Matching Items (8)

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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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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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Date Created
  • 2012

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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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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.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Social snakes?: non-random association patterns detected in a population of Arizona black rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerberus)

Description

Social structure affects many aspects of ecology including mating systems, dispersal, and movements. The quality and pattern of associations among individuals can define social structure, thus detailed behavioral observations are

Social structure affects many aspects of ecology including mating systems, dispersal, and movements. The quality and pattern of associations among individuals can define social structure, thus detailed behavioral observations are vital to understanding species social structure and many other aspects of their ecology. In squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes), detailed observations of associations among individuals have been primarily limited to several lineages of lizards and have revealed a variety of social structures, including polygynous family group-living and monogamous pair-living. Here I describe the social structure of two communities within a population of Arizona black rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerberus) using association indices and social network analysis. I used remote timelapse cameras to semi-continuously sample rattlesnake behavior at communal basking sites during early April through mid-May in 2011 and 2012. I calculated an association index for each dyad (proportion of time they spent together) and used these indices to construct a weighted, undirected social network for each community. I found that individual C. cerberus vary in their tendency to form associations and are selective about with whom they associate. Some individuals preferred to be alone or in small groups while others preferred to be in large groups. Overall, rattlesnakes exhibited non-random association patterns, and this result was mainly driven by association selection of adults. Adults had greater association strengths and were more likely to have limited and selected associates. I identified eight subgroups within the two communities (five in one, three in the other), all of which contained adults and juveniles. My study is the first to show selected associations among individual snakes, but to my knowledge it is also the first to use association indices and social network analysis to examine association patterns among snakes. When these methods are applied to other snake species that aggregate, I anticipate the `discovery' of similar social structures.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Diet, nutrients, and free water requirements of pronghorn antelope on Perry Mesa, Arizona

Description

For the past 30 years wildlife biologists have debated the need of pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) to drink freestanding water (free water). Some have suggested that pronghorn may feed at

For the past 30 years wildlife biologists have debated the need of pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) to drink freestanding water (free water). Some have suggested that pronghorn may feed at night to increase preformed water (plant moisture) intake, thus decreasing their dependence on free water. Pronghorn diet composition and nutrient intake is integral to understanding water available to pronghorn through preformed and metabolic sources. The dual purpose of this study was to determine plant composition of pronghorn diets, and to examine whether night feeding provides a water allocation advantage by testing for differences between day and night and modeling free water requirements during biologically critical seasons and years of different precipitation. I determined species composition, selected nutrients, and moisture content of American pronghorn diets on Perry Mesa, Arizona in March, May, June and August of 2008 and 2009. I used microhistological analysis of fecal samples to determine percent plant composition of pronghorn diets. I used forage samples to evaluate the nutrient composition of those diets for moisture, crude protein and structural carbohydrates, and to calculate metabolic water. I used calculations proposed by Fox et al. (2000) to model free water requirements and modified the equations to reflect increased requirements for lactation. Diet analysis revealed that pronghorn used between 67% and 99% forbs and suggested fair range conditions. Preformed water was not significantly different between night and day. Night feeding appeared to be of marginal advantage, providing an average potential 9% preformed water increase in 2008, and 3% in 2009. The model indicated that neither male nor female pronghorn could meet their water requirements from preformed and metabolic water during any time period, season or year. The average free water requirements for females ranged from 0.67 L/animal/day (SE 0.06) in March, 2008 to 3.12 L/animal/day (SE 0.02) in June, 2009. The model showed that American pronghorn on Perry Mesa require access to free water during biological stress periods.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Juniper effects on grassland soil nutrient availability

Description

ABSTRACT The February 2008 study of a Snowflake, Arizona site measured changes in soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, extractable phosphorus, and soil moisture, to determine what affect One-seed Juniper (Juniperus

ABSTRACT The February 2008 study of a Snowflake, Arizona site measured changes in soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, extractable phosphorus, and soil moisture, to determine what affect One-seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma) trees have on surrounding soil, thus affecting native grass growth. Increasing juniper densities in grasslands also decrease populations of some grassland bird species. Measurements were taken each meter along a twelve meter line transect, moving from juniper trees, through a bare soil area and into a grassland. Non-linear relationships were examined, in regard to distance from the tree and juniper root mass. Relationships were examined to determine any affect of the juniper tree on soil characteristics along the transect. Organic carbon decreased as distance increased from the trees (F=4.25, df=46, p=0.020). Soil moisture increased with distance from the trees (F=5.42, df=46, p=0.008), and juniper root mass, of roots less than 1 mm diameter, significantly decreased with distance away from the trees (F=11.29, df=46, p=0.0001). Total nitrogen and extractable phosphorus did not significantly change with distance from the tree, or presence of juniper roots. This data is important as grassland restoration projects rely on the availability of soil nutrients and water for reestablishment of native grass species.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2010