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Ecosystems Restoration and Sustainability: Animal Ecology

Research

 

Waddle, J.H., Glorioso, B.M., and Faulkner, S.P., 2013, A quantitative assessment of the conservation benefits of the Wetlands Reserve Program to amphibians: Restoration Ecology, v. 21, no. 2, p. 200-206, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1526-100X.2012.00881.x

The Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) originally consisted of nearly contiguous bottomland hardwood (BLH) forest encompassing approximately 10 million hectares. Currently, only 20–25% of the historical BLH forests remain in small patches fragmented by agricultural lands. The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) was established to restore and protect the functions and values of wetlands in agricultural landscapes. To assess the potential benefit of WRP restoration to amphibians, we surveyed 30 randomly selected WRP sites and 20 nearby agricultural sites in the Mississippi Delta.

 

Glorioso, B.M., Waddle, J.H., Crockett, M.E., Rice, K.G., and Percival, H.F., 2012, Diet of the invasive Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) in pine rockland and mangrove habitats in South Florida: Caribbean Journal of Science, v. 46, no. 2-3, p. 346-355, http://www.louisianaherps.com/glorioso_et_al_2012.pdf

Native to Cuba, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands, the Cuban Treefrog (CTF) is an invasive species in Florida, with the ability to inflict serious ecological damage to invaded habitats. By examining the diet of the CTF, a known predator of native frogs, better predictions may be made of the impacts on native species and ecosystems. From 2002 to 2003, CTF diet was investigated in south Florida at four sites, two each within pine rockland and mangrove habitat.

 

Jenkins, J.A., Jeske, C.W., and Allain, L.K., 2011, Photographic images captured while sampling for bald eagles near the Davis Pond freshwater diversion structure in Barataria Bay, Louisiana (2009–10): U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 605, 19 p., http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/605/

The implementation of freshwater diversions in large-scale coastal restoration schemes presents several scientific and management considerations. Large-scale environmental restructuring necessitates aquatic biomonitoring, and during such field studies, photographs that document animals and habitat may be captured. Among the biomonitoring studies performed in conjunction with the Davis Pond freshwater diversion structure south of New Orleans, Louisiana, only postdiversion study images are readily available, and these are presented here.

 

Jenkins, J.A., Olivier, H.M., Draugelis-Dale, R.O., and Kaller, M.D., 2011, Davis Pond freshwater diversion biomonitoring—prediversion and postdiversion freshwater fish data: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 604, 5 p., [Revised February 2012] http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/604/

The diversion of freshwater from the Mississippi River is intended to mitigate saltwater intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico and to lessen the concomitant loss of wetland areas. Though effective, freshwater diversion can affect wildlife and habitat; therefore, prediversion and postdiversion data collections are necessary to identify effects.

 

Rice, K.G., Waddle, J.H., Miller, M.W., Crockett, M.E., Mazzotti, F.J., and Percival, H.F., 2011, Recovery of native treefrogs after removal of nonindigenous Cuban Treefrogs, Osteopilus septentrionalis: Herpetologica, v. 67, no. 2, p. 105-117, http://dx.doi.org/10.1655/HERPETOLOGICA-D-10-00020.1

Florida is home to several introduced animal species, especially in the southern portion of the state. Most introduced species are restricted to the urban and suburban areas along the coasts, but some species, like the Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis), are locally abundant in natural protected areas. Although Cuban Treefrogs are known predators of native treefrog species as both adults and larvae, no study has demonstrated a negative effect of Cuban Treefrogs on native treefrog survival, abundance, or occupancy rate. We monitored survival, capture probability, abundance, and proportion of sites occupied by Cuban Treefrogs and two native species, Green Treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) and Squirrel Treefrogs (Hyla squirella), at four sites in Everglades National Park in southern Florida with the use of capture–mark–recapture techniques.

 

Waddle, J.H., 2011, Amphibian monitoring in the Atchafalaya Basin: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011-3056, 4 p., http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2011/3056/

Amphibians are a diverse group of animals that includes frogs, toads, and salamanders. They are adapted to living in a variety of habitats, but most require water for at least one life stage. Amphibians have recently become a worldwide conservation concern because of declines and extinctions even in remote protected areas previously thought to be safe from the pressures of habitat loss and degradation. Amphibians are an important part of ecosystem dynamics because they can be quite abundant and serve both as a predator of smaller organisms and as prey to a suite of vertebrate predators. Their permeable skin and aquatic life history also make them useful as indicators of ecosystem health.

 

Jenkins, J.A., Goodbred, S.L., Sobiech, S.A., Olivier, H.M., Draugelis-Dale, R.O., and Alvarez, D.A., 2009, Effects of wastewater discharges on endocrine and reproductive function of western mosquitofish (Gambusia spp.) and implications for the threatened Santa Ana sucker (Catostomus santaanae): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1097., 46 p., [Revised May 2009], http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2009/1097/

The Santa Ana River (SAR) in southern California is impacted by effluents from wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), which are sources of organic wastewater compounds (OWCs) and urban runoff. The Santa Ana River is one of only three river basins supporting native populations of the federally listed Santa Ana sucker (Catostomus santaanae) at the time the fish was included on the list 2000. In 2004 and 2005, a U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study was undertaken to determine if the threatened Santa Ana sucker was potentially exposed to OWCs and endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in the SAR by using the western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) as a surrogate fish model.

