Matching Items (15)

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Herpetofauna and riparian microhabitat of urban and wildland reaches along the Salt River, Arizona

Description

Worldwide, riverine floodplains are among the most endangered landscapes. In response to anthropogenic impacts, riverine restoration projects are considerably increasing. However, there is a paucity of information on how riparian

Worldwide, riverine floodplains are among the most endangered landscapes. In response to anthropogenic impacts, riverine restoration projects are considerably increasing. However, there is a paucity of information on how riparian rehabilitation activities impact non-avian wildlife communities. I evaluated herpetofauna abundance, species richness, diversity (i.e., Shannon and Simpson indices), species-specific responses, and riparian microhabitat characteristics along three reaches (i.e., wildland, urban rehabilitated, and urban disturbed) of the Salt River, Arizona. The surrounding uplands of the two urbanized reaches were dominated by the built environment (i.e., Phoenix metropolitan area). I predicted that greater diversity of microhabitat and lower urbanization would promote herpetofauna abundance, richness, and diversity. In 2010, at each reach, I performed herpetofauna visual surveys five times along eight transects (n=24) spanning the riparian zone. I quantified twenty one microhabitat characteristics such as ground substrate, vegetative cover, woody debris, tree stem density, and plant species richness along each transect. Herpetofauna species richness was the greatest along the wildland reach, and the lowest along the urban disturbed reach. The wildland reach had the greatest diversity indices, and diversity indices of the two urban reaches were similar. Abundance of herpetofauna was approximately six times lower along the urban disturbed reach compared to the two other reaches, which had similar abundances. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) reduced microhabitat variables to five factors, and significant differences among reaches were detected. Vegetation structure complexity, vegetation species richness, as well as densities of Prosopis (mesquite), Salix (willow), Populus (cottonwood), and animal burrows had a positive correlation with at least one of the three herpetofauna community parameter quantified (i.e., herpetofauna abundance, species richness, and diversity indices), and had a positive correlation with at least one herpetofauna species. Overall, rehabilitation activities positively influenced herpetofauna abundance and species richness, whereas urbanization negatively influenced herpetofauna diversity indices. Based on herpetofauna/microhabitat correlations established, I developed recommendations regarding microhabitat features that should be created in order to promote herpetofauna when rehabilitating degraded riparian systems. Recommendations are to plant vegetation of different growth habit, provide woody debris, plant Populus, Salix, and Prosopis of various ages and sizes, and to promote small mammal abundance.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Flora of Usery Mountain Regional Park and Pass Mountain region of Tonto National Forest, Arizona and distribution of Saguaro (Carnegniea gigantea) on Pass Mountain in southern Tonto National Forest

Description

This study was designed to produce a comprehensive flora of Usery Mountain Regional Park and Pass Mountain of the Tonto National Forest. A total of 168 vascular plant species representing

This study was designed to produce a comprehensive flora of Usery Mountain Regional Park and Pass Mountain of the Tonto National Forest. A total of 168 vascular plant species representing 46 families and 127 genera were collected or documented at this study area. Sixteen species were not native to the flora of Arizona and represent 9.5% of the flora. Nevertheless, the study area does not appear to be significantly damaged or degraded in spite of its historical and current land use. The location and types of invasive species recorded in this study will assist with implementing preventative measures to prevent further spreading of certain species. The complete list of all vascular species recorded in this study will provide a valuable tool for land management decisions and future restoration projects that may occur at this area or similar sites and invasive species control. The distribution of the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) population on Pass Mountain was documented through the measurement of saguaros by random sampling. ArcGIS was used to generate 50 random points for sampling the saguaro population. Analysis to determine saguaro habitat preferences based on the parameters of aspect, slope and elevation was conducted through ArcGIS. The saguaro population of Pass Mountain significantly favored the southern aspects with the highest concentration occurring in the southwest aspects at an average density of 42.66 saguaros per hectare. The large numbers of saguaros recorded in the younger size classes suggests a growing populations.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Effects of saltcedar on population structure and habitat utilization of the common side-blotched lizard

Description

Non-native saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) has invaded many riparian communities and is the third most abundant tree in Southwestern riparian areas. I evaluated lizard populations and microhabitat selection during 2009 and

