Katie N Rock; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; rockkatie70@gmail.com; Isabelle Barnes, Michelle S Deyski, Kathleen A Glynn, Briana N Milstead, Megan E Rottenborn, Nathaniel S Andre, Alex Dekhtyar, Olga Dekhtyar, Emily N Taylor

Women are underrepresented in STEM, but the extent of this underrepresentation varies among STEM fields. Analyzing gender demographics of publications within a field is an effective means of quantifying representation because of the importance of publications to scientists’ careers and to the scientific community. We created a data set consisting of all publications accessed with a database search on each taxonomic order of herpetofauna as well as squamate suborders 2010-2019 and another data set with all publications on lizards and snakes 1970-2019 and used these data sets to estimate the genders of authors. During the past decade, our estimates show that male authors outnumbered female authors 2.24:1; however, female authorship increased steadily. Additionally, men also outnumbered women as first authors (1.95:1), last authors (3.30:1), and sole authors (5.29:1). Finally, qualitative analysis of authorship estimates in studies on lizards and snakes over the past 50 years show that female authors represented about 10–15% of authors from 1970 to 2000, followed by a rapid rise in female authorship over the past 20 years to current rates of >30% female authorship. Our data suggest that the gender gap in herpetology, which has traditionally appeared to be a male-dominated field, is slowly narrowing.

Symbiosis - Community Science and Outreach  InPerson Presentation



Tiffany Y. Chen; CDFW; tiffany.chen@wildlife.ca.gov; Alex Heeren

California is a large state that contains many diverse ecosystems and communities of people. Beavers (Castor canadensis) offer many ecological services, such as slowing and storing water for riparian habitats, stream sediment control, and maintain fluvial ecosystems. Unfortunately, they were once nearly extirpated from California. Even today beavers annually come into conflict with humans due to their damming and chewing behaviors. They are also known to disrupt the intended landscaping of wildlife preserves set aside for other wildlife species such as the Swainson's Hawk. In 2020 we categorized WIR incidents and found there were six common incident types: damming, flooding, vegetation, crops, mosquitos, and property damage. However, it is unclear to what extent reporting parties (RP) carry out preventative measures, how often they experience repeated beaver depredation issues, if preventative measures work, and how often does lethal removal help with reducing future conflicts with beavers. There is an urgent need for management to adapt to changing public support for wildlife conservation, values of people do not necessarily align with management decisions and vary across the damages experienced (Vaske 2007, Jonker et al., 2010, Yarmey and Hood 2020). The next phase of our project will be a survey designed to see the 1) Number of past human-wildlife conflict experiences with beavers, if they support legal control measures because the perceived risks of experiencing property damage is high. 2) Respondents that plan on changing preventative measures will have done so because they have either actively sought out preventative measures or found them to be effective. Results of our survey can help determine if preventative measures work and values of reporting parties.

Symbiosis - Community Science and Outreach  Zoom Presentation



Chad J. Wilhite; University of Hawai'i at Manoa; cwilhite@hawaii.edu; Julen Torrens-Baile, Olivia Wang, Marie-Sophie Garcia-Heras, Melissa R. Price

Short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) have undergone population declines over the last 40 years, though recent analyses of their occupancy trends in western North America suggest declines have stabilized regionally. In Hawai‘i, population trends of the endemic Short-eared owl subspecies (pueo, A. f. sandwichensis) are unknown. Here, we set out to estimate pueo population trends by applying a dynamic occupancy model to eBird data from 2011 to 2020 to estimate probabilities of site colonization and extinction, informing an estimate of pueo occupancy trends across Hawai‘i. Overall, pueo were scarce on the landscape with an average occupancy probability of 0.19 ± 0.01 SE. Site colonization and extinction probabilities were uninformed in the top model. Site colonization probabilities were lower than site extinction probabilities at 0.01 (95% CI: 0.01–0.03) and 0.08 (95% CI: 0.04–0.15) respectively. Overall population trends remained relatively stable with an annual rate of change of 0.98 ± 0.01 SE. Site turnover rate was low at 0.06 ± 0.01 SE, suggesting that pueo are less nomadic than Short-eared owls in western North America. This is the first study to quantify population dynamics of pueo; future studies should identify conservation actions aimed at maximizing site colonization and minimizing site extinction.