 

Jenkins, J.A., Bourgeois, E.B., and Jeske, C.W., 2008, Davis Pond freshwater prediversion biomonitoring study—freshwater fisheries and eagles: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008–5067, 102 p., http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2008/5067/

In January 2001, the construction of the Davis Pond freshwater diversion structure was completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The diversion of freshwater from the Mississippi River is intended to mitigate saltwater intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico and to lessen the concomitant loss of wetland areas. In addition to the freshwater inflow, Barataria Bay basin would receive nutrients, increased flows of sediments, and water-borne and sediment-bound compounds. The purpose of this biomonitoring study was, therefore, to serve as a baseline for prediversion concentrations of selected contaminants in bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nestlings (hereafter referred to as eaglets), representative freshwater fish, and bivalves.

 

Jenkins, J.A., and Thomas, R.G., 2007, Use of eyeballs for establishing ploidy of Asian Carp: North American Journal of Fisheries Management, v. 27, n. 4, p. 1195-12102, http://dx.doi.org/10.1577/M06-261.1

Grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella, silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, and bighead carp H. nobilis are now established and relatively common in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. Commercial fishers of Louisiana's large rivers report recurrent catches of grass carp, and the frequency of bighead carp and silver carp catch is increasing. Twelve black carp Mylopharyngodon piceus were recently captured from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River system, and 10 were analyzed for ploidy. By using the methods described herein, all 10 fish were determined to be diploid.

 

Pham, L., Boudreaux, S., Karhbet, S., Price, B., Ackleh, A.S., Carter, J., and Pal, N., 2007, Population estimates of Hyla cinerea (Schneider) (Green Tree Frog) in an urban environment: Southeastern Naturalist, v. 6, n. 2, p. 203-216, http://dx.doi.org/10.1656/1528-7092(2007)6[203:PEOHCS]2.0.CO;2

Hyla cinerea (Green Treefrog) is a common wetlands species in the southeastern United States. To better understand its population dynamics, we followed a relatively isolated population of Green Treefrogs from June 2004 through October 2004 at a federal office complex in Lafayette, Louisiana. Weekly, Green Treefrogs were caught, measured, marked with VIE tags, and released. The data were used to estimate population size.

 

Jenkins, J.A. and Goodbred, S.L., 2005, Viability of male gametes in common carp Cyprinus carpio along the Lower Colorado RIver from the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Havasu NWR, and Lake Mohave of Lake Mead National Recreation Area: USGS Open-File Report 2006-1007, 25 p., http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20061007

To contribute to an investigation on possible endocrine impacts in three sites along the lower Colorado River in Arizona, especially in male fishes, this study addressed the null hypothesis that aquatic species in southern sites did not exhibit evidence of endocrine disruption as compared with those in nonimpacted sites. The results presented are intended to provide managers with science-based information and interpretations about the reproductive condition of biota in their habitat along the lower Colorado River to minimize any potential adverse effects to trust fish and wildlife resources and to identify water resources of acceptable quality.

 

Jenkins, J.A., 2004, Fish bioindicators of ecosystem condition at the Calcasieu Estuary, Louisiana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1323, 47 p., http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20041323

Exposure of feral populations of animals to environmental contaminants is a global problem, and fish populations offer appropriate models for examining the effects of contamination. Since the 1920s, the Calcasieu Estuary in southwest Louisiana has been heavily industrialized by both petrochemical and agrochemical plants, and it has been affected by physical alterations such as the construction of the Calcasieu Ship Channel (completed in 1941). The area is a prime location for these industries because of the close proximity of petroleum and gas reserves and is a direct transportation route via the estuary to the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Gutzwiller, K.J., and Barrow, W.C. Jr., 2003, Influences of roads and development on bird communities in protected Chihuahuan Desert landscapes: Biological Conservation, v. 113, n. 2, p. 225-237, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3207(02)00361-0

Our objective was to improve knowledge about effects of broad-scale road and development variables on bird communities in protected desert landscapes. Bird species richness and the relative abundance or probability of occurrence of many species were significantly associated with total length of roads within each of two spatial extents (1- and 2-km radii), distance to the nearest road, distance to the nearest development, or the two-way interactions of these variables. Road and development effects warrant special attention in protected areas because such places may be important sources of indigenous bird communities in a region.

 

Jenkins, J.A., 2003, Pallid sturgeon in the Lower Mississippi Region: Hematology and genome information: USGS Open File Report 03-406, 32 p., http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr03406

Hematological factors, particularly the cellular parameters, of sturgeon are not well studied. Serum glucose, lactate, and osmolality as well as various other hematological features have been used to evaluate the physiological responses of fishes. Species specific normal ranges of such parameters can be established as useful guidelines for interpreting stress-induced physiological changes with the recognition that variances may be due to genetic makeup, early life history, nutritional status, and the fish’s environment. This report presents preliminary information on differential blood cell identifications in sturgeon, data on comparative genomic DNA content and DNA degradation, and summaries and interpretations of data collected in light of available scientific literature addressing blood parameters of fish and sturgeon, in particular.

 

Gutzwiller, K.J., and Barrow, W.C. Jr., 2002, Does bird community structure vary with landscape patchiness? A Chihuahuan Desert perspective: Oikos, v. 98, n. 2, p. 284-298, http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0706.2002.980210.x

During the springs of 1995 and 1997, we studied birds and landscapes at 70 sites in the Chihuahuan Desert to assess relations between bird community structure and landscape patchiness. Within each of two spatial extents (1-km and 2-km-radius areas centered on each site), we measured the number of patches of individual land-cover types and the total number of patches of all land-cover types.


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