Non-native saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) has invaded many riparian communities and is the third most abundant tree in Southwestern riparian areas. I evaluated lizard populations and microhabitat selection during 2009 and 2010 along the Virgin River in Nevada and Arizona to determine the impact of saltcedar. Along the riparian corridor, I observed common side-blotched lizards (Uta stansburiana) within two vegetation types: monotypic non-native saltcedar stands or mixed stands of cottonwood (Populus fremontii), willow (Salix spp.), mesquite (Prosopis spp.) and saltcedar. I predicted that population parameters such as body condition, adult to hatchling ratio, abundance, and persistence would vary among vegetation types. Also, I predicted the presence of saltcedar influences how lizards utilize available habitat. Lizard population parameters were obtained from a mark-recapture study in which I captured 233 individual lizards. I examined habitat selection and habitat availability using visual encounter surveys (VES) for lizards and recorded 11 microhabitat variables where 16 lizards were found. I found no significant difference in population parameters between mixed and non-native saltcedar communities. However, population parameters were negatively correlated with canopy cover. I found that lizards selected habitat with low understory and canopy cover regardless of vegetation type. My results indicate that lizards utilize similar structural characteristics in both mixed and non-native vegetation. Understanding impacts of saltcedar on native fauna is important for managers who are tasked with control and management of this non-native species.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Evaluation of the efficacy of DNA sequencing and microhistological analysis for determining diet composition in ungulates

Description

An understanding of diet habits is crucial in implementing proper management strategies for wildlife. Diet analysis, however, remains a challenge for ruminant species. Microhistological analysis, the method most often employed

An understanding of diet habits is crucial in implementing proper management strategies for wildlife. Diet analysis, however, remains a challenge for ruminant species. Microhistological analysis, the method most often employed in herbivore diet studies, is tedious and time consuming. In addition, it requires considerable training and an extensive reference plant collection. The development of DNA barcoding (species identification using a standardized DNA sequence) and the availability of recent DNA sequencing techniques offer new possibilities in diet analysis for ungulates. Using fecal material collected from controlled feeding trials on pygmy goats, (Capra hicus), novel DNA barcoding technology using the P6-loop of the chloroplast trnL (UAA) intron was compared with the traditional microhistological technique. At its current stage of technological development, this study demonstrated that DNA barcoding did not enhance the ability to detect plant species in herbivore diets. A higher mean species composition was reported with microhistological analysis (79%) as compared to DNA barcoding (50%). Microhistological analysis consistently reported a higher species presence by forage class. For affect positive species identification, microhistology estimated an average of 89% correct detection in control diets, while DNA barcoding estimated 50% correct detection of species. It was hypothesized that a number of factors, including variation in chloroplast content in feed species and the effect of rumen bacteria on degradation of DNA, influenced the ability to detect plant species in herbivore diets and concluded that while DNA barcoding opens up new possibilities in the study of plant-herbivore interactions, further studies are needed to standardize techniques and for DNA bar-coding in this context.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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The effects of artificial water sources on small mammal communities

Description

Modified and artificial water sources can be used as a management tool for game and non-game wildlife species. State, federal, and private agencies allocate significant resources to install and maintain

Modified and artificial water sources can be used as a management tool for game and non-game wildlife species. State, federal, and private agencies allocate significant resources to install and maintain artificial water sources (AWS) annually. Capture mark recapture methods were used to sample small mammal communities in the vicinity of five AWS and five paired control sites (treatments) in the surrounding Sonoran desert from October 2011 to May 2012. I measured plant species richness, density, and percent cover in the spring of 2012. A Multi-response Permutation Procedure was used to identify differences in small mammal community abundance, biomass, and species richness by season and treatment. I used Principle Component Analysis to reduce 11 habitat characteristics to five habitat factors. I related rodent occurrence to habitat characteristics using multiple and logistic regression. A total of 370 individual mammals representing three genera and eight species of rodents were captured across 4800 trap nights. Desert pocket mouse (Chaetodipus penicillatus) was the most common species in both seasons and treatments. Whereas rodent community abundance, biomass, and richness were similar between seasons, community variables of AWS were greater than CS. Rodent diversity was similar between treatments. Desert pocket mouse abundance and biomass were twice as high at AWS when compared to controls. Biomass of white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula) was five times greater at AWS. Habitat characteristics were similar between treatments. Neither presence of water nor distance to water explained substantial habitat variation. Occurrence of rodent species was associated with habitat characteristics. Desert rodent communities are adapted for arid environments (i.e. Heteromyids) and are not dependent on "free water". Higher abundances of desert pocket mouse at AWS were most likely related to increased disturbance and debris and not the presence of water. The results of this study and previous studies suggest that more investigation is needed and that short term studies may not be able to detect interactions (if any) between AWS and desert small mammal communities.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Microhabitat and movement assessment for northern Mexican gartersnakes (Thamnophis eques megalops) at Bubbling Ponds Hatchery, Arizona

Description

Species conservation requires an understanding of the habitats on which that species depends as well as how it moves within and among those habitats. Knowledge of these spatial and temporal