Symbiosis - Community Science and Outreach  InPerson Presentation



Theodore T Tran; San Jose State University; theodoret1000@yahoo.com; Benjamin Carter, Jessica A. Castillo Vardaro

Invasive species are a major threat to biodiversity and tree squirrels (Sciuridae) are among the most successful mammalian invaders. Two species native to the eastern United States, the eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), have been repeatedly introduced into the western United States. The non-native species have expanded their ranges extensively, negatively impacting the only native Sciuridae species in the western United States, the western grey squirrel (Sciurus griseus). While numerous studies have documented the impacts of these invasions on S. griseus, few have assessed the potential for future expansion, and none have simultaneously evaluated all three species. In this study, we use citizen science data from the iNaturalist database to model the distributions in the western United States for all three Sciurus species. We generated models based on occurrences in the squirrels’ native ranges, compared to models generated from their introduced ranges, and evaluated current and predicted conflict zones. We determined that the greatest potential conflict with native squirrels is in areas adjacent to regions of high human footprint. As human development expands, the invasive squirrels are likely to expand into previously inaccessible areas, increasing conflict with and potentially displacing the native western grey squirrel.

Symbiosis - Community Science and Outreach  InPerson Presentation



Matthew C Parker; Institute for Wildlife Studies; mparker@iws.org; Chad Thomas, David K. Garcelon

In 2019, California fully implemented legislation that requires the use of non-lead ammunition for all take of wildlife with a firearm. This legislation was enacted because using lead-based ammunition to hunt or dispatch animals can poison wildlife scavenging on any remaining carcasses or offal. Consumption of lead fragments from carcasses is considered the leading cause of death in the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus). Non-lead ammunition is an effective alternative that eliminates the possibility of this exposure. To reduce lead on the landscape, we conduct outreach across California engaging with hunters and ranchers. We have tailored communication strategies involving positive, a-political, messaging that is effective for engaging individuals about a controversial topic. We utilize several outreach strategies to communicate with a wide array of audiences including individuals that may be resistant to social change. These include live-fire demonstrations showing how non-lead ammunition performs, booths at venues of different hunting clubs and organizations, meeting with small groups of hunters and ranchers, and extensive use of social media.

Symbiosis - Community Science and Outreach  InPerson Presentation



William T Bean; Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo; wtbean@calpoly.edu; Matthew Behrens, Sean Matthews, Erik Beever, Daniel Barton, Cara Appel, Pairsa Belamaric, Olivia Ross, Gracie Wong, Kyra Golike, Aimie Olson, Andrew Imobersteg

Dead and decaying trees are used by a wide range of species and are a foundational structural element of forest ecosystems. The decay process is caused primarily through a combination of senescence and fungal or insect invasion, but many non-human vertebrates also modify trees, which can accelerate this process. While previous research has investigated the economic costs of bear damage or the keystone importance of primary cavity excavators, we are unaware of work to unify this process into a single framework of non-human vertebrate tree modification. To highlight the extent of this key functional role, we conducted a systematic literature review to identify non-human vertebrate tree modifiers. We categorized types and measures of damage across individual, population, and community levels. In North America, we summarized spatial patterns of modifier richness. We found non-human vertebrates that modify trees are found extensively in forests, and that trees are damaged from the roots to the buds, with consequences for other species that rely on damaged trees. While non-human vertebrates that modify trees have often been persecuted for the resulting economic harm, we suggest that these species can play an important role in restoring degraded forests to more structurally complex, and therefore biodiverse, communities.

Symbiosis - Community Science and Outreach  InPerson Presentation