses in size structure, whereas depth has the most linear influence on community size structure. The ecological implications of size structure in the Strait of Georgia relative to environmental conditions, secondary production and sediment bioturbation are discussed. PMID:22911694

  1. Behavioral response of the coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum) to habitat fragment size and isolation in an urban landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mitrovich, Milan J.; Diffendorfer, Jay E.; Fisher, Robert N.

    2009-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation is a significant threat to biodiversity worldwide. Habitat loss and the isolation of habitat fragments disrupt biological communities, accelerate the extinction of populations, and often lead to the alteration of behavioral patterns typical of individuals in large, contiguous natural areas. We used radio-telemetry to study the space-use behavior of the Coachwhip, a larger-bodied, wide-ranging snake species threatened by habitat fragmentation, in fragmented and contiguous areas of coastal southern California. We tracked 24 individuals at three sites over two years. Movement patterns of Coachwhips changed in habitat fragments. As area available to the snakes was reduced, individuals faced increased crowding, had smaller home-range sizes, tolerated greater home-range overlap, and showed more concentrated movement activity and convoluted movement pathways. The behavioral response shown by Coachwhips suggests, on a regional level, area-effects alone cannot explain observed extinctions on habitat fragments but, instead, suggests changes in habitat configuration are more likely to explain the decline of this species. Ultimately, if "edge-exposure" is a common cause of decline, then isolated fragments, appropriately buffered to reduce emigration and edge effects, may support viable populations of fragmentation-sensitive species.

  2. Millimeter-sized marine plastics: a new pelagic habitat for microorganisms and invertebrates.

    PubMed

    Reisser, Julia; Shaw, Jeremy; Hallegraeff, Gustaaf; Proietti, Maira; Barnes, David K A; Thums, Michele; Wilcox, Chris; Hardesty, Britta Denise; Pattiaratchi, Charitha

    2014-01-01

    Millimeter-sized plastics are abundant in most marine surface waters, and known to carry fouling organisms that potentially play key roles in the fate and ecological impacts of plastic pollution. In this study we used scanning electron microscopy to characterize biodiversity of organisms on the surface of 68 small floating plastics (length range = 1.7-24.3 mm, median = 3.2 mm) from Australia-wide coastal and oceanic, tropical to temperate sample collections. Diatoms were the most diverse group of plastic colonizers, represented by 14 genera. We also recorded 'epiplastic' coccolithophores (7 genera), bryozoans, barnacles (Lepas spp.), a dinoflagellate (Ceratium), an isopod (Asellota), a marine worm, marine insect eggs (Halobates sp.), as well as rounded, elongated, and spiral cells putatively identified as bacteria, cyanobacteria, and fungi. Furthermore, we observed a variety of plastic surface microtextures, including pits and grooves conforming to the shape of microorganisms, suggesting that biota may play an important role in plastic degradation. This study highlights how anthropogenic millimeter-sized polymers have created a new pelagic habitat for microorganisms and invertebrates. The ecological ramifications of this phenomenon for marine organism dispersal, ocean productivity, and biotransfer of plastic-associated pollutants, remains to be elucidated. PMID:24941218

  3. Millimeter-Sized Marine Plastics: A New Pelagic Habitat for Microorganisms and Invertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Reisser, Julia; Shaw, Jeremy; Hallegraeff, Gustaaf; Proietti, Maira; Barnes, David K. A.; Thums, Michele; Wilcox, Chris; Hardesty, Britta Denise; Pattiaratchi, Charitha

    2014-01-01

    Millimeter-sized plastics are abundant in most marine surface waters, and known to carry fouling organisms that potentially play key roles in the fate and ecological impacts of plastic pollution. In this study we used scanning electron microscopy to characterize biodiversity of organisms on the surface of 68 small floating plastics (length range = 1.7–24.3 mm, median = 3.2 mm) from Australia-wide coastal and oceanic, tropical to temperate sample collections. Diatoms were the most diverse group of plastic colonizers, represented by 14 genera. We also recorded ‘epiplastic’ coccolithophores (7 genera), bryozoans, barnacles (Lepas spp.), a dinoflagellate (Ceratium), an isopod (Asellota), a marine worm, marine insect eggs (Halobates sp.), as well as rounded, elongated, and spiral cells putatively identified as bacteria, cyanobacteria, and fungi. Furthermore, we observed a variety of plastic surface microtextures, including pits and grooves conforming to the shape of microorganisms, suggesting that biota may play an important role in plastic degradation. This study highlights how anthropogenic millimeter-sized polymers have created a new pelagic habitat for microorganisms and invertebrates. The ecological ramifications of this phenomenon for marine organism dispersal, ocean productivity, and biotransfer of plastic-associated pollutants, remains to be elucidated. PMID:24941218

  4. Habitat-mediated size selection in endangered Atlantic salmon fry: selectional restoration assessment.

    PubMed

    Bailey, Michael M; Kinnison, Michael T

    2010-07-01

    Preservation of adaptive variation is a top priority of many species restoration programs, but most restoration activities are conducted without direct knowledge of selection that might foster or impair adaptation and restoration goals. In this study, we quantified geographic variation in selection on fry size of endangered Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) during the 6-week period immediately following stocking in the wild. We also used a model selection approach to assess whether habitat variables influence patterns of such selection. We found evidence for significant size-selection in five out of six selection trials. Interestingly, the strength and pattern of selection varied extensively among sites, and model selection suggested that this variation in phenotypic selection was related to geographic variation in the presence of large woody debris and the slope of the stream gradient. The strong selection differentials we observed should be a concern for endangered salmon restoration, whether they reflect natural processes and an opportunity to maintain adaptation, or an indicator of the potentially deleterious phenotypic consequences of hatchery practices. PMID:25567930

  5. Habitat disturbance and hydrological parameters determine the body size and reproductive strategy of alluvial ground beetles

    PubMed Central

    Gerisch, Michael

    2011-01-01

    Abstract Environmental variability is the main driver for the variation of biological characteristics (life-history traits) of species. Therefore, life-history traits are particularly suited to identify mechanistic linkages between environmental variability and species occurrence and can help in explaining ecological patterns. For ground beetles, few studies directly related species traits to environmental variables. This study aims to analyse how life-history traits of alluvial ground beetles are controlled by environmental factors. I expected that the occurrence of species and the occurrence of specific traits are closely related to hydrological and disturbance parameters. Furthermore I expected most of the trait-variation to be explained by a combination of environmental variables, rather than by their isolated effects. Ground beetles were sampled in the year 2005 in floodplain grassland along the Elbe River in Germany. I used redundancy analysis to quantify the effects of hydrological, sediment, and disturbance related parameters on both species occurrence and species traits. I applied variation partitioning to analyse which environmental compartments explain most of the trait variation. Species occurrence and trait variation were both mainly controlled by hydrological and flood disturbance parameters. I could clearly identify reproductive traits and body size as key traits for floodplain ground beetles to cope with the environmental variability. Furthermore, combinations of hydrological, habitat disturbance, habitat type, and species diversity parameters, rather than their isolated effects, explained large parts of ground beetle trait variation. Thus, a main conclusion of this study is that ground beetle occurrence is mainly determined by complex, multi-scale interactions between environmental variability and their life-history traits. PMID:21738421

  6. Patterns in the abundance and size-distribution of syngnathid fishes among habitats in a seagrass-dominated marine environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kendrick, A. J.; Hyndes, G. A.

    2003-07-01

    Syngnathid fishes were sampled using a 1 m wide beam trawl during the day and night in each season from summer 1996/1997 to summer 1997/1998 in five habitat types in an approximately 90 km 2 area located on the lower west coast of Australia. The seagrasses Amphibolis griffithii, Posidonia sinuosa and Posidonia coriacea and shallow unvegetated sand were all in depths of 4-9 m, while deep habitat, which comprised mainly bare sand with isolated patches of the seagrasses Heterozostera tasmanica and Halophila ovalis, occurred at depths of 12-16 m. While A. griffithii and P. sinuosa each formed dense monospecific meadows, P. coriacea occurred in sparse clumps surrounded by areas of bare sand and patches of H. tasmanica. While catches of spotted pipefish Stigmatopora argus occurred mainly in P. sinuosa and P. coriacea, individuals of this species that exceeded ca. 55 mm in snout-vent length were far more abundant in the former habitat whereas smaller fish occurred mostly in the latter. Densities of S. argus were similar in P. sinuosa and P. coriacea, but differed between seasons, and a season/habitat interaction was present. In contrast, wide-bodied pipefish Stigmatopora nigra were collected mainly in P. coriacea and deep habitat and, although the densities were greater in P. coriacea than in deep habitat, the size-distributions of this species in these habitats were similar. Notably, S. nigra was never collected in P. sinuosa. Although less abundant than the above pipefish, the long-snouted pipefish Vanacampus poecilolaemus was collected almost exclusively in P. sinuosa. Few syngnathids were collected from shallow unvegetated sand or from A. griffithii, which differed markedly in plant structure from both Posidonia species. It is suggested that these syngnathid species occupy habitats that best enable them to remain inconspicuous to predators. Both S. argus and S. nigra have green or brown colouration and mimic strap-like seagrass leaves which they grasp with prehensile

  7. Effects of Habitat and Social Complexity on Brain Size, Brain Asymmetry and Dentate Gyrus Morphology in Two Octodontid Rodents.

    PubMed

    Sobrero, Raúl; Fernández-Aburto, Pedro; Ly-Prieto, Álvaro; Delgado, Scarlett E; Mpodozis, Jorge; Ebensperger, Luis A

    2016-01-01

    Navigational and social challenges due to habitat conditions and sociality are known to influence dentate gyrus (DG) morphology, yet the relative importance of these factors remains unclear. Thus, we studied three natural populations of O. lunatus (Los Molles) and Octodon degus (El Salitre and Rinconada), two caviomorph species that differ in the extent of sociality and with contrasting vegetation cover of habitat used. The brains and DG of male and female breeding degus with simultaneous information on their physical and social environments were examined. The extent of sociality was quantified from total group size and range area overlap. O. degus at El Salitre was more social than at Rinconada and than O. lunatus from Los Molles. The use of transects to quantify cover of vegetation (and other physical objects in the habitat) and measures of the spatial behavior of animals indicated animal navigation based on unique cues or global landmarks is more cognitively challenging to O. lunatus. During lactation, female O. lunatus had larger brains than males. Relative DG volume was similar across sexes and populations. The right hemisphere of male and female O. lunatus had more cells than the left hemisphere, with DG directional asymmetry not found in O. degus. Degu population differences in brain size and DG cell number seemed more responsive to differences in habitat than to differences in sociality. Yet, large-sized O. degus (but not O. lunatus) that ranged over larger areas and were members of larger social groups had more DG cells per hemisphere. Thus, within-population variation in DG cell number by hemisphere was consistent with a joint influence of habitat and sociality in O. degus at El Salitre. PMID:27045373

  8. Scent chemicals of the brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula.

    PubMed

    McLean, Stuart; Davies, Noel W; Wiggins, Natasha L

    2012-10-01

    The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is the most widespread browsing marsupial in Australia, where it occupies woodland, agricultural, and urban environments. Following its introduction into New Zealand in the 19th century it has become a major feral pest, threatening native forests. The adaptability of the possum is thought to be due in part to its social organization, in which chemical communication is important. Possums have cloacal glands and exhibit related marking behavior. This study sought to characterize the chemicals involved in scent marking. Swabs were taken of the cloacal region of 15 possums (5 females, 10 males) from north-eastern Tasmania and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. There was a large number of compounds present, including 81 branched and unbranched, and saturated and unsaturated, fatty acids (C(4)-C(15)) and alcohols (C(6)-C(26)); 27 esters of 2,6- and 2,7-dimethyloctanol; 29 esters of formic acid; 39 sulfur compounds including S(8) and a series of dialkyl disulfides, trisulfides, and tetrasulfides (C(4)-C(10)); and several alkylglycerol ethers. Many of these cloacal compounds are new to biology. There was considerable individual variability in the relative amounts of compounds found, and no evident sex differences, although the study was not designed to test this. This pattern suggests that these compounds may be acting collectively as a signature mixture of semiochemicals, carrying information on the individual, its kinship, and physiological and social status. This is the first detailed description of putative semiochemicals in any marsupial species. PMID:22976591

  9. Hierarchical distance-sampling models to estimate population size and habitat-specific abundance of an island endemic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sillett, Scott T.; Chandler, Richard B.; Royle, J. Andrew; Kéry, Marc; Morrison, Scott A.

    2012-01-01

    Population size and habitat-specific abundance estimates are essential for conservation management. A major impediment to obtaining such estimates is that few statistical models are able to simultaneously account for both spatial variation in abundance and heterogeneity in detection probability, and still be amenable to large-scale applications. The hierarchical distance-sampling model of J. A. Royle, D. K. Dawson, and S. Bates provides a practical solution. Here, we extend this model to estimate habitat-specific abundance and rangewide population size of a bird species of management concern, the Island Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma insularis), which occurs solely on Santa Cruz Island, California, USA. We surveyed 307 randomly selected, 300 m diameter, point locations throughout the 250-km2 island during October 2008 and April 2009. Population size was estimated to be 2267 (95% CI 1613-3007) and 1705 (1212-2369) during the fall and spring respectively, considerably lower than a previously published but statistically problematic estimate of 12 500. This large discrepancy emphasizes the importance of proper survey design and analysis for obtaining reliable information for management decisions. Jays were most abundant in low-elevation chaparral habitat; the detection function depended primarily on the percent cover of chaparral and forest within count circles. Vegetation change on the island has been dramatic in recent decades, due to release from herbivory following the eradication of feral sheep (Ovis aries) from the majority of the island in the mid-1980s. We applied best-fit fall and spring models of habitat-specific jay abundance to a vegetation map from 1985, and estimated the population size of A. insularis was 1400-1500 at that time. The 20-30% increase in the jay population suggests that the species has benefited from the recovery of native vegetation since sheep removal. Nevertheless, this jay's tiny range and small population size make it vulnerable to natural

  10. Hierarchical distance-sampling models to estimate population size and habitat-specific abundance of an island endemic.

    PubMed

    Sillett, T Scott; Chandler, Richard B; Royle, J Andrew; Kery, Marc; Morrison, Scott A

    2012-10-01

    Population size and habitat-specific abundance estimates are essential for conservation management. A major impediment to obtaining such estimates is that few statistical models are able to simultaneously account for both spatial variation in abundance and heterogeneity in detection probability, and still be amenable to large-scale applications. The hierarchical distance-sampling model of J. A. Royle, D. K. Dawson, and S. Bates provides a practical solution. Here, we extend this model to estimate habitat-specific abundance and rangewide population size of a bird species of management concern, the Island Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma insularis), which occurs solely on Santa Cruz Island, California, USA. We surveyed 307 randomly selected, 300 m diameter, point locations throughout the 250-km2 island during October 2008 and April 2009. Population size was estimated to be 2267 (95% CI 1613-3007) and 1705 (1212-2369) during the fall and spring respectively, considerably lower than a previously published but statistically problematic estimate of 12 500. This large discrepancy emphasizes the importance of proper survey design and analysis for obtaining reliable information for management decisions. Jays were most abundant in low-elevation chaparral habitat; the detection function depended primarily on the percent cover of chaparral and forest within count circles. Vegetation change on the island has been dramatic in recent decades, due to release from herbivory following the eradication of feral sheep (Ovis aries) from the majority of the island in the mid-1980s. We applied best-fit fall and spring models of habitat-specific jay abundance to a vegetation map from 1985, and estimated the population size of A. insularis was 1400-1500 at that time. The 20-30% increase in the jay population suggests that the species has benefited from the recovery of native vegetation since sheep removal. Nevertheless, this jay's tiny range and small population size make it vulnerable to natural

  11. Tawny frogmouths and brushtail possums as sentinels for Angiostrongylus cantonensis, the rat lungworm.

    PubMed

    Ma, Gemma; Dennis, Michelle; Rose, Karrie; Spratt, David; Spielman, Derek

    2013-02-18

    The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of angiostrongylosis in tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) and brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) with signs of neurological disease, and to describe the clinicopathological features of angiostrongylosis in both species. Tawny frogmouths and brushtail possums with signs of neurological disease were sampled from the Sydney metropolitan area between October 1998 and June 2010. Samples from 100 tawny frogmouths and 31 brushtail possums from the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health (ARWH), the Wildlife Assistance and Information Foundation (WAIF) and Wildlife Health and Conservation Centre (WHCC), University of Sydney were examined. Histological examinations of the brain, spinal cord and other available tissues were used to characterize the disease responsible for each animal's clinical signs. Of the 100 tawny frogmouths with neurological disease examined, angiostrongylosis was considered responsible in 80 (80%), traumatic injury in 17 (17%), protozoal infection in 3 (3%) and other diseases in 2 (2%) and the cause of clinical signs was unknown in 10 (10%). Eleven tawny frogmouths presenting with neurological signs associated with head trauma had concurrent angiostrongylosis. Of the 31 brushtail possums, Wobbly Possum Syndrome (WPS) was diagnosed in 21 (68%), angiostrongylosis in 4 (13%) and other diseases in the remaining 6 (19%). Angiostrongylosis was overrepresented in hand reared juvenile possums. Cases of angiostrongylosis in tawny frogmouths followed a strong seasonal pattern peaking through late summer and autumn. The results confirm that Angiostrongylus cantonensis is endemic in Sydney, Australia and that tawny frogmouths could be important sentinels for this zoonotic parasite. PMID:23218219

  12. Habitat Size Optimization of the O'Neill - Glaser Economic Model for Space Solar Satellite Production

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Curreri, Peter A.; Detweiler, Michael

    2010-01-01

    Creating large space habitats by launching all materials from Earth is prohibitively expensive. Using space resources and space based labor to build space solar power satellites can yield extraordinary profits after a few decades. The economic viability of this program depends on the use of space resources and space labor. To maximize the return on the investment, the early use of high density bolo habitats is required. Other shapes do not allow for the small initial scale required for a quick population increase in space. This study found that 5 Man Year, or 384 person bolo high density habitats will be the most economically feasible for a program started at year 2010 and will cause a profit by year 24 of the program, put over 45,000 people into space, and create a large system of space infrastructure for the further exploration and development of space.

  13. Does size matter? An investigation of habitat use across a carnivore assemblage in the Serengeti, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Durant, Sarah M; Craft, Meggan E; Foley, Charles; Hampson, Katie; Lobora, Alex L; Msuha, Maurus; Eblate, Ernest; Bukombe, John; McHetto, John; Pettorelli, Nathalie

    2010-09-01

    1. This study utilizes a unique data set covering over 19 000 georeferenced records of species presence collected between 1993 and 2008, to explore the distribution and habitat selectivity of an assemblage of 26 carnivore species in the Serengeti-Ngorongoro landscape in northern Tanzania. 2. Two species, the large-spotted genet and the bushy-tailed mongoose, were documented for the first time within this landscape. Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) was used to examine habitat selectivity for 18 of the 26 carnivore species for which there is sufficient data. Eleven ecogeographical variables (EGVs), such as altitude and habitat type, were used for these analyses. 3. The ENFA demonstrated that species differed in their habitat selectivity, and supported the limited ecological information already available for these species, such as the golden jackals' preference for grassland and the leopards' preference for river valleys. 4. Two aggregate scores, marginality and tolerance, are generated by the ENFA, and describe each species' habitat selectivity in relation to the suite of EGVs. These scores were used to test the hypothesis that smaller species are expected to be more selective than larger species [Science, 1989, 243, 1145]. Two predictions were tested: Marginality should decrease with body mass; and tolerance should increase with body mass. Our study provided no evidence for either prediction. 5. Our results not only support previous analyses of carnivore diet breadth, but also represent a novel approach to the investigation of habitat selection across species assemblages. Our method provides a powerful tool to explore similar questions in other systems and for other taxa. PMID:20646121

  14. Higher mobility of butterflies than moths connected to habitat suitability and body size in a release experiment.

    PubMed

    Kuussaari, Mikko; Saarinen, Matias; Korpela, Eeva-Liisa; Pöyry, Juha; Hyvönen, Terho

    2014-10-01

    Mobility is a key factor determining lepidopteran species responses to environmental change. However, direct multispecies comparisons of mobility are rare and empirical comparisons between butterflies and moths have not been previously conducted. Here, we compared mobility between butterflies and diurnal moths and studied species traits affecting butterfly mobility. We experimentally marked and released 2011 butterfly and 2367 moth individuals belonging to 32 and 28 species, respectively, in a 25 m × 25 m release area within an 11-ha, 8-year-old set-aside field. Distance moved and emigration rate from the release habitat were recorded by species. The release experiment produced directly comparable mobility data in 18 butterfly and 9 moth species with almost 500 individuals recaptured. Butterflies were found more mobile than geometroid moths in terms of both distance moved (mean 315 m vs. 63 m, respectively) and emigration rate (mean 54% vs. 17%, respectively). Release habitat suitability had a strong effect on emigration rate and distance moved, because butterflies tended to leave the set-aside, if it was not suitable for breeding. In addition, emigration rate and distance moved increased significantly with increasing body size. When phylogenetic relatedness among species was included in the analyses, the significant effect of body size disappeared, but habitat suitability remained significant for distance moved. The higher mobility of butterflies than geometroid moths can largely be explained by morphological differences, as butterflies are more robust fliers. The important role of release habitat suitability in butterfly mobility was expected, but seems not to have been empirically documented before. The observed positive correlation between butterfly size and mobility is in agreement with our previous findings on butterfly colonization speed in a long-term set-aside experiment and recent meta-analyses on butterfly mobility. PMID:25614794

  15. Maternal influence on philopatry and space use by juvenile brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    Blackie, Helen M; Russell, James C; Clout, Mick N

    2011-03-01

    1.  The causes of juvenile sex-biased philopatry and space use in mammals remain poorly understood, and results of previous research have been conflicting. Experimental interventions and manipulations on wild populations are rare, but can play an important role in establishing the factors governing offspring space use. 2.  We experimentally removed mothers of independent juvenile brushtail possums from the maternal home range and examined changes in offspring space use with global positioning system collars. We examined the influence of mother absence on philopatric behaviour, and determined whether or not maternal presence affected offspring space use. 3.  We fitted a longitudinal linear mixed effects model to demonstrate a change over time in the home range size of juveniles following experimental treatment by the removal of their mothers. When mothers were removed from the natal range, juveniles occupied significantly larger home range areas, with average increases of 175% in 95% kernel density estimates and 289% in minimum convex polygon estimates. This increase occurred within the first month following mother absence and was independent of juvenile sex. Home ranges of control juveniles did not change during the same time period. 4.  Changes in the spatial structure of mammalian populations in response to removal of individuals have important implications for pest management. The impacts of management strategies which target particular individuals in a population may counteract conservation benefits through their effect on the space use of survivors. Studies involving experimental removals provide important information on consequences of control and also yield insights into the causes of mammalian space use, philopatric behaviours and ultimately dispersal. PMID:21155769

  16. SHALLOW HABITATS IN TWO RHODE ISLAND SYSTEMS: II. PATTERNS OF SIZE, STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONAL GROUPS

    EPA Science Inventory

    We are examining habitats in small estuarine coves that may be important for the development of ecological indicators of integrity. We sampled nekton in Coggeshall Cove (shallow estuarine cove) in summer 1999 and 2000 and Ninigret Pond (coastal lagoon) in summer 2000. Coggeshall ...

  17. Pattern and dynamics of biomass stock in old growth forests: The role of habitat and tree size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, Zuoqiang; Gazol, Antonio; Wang, Xugao; Lin, Fei; Ye, Ji; Zhang, Zhaochen; Suo, YanYan; Kuang, Xu; Wang, Yunyun; Jia, Shihong; Hao, Zhanqing

    2016-08-01

    Forest ecosystems play a fundamental role in the global carbon cycle. However, how stand-level changes in tree age and structure influence biomass stock and dynamics in old-growth forests is a question that remains unclear. In this study, we quantified the aboveground biomass (AGB) standing stock, the coarse woody productivity (CWP), and the change in biomass over ten years (2004-2014) in a 25 ha unmanaged broad-leaved Korean pine mixed forest in northeastern China. In addition, we quantified how AGB stock and change (tree growth, recruitment and mortality) estimations are influenced by the variation in habitat heterogeneity, tree size structure and subplot size. Our analysis indicated that Changbai forest had AGB of 265.4 Mg ha-1 in 2004, and gained1.36 Mg ha-1 y-1 between 2004 and 2014. Despite recruitment having better performance in nutrient rich habitat, we found that there is a directional tree growth trend independent of habitat heterogeneity for available nutrients in this old growth forest. The observed increases in AGB stock (∼70%) are mainly attributed to the growth of intermediate size trees (30-70 cm DBH), indicating that this forest is still reaching its mature stage. Meanwhile, we indicated that biomass loss due to mortality reduces living biomass, not increment, may be the primary factor to affect forest biomass dynamics in this area. Also, spatial variation in forest dynamics is large for small sizes (i.e. coefficient of variation in 20 × 20 m subplots is 53.2%), and more than 90 percent of the inherent variability of these coefficients was predicted by a simple model including plot size. Our result provides a mean by which to estimate within-plot variability at a local scale before inferring any directional change in forest dynamics at a regional scale, and information about the variability of forest structure and dynamics are fundamental to design effective sampling strategies in future study.

  18. Habitat specialization, body size, and family identity explain lepidopteran density–area relationships in a cross-continental comparison

    PubMed Central

    Hambäck, Peter A.; Summerville, Keith S.; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Krauss, Jochen; Englund, Göran; Crist, Thomas O.

    2007-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation may strongly affect species density, species interactions, and the rate of ecosystem processes. It is therefore important to understand the observed variability among species responses to fragmentation and the underlying mechanisms. In this study, we compare density–area relationships (DARs) for 344 lepidopteran species belonging to 22 families (butterflies and moths). This analysis suggested that the DARslope is generally positive for moths and negative for butterflies. The differences are suggested to occur because moths are largely olfactory searchers, whereas most butterflies are visual searchers. The analysis also suggests that DARs vary as a function of habitat specialization and body size. In butterflies, generalist species had a more negative DARslope than specialist species because of a lower patch size threshold. In moths, the differences in DARslope between forest and open habitat species were large for small species but absent for large species. This difference is argued to occur because the DARslope in large species mainly reflects their search mode, which does not necessarily vary between moth groups, whereas the slope in small species reflects population growth rates. PMID:17485669

  19. Selection based on the size of the black tie of the great tit may be reversed in urban habitats

    PubMed Central

    Senar, Juan Carlos; Conroy, Michael J; Quesada, Javier; Mateos-Gonzalez, Fernando

    2014-01-01

    A standard approach to model how selection shapes phenotypic traits is the analysis of capture–recapture data relating trait variation to survival. Divergent selection, however, has never been analyzed by the capture–recapture approach. Most reported examples of differences between urban and nonurban animals reflect behavioral plasticity rather than divergent selection. The aim of this paper was to use a capture–recapture approach to test the hypothesis that divergent selection can also drive local adaptation in urban habitats. We focused on the size of the black breast stripe (i.e., tie width) of the great tit (Parus major), a sexual ornament used in mate choice. Urban great tits display smaller tie sizes than forest birds. Because tie size is mostly genetically determined, it could potentially respond to selection. We analyzed capture/recapture data of male great tits in Barcelona city (N = 171) and in a nearby (7 km) forest (N = 324) from 1992 to 2008 using MARK. When modelling recapture rate, we found it to be strongly influenced by tie width, so that both for urban and forest habitats, birds with smaller ties were more trap-shy and more cautious than their larger tied counterparts. When modelling survival, we found that survival prospects in forest great tits increased the larger their tie width (i.e., directional positive selection), but the reverse was found for urban birds, with individuals displaying smaller ties showing higher survival (i.e., directional negative selection). As melanin-based tie size seems to be related to personality, and both are heritable, results may be explained by cautious personalities being favored in urban environments. More importantly, our results show that divergent selection can be an important mechanism in local adaptation to urban habitats and that capture–recapture is a powerful tool to test it. PMID:25077014

  20. Habitat suitability of the Atlantic bluefin tuna by size class: An ecological niche approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Druon, Jean-Noël; Fromentin, Jean-Marc; Hanke, Alex R.; Arrizabalaga, Haritz; Damalas, Dimitrios; Tičina, Vjekoslav; Quílez-Badia, Gemma; Ramirez, Karina; Arregui, Igor; Tserpes, George; Reglero, Patricia; Deflorio, Michele; Oray, Isik; Saadet Karakulak, F.; Megalofonou, Persefoni; Ceyhan, Tevfik; Grubišić, Leon; MacKenzie, Brian R.; Lamkin, John; Afonso, Pedro; Addis, Piero

    2016-03-01

    An ecological niche modelling (ENM) approach was used to predict the potential feeding and spawning habitats of small (5-25 kg, only feeding) and large (>25 kg) Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT), Thunnus thynnus, in the Mediterranean Sea, the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. The ENM was built bridging knowledge on ecological traits of ABFT (e.g. temperature tolerance, mobility, feeding and spawning strategy) with patterns of selected environmental variables (chlorophyll-a fronts and concentration, sea surface current and temperature, sea surface height anomaly) that were identified using an extensive set of precisely geo-located presence data. The results highlight a wider temperature tolerance for larger fish allowing them to feed in the northern - high chlorophyll levels - latitudes up to the Norwegian Sea in the eastern Atlantic and to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in the western basin. Permanent suitable feeding habitat for small ABFT was predicted to be mostly located in temperate latitudes in the North Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as in subtropical waters off north-west Africa, while summer potential habitat in the Gulf of Mexico was found to be unsuitable for both small and large ABFTs. Potential spawning grounds were found to occur in the Gulf of Mexico from March-April in the south-east to April-May in the north, while favourable conditions evolve in the Mediterranean Sea from mid-May in the eastern to mid-July in the western basin. Other secondary potential spawning grounds not supported by observations were predicted in the Azores area and off Morocco to Senegal during July and August when extrapolating the model settings from the Gulf of Mexico into the North Atlantic. The presence of large ABFT off Florida and the Bahamas in spring was not explained by the model as is, however the environmental variables other than the sea surface height anomaly appeared to be favourable for spawning in part of this area. Defining key spatial and

  1. Marine reserves reduce risk of climate-driven phase shift by reinstating size- and habitat-specific trophic interactions.