Species conservation requires an understanding of the habitats on which that species depends as well as how it moves within and among those habitats. Knowledge of these spatial and temporal patterns is vital for effective management and research study design. Bubbling Ponds Hatchery in Cornville, Arizona, supports a robust population of the northern Mexican gartersnake (Thamnophis eques megalops), which was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2014. Natural resource managers are interested in understanding the ecology of gartersnakes at this site to guide hatchery operations and to serve as a model for habitat creation and restoration. My objectives were to identify habitat selection and activity patterns of northern Mexican gartersnakes at the hatchery and how frequency of monitoring affects study results. I deployed transmitters on 42 individual gartersnakes and documented macro- and microhabitat selection, daily and seasonal activity patterns, and movement distances. Habitat selection and movements were similar between males and females and varied seasonally. During the active season (March–October), snakes primarily selected wetland edge habitat with abundant cover and were more active and moved longer distances than during other parts of the year. Gestating females selected similar locations but with less dense cover. During the inactive season (November–February), snakes were less mobile and selected upland habitats, including rocky slopes with abundant vegetation. Snakes displayed diurnal patterns of activity. Estimates of daily distance traveled decreased with less-frequent monitoring; a sampling interval of once every 24 hours yielded only 53–62% of known daily distances moved during the active season. These results can help inform management activities and research design. Conservation of this species should incorporate a landscape-level approach that includes abundant wetland edge habitat with connected upland areas. Resource managers and researchers should carefully assess timing and frequency of activities in order to meet project objectives.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Longitudinal trends of bird community richness and abundance over fifteen years in the northern reaches of the sonoran desert

Description

Although many studies have identified environmental factors as primary drivers of bird richness and abundance, there is still uncertainty about the extent to which climate, topography and vegetation influence richness

Although many studies have identified environmental factors as primary drivers of bird richness and abundance, there is still uncertainty about the extent to which climate, topography and vegetation influence richness and abundance patterns seen in local extents of the northern Sonoran Desert. I investigated how bird richness and abundance differed between years and seasons and which environmental variables most influenced the patterns of richness and abundance in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

I compiled a geodatabase of climate, bioclimatic (interactions between precipitation and temperature), vegetation, soil, and topographical variables that are known to influence both richness and abundance and used 15 years of bird point count survey data from urban and non-urban sites established by Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research project to test that relationship. I built generalized linear models (GLM) to elucidate the influence of each environmental variable on richness and abundance values taken from 47 sites. I used principal component analysis (PCA) to reduce 43 environmental variables to 9 synthetic factors influenced by measures of vegetation, climate, topography, and energy. I also used the PCA to identify uncorrelated raw variables and modeled bird richness and abundance with these uncorrelated environmental variables (EV) with GLM.

I found that bird richness and abundance were significantly different between seasons, but that richness and winter abundance were not significantly different across years. Bird richness was most influenced by soil characteristics and vegetation while abundance was most influenced by vegetation and climate. Models using EV as independent variables consistently outperformed those models using synthetically produced components from PCA. The results suggest that richness and abundance are both driven by climate and aspects of vegetation that may also be influenced by climate such as total annual precipitation and average temperature of the warmest quarter. Annual oscillations of bird richness and abundance throughout the urban Phoenix area seem to be strongly associated with climate and vegetation.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Odocoileus hemionus (hemionus) on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon: a study of wildlife nutrition, metabolic response and interaction of the herd with the winter habitat on the north Kaibab Plateau

Description

A mule deer herd exists on the northern rim of the Grand Canyon, located on the North Kaibab Plateau. Historical references to this indigenous mule deer herd presented reports of

A mule deer herd exists on the northern rim of the Grand Canyon, located on the North Kaibab Plateau. Historical references to this indigenous mule deer herd presented reports of periodic population irruption and collapse. Partially funded by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Arizona Deer Association, examination of herd nutritional and metabolic status from the Fall 2005 - Spring 2008 was completed at the request of AzGFD and ADA. Habitat analysis included forage micro-histological, protein, and caloric content plus whole blood and plasma assays gauging herd metabolic response. Modelling was completed using best management practices wildlife energy demand calculations and principal component analysis. Forage quality analysis and modelling suggest a sufficient amount of nitrogen (N) available (DPI) to the deer for protein synthesis. Energy analysis (MEI) of forage suggest caloric deficiencies are widely prevalent on the north Kaibab plateau. Principal component analysis integrates forage and metabolic results providing a linear regression model describing the dynamics of forage utilization, energy availability, and forage nitrogen supply with metabolic demand and response of the mule deer herd. Most of the plasma and blood metabolic indicators suggest baseline values for the North Kaibab mule deer. Albumin values are in agreement with albumin values for mule deer in the Southwest. I suggest that the agreed values become a standard for mule deer in the Southwestern U.S. As excess dietary N is converted to a caloric resource, a continual state of under-nutrition exists for the deer upon entering the N. Kaibab winter range. The population is exceeding the nutritional resource plane that the winter habitat provides. Management recommendations include implementation of multiple small-scale habitat rehabilitation efforts over time, including invasive juniper (Juniperous osteosperma) and piñon (Pinus edulis) management, prescribed burning to control big sage (Artemesia tridentata) populations, and reseeding treated areas with a seed mix of native shrubs, grasses and forbs. I recommended that the population size of the North Kaibab deer herd is maintained at the current size with natural selection controlling growth, or the population be artificially reduced through increased hunting opportunities.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Herpetofauna community responses to saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) biological control and riparian restoration along a Mojave Desert stream, U.S.A

