Albany, NY, United States
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Ralston J.,University at Albany | Ralston J.,140 Cultural Education Center | Ralston J.,Utica College | Kirchman J.J.,140 Cultural Education Center
Auk | Year: 2012

We describe the range-wide phylogeography of Blackpoll Warblers (Setophaga striata), a migratory passerine with a broad breeding range in North America's boreal forest that encompasses several possible biogeographic barriers but shows no phenotypic geographic variation. We used mitochondrial control-region sequences from 304 individuals in combination with ecological niche models and coalescent simulations to test alternative historical hypotheses about the number of Pleistocene refugial populations and divergences among modern populations. Population pairwise FST and spatial analyses of molecular variance suggested significant genetic structure among western, eastern, and Newfoundland populations, but no structure among sky-island populations at the southeastern periphery of the breeding range. Inferred gene flow fits a model of isolation-by-distance. Coalescent simulations rejected all multiple-refugia hypotheses in favor of a single refugium. Paleodistribution models and modern migratory pathways suggested that the refugium was located in southeastern North America. In contrast to previous studies that have invoked multiple Pleistocene refugia as the cause of genetic structure in North American bird species, our analyses suggest that geographic structure in Blackpoll Warblers results from isolation-by-distance rather than a history of sundered populations. © The American Ornithologists' Union, 2012. Printed in USA.


Ralston J.,University at Albany | Ralston J.,140 Cultural Education Center | Ralston J.,Utica College | Kirchman J.J.,140 Cultural Education Center
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2013

As North American species' ranges shift northward in response to climate change, populations isolated in high-elevation habitat "islands" at the southern edge of distributions are predicted to decrease in size or be extirpated. Levels of genetic structure and gene flow and the number of private alleles held within these peripheral populations can be used as a measure of the potential loss of genetic diversity due to climate change. We use GIS-based climate niche models to project geographic distributions of 15 boreal forest bird species for the year 2080 under two carbon emissions scenarios to predict the extent to which ranges will shift, leading to the extirpation of isolated populations at the southern periphery of the boreal forest. Breeding distributions of nearly all boreal bird species are predicted to expand as they shift northward, but will dramatically decrease or be completely lost from mountain populations in New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire by 2080. To examine the effect of these shifts on gene pools of migratory bird species we genotyped 178 blackpoll warblers (Setophaga striata) at nine microsatellite loci, sampling four imperiled high-elevation populations and four northern populations. In S. striata 10. 4 % of microsatellite alleles were confined to populations expected to be lost due to climate change. However, these accounted for a nonsignificant percent of the genetic structure, and loss of these alleles would not significantly erode species heterozygosity or allelic richness. Our results indicate that isolated southern populations of S. striata, and possibly other migratory species with high gene flow, do not represent genetically isolated, independently evolving units. Efforts to mitigate the effect of climate change on boreal forest birds should focus on species in which peripheral populations harbor significant genetic diversity. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Feranec R.,140 Cultural Education Center | Garcia N.,Complutense University of Madrid | Diez J.C.,University of Burgos | Arsuaga J.L.,Complutense University of Madrid
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2010

Stable carbon and oxygen isotope analyses of mammalian carnivoran and herbivore species from the late Pleistocene Valdegoba cave site in northern Spain imply competition and partitioning in resource use. In general, the data support the previously recognized ecology for the analyzed species. δδ13C values show that the ecosystem around the cave was dominated by C3 plants. The observed δ18O values are similar to what is found in modern environments. The analyzed bovids, Bos primigenius, Capra pyrenaica, and Rupicapra rupicapra, showed the most positive δ13C values. Bos primigenius had the most positive mean carbon isotope value and is suggested to feed on grasses in open environments. Values for Capra pyrenaica primarily indicate grass feeding, while Rupicapra rupicapra had the widest diet for the analyzed species, likely including grass and browse. Cervus elaphus, Equus ferus, Equus hydruntinus, and Stephanorhinus hemitoechus displayed more negative δ13C values indicating the use of similar resources. The smallest species analyzed, Castor fiber, displayed the most negative δ13C and δ18O values, implying a preference for eating C3 plants and being semi-aquatic. The canids, Canis lupus and Vulpes vulpes, displayed the most positive δ13C and δ18O values, and overlap many of the sampled ungulate species. Positive δ18O values in canids implies that this group obtains much of its water from its prey, uses a different water source, or has physiological differences from the other carnivorans that influence oxygen isotope values. Lynx pardinus had values similar to the canids. Crocuta crocuta had δ13C values more negative than expected for a generalist predator. These values are likely due to concentration of diet on taxa from more forested environments. The most negative δ13C values are observed in the bears, Ursus arctos and Ursus spelaeus. These values are the likely result of hibernation and the inclusion of significant vegetation in bear diets. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Kirchman J.J.,140 Cultural Education Center | Ralston J.,140 Cultural Education Center | Ralston J.,University at Albany | Gifford N.A.,Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission
Wilson Journal of Ornithology | Year: 2011