    PubMed

    Ling, S D; Johnson, C R

    2012-06-01

    Spatial closures in the marine environment are widely accepted as effective conservation and fisheries management tools. Given increasing human-derived stressors acting on marine ecosystems, the need for such effective action is urgently clear. Here we explore mechanisms underlying the utility of marine reserves to reinstate trophic dynamics and to increase resilience of kelp beds against climate-driven phase shift to sea urchin barrens on the rapidly warming Tasmanian east coast. Tethering and tagging experiments were used to examine size- and shelter-specific survival of the range-extending sea urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii (Diadematidae) translocated to reefs inside and outside no-take Tasmanian marine reserves. Results show that survival rates of C. rodgersii exposed on flat reef substratum by tethering were approximately seven times (small urchins 10.1 times; large urchins 6.1 times) lower on protected reef within marine reserve boundaries (high abundance of large predatory-capable lobsters) compared to fished reef (large predatory lobsters absent). When able to seek crevice shelter, tag-resighting models estimated that mortality rates of C. rodgersii were lower overall but remained 3.3 times (small urchins 2.1 times; large urchins 6.4 times) higher in the presence of large lobsters inside marine reserves, with higher survival of small urchins owing to greater access to crevices relative to large urchins. Indeed, shelter was 6.3 times and 3.1 times more important to survival of small and large urchins, respectively, on reserved relative to fished reef. Experimental results corroborate with surveys throughout the range extension region, showing greater occurrence of overgrazing on high-relief rocky habitats where shelter for C. rodgersii is readily available. This shows that ecosystem impacts mediated by range extension of such habitat-modifying organisms will be heterogeneous in space, and that marine systems with a more natural complement of large and thus

  2. Multisystemic Listeriosis in a Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and Two Common Ringtail Possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus).

    PubMed

    Sangster, C R

    2016-05-01

    A single free-ranging common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and 2 captive sibling common ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus)from a zoological facility in Sydney, Australia, were diagnosed with multisystemic listeriosis. The brushtail was found dead in an animal enclosure while the ringtails presented with signs of cardiovascular collapse and died shortly thereafter. All 3 animals were culture positive forListeria monocytogenesand demonstrated focal suppurative lesions within the brainstem in addition to fulminant disease in other areas of the thorax and/or abdomen. Listeriosis in phalangeriformes species has rarely been reported, and brainstem lesions have not previously been described. It is speculated that access to the brainstem by the organism may have occurred hematogenously or via retrograde migration along cranial nerves. Sources of infection and the possibility of transmission between animals are also discussed. PMID:26215760

  3. Pattern and dynamics of biomass stock in old growth forests: The role of habitat and tree size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, Zuoqiang; Gazol, Antonio; Wang, Xugao; Lin, Fei; Ye, Ji; Zhang, Zhaochen; Suo, YanYan; Kuang, Xu; Wang, Yunyun; Jia, Shihong; Hao, Zhanqing

    2016-08-01

    Forest ecosystems play a fundamental role in the global carbon cycle. However, how stand-level changes in tree age and structure influence biomass stock and dynamics in old-growth forests is a question that remains unclear. In this study, we quantified the aboveground biomass (AGB) standing stock, the coarse woody productivity (CWP), and the change in biomass over ten years (2004-2014) in a 25 ha unmanaged broad-leaved Korean pine mixed forest in northeastern China. In addition, we quantified how AGB stock and change (tree growth, recruitment and mortality) estimations are influenced by the variation in habitat heterogeneity, tree size structure and subplot size. Our analysis indicated that Changbai forest had AGB of 265.4 Mg ha-1 in 2004, and gained1.36 Mg ha-1 y-1 between 2004 and 2014. Despite recruitment having better performance in nutrient rich habitat, we found that there is a directional tree growth trend independent of habitat heterogeneity for available nutrients in this old growth forest. The observed increases in AGB stock (∼70%) are mainly attributed to the growth of intermediate size trees (30-70 cm DBH), indicating that this forest is still reaching its mature stage. Meanwhile, we indicated that biomass loss due to mortality reduces living biomass, not increment, may be the primary factor to affect forest biomass dynamics in this area. Also, spatial variation in forest dynamics is large for small sizes (i.e. coefficient of variation in 20 × 20 m subplots is 53.2%), and more than 90 percent of the inherent variability of these coefficients was predicted by a simple model including plot size. Our result provides a mean by which to estimate within-plot variability at a local scale before inferring any directional change in forest dynamics at a regional scale, and information about the variability of forest structure and dynamics are fundamental to design effective sampling strategies in future study.

  4. Behavior-Based Assessment of the Auditory Abilities of Brushtail Possums

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Osugi, Mizuho; Foster T. Mary; Temple, William; Poling, Alan

    2011-01-01

    Brushtail possums ("Trichosurus vulpecula") were trained to press a right lever when a tone was presented (a tone-on trial) and a left lever when a tone was not presented (a tone-off trial) to gain access to food. During training the tone was set at 80 dB(A), with a frequency of 0.88 kH for 3 possums and of 4 kH for the other 2. Once accuracy was…

  5. Intercohort size structure dynamics of fire salamander larvae in ephemeral habitats: a mesocosm experiment.

    PubMed

    Sadeh, Asaf; Polevikov, Antonina; Mangel, Marc; Blaustein, Leon

    2015-10-01

    The size structure of a larval population facilitates interaction asymmetries that, in turn, influence the dynamics of size-structure. In species that exhibit conspicuous aggressive interactions, the competitive effects of the smaller individuals may be overlooked. We manipulated initial size differences between two larval cohorts and young-cohort density of Salamandra infraimmaculata in mesocosms to determine: (1) whether young individuals function primarily as prey or as competitors of older and larger individuals; (2) the resulting dynamics of size variation; and (3) recruitment to the postmetamorph population. Intercohort size differences generally remained constant over time at low young-cohort densities, but reduced over time at high densities due to retardation of the old-cohort growth rate. This suggests a competitive advantage to the young cohort that outweighs the interference advantage of older cohorts previously documented in this species. The increase in mortality from desiccation due to high young-cohort density was an order of magnitude greater in the old cohort than in the young-cohort, further indicating size-dependent vulnerability to competition. However, the conditions least favorable to most of the old-cohort larvae (large size difference and high young-cohort density) promoted cannibalism. Among cannibals, mortality and time to metamorphosis decreased and sizes at metamorphosis increased substantially. Thus, a balance between the competitive advantage to young cohorts, and the interference and cannibalism advantage to old cohorts shapes larval size-structure dynamics. Larval densities and individual expression of cannibalism can shift this balance in opposite directions and alter relative recruitment rates from different cohorts. PMID:26080758

  6. Size-dependent distribution and feeding habits of Terebralia palustris in mangrove habitats of Gazi Bay, Kenya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pape, Ellen; Muthumbi, Agnes; Kamanu, Chomba Peter; Vanreusel, Ann

    2008-03-01

    The gastropod Terebralia palustris often dominates the surface of muddy to sandy substrates of intertidal mudflats and mangrove forests, where they clearly destabilize the sediment. In the present study, it was investigated whether and to what extent the behaviour of juvenile and adult snails differs among habitats (mudflat vs. mangrove stand) in a Sonneratia alba mangal at Gazi Bay, Kenya. For this purpose we: (1) examined their distribution along three land-sea transects; and (2) applied stable isotope analysis to determine the feeding patterns of different-sized snails from the mangrove and mudflat habitats. Additionally, we investigated if these gastropods exert an impact on microphytobenthic (diatom) biomass, and whether this is size-dependent. The latter objective was met by either enclosing or excluding different-sized snails from experimental cages on the intertidal mudflat and the subsequent assessment of a change in pigment concentration of the sediment surface. In agreement with several previous studies conducted in other mangroves and geographical locations, a spatial segregation was demonstrated between juveniles (more common on the mudflat) and adults (more common in the mangrove forest). On the intertidal mudflat juveniles avoided sediment patches characterized by highly saline water in intertidal pools and a high mud content, while adults tended to dwell on substrates covered by a high amount of leaf litter. Stable carbon isotope analysis of the foot tissue of snails sampled from the S. alba stand and the mudflat indicated a transition in food source when a shell length of 51 mm is reached. Considering the δ13C value of juveniles, it seems they might be selecting for microphytobenthos, which might explain their preference for the mudflat. The diet of size classes found in both habitats did not differ significantly, although juveniles inhabiting the mangrove forest were slightly more depleted in 13C compared to those residing on the mudflat

  7. Interacting Watershed Size and Landcover Influences on Habitat and Biota of Lake Superior Coastal Wetlands

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal wetlands are important contributors to the productivity and biodiversity of large lakes and important mediators of the lake - watershed connection. This study explores how strength of connection to the watershed (represented by watershed size and wetland morphological ty...

  8. Diversification Rates Increase With Population Size and Resource Concentration in an Unstructured Habitat

    PubMed Central

    Stevens, M. H. H.; Sanchez, M.; Lee, J.; Finkel, S. E.

    2007-01-01

    Understanding the mechanisms controlling the generation and maintenance of biodiversity provides some of the planet's greatest and most pressing challenges. Variation in resource concentration, which varies widely at multiple scales, may cause biodiversity to increase, decrease, or exhibit a unimodal response and underlying mechanisms remain obscure. We established experimental cultures of long-term stationary phase (LTSP) Escherichia coli to test whether per capita heterozygosity varies with resource concentration, and, if so, whether population sizes associated with different resource concentrations contributed to these patterns. Our results provide the clearest example to date of increasing per capita heterozygosity with increasing resource concentration. Further, our experimental manipulations of population size, independent of resource concentration, provide the first unequivocal evidence that population size is one of the underlying factors controlling per capita heterozygosity along such resource gradients. Specifically, we show that cultures with higher maximum population sizes, associated with higher resource concentrations, have higher per capita heterozygosity. These experiments provide the first experimental evidence for an underappreciated factor controlling biodiversity along resource gradients—population size. This direct evidence of population size influencing diversification rates has implications for regional and global scale patterns of biodiversity. PMID:18073429

  9. Demographic population model for American shad: will access to additional habitat upstream of dams increase population sizes?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Harris, Julianne E.; Hightower, Joseph E.

    2012-01-01

    American shad Alosa sapidissima are in decline in their native range, and modeling possible management scenarios could help guide their restoration. We developed a density-dependent, deterministic, stage-based matrix model to predict the population-level results of transporting American shad to suitable spawning habitat upstream of dams on the Roanoke River, North Carolina and Virginia. We used data on sonic-tagged adult American shad and oxytetracycline-marked American shad fry both above and below dams on the Roanoke River with information from other systems to estimate a starting population size and vital rates. We modeled the adult female population over 30 years under plausible scenarios of adult transport, effective fecundity (egg production), and survival of adults (i.e., to return to spawn the next year) and juveniles (from spawned egg to age 1). We also evaluated the potential effects of increased survival for adults and juveniles. The adult female population size in the Roanoke River was estimated to be 5,224. With no transport, the model predicted a slow population increase over the next 30 years. Predicted population increases were highest when survival was improved during the first year of life. Transport was predicted to benefit the population only if high rates of effective fecundity and juvenile survival could be achieved. Currently, transported adults and young are less likely to successfully out-migrate than individuals below the dams, and the estimated adult population size is much smaller than either of two assumed values of carrying capacity for the lower river; therefore, transport is not predicted to help restore the stock under present conditions. Research on survival rates, density-dependent processes, and the impacts of structures to increase out-migration success would improve evaluation of the potential benefits of access to additional spawning habitat for American shad.

  10. Habitat complexity and fish size affect the detection of Indo-Pacific lionfish on invaded coral reefs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Green, S. J.; Tamburello, N.; Miller, S. E.; Akins, J. L.; Côté, I. M.

    2013-06-01

    A standard approach to improving the accuracy of reef fish population estimates derived from underwater visual censuses (UVCs) is the application of species-specific correction factors, which assumes that a species' detectability is constant under all conditions. To test this assumption, we quantified detection rates for invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish ( Pterois volitans and P. miles), which are now a primary threat to coral reef conservation throughout the Caribbean. Estimates of lionfish population density and distribution, which are essential for managing the invasion, are currently obtained through standard UVCs. Using two conventional UVC methods, the belt transect and stationary visual census (SVC), we assessed how lionfish detection rates vary with lionfish body size and habitat complexity (measured as rugosity) on invaded continuous and patch reefs off Cape Eleuthera, the Bahamas. Belt transect and SVC surveys performed equally poorly, with both methods failing to detect the presence of lionfish in >50 % of surveys where thorough, lionfish-focussed searches yielded one or more individuals. Conventional methods underestimated lionfish biomass by ~200 %. Crucially, detection rate varied significantly with both lionfish size and reef rugosity, indicating that the application of a single correction factor across habitats and stages of invasion is unlikely to accurately characterize local populations. Applying variable correction factors that account for site-specific lionfish size and rugosity to conventional survey data increased estimates of lionfish biomass, but these remained significantly lower than actual biomass. To increase the accuracy and reliability of estimates of lionfish density and distribution, monitoring programs should use detailed area searches rather than standard visual survey methods. Our study highlights the importance of accounting for sources of spatial and temporal variation in detection to increase the accuracy of survey data from

  11. Effect of crab size and habitat type on the locomotory activity of juvenile shore crabs, Carcinus maenas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Almeida, Maria João; Flores, Augusto A. V.; Queiroga, Henrique

    2008-12-01

    Post-settlement processes are a major focus in the study of the dynamics of marine populations and communities. Post-settlement movement of juveniles is an important, but often ignored, process which affects local predator-prey and competitive interactions. We used benthic suction sampling and pitfall traps to examine density and locomotory activity of Carcinus maenas juveniles in different intertidal habitat types in the Rio Mira Estuary, Portugal, to better understand intra-specific interactions in a system where density-dependent processes are known to regulate population dynamics. As expected, significantly higher densities of juvenile shore crabs were found from bare mud compared to densely vegetated habitats. At the time of sampling, small and intermediate stages together outnumbered by far the larger juveniles. Conversely, larger crabs were much more frequent than smaller ones in traps. A locomotory index (LI), i.e. the ratio between crab catch in pitfall traps and their density within their moving range, is proposed as a measure of movement. LI analyses indicated that: (1) movement is an order of magnitude higher in large than small juveniles and much higher in sparse than dense vegetation cover; (2) activity of small juveniles is mostly crepuscular, regardless of vegetation cover; and (3) movement of large juveniles is very limited in dense Zostera patches, but very high in sparsely vegetated areas, during the day and night. These results suggest that small juveniles are relatively protected under dense vegetation cover due to lower mobility of larger crabs, and provide evidence of temporal segregation of activity windows between juvenile crabs of different sizes, which may be a key mechanism to reduce cannibalism and therefore increase the carrying capacity of nursery habitats.

  12. Habitat-specific size structure variations in periwinkle populations ( Littorina littorea) caused by biotic factors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eschweiler, Nina; Molis, Markus; Buschbaum, Christian

    2009-06-01

    Shell size distribution patterns of marine gastropod populations may vary considerably across different environments. We investigated the size and density structure of genetically continuous periwinkle populations ( Littorina littorea) on an exposed rocky and a sheltered sedimentary environment on two nearby islands in the south-eastern North Sea (German Bight). On the sedimentary shore, periwinkle density (917 ± 722 individuals m-2) was about three times higher than on the rocky shore (296 ± 168 individuals m-2). Mean (9.8 ± 3.9 mm) and maximum (22 mm) shell size of L. littorea on the sedimentary shore were smaller than on the rocky shore (21.5 ± 4.2 and 32 mm, respectively), where only few small snails were found. Additionally, periwinkle shells were thicker and stronger on the rocky than on the sedimentary shore. To ascertain mechanisms responsible for differences in population structures, we examined periwinkles in both environments for growth rate, predation pressure, infection with a shell boring polychaete ( Polydora ciliata) and parasitic infestation by trematodes. A crosswise transplantation experiment revealed better growth conditions on the sedimentary than on the rocky shore. However, crab abundance and prevalence of parasites and P. ciliata in adult snails were higher on the sedimentary shore. Previous investigations showed that crabs prefer large periwinkles infested with P. ciliata. Thus, we suggest that parasites and shell boring P. ciliata in conjunction with an increased crab predation pressure are responsible for low abundances of large periwinkles on the sedimentary shore while high wave exposure may explain low densities of juvenile L. littorea on the rocky shore. We conclude that biotic factors may strongly contribute to observed differences in size structure of the L. littorea populations studied on rocky and sedimentary shores.

  13. The effect of fire on habitat selection of mammalian herbivores: the role of body size and vegetation characteristics.

    PubMed

    Eby, Stephanie L; Anderson, T Michael; Mayemba, Emilian P; Ritchie, Mark E

    2014-09-01

    Given the role of fire in shaping ecosystems, especially grasslands and savannas, it is important to understand its broader impact on these systems. Post-fire stimulation of plant nutrients is thought to benefit grazing mammals and explain their preference for burned areas. However, fire also reduces vegetation height and increases visibility, thereby potentially reducing predation risk. Consequently, fire may be more beneficial to smaller herbivores, with higher nutritional needs and greater risks of predation. We tested the impacts of burning on different sized herbivores' habitat preference in Serengeti National Park, as mediated by burning's effects on vegetation height, live : dead biomass ratio and leaf nutrients. Burning caused a less than 4 month increase in leaf nitrogen (N), and leaf non-N nutrients [copper (Cu), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg)] and a decrease in vegetation height and live : dead biomass. During this period, total herbivore counts were higher on burned areas. Generally, smaller herbivores preferred burned areas more strongly than larger herbivores. Unfortunately, it was not possible to determine the vegetation characteristics that explained burned area preference for each of the herbivore species observed. However, total herbivore abundance and impala (Aepyceros melampus) preference for burned areas was due to the increases in non-N nutrients caused by burning. These findings suggest that burned area attractiveness to herbivores is mainly driven by changes to forage quality and not potential decreases in predation risk caused by reductions in vegetation height. PMID:24697568

  14. Energy substrate utilization in the common brushtailed possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) using intravenous tolerance tests.

    PubMed

    Legge, M; Jones, L M; McLeod, B J

    2011-02-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate the energy substrate requirements of the common brushtailed possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) using intravenous tolerance tests for glucose, alanine, and propionate in five adult male and female animals under standardized conditions. Significant differences (p<0.01) were observed for fasting blood glucose values between males (6.3±0.16 mmol L(-1)) and females (4.8±0.13 mmol L(-1)), and males had a significantly (p<0.001) increased response to glucose. All animals returned to fasting glucose levels within 120 min after the glucose challenge. No significant change in blood glucose levels was observed for either the alanine or propionate tolerance tests (p>0.05). However, following propionate administration, there was a highly significant (p<0.001) decrease in blood lactate concentrations over 120 min. There was no evidence of ketone formation using β-hydroxybutyrate as a biomarker during any of the tests, indicating that there was no significant switch to lipolysis. In conclusion, the study provides new information on energy substrate utilization in this species and has identified that a gluconeogenic response normally identified in other species is not apparent in the common brushtailed possum. PMID:20977945

  15. Using Sodium-Chloride Tracers and Grain Size Analysis to Determine Hyporheic Permeability in Salmonid Spawning Habitat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosenbery, J. W.; Janes, M. K.; Heffernan, J. E.; Horner, T.

    2012-12-01

    Embryonic mortality rates of salmonids are greatly affected by gravel permeability and grain size distributions within the host gravel. Typical permeability testing methods use a single standpipe to measure the permeability. For studies on the American and Feather Rivers in northern California, tracer tests were used to measure seepage velocity using a main "injection" well and several downstream monitoring wells. Bulk samples and pebble counts were used to measure grain size. Measurements were recorded at approximately 30cm depth in the gravel, where salmonid species typically lay their eggs. Sites were examined before and after stream restoration to compare subsurface habitat conditions. During each tracer test, a super-saturated NaCl solution was introduced into an "injection" standpipe with a short well screen located 30cm deep in the gravel. Identical downstream standpipes contained conductivity meters that sensed the NaCl as it passed through the gravel, causing a spike in specific conductance. Plotting the peak conductance against the arrival time allowed a seepage velocity to be measured in cm/second. Seepage velocity ranged from 0.2 - 0.7 cm/sec in restored gravel, and was less than 1.6 x 10-4 cm/sec in some un-restored areas. Grain size analysis showed that un-restored areas had an armored surface with d50 values ranging from 4-10 cm, while the subsurface showed excessive fine material supporting large grains smaller than those in the surface sample with d50 values ranging from 1.3 - 3.0 cm. Restored areas were found to contain a well sorted composition containing little to no fine material and a subsurface which closely matched the surface showing d50 values from 1.6 - 3.8 cm. Comparing results of tracer tests with grain size distributions in both restored and un-restored spawning gravels gives an indication of the relative health of a particular portion of a hyporheic river system, and the relative success of some restoration projects.

  16. Similarity of Body Size in Queens of the Wood ant Formica aquilonia from Optimal and Sub-Optimal Habitats Indicates a Strong Heritable Component

    PubMed Central

    Haatanen, Marja-Katariina; Sorvari, Jouni

    2013-01-01

    Body size in animals is affected by both genes and the environment (e.g., the amount of food resources). In ants, body size is related to several traits in an individual's physiology and life history. For example, a large queen may increase offspring production, thus increasing her overall fitness. In this study, whether sub-optimal environmental conditions affect the body size of queens of the red wood ant, Formica aquilonia Yarrow (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The sizes (head width in mm) of virgin queens, i.e., gynes, originating from forest interiors (resource rich) and from commercial forest clear-cuts (resource poor) were measured. No differences in the body size of the queens from the two habitats were found. In addition, the within-nest variation in queen size was similar between habitat types. The results indicate that the body size variation of F. aquilonia queens is not sensitive to environmental variation, unlike F. aquilonia workers. The lack of environmental variation in queen size in F. aquilonia may be due to a strong selection in the past to monomorphic size in this obligately polygynous (multi-queened) species. PMID:24735372

  17. The consequences of introducing non-indigenous species: two case studies, the grey squirrel in Europe and the brushtail possum in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Lawton, C; Cown, P; Bertolino, S; Lurz, P W W; Peters, A R

    2010-08-01

    Two examples of the introduction of non-indigenous invasive species are reviewed: the grey squirrel in Europe (United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy) and the brushtail possum in New Zealand. Both have become very successful in their respective non-native habitats since their introductions in the mid-to-late 19th Century. Both species impact extensively on native biodiversity, environmental sustainability, forestry, and agriculture through a range of direct and indirect mechanisms. Management is currently mainly by lethal control, namely poisoning, trapping and shooting. Such methods of control are, however, increasingly contentious for both species, and alternative, non-lethal methods of population control, e.g. fertility control, are being developed. The case studies highlight many of the issues in invasive animal control; for example, prevention being better than control, lack of good understanding of impacts and the success of control measures on reducing impacts, interactive impacts on native biodiversity and ecosystems, the telling influence of public opinion on management options and, lastly, the need to better inform and educate the public. PMID:20919583

  18. Evaluations of duck habitat and estimation of duck population sizes with a remote-sensing-based system

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cowardin, Lewis M.; Shaffer, Terry L.; Arnold, Phillip M.

    1995-01-01

    During 1987-90, we used high-altitude photography, aerial videography, counts, and models to estimate sizes of breeding populations of dabbling ducks (Anatinae) and duck production and to identify duck habitat on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land and easements and on private land in the prairie pothole region of the United States. The study area contained about 3.1 million wetland basins (28,490 km2). Wetland area (ha per km2) was highest on service-owned land; wetland-basin density was greatest on service easements. Temporary and seasonal wetlands were underrepresented and lakes were overrepresented on service-owned land. Seventy-eight percent of all basins were less than 0.41 ha. Cropland dominated private land. Pond density decreased from 4.4/km2 in 1987 to 3.4/km2 in 1990 and pond area, from 7.2 ha/km2 to 2.7 ha/km2. The density of the blue-winged teal was greatest (3.4 pairs/km2) and was followed in magnitude by those of the mallard (2.1 pairs/km2), the gadwall (1.8 pairs/km2), the northern pintail (0.8 pairs/km2), and the redhead (0.8 pairs/km2). Duck density was consistently highest on service-owned land. The decline of breeding-population sizes in 1987-90 closely corresponded to losses of pond numbers and pond area. The density of breeding pairs per pond was inversely related to pond density, suggesting that breeding ducks tended to concentrate on the remaining ponds as drought intensified. The production of recruits followed the same pattern as breeding-population sizes. We estimated that 2.5% of the ducklings hatched on service-owned land, which was 1.3% of the study area; 19.6% hatched on service easements, which were 14.2% of the study area; and 77.9% hatched on private land, which was 84.6% of the study area. Various sources of bias and sampling error and improvements to the system are discussed.

  19. The Size of Winter-Flooded Paddy Fields No Longer Limits the Foraging Habitat Use of the Endangered Crested Ibis (Nipponia nippon) in Winter.

    PubMed

    Hu, Can-Shi; Song, Xiao; Ding, Chang-Qing; Ye, Yuan-Xing; Qing, Bao-Ping; Wang, Chao

    2016-08-01

    Paddy fields have traditionally been viewed as the key foraging habitats for the endangered crested ibis (Nipponia nippon). With the population of this species now increasing, its distribution has expanded to both lowland areas and outside the nature reserve. However, little is known about the current foraging habitat preferences of these birds, especially during winter. In this research, a total of 54 used sites and 50 unused sites were investigated during winter from December 2011 to January 2012. The results of logistic regression analysis indicate that soil softness, human disturbance, and distance to the nearest road were important factors. For the site plots of winter-flooded paddy fields, the birds prefer the paddy fields with higher coverage of vegetation, except softer foraging sites and lower human-related disturbance. In lowland areas, the size of winter-flooded paddy fields was not a limiting factor, due to the availability of other wetlands capable of providing abundant food. The micro-habitat characteristics were important indicators of foraging habitat quality rather than the size of winter-flooded paddy fields, and the food accessibility may play an important role in the process of foraging habitat use. We suggest the improvement of the foraging micro-habitat and environmental characteristics would be effective in ensuring the availability of food in the dispersed lowland areas. The local people still needed to be encouraged and compensated by their single-cropping cultivation, ploughed the paddy fields after harvesting and irrigated them with shallow water flooded in the original core areas of the nature reserve. PMID:27498793

  20. Inferring Evolution of Habitat Usage and Body Size in Endangered, Seasonal Cynopoeciline Killifishes from the South American Atlantic Forest through an Integrative Approach (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae).

    PubMed

    Costa, Wilson J E M

    2016-01-01

    Cynopoecilines comprise a diversified clade of small killifishes occurring in the Atlantic Forest, one of the most endangered biodiversity hotspots in the world. They are found in temporary pools of savannah-like and dense forest habitats, and most of them are highly threatened with extinction if not already extinct. The greatest gap in our knowledge of cynopoecilines stems from the absence of an integrative approach incorporating molecular phylogenetic data of species still found in their habitats with phylogenetic data taken from the rare and possibly extinct species without accessible molecular information. An integrative analysis combining 115 morphological characters with a multigene dataset of 2,108 bp comprising three nuclear loci (GLYT1, ENC1, Rho), provided a robust phylogeny of cynopoeciline killifishes, which was herein used to attain an accurate phylogenetic placement of nearly extinct species. The analysis indicates that the most recent common ancestor of the Cynopoecilini lived in open vegetation habitats of the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil and was a miniature species, reaching between 25 and 28 mm of standard length. The rare cases of cynopoecilines specialized in inhabiting pools within dense forests are interpreted as derived from four independent evolutionary events. Shifts in habitat usage and biogeographic patterns are tentatively associated to Cenozoic paleogeographic events, but the evolutionary history of cynopoecilines may be partially lost by a combination of poor past sampling and recent habitat decline. A sharp evolutionary shift directed to increased body size in a clade encompassing the genera Campellolebias and Cynopoecilus may be related to a parallel acquisition of an internally-fertilizing reproductive strategy, unique among aplocheiloid killifishes. This study reinforces the importance of adding morphological information to molecular databases as a tool to understand the biological complexity of organisms under intense

  1. Inferring Evolution of Habitat Usage and Body Size in Endangered, Seasonal Cynopoeciline Killifishes from the South American Atlantic Forest through an Integrative Approach (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae)

    PubMed Central

    Costa, Wilson J. E. M.

    2016-01-01

    Cynopoecilines comprise a diversified clade of small killifishes occurring in the Atlantic Forest, one of the most endangered biodiversity hotspots in the world. They are found in temporary pools of savannah-like and dense forest habitats, and most of them are highly threatened with extinction if not already extinct. The greatest gap in our knowledge of cynopoecilines stems from the absence of an integrative approach incorporating molecular phylogenetic data of species still found in their habitats with phylogenetic data taken from the rare and possibly extinct species without accessible molecular information. An integrative analysis combining 115 morphological characters with a multigene dataset of 2,108 bp comprising three nuclear loci (GLYT1, ENC1, Rho), provided a robust phylogeny of cynopoeciline killifishes, which was herein used to attain an accurate phylogenetic placement of nearly extinct species. The analysis indicates that the most recent common ancestor of the Cynopoecilini lived in open vegetation habitats of the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil and was a miniature species, reaching between 25 and 28 mm of standard length. The rare cases of cynopoecilines specialized in inhabiting pools within dense forests are interpreted as derived from four independent evolutionary events. Shifts in habitat usage and biogeographic patterns are tentatively associated to Cenozoic paleogeographic events, but the evolutionary history of cynopoecilines may be partially lost by a combination of poor past sampling and recent habitat decline. A sharp evolutionary shift directed to increased body size in a clade encompassing the genera Campellolebias and Cynopoecilus may be related to a parallel acquisition of an internally-fertilizing reproductive strategy, unique among aplocheiloid killifishes. This study reinforces the importance of adding morphological information to molecular databases as a tool to understand the biological complexity of organisms under intense

  2. Comparing simulated wildfire effects to jam distribution and habitat quality in an intermediate-sized stream 10 years after a high intensity fire

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davidson, S. L.; Eaton, B. C.