Description

In riparian ecosystems, reptiles and amphibians are good indicators of environmental conditions. Herpetofauna have been linked to specific microhabitat characteristics, microclimates, and water resources in riparian forests. My objective was

In riparian ecosystems, reptiles and amphibians are good indicators of environmental conditions. Herpetofauna have been linked to specific microhabitat characteristics, microclimates, and water resources in riparian forests. My objective was to relate herpetofauna abundance to changes in riparian habitat along the Virgin River caused by the Tamarix biological control agent, Diorhabda carinulata, and riparian restoration.

During 2013 and 2014, vegetation and herpetofauna were monitored at 21 riparian locations along the Virgin River via trapping and visual encounter surveys. Study sites were divided into four stand types based on density and percent cover of dominant trees (Tamarix, Prosopis, Populus, and Salix) and presence of restoration activities: Tam, Tam-Pros, Tam-Pop/Sal, and Restored Tam-Pop/Sal. Restoration activities consisted of mechanical removal of non-native trees, transplanting native trees, and introduction of water flow. All sites were affected by biological control. I predicted that herpetofauna abundance would vary between stand types and that herpetofauna abundance would be greatest in Restored Tam-Pop/Sal sites due to increased habitat openness and variation following restoration efforts.

Results from trapping indicated that Restored Tam-Pop/Sal sites had three times more total lizard and eight times more Sceloporus uniformis captures than other stand types. Anaxyrus woodhousii abundance was greatest in Tam-Pop/Sal and Restored Tam-Pop/Sal sites. Visual encounter surveys indicated that herpetofauna abundance was greatest in the Restored Tam-Pop/Sal site compared to the adjacent Unrestored Tam-Pop/Sal site. Habitat variables were reduced to six components using a principle component analysis and significant differences were detected among stand types. Restored Tam-Pop/Sal sites were most similar to Tam-Pop/Sal sites. S. uniformis were positively associated with large woody debris and high densities of Populus, Salix, and large diameter Prosopis.

Restored Tam-Pop/Sal sites likely supported higher abundances of herpetofauna, as these areas exhibited greater habitat heterogeneity. Restoration activities created a mosaic habitat by reducing canopy cover and increasing native tree density and surface water. Natural resource managers should consider implementing additional restoration efforts following biological control when attempting to restore riparian areas dominated by Tamarix and other non-native trees.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Sonoran desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) growth and juvenile habitat selection at a long-term study site in central Arizona, USA

Description

Biological diversity is threatened by increasing anthropogenic modification of natural environments and increasing demands on natural resources. Sonoran desert tortoises (Gopherus morafkai) currently have Candidate status under the Endangered Species

Biological diversity is threatened by increasing anthropogenic modification of natural environments and increasing demands on natural resources. Sonoran desert tortoises (Gopherus morafkai) currently have Candidate status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) based on health and habitat threats. To ensure this animal persists in the midst of multiple threats requires an understanding of the life history and ecology of each population. I looked at one physiological and one behavioral aspect of a population of tortoises at the Sugarloaf Mountain (SL) study site in central Arizona, USA. I used 21 years of capture-recapture records to estimate growth parameters of the entire population. I investigated habitat selection of juvenile tortoises by selecting 117 locations of 11 tortoises that had been tracked by radio-telemetry one to three times weekly for two years, selecting locations from both summer active season and during winter hibernation. I compared 22 microhabitat variables of tortoise locations to random SL locations to determine habitat use and availability. Male tortoises at SL reach a greater asymptotic length than females, and males and females appear to grow at the same rate. Juvenile tortoises at the SL site use steep rocky hillsides with high proportions of sand and annual vegetation, few succulents, and enclosed shelters in summer. They use enclosed shelters on steep slopes for winter hibernation. An understanding of these features can allow managers to quantify Sonoran desert tortoise habitat needs and life history characteristics and to understand the impact of land use policies.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012