2327 University Way

Federal Way, MT, United States

2327 University Way

Federal Way, MT, United States
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Brennan A.,Montana State University | Cross P.C.,2327 University Way | Ausband D.E.,University of Montana | Barbknecht A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Creel S.,Montana State University
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2013

Previous tests of the automated acoustic device, referred to as a howlbox, effectively identified the presence of wolves (Canis lupus) during the summer, near rendezvous sites. Howlboxes are self-contained devices that broadcast simulated wolf howls and record howls made in response, and are of interest in remote locations to document the presence of dispersing wolves and new wolf packs. It is unclear whether the howlbox can also detect wolves during the winter when wolves are more mobile. We tested the howlbox's ability to detect wolves in an area with approximately 3 wolves/100 km2 and overlapping pack territories in western Wyoming, USA, during January-May 2011. Howlboxes detected wolves in only 1.1% (n = 185, 95% CI = 0.1-3.8%) of the surveys, but we recorded wolf tracks within 50 m of howlboxes 14.8% (n = 54, 95% CI = 6.6-27.1%) of the time. Though howlboxes seldom recorded wolf howls, our findings suggest the possibility that howlboxes may attract wolves in areas with overlapping pack territories during the winter. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.

Cross P.C.,2327 University Way | Brennan A.,Montana State University | Luikart G.,University of Montana
OIE Revue Scientifique et Technique | Year: 2013

After a hiatus during the 1990s, outbreaks of Brucella abortus in cattle are occurring more frequently in some of the western states of the United States, namely, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. This increase is coincident with increasing brucellosis seroprevalence in elk (Cervus elaphus), which is correlated with elk density. Vaccines are a seductive solution, but their use in wildlife systems remains limited by logistical, financial, and scientific constraints. Cattle vaccination is ongoing in the region. Livestock regulations, however, tend to be based on serological tests that test for previous exposure and available vaccines do not protect against seroconversion. The authors review recent ecological studies of brucellosis, with particular emphasis on the Greater Yellowstone Area, and highlight the management options and implications of this work, including the potential utility of habitat modifications and targeted hunts, as well as scavengers and predators. Finally, the authors discuss future research directions that will help us to understand and manage brucellosis in wildlife.

Haroldson M.A.,2327 University Way | Schwartz C.C.,2327 University Way | Kendall K.C.,U.S. Geological Survey | Gunther K.A.,Yellowstone Center for Resources | And 2 more authors.
Ursus | Year: 2010

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) supports the southernmost of the 2 largest remaining grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) populations in the contiguous United States. Since the mid-1980s, this population has increased in numbers and expanded in range. However, concerns for its long-term genetic health remain because of its presumed continued isolation. To test the power of genetic methods for detecting immigrants, we generated 16-locus microsatellite genotypes for 424 individual grizzly bears sampled in the GYE during 1983-2007. Genotyping success was high (90%) and varied by sample type, with poorest success (40%) for hair collected from mortalities found ≥1 day after death. Years of storage did not affect genotyping success. Observed heterozygosity was 0.60, with a mean of 5.2 alleles/marker. We used factorial correspondence analysis (Program GENETIX) and Bayesian clustering (Program STRUCTURE) to compare 424 GYE genotypes with 601 existing genotypes from grizzly bears sampled in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) (FST=0.096 between GYE and NCDE). These methods correctly classified all sampled individuals to their population of origin, providing no evidence of natural movement between the GYE and NCDE. Analysis of 500 simulated first-generation crosses suggested that over 95% of such bears would also be detectable using our 16-locus data set. Our approach provides a practical method for detecting immigration in the GYE grizzly population. We discuss estimates for the proportion of the GYE population sampled and prospects for natural immigration into the GYE. © International Association for Bear Research and Management.

Hopkins III J.B.,Montana State University | Herrero S.,University of Calgary | Shideler R.T.,Alaska Department of Fish and Game | Gunther K.A.,Bear Management Office | And 2 more authors.
Ursus | Year: 2010

We believe that communication within and among agency personnel in the United States and Canada about the successes and failures of their humanbear (Ursidae) management programs will increase the effectiveness of these programs and of bear research. To communicate more effectively, we suggest agencies clearly define terms and concepts used in humanbear management and use them in a consistent manner. We constructed a humanbear management lexicon of terms and concepts using a modified Delphi method to provide a resource that facilitates more effective communication among humanbear management agencies. Specifically, we defined 40 terms and concepts in humanbear management and suggest definitions based on discussions with 13 other professionals from the United States and Canada. Although new terms and concepts will emerge in the future and definitions will evolve as we learn more about bear behavior and ecology, our purpose is to suggest working definitions for terms and concepts to help guide humanbear management and research activities in North America. Applications or revisions of these definitions may be useful outside of North America. © 2010 International Association for Bear Research and Management.

Bjornlie D.D.,Large Carnivore Section | Thompson D.J.,Large Carnivore Section | Haroldson M.A.,2327 University Way | Schwartz C.C.,2327 University Way | And 5 more authors.
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2014

The distribution of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population has expanded into areas unoccupied since the early 20th century. Up-to-date information on the area and extent of this distribution is crucial for federal, state, and tribal wildlife and land managers to make informed decisions regarding grizzly bear management. The most recent estimate of grizzly bear distribution (2004) utilized fixed-kernel density estimators to describe distribution. This method was complex and computationally time consuming and excluded observations of unmarked bears. Our objective was to develop a technique to estimate grizzly bear distribution that would allow for the use of all verified grizzly bear location data, as well as provide the simplicity to be updated more frequently. We placed all verified grizzly bear locations from all sources from 1990 to 2004 and 1990 to 2010 onto a 3-km×3-km grid and used zonal analysis and ordinary kriging to develop a predicted surface of grizzly bear distribution. We compared the area and extent of the 2004 kriging surface with the previous 2004 effort and evaluated changes in grizzly bear