    2013-12-01

    Large wood governs channel morphology and determines the quality and distribution of aquatic habitat in many forested river networks. This is particularly true in streams that contain both key pieces large enough to form morphologically effective jams, as well as smaller mobile wood. In these streams, jams create spawning habitat by retaining sediment, increase rearing and over-wintering habitat by forming pools, and force avulsions which create side channels. To explore the effects of wildfire-induced increases in wood loading on channel morphology and aquatic habitat we have applied the stochastic reach-scale channel simulator (RSCS) to a case study of Fishtrap Creek, an intermediate-sized stream in the interior of British Columbia which experienced a high intensity fire in 2003. As predicted by model simulations, high quality spawning, rearing, and over-wintering habitats, as well as multi-thread channels, are found exclusively in association with wood, while plane-bed morphologies dominate where wood is absent. However, valley confinement and glacial legacy exert an important control on the magnitude of the impacts of the fire-derived wood; where the stream is confined, wood is suspended and morphologically ineffective, while un-confined segments contain high effective wood loads, multi-thread channels, and abundant aquatic habitat. These findings suggest that the morphologic effects of wood are highly dependent on valley geometry, which is in turn dictated by glacial legacy throughout much of North America, and that the impacts of valley confinement on the effectiveness of introduced wood must be considered in future model iterations. Plane bed morphology typical of reaches without large wood present Complex forced pool-riffle morphology typical of reaches with high wood loading

  3. Morphology of the lingual papillae in the brush-tailed rat kangaroo.

    PubMed

    Emura, Shoichi; Okumura, Toshihiko; Chen, Huayue

    2014-01-01

    We examined the dorsal lingual surface of an adult brush-tailed rat kangaroo (Bettongia penicillata) by scanning electron microscopy. The filiform and fungiform papillae on the lingual apex and body consisted of a main papilla and secondary papillae. The connective tissue core of the filiform papillae on the lingual apex was cylindrical in shape with a crushed top. The connective tissue core of the filiform papillae on the lingual body had one large and several small processes. The fungiform papillae were round in shape. The connective tissue core of the fungiform papillae had several depressions on its top. The surface of the vallate papillae was rough and the papillae were surrounded by a groove and a pad. Several long conical papillae derived from the posterolateral margin of the tongue where foliate papillae have been shown to be distributed in many other animal species. The long conical papillae were very similar to those of the koala and opossum. PMID:24815106

  4. Peritoneal inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor in a brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus macrourus).

    PubMed

    Liu, Chen-Hsuan; Chen, I-Ping; Chen, An; Chang, Chih-Hua

    2005-06-01

    An 8-yr-old, male brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus macrourus) presented for necropsy examination in good nutritional status. It had received treatment for Strongylus spp. infection 1 yr earlier, and it had a short episode of diarrhea 2 days before death. Postmortem examination revealed disseminated, variably discrete, soft to firm, white-gray nodules over the omentum, mesentery, intestinal serosa, and at the liver surface. Histologically, these tumors were mainly arranged as proliferating spindle cells growing in interlacing fascicles or in a storiform pattern associated with ropy collagenous stroma and vascularization. Inflammatory cells, consisting of lymphocytes, plasma cells, and macrophages, infiltrated between the tumor cells. Cytoplasmic immunoreactivity of antibodies to alpha-smooth muscle actin and vimentin was observed in the tumor cells. Antidesmin immunoreactivity varied with area. The morphologic features, the presence of inflammatory infiltrates, and the immunohistochemical expression were consistent with a diagnosis of inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor as reported in humans, horses, and cats. PMID:17323585

  5. Assessing stability of body weight in the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    Cameron, Kristie E; Bizo, Lewis A; Starkey, Nicola J

    2015-01-01

    When conducting controlled laboratory studies with non-traditional laboratory animals it is important that methods for determining body weight stability are reliable. This helps ensure the health and welfare of animals when they are maintained during periods of free feeding or food restriction. This study compared different methods for determining body weight stability in six common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) maintained on a free-feeding diet under laboratory conditions. A criterion of five consecutive weighings with less than ±2.5% change across days and no more than two consecutive days of weight loss or weight gain was judged to be the most suitable criteria for determining stability. It is important to study non-traditional animals, especially endangered or pest species, under controlled laboratory conditions and to have robust methods for establishing body weight stability. PMID:24958547

  6. The hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and manipulations of the oestrous cycle in the brushtail possum.

    PubMed

    Crawford, Janet L; McLeod, Bernie J; Eckery, Douglas C

    2011-02-01

    The main purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive update on what is known about the regulatory mechanisms of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis in the brushtail possum, and to report on the outcomes of attempts made to manipulate by hormonal means, these processes in the possum. Over the last 15 years, several unique features of possum reproductive physiology have been discovered. These include an extended follicular phase despite elevated concentrations of FSH during the luteal phase, and early expression of LH receptors on granulosa cells of small antral follicles, suggesting a different mechanism for the selection of a dominant follicle. The use of routine synchronisation protocols that are effective in eutherians has failed to be effective in possums, and so the ability to reliably synchronise oestrus in this species remains a challenge. PMID:21074534

  7. Molecular identification of interleukin-2 in the lymphoid tissues of the common brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula.

    PubMed

    Young, L J; Cross, M L; Duckworth, J A; Flenady, S; Belov, K

    2012-01-01

    The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is an Australian marsupial. Here we describe the identification of possum interleukin-2 in mitogen-stimulated lymph node cells. We used a strategy of Rapid amplification of cDNA ends using probes designed from recently-sequenced marsupial genomes to identify the IL2 gene and then confirmed that IL-2 expression in possum immune tissue occurs in a similar manner to that in their eutherian counterparts. The predictive possum IL-2 peptide showed 28% and 35% amino acid sequence homology with the mouse and human IL-2 molecules, respectively, consistent with the divergence found within this cytokine family. Despite this low sequence identity, possum IL-2 still possessed the characteristic hallmarks of mammalian IL-2, such as a predicted signal peptide and conserved family motifs. PMID:21683733

  8. Comparisons between the influences of habitat, body size and season on the dietary composition of the sparid Acanthopagrus latus in a large marine embayment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Platell, M. E.; Ang, H. P.; Hesp, S. A.; Potter, I. C.

    2007-05-01

    Seasonal samples from Shark Bay on the west coast of Australia were used to determine (1) the habitats occupied by the juveniles and adults of Acanthopagrus latus in this large subtropical marine embayment and (2) the extent to which the dietary composition of this sparid is influenced by habitat type, body length and season. Sampling was undertaken in two habitat types in which A. latus was known to be abundant, namely mangrove ( Avicennia marina) creeks and nearby rocky areas, the latter comprising sandstone boulders and/or limestone reefs. The mean total length ±95% CLs of A. latus was far lower in mangrove creeks, 126 ± 6.1 mm, than in rocky areas, 313 ± 4.7 mm. As A. latus attains maturity at ca. 245 mm, the juveniles of this species typically occupy mangrove areas and then, with increasing body size, move to nearshore rocky areas, where they become adults. The species composition of the food ingested by juvenile A. latus in mangrove creeks differed markedly from that of large juveniles and adults in rocky areas. Based on analyses of data for both habitat types combined, this difference was far greater than that between size classes and season, which was negligible. There were indications, however, that, overall within each habitat, the dietary composition did change seasonally, although not with body size. Acanthopagrus latus fed predominantly on mangrove material, sesarmid crabs and small gastropods in mangrove habitats, and mainly on Brachidontes ustulatus in rocky areas, where this mytilid bivalve is very abundant. The mangrove material, which contributed nearly 40% of its overall dietary volume in mangrove creeks, consisted mainly of lateral root primordia. This apparently unique food source for a teleost is presumably ingested through subsurface nipping, which would be facilitated by the mouth and dentitional characteristics of sparids. The almost total lack of correspondence in the dietary compositions of fish in the length class that was well

  9. Exploring the Impact of Habitat Size on Phylogeographic Patterning in the Overberg Velvet Worm Peripatopsis overbergiensis (Onychophora: Peripatopsidae).

    PubMed

    Myburgh, Angus Macgregor; Daniels, Savel R

    2015-01-01

    Evolutionary relationships in the velvet worm species, Peripatopsis overbergiensis, were examined in 3 forest areas in the Overberg region of South Africa to explore the impact of historical habitat fragmentation on the population genetic structure of the species. We collected 84 P. overbergiensis specimens from Grootvadersbosch, Koppie Alleen, and Marloth Nature Reserves and sequenced all these specimens for the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) locus, whereas a subset of 13 specimens were also sequenced for the 18S rRNA locus. Phylogenetic analyses of the 20 unique COI haplotypes revealed 4 genetically distinct clades, a result that is corroborated by the haplotype network. A hierarchical analysis of genetic variation was performed on the COI haplotype data within the 2 large forested areas, Grootvadersbosch and Marloth Nature Reserves, and across all 3 of the sample localities. These results revealed low haplotypic and nucleotide diversity within the largest Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve forest and high haplotypic and nucleotide diversity within the fragmented Marloth Nature Reserve forest, whereas Koppie Alleen had the lowest haplotypic and nucleotide diversity. Across all 3 main localities statistically significant F ST values were found, together with the absence of shared haplotypes indicating the absence of maternal gene flow. Divergence time estimations based on the 20 COI haplotypes calculated in BEAST suggest a Pleistocene/Holocene divergence between the 4 clades as a result of habitat fragmentation and the aridification of the region. Our results indicate that conservation efforts should also prioritize linked, smaller fragmented habitats together with continuous habitats to maximize the genetic diversity of saproxylic fauna. PMID:25838152

  10. Cost-Effective Large-Scale Occupancy–Abundance Monitoring of Invasive Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus Vulpecula) on New Zealand’s Public Conservation Land

    PubMed Central

    Gormley, Andrew M.; Forsyth, David M.; Wright, Elaine F.; Lyall, John; Elliott, Mike; Martini, Mark; Kappers, Benno; Perry, Mike; McKay, Meredith

    2015-01-01

    There is interest in large-scale and unbiased monitoring of biodiversity status and trend, but there are few published examples of such monitoring being implemented. The New Zealand Department of Conservation is implementing a monitoring program that involves sampling selected biota at the vertices of an 8-km grid superimposed over the 8.6 million hectares of public conservation land that it manages. The introduced brushtail possum (Trichosurus Vulpecula) is a major threat to some biota and is one taxon that they wish to monitor and report on. A pilot study revealed that the traditional method of monitoring possums using leg-hold traps set for two nights, termed the Trap Catch Index, was a constraint on the cost and logistical feasibility of the monitoring program. A phased implementation of the monitoring program was therefore conducted to collect data for evaluating the trade-off between possum occupancy–abundance estimates and the costs of sampling for one night rather than two nights. Reducing trapping effort from two nights to one night along four trap-lines reduced the estimated costs of monitoring by 5.8% due to savings in labour, food and allowances; it had a negligible effect on estimated national possum occupancy but resulted in slightly higher and less precise estimates of relative possum abundance. Monitoring possums for one night rather than two nights would provide an annual saving of NZ$72,400, with 271 fewer field days required for sampling. Possums occupied 60% (95% credible interval; 53–68) of sampling locations on New Zealand’s public conservation land, with a mean relative abundance (Trap Catch Index) of 2.7% (2.0–3.5). Possum occupancy and abundance were higher in forest than in non-forest habitats. Our case study illustrates the need to evaluate relationships between sampling design, cost, and occupancy–abundance estimates when designing and implementing large-scale occupancy–abundance monitoring programs. PMID:26029890

  11. Do free-ranging common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) play a role in the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii within a zoo environment?

    PubMed

    Hill, N J; Dubey, J P; Vogelnest, L; Power, M L; Deane, E M

    2008-04-15

    To investigate the possible role of common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii within a zoo environment, a serological survey of a free-ranging population resident within Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia was undertaken using the modified agglutination test (MAT). For comparison, the seroprevalence of T. gondii antibodies was also assessed in a possum population inhabiting a felid-free, non-urban woodland habitat. Six of 126 possums (4.8%) from the zoo population had antibodies to T. gondii with a MAT titre of 25 or higher, while in contrast, all of the 17 possums from woodland were seronegative. These observations suggest that possums were at a higher risk of exposure to the parasite as a consequence of co-existing with domestic, stray and captive felids associated with urbanisation. Screening of captive felids at the zoo indicated 16 of 23 individuals (67%) and all 6 species were seropositive for T. gondii, implicating them as a possible source of the parasite within the zoo setting. In addition captive, non-felid carnivores including the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), dingo (Canis lupis) and leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) were tested for the presence of T. gondii antibodies as these species predate and are a leading cause of death amongst zoo possums. In total, 5 of 23 individuals (22%) were seropositive, representing 2 of the 4 carnivorous species; the dingo and chimpanzee. These data suggest that carnivory was not a highly efficient pathway for the transmission of T. gondii and the free-ranging possum population posed minimal threat to the health of zoo animals. PMID:18281157

  12. Lipid-formulated bcg as an oral-bait vaccine for tuberculosis: vaccine stability, efficacy, and palatability to brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Cross, Martin L; Henderson, Ray J; Lambeth, Matthew R; Buddle, Bryce M; Aldwell, Frank E

    2009-07-01

    Bovine tuberculosis (Tb), due to infection with virulent Mycobacterium bovis, represents a threat to New Zealand agriculture due to vectorial transmission from wildlife reservoir species, principally the introduced Australian brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). An oral-delivery wildlife vaccine has been developed to immunize possums against Tb, based on formulation of the human Tb vaccine (M. bovis BCG) in edible lipid matrices. Here BCG bacilli were shown to be stable in lipid matrix formulation for over 8 mo in freezer storage, for 7 wk under room temperature conditions, and for 3-5 wk under field conditions in a forest/pasture margin habitat (when maintained in weatherproof bait-delivery sachets). Samples of the lipid matrix were flavored and offered to captive possums in a bait-preference study: a combination of 10% chocolate powder with anise oil was identified as the most effective attractant/palatability combination. In a replicated field study, 85-100% of wild possums were shown to access chocolate-flavored lipid pellets, when baits were applied to areas holding approximately 600-800 possums/km(2). Finally, in a controlled vaccination/challenge study, chocolate-flavored lipid vaccine samples containing 10(8) BCG bacilli were fed to captive possums, which were subsequently challenged via aerosol exposure to virulent M. bovis: vaccine immunogenicity was confirmed, and protection was identified by significantly reduced postchallenge weight loss in vaccinated animals compared to nonvaccinated controls. These studies indicate that, appropriately flavored, lipid delivery matrices may form effective bait vaccines for the control of Tb in wildlife. PMID:19617486

  13. Assessing Movements of Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in Relation to Depopulated Buffer Zones for the Management of Wildlife Tuberculosis in New Zealand

    PubMed Central

    Byrom, Andrea E.; Anderson, Dean P.; Coleman, Morgan; Thomson, Caroline; Cross, Martin L.; Pech, Roger P.

    2015-01-01

    In New Zealand, managing the threat of bovine tuberculosis (TB) to livestock includes population reduction of potentially infectious wildlife, primarily the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Population control is often targeted on forested buffer zones adjacent to farmland, in order to limit movements of possums across the buffer and reduce the risk of disease transmission to livestock. To assess the effectiveness of buffers in protecting livestock we analysed GPS telemetry data from possums located in untreated forest adjacent to buffers, and used these data to characterise patterns of movement that could lead to possums reaching farmland during the season when most dispersal occurs. Analyses of movement data showed that the direction of dispersal by sub-adult and adult possums and the extent of long exploratory movements were not biased toward forest buffers, even though these provided vacant habitat as suitable for possums as untreated forest. Instead, dispersal and exploratory movements were uncommon even for sub-adult possums and such events typically lasted <10 days. Dispersing possums settled predominantly in river valleys. A simulation model was developed for the 3-6-month dispersal season; it demonstrated a probability of <0.001 that an infected possum, originating from a low-density population with low disease prevalence in untreated forest, would move across 3 km of recently controlled forest buffer to reach farmland. Our results indicate short-term reduction in the risk of TB transmission from possums to livestock in New Zealand by the use of depopulated buffer zones, while acknowledging that the threat of disease spread from untreated forest is likely to increase over time as possum population density and, potentially, TB prevalence among those possums, increase in the buffer zone. PMID:26689918

  14. Assessing Movements of Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in Relation to Depopulated Buffer Zones for the Management of Wildlife Tuberculosis in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Byrom, Andrea E; Anderson, Dean P; Coleman, Morgan; Thomson, Caroline; Cross, Martin L; Pech, Roger P

    2015-01-01

    In New Zealand, managing the threat of bovine tuberculosis (TB) to livestock includes population reduction of potentially infectious wildlife, primarily the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Population control is often targeted on forested buffer zones adjacent to farmland, in order to limit movements of possums across the buffer and reduce the risk of disease transmission to livestock. To assess the effectiveness of buffers in protecting livestock we analysed GPS telemetry data from possums located in untreated forest adjacent to buffers, and used these data to characterise patterns of movement that could lead to possums reaching farmland during the season when most dispersal occurs. Analyses of movement data showed that the direction of dispersal by sub-adult and adult possums and the extent of long exploratory movements were not biased toward forest buffers, even though these provided vacant habitat as suitable for possums as untreated forest. Instead, dispersal and exploratory movements were uncommon even for sub-adult possums and such events typically lasted <10 days. Dispersing possums settled predominantly in river valleys. A simulation model was developed for the 3-6-month dispersal season; it demonstrated a probability of <0.001 that an infected possum, originating from a low-density population with low disease prevalence in untreated forest, would move across 3 km of recently controlled forest buffer to reach farmland. Our results indicate short-term reduction in the risk of TB transmission from possums to livestock in New Zealand by the use of depopulated buffer zones, while acknowledging that the threat of disease spread from untreated forest is likely to increase over time as possum population density and, potentially, TB prevalence among those possums, increase in the buffer zone. PMID:26689918

  15. Cost-Effective Large-Scale Occupancy-Abundance Monitoring of Invasive Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus Vulpecula) on New Zealand's Public Conservation Land.

    PubMed

    Gormley, Andrew M; Forsyth, David M; Wright, Elaine F; Lyall, John; Elliott, Mike; Martini, Mark; Kappers, Benno; Perry, Mike; McKay, Meredith

    2015-01-01

    There is interest in large-scale and unbiased monitoring of biodiversity status and trend, but there are few published examples of such monitoring being implemented. The New Zealand Department of Conservation is implementing a monitoring program that involves sampling selected biota at the vertices of an 8-km grid superimposed over the 8.6 million hectares of public conservation land that it manages. The introduced brushtail possum (Trichosurus Vulpecula) is a major threat to some biota and is one taxon that they wish to monitor and report on. A pilot study revealed that the traditional method of monitoring possums using leg-hold traps set for two nights, termed the Trap Catch Index, was a constraint on the cost and logistical feasibility of the monitoring program. A phased implementation of the monitoring program was therefore conducted to collect data for evaluating the trade-off between possum occupancy-abundance estimates and the costs of sampling for one night rather than two nights. Reducing trapping effort from two nights to one night along four trap-lines reduced the estimated costs of monitoring by 5.8% due to savings in labour, food and allowances; it had a negligible effect on estimated national possum occupancy but resulted in slightly higher and less precise estimates of relative possum abundance. Monitoring possums for one night rather than two nights would provide an annual saving of NZ$72,400, with 271 fewer field days required for sampling. Possums occupied 60% (95% credible interval; 53-68) of sampling locations on New Zealand's public conservation land, with a mean relative abundance (Trap Catch Index) of 2.7% (2.0-3.5). Possum occupancy and abundance were higher in forest than in non-forest habitats. Our case study illustrates the need to evaluate relationships between sampling design, cost, and occupancy-abundance estimates when designing and implementing large-scale occupancy-abundance monitoring programs. PMID:26029890

  16. Creating new evolutionary pathways through bioinvasion: the population genetics of brushtail possums in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Sarre, Stephen D; Aitken, Nicola; Adamack, Aaron T; MacDonald, Anna J; Gruber, Bernd; Cowan, Phil

    2014-07-01

    Rapid increases in global trade and human movement have created novel mixtures of organisms bringing with them the potential to rapidly accelerate the evolution of new forms. The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), introduced into New Zealand from Australia in the 19th century, is one such species having been sourced from multiple populations in its native range. Here, we combine microsatellite DNA- and GIS-based spatial data to show that T. vulpecula originating from at least two different Australian locations exhibit a population structure that is commensurate with their introduction history and which cannot be explained by landscape features alone. Most importantly, we identify a hybrid zone between the two subspecies which appears to function as a barrier to dispersal. When combined with previous genetic, morphological and captive studies, our data suggest that assortative mating between the two subspecies may operate at a behavioural or species recognition level rather than through fertilization, genetic incompatibility or developmental inhibition. Nevertheless, hybridization between the two subspecies of possum clearly occurs, creating the opportunity for novel genetic combinations that would not occur in their natural ranges and which is especially likely given that multiple contact zones occur in New Zealand. This discovery has implications for wildlife management in New Zealand because multiple contact zones are likely to influence the dispersal patterns of possums and because differential susceptibility to baiting with sodium fluoroacetate between possums of different origins may promote novel genetic forms. PMID:24943509

  17. Oral vaccination reduces the incidence of tuberculosis in free-living brushtail possums

    PubMed Central

    Tompkins, D. M.; Ramsey, D. S. L.; Cross, M. L.; Aldwell, F. E.; de Lisle, G. W.; Buddle, B. M.

    2009-01-01

    Bovine tuberculosis (Tb) caused by Mycobacterium bovis has proved refractory to eradication from domestic livestock in countries with wildlife disease reservoirs. Vaccination of wild hosts offers a way of controlling Tb in livestock without wildlife culling. This study was conducted in a Tb-endemic region of New Zealand, where the introduced Australian brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is the main wildlife reservoir of Tb. Possums were trapped and vaccinated using a prototype oral-delivery system to deliver the Tb vaccine bacille Calmette–Guerin. Vaccinated and control possums were matched according to age, sex and location, re-trapped bimonthly and assessed for Tb status by palpation and lesion aspiration; the site was depopulated after 2 years and post-mortem examinations were conducted to further identify clinical Tb cases and subclinical infection. Significantly fewer culture-confirmed Tb cases were recorded in vaccinated possums (1/51) compared with control animals (12/71); the transition probability from susceptible to infected was significantly reduced in both males and females by vaccination. Vaccine efficacy was estimated at 95 per cent (87–100%) for females and 96 per cent (82–99%) for males. Hence, this trial demonstrates that orally delivered live bacterial vaccines can significantly protect wildlife against natural disease exposure, indicating that wildlife vaccination, along with existing control methods, could be used to eradicate Tb from domestic animals. PMID:19493904

  18. The Effect of Small-Size Habitat Disturbances on Population Density and Time to Extinction of the Prairie Vole

    SciTech Connect

    Kostova, T; Carlsen, T

    2004-12-13

    We present a study, based on simulations with SERDYCA, a spatially-explicit individual-based model of rodent dynamics, on the relation between population persistence and the presence of numerous isolated disturbances in the habitat. We are specifically interested in the effect of disturbances that do not fragment the environment on population persistence. Our results suggest that the presence of disturbances in the absence of fragmentation can actually increase the average time to extinction of the modeled population. The presence of disturbances decreases population density but can increase the chance for mating in monogamous species and consequently, the ratio of juveniles in the population. It thus provides a better chance for the population to restore itself after a severe period with critically low population density. We call this the ''disturbance-forced localization effect''.

  19. The ploys of sex: relationships among the mode of reproduction, body size and habitats of coral-reef brittlestars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hendler, Gordon; Littman, Barbara S.

    1986-08-01

    Observations were made of 33 species of brittlestars (3980 specimens) from specific substrata collected in four zones on the Belize Barrier Reef, Caribbean Sea. The body size of most species of brittlestars with planktonic larvae differs significantly among different substrata. Generally, individuals from the calcareous alga Halimeda opuntia are smallest, those found in corals ( Porites porites, Madracis mirabilis, and Agaricia tenuifolia) are larger, and those from coral rubble are the largest. This suggests that brittlestars with planktonic larvae move to new microhabitats as they grow. In contrast, most brooding and fissiparous species are relatively small and their size-distributions are similar among all substrata. Halimeda harbours denser concentrations of brittlestars and more small and juvenile individuals than the other substrata. Juveniles of the brooding and fissiparous species are most common in Halimeda on the Back Reef whereas juveniles developing from planktonic larvae are most common in Halimeda patches in deeper water. Fissiparity and brooding may be means for individuals (genomes) of small, apomictic species to reach large size (and correspondingly high fecundities) in patchy microhabitats that select for small body sizes. Small brittlestar species and juveniles are most numerous in the microhabitats called refuge-substrata, such as Halimeda, which may repel predators and reduce environmental stress. Whether young brittlestars are concentrated in refuge-substrata through settlement behavior, migration, or differential survival remains unknown. Experiments revealed that coral polyps kill small brittlestars, perhaps accounting for the rarity of small and juvenile brittlestars in coral substrata.

  20. Angiotensin receptors in an Australian marsupial, the brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula

    SciTech Connect

    Sernia, C.; Lello, P.; Thomas, W.G. )

    1990-01-01

    In this study, the binding properties of angiotensin receptors were examined in the liver, adrenal, brain, and vascular tissue of the brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula. With 125I-Ile5-angiotensin II as the radioligand, the binding affinity (Ka) and receptor number (R0) were estimated for the liver (Ka = 3.60 +/- 0.31 liters/nmol; R0 = 23.8 +/- 1.30 pmol/g tissue; n = 8) and adrenal (Ka = 1.68 +/- 0.29 liters/nmol; R0 = 1.67 +/- 0.23 pmol/g tissue; n = 8). Specific binding was not found in any of seven areas of the possum brain (n = 6), whereas the expected binding was present in similar areas of the rat brain. Using angiotensin III or the antagonist Sar1-Ala8-angiotensin II as radioligands or changing the composition of the incubation buffer did not alter the outcome. Moreover, the intracerebroventricular injection of 1 and 5 nmol of angiotensin II did not elicit an increase in blood pressure which could be attributed to brain angiotensin II (AII) receptors. Ligand affinities of the adrenal and liver receptors were found to be in the following decreasing order: Val5-AII greater than Ile5-AII = Ile5-AIII greater than Sar1-Ala8-AII greater than Sar1-Gly8-AII greater than Sar1-Leu8-AII greater than Ile5-AI greater than hexapeptide greater than Phe3-Tyr8-AII. The cardiovascular AII receptor was investigated by generating dose-response curves of the pressor activity of Ile5-AII and six AII analogs infused intravenously. It was concluded that liver, adrenal, and vascular AII receptors in the marsupial possum have characteristics similar to those in eutherian mammals. However, the failure to find brain AII receptors raises the possibility that those functions mediated by such receptors in the eutherian brain are absent in the possum and perhaps other marsupials.

  1. Behavior-based assessment of the auditory abilities of brushtail possums.

    PubMed

    Osugi, Mizuho; Foster, T Mary; Temple, William; Poling, Alan

    2011-07-01

    Brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) were trained to press a right lever when a tone was presented (a tone-on trial) and a left lever when a tone was not presented (a tone-off trial) to gain access to food. During training the tone was set at 80 dB(A), with a frequency of 0.88 kH for 3 possums and of 4 kH for the other 2. Once accuracy was over 90% correct across five consecutive sessions, a test session was conducted where the intensity of the tone was reduced by 8 dB(A) over blocks of 20 trials until accuracy over a block fell below 60%. After each test session, training sessions were reintroduced and continued until accuracy was again over 90%, when another test session was conducted. This process continued until there were at least five test sessions at that tone frequency. The same procedure was then used with frequencies of 0.20, 0.88, 2, 4, 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 30, and 35 kHz. Percentage correct and d' decreased approximately linearly for all possums as tone intensity reduced. Both sets of lines were shallowest at the higher frequencies and steepest at the lower frequencies. Hit and false alarm rates mirrored each other at high frequencies but were asymmetric at lower frequencies. Equal d' contours showed that sensitivity increased from 2 to 15 kHz and continued to be high over 20 to 35 kHz. The possums remained sensitive to the 20 to 35 kHz tones even at low intensities. The present study is the first to report the abilities of possum to detect tones over this range of frequencies and its results support the findings of a microelectrode mapping survey of possums' auditory cortex. PMID:21765549

  2. Behavior-Based Assessment of the Auditory Abilities of Brushtail Possums

    PubMed Central

    Osugi, Mizuho; Foster, T. Mary; Temple, William; Poling, Alan

    2011-01-01

    Brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) were trained to press a right lever when a tone was presented (a tone-on trial) and a left lever when a tone was not presented (a tone-off trial) to gain access to food. During training the tone was set at 80 dB(A), with a frequency of 0.88 kH for 3 possums and of 4 kH for the other 2. Once accuracy was over 90% correct across five consecutive sessions, a test session was conducted where the intensity of the tone was reduced by 8 dB(A) over blocks of 20 trials until accuracy over a block fell below 60%. After each test session, training sessions were reintroduced and continued until accuracy was again over 90%, when another test session was conducted. This process continued until there were at least five test sessions at that tone frequency. The same procedure was then used with frequencies of 0.20, 0.88, 2, 4, 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 30, and 35 kHz. Percentage correct and d′ decreased approximately linearly for all possums as tone intensity reduced. Both sets of lines were shallowest at the higher frequencies and steepest at the lower frequencies. Hit and false alarm rates mirrored each other at high frequencies but were asymmetric at lower frequencies. Equal d′ contours showed that sensitivity increased from 2 to 15 kHz and continued to be high over 20 to 35 kHz. The possums remained sensitive to the 20 to 35 kHz tones even at low intensities. The present study is the first to report the abilities of possum to detect tones over this range of frequencies and its results support the findings of a microelectrode mapping survey of possums' auditory cortex. PMID:21765549

  3. Patch occupancy by stone martens Martes foina in fragmented landscapes of central Spain: the role of fragment size, isolation and habitat structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Virgós, Emilio; García, Francisco J.

