THE ORIGIN OF CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE: RESULTS FROM A TEXT MINING PROJECT
|Kent Webb; San Jose State University; email@example.com;|
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a 100 percent fatal, prion disease of deer that has the potential to decimate the deer population and jump to the human population. The results of a long-term project text mining the internet for information related to deer management were used to conduct a contact tracing for the first 40 years of the disease, 1967 to 2007. The evidence supports a common assertion in the public press that all of the early cases can be traced back to a Fort Collins, Colorado, research facility managed at the time by Colorado State University and the Colorado Division of Wildlife where the disease was first observed. Sheep from a scrapie project reportedly shared pens with captive deer at the facility. Research supports the theory that the disease jumped from sheep with scrapie. For 1967 into 1998, six clusters were identified that could all be traced back to Fort Collins. Limited information from game farms made tracking difficult for 1998 to 2007 with 10 more clusters traced back to areas linked to Fort Collins or with trace backs to Fort Collins explainable. Documentation at: www.deerfriendly.com/deer-disease/chronic-wasting-disease/possible-origins-of-chronic-wasting-disease
ANALYZING WILDLIFE COUNT DATA USING GLMMS AND ECOCOUNTHELPER
|Hunter J Cole; Boise State University; firstname.lastname@example.org;|
Wildlife managers are often tasked with making management decisions with limited information. When research can be conducted to inform management decisions, analysis of the data collected can be daunting. Here we detail the use of an R package, `EcoCountHelper`, and an associated analytical pipeline aimed at making GLMM-based analysis of wildlife count data more accessible. To demonstrate the utility of this approach, we use our package to model acoustic bat activity data relative to multiple landscape characteristics in a protected area threatened by encroaching disease - Grand Teton National Park. Our package uses a series of easy to use functions that can accept both wide- and long-form multi-taxa count data without the need for programming experience. In our case study in the Tetons, we found that an increased prevalence of porous buildings increases activity levels of Eptesicus fuscus and Myotis volans; Myotis lucifugus activity decreases as distance to water increases; and Myotis volans activity increases with the amount of forested area. By using GLMMs in tandem with `EcoCountHelper`, managers can assess the effects of landscape characteristics on wildlife in a statistically-robust framework.
USING A 12-YEAR DATASET TO MODEL FACTORS INFLUENCING BAY CHECKERSPOT BUTTERFLY DISTRIBUTION
|Margaret R Scampavia; WRA, Inc.; email@example.com; Michael Rochelle|
Bay checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha bayensis), a federal-threatened subspecies of Edith’s checkerspot (E. editha), is endemic to the San Francisco Bay Area and is currently restricted to San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. From 2008 to 2019, focused Bay checkerspot butterfly surveys were conducted annually at an approximately 2,150-acre private ranch property, located in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California. We used MaxEnt modeling to compare the relative contributions of landscape and climate factors to Bay checkerspot butterfly distribution in years with larger than average and smaller than average adult population sizes. In large population years, the most important factor in determining distribution was distance from suitable habitat, defined as serpentine soils supporting both host and nectar plants. In small population years, the majority of BCB observations occurred in suitable habitat so the relative importance of this factor was lower. Elevation within suitable habitat had greater relative importance in small population years compared to large population years. Other examined factors, including land cover type, solar radiation, wind speed, topographic position, and slope, contributed little to either model. The results of this long-term dataset are consistent with the metapopulation model of population dynamics.
