WERC research roundups are in a biweekly format, complete with PDF version. Check back every two weeks for a run down of new research and events from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center. To add your name to the email distribution list for the PDF newsletter, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Publication Briefs for Resource Managers: A Quick Reference for New Scientific Findings
Natural resource professionals must parse through a deluge of new scientific information every day, and it can be difficult to keep up with new findings and prioritize their relevance to issues at hand. To help with this quandary, WERC scientists provide “publication briefs” -- informal handouts which succinctly summarize the technical findings and resource management implications of a new journal article, handbook or book chapter, all in a single page. Citations and hyperlinks direct the reader back to the source material, while author profile and contact information help jump start new discussions and exchanges. Browse the growing list of WERC publication briefs at:
NEW PUBLICATION BRIEFS
Avian Radar Systems as a Tool for Assessing Aircraft Bird Strike Risks
Radar systems designed to detect avian activity at airfields are useful in understanding factors that influence the risk of bird-and-aircraft collisions. WERC scientists Peter Coates, Mike Casazza, Brian Halstead and Joe Fleskes worked with USDA to measure avian activity at Beale Air Force Base, in California’s Central Valley. They examined relationships among avian activity, bird strikes, and meteorological and time-dependent factors, and published their findings in the journal Human-Wildlife Interactions.
A Brief Evolution History of Pinus and Fire
The genus Pinus orginated 150 million years ago, when high fire activity was a likely driver of the evolutionary divergence for this group of conifers. In the Annals of Forest Science, WERC ecologist Jon Keeley reviews the evolution of pine life history strategies as shaped by wildfires: fire-avoider, fire-tolerator, fire-embracer and fire-refugia.
Effective Short-Term Treatments for Italian Thistle
Tom McGinnis and Jon Keeley tested the effects of selectively reducing Italian thistle (Carduus pycnocephalus) populations in the Kaweah River watershed in Sequoia National Park: two thistle eradication techniques (clipping and the application of clopyralid herbicide) and two restoration techniques (addition of native forb seeds or planting native grass plugs). The findings are reported in the journal Madroño.
Fire-Driven Alien Plant Invasion in a Fire-Prone Community
Jon Keeley and Teresa Brennan assessed postfire recovery following the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego County, California; the findings are published in Oecologia. This study showed that fire-adapted shrublands are vulnerable to changes in fire regime, leading to loss of native diversity and setting the community on a trajectory towards type conversion from a woody to an herbaceous system.
Greater Sage-Grouse Brood Survival Linked to Perennial Forbs and Meadow Edge
Mike Casazza, Peter Coates and Cory Overton conducted radiotelemetry on 38 sage grouse broods within Mono County, California, and examined habitat factors at different spatial scales. The findings — reported in the book Ecology, Conservation, and Management of Grouse -- suggest that most sage-grouse with broods selected areas with increased perennial forbs and meadow edge, and avoided areas with pinyon-juniper trees.
Pintails Prefer Managed Wetlands and Avoid Tidal Marshes in San Francisco Bay
Analysis published in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management by Peter Coates, Mike Casazza, Brian Halstead and Joe Fleskes found strong evidence for selection by pintails of managed wetlands. Although tidal marshlands provide habitat for many migrant and resident avian species, northern pintails avoided these areas perhaps as a result of reduced feeding opportunities.
Testudinid Herpesvirus 2 Detected in Wild Desert Tortoises for the First Time
In the Journal of Wildlife Diseases, WERC scientist Kristin Berry and colleagues report the first conclusive evidence of Testudinid herpesvirus-2 in wild Agassiz’s desert
tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), and the first published evidence of antibody to Testudinid herpesvirus-3 in wild tortoises in the Mojave and Colorado deserts of California.
NEW JOURNAL ARTICLES
Keeley, JE. 2012. Ecology and evolution of pine life histories. Annals of Forest
Science 69(4): 445-453. doi: 10.1007/s13595-012-0201-8
NEW DATA SERIES
Assal, TJ, KE Veblen, MA Farinha, CL Aldridge, ML Casazza, DA Pyke. 2012. Data
resources for range-wide assessment of livestock grazing across the sagebrush biome. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 690.
NEW BOOK CHAPTERS
Lafferty, KD, AM Kuris. 2012. Ecological consequences of manipulative parasites. In: Hughes, DP, J Brodeur, F Thomas (eds.). Host Manipulation by Parasites. Oxford University Press. 240p.
A 2002 paper by WERC scientist Isa Woo is among those honored by the 30-year commemorative issue of the journal Wetlands, which lists 30 papers deemed “the most important in furthering the field of wetland science” by the Society of Wetland Scientists. “Can nutrients alone shift a sedge meadow towards dominance by the invasive Typha x glauca” was authored by Woo and her masters advisor Joy Zedler during Woo’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
August 5-10, 2012 (Portland, OR)
The 97th Meeting of the Ecological Society of America will feature forest, fire ecology and food web research by Matt Brooks, Jon Keeley, Kevin Lafferty, Tom McGinnis, Steve Ostoja and Phil van Mantgem. USGS will also host a Meet and Greet social hour and an exhibit booth.
August 8-14, 2012 (Vancouver, BC)
WERC research will be well-represented at the World Congress of Herpetology, featuring reptile and amphibian research by Gary Fellers, Robert Fisher, Todd Esque, Brian Halstead, Jon Richmond, Kristina Drake, Adam Backlin, Ken Nussear and colleagues. The USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) program co-sponsored the conference and will host an exhibit booth.
August 14-18, 2012 (Vancouver, BC)
Barbara Kus and colleagues will be attending the 5th North American Ornithological Conference in Vancouver, Canada.
IN THE NEWS
Living Shorelines Construction in San Francisco Bay Has Started!
A press release from the California State Coastal Conservancy announced the start of the Living Shorelines Project, which seeks to restore eelgrass and oyster reef habitat throughout San Francisco Bay. WERC scientist Susan De La Cruz is a research partner, leading monitoring studies to examine how restoration activities interact with local bird and invertebrate fauna
A barge with oyster cultch works on the Living Shorelines Project. Image courtesy of California State Coastal Conservancy.
WERC scientist Mark Ricca will give a talk to the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges on August 21. Ricca will discuss his research on the introduced caribou of Adak Island and their interaction with the native ecosystem.
This Biweekly Update is produced as a service to USGS/WERC staff, colleagues, partners and the interested public. To add your email address to the mailing list or to report errors/suggestions, please contact email@example.com. Download the current issue (1.13)