    2002-08-01

    We studied the response to forest fragmentation of a generalist carnivore, the stone marten Martes foina, in highly fragmented landscapes of central Spain. Five different areas ( n = 178 fragments) in central Spain were surveyed. This paper analyses the relationship between fragment use by martens (measured through scat presence) and a series of variables related to the size, isolation and vegetation structure of each fragment by means of stepwise logistic regression. Size and isolation have an important effect on stone marten presence in fragments. Our results were similar to those found for other marten species in landscapes with coarse-grain fragmentation, but they contrast with other studies conducted in landscapes with fine-grain fragmentation. These data suggested that in highly fragmented landscapes, size and isolation factors resulting from forest fragmentation were responsible for determining marten responses, irrespective of their habitat generalism. Management policies for the stone marten in highly fragmented scenarios require the maintenance of large forests near continuous forest tracts in mountains or riparian woodlands.

  4. Diversity of Cryptosporidium in brush-tailed rock-wallabies (Petrogale penicillata) managed within a species recovery programme

    PubMed Central

    Vermeulen, Elke T.; Ashworth, Deborah L.; Eldridge, Mark D.B.; Power, Michelle L.

    2015-01-01

    Host–parasite relationships are likely to be impacted by conservation management practices, potentially increasing the susceptibility of wildlife to emerging disease. Cryptosporidium, a parasitic protozoan genus comprising host-adapted and host-specific species, was used as an indicator of parasite movement between populations of a threatened marsupial, the brush-tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale penicillata). PCR screening of faecal samples (n = 324) from seven wallaby populations across New South Wales, identified Cryptosporidium in 7.1% of samples. The sampled populations were characterised as captive, supplemented and wild populations. No significant difference was found in Cryptosporidium detection between each of the three population categories. The positive samples, detected using 18S rRNA screening, were amplified using the actin and gp60 loci. Multi-locus sequence analysis revealed the presence of Cryptosporidium fayeri, a marsupial-specific species, and C. meleagridis, which has a broad host range, in samples from the three population categories. Cryptosporidium meleagridis has not been previously reported in marsupials and hence the pathogenicity of this species to brush-tailed rock-wallabies is unknown. Based on these findings, we recommend further study into Cryptosporidium in animals undergoing conservation management, as well as surveying wild animals in release areas, to further understand the diversity and epidemiology of this parasite in threatened wildlife. PMID:25834789

  5. Reproductive functional anatomy and oestrous cycle pattern of the female brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus africanus, Gray 1842) from Gabon.

    PubMed

    Mayor, P; López-Béjar, M; Jori, F; Fenech, M; López-Gatius, F

    2003-07-15

    In the present study, we examined certain features of the functional anatomy of the female genital tract of the wild brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus africanus) to obtain data on the reproductive biology of this African forest rodent. Two consecutive experiments were performed. The aim of the first was to establish macroscopic and microscopic features of the genital organs, and to explore correlations between predominant ovarian structures and vaginal contents in 20 wild, mature females. In the second experiment, we inspected the external genitalia and vaginal smears of a further 10 females in captivity on a daily basis for 90 days. The uterus of the brush-tailed porcupine is bicornuate and composed of two separated uterine horns, a uterine body and cervix. The genital tract does not present a vaginal vestibule. Thus, there is no portion common to genital and urinary tracts. Females in the follicular phase of the oestrous cycle showed increased cornification of the vaginal epithelium and a high density of eosinophilic cells in vaginal smears. The vulva and vaginal opening were open, reddish and tumefacted. In luteal phase or in pregnancy, epithelial cornification and eosinophilic features were notably reduced and the vagina presented a pale, non-tumefacted vulva and a vaginal closure membrane. Females in captivity showed spontaneous cycles, a polyoestrous reproduction pattern and, based on features of the external genitalia and vaginal smears, their oestrous cycle length was 27.1+/-6.4 days (n=12). PMID:12695058

  6. Do free-ranging Common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) play a role in the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii within a zoo environment?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    To investigate the possible role of Common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii within a zoo environment, a serological survey of a free-ranging population resident within Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia was undertaken using the modified agglutination tes...

  7. Effects of sample size and sampling frequency on studies of brown bear home ranges and habitat use

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arthur, Steve M.; Schwartz, Charles C.

    1999-01-01

    We equipped 9 brown bears (Ursus arctos) on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, with collars containing both conventional very-high-frequency (VHF) transmitters and global positioning system (GPS) receivers programmed to determine an animal's position at 5.75-hr intervals. We calculated minimum convex polygon (MCP) and fixed and adaptive kernel home ranges for randomly-selected subsets of the GPS data to examine the effects of sample size on accuracy and precision of home range estimates. We also compared results obtained by weekly aerial radiotracking versus more frequent GPS locations to test for biases in conventional radiotracking data. Home ranges based on the MCP were 20-606 km2 (x = 201) for aerial radiotracking data (n = 12-16 locations/bear) and 116-1,505 km2 (x = 522) for the complete GPS data sets (n = 245-466 locations/bear). Fixed kernel home ranges were 34-955 km2 (x = 224) for radiotracking data and 16-130 km2 (x = 60) for the GPS data. Differences between means for radiotracking and GPS data were due primarily to the larger samples provided by the GPS data. Means did not differ between radiotracking data and equivalent-sized subsets of GPS data (P > 0.10). For the MCP, home range area increased and variability decreased asymptotically with number of locations. For the kernel models, both area and variability decreased with increasing sample size. Simulations suggested that the MCP and kernel models required >60 and >80 locations, respectively, for estimates to be both accurate (change in area <1%/additional location) and precise (CV < 50%). Although the radiotracking data appeared unbiased, except for the relationship between area and sample size, these data failed to indicate some areas that likely were important to bears. Our results suggest that the usefulness of conventional radiotracking data may be limited by potential biases and variability due to small samples. Investigators that use home range estimates in statistical tests should consider the

  8. Adaptive divergence in body size overrides the effects of plasticity across natural habitats in the brown trout.

    PubMed

    Rogell, Björn; Dannewitz, Johan; Palm, Stefan; Dahl, Jonas; Petersson, Erik; Laurila, Anssi

    2013-07-01

    The evolution of life-history traits is characterized by trade-offs between different selection pressures, as well as plasticity across environmental conditions. Yet, studies on local adaptation are often performed under artificial conditions, leaving two issues unexplored: (i) how consistent are laboratory inferred local adaptations under natural conditions and (ii) how much phenotypic variation is attributed to phenotypic plasticity and to adaptive evolution, respectively, across environmental conditions? We reared fish from six locally adapted (domesticated and wild) populations of anadromous brown trout (Salmo trutta) in one semi-natural and three natural streams and recorded a key life-history trait (body size at the end of first growth season). We found that population-specific reaction norms were close to parallel across different streams and Q ST was similar - and larger than F ST - within all streams, indicating a consistency of local adaptation in body size across natural environments. The amount of variation explained by population origin exceeded the variation across stream environments, indicating that genetic effects derived from adaptive processes have a stronger effect on phenotypic variation than plasticity induced by environmental conditions. These results suggest that plasticity does not "swamp" the phenotypic variation, and that selection may thus be efficient in generating genetic change. PMID:23919140

  9. Adaptive divergence in body size overrides the effects of plasticity across natural habitats in the brown trout

    PubMed Central

    Rogell, Björn; Dannewitz, Johan; Palm, Stefan; Dahl, Jonas; Petersson, Erik; Laurila, Anssi

    2013-01-01

    The evolution of life-history traits is characterized by trade-offs between different selection pressures, as well as plasticity across environmental conditions. Yet, studies on local adaptation are often performed under artificial conditions, leaving two issues unexplored: (i) how consistent are laboratory inferred local adaptations under natural conditions and (ii) how much phenotypic variation is attributed to phenotypic plasticity and to adaptive evolution, respectively, across environmental conditions? We reared fish from six locally adapted (domesticated and wild) populations of anadromous brown trout (Salmo trutta) in one semi-natural and three natural streams and recorded a key life-history trait (body size at the end of first growth season). We found that population-specific reaction norms were close to parallel across different streams and QST was similar – and larger than FST – within all streams, indicating a consistency of local adaptation in body size across natural environments. The amount of variation explained by population origin exceeded the variation across stream environments, indicating that genetic effects derived from adaptive processes have a stronger effect on phenotypic variation than plasticity induced by environmental conditions. These results suggest that plasticity does not “swamp” the phenotypic variation, and that selection may thus be efficient in generating genetic change. PMID:23919140

  10. QUANTIFYING STRUCTURAL PHYSICAL HABITAT ATTRIBUTES USING LIDAR AND HYPERSPECTRAL IMAGERY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Structural physical habitat attributes include indices of stream size, channel gradient, substrate size, habitat complexity and cover, riparian vegetation cover and structure, anthropogenic disturbances and channel-riparian interaction. These habitat attributes will vary dependen...

  11. Partitioning of Habitat and Prey by Abundant and Similar-sized Species of the Triglidae and Pempherididae (Teleostei) in coastal waters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Platell, M. E.; Potter, I. C.

    1999-02-01

    The aim of this study was to determine whether certain co-occurring and abundant species of the teleost families Triglidae and Pempherididae are segregated spatially and/or by diet, and are thus less likely to be susceptible to competition for resources. Nocturnal otter trawling in shallow (5-15 m) and deeper (20-35 m) waters in four regions along ˜200 km of the south-western Australian coastline collected large numbers of a wide size range of the triglids Lepidotrigla modestaand Lepidotrigla papilioand the pempheridids Pempheris klunzingeriand Parapriacanthus elongatus. Although these four species frequently co-occurred at several sites, each species attained its highest density at different sites, thereby representing a partial segregation of these species by habitat. This even occurred with the congeneric triglid species, with L. modestabeing most abundant in the four deep, offshore sites, while L. papiliowas most numerous at three sites which varied in depth and distance from shore. Although triglids and pempheridids both consumed substantial amounts of amphipods and mysids, only the members of the latter family ingested a large amount of errant polychaetes. The latter difference is assumed to reflect the fact that, in comparison with triglids, pempheridids can swim faster, have a mouth adapted for feeding upwards in the water column and feed at night when errant polychaetes emerge from the substratum. Although the dietary compositions of L. modestaand L. papiliodid not differ significantly when analyses were based on dietary data for all sites, they did differ significantly when analyses were restricted to dietary data obtained when both species were abundant and co-occurred. The likelihood of competition for food is thus reduced in the latter circumstances. In comparison with P. klunzingeri, P. elongatusconsumed a relatively larger volume of amphipods and a relatively smaller volume of mysids, which are more mobile, implying that P. elongatusfeeds to a

  12. Histology of the pouch epithelium and the mammary glands during chemically induced oestrus in the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

    PubMed Central

    Old, Julie M; Irving, M; Deane, Elizabeth M

    2005-01-01

    Changes in the epithelium of the maternal pouch and the mammary gland of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) were examined after animals were treated to induce ovulation with follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), pregnant mares’ serum gonadotrophin (PMSG) and oestradiol. The mammary glands were similar in appearance to those described in eutherian mammals and in previous studies on other marsupials. Exposure of possums to these compounds, particularly PSMG, appeared to result in changes in the mammary glands that could be associated with milk/secretion production. In contrast, the pouch epithelium had a similar histological appearance to that of epithelium from other parts of the body regardless of whether the animal was exposed to stimulants. These preliminary observations are discussed in the context of the purported role of the pouch epithelium and the mammary gland in production of secretions at oestrus and provision of immunological protection to the neonatal marsupial. PMID:16011549

  13. Identification of a novel nidovirus associated with a neurological disease of the Australian brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    Dunowska, M; Biggs, P J; Zheng, T; Perrott, M R

    2012-05-01

    A novel, fatal neurological disease of the Australian brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) was first identified in 1995 in a research facility and subsequently in free-living possums in New Zealand and termed wobbly possum disease (WPD). The results of previous transmission studies suggested that the aetiological agent of WPD is most likely a virus. However, the identity of the presumed viral agent had not been elucidated. In the current report, we describe identification of a novel virus from tissues of WPD-affected possums using a combination of next generation sequencing and traditional molecular methods. The proportion of possums positive for the novel virus by PCR was significantly higher (p<0.0001) among animals with WPD than clinically healthy possums, strongly suggesting an aetiological involvement of the virus in WPD. Analysis of the partial genomic sequence of the putative WPD virus indicated that it is a novel nidovirus, most closely related to the current members of the family Arteriviridae. PMID:22153843

  14. Comparison of sediment grain size characteristics on nourished and un-nourished estuarine beaches and impacts on horseshoe crab habitat, Delaware Bay, New Jersey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jackson, N.L.; Smith, D.R.; Nordstrom, K.F.

    2005-01-01

    This study was undertaken to determine whether nourished and un-nourished estuarine beaches have conspicuous differences in sediment size and sorting that could affect their value as habitat for horseshoe crabs. Comparisons are made of beach profiles and sediment samples gathered at 0.15 m and 0.30 m depths on the backshore, at spring tide elevation, neap tide elevation, and the lower foreshore on 5 un-nourished and 3 nourished beaches in Delaware Bay, where tidal range is <2.0 m. The backshore is at least 0.5 m higher on the recently nourished beaches than on a nearby un-nourished beach reworked by storm waves. Nourishing these beaches to elevations higher than natural overwash heights will restrict natural evolution of the upper beach. Sediments at spring tide elevation on un-nourished sites average 0.72 mm in diameter at 0.15 m depth and 0.67 mm at 0.30 m depth.The similarity in size implies a relatively deep active layer in the zone of maximum cut and fill associated with cyclic profile change during low frequency, high magnitude storms. Sedimentary changes at neap tide elevation may be influenced more by depth of activation by waves than by cycles of deposition and erosion. Sediment at 0.15 m depth at spring and neap locations on the foreshore of nourished beaches is finer (0.51 mm) and better sorted (0.82 phi) than at 0.30 m depth (0.91 mm, 1.38 phi), implying that waves have not reworked the deeper sediments. Differences in sediment characteristics at depth may persist on eroding nourished beaches, where unreworked fill is close to the surface. Sediment texture influences horseshoe crab egg viability and development. Lower rates of water movement through the foreshore and greater thickness of the capillary fringe on nourished sites suggests that greater moisture retention will occur where horseshoe crabs bury eggs and may provide more favorable conditions for egg development, but the depth of these conditions will not be great on a recently nourished beach

  15. Chemical characterization of milk oligosaccharides of the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    Urashima, Tadasu; Fujita, Saori; Fukuda, Kenji; Nakamura, Tadashi; Saito, Tadao; Cowan, Phil; Messer, Michael

    2014-07-01

    Structural characterizations of marsupial milk oligosaccharides have been performed in only three species: the tammar wallaby, the red kangaroo and the koala. To clarify the homology and heterogeneity of milk oligosaccharides among marsupials, 21 oligosaccharides of the milk carbohydrate fraction of the common brushtail possum were characterized in this study. Neutral and acidic oligosaccharides were separated from the carbohydrate fraction of mid-lactation milk and characterized by (1)H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The structures of the 7 neutral oligosaccharides were Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc (3'-galactosyllactose), Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc (3", 3'-digalactosyllactose), Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc, Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc, Gal(β1-3)[Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-4)Glc (lacto-N-novopentaose I), Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)[Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-4)Glc (galactosyl lacto-N-novopentaose I), Gal(β1-3)[Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc (galactosyl lacto-N-novopentaose II). The structures of the 14 acidic oligosaccharides detected were Neu5Ac(α2-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc (sialyl 3'-galactosyllactose), Gal(β1-3)(O-3-sulfate)[Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-4)Glc (lacto-N-novopentaose I sulfate a) Gal(β1-3)[Gal(β1-4)(O-3-sulfate)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-4)Glc (lacto-N-novopentaose I sulfate b), Neu5Ac(α2-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc, Neu5Ac(α2-3)Gal(β1-3)[Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-4)Glc (sialyl lacto-N-novopentaose a), Gal(β1-3)(-3-O-sulfate)Gal(β1-3)[Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-4)Glc, Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)[Gal(β1-4)(-3-O-sulfate)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-4)Glc, Gal(β1-3)[Neu5Ac(α2-6)Gal(β1-4)GlcNAc(β1-6)]Gal(β1-4)Glc (sialyl lacto-N-novopentaose b), Neu5Ac(α2-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc, Gal(β1-3)(-3-O-sulphate)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-3)Gal(β1-4)Glc, Neu5Ac(α2

  16. Habitat automation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Swab, Rodney E.

    1992-01-01

    A habitat, on either the surface of the Moon or Mars, will be designed and built with the proven technologies of that day. These technologies will be mature and readily available to the habitat designer. We believe an acceleration of the normal pace of automation would allow a habitat to be safer and more easily maintained than would be the case otherwise. This document examines the operation of a habitat and describes elements of that operation which may benefit from an increased use of automation. Research topics within the automation realm are then defined and discussed with respect to the role they can have in the design of the habitat. Problems associated with the integration of advanced technologies into real-world projects at NASA are also addressed.

  17. Concurrent progressive-ratio and fixed-ratio schedule performance under geometric and arithmetic progressions by brushtail possums.

    PubMed

    Cameron, Kristie E; Clarke, Katrina H; Bizo, Lewis A; Starkey, Nicola J

    2016-05-01

    The aim of this study was to compare the demand for food under concurrent progressive- and fixed-ratio schedules. Twelve brushtail possums participated in 16 conditions where schedule, progression and food type were varied. An incrementing schedule increased the fixed-ratio requirement within and across sessions and was arranged as either a geometric sequence (base 2), or an arithmetic sequence (step 5). Two foods were tested: a flaked barley and coco-pop(®) mix versus rolled oats. Overall, performance was similar for most possums in the within- and across-session incrementing schedules. An analysis of the estimates of essential value and break point produced the same account of demand for foods under the geometric or arithmetic progressions and within- and across-session procedures for 8 of 12 possums. Six possums showed higher demand for rolled oats compared to flaked barley, and two possums showed higher demand for flaked barley compared to rolled oats. Incrementing ratios within, rather than between sessions using an arithmetic progression was demonstrated to be a time efficient procedure for investigating demand for different food types without affecting conclusions about the relative demand for those foods. PMID:27032293

  18. Influences of plant toxins and their spatial distribution on foraging by the common brushtail possum, a generalist mammalian herbivore.

    PubMed

    Nersesian, Carolyn L; Banks, Peter B; McArthur, Clare

    2012-12-01

    Generalist herbivores forage on a variety of plant species, allowing them to gain nutrients while limiting ingestion of harmful toxins. As the capacity to mix diets appears important for maximizing intake, the spatial scale in heterogeneity of food resources should influence the foraging behavior of herbivores. Our aim was to identify how the feeding strategy of a generalist mammalian herbivore, the common brushtail possum, responds to foods within a spatially defined environment. We evaluated foraging responses against increasing spatial separation between pairs of artificial diets that differed in flavor and toxin profile, to determine how distance and diet affect intake and behavior. Foraging responses were influenced by the type of diet or the degree of spatial separation between foods but not by their interaction. Diet influenced intake, time spent feeding, and feeding rate, but had no effect on nightly foraging interval, number of feeding bouts, or bout length. The number of switches between paired food resources and foraging efficiency (intake per unit distance, which accounts for the energetic costs of travelling), were influenced only by distance. Titrating foraging against a range of distances demonstrated how quickly foraging efficiency can decline in response to the spatial separation of food resources, highlighting the importance of spatial heterogeneity of plants within the home range of an herbivore. PMID:23179099

  19. Triacylglycerol estolides, a new class of mammalian lipids, in the paracloacal gland of the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    McLean, Stuart; Davies, Noel W; Nichols, David S; Mcleod, Bernie J

    2015-06-01

    The paracloacal glands are the most prevalent scent glands in marsupials, and previous investigation of their secretions in the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) has identified many odorous compounds together with large amounts of neutral lipids. We have examined the lipids by LC-MS, generating ammonium adducts of acylglycerols by electrospray ionisation. Chromatograms showed a complex mixture of coeluting acylglycerols, with m/z from about 404 to 1048. Plots of single [M + NH4](+) ions showed three groups of lipids clearly separated by retention time. MS-MS enabled triacylglycerols and diacylglycerol ethers to be identified from neutral losses and formation of diacylglycerols and other product ions. The earliest-eluting lipids were found to be triacylglycerol estolides, in which a fourth fatty acid forms an ester link with a hydroxy fatty acid attached to the glycerol chain. This is the first report of triacylglycerol estolides in animals. They form a complex mixture with the triacylglycerols and diacylglycerol ethers of lipids with short- and long-chain fatty acids with varying degrees of unsaturation. This complexity suggests a functional role, possibly in social communication. PMID:25916239

  20. The role of IGFs in the regulation of ovarian follicular growth in the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    Juengel, Jennifer L; Haydon, Lisa J; Mester, Brigitta; Thomson, Brian P; Beaumont, Michael; Eckery, Douglas C

    2010-08-01

    IGFs are known to be key regulators of ovarian follicular growth in eutherian mammals, but little is known regarding their role in marsupials. To better understand the potential role of IGFs in the regulation of follicular growth in marsupials, expression of mRNAs encoding IGF1, IGF2, IGF1R, IGF-binding protein 2 (IGFBP2), IGFBP4 and IGFBP5 was localized by in situ hybridization in developing ovarian follicles of the brushtail possum. In addition, the effects of IGF1 and IGF2 on granulosa cell function were tested in vitro. Both granulosa and theca cells synthesize IGF mRNAs, with the theca expressing IGF1 mRNA and granulosa cell expressing IGF2 mRNA. Oocytes and granulosa cells express IGF1R. Granulosa and theca cells expressed IGFBP mRNAs, although the pattern of expression differed between the BPs. IGFBP5 mRNA was differentially expressed as the follicles developed with granulosa cells of antral follicles no longer expressing IGFBP5 mRNA, suggesting an increased IGF bioavailability in the antral follicle. The IGFBP protease, PAPPA mRNA, was also expressed in granulosa cells of growing follicles. Both IGF1 and IGF2 stimulated thymidine incorporation but had no effect on progesterone production. Thus, IGF may be an important regulator of ovarian follicular development in marsupials as has been shown in eutherian mammals. PMID:20522481

  1. Combining Site Occupancy, Breeding Population Sizes and Reproductive Success to Calculate Time-Averaged Reproductive Output of Different Habitat Types: An Application to Tricolored Blackbirds

    PubMed Central

    Holyoak, Marcel; Meese, Robert J.; Graves, Emily E.

    2014-01-01

    In metapopulations in which habitat patches vary in quality and occupancy it can be complicated to calculate the net time-averaged contribution to reproduction of particular populations. Surprisingly, few indices have been proposed for this purpose. We combined occupancy, abundance, frequency of occurrence, and reproductive success to determine the net value of different sites through time and applied this method to a bird of conservation concern. The Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) has experienced large population declines, is the most colonial songbird in North America, is largely confined to California, and breeds itinerantly in multiple habitat types. It has had chronically low reproductive success in recent years. Although young produced per nest have previously been compared across habitats, no study has simultaneously considered site occupancy and reproductive success. Combining occupancy, abundance, frequency of occurrence, reproductive success and nest failure rate we found that that large colonies in grain fields fail frequently because of nest destruction due to harvest prior to fledging. Consequently, net time-averaged reproductive output is low compared to colonies in non-native Himalayan blackberry or thistles, and native stinging nettles. Cattail marshes have intermediate reproductive output, but their reproductive output might be improved by active management. Harvest of grain-field colonies necessitates either promoting delay of harvest or creating alternative, more secure nesting habitats. Stinging nettle and marsh colonies offer the main potential sources for restoration or native habitat creation. From 2005–2011 breeding site occupancy declined 3x faster than new breeding colonies were formed, indicating a rapid decline in occupancy. Total abundance showed a similar decline. Causes of variation in the value for reproduction of nesting substrates and factors behind continuing population declines merit urgent investigation. The method

  2. Combining site occupancy, breeding population sizes and reproductive success to calculate time-averaged reproductive output of different habitat types: an application to Tricolored Blackbirds.

    PubMed

    Holyoak, Marcel; Meese, Robert J; Graves, Emily E

    2014-01-01

    In metapopulations in which habitat patches vary in quality and occupancy it can be complicated to calculate the net time-averaged contribution to reproduction of particular populations. Surprisingly, few indices have been proposed for this purpose. We combined occupancy, abundance, frequency of occurrence, and reproductive success to determine the net value of different sites through time and applied this method to a bird of conservation concern. The Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) has experienced large population declines, is the most colonial songbird in North America, is largely confined to California, and breeds itinerantly in multiple habitat types. It has had chronically low reproductive success in recent years. Although young produced per nest have previously been compared across habitats, no study has simultaneously considered site occupancy and reproductive success. Combining occupancy, abundance, frequency of occurrence, reproductive success and nest failure rate we found that that large colonies in grain fields fail frequently because of nest destruction due to harvest prior to fledging. Consequently, net time-averaged reproductive output is low compared to colonies in non-native Himalayan blackberry or thistles, and native stinging nettles. Cattail marshes have intermediate reproductive output, but their reproductive output might be improved by active management. Harvest of grain-field colonies necessitates either promoting delay of harvest or creating alternative, more secure nesting habitats. Stinging nettle and marsh colonies offer the main potential sources for restoration or native habitat creation. From 2005-2011 breeding site occupancy declined 3x faster than new breeding colonies were formed, indicating a rapid decline in occupancy. Total abundance showed a similar decline. Causes of variation in the value for reproduction of nesting substrates and factors behind continuing population declines merit urgent investigation. The method we

  3. Influence of fine-scale habitat structure on nest-site occupancy, laying date and clutch size in Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amininasab, Seyed Mehdi; Vedder, Oscar; Schut, Elske; de Jong, Berber; Magrath, Michael J. L.; Korsten, Peter; Komdeur, Jan

    2016-01-01

    Most birds have specific habitat requirements for breeding. The vegetation structure surrounding nest-sites is an important component of habitat quality, and can have large effects on avian breeding performance. We studied 13 years of Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus population data to determine whether characteristics of vegetation structure predict site occupancy, laying date and number of eggs laid. Measurements of vegetation structure included the density of English Oak Quercus robur, European Beech Fagus sylvatica, and other deciduous, coniferous and non-coniferous evergreen trees, within a 20-m radius of nest-boxes used for breeding. Trees were further sub-divided into specific classes of trunk circumferences to determine the densities for different maturity levels. Based on Principal Component Analysis (PCA), we reduced the total number of 17 measured vegetation variables to 7 main categories, which we used for further analyses. We found that the occupancy rate of sites and the number of eggs laid correlated positively with the proportion of deciduous trees and negatively with the density of coniferous trees. Laying of the first egg was advanced with a greater proportion of deciduous trees. Among deciduous trees, the English Oak appeared to be most important, as a higher density of more mature English Oak trees was associated with more frequent nest-box occupancy, a larger number of eggs laid, and an earlier laying start. Furthermore, laying started earlier and more eggs were laid in nest-boxes with higher occupancy rates. Together, these findings highlight the role of deciduous trees, particularly more mature English Oak, as important predictors of high-quality preferred habitat. These results aid in defining habitat quality and will facilitate future studies on the importance of environmental quality for breeding performance.

  4. Molecular and functional characterization of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator from the Australian common brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula.

    PubMed

    Demmers, K J; Carter, D; Fan, S; Mao, P; Maqbool, N J; McLeod, B J; Bartolo, R; Butt, A G

    2010-04-01

    Unlike eutherian mammals, the colon of the Australian common brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula, a metatherian mammal, is incapable of electrogenic Cl(-) secretion and has elevated levels of electrogenic Na(+) absorption, while the ileum secretes HCO (3) (-) rather than Cl(-). In eutherian mammals, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is essential for both Cl(-) and HCO (3) (-) secretion and the regulation of Na(+) absorption. Therefore, we have sequenced possum (p)CFTR, described its distribution and characterized the properties of cloned pCFTR expressed in Fischer rat thyroid (FRT) cells. pCFTR (GenBank accession No. AY916796) has a 1,478 amino acid open reading frame, which has >90% identity with CFTR from other marsupials and >80% identity with non-rodent eutherian mammals. In pCFTR, there is a high level of conservation of the transmembrane and nucleotide binding domains although, with the exception of other marsupials, there is considerable divergence from other species in the R domain. FRT cells transfected with pCFTR express mature CFTR protein which functions as a small Cl(-) channel activated by cAMP-dependent phosphorylation. In whole-cell recordings it has a linear, time and voltage-independent conductance, with a selectivity sequence P(Br) > P(Cl) > P(I) > P(HCO)(3) > P(Gluconate). pCFTR transcript is present in a range of epithelia, including the ileum and the colon. The presence of pCFTR in the ileum and its measured HCO (3) (-) permeability suggest that it may be involved in ileal HCO (3) (-) secretion. Why the possum colon does not secrete Cl(-) and has elevated electrogenic Na(+) absorption, despite the apparent expression of CFTR, remains to be determined. PMID:20012660

  5. Humoral immune responses in brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) induced by bacterial ghosts expressing possum zona pellucida 3 protein.

    PubMed

    Cui, Xianlan; Duckworth, Janine A; Lubitz, Petra; Molinia, Frank C; Haller, Christoph; Lubitz, Werner; Cowan, Phil E

    2010-06-11

    The introduced common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is a major pest in New Zealand and immunocontraceptive vaccines are being developed for biocontrol of possum populations, with bacterial ghosts (BGs) being evaluated as a means of oral delivery. Recombinant BGs expressing possum zona pellucida 3 protein (ZP3) as an L' membrane-anchored protein (ZP3-L') or as an S-layer SbsA-fusion protein (MBP-SbsA-ZP3) were produced by the expression of the cloned bacteriophage phiX174 lysis gene E in E. coli NM522. The humoral immune responses of possums immunised with BGs expressing possum ZP3 were investigated following oral, intranasal/conjunctival, parenteral, and intraduodenal administration to evaluate the BG-ZP3 system for possum fertility control. Antibodies to possum ZP3 were detected in the serum, oviduct secretions, and follicular fluid of immunised animals. Intranasal/conjunctival immunisation elicited reliable antibody immune response in serum and at a key effector site, the ovarian follicular fluid. Intraduodenal administration of possum ZP3 BG vaccine as a priming immunisation elicited significant systemic immune responses, but oral immunisation did not, indicating that protection of BG vaccines from degradation by gastric acidity would enhance the effectiveness of orally delivered vaccines. The detection of antibodies at elevated levels at target sites in the reproductive tract following mucosal delivery demonstrates, for the first time, the potential of BGs as an effective system for vaccine delivery to wild animals, and intranasal/conjunctival immunisation as a promising means for delivery of immunocontraceptive vaccines to wild animals. PMID:20434548

  6. Sex difference in the survival rate of wild brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) experimentally challenged with bovine tuberculosis.

    PubMed

    Rouco, Carlos; Richardson, Kyle S; Buddle, Bryce M; French, Nigel P; Tompkins, Daniel M

    2016-08-01

    The main wildlife reservoir of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in New Zealand is the introduced brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), with spillover of infection from possums to livestock being regarded as the largest barrier to eradicating TB from the country. Past studies have experimentally challenged possums with Mycobacterium bovis (the causative agent of TB) to quantify infection parameters. However, the challenge models used are invariably non-representative of natural infection due to their resulting in much faster rates, and different clinical patterns of disease progression. We monitored the survival of 16 wild free-living possums, fitted with VHF mortality collars and experimentally challenged with a new model, out to six months post-challenge. The aim was to assess whether the new model does indeed result in an ongoing pathogenesis trajectory that is more reflective of natural TB in possums. The mean survival period of challenged possums (~4.6months) did not differ from that estimated for wild free-living possums with naturally acquired TB. In addition, and unexpectedly, infected males survived on average for five weeks longer than females. This significant difference has not been previously observed in experimental trials with other TB/possum challenge models. If this is reflective of natural disease (as is the survival period produced by the percutaneous challenge model), TB infected males in the wild may be generating more secondary cases of infection than infected females. This insight has important implications for understanding the dynamics of, and managing, the disease in its New Zealand wildlife reservoir. PMID:27473982

  7. Percutaneous interdigital injection of Mycobacterium bovis as a model for tuberculous lesion development in wild brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    Nugent, G; Whitford, E J; Yockney, I; Perry, M; Tompkins, D M; Holtslag, N; Cross, M L

    2013-01-01

    Brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) are the major wildlife reservoir of Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (BTB), in New Zealand. Primary diagnosis of BTB in wild possums is by palpation to detect peripheral lymphadenomegaly followed by necropsy examination, which frequently identifies gross tuberculous lesions in the peripheral lymph nodes and lungs. Experimental infection studies were conducted with wild possums in an attempt to emulate field BTB, focussing on percutaneous administration of virulent M. bovis in the paws. In a preliminary study, viable M. bovis bacilli were recovered from lymph nodes draining fore- or hindlimbs 12 days after percutaneous injection. Subsequently, 21 wild possums were injected interdigitally with 500 colony forming units (cfu) of M. bovis, radio-collared and released; 17/18 possums recaptured 8 weeks later had an established M. bovis lymphatic infection, with 16 having culture-positive gross lesions in the superficial and/or deep axillary lymph nodes. A dual-site infection model was established, involving simultaneous interdigital injection of 100 cfu of M. bovis into front and rear paws of 19 wild possums; this identified that the average degree of lymphadenitis involved 30-fold enlargement of the draining lymph node by 7-8 weeks post injection (wpi). A time-course study demonstrated establishment of M. bovis infection in peripheral lymph nodes of 9/11 possums at 3-5 wpi of doses ranging from 60 to 190 cfu, but with no development of gross lesions; by 7 weeks, 8/8 animals injected similarly had both an established infection and gross lesions of peripheral lymph nodes. The incidence and progression of peripheral lesion development, together with indications of sequential infection of the lungs, liver and mesenteric lymph nodes(MLNs), indicates that a low-dose percutaneous M. bovis infection model is likely to emulate natural disease in possums. PMID:22749650

  8. WILDLIFE HABITAT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Habitat change statistics were used to estimate the effects of alternative future scenarios for agriculture on non-fish vertebrate diversity in Iowa farmlands. Study areas were two watersheds in central Iowa of about 50 and 90 square kilometers, respectively. Future scenarios w...

  9. Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) Vertical Cylinder Habitat

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howe, Alan; Kennedy, Kriss J.; Gill, Tracy R.; Tri, Terry O.; Toups, Larry; Howard, Robert I.; Spexarth, Gary R.; Cavanaugh, Stephen; Langford, William M.; Dorsey, John T.

    2014-01-01

    NASA's Constellation Architecture Team defined an outpost scenario optimized for intensive mobility that uses small, highly mobile pressurized rovers supported by portable habitat modules that can be carried between locations of interest on the lunar surface. A compact vertical cylinder characterizes the habitat concept, where the large diameter maximizes usable flat floor area optimized for a gravity environment and allows for efficient internal layout. The module was sized to fit into payload fairings for the Constellation Ares V launch vehicle, and optimized for surface transport carried by the All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) mobility system. Launch and other loads are carried through the barrel to a top and bottom truss that interfaces with a structural support unit (SSU). The SSU contains self-leveling feet and docking interfaces for Tri-ATHLETE grasping and heavy lift. A pressurized module needed to be created that was appropriate for the lunar environment, could be easily relocated to new locations, and could be docked together in multiples for expanding pressurized volume in a lunar outpost. It was determined that horizontally oriented pressure vessels did not optimize floor area, which takes advantage of the gravity vector for full use. Hybrid hard-inflatable habitats added an unproven degree of complexity that may eventually be worked out. Other versions of vertically oriented pressure vessels were either too big, bulky, or did not optimize floor area. The purpose of the HDU vertical habitat module is to provide pressurized units that can be docked together in a modular way for lunar outpost pressurized volume expansion, and allow for other vehicles, rovers, and modules to be attached to the outpost to allow for IVA (intra-vehicular activity) transfer between them. The module is a vertically oriented cylinder with a large radius to allow for maximal floor area and use of volume. The modular, 5- m-diameter HDU vertical habitat

  10. Habitat Design Optimization and Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    SanSoucie, Michael P.; Hull, Patrick V.; Tinker, Michael L.

    2006-01-01

    Long-duration surface missions to the Moon and Mars will require habitats for the astronauts. The materials chosen for the habitat walls play a direct role in the protection against the harsh environments found on the surface. Choosing the best materials, their configuration, and the amount required is extremely difficult due to the immense size of the design region. Advanced optimization techniques are necessary for habitat wall design. Standard optimization techniques are not suitable for problems with such large search spaces; therefore, a habitat design optimization tool utilizing genetic algorithms has been developed. Genetic algorithms use a "survival of the fittest" philosophy, where the most fit individuals are more likely to survive and reproduce. This habitat design optimization tool is a multi-objective formulation of structural analysis, heat loss, radiation protection, and meteoroid protection. This paper presents the research and development of this tool.

  11. Reduced spillover transmission of Mycobacterium bovis to feral pigs (Sus scofa) following population control of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    Nugent, G; Whitford, J; Yockney, I J; Cross, M L

    2012-06-01

    In New Zealand, bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is present in domestic cattle and deer herds primarily as the result of on-going disease transmission from the primary wildlife host, the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). However, bTB is also present in other introduced free-ranging mammalian species. Between 1996 and 2007, we conducted a series of studies to determine whether poison control of possum populations would have any effect on the prevalence of Mycobacterium bovis infection in sympatric feral pigs (Sus scrofa). We compared trends in the prevalence of bTB infection in feral pigs in six study areas: possum numbers were reduced in three areas, but not in the other three, effectively providing a thrice-replicated before-after-control-intervention design. Before possum control, the overall prevalence of culture-confirmed M. bovis infection in feral pigs was 16.7-94.4%, depending on area. Infection prevalence varied little between genders but did vary with age, increasing during the first 2-3 years of life but then declining in older pigs. In the areas in which possum control was applied, M. bovis prevalence in feral pigs fell to near zero within 2-3 years, provided control was applied successfully at the whole-landscape scale. In contrast, prevalence changed much less or not at all in the areas with no possum control. We conclude that feral pigs in New Zealand acquire M. bovis infection mainly by inter-species transmission from possums, but then rarely pass the disease on to other pigs and are end hosts. This is in contrast to the purported role of pigs as bTB maintenance hosts in other countries, and we suggest the difference in host status may reflect differences in the relative importance of the oral route of infection in different environments. Despite harbouring M. bovis infection for a number of years, pigs in New Zealand do not sustain bTB independently, but are good sentinels for disease prevalence in possum populations. PMID:21849098

  12. Lunar base habitat designs: Characterizing the environment, and selecting habitat designs for future trade-offs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ganapathi, Gani B.; Ferrall, Joseph; Seshan, P. K.

    1993-01-01

    A survey of distinct conceptual lunar habitat designs covering the pre- and post-Apollo era is presented. The impact of the significant lunar environmental challenges such as temperature, atmosphere, radiation, soil properties, meteorites, and seismic activity on the habitat design parameters are outlined. Over twenty habitat designs were identified and classified according to mission type, crew size; total duration of stay, modularity, environmental protection measures, and emplacement. Simple selection criteria of (1) post-Apollo design, (2) uniqueness of the habitat design, (3) level of thoroughness in design layout, (4) habitat dimensions are provided, and (5) materials of construction for the habitat shell are specified, are used to select five habitats for future trade studies. Habitat emplacement scenarios are created to examine the possible impact of emplacement of the habitat in different locations, such as lunar poles vs. equatorial, above ground vs. below ground, etc.

  13. In vitro hepatic microsomal metabolism of meloxicam in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus), rats (Rattus norvegicus) and dogs (Canis lupus familiaris).

    PubMed

    Kimble, B; Li, K M; Valtchev, P; Higgins, D P; Krockenberger, M B; Govendir, M

    2014-04-01

    Quantitative and qualitative aspects of in vitro metabolism of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug meloxicam, mediated via hepatic microsomes of specialized foliage (Eucalyptus) eating marsupials (koalas and ringtail possums), a generalized foliage eating marsupial (brushtail possum), rats, and dogs, are described. Using a substrate depletion method, intrinsic hepatic clearance (in vitro Clint) was determined. Significantly, rates of oxidative transformation of meloxicam, likely mediated via cytochromes P450 (CYP), were higher in marsupials compared to rats or dogs. The rank order of apparent in vitro Clint was brushtail possums (n=3) (mean: 394μL/min/mg protein), >koalas (n=6) (50), >ringtail possums (n=2) (36) (with no significant difference between koalas and ringtail possums), >pooled rats (3.2)>pooled dogs (in which the rate of depletion, as calculated by the ratio of the substrate remaining was <20% and too slow to determine). During the depletion of meloxicam, at a first-order rate constant, 5-hydroxymethyl metabolite (M1) was identified in the brushtail possums and the rat as the major metabolite. However, multiple hydroxyl metabolites were observed in the koala (M1, M2, and M3) and the ringtail possum (M1 and M3) indicating that these specialized foliage-eating marsupials have diverse oxidation capacity to metabolize meloxicam. Using a well-stirred model, the apparent in vitro Clint of meloxicam for koalas and the rat was further scaled to compare with published in vivo Cl. The closest in vivo Cl prediction from in vitro data of koalas was demonstrated with scaled hepatic Cl(total) (average fold error=1.9) excluding unbound fractions in the blood and microsome values; whereas for rats, the in-vitro scaled hepatic Cl fu(blood, mic), corrected with unbound fractions in the blood and microsome values, provided the best prediction (fold error=1.86). This study indicates that eutherians such as rats or dogs serve as inadequate models for dosage

  14. Mars habitat

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    The College of Engineering & Architecture at Prairie View A&M University has been participating in the NASA/USRA Advanced Design Program since 1986. The interdisciplinary nature of the program allowed the involvement of students and faculty throughout the College of Engineering & Architecture for the last five years. The research goal for the 1990-1991 year is to design a human habitat on Mars that can be used as a permanent base for 20 crew members. The research is being conducted by undergraduate students from the Department of Architecture.

  15. Chronic exposure to polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons in natal habitats leads to decreased equilibrium size, growth, and stability of pink salmon populations.

    PubMed

    Heintz, Ron A

    2007-07-01

    The immediate and delayed effects of embryonic exposure to low levels of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been shown to reduce survival to maturity by 50% in exposed pink salmon populations. This suggests that chronically exposed populations could be extirpated over relatively few generations, but the effect of density dependence on extirpation rate is unknown. This study examines the interaction of PAH effects and randomly varying density dependence on a simulated population. The simulation derives from 70 years of observations made on a single pink salmon population and toxicity studies involving a hatchery population in the same watershed. Results from simulations involving exposure of 100% of the population to effects consistent with an aqueous PAH concentration of 18 nL/L indicate an 80% decrease in population productivity and an 11% probability of extinction after 35 generations. In contrast, population growth rate declined by only 5%. Further decreases in survival relative to that of observed PAH effects rapidly increase the probability of extinction. Data from these simulations demonstrate that, at low levels of exposure, density dependence can compensate for reduced population size and buffer the population against extinction. However, if equilibrium size is depressed sufficiently, random environmental variation overcomes the buffering effect of density dependence and extinction probability increases. These data demonstrate that extinction probability and population size are more sensitive measures of population effects than growth rate for wild populations regulated by density dependence. PMID:17695108

  16. Characterization of the hemoglobins of the neonatal brushtailed possum Trichosurus vulpecula (Kerr): evidence for a highly cooperative, aggregated isoform of hemoglobin.

    PubMed

    Henty, Kristen; Wells, Rufus M G; Brittain, Thomas

    2008-05-01

    The red blood cells of the neonatal brushtailed possum exhibit unusually strong cooperativity at high levels of oxygen saturation (n=5.4) which appear to arise from a concentration dependent aggregation of one of the neonatal hemoglobin isoforms. Red blood cells from neonatal pouched young exhibit a Bohr factor of -0.36. Stripped hemolysate is sensitive to added 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate (BPG) (apparent binding constant K=35 micromol L(-1)) and ATP (K=180 micromol L(-1)), but is largely insensitive towards chloride ions. Five isoforms of non-adult hemoglobin were identified using isoelectric focusing. Mass spectrometry indicated that two early isoforms contain alpha chains identical to the adult alpha chain. The remaining three isoforms are composed of identical alpha type and beta type gene products, but differ in their isoelectric points due to differential post-translational modification. PMID:18420437

  17. Prolactin acts on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis to modulate follicle-stimulating hormone gene expression in the female brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    Crawford, J L; Mester, B; Thomson, B; Lawrence, S B; Eckery, D C

    2011-03-01

    Brushtail possums exhibit a distinct preovulatory pattern of prolactin (Prl) secretion suggesting that Prl is involved in normal reproductive function. In some mammals, Prl is essential for corpus luteum (CL) function and/or modulation of steroidal effects on hypothalamic-pituitary activity. The aim of this study was to test the effects of biologically active recombinant possum Prl (recPosPrl) on both pituitary gland and CL function in possums. To confirm biological activity, administration of recPosPrl-N2C1 (10 μg) resulted in an 18-fold stimulation (P<0.05) of progesterone (P(4)) production by possum granulosa cells in vitro. Based on these findings, minipumps containing either recPosPrl-N2C1 (n=10) or saline (n=8) were inserted into lactating female possums. The expression levels of pituitary-derived PRL, LHB, FSHB and GNRHR and CL-derived LHR mRNA were quantified. Following a resumption of reproductive activity, no differences in ovulation incidence or plasma Prl concentrations were observed. Plasma Prl levels were less variable (P<0.001) in Prl-treated possums, confirming a self-regulatory role for Prl in this species. There was a marked down-regulation (P<0.001) of FSHB mRNA at the mid-luteal stage in Prl-treated possums, whereas mean PRL, LHB, GNRHR and LHR mRNA expression levels were not different between experimental groups. Plasma P(4) concentrations were not different (P=0.05) in Prl-treated possums, although tended to be higher in the peri-ovulatory and early-luteal phase. We conclude in the brushtail possum that Prl is self-regulated via a short-feedback loop common to all mammals studied and is able to modulate FSHB expression probably at the level of the hypothalamus and/or pituitary gland. PMID:21187096

  18. Biodiversity in urban habitat patches.

    PubMed

    Angold, P G; Sadler, J P; Hill, M O; Pullin, A; Rushton, S; Austin, K; Small, E; Wood, B; Wadsworth, R; Sanderson, R; Thompson, K

    2006-05-01

    We examined the biodiversity of urban habitats in Birmingham (England) using a combination of field surveys of plants and carabid beetles, genetic studies of four species of butterflies, modelling the anthropochorous nature of the floral communities and spatially explicit modelling of selected mammal species. The aim of the project was to: (i) understand the ecological characteristics of the biota of cities model, (ii) examine the effects of habitat fragment size and connectivity upon the ecological diversity and individual species distributions, (iii) predict biodiversity in cities, and (iv) analyse the extent to which the flora and fauna utilise the 'urban greenways' both as wildlife corridors and as habitats in their own right. The results suggest that cities provide habitats for rich and diverse range of plants and animals, which occur sometimes in unlikely recombinant communities. The studies on carabids and butterflies illustrated the relative importance of habitat quality on individual sites as opposed to site location within the conurbation. This suggests that dispersal for most of our urban species is not a limiting factor in population persistence, although elements of the woodland carabid fauna did appear to have some geographical structuring. Theoretical models suggested that dormice and water voles may depend on linear habitats for dispersal. The models also indicated that other groups, such as small and medium sized mammals, may use corridors, although field-based research did not provide any evidence to suggest that plants or invertebrates use urban greenways for dispersal. This finding indicates the importance of identifying a target species or group of species for urban greenways intended as dispersal routeways rather than as habitat in their own right. Their importance for most groups is rather that greenways provide a chain of different habitats permeating the urban environment. We suggest that planners can have a positive impact on urban

  19. The Habitat Connection.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Naturescope, 1987

    1987-01-01

    Consists of activities which address the causes of habitat destruction and the effects of habitat loss on animals and plants. Identifies habitat loss as the major reason for the endangerment and extinction of plant and animal species. (ML)

  20. Habitat Demonstration Unit - Deep Space Habitat Configuration

    NASA Video Gallery

    This animated video shows the process of transporting, assembling and testing the Habitat Demonstration Unit - Deep Space Habitat (HDU DSH) configuration, which will be deployed during the 2011 Des...

  1. QUANTIFYING STREAM STRUCTURAL PHYSICAL HABITAT ATTRIBUTES USING LIDAR AND HYPERSPECTRAL IMAGERY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Structural physical habitat attributes include indices of stream size, channel gradient, substrate size, habitat complexity and cover, riparian vegetation cover and structure, anthropogenic disturbances and channel-riparian interaction.

  2. Quantifying Structural Physical Habitat Attributes Using Lidar and Hyperspectral Imagery (1)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Structural physical habitat attributes include indices of stream size, channel gradient, substrate size, habitat complexity, and riparian vegetation cover and structure. The Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) is designed to assess the status and trends of eco...

  3. Quantifying structural physical habitat attributes using LIDAR and hyperspectral imagery - PRK

    EPA Science Inventory

    Structural physical habitat attributes include indices of stream size, channel gradient, substrate size, habitat complexity, and riparian vegetation cover and structure. The Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) is designed to assess the status and trends of ecol...

  4. Fuzzy modelling of Atlantic salmon physical habitat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    St-Hilaire, André; Mocq, Julien; Cunjak, Richard

    2015-04-01

    Fish habitat models typically attempt to quantify the amount of available river habitat for a given fish species for various flow and hydraulic conditions. To achieve this, information on the preferred range of values of key physical habitat variables (e.g. water level, velocity, substrate diameter) for the targeted fishs pecies need to be modelled. In this context, we developed several habitat suitability indices sets for three Atlantic salmon life stages (young-of-the-year (YOY), parr, spawning adults) with the help of fuzzy logic modeling. Using the knowledge of twenty-seven experts, from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, we defined fuzzy sets of four variables (depth, substrate size, velocity and Habitat Suitability Index, or HSI) and associated fuzzy rules. When applied to the Romaine River (Canada), median curves of standardized Weighted Usable Area (WUA) were calculated and a confidence interval was obtained by bootstrap resampling. Despite the large range of WUA covered by the expert WUA curves, confidence intervals were relatively narrow: an average width of 0.095 (on a scale of 0 to 1) for spawning habitat, 0.155 for parr rearing habitat and 0.160 for YOY rearing habitat. When considering an environmental flow value corresponding to 90% of the maximum reached by WUA curve, results seem acceptable for the Romaine River. Generally, this proposed fuzzy logic method seems suitable to model habitat availability for the three life stages, while also providing an estimate of uncertainty in salmon preferences.

  5. Variations in epithelial Na(+) transport and epithelial sodium channel localisation in the vaginal cul-de-sac of the brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula, during the oestrous cycle.

    PubMed

    Alsop, T-A; McLeod, B J; Butt, A G

    2016-03-01

    The fluid in the vaginal cul-de-sac of the brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula, is copious at ovulation when it may be involved in sperm transport or maturation, but is rapidly reabsorbed following ovulation. We have used the Ussing short-circuit current (Isc) technique and measurements of transcript and protein expression of the epithelial Na(+) channel (ENaC) to determine if variations in electrogenic Na(+) transport are associated with this fluid absorption. Spontaneous Isc (<20µAcm(-2) during anoestrus, 60-80µAcm(-2) in cycling animals) was inhibited by serosal ouabain. Mucosal amiloride (10µmolL(-1)), an inhibitor of ENaC, had little effect on follicular Isc but reduced luteal Isc by ~35%. This amiloride-sensitive Isc was dependent on mucosal Na(+) and the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50)-amiloride (0.95μmolL(-1)) was consistent with ENaC-mediated Na(+) absorption. Results from polymerase chain reaction with reverse transcription (RT-PCR) indicate that αENaC mRNA is expressed in anoestrous, follicular and luteal phases. However, in follicular animals αENaC immunoreactivity in epithelial cells was distributed throughout the cytoplasm, whereas immunoreactivity was restricted to the apical pole of cells from luteal animals. These data suggest that increased Na(+) absorption contributes to fluid absorption during the luteal phase and is regulated by insertion of ENaC into the apical membrane of cul-de-sac epithelial cells. PMID:25056576

  6. Assessing acute effects of trapping, handling, and tagging on the behavior of wildlife using GPS telemetry: a case study of the common brushtail possum.

    PubMed

    Dennis, Todd E; Shah, Shabana F

    2012-01-01

    Trapping, handling, and deployment of tracking devices (tagging) are essential aspects of many research and conservation studies of wildlife. However, often these activities place nonhuman animals under considerable physical or psychological distress, which disrupts normal patterns of behavior and may ultimately result in deleterious effects on animal welfare and the validity of research results. Thus, knowledge of how trapping, handling, and tagging alter the behavior of research animals is essential if measures to ameliorate stress-related effects are to be developed and implemented. This article describes how time-stamped location data obtained by global-positioning-system telemetry can be used to retrospectively characterize acute behavioral responses to trapping, handling, and tagging in free-ranging animals used for research. Methods are demonstrated in a case study of the common brushtail possum, a semiarboreal phalangerid marsupial native to Australia. The study discusses possible physiological causes of observed effects and offers general suggestions regarding simple means to reduce trapping-handling-and-tagging-related stress in field studies of vertebrates. PMID:22742197

  7. Male-Biased Predation and Its Effect on Paternity Skew and Life History in a Population of Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula)

    PubMed Central

    DeGabriel, Jane L.; Moore, Ben D.; Foley, William J.; Johnson, Christopher N.

    2014-01-01

    Differences in predation risk may exert strong selective pressures on life history strategies of populations. We investigated the potential for predation to shape male mating strategies in an arboreal folivore, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula Kerr). We predicted that possums in a tropical population exposed to high natural levels of predation would grow faster and reproduce earlier compared to those in temperate populations with lower predation. We trapped a population of possums in eucalypt woodland in northern Australia each month to measure life history traits and used microsatellites to genotype all individuals and assign paternity to all offspring. We observed very high levels of male-biased predation, with almost 60% of marked male possums being eaten by pythons, presumably as a result of their greater mobility due to mate-searching. Male reproductive success was also highly skewed, with younger, larger males fathering significantly more offspring. This result contrasts with previous studies of temperate populations experiencing low levels of predation, where older males were larger and the most reproductively successful. Our results suggest that in populations exposed to high levels of predation, male possums invest in increased growth earlier in life, in order to maximise their mating potential. This strategy is feasible because predation limits competition from older males and means that delaying reproduction carries a risk of failing to reproduce at all. Our results show that life histories are variable traits that can match regional predation environments in mammal species with widespread distributions. PMID:25372294

  8. Male-biased predation and its effect on paternity skew and life history in a population of common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    DeGabriel, Jane L; Moore, Ben D; Foley, William J; Johnson, Christopher N

    2014-01-01

    Differences in predation risk may exert strong selective pressures on life history strategies of populations. We investigated the potential for predation to shape male mating strategies in an arboreal folivore, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula Kerr). We predicted that possums in a tropical population exposed to high natural levels of predation would grow faster and reproduce earlier compared to those in temperate populations with lower predation. We trapped a population of possums in eucalypt woodland in northern Australia each month to measure life history traits and used microsatellites to genotype all individuals and assign paternity to all offspring. We observed very high levels of male-biased predation, with almost 60% of marked male possums being eaten by pythons, presumably as a result of their greater mobility due to mate-searching. Male reproductive success was also highly skewed, with younger, larger males fathering significantly more offspring. This result contrasts with previous studies of temperate populations experiencing low levels of predation, where older males were larger and the most reproductively successful. Our results suggest that in populations exposed to high levels of predation, male possums invest in increased growth earlier in life, in order to maximise their mating potential. This strategy is feasible because predation limits competition from older males and means that delaying reproduction carries a risk of failing to reproduce at all. Our results show that life histories are variable traits that can match regional predation environments in mammal species with widespread distributions. PMID:25372294

  9. Seasonal changes in morphology and steroid receptor expression in the prostate of the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula): an animal model for the study of prostate growth?

    PubMed

    Martyn, Helen; Pugazhenthi, Kamali; Gould, Maree; Fink, Jo W; McLeod, Bernie; Nicholson, Helen D

    2011-01-01

    The prostate of the brushtail possum undergoes growth and regression during the year. The present study investigated the morphological changes and expression of androgen and oestrogen receptors during the breeding and non-breeding seasons. Prostate tissue was collected from adult possums at 2-monthly intervals. The periurethral and outer glandular areas were separated and the volume of stromal, epithelial and luminal tissues measured in each area. Immunohistochemistry was used to investigate cell proliferation with proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and to localise androgen receptor (AR) and oestrogen receptors α and β (ERα, ERβ). Seasonal changes in expression of the three receptors were investigated using quantitative PCR and western blot analysis. During the breeding season the volume of stromal tissue in the periurethral area and the luminal volume in the glandular area significantly increased. The change in periurethral volume was associated with increased PCNA-immunopositive cells. While the localisation of AR to the stromal and epithelial cells did not change, there was a significant increase in receptor expression before the main breeding season. ERα and ERβ expression and localisation did not alter during the year. Similarities in receptor expression and localisation suggest that the possum may be a suitable animal model for the study of human prostate growth. PMID:21635819

  10. Western habitats - Session summary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Titus, K.; Fuller, M.R.

    1989-01-01

    Determining the status of all habitats in the nine western states considered in this symposium is a difficult task. The authors of habitat status papers commented that the diversity of habitat classification systems limited their ability to relate habitat status to raptors. Differences of scale, objectives and survey design have hindered integration of habitat classification methods used by land managers with the habitat relationships understood by wildlife biologists, but examples now exist for successful integration of these methods. We suggest that land managers and wildlife biologists use common survey and classification schemes so that data can be combined and that results will be applicable over broader areas.

  11. Predictive Seagrass Habitat Model

    EPA Science Inventory

    Restoration of ecosystem services provided by seagrass habitats in estuaries requires a firm understanding of the modes of action of multiple interacting stressors including nutrients, climate change, coastal land-use change, and habitat modification. We explored the application...

  12. MODELING PHYSICAL HABITAT PARAMETERS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salmonid populations can be affected by alterations in stream physical habitat. Fish productivity is determined by the stream's physical habitat structure ( channel form, substrate distribution, riparian vegetation), water quality, flow regime and inputs from the watershed (sedim...

  13. Biodiversity: Habitat Suitability

    EPA Science Inventory

    Habitat suitability quantifies the relationship between species and habitat, and is evaluated according to the species’ fitness (i.e. proportion of birth rate to death rate). Even though it might maximize evolutionary success, species are not always in habitat that optimizes fit...

  14. Urban Areas. Habitat Pac.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fish and Wildlife Service (Dept. of Interior), Washington, DC.

    The materials in this educational packet are designed for use with students in grades 4 through 7. They consist of an overview, teaching guides and student data sheets for three activities, and a poster. The overview discusses the city as an ecosystem, changing urban habitats, urban wildlife habitats, values of wildlife, habitat management, and…

  15. Temporal and spatial dynamics of trypanosomes infecting the brush-tailed bettong (Bettongia penicillata): a cautionary note of disease-induced population decline

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background The brush-tailed bettong or woylie (Bettongia penicillata) is on the brink of extinction. Its numbers have declined by 90% since 1999, with their current distribution occupying less than 1% of their former Australian range. Woylies are known to be infected with three different trypanosomes (Trypanosoma vegrandis, Trypanosoma copemani and Trypanosoma sp. H25) and two different strains of T. copemani that vary in virulence. However, the role that these haemoparasites have played during the recent decline of their host is unclear and is part of ongoing investigation. Methods Woylies were sampled from five locations in southern Western Australia, including two neighbouring indigenous populations, two enclosed (fenced) populations and a captive colony. PCR was used to individually identify the three different trypanosomes from blood and tissues of the host, and to investigate the temporal and spatial dynamics of trypanosome infections. Results The spatial pattern of trypanosome infection varied among the five study sites, with a greater proportion of woylies from the Perup indigenous population being infected with T. copemani than from the neighbouring Kingston indigenous population. For an established infection, T. copemani detection was temporally inconsistent. The more virulent strain of T. copemani appeared to regress at a faster rate than the less virulent strain, with the infection possibly transitioning from the acute to chronic phase. Interspecific competition may also exist between T. copemani and T. vegrandis, where an existing T. vegrandis infection may moderate the sequential establishment of the more virulent T. copemani. Conclusion In this study, we provide a possible temporal connection implicating T. copemani as the disease agent linked with the recent decline of the Kingston indigenous woylie population within the Upper Warren region of Western Australia. The chronic association of trypanosomes with the internal organs of its host may be

  16. Epidemiology and control of Mycobacterium bovis infection in brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), the primary wildlife host of bovine tuberculosis in New Zealand

    PubMed Central

    Nugent, G; Buddle, BM; Knowles, G

    2015-01-01

    Abstract The introduced Australian brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is a maintenance host for bovine tuberculosis (TB) in New Zealand and plays a central role in the TB problem in this country. The TB-possum problem emerged in the late 1960s, and intensive lethal control of possums is now used to reduce densities to low levels over 8 million ha of the country. This review summarises what is currently known about the pathogenesis and epidemiology of TB in possums, and how the disease responds to possum control. TB in possums is a highly lethal disease, with most possums likely to die within 6 months of becoming infected. The mechanisms of transmission between possums remain unclear, but appear to require some form of close contact or proximity. At large geographic scales, TB prevalence in possum populations is usually low (1–5%), but local prevalence can sometimes reach 60%. Intensive, systematic and uniform population control has been highly effective in breaking the TB cycle in possum populations, and where that control has been sustained for many years the prevalence of TB is now zero or near zero. Although some uncertainties remain, local eradication of TB from possums appears to be straightforward, given that TB managers now have the ability to reduce possum numbers to near zero levels and to maintain them at those levels for extended periods where required. We conclude that, although far from complete, the current understanding of TB-possum epidemiology, and the current management strategies and tactics, are sufficient to achieve local, regional, and even national disease eradication from possums in New Zealand. PMID:25290902

  17. Mortality rate and gross pathology due to tuberculosis in wild brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) following low dose subcutaneous injection of Mycobacterium bovis.

    PubMed

    Nugent, Graham; Yockney, Ivor; Whitford, Jackie; Cross, Martin L

    2013-04-01

    Gross pathology due to tuberculosis can be established experimentally in brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) within 7 weeks of injection of virulent Mycobacterium bovis into subcutaneous connective tissues of the peripheral limbs. This pathology involves lymphadenomegaly and development of gross lesions in peripheral lymph nodes, with subsequent gross lesions in the lungs and reticuloendothelial organs. Using this artificial infection model, we here assessed the mortality rate for possums in the wild, to provide new information on the likely survival period for New Zealand's major wildlife host. Possums were trapped and inoculated with <50 CFU of M. bovis, then fitted with mortality signal emitting radio tracking collars, released and re-tracked for 6 months. Possum survival probability was 89% up to 12 weeks post-injection (p.i.), but cumulative mortality was rapid from then on. The median survival period, based on study of 38 possums, was 18 weeks p.i.; this corresponds with a predicted time interval of 11 weeks between first presentation of TB as palpable lymphadenomegaly and death for an average possum, shorter than period values currently used in possum TB epidemiological modelling. We also examined gross pathology in 11 possums by post mortem necropsy, and confirmed lymphadenomegaly and tuberculous lesions at 7 and 12 weeks p.i. Extra-peripheral gross lesions were more frequent among possums at 12 weeks p.i. than at 7 weeks, while the occurrence of lung lesions (the most likely cause of disease-induced mortality) was apparent in animals at 12 weeks but not at 7 weeks p.i. Our results suggest that the time course of TB from development of gross lesions to mortality may be shorter than previously estimated from field studies of naturally tuberculous possums. PMID:23063260

  18. Epidemiology and control of Mycobacterium bovis infection in brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), the primary wildlife host of bovine tuberculosis in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Nugent, G; Buddle, B M; Knowles, G

    2015-06-01

    The introduced Australian brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is a maintenance host for bovine tuberculosis (TB) in New Zealand and plays a central role in the TB problem in this country. The TB-possum problem emerged in the late 1960s, and intensive lethal control of possums is now used to reduce densities to low levels over 8 million ha of the country. This review summarises what is currently known about the pathogenesis and epidemiology of TB in possums, and how the disease responds to possum control. TB in possums is a highly lethal disease, with most possums likely to die within 6 months of becoming infected. The mechanisms of transmission between possums remain unclear, but appear to require some form of close contact or proximity. At large geographic scales, TB prevalence in possum populations is usually low (1-5%), but local prevalence can sometimes reach 60%. Intensive, systematic and uniform population control has been highly effective in breaking the TB cycle in possum populations, and where that control has been sustained for many years the prevalence of TB is now zero or near zero. Although some uncertainties remain, local eradication of TB from possums appears to be straightforward, given that TB managers now have the ability to reduce possum numbers to near zero levels and to maintain them at those levels for extended periods where required. We conclude that, although far from complete, the current understanding of TB-possum epidemiology, and the current management strategies and tactics, are sufficient to achieve local, regional, and even national disease eradication from possums in New Zealand. PMID:25290902

  19. Three-dimensional structure and ligand binding properties of trichosurin, a metatherian lipocalin from the milk whey of the common brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula

    PubMed Central

    Watson, Randall P.; Demmer, Jerome; Baker, Edward N.; Arcus, Vickery L.

    2007-01-01

    Lipocalins are extracellular proteins (17–25 kDa) that bind and transport small lipophilic molecules. The three-dimensional structure of the first lipocalin from a metatherian has been determined at different values of pH both with and without bound ligands. Trichosurin, a protein from the milk whey of the common brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula, has been recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli, refolded from inclusion bodies, purified and crystallized at two different pH values. The three-dimensional structure of trichosurin was solved by X-ray crystallography in two different crystal forms to 1.9 Å (1 Å=0.1 nm) and 2.6 Å resolution, from crystals grown at low and high pH values respectively. Trichosurin has the typical lipocalin fold, an eight-stranded anti-parallel β-barrel but dimerizes in an orientation that has not been seen previously. The putative binding pocket in the centre of the β-barrel is well-defined in both high and low pH structures and is occupied by water molecules along with isopropanol molecules from the crystallization medium. Trichosurin was also co-crystallized with a number of small molecule ligands and structures were determined with 2-naphthol and 4-ethylphenol bound in the centre of the β-barrel. The binding of phenolic compounds by trichosurin provides clues to the function of this important marsupial milk protein, which is highly conserved across metatherians. PMID:17685895

  20. Seasonal changes in RFamide-related peptide-3 neurons in the hypothalamus of a seasonally breeding marsupial species, the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

    PubMed

    Harbid, Anan A; McLeod, Bernie J; Caraty, Alain; Anderson, Greg M

    2013-09-01

    RFamide-related peptide-3 (RFRP-3) neurons have been shown to inhibit gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neuronal activity and hence reproduction in birds and eutherian mammals. They have also been proposed to have a direct hypophysiotropic effect on pituitary gonadotropin release. We used a new RFRP-3 antibody to characterize the cell body distribution and fiber projections of RFRP-3 neurons in the adult female brushtail possum brain. RFRP-3-immunoreactive cell bodies were found scattered within the dorsomedial hypothalamus and the dorsomedial half of the ventromedial hypothalamus, while GnRH neurons were observed scattered rostrocaudally along the lateral septum, rostral to the medial septum. There was a significant 2-fold increase in the RFRP-3 cell body number during the nonbreeding season (summer) compared to the breeding season (winter). Immunoreactive RFRP-3 fibers were distributed throughout the thalamus, preoptic area, and hypothalamus. Very few fibers were observed in the median eminence, especially in the external zone. Intraperitoneal injection of the retrograde tracer Fluoro-Gold resulted in the labeling of 40% of hypophysiotropic tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic (tyrosine hydroxylase-positive) neurons; however, <10% of zona incerta dopaminergic neurons (which are not hypophysiotropic) or RFRP-3 neurons were labeled with this tracer. These observations suggest that RFRP-3 exhibits a seasonal fluctuation in cell numbers, as seen in sheep and birds, which is consistent with an increased inhibitory tone during the nonbreeding season. The lack of RFRP-3 fibers in the median eminence and of Fluoro-Gold uptake from the periphery imply that the actions of this peptide occur primarily centrally rather than at the anterior pituitary gland. PMID:23504980

  1. Surface Habitat Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kennedy, Kriss J.

    2009-01-01

    The Surface Habitat Systems (SHS) Focused Investment Group (FIG) is part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center (JSC) effort to provide a focused direction and funding to the various projects that are working on human surface habitat designs and technologies for the planetary exploration missions. The overall SHS-FIG effort focuses on directing and guiding those projects that: 1) develop and demonstrate new surface habitat system concepts, innovations, and technologies to support human exploration missions, 2) improve environmental systems that interact with human habitats, 3) handle and emplace human surface habitats, and 4) focus on supporting humans living and working in habitats on planetary surfaces. The activity areas of the SHS FIG described herein are focused on the surface habitat project near-term objectives as described in this document. The SHS-FIG effort focuses on mitigating surface habitat risks (as identified by the Lunar Surface Systems Project Office (LSSPO) Surface Habitat Element Team; and concentrates on developing surface habitat technologies as identified in the FY08 gap analysis. The surface habitat gap assessment will be updated annually as the surface architecture and surface habitat definition continues to mature. These technologies are mapped to the SHS-FIG Strategic Development Roadmap. The Roadmap will bring to light the areas where additional innovative efforts are needed to support the development of habitat concepts and designs and the development of new technologies to support of the LSSPO Habitation Element development plan. Three specific areas of development that address Lunar Architecture Team (LAT)-2 and Constellation Architecture Team (CxAT) Lunar habitat design issues or risks will be focused on by the SHS-FIG. The SHS-FIG will establish four areas of development that will help the projects prepare in their planning for surface habitat systems development. Those development areas are

  2. Habitat Specialization in Tropical Continental Shelf Demersal Fish Assemblages

    PubMed Central

    Fitzpatrick, Ben M.; Harvey, Euan S.; Heyward, Andrew J.; Twiggs, Emily J.; Colquhoun, Jamie

    2012-01-01

    The implications of shallow water impacts such as fishing and climate change on fish assemblages are generally considered in isolation from the distribution and abundance of these fish assemblages in adjacent deeper waters. We investigate the abundance and length of demersal fish assemblages across a section of tropical continental shelf at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, to identify fish and fish habitat relationships across steep gradients in depth and in different benthic habitat types. The assemblage composition of demersal fish were assessed from baited remote underwater stereo-video samples (n = 304) collected from 16 depth and habitat combinations. Samples were collected across a depth range poorly represented in the literature from the fringing reef lagoon (1–10 m depth), down the fore reef slope to the reef base (10–30 m depth) then across the adjacent continental shelf (30–110 m depth). Multivariate analyses showed that there were distinctive fish assemblages and different sized fish were associated with each habitat/depth category. Species richness, MaxN and diversity declined with depth, while average length and trophic level increased. The assemblage structure, diversity, size and trophic structure of demersal fishes changes from shallow inshore habitats to deeper water habitats. More habitat specialists (unique species per habitat/depth category) were associated with the reef slope and reef base than other habitats, but offshore sponge-dominated habitats and inshore coral-dominated reef also supported unique species. This suggests that marine protected areas in shallow coral-dominated reef habitats may not adequately protect those species whose depth distribution extends beyond shallow habitats, or other significant elements of demersal fish biodiversity. The ontogenetic habitat partitioning which is characteristic of many species, suggests that to maintain entire species life histories it is necessary to protect corridors of connected

  3. Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mason, Rich

    This project aims to provide basic steps for students to restore and create wildlife habitats on school grounds. Four chapters are included in this guide, and each chapter is divided into teacher and student sections. Chapter 1 provides necessary information for starting a habitat project. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 discuss the details for the Forest…

  4. The Habitat Project

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hein, Annamae J.

    2011-01-01

    The Habitat Project is a multiday, differentiated, interdisciplinary environmental science lesson that incorporates skill-building and motivational strategies to internalize ecosystem vocabulary. Middle school students research an animal, display its physical characteristics on a poster, build a three-dimensional habitat and present their work…

  5. Advanced Plant Habitat (APH)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richards, Stephanie E. (Compiler); Levine, Howard G.; Reed, David W.

    2016-01-01

    The Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) hardware will be a large growth volume plant habitat, capable of hosting multigenerational studies, in which environmental variables (e.g., temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide level light intensity and spectral quality) can be tracked and controlled in support of whole plant physiological testing and Bio-regenerative Life Support System investigations.

  6. Habitat-based polymorphism is common in stream fishes.

    PubMed

    Senay, Caroline; Boisclair, Daniel; Peres-Neto, Pedro R

    2015-01-01

    Morphological differences (size and shape) across habitats are common in lake fish where differences relate to two dominant contrasting habitats: the pelagic and littoral habitat. Repeated occurrence of littoral and pelagic morphs across multiple populations of several lake fish species has been considered as important evidence that polymorphism is adaptive in these systems. It has been suggested that these habitat-based polymorphic differences are due to the temporal stability of the differences between littoral and pelagic habitats. Although streams are spatially heterogeneous, they are also more temporally dynamic than lakes and it is still an open question whether streams provide the environmental conditions that promote habitat-based polymorphism. We tested whether fish from riffle, run and pool habitats, respectively, differed consistently in their morphology. Our test compared patterns of morphological variation (size and shape) in 10 fish species from the three stream habitat types in 36 separate streams distributed across three watersheds. For most species, body size and shape (after controlling for body size) differed across riffle, run and pool habitats. Unlike many lake species, the nature of these differences was not consistent across species, possibly because these species use these habitat types in different ways. Our results suggest that habitat-based polymorphism is an important feature also in stream fishes despite the fact that streams are temporally variable in contrast to lake systems. Future research is required to assess whether the patterns of habitat-based polymorphism encountered in streams have a genetic basis or they are simply the result of within generation phenotypic plasticity. PMID:25041645

  7. Quantifying the direct transfer costs of common brushtail possum dispersal using least-cost modelling: a combined cost-surface and accumulated-cost dispersal kernel approach.

    PubMed

    Etherington, Thomas R; Perry, George L W; Cowan, Phil E; Clout, Mick N

    2014-01-01

    Dispersal costs need to be quantified from empirical data and incorporated into dispersal models to improve our understanding of the dispersal process. We are interested in quantifying how landscape features affect the immediately incurred direct costs associated with the transfer of an organism from one location to another. We propose that least-cost modelling is one method that can be used to quantify direct transfer costs. By representing the landscape as a cost-surface, which describes the costs associated with traversing different landscape features, least-cost modelling is often applied to measure connectivity between locations in accumulated-cost units that are a combination of both the distance travelled and the costs traversed. However, we take an additional step by defining an accumulated-cost dispersal kernel, which describes the probability of dispersal in accumulated-cost units. This novel combination of cost-surface and accumulated-cost dispersal kernel enables the transfer stage of dispersal to incorporate the effects of landscape features by modifying the direction of dispersal based on the cost-surface and the distance of dispersal based on the accumulated-cost dispersal kernel. We apply this approach to the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) within the North Island of New Zealand, demonstrating how commonly collected empirical dispersal data can be used to calibrate a cost-surface and associated accumulated-cost dispersal kernel. Our results indicate that considerable improvements could be made to the modelling of the transfer stage of possum dispersal by using a cost-surface and associated accumulated-cost dispersal kernel instead of a more traditional straight-line distance based dispersal kernel. We envisage a variety of ways in which the information from this novel combination of a cost-surface and accumulated-cost dispersal kernel could be gainfully incorporated into existing dispersal models. This would enable more realistic

  8. Quantifying the Direct Transfer Costs of Common Brushtail Possum Dispersal using Least-Cost Modelling: A Combined Cost-Surface and Accumulated-Cost Dispersal Kernel Approach

    PubMed Central

    Etherington, Thomas R.; Perry, George L. W.; Cowan, Phil E.; Clout, Mick N.

    2014-01-01

    Dispersal costs need to be quantified from empirical data and incorporated into dispersal models to improve our understanding of the dispersal process. We are interested in quantifying how landscape features affect the immediately incurred direct costs associated with the transfer of an organism from one location to another. We propose that least-cost modelling is one method that can be used to quantify direct transfer costs. By representing the landscape as a cost-surface, which describes the costs associated with traversing different landscape features, least-cost modelling is often applied to measure connectivity between locations in accumulated-cost units that are a combination of both the distance travelled and the costs traversed. However, we take an additional step by defining an accumulated-cost dispersal kernel, which describes the probability of dispersal in accumulated-cost units. This novel combination of cost-surface and accumulated-cost dispersal kernel enables the transfer stage of dispersal to incorporate the effects of landscape features by modifying the direction of dispersal based on the cost-surface and the distance of dispersal based on the accumulated-cost dispersal kernel. We apply this approach to the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) within the North Island of New Zealand, demonstrating how commonly collected empirical dispersal data can be used to calibrate a cost-surface and associated accumulated-cost dispersal kernel. Our results indicate that considerable improvements could be made to the modelling of the transfer stage of possum dispersal by using a cost-surface and associated accumulated-cost dispersal kernel instead of a more traditional straight-line distance based dispersal kernel. We envisage a variety of ways in which the information from this novel combination of a cost-surface and accumulated-cost dispersal kernel could be gainfully incorporated into existing dispersal models. This would enable more realistic

  9. Habitat loss, not fragmentation, drives occurrence patterns of Canada lynx at the southern range periphery.

    PubMed

    Hornseth, Megan L; Walpole, Aaron A; Walton, Lyle R; Bowman, Jeff; Ray, Justina C; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Murray, Dennis L

    2014-01-01

    Peripheral populations often experience more extreme environmental conditions than those in the centre of a species' range. Such extreme conditions include habitat loss, defined as a reduction in the amount of suitable habitat, as well as habitat fragmentation, which involves the breaking apart of habitat independent of habitat loss. The 'threshold hypothesis' predicts that organisms will be more affected by habitat fragmentation when the amount of habitat on the landscape is scarce (i.e., less than 30%) than when habitat is abundant, implying that habitat fragmentation may compound habitat loss through changes in patch size and configuration. Alternatively, the 'flexibility hypothesis' predicts that individuals may respond to increased habitat disturbance by altering their selection patterns and thereby reducing sensitivity to habitat loss and fragmentation. While the range of Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) has contracted during recent decades, the relative importance of habitat loss and habitat fragmentation on this phenomenon is poorly understood. We used a habitat suitability model for lynx to identify suitable land cover in Ontario, and contrasted occupancy patterns across landscapes differing in cover, to test the 'threshold hypothesis' and 'flexibility hypothesis'. When suitable land cover was widely available, lynx avoided areas with less than 30% habitat and were unaffected by habitat fragmentation. However, on landscapes with minimal suitable land cover, lynx occurrence was not related to either habitat loss or habitat fragmentation, indicating support for the 'flexibility hypothesis'. We conclude that lynx are broadly affected by habitat loss, and not specifically by habitat fragmentation, although occurrence patterns are flexible and dependent on landscape condition. We suggest that lynx may alter their habitat selection patterns depending on local conditions, thereby reducing their sensitivity to anthropogenically-driven habitat alteration. PMID

  10. Habitat Loss, Not Fragmentation, Drives Occurrence Patterns of Canada Lynx at the Southern Range Periphery

    PubMed Central

    Hornseth, Megan L.; Walpole, Aaron A.; Walton, Lyle R.; Bowman, Jeff; Ray, Justina C.; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Murray, Dennis L.

    2014-01-01

    Peripheral populations often experience more extreme environmental conditions than those in the centre of a species' range. Such extreme conditions include habitat loss, defined as a reduction in the amount of suitable habitat, as well as habitat fragmentation, which involves the breaking apart of habitat independent of habitat loss. The ‘threshold hypothesis’ predicts that organisms will be more affected by habitat fragmentation when the amount of habitat on the landscape is scarce (i.e., less than 30%) than when habitat is abundant, implying that habitat fragmentation may compound habitat loss through changes in patch size and configuration. Alternatively, the ‘flexibility hypothesis’ predicts that individuals may respond to increased habitat disturbance by altering their selection patterns and thereby reducing sensitivity to habitat loss and fragmentation. While the range of Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) has contracted during recent decades, the relative importance of habitat loss and habitat fragmentation on this phenomenon is poorly understood. We used a habitat suitability model for lynx to identify suitable land cover in Ontario, and contrasted occupancy patterns across landscapes differing in cover, to test the ‘threshold hypothesis’ and ‘flexibility hypothesis’. When suitable land cover was widely available, lynx avoided areas with less than 30% habitat and were unaffected by habitat fragmentation. However, on landscapes with minimal suitable land cover, lynx occurrence was not related to either habitat loss or habitat fragmentation, indicating support for the ‘flexibility hypothesis’. We conclude that lynx are broadly affected by habitat loss, and not specifically by habitat fragmentation, although occurrence patterns are flexible and dependent on landscape condition. We suggest that lynx may alter their habitat selection patterns depending on local conditions, thereby reducing their sensitivity to anthropogenically-driven habitat

  11. PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINATION OF SEDIMENT PARTICLE SIZE (GRAIN SIZE)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Sediment quality and sediment remediation projects have become a high priority for USEPA. Sediment particle size determinations are used in environmental assessments for habitat characterization, chemical normalization, and partitioning potential of chemicals. The accepted met...

  12. Testing Geomorphic Controls on Salmonid Spawning Habitat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pfeiffer, A.; Finnegan, N. J.

    2014-12-01

    The physical architecture of a landscape, as recorded in topography, is a major factor driving the spatial distribution of river habitat within a catchment. For this reason, predictive geomorphic models for fluvial characteristics, particularly grain size, have been suggested as possible contributors to salmonid habitat identification efforts. However, to our knowledge, no work has been done to both implement geomorphic predictions of reach-scale grain size and then test those predictions with salmonid habitat use data. We present a physically-based, empirically calibrated approach to predicting grain size distributions from high resolution LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)-derived topographic data. This approach builds on previous efforts in that it predicts the full grain size distribution, rather than just median grain size, and incorporates an empirically calibrated shear stress partitioning factor. We use the predicted grain size distributions to calculate the fraction of the bed area movable by salmon of a given size, which we then compare to 7 years of steelhead trout and coho salmon spawning survey data for a 77 km2 watershed along the central California Coast. We find that grain size explains the paucity of spawning in the upper reaches of the drainage, but does not explain variation within the mainstem. In order to explain the residuals in spawning within the mainstem, we turn to the spacing of riffle bedforms. Field surveys of riffle spacing explain 64% of the variation in spawning in these reaches, suggesting that spawning is ultimately limited by the availability of riffles. Because riffle spacing varies systematically with channel width, we show that predicting riffle spacing is feasible with LiDAR data. Taken together, these findings highlight both the value and limitations of a grain-size focused approach to habitat prediction, and suggest that such approaches should be used in concert with predictions of channel bed morphology.

  13. Anopheline Larval Habitats Seasonality and Species Distribution: A Prerequisite for Effective Targeted Larval Habitats Control Programmes

    PubMed Central

    Kweka, Eliningaya J.; Zhou, Guofa; Munga, Stephen; Lee, Ming-Chieh; Atieli, Harrysone E.; Nyindo, Mramba; Githeko, Andrew K.; Yan, Guiyun

    2012-01-01

    Background Larval control is of paramount importance in the reduction of malaria vector abundance and subsequent disease transmission reduction. Understanding larval habitat succession and its ecology in different land use managements and cropping systems can give an insight for effective larval source management practices. This study investigated larval habitat succession and ecological parameters which influence larval abundance in malaria epidemic prone areas of western Kenya. Methods and Findings A total of 51 aquatic habitats positive for anopheline larvae were surveyed and visited once a week for a period of 85 weeks in succession. Habitats were selected and identified. Mosquito larval species, physico-chemical parameters, habitat size, grass cover, crop cycle and distance to nearest house were recorded. Polymerase chain reaction revealed that An. gambiae s.l was the most dominant vector species comprised of An.gambiae s.s (77.60%) and An.arabiensis (18.34%), the remaining 4.06% had no amplification by polymerase chain reaction. Physico-chemical parameters and habitat size significantly influenced abundance of An. gambiae s.s (P = 0.024) and An. arabiensis (P = 0.002) larvae. Further, larval species abundance was influenced by crop cycle (P≤0.001), grass cover (P≤0.001), while distance to nearest houses significantly influenced the abundance of mosquito species larvae (r = 0.920;P≤0.001). The number of predator species influenced mosquito larval abundance in different habitat types. Crop weeding significantly influenced with the abundance of An.gambiae s.l (P≤0.001) when preceded with fertilizer application. Significantly higher anopheline larval abundance was recorded in habitats in pasture compared to farmland (P = 0.002). When habitat stability and habitat types were considered, hoof print were the most productive followed by disused goldmines. Conclusion These findings suggest that implementation of effective larval control

  14. Lunar Habitat Optimization Using Genetic Algorithms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    SanScoucie, M. P.; Hull, P. V.; Tinker, M. L.; Dozier, G. V.

    2007-01-01

    Long-duration surface missions to the Moon and Mars will require bases to accommodate habitats for the astronauts. Transporting the materials and equipment required to build the necessary habitats is costly and difficult. The materials chosen for the habitat walls play a direct role in protection against each of the mentioned hazards. Choosing the best materials, their configuration, and the amount required is extremely difficult due to the immense size of the design region. Clearly, an optimization method is warranted for habitat wall design. Standard optimization techniques are not suitable for problems with such large search spaces; therefore, a habitat wall design tool utilizing genetic algorithms (GAs) has been developed. GAs use a "survival of the fittest" philosophy where the most fit individuals are more likely to survive and reproduce. This habitat design optimization tool is a multiobjective formulation of up-mass, heat loss, structural analysis, meteoroid impact protection, and radiation protection. This Technical Publication presents the research and development of this tool as well as a technique for finding the optimal GA search parameters.

  15. Pneumatically erected rigid habitat

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salles, Bradley

    1992-01-01

    The pneumatically erected rigid habitat concept consists of a structure based on an overexpanded metal bellows. The basic concept incorporates the advantages of both inflatable and rigid structures. The design and erection detail are presented with viewgraphs.

  16. Sensitivity analysis of physiological factors in space habitat design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Billingham, J.

    1982-01-01

    The costs incurred by design conservatism in space habitat design are discussed from a structural standpoint, and areas of physiological research into less than earth-normal conditions that offer the greatest potential decrease in habitat construction and operating costs are studied. The established range of human tolerance limits is defined for those physiological conditions which directly affect habitat structural design. These entire ranges or portions thereof are set as habitat design constraints as a function of habitat population and degree of ecological closure. Calculations are performed to determine the structural weight and cost associated with each discrete population size and its selected environmental conditions, on the basis of habitable volume equivalence for four basic habitat configurations: sphere, cylinder with hemispherical ends, torus, and crystal palace.

  17. The age of island-like habitats impacts habitat specialist species richness.

    PubMed

    Horsák, Michal; Hájek, Michal; Spitale, Daniel; Hájková, Petra; Díte, Daniel; Nekola, Jeffrey C

    2012-05-01

    While the effects of contemporaneous local environment on species richness have been repeatedly documented, much less is known about historical effects, especially over large temporal scales. Using fen sites in the Western Carpathian Mountains with known radiocarbon-dated ages spanning Late Glacial to modern times (16 975-270 cal years before 2008), we have compiled richness data from the same plots for three groups of taxa with contrasting dispersal modes: (1) vascular plants, which have macroscopic propagules possessing variable, but rather low, dispersal abilities; (2) bryophytes, which have microscopic propagules that are readily transported long distances by air; and (3) terrestrial and freshwater mollusks, which have macroscopic individuals with slow active migration rates, but which also often possess high passive dispersal abilities. Using path analysis we tested the relationships between species richness and habitat age, area, isolation, and altitude for these groups. When only matrix-derived taxa were considered, no significant positive relation was noted between species richness and habitat size or age. When only calcareous-fen specialists were considered, however, habitat age was found to significantly affect vascular plant richness and, marginally, also bryophyte richness, whereas mollusk richness was significantly affected by habitat area. These results suggest that in inland insular systems only habitat specialist (i.e., interpatch disperser and/or relict species) richness is influenced by habitat age and/or area, with habitat age becoming more important as species dispersal ability decreases. PMID:22764496

  18. A quantitative study of the morphological development and bacterial colonisation of the gut of the tammar wallaby Macropus eugenii eugenii and brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula during in-pouch development.

    PubMed

    Lentle, R G; Dey, D; Hulls, C; Mellor, D J; Moughan, P J; Stafford, K J; Nicholas, K

    2006-11-01

    We compared the rates of change of various morphological parameters of the stomach, small intestine, caecum and colon of tammar wallabies and brushtail possums with body mass during in-pouch development. These were correlated with changes in the numbers of bacterial species in the various gut segments. In the pouch-young of both species, the wet tissue masses of all gut segments increased with body mass in a positively allometric manner (i.e. with a body mass exponent > 1), suggesting that the mass of each component was disproportionately low at birth, but increased disproportionately rapidly postnatally. However, the lengths of the wallaby stomach and small intestine scaled isometrically with respect to body mass (i.e. with a body mass exponent around 0.33), which may indicate that the shape of these components changes to the adult form during early neonatal development. Conversely, the length of the caecum and colon of both wallabies and possums scaled in a positively allometric manner with respect to body mass, showing area to volume compensation. This may indicate a more general pattern of disproportionately rapid postnatal enlargement in areas that are distal to the principal sites of neonatal digestion (i.e. the stomach). The numbers of bacterial species present in the various gastrointestinal segments of both species were low in animals aged 100 days or less but there was a significant increase in microbial diversity in the caecum of brushtail possums aged over 100 days. The possum caecum also showed the greatest rate of increase in wet tissue mass relative to body mass. It is postulated that caecal development may act as a nidus for establishment of communities of commensal microflora in the developing marsupial. PMID:16819652

  19. Modeling habitat suitability for Greater Rheas based on satellite image texture.

    PubMed

    Bellis, Laura M; Pidgeon, Anna M; Radeloff, Volker C; St-Louis, Véronique; Navarro, Joaquín L; Martella, Mónica B

    2008-12-01

    Many wild species are affected by human activities occurring at broad spatial scales. For instance, in South America, habitat loss threatens Greater Rhea (Rhea americana) populations, making it important to model and map their habitat to better target conservation efforts. Spatially explicit habitat modeling is a powerful approach to understand and predict species occurrence and abundance. One problem with this approach is that commonly used land cover classifications do not capture the variability within a given land cover class that might constitute important habitat attribute information. Texture measures derived from remote sensing images quantify the variability in habitat features among and within habitat types; hence they are potentially a powerful tool to assess species-habitat relationships. Our goal was to explore the utility of texture measures for habitat modeling and to develop a habitat suitability map for Greater Rheas at the home range level in grasslands of Argentina. Greater Rhea group size obtained from aerial surveys was regressed against distance to roads, houses, and water, and land cover class abundance (dicotyledons, crops, grassland, forest, and bare soil), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and selected first- and second-order texture measures derived from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery. Among univariate models, Rhea group size was most strongly positively correlated with texture variables derived from near infrared reflectance measurement (TM band 4). The best multiple regression models explained 78% of the variability in Greater Rhea group size. Our results suggest that texture variables captured habitat heterogeneity that the conventional land cover classification did not detect. We used Greater Rhea group size as an indicator of habitat suitability; we categorized model output into different habitat quality classes. Only 16% of the study area represented high-quality habitat for Greater Rheas (group size > or =15

  20. Conservation of remnant populations of Colchicum autumnale - The relative importance of local habitat quality and habitat fragmentation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adriaens, Dries; Jacquemyn, Hans; Honnay, Olivier; Hermy, Martin

    2009-01-01

    Semi-natural habitat is extremely vulnerable to habitat fragmentation and degradation since its socio-economic value has decreased substantially during the last century in most parts of Europe. We evaluated the relative effects of habitat fragmentation and local environmental conditions on population structure and reproductive performance of the long-lived corm geophyte Colchicum autumnale in 17 highly fragmented populations. Habitat isolation did not affect patch occupancy, population structure or plant performance. In contrast, population size and local environment strongly affected population structure and reproductive performance. Densities of all life stages increased with increasing population size. Large populations also showed a higher reproductive performance and a larger proportion of new recruits. Relationships with local growth conditions pointed towards the importance of an open grassland sward for flower and fruit set and the presence of microsites for successful sexual recruitment. These results suggest that the distribution of C. autumnale consists of an assemblage of basically unconnected populations that are remnants of formerly larger populations. This is in accordance with the species' ability to grow clonally, allowing long-term persistence under deteriorating conditions that occurred during a long period of habitat fragmentation. In conclusion, our results indicate that local habitat and population size are more important than habitat fragmentation (i.e. calcareous grassland isolation and surface area) and argue in favour of a management that is primarily focused on local habitat restoration. This is preferentially accomplished by reintroducing grazing practices, complemented by regular setback of spontaneous succession towards forest.

  1. Habitat Suitability Index Models: Muskellunge

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cook, Mark F.; Solomon, R. Charles

    1987-01-01

    A review and synthesis of existing information were used to develop a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) model for the muskellunge (Esox masquinongy Mitchell). The model consolidates habitat use information into a framework appropriate for field application, and is scaled to produce an index between 0.0 (unsuitable habitat) to 1.0 (optimum habitat). HSI models are designed to be used with Habitat Evaluation Procedures previously developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  2. Habitat Suitability Index Models: Bobcat

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Boyle, Katherine A.; Fendley, Timothy T.

    1987-01-01

    A review and synthesis of existing information were used to develop a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) model for the bobcat (Felis rufus). The model consolidates habitat use information into a framework appropriate for field application, and is scaled to produce an index between 0.0 (unsuitable habitat) to 1.0 (optimum habitat). HSI models are designed to be used with Habitat Evaluation Procedures previously developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  3. Habitat Suitability Index Models: Pronghorn

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Allen, Arthur W.; Cook, John G.; Armbruster, Michael J.

    1984-01-01

    This is one of a series of publications that provide information on the habitat requirements of selected fish and wildlife species. Literature describing the relationship between habitat variables related to life requisites and habitat suitability for the pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) are synthesized. These data are subsequently used to develop Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) models. The HSI models are designed to provide information that can be used in impact assessment and habitat management.

  4. Habitat goes green

    SciTech Connect

    Kriescher, P.; Smith, M.

    1999-12-01

    A Denver family enjoys the financial and personal benefits of owning an affordable, energy-efficient home. On Earth Day, April 22, 1997, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver witnessed the realization of a dream. As Luis and Estella Valadez and their four children cut the ribbon on their 1,100 square foot (102 m{sup 2}) northwest Denver home, it signified the completion of the Denver Habitat affiliate's first ``Green'' home. Building this dream involved developing a plan to build affordable Habitat homes that also embodied a sense of stewardship of the Earth's environment. The affiliate also wanted to use this effort to achieve the additional goal of reducing the homeowner's utility and maintenance bills.

  5. Comparative habitat use in a juniper woodland bird community

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pavlacky, D.C., Jr.; Anderson, S.H.

    2004-01-01

    We compared vegetation structure used by 14 bird species during the 1998 and 1999 breeding seasons to determine what habitat features best accounted for habitat division and community organization in Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) woodlands of southwestern Wyoming. Habitat use was quantified by measuring 24 habitat variables in 461 bird-centered quadrats, each 0.04 ha in size. Using discriminant function analysis, we differentiated between habitat used by 14 bird species along 3 habitat dimensions: (1) variation in shrub cover, overstory juniper cover, mature tree density, understory height, and decadent tree density; (2) a gradient composed of elevation and forb cover; and (3) variation in grass cover, tree height, seedling/sapling cover, and bare ground/rock cover. Of 14 species considered, 9 exhibited substantial habitat partitioning: Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea), Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides), Plumbeous Vireo (Vireo plumbeus), Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus), Brewer's Sparrow (Spizella breweri), Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), and Cassin's Finch (Carpodacus cassinii). Our results indicate juniper bird communities of southwestern Wyoming are organized along a 3-dimensional habitat gradient composed of woodland maturity, elevation, and juniper recruitment. Because juniper birds partition habitat along successional and altitudinal gradients, indiscriminate woodland clearing as well as continued fire suppression will alter species composition. Restoration efforts should ensure that all successional stages of juniper woodland are present on the landscape.

  6. Determinants of Habitat Selection by Hatchling Australian Freshwater Crocodiles

    PubMed Central

    Somaweera, Ruchira; Webb, Jonathan K.; Shine, Richard

    2011-01-01

    Animals almost always use habitats non-randomly, but the costs and benefits of using specific habitat types remain unknown for many types of organisms. In a large lake in northwestern Australia (Lake Argyle), most hatchling (<12-month-old) freshwater crocodiles (Crocodylus johnstoni) are found in floating vegetation mats or grassy banks rather than the more widely available open banks. Mean body sizes of young crocodiles did not differ among the three habitat types. We tested four potential explanations for non-random habitat selection: proximity to nesting sites, thermal conditions, food availability, and exposure to predation. The three alternative habitat types did not differ in proximity to nesting sites, or in thermal conditions. Habitats with higher food availability harboured more hatchlings, and feeding rates (obtained by stomach-flushing of recently-captured crocodiles) were highest in such areas. Predation risk may also differ among habitats: we were twice as likely to capture a crocodile after seeing it in open-bank sites than in the other two habitat types. Thus, habitat selection of hatchling crocodiles in this system may be driven both by prey availability and by predation risk. PMID:22163308

  7. Habitat assessment for giant pandas in the Qinling Mountain region of China

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Feng, Tian-Tian; Van Manen, Frank T.; Zhao, Na-Xun; Li, Ming; Wei, Fu-Wen

    2009-01-01

    Because habitat loss and fragmentation threaten giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), habitat protection and restoration are important conservation measures for this endangered species. However, distribution and value of potential habitat to giant pandas on a regional scale are not fully known. Therefore, we identified and ranked giant panda habitat in Foping Nature Reserve, Guanyinshan Nature Reserve, and adjacent areas in the Qinling Mountains of China. We used Mahalanobis distance and 11 digital habitat layers to develop a multivariate habitat signature associated with 247 surveyed giant panda locations, which we then applied to the study region. We identified approximately 128 km2 of giant panda habitat in Foping Nature Reserve (43.6% of the reserve) and 49 km2 in Guanyinshan Nature Reserve (33.6% of the reserve). We defined core habitat areas by incorporating a minimum patch-size criterion (5.5 km2) based on home-range size. Percentage of core habitat area was higher in Foping Nature Reserve (41.8% of the reserve) than Guanyinshan Nature Reserve (26.3% of the reserve). Within the larger analysis region, Foping Nature Reserve contained 32.7% of all core habitat areas we identified, indicating regional importance of the reserve. We observed a negative relationship between distribution of core areas and presence of roads and small villages. Protection of giant panda habitat at lower elevations and improvement of habitat linkages among core habitat areas are important in a regional approach to giant panda conservation.

  8. Habitat Suitability Index Models: Marten

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Allen, Arthur W.

    1982-01-01

    Habitat preferences and species characteristics of the pine marten (Martes americana) are described in this publication. It is one of a series of Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) models and was developed through an analysis of available scientific data on the species-habitat requirements of the pine marten. Habitat use information is presented in a review of the literature, followed by the development of a HSI model. The model is presented in three formats: graphic, word and mathematical. Suitability index graphs quantify the species-habitat relationship. These data are then synthesized into a model which is designed to provide information for use in impact assessment and habitat management activities.

  9. Habitat Suitability Information: Blacknose Dace

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Trial, Joan G.; Stanley, Jon G.; Batcheller, Mary; Gebhart, Gary; Maughan, O. Eugene; Nelson, Patrick C.

    1983-01-01

    A review and synthesis of existing information were used to develop riverine and lacustrine habitat models for Blacknose dace, a freshwater species. The models are scaled to produce an index of habitat suitability between 0 (unsuitable habitat) to 1 (optimally suitable habitat) for freshwater, marine, and estuarine areas of the continental United States. Habitat suitability indexes (HSI's) are designed for use with the habitat evaluation procedures developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Also included are discussions of Suitability Index (SI) curves as used in the Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM) and SI curves available for an IFIM analysis of Blacknose dace.

  10. Modeling sensitive elasmobranch habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pennino, M. Grazia; Muñoz, Facundo; Conesa, David; López-Quílez, Antonio; Bellido, José Marí; a

    2013-10-01

    Basic information on the distribution and habitat preferences of ecologically important species is essential for their management and protection. In the Mediterranean Sea there is increasing concern over elasmobranch species because their biological (ecological) characteristics make them highly vulnerable to fishing pressure. Their removal could affect the structure and function of marine ecosystems, inducing changes in trophic interactions at the community level due to the selective elimination of predators or prey species, competitors and species replacement. In this study Bayesian hierarchical spatial models are used to map the sensitive habitats of the three most caught elasmobranch species (Galeus melastomus, Scyliorhinus canicula, Etmopterus spinax) in the western Mediterranean Sea, based on fishery-dependent bottom trawl data. Results show that habitats associated with hard substrata and sandy beds, mainly in deep waters and with a high seabed gradient, have a greater probability registering the presence of the studied species than those associated with muddy shallow waters. Temperature and chlorophyll-α concentration show a negative relationship with S. canicula occurrence. Our results identify some of the sensitive habitats for elasmobranchs in the western Mediterranean Sea (GSA06 South), providing essential and easy-to-use interpretation tools, such as predictive distribution maps, with the final aim of improving management and conservation of these vulnerable species.

  11. MAINE MARINE WORM HABITAT

    EPA Science Inventory

    WORM provides a generalized representation at 1:24,000 scale of commercially harvested marine worm habitat in Maine, based on Maine Department of Marine Resources data from 1970's. Original maps were created by MDMR and published by USF&WS as part of the ""&quo...

  12. Earth is a Marine Habitat. Habitat Conservation Program.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (DOC), Rockville, MD.

    This brochure is intended to educate the public about the need to conserve and preserve the earth's environment (man's habitat). It contains an introduction to the ocean world and threats to coastal habitat. Photos and narrative revolve around the theme "Earth is a Marine Habitat." Sections include: "The Web of Life,""Oceans and the United…

  13. Managing harvest and habitat as integrated components

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Osnas, Erik; Runge, Michael C.; Mattsson, Brady J.; Austin, Jane E.; Boomer, G. S.; Clark, R. G.; Devers, P.; Eadie, J. M.; Lonsdorf, E. V.; Tavernia, Brian

    2014-01-01

    In 2007, several important initiatives in the North American waterfowl management community called for an integrated approach to habitat and harvest management. The essence of the call for integration is that harvest and habitat management affect the same resources, yet exist as separate endeavours with very different regulatory contexts. A common modelling framework could help these management streams to better understand their mutual effects. Particularly, how does successful habitat management increase harvest potential? Also, how do regional habitat programmes and large-scale harvest strategies affect continental population sizes (a metric used to express habitat goals)? In the ensuing five years, several projects took on different aspects of these challenges. While all of these projects are still on-going, and are not yet sufficiently developed to produce guidance for management decisions, they have been influential in expanding the dialogue and producing some important emerging lessons. The first lesson has been that one of the more difficult aspects of integration is not the integration across decision contexts, but the integration across spatial and temporal scales. Habitat management occurs at local and regional scales. Harvest management decisions are made at a continental scale. How do these actions, taken at different scales, combine to influence waterfowl population dynamics at all scales? The second lesson has been that consideration of the interface of habitat and harvest management can generate important insights into the objectives underlying the decision context. Often the objectives are very complex and trade-off against one another. The third lesson follows from the second – if an understanding of the fundamental objectives is paramount, there is no escaping the need for a better understanding of human dimensions, specifically the desires of hunters and nonhunters and the role they play in conservation. In the end, the compelling question is

  14. Urban habitat complexity affects species richness but not environmental filtering of morphologically-diverse ants

    PubMed Central

    Nash, Michael A.; Christie, Fiona J.; Hahs, Amy K.; Livesley, Stephen J.

    2015-01-01

    Habitat complexity is a major determinant of structure and diversity of ant assemblages. Following the size-grain hypothesis, smaller ant species are likely to be advantaged in more complex habitats compared to larger species. Habitat complexity can act as an environmental filter based on species size and morphological traits, therefore affecting the overall structure and diversity of ant assemblages. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, habitat complexity is principally regulated by ecological successions or disturbance such as fire and grazing. Urban ecosystems provide an opportunity to test relationships between habitat, ant assemblage structure and ant traits using novel combinations of habitat complexity generated and sustained by human management. We sampled ant assemblages in low-complexity and high-complexity parks, and high-complexity woodland remnants, hypothesizing that (i) ant abundance and species richness would be higher in high-complexity urban habitats, (ii) ant assemblages would differ between low- and high-complexity habitats and (iii) ants living in high-complexity habitats would be smaller than those living in low-complexity habitats. Contrary to our hypothesis, ant species richness was higher in low-complexity habitats compared to high-complexity habitats. Overall, ant assemblages were significantly different among the habitat complexity types investigated, although ant size and morphology remained the same. Habitat complexity appears to affect the structure of ant assemblages in urban ecosystems as previously observed in natural and semi-natural ecosystems. However, the habitat complexity filter does not seem to be linked to ant morphological traits related to body size. PMID:26528416

  15. Urban habitat complexity affects species richness but not environmental filtering of morphologically-diverse ants.

    PubMed

    Ossola, Alessandro; Nash, Michael A; Christie, Fiona J; Hahs, Amy K; Livesley, Stephen J

    2015-01-01

    Habitat complexity is a major determinant of structure and diversity of ant assemblages. Following the size-grain hypothesis, smaller ant species are likely to be advantaged in more complex habitats compared to larger species. Habitat complexity can act as an environmental filter based on species size and morphological traits, therefore affecting the overall structure and diversity of ant assemblages. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, habitat complexity is principally regulated by ecological successions or disturbance such as fire and grazing. Urban ecosystems provide an opportunity to test relationships between habitat, ant assemblage structure and ant traits using novel combinations of habitat complexity generated and sustained by human management. We sampled ant assemblages in low-complexity and high-complexity parks, and high-complexity woodland remnants, hypothesizing that (i) ant abundance and species richness would be higher in high-complexity urban habitats, (ii) ant assemblages would differ between low- and high-complexity habitats and (iii) ants living in high-complexity habitats would be smaller than those living in low-complexity habitats. Contrary to our hypothesis, ant species richness was higher in low-complexity habitats compared to high-complexity habitats. Overall, ant assemblages were significantly different among the habitat complexity types investigated, although ant size and morphology remained the same. Habitat complexity appears to affect the structure of ant assemblages in urban ecosystems as previously observed in natural and semi-natural ecosystems. However, the habitat complexity filter does not seem to be linked to ant morphological traits related to body size. PMID:26528416

  16. Comparing quality of estuarine and nearshore intertidal habitats for Carcinus maenas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amaral, Valter; Cabral, Henrique N.; Jenkins, Stuart; Hawkins, Stephen; Paula, José

    2009-06-01

    Estuarine and nearshore marine areas are vital habitats for several fish and benthic invertebrates. The shore crab Carcinus maenas (Crustacea: Brachyura: Portunidae) inhabits a variety of coastal, estuarine and lagoon habitats. At low tide, habitat structural complexity may be most important for crabs in the intertidal, providing refuge from predation and desiccation. The quality of different vegetated and nonvegetated estuarine and rocky shore habitats in SW Portugal and SW England was evaluated for intertidal C. maenas populations. We estimated population density, size-structure, and potential growth (RNA/DNA ratios) to investigate habitat quality. Vegetated estuarine habitats supported higher crab densities, than nonvegetated estuarine and rocky shore habitats. Investigation of population size-structure revealed that all habitats seem important recruitment and nursery areas although estuarine habitats in SW Portugal appeared to support higher densities of new recruits than equivalent habitats in SW England. Significant variation was found in RNA/DNA ratios among habitats. Ratios were highest in the rocky shore suggesting a high quality habitat where growth potential is high. We speculate that competition from other top-predators ( Pachygrapsus spp.) rather than low habitat quality may limit the occurrence of C. maenas in intertidal rocky shore habitats in SW Portugal. In estuarine environments RNA/DNA ratios were significantly higher in the vegetated than in the nonvegetated estuarine habitats in SW Portugal but not in SW England, suggesting geographic differences in the extent to which highly structure habitats represent high quality. Our results challenge the current paradigm that structured habitats are necessarily those of higher quality for C. maenas.

  17. Habitat filtering across tree life stages in tropical forest communities

    PubMed Central

    Baldeck, C. A.; Harms, K. E.; Yavitt, J. B.; John, R.; Turner, B. L.; Valencia, R.; Navarrete, H.; Bunyavejchewin, S.; Kiratiprayoon, S.; Yaacob, A.; Supardi, M. N. N.; Davies, S. J.; Hubbell, S. P.; Chuyong, G. B.; Kenfack, D.; Thomas, D. W.; Dalling, J. W.

    2013-01-01

    Tropical tree communities are shaped by local-scale habitat heterogeneity in the form of topographic and edaphic variation, but the life-history stage at which habitat associations develop remains poorly understood. This is due, in part, to the fact that previous studies have not accounted for the widely disparate sample sizes (number of stems) that result when trees are divided into size classes. We demonstrate that the observed habitat structuring of a community is directly related to the number of individuals in the community. We then compare the relative importance of habitat heterogeneity to tree community structure for saplings, juveniles and adult trees within seven large (24–50 ha) tropical forest dynamics plots while controlling for sample size. Changes in habitat structuring through tree life stages were small and inconsistent among life stages and study sites. Where found, these differences were an order of magnitude smaller than the findings of previous studies that did not control for sample size. Moreover, community structure and composition were very similar among tree sub-communities of different life stages. We conclude that the structure of these tropical tree communities is established by the time trees are large enough to be included in the census (1 cm diameter at breast height), which indicates that habitat filtering occurs during earlier life stages. PMID:23843384

  18. Habitat filtering across tree life stages in tropical forest communities.

    PubMed

    Baldeck, C A; Harms, K E; Yavitt, J B; John, R; Turner, B L; Valencia, R; Navarrete, H; Bunyavejchewin, S; Kiratiprayoon, S; Yaacob, A; Supardi, M N N; Davies, S J; Hubbell, S P; Chuyong, G B; Kenfack, D; Thomas, D W; Dalling, J W

    2013-09-01

    Tropical tree communities are shaped by local-scale habitat heterogeneity in the form of topographic and edaphic variation, but the life-history stage at which habitat associations develop remains poorly understood. This is due, in part, to the fact that previous studies have not accounted for the widely disparate sample sizes (number of stems) that result when trees are divided into size classes. We demonstrate that the observed habitat structuring of a community is directly related to the number of individuals in the community. We then compare the relative importance of habitat heterogeneity to tree community structure for saplings, juveniles and adult trees within seven large (24-50 ha) tropical forest dynamics plots while controlling for sample size. Changes in habitat structuring through tree life stages were small and inconsistent among life stages and study sites. Where found, these differences were an order of magnitude smaller than the findings of previous studies that did not control for sample size. Moreover, community structure and composition were very similar among tree sub-communities of different life stages. We conclude that the structure of these tropical tree communities is established by the time trees are large enough to be included in the census (1 cm diameter at breast height), which indicates that habitat filtering occurs during earlier life stages. PMID:23843384

  19. Habitat planning, maintenance and management working group

    SciTech Connect

    1997-03-01

    The Gulf of Mexico (GOM), called {open_quotes}America`s Sea,{close_quotes} is actually a small ocean basin covering over 1.5 million square kilometers. Because of the multiple uses, diversity, and size of the Gulf`s resources, management is shared by a number of governmental agencies including the Minerals Management Service, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, National Marine Fisheries Service, the US Coast Guard, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the five Gulf states fisheries agencies. All of these entities share a common goal of achieving optimum sustainable yield to maximize geological, biological, social, and economic benefits from these resources. These entities also share a common theme that the successful management of the northern GOM requires maintenance and enhancement of both the quantity and quality of habitats. A closer look at the GOM shows the sediment to be clearly dominated by vast sand and mud plains. These soft bottom habitats are preferred by many groundfish and shrimp species and, thus, have given rise to large commercial fisheries on these stocks. Hard bottom and reef habitats, on the other hand, are limited to approximately 1.6% of the total area of the Gulf, so that, while there are high demands by commercial and recreational fishermen for reef associated species, the availability of habitat for these stocks is limited. The thousands of oil and gas structures placed in the Gulf have added significant amounts of new hard substrate. The rigs-to-reefs concept was a common sense idea with support from environmental user groups and the petroleum industry for preserving a limited but valuable habitat type. As long as maximizing long-term benefits from the Gulf s resources for the greatest number of users remains the goal, then programs such as Rigs-to-Reefs will remain an important tool for fisheries and habitat managers in the Gulf.

  20. Understanding the Habitat Needs of the Declining Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, Matthew J.

    2009-01-01

    The western yellow-billed cuckoo, once common along the streams and rivers of the American West, is now a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Most of the remaining breeding pairs are found in Arizona, California, and New Mexico. Research to understand the cuckoos' habitat needs by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Northern Arizona University scientists has shown that cuckoos in Arizona prefer breeding habitat dominated by native tree species, especially cottonwood-willow habitat bordered by mesquite bosque habitat. This research also revealed that the size of habitat patches matters - breeding cuckoos were found only in large, continuous areas of riparian habitat. These findings and the development of spatially explicit habitat models by USGS scientists will help resource managers conserve and manage riparian habitats needed to ensure the survival of the western yellow-billed cuckoo.

  1. Linking habitat mosaics and connectivity in a coral reef seascape.

    PubMed

    McMahon, Kelton W; Berumen, Michael L; Thorrold, Simon R

    2012-09-18

    Tropical marine ecosystems are under mounting anthropogenic pressure from overfishing and habitat destruction, leading to declines in their structure and function on a global scale. Although maintaining connectivity among habitats within a seascape is necessary for preserving population resistance and resilience, quantifying movements of individuals within seascapes remains challenging. Traditional methods of identifying and valuing potential coral reef fish nursery habitats are indirect, often relying on visual surveys of abundance and correlations of size and biomass among habitats. We used compound-specific stable isotope analyses to determine movement patterns of commercially important fish populations within a coral reef seascape. This approach allowed us to quantify the relative contributions of individuals from inshore nurseries to reef populations and identify migration corridors among important habitats. Our results provided direct measurements of remarkable migrations by juvenile snapper of over 30 km, between nurseries and reefs. We also found significant plasticity in juvenile nursery residency. Although a majority of individuals on coastal reefs had used seagrass nurseries as juveniles, many adults on oceanic reefs had settled directly into reef habitats. Moreover, seascape configuration played a critical but heretofore unrecognized role in determining connectivity among habitats. Finally, our approach provides key quantitative data necessary to estimate the value of distinctive habitats to ecosystem services provided by seascapes. PMID:22949665

  2. Linking habitat mosaics and connectivity in a coral reef seascape

    PubMed Central

    McMahon, Kelton W.; Berumen, Michael L.; Thorrold, Simon R.

    2012-01-01

    Tropical marine ecosystems are under mounting anthropogenic pressure from overfishing and habitat destruction, leading to declines in their structure and function on a global scale. Although maintaining connectivity among habitats within a seascape is necessary for preserving population resistance and resilience, quantifying movements of individuals within seascapes remains challenging. Traditional methods of identifying and valuing potential coral reef fish nursery habitats are indirect, often relying on visual surveys of abundance and correlations of size and biomass among habitats. We used compound-specific stable isotope analyses to determine movement patterns of commercially important fish populations within a coral reef seascape. This approach allowed us to quantify the relative contributions of individuals from inshore nurseries to reef populations and identify migration corridors among important habitats. Our results provided direct measurements of remarkable migrations by juvenile snapper of over 30 km, between nurseries and reefs. We also found significant plasticity in juvenile nursery residency. Although a majority of individuals on coastal reefs had used seagrass nurseries as juveniles, many adults on oceanic reefs had settled directly into reef habitats. Moreover, seascape configuration played a critical but heretofore unrecognized role in determining connectivity among habitats. Finally, our approach provides key quantitative data necessary to estimate the value of distinctive habitats to ecosystem services provided by seascapes. PMID:22949665

  3. Measuring acoustic habitats

    PubMed Central

    Merchant, Nathan D; Fristrup, Kurt M; Johnson, Mark P; Tyack, Peter L; Witt, Matthew J; Blondel, Philippe; Parks, Susan E

    2015-01-01

    1. Many organisms depend on sound for communication, predator/prey detection and navigation. The acoustic environment can therefore play an important role in ecosystem dynamics and evolution. A growing number of studies are documenting acoustic habitats and their influences on animal development, behaviour, physiology and spatial ecology, which has led to increasing demand for passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) expertise in the life sciences. However, as yet, there has been no synthesis of data processing methods for acoustic habitat monitoring, which presents an unnecessary obstacle to would-be PAM analysts. 2. Here, we review the signal processing techniques needed to produce calibrated measurements of terrestrial and aquatic acoustic habitats. We include a supplemental tutorial and template computer codes in matlab and r, which give detailed guidance on how to produce calibrated spectrograms and statistical analyses of sound levels. Key metrics and terminology for the characterisation of biotic, abiotic and anthropogenic sound are covered, and their application to relevant monitoring scenarios is illustrated through example data sets. To inform study design and hardware selection, we also include an up-to-date overview of terrestrial and aquatic PAM instruments. 3. Monitoring of acoustic habitats at large spatiotemporal scales is becoming possible through recent advances in PAM technology. This will enhance our understanding of the role of sound in the spatial ecology of acoustically sensitive species and inform spatial planning to mitigate the rising influence of anthropogenic noise in these ecosystems. As we demonstrate in this work, progress in these areas will depend upon the application of consistent and appropriate PAM methodologies. PMID:25954500

  4. Coastal Vertebrate Exposure to Predicted Habitat Changes Due to Sea Level Rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hunter, Elizabeth A.; Nibbelink, Nathan P.; Alexander, Clark R.; Barrett, Kyle; Mengak, Lara F.; Guy, Rachel K.; Moore, Clinton T.; Cooper, Robert J.

    2015-12-01

    Sea level rise (SLR) may degrade habitat for coastal vertebrates in the Southeastern United States, but it is unclear which groups or species will be most exposed to habitat changes. We assessed 28 coastal Georgia vertebrate species for their exposure to potential habitat changes due to SLR using output from the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model and information on the species' fundamental niches. We assessed forecasted habitat change up to the year 2100 using three structural habitat metrics: total area, patch size, and habitat permanence. Almost all of the species ( n = 24) experienced negative habitat changes due to SLR as measured by at least one of the metrics. Salt marsh and ocean beach habitats experienced the most change (out of 16 categorical land cover types) across the three metrics and species that used salt marsh extensively (rails and marsh sparrows) were ranked highest for exposure to habitat changes. Species that nested on ocean beaches (Diamondback Terrapins, shorebirds, and terns) were also ranked highly, but their use of other foraging habitats reduced their overall exposure. Future studies on potential effects of SLR on vertebrates in southeastern coastal ecosystems should focus on the relative importance of different habitat types to these species' foraging and nesting requirements. Our straightforward prioritization approach is applicable to other coastal systems and can provide insight to managers on which species to focus resources, what components of their habitats need to be protected, and which locations in the study area will provide habitat refuges in the face of SLR.

  5. Coastal Vertebrate Exposure to Predicted Habitat Changes Due to Sea Level Rise.

    PubMed

    Hunter, Elizabeth A; Nibbelink, Nathan P; Alexander, Clark R; Barrett, Kyle; Mengak, Lara F; Guy, Rachel K; Moore, Clinton T; Cooper, Robert J

    2015-12-01

    Sea level rise (SLR) may degrade habitat for coastal vertebrates in the Southeastern United States, but it is unclear which groups or species will be most exposed to habitat changes. We assessed 28 coastal Georgia vertebrate species for their exposure to potential habitat changes due to SLR using output from the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model and information on the species' fundamental niches. We assessed forecasted habitat change up to the year 2100 using three structural habitat metrics: total area, patch size, and habitat permanence. Almost all of the species (n = 24) experienced negative habitat changes due to SLR as measured by at least one of the metrics. Salt marsh and ocean beach habitats experienced the most change (out of 16 categorical land cover types) across the three metrics and species that used salt marsh extensively (rails and marsh sparrows) were ranked highest for exposure to habitat changes. Species that nested on ocean beaches (Diamondback Terrapins, shorebirds, and terns) were also ranked highly, but their use of other foraging habitats reduced their overall exposure. Future studies on potential effects of SLR on vertebrates in southeastern coastal ecosystems should focus on the relative importance of different habitat types to these species' foraging and nesting requirements. Our straightforward prioritization approach is applicable to other coastal systems and can provide insight to managers on which species to focus resources, what components of their habitats need to be protected, and which locations in the study area will provide habitat refuges in the face of SLR. PMID:26163199

  6. Coastal vertebrate exposure to predicted habitat changes due to sea level rise

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hunter, Elizabeth A.; Nibbelink, Nathan P.; Alexander, Clark R.; Barrett, Kyle; Mengak, Lara F.; Guy, Rachel; Moore, Clinton; Cooper, Robert J.

    2015-01-01

    Sea level rise (SLR) may degrade habitat for coastal vertebrates in the Southeastern United States, but it is unclear which groups or species will be most exposed to habitat changes. We assessed 28 coastal Georgia vertebrate species for their exposure to potential habitat changes due to SLR using output from the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model and information on the species’ fundamental niches. We assessed forecasted habitat change up to the year 2100 using three structural habitat metrics: total area, patch size, and habitat permanence. Almost all of the species (n = 24) experienced negative habitat changes due to SLR as measured by at least one of the metrics. Salt marsh and ocean beach habitats experienced the most change (out of 16 categorical land cover types) across the three metrics and species that used salt marsh extensively (rails and marsh sparrows) were ranked highest for exposure to habitat changes. Species that nested on ocean beaches (Diamondback Terrapins, shorebirds, and terns) were also ranked highly, but their use of other foraging habitats reduced their overall exposure. Future studies on potential effects of SLR on vertebrates in southeastern coastal ecosystems should focus on the relative importance of different habitat types to these species’ foraging and nesting requirements. Our straightforward prioritization approach is applicable to other coastal systems and can provide insight to managers on which species to focus resources, what components of their habitats need to be protected, and which locations in the study area will provide habitat refuges in the face of SLR.

  7. Habitat Suitability Index Models: Wood Duck

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sousa, Patrick J.; Farmer, Adrian H.

    1983-01-01

    A review and synthesis of existing information were used to develop models for breeding and wintering habitats for the wood duck (Aix sponsa). The models are scaled to produce indices of habitat suitability between 0 (unsuitable habitat) and 1 (optimally suitable habitat). Habitat suitability indices are designed for use with Habitat Evaluation Procedures previously developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  8. Concepts for a Shroud or Propellant Tank Derived Deep Space Habitat

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howard, Robert L.

    2012-01-01

    Long duration human spaceflight missions beyond Low Earth Orbit will require much larger spacecraft than capsules such as the Russian Soyuz or American Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. A concept spacecraft under development is the Deep Space Habitat, with volumes approaching that of space stations such as Skylab, Mir, and the International Space Station. This paper explores several concepts for Deep Space Habitats constructed from a launch vehicle shroud or propellant tank. It also recommends future research using mockups and prototypes to validate the size and crew station capabilities of such a habitat. Keywords: Exploration, space station, lunar outpost, NEA, habitat, long duration, deep space habitat, shroud, propellant tank.

  9. Defining habitat covariates in camera-trap based occupancy studies

    PubMed Central

    Niedballa, Jürgen; Sollmann, Rahel; Mohamed, Azlan bin; Bender, Johannes; Wilting, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    In species-habitat association studies, both the type and spatial scale of habitat covariates need to match the ecology of the focal species. We assessed the potential of high-resolution satellite imagery for generating habitat covariates using camera-trapping data from Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, within an occupancy framework. We tested the predictive power of covariates generated from satellite imagery at different resolutions and extents (focal patch sizes, 10–500 m around sample points) on estimates of occupancy patterns of six small to medium sized mammal species/species groups. High-resolution land cover information had considerably more model support for small, patchily distributed habitat features, whereas it had no advantage for large, homogeneous habitat features. A comparison of different focal patch sizes including remote sensing data and an in-situ measure showed that patches with a 50-m radius had most support for the target species. Thus, high-resolution satellite imagery proved to be particularly useful in heterogeneous landscapes, and can be used as a surrogate for certain in-situ measures, reducing field effort in logistically challenging environments. Additionally, remote sensed data provide more flexibility in defining appropriate spatial scales, which we show to impact estimates of wildlife-habitat associations. PMID:26596779

  10. Defining dynamic pelagic habitats in oceanic waters off eastern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hobday, A. J.; Young, J. W.; Moeseneder, C.; Dambacher, J. M.

    2011-03-01

    Although many species in the pelagic ocean are widespread, they are not randomly distributed. These species may have associations with particular water masses or habitats, but to best understand patterns in the ocean, these habitats must be identified. Previous efforts have produced static or seasonal climatologies, which still represent smearing over habitats. The Eastern Tuna and Billfish Longline Fishery (ETBF) targets a range of high trophic level species in oceanic waters off eastern Australia. In this study, dynamic ocean habitats in the region were identified for each month based on cluster analysis of five oceanographic variables averaged at a monthly time scale and a spatial scale of 0.5° for the period 1995-2006. A total of seven persistent habitats were identified off eastern Australia with intra and interannual variation in size and location, indicating the importance of spatial and temporal variation in the dynamics of the region. The degree to which these dynamic habitats were distinguished was tested using (i) stable isotope analysis of top fish predators caught in the region and (ii) estimates of variation in estimated abundance generated from catch data from the fishery. More precise estimates (measured as lower total CV) of isotopic values from swordfish ( Xiphias gladius), yellowfin tuna ( Thunnus albacares) and albacore ( Thunnus alalunga) were obtained for 4 of 6 isotope comparisons using the dynamic habitat groupings, which indicate that stratifying by pelagic habitat improved precision. Dynamic habitats produced more precise abundance estimates for 7 of 8 large pelagic species examined, with an average reduction in total CV of 19% compared to when abundance was estimated based on static habitat stratification. These findings could be used to guide development of effective monitoring strategies that can distinguish patterns due to environmental variation, and in the longer term, climate change.

  11. Plant Habitat (PH)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Onate, Bryan

    2016-01-01

    The International Space Station (ISS) will soon have a platform for conducting fundamental research of Large Plants. Plant Habitat (PH) is designed to be a fully controllable environment for high-quality plant physiological research. PH will control light quality, level, and timing, temperature, CO2, relative humidity, and irrigation, while scrubbing ethylene. Additional capabilities include leaf temperature and root zone moisture and oxygen sensing. The light cap will have red (630 nm), blue (450 nm), green (525 nm), far red (730 nm) and broad spectrum white LEDs. There will be several internal cameras (visible and IR) to monitor and record plant growth and operations.

  12. A meta-analysis of lesser prairie-chicken nesting and brood-rearing habitats: implications for habitat management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hagen, Christian A.; Grisham, Blake A.; Boal, Clint W.; Haukos, David A.

    2013-01-01

    The distribution and range of lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has been reduced by >90% since European settlement of the Great Plains of North America. Currently, lesser prairie-chickens occupy 3 general vegetation communities: sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia), sand shinnery oak (Quercus havardii), and mixed-grass prairies juxtaposed with Conservation Reserve Program grasslands. As a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act, there is a need for a synthesis that characterizes habitat structure rangewide. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis of vegetation characteristics at nest sites and brood habitats to determine whether there was an overall effect (Hedges' d) of habitat selection and to estimate average (95% CI) habitat characteristics at use sites. We estimated effect sizes (di) from the difference between use (nests and brood sites) and random sampling sites for each study (n = 14), and derived an overall effect size (d++). There was a general effect for habitat selection as evidenced by low levels of variation in effect sizes across studies and regions. There was a small to medium effect (d++) = 0.20-0.82) of selection for greater vertical structure (visual obstruction) by nesting females in both vegetation communities, and selection against bare ground (d++ = 0.20-0.58). Females with broods exhibited less selectivity for habitat components except for vertical structure. The variation of d++ was greater during nesting than brooding periods, signifying a seasonal shift in habitat use, and perhaps a greater range of tolerance for brood-rearing habitat. The overall estimates of vegetation cover were consistent with those provided in management guidelines for the species.

  13. Partial gravity habitat study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Capps, Stephen; Lorandos, Jason; Akhidime, Eval; Bunch, Michael; Lund, Denise; Moore, Nathan; Murakawa, Kiosuke

    1989-01-01

    The purpose of this study is to investigate comprehensive design requirements associated with designing habitats for humans in a partial gravity environment, then to apply them to a lunar base design. Other potential sites for application include planetary surfaces such as Mars, variable-gravity research facilities, and a rotating spacecraft. Design requirements for partial gravity environments include locomotion changes in less than normal earth gravity; facility design issues, such as interior configuration, module diameter, and geometry; and volumetric requirements based on the previous as well as psychological issues involved in prolonged isolation. For application to a lunar base, it is necessary to study the exterior architecture and configuration to insure optimum circulation patterns while providing dual egress; radiation protection issues are addressed to provide a safe and healthy environment for the crew; and finally, the overall site is studied to locate all associated facilities in context with the habitat. Mission planning is not the purpose of this study; therefore, a Lockheed scenario is used as an outline for the lunar base application, which is then modified to meet the project needs. The goal of this report is to formulate facts on human reactions to partial gravity environments, derive design requirements based on these facts, and apply the requirements to a partial gravity situation which, for this study, was a lunar base.

  14. Lakeland Habitat for Humanity

    SciTech Connect

    Gilbride, Theresa L.

    2009-03-30

    This is a case study of the Lakeland, FLorida, Habitat for Humanity affiliate, which has partnered with DOE's Building America program to homes that achieve energy savings of 30% or more over the Building America baseline home (a home built to the 1993 Model Energy Code). The article includes a description of the energy-efficiency features used. The Lakeland affiliate built several of its homes with ducts in conditioned space, which minimizes heat losses and gains. They also used high-efficiency SEER 14 air conditioners; radiant barriers in the roof to keep attics cooler; above-code high-performance dual-pane vinyl-framed low-emissivity windows; a passive fresh air duct to the air handler; and duct blaster and blower door testing of every home to ensure the home's air tightness. This case study was also prepared as a flier titled "High Performance Builder Spotlight: Lakeland Habitat for Humanity, Lakeland, Florida,: which was cleared as PNNL-SA-59068 and distributed at the International Builders’ Show Feb 13-16, 2008, in Orlando, Florida.

  15. NASA Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) Deep Space Habitat Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Howe, A. Scott; Kennedy, Kriss J.; Gill, Tracy

    2013-01-01

    The NASA Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) vertical cylinder habitat was established as a exploration habitat testbed platform for integration and testing of a variety of technologies and subsystems that will be required in a human-occupied planetary surface outpost or Deep Space Habitat (DSH). The HDU functioned as a medium-fidelity habitat prototype from 2010-2012 and allowed teams from all over NASA to collaborate on field analog missions, mission operations tests, and system integration tests to help shake out equipment and provide feedback for technology development cycles and crew training. This paper documents the final 2012 configuration of the HDU, and discusses some of the testing that took place. Though much of the higher-fidelity functionality has 'graduated' into other NASA programs, as of this writing the HDU, renamed Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA), will continue to be available as a volumetric and operational mockup for NASA Human Research Program (HRP) research from 2013 onward.

  16. Clay Animals and Their Habitats

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Adamson, Kay

    2010-01-01

    Creating clay animals and their habitats with second-grade students has long been one of the author's favorite classroom activities. Students love working with clay and they also enjoy drawing animal homes. In this article, the author describes how the students created a diorama instead of drawing their clay animal's habitat. This gave students…

  17. Food technology in space habitats

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Karel, M.

    1979-01-01

    The research required to develop a system that will provide for acceptable, nutritious, and safe diets for man during extended space missions is discussed. The development of a food technology system for space habitats capable of converting raw materials produced in the space habitats into acceptable food is examined.

  18. A Wildlife Habitat Improvement Plan.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rogers, S. Elaine

    The document presents an overview of Stony Acres, a "sanctuary" for wildlife as well as a place for recreation enjoyment and education undertakings. A review of the history of wildlife habitat management at Stony Acres and the need for continued and improved wildlife habitat management for the property are discussed in Chapter I. Chapter II…

  19. Desert tortoise use of burned habitat in the Eastern Mojave desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Drake, Karla K.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; DeFalco, Lesley; Scoles, Sara; Modlin, Andrew T.; Medica, Philip A.

    2015-01-01

    Wildfires burned 24,254 ha of critical habitat designated for the recovery of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in southern Nevada during 2005. The proliferation of non-native annual grasses has increased wildfire frequency and extent in recent decades and continues to accelerate the conversion of tortoise habitat across the Mojave Desert. Immediate changes to vegetation are expected to reduce quality of critical habitat, yet whether tortoises will use burned and recovering habitat differently from intact unburned habitat is unknown. We compared movement patterns, home-range size, behavior, microhabitat use, reproduction, and survival for adult desert tortoises located in, and adjacent to, burned habitat to understand how tortoises respond to recovering burned habitat. Approximately 45% of home ranges in the post-fire environment contained burned habitat, and numerous observations (n = 12,223) corroborated tortoise use of both habitat types (52% unburned, 48% burned). Tortoises moved progressively deeper into burned habitat during the first 5 years following the fire, frequently foraging in burned habitats that had abundant annual plants, and returning to adjacent unburned habitat for cover provided by intact perennial vegetation. However, by years 6 and 7, the live cover of the short-lived herbaceous perennial desert globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) that typically re-colonizes burned areas declined, resulting in a contraction of tortoise movements from the burned areas. Health and egg production were similar between burned and unburned areas indicating that tortoises were able to acquire necessary resources using both areas. This study documents that adult Mojave desert tortoises continue to use habitat burned once by wildfire. Thus, continued management of this burned habitat may contribute toward the recovery of the species in the face of many sources of habitat loss.

  20. How mechanisms of habitat preference evolve and promote divergence with gene flow

    PubMed Central

    Berner, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Habitat preference may promote adaptive divergence and speciation, yet the conditions under which this is likely are insufficiently explored. We use individual-based simulations to study the evolution and consequence of habitat preference during divergence with gene flow, considering four different underlying genetically-based behavioral mechanisms: natal habitat imprinting, phenotype-dependent, competition-dependent, and direct genetic habitat preference. We find that the evolution of habitat preference generally requires initially high dispersal, is facilitated by asymmetry in population sizes between habitats, and is hindered by an increasing number of underlying genetic loci. Moreover, the probability of habitat preference to emerge and promote divergence differs greatly among the underlying mechanisms. Natal habitat imprinting evolves most easily and can allow full divergence in parameter ranges where no divergence is possible in the absence of habitat preference. The reason is that imprinting represents a one-allele mechanism of assortative mating linking dispersal behavior very effectively to local selection. At the other extreme, direct genetic habitat preference, a two-allele mechanism, evolves under restricted conditions only, and even then facilitates divergence weakly. Overall, our results indicate that habitat preference can be a strong reproductive barrier promoting divergence with gene flow, but that this is highly contingent on the underlying preference mechanism. PMID:26119841

  1. Habitat Suitability Index Models: Longnose Sucker

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Edwards, Elizabeth A.

    1983-01-01

    A review and synthesis of existing information were used to develop riverine and lacustrine habitat models for Longnose sucker (Catostomus catostomus), a freshwater fish. The models are scaled to produce an index of habitat suitability between 0 (unsuitable habitat) to 1 (optimally suitable habitat) for freshwater areas of the continental United States. Habitat suitability indexes (HSI's) are designed for use with the habitat evaluation procedures developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  2. Scale considerations in monitoring greater sage-grouse ( Centrocercus urophasianus) vegetation structure and habitat suitability within nesting habitat in western Wyoming

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zabihi Afratakhti, Khodabakhsh

    Disturbance of nesting habitat associated with energy development has contributed to population declines of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in western Wyoming. Greater sage-grouse, rely on sagebrush ecosystems during all of their life stages. Specific criteria for suitable nesting habitat for the species includes both amount and distribution of sagebrush and herbaceous cover. Loss of suitable sagebrush habitat makes the identification of remaining suitable habitat critical for long-term management of the species. This research documents spatial patterns of vegetation structure within greater sage-grouse nesting habitat to compare shrub configuration (shrub patchiness) between nest and random non-nest locations at very fine scales. Additionally, we examine the applicability of gap intercept techniques to quantify shrub structural characteristics (shrub height and patchiness). Finally, the suitability of nesting habitats was mapped using biophysical features and anthropogenic disturbances at fine to broad scales. Spatial vegetation patterns vary with scale, and spatial homogeneity of sagebrush stands declines with increasing shrub height. Canopy gap intercept techniques reliably quantify composition, configuration, and height of shrub cover. The proportion of shrub cover and non-shrub gaps can be used as a compositional attribute that characterizes nesting habitat at the broad scale (across kilometers). In addition, variation in gap sizes within shrub cover, or shrub patchiness is a habitat characteristic that differentiates nesting and non-nest habitat at fine scales. Shrub cover-to-gap proportion, shrub spatial configuration, and mean shrub heights are important vegetative traits that characterize sage-grouse nesting habitat. At broad scales, habitat suitability for nesting is related to both anthropogenic disturbances and the suitability of biophysical features (e.g., slope, aspect, vegetation type and composition). Information about habitat

  3. Describing Willow Flycatcher habitats: scale perspectives and gender differences

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sedgwick, James A.; Knopf, Fritz L.

    1992-01-01

    We compared habitat characteristics of nest sites (female-selected sites) and song perch sites (male-selected sites) with those of sites unused by Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii) at three different scales of vegetation measurement: (1) microplot (central willow [Salix spp.] bush and four adjacent bushes); (2) mesoplot (0.07 ha); and, (3) macroplot (flycatcher territory size). Willow Flycatchers exhibited vegetation preferences at all three scales. Nest sites were distinguished by high willow density and low variability in willow patch size and bush height. Song perch sites were characterized by large central shrubs, low central shrub vigor, and high variability in shrub size. Unused sites were characterized by greater distances between willows and willow patches, less willow coverage, and a smaller riparian zone width than either nest or song perch sites. At all scales, nest sites were situated farther from unused sites in multivariate habitat space than were song perch sites, suggesting (1) a correspondence among scales in their ability to describe Willow Flycatcher habitat, and (2) females are more discriminating in habitat selection than males. Microhabitat differences between male-selected (song perch) and female-selected (nest) sites were evident at the two smaller scales; at the finest scale, the segregation in habitat space between male-selected and female-selected sites was greater than that between male-selected and unused sites. Differences between song perch and nest sites were not apparent at the scale of flycatcher territory size, possibly due to inclusion of (1) both nest and song perch sites, (2) defended, but unused habitat, and/or (3) habitat outside of the territory, in larger scale analyses. The differences between nest and song perch sites at the finer scales reflect their different functions (e.g., nest concealment and microclimatic requirements vs. advertising and territorial defense, respectively), and suggest that the exclusive use

  4. Habitat structure alters top-down control in litter communities.

    PubMed

    Kalinkat, Gregor; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn Christian

    2013-07-01

    The question whether top-down or bottom-up forces dominate trophic relationships, energy flow, and abundances within food webs has fuelled much ecological research with particular focus on soil litter ecosystems. Because litter simultaneously provides habitat structure and a basal resource, disentangling direct trophic and indirect non-trophic effects on different trophic levels remains challenging. Here, we focussed on short-term per capita interaction strengths of generalist predators (centipedes) on their microbi-detritivore prey (springtails) and addressed how the habitat structuring effects of the leaf litter modifies this interaction. We performed a series of laboratory functional response experiments where four levels of habitat structure were constructed by adding different amounts of leaf litter to the experimental arenas. We found that increased leaf litter reduced the consumption rate of the predator. We interpreted this as a dilution effect of the augmented habitat size provided by the increasing leaf litter surface available to the species. Dilution of the prey population decreased encounter rates, whereas the capture success was not affected. Interestingly, our results imply that top-down control by centipedes decreased with increasing resource supply for the microbi-detritivore prey (i.e. the leaf litter that simultaneously provides habitat structure). Therefore, effective top-down control of predators on microbi-detritvore populations seems unlikely in litter-rich ecosystems due to the non-trophic, habitat-structuring effect of the basal litter resource. PMID:23188055

  5. Avian habitat relationships in pinyon-juniper woodland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sedgwick, James A.

    1987-01-01

    Habitat relationships of breeding birds were examined in northwestern Colorado in pinyon-juniper (Pinus edulis-Juniperus osteosperma) woodland and in openings where most overstory trees had been knocked down by anchor chaining. Vegetation characteristics and physical habitat features were measured in 233 0.04-ha circular plots around singing males of 13 species of birds from 15 May to 15 July 1980. Thirteen-group discriminant function analysis ordinated bird species along three habitat dimensions described by (1) canopy height; (2) slope, shrub size, and shrub species diversity; and (3) percentage canopy cover, large tree density, distance from a habitat edge, litter cover, and green cover. Woodland, open-area, and intermediate edge species were clearly segregated along the first discriminant axis, and species' associations with shrubs, inclination, ground cover, and edges were revealed by the ordinations along the second and third discriminant axes. Two-group discriminant analyses comparing occupied and available plots identified additional and more specific habitat associations. For example, Hermit Thrushes (Catharus guttatus) were associated with mature forested habitats and forest interiors, Virginia's Warblers (Vermivora virginiae) favored steep, oak-covered draws, Rock Wrens (Salpinctes obsoletus) selected areas where percentage log cover and small tree density were high, and Dusky Flycatchers (Empidonax oberholseri) preferred shrubby slopes with scattered large trees near woodland edges.

  6. Life history strategy influences parasite responses to habitat fragmentation.

    PubMed

    Froeschke, Götz; van der Mescht, Luther; McGeoch, Melodie; Matthee, Sonja

    2013-12-01

    Anthropogenic habitat use is a major threat to biodiversity and is known to increase the abundance of generalist host species such as rodents, which are regarded as potential disease carriers. Parasites have an intimate relationship with their host and the surrounding environment and it is expected that habitat fragmentation will affect parasite infestation levels. We investigated the effect of habitat fragmentation on the ecto- and endoparasitic burdens of a broad niche small mammal, Rhabdomys pumilio, in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Our aim was to look at the effects of fragmentation on different parasite species with diverse life history characteristics and to determine whether general patterns can be found. Sampling took place within pristine lowland (Fynbos/Renosterveld) areas and at fragmented sites surrounded and isolated by agricultural activities. All arthropod ectoparasites and available gastrointestinal endoparasites were identified. We used conditional autoregressive models to investigate the effects of habitat fragmentation on parasite species richness and abundance of all recovered parasites. Host density and body size were larger in the fragments. Combined ecto- as well as combined endoparasite taxa showed higher parasite species richness in fragmented sites. Parasite abundance was generally higher in the case of R. pumilio individuals in fragmented habitats but it appears that parasites that are more permanently associated with the host's body and those that are host-specific show the opposite trend. Parasite life history is an important factor that needs to be considered when predicting the effects of habitat fragmentation on parasite and pathogen transmission. PMID:23954434

  7. Habitat Design Considerations for Implementing Solar Particle Event Radiation Protection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Simon, Mathew A.; Clowdsley, Martha S.; Walker, Steven A.

    2013-01-01

    Radiation protection is an important habitat design consideration for human exploration missions beyond Low Earth Orbit. Fortunately, radiation shelter concepts can effectively reduce astronaut exposure for the relatively low proton energies of solar particle events, enabling moderate duration missions of several months before astronaut exposure (galactic cosmic ray and solar particle event) approaches radiation exposure limits. In order to minimize habitat mass for increasingly challenging missions, design of radiation shelters must minimize dedicated, single-purpose shielding mass by leveraging the design and placement of habitat subsystems, accommodations, and consumables. NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems RadWorks Storm Shelter Team has recently designed and performed radiation analysis on several low dedicated mass shelter concepts for a year-long mission. This paper describes habitat design considerations identified during the study's radiation analysis. These considerations include placement of the shelter within a habitat for improved protection, integration of human factors guidance for sizing shelters, identification of potential opportunities for habitat subsystems to compromise on individual subsystem performances for overall vehicle mass reductions, and pre-configuration of shelter components for reduced deployment times.

  8. Contact patterns as a risk factor for bovine tuberculosis infection in a free-living adult brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula population.

    PubMed

    Porphyre, T; McKenzie, J; Stevenson, M A

    2011-07-01

    The aim of this study was to identify risk factors for bovine tuberculosis (TB) in a free-roaming, capture-mark-recapture monitored possum Trichosurus vulpecula population in a 22-ha study site at Castlepoint, New Zealand from 1 April 1989 to 31 March 1994. A matched case-control design was used to evaluate the influence of sex, habitat and contact opportunities on TB risk. Cases comprised possums identified as TB-positive throughout the study period. Controls were selected from the group of possums that were captured and showed no clinical signs of TB throughout the study period. Measures derived from a social network analysis of possum capture locations such as degree, clustering coefficient (CC) and betweenness were used to represent potential contact opportunities among possums. Network analysis measures recorded for individual possums in the 12-month period before a diagnosis of TB were evaluated in a conditional logistic regression model. We found no evidence of an association between case status and the total number of possums with which there was potential contact (degree) (P=0.5). The odds of cases being exposed to unit increases in the number of TB-positive contacts was 2.50 (95% CI 1.24-5.05; P<0.01) times that of controls. This effect was conditional on the total number of potential contacts made, with a negative interaction with increasing degree. These findings indicate that potential contact with TB-positive possums increases the odds of disease whereas potential contact with large numbers of possums does not. This suggests that multiple contacts with TB-positive possum(s) are necessary for transmission of TB and this is more likely to occur in networks that are smaller. We challenge the hypothesis that contact with large numbers of individuals increases the probability of becoming TB infected and argue that individual contact behaviour is a determinant of the creation of TB foci within free-living possum populations. PMID:21550126

  9. SALT MARSH HABITAT FROM A FISH EYE VIEW: A TEST OF THE DIMENSIONLESS INDEX OF HABITAT COMPLEXITY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salt marshes are considered important foraging and predator refuge areas for fish, but these functions are rarely measured. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between the structural complexity of the habitat and fish size in marshes subjected to different wat...

  10. Habitat selection and productivity of least terns on the lower Platte River, Nebraska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirsch, Eileen M.

    1996-01-01

    . Proportion of terns using each habitat was similar to proportion of available sand on each habitat. The distribution of nest initiation dates and rates of colony-site turnover also were similar on both habitats. Productivity did not differ between habitats but varied significantly among sites. Nest success, fledging success, and fledglings per pair averaged 0.54, 0.28, and 0.47, respectively. Key factor analysis revealed that chick survival had a greater influence on production of fledglings (on both sandbars and sandpits) than did failure to produce a maximum clutch size or egg mortality. Most egg mortality was caused by predation on sandpits and by flooding on sandbars. Predation was suspected as the major cause of loss for chicks on both habitats. Path analysis revealed no strong or consistent correlations among mortality, numbers of nests and chicks, track trails of intruders into colonies, and habitat variables at colonies on either habitat. Theoretically, terns should not prefer a habitat when habitats are equally suitable if terns have had time to respond to habitat changes. Although sandbars and sandpits appeared equally suitable and terns did not prefer either habitat, local productivity will not support this population unless annual postfledging survival is higher than current estimates for the species. Population trend estimated with fledglings per pair = 0.50 was negative for all but the highest (ca 0.90) rates of annual postfledging survival. Furthermore, deterministic models like the one used in this study overstimate trend. Productivity insufficient to support the local population, in spite of habitat use that reflects habitat suitability, could be due to increased predation caused by habitat alteration adjacent to the river that may have changed the predator community. Alternatively, terns in this area could persist in spite of prevailing low productivity because they are relatively long-lived birds, if highly productive years occasionally occur or if this