END-OF-CENTURY CLIMATE MODELS PREDICT TODAY'S DISTRIBUTION OF HAWAIIAN TREE SNAILS
|Phliip K. Kitamura; University of Hawai‘i at Manoa; firstname.lastname@example.org; Adam E. Vorsino, Lucas B. Fortini, Michael G. Hadfield, Stephen E. Miller, David R. Sischo, Derek R. Risch, Melissa R. Price|
Ectotherms are particularly sensitive to drought and extreme temperatures, and so may act as bellwethers of climate change. The decline of Hawaiian tree snails in the genus Achatinella has largely been attributed to over-collection, habitat loss, and introduced predators. Currently, most species remain only in captive rearing facilities or predator-free enclosures, following sharp declines and population “blink-outs” observed since 2015. In this study, we developed species distribution models for the ten remaining species in the genus Achatinella under present and future climate scenarios, within the historical range on O‘ahu, as well as areas outside the historical range across the Hawaiian Islands. We found that ~98% of suitable area across the Hawaiian Islands is outside the historical range. Further, end-of-century species distribution models for O‘ahu were consistent with the current distribution of the ten remaining species in the genus Achatinella. Only two species have stable populations outside of predator-free enclosures, suggesting an interaction between threats such as predation and climate change. Our results raise alarms regarding the likely impacts of climate change on wildlife long before the end of the century, and suggest the potential importance of translocations outside the historical range for the persistence of climate-sensitive species.
DEVELOPING AN EFFICIENT, ACOUSTICS-BASED SPOTTED OWL SURVEY PROTOCOL TO ENHANCE THE PACE AND SCALE OF FOREST RESTORATION
|Anu Kramer; University of Wisconsin - Madison; email@example.com; Dana Reid, Gavin Jones, Kevin Kelly, Sheila Whitmore, William Berigan, Lauren Hoyle, Patricia Manly, Sarah Sawyer, Stefan Kahl, Holger Klinck, Connor Wood, M. Zach Peery|
The California spotted owl is an old-forest species of conservation concern in the Sierra Nevada, where concern for owl population viability can constrain forest restoration projects intended to reduce large, severe wildfires and drought-related tree mortality. Thus, spotted owl surveys are typically conducted as part of the planning stage of forest restoration projects with a goal of achieving a 0.95 probability of detecting owls at occupied territories. Doing so, however, requires extensive and potentially hazardous nighttime surveys and typically takes two years to complete. We leveraged advances in passive acoustic survey technologies in order to potentially expedite project-level surveys for spotted owls and minimize nocturnal work. We achieved a 0.95 detection probability with passive acoustic surveys conducted over a four-week period in a single season on two study areas, with follow-up dawn/dusk surveys successfully finding occupied territories. To further improve the efficiency of spotted owl occupancy surveys, we also developed a tool to identify and prioritize areas for acoustic surveys. We will describe the habitat modeling used to build this tool and demonstrate the tool’s capabilities and potential uses to achieve an increased pace and scale of forest restoration without adversely affecting owls.
MAPPING COYOTE HABITAT PRESENCE FOLLOWING TREE REMOVAL IN NORTHERN NEVADA
|Claudia R Pighetti; University of Nevada, Reno; firstname.lastname@example.org; Danielle Miles, Dr. Kevin T Shoemaker|
Removal of pinyon-juniper woodland by land management agencies in northern Nevada raises questions about how populations of wildlife occupying these woodlands are utilizing habitats around these removal sites. Using Wildlife Acoustics SM4 passive recorders, we have monitored wild coyote (Canis latrans) pack activity near conifer removal sites between 2017 and 2020. However, estimates of species occurrence using novel methods need to be validated. To improve our previous triangulation estimates of coyote pack locations, we recorded temporarily housed coyotes at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. We established an array of 9 recorders from 0 to 300 m away and measured the loudest decibel strength of howls by distance using RavenPro sound visualization software. Across 200 sound files of wild coyotes with unknown true locations, we found a maximum decibel strength of 108.5dB and a minimum of 41.4dB, while howls over 114 dB were recorded for captive coyotes at 0 m. Here, we demonstrate the improved accuracy of triangulation from the inclusion of validated coyote locations and use these methods to summarize coyote activity around conifer removal sites. Moving forward, we will use satellite NAIP imagery to analyze what types of habitat coyotes are using in and around tree removal sites.