Environmental Conservation Graduate Student Publication Series

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Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Large-scale collaboration reveals landscape-level effects of land-use on turtle demography
    (2021-01-01) Roberts, H. Patrick; Jones, Michael T.; Willey, Lisabeth L.; Akre, Thomas S. B.; Sievert, Paul R.; deMaynadier, Phillip; Gipe, Katharine D.; Johnson, Glenn; Kleopfer, John; Marchand, Michael; Megyesy, Joshua; Parren, Steven; Thompson, Edward; Urban, Chris; Yorks, Derek; Zarate, Brian; Erb, Lori; Ross, Angelena M.; Johnson, Lori; Lassiter, Ellery; Lassiter, Elliot
    Freshwater turtles and tortoises are declining worldwide and currently represent one of the most imperiled major vertebrate groups. Identifying the conditions that promote long-term viable populations is a critical conservation need. However, for most species, there is relatively little or no empirical information about the factors influencing population demographics. Large-scale population monitoring efforts necessary to acquire such information remain rare due to the logistic challenges associated with low and variable detectability, which generally preclude large monitoring initiatives by any single entity. The development of collaborative population monitoring programs represents one potential strategy for overcoming these challenges. Our goal was to leverage partnerships to identify the potential factors and relevant scales affecting wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) population demographics. Through a large-scale collaborative multi-institutional monitoring effort, we conducted 983 spring stream surveys at 293 sites across the northeastern United States. Wood turtle abundance was negatively associated with agriculture (300 m and 5500 m) and road traffic (5500 m) and positively associated with mature forest (5500 m). Juvenile proportion displayed strong negative relationships with stream gradient and imperviousness (300 m). Sex ratios were more male-skewed with higher mature forest cover (90 m) and road density (5500 m) and less undeveloped land (300 m). These findings suggest that effective conservation of demographically robust turtle populations will require consideration of multiple spatial scales. Landscape-level conservation may be particularly important for ensuring long-term viable populations. This study highlights the valuable role that collaboration across institutions and jurisdictions can play in the conservation of cryptic taxa.
  • Publication
    Incorporating climate change into invasive species management: insights from managers
    (2020-01-01) Beaury, Evelyn M.; Fusco, Emily J.; Jackson, Michelle R.; Laginhas, Brittany B.; Morelli, Toni Lyn; Allen, Jenica M.; Pasquarella, Valerie J.; Bradley, Bethany A
    Invasive alien species are likely to interact with climate change, thus necessitating management that proactively addresses both global changes. However, invasive species managers’ concerns about the effects of climate change, the degree to which they incorporate climate change into their management, and what stops them from doing so remain unknown. Therefore, we surveyed natural resource managers addressing invasive species across the U.S. about their priorities, concerns, and management strategies in a changing climate. Of the 211 managers we surveyed, most were very concerned about the influence of climate change on invasive species management, but their organizations were significantly less so. Managers reported that lack of funding and personnel limited their ability to effectively manage invasive species, while lack of information limited their consideration of climate change in decision-making. Additionally, managers prioritized research that identifies range-shifting invasive species and native communities resilient to invasions and climate change. Managers also reported that this information would be most effectively communicated through conversations, research summaries, and meetings/symposia. Despite the need for more information, 65% of managers incorporate climate change into their invasive species management through strategic planning, preventative management, changing treatment and control, and increasing education and outreach. These results show the potential for incorporating climate change into management, but also highlight a clear and pressing need for more targeted research, accessible science communication, and two-way dialogue between researchers and managers focused on invasive species and climate change.
  • Publication
    Movements, connectivity, and space use of immature green turtles within coastal habitats of the Culebra Archipelago, Puerto Rico: implications for conservation
    (2019-01-01) Griffin, Lucas; Finn, John T; Diez, Carlos; Danylchuk, Andy J.
    Juvenile green turtles occupy coastal marine habitats important for their ontogeny; however, the details of their movement, connectivity, and space use in these developmental habitats are still poorly understood. Given that these areas are often threatened by human disturbance, additional information on green turtle spatial ecology is needed to meet conservation end- points for this endangered species. For this study, we used fixed passive acoustic telemetry to (1) describe movement patterns and connectivity of immature green turtles within, outside, and across 2 bays, Manglar and Tortuga bays, on Culebra and Culebrita islands, Puerto Rico; and (2) determine spatio-temporal drivers of the presence and absence of turtles within Manglar Bay. Network analysis used to quantify movement patterns showed that turtles in our study exhibited differential space use with little to no connectivity across the 2 bays. In addition, turtles exhibited high site fidelity, with larger turtles leaving on brief trips. We applied a presence−absence Bayesian binomial model on a subset of 9 turtles at an hourly temporal scale and showed that turtles within Manglar Bay occupied areas of lagoon and seagrass habitats at night and were rarely using areas of macroalgae habitat. The parameter estimates from the model enabled us to predict the space use of turtles across Manglar Bay, and the hourly probability distributions highlighted predictive diel movement patterns across the bay. Considering the importance of juvenile and subadult life stages for population viability, we recommend continued protection of these critical juvenile turtle developmental habitats to ensure recruitment into the adult life stage.