We conducted mist-net surveys of migrating songbirds during fall migration 2007-2009 on the 1,300-ha Albany Pine Bush Preserve (APBP), a fire-managed inland pitch pinescrub oak (Pinus rigidaQuercus spp.) barren in east-central New York. We banded 244 migrating passerines from 32 non-resident species in 8,610 net/m/hr documenting use of northeastern pine barrens as stopover sites for passerines with diverse breeding ecologies. We estimated the breeding site origin of six species (a kinglet, four warblers, and a sparrow) using stable hydrogen isotope measurements from flight feathers. There was a broad range of isotope ratios within each species indicating a large catchment area extending several hundred kilometers north and west of the stopover site. Over half the birds originated >750 km from the APBP. We found no evidence for geographical structure of the timing of migration through APBP; slopes of regression lines for capture date versus hydrogen isotope ratio from feathers (δDf) were not statistically different from zero. This contrasts with previous isotope research that reports both leapfrog and chain migration patterns by different warbler species at stopover sites in the western United States. © 2011 by the Wilson Ornithological Society.


Kirchman J.J.,140 Cultural Education Center | Schirtzinger E.E.,New Mexico State University | Wright T.F.,New Mexico State University
Auk | Year: 2012

We obtained the first DNA sequences from the extinct Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) and used these data to infer the phylogenetic relationships of this iconic North American parrot. We compared our sequences of the mitochondrial COI and ND2 genes obtained from multiple Carolina Parakeet museum specimens to homologous sequences from individuals representing 43 species in 28 genera of Neotropical parrots (Tribe Arini), and four species from more distantly related Old World species of the Order Psittaciformes. Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses place C. carolinensis on a long branch within a wellsupported clade of parakeets that also includes Aratinga solstitialis, A. auricapillus, and Nandayus nenday. These species of Aratinga (but not N. nenday) closely resemble C. carolinensis in the presence of yellow and orange head plumage and blue feathers in the wings. Our data do not support a close relationship with the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus), with which the Carolina Parakeet shares fully feathered ceres, a putative adaptation for cold tolerance that appears to have evolved independently in both species. Given the high level of sequence divergence from all sampled species, we recommend continued recognition of the monotypic genus Conuropsis. Taxonomic revision of the highly polyphyletic genus Aratinga is needed. © 2012 by The American Ornithologists' Union. All rights reserved.


Thompson W.B.,Maine Geological Survey | Griggs C.B.,Cornell University | Miller N.G.,140 Cultural Education Center | Nelson R.E.,Colby College | And 3 more authors.
Quaternary Research | Year: 2011

Excavations in the late-glacial Presumpscot Formation at Portland, Maine, uncovered tree remains and other terrestrial organics associated with marine invertebrate shells in a landslide deposit. Buds of Populus balsamifera (balsam poplar) occurred with twigs of Picea glauca (white spruce) in the Presumpscot clay. Tree rings in Picea logs indicate that the trees all died during winter dormancy in the same year. Ring widths show patterns of variation indicating responses to environmental changes. Fossil mosses and insects represent a variety of species and wet to dry microsites. The late-glacial environment at the site was similar to that of today's Maine coast. Radiocarbon ages of 14 tree samples are 11,907±31 to 11,650±5014C yr BP. Wiggle matching of dated tree-ring segments to radiocarbon calibration data sets dates the landslide occurrence at ca. 13,520+95/±20calyr BP. Ages of shells juxtaposed with the logs are 12,850±6514C yr BP (Mytilus edulis) and 12,800±5514C yr BP (Balanus sp.), indicating a marine reservoir age of about 1000yr. Using this value to correct previously published radiocarbon ages reduces the discrepancy between the Maine deglaciation chronology and the varve-based chronology elsewhere in New England. © 2011 University of Washington.


Kirchman J.J.,University of Florida | Kirchman J.J.,140 Cultural Education Center
Auk | Year: 2012

The living and extinct flightless rails of the Pacific are among the most species-rich examples of parallel evolution in vertebrates. The "typical" rails of this region comprise a diverse assemblage of long-billed species variously placed in the genera Rallus, Lewinia, Nesoclopeus, Gallirallus, Habropteryx, Tricholimnas, Aramidopsis, Amaurornis, Eulabeornis, and Habroptila. 1 present a phylogenetic hypothesis for this group based on Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses of 12S, control region, and cytochrome-b data obtained from museum specimens (frozen tissues, toe pads from study skins, and bones from archaeological sites) of living and extinct species. All previously recognized genera are either monotypic or non-monophyletic, and I advocate lumping nearly all species into a broadly defined Gallirallus sensu lato. Volant species are not paraphyletic with respect to nearly all flightless species. Instead flightless species branch off in rapid succession from lineages leading to extant volant species. The nesting of the flightless species G. pendiculentus with G. philippensis suggests that the flightless condition may evolve prior to reproductive isolation. A locally calibrated relaxed molecular clock indicates that species from Oceania evolved only within the last 400,000 years, supporting the hypothesis that speciation proceeds rapidly in flightless rails. These results help resolve a long-standing taxonomic quagmire and have important implications for Pacific biogeography and the tempo and mode of speciation in island birds. © The American Ornithologists' Union, 2012.


Shiels D.R.,Central Michigan University | Hurlbut D.L.,Central Michigan University | Hurlbut D.L.,140 Cultural Education Center | Lichtenwald S.K.,Central Michigan University | Monfils A.K.,Central Michigan University
Systematic Botany | Year: 2014

Relationships within Schoenoplectus and Schoenoplectiella are largely unknown and the phylogenetic positions of these genera relative to the other four genera in Fuireneae and clade of Cypereae are unclear. A few studies with sparse or localized sampling have added valuable insights, but a North American sampling and a broad global perspective are needed. To generate a more robust phylogenetic hypothesis, we increased the number and breadth of taxon sampling in Schoenoplectus and Schoenoplectiella, including all constituent species in North America, all genera in Fuireneae, and strategically sampled genera in Cypereae. Phylogenetic relationships were estimated using DNA sequences from the nuclear ribosomal ITS region, chloroplast DNA trnL intron and trnL-trnF intergenic spacer region, and partial chloroplast DNA ndhF coding region and parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian analyses. The proposed phylogeny reveals Pseudoschoenus, Schoenoplectiella, and Cypereae are supported as a clade, and Schoenoplectiella is paraphyletic and sister to Pseudoschoenus. Schoenoplectus is monophyletic, sister to Actinoscirpus. Schoenoplectus sections Schoenoplectus and Malacogeton were resolved; comprehensive sampling in Schoenoplectus section Schoenoplectus and unclear placement of S. californicus suggests the need to examine formerly recognized section Pterolepis. The proposed phylogeny supports the erection of sections in Schoenoplectiella, but indicates further morphological and molecular data is needed for section diagnoses. Two Cypereae taxa previously resolved in a Schoenoplectiella clade were included in this analysis: Scirpoides varia resolved in a clade with Cypereae taxa, and Isolepis humillima resolved within Schoenoplectiella. Results from the phylogenetic hypotheses support a need to revisit the generic placement of Isolepis humillima and revise Fuireneae to resolve tribal paraphyly. © Copyright 2014 by the American Society of Plant Taxonomists.


Feranec R.S.,140 Cultural Education Center | Hadly E.A.,Stanford University | Paytan A.,University of California at Santa Cruz
Quaternary International | Year: 2010

To better understand how past climatic change influenced mammalian communities, we used fossils from the Pit Locality of Porcupine Cave, to evaluate how two taxa responded to climatic events spanning two glacial-interglacial transitions of the middle Pleistocene in Colorado. We analyzed the isotopes of carbon, oxygen and strontium in 84 specimens of rabbits and marmots to infer (1) if feeding and habitat preferences differed across glacial-interglacial transitions, and (2) whether these taxa responded similarly and synchronously to climatic events. Our results showed no significant differences in any of the isotopic values within taxa across levels. Stable carbon isotope values revealed a C3-dominated environment around Porcupine Cave during the middle Pleistocene, similar to what is present around the cave today. Oxygen isotopes did not change significantly across levels suggesting consistent water sources over time and preventing any correlation to the Marine Isotope Stages. Marmots did show significantly more positive oxygen isotope values than rabbits over most of the Pit levels likely indicative of hibernation. Lack of significant change in Sr isotopes indicates similarity in habitat range through time, or homogenization of landscape Sr values due to atmospheric inputs. These results suggest that middle Pleistocene climatic change had a negligible effect on the ecology of the sampled individuals around Porcupine Cave. The effects of climate on mammals are complex and these results cannot be extrapolated globally; research is needed to differentiate how global climate change affects mammals in different regions and of different life history to provide insight into how current global warming will affect extant species. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Kirchman J.J.,140 Cultural Education Center | Schneider K.J.,Hudson Valley Community College
Wilson Journal of Ornithology | Year: 2014

Previous studies of northward expansion of breeding ranges of North American bird species have focused on correlated changes in climate and land-use, but very few studies have examined patterns of morphological change within the context of range expansion. We used data from museum specimens to examine geographic and temporal variation in body size of the Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), a species undergoing dramatic range expansion. We plotted georeferenced occurrence data from Christmas Bird Counts (winter distributions going back to the year 1900), USGS Breeding Bird Surveys (summer distributions since 1966), and the holdings of twenty-six natural history museums (year-round distributions since 1867) to document the historic range of M. carolinus in decade increments. Christmas Bird Counts, but not museum specimens, indicate a trend of slow northward expansion beginning as early as the 1910s, and all data sets show rapid expansion to the north and west since the 1950s (average of 0.85°N latitude per decade and 1.06°W longitude per decade). Geographic variation in body size of specimens collected prior to the period of rapid expansion follows Bergmann's rule, with larger birds occurring in northern latitudes. This pattern breaks down in the sample of birds collected after the onset of rapid expansion, suggesting that warming temperatures since the 1950s have enabled northward range expansion in a species previously limited by cold. Birds collected at the northern boundary of their range before 1940 were larger than birds collected in recent decades from the same latitudes, further supporting the hypothesis that Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been released from a former ecological or physiological constraint in the face of climate warming. © 2014 by the Wilson Ornithological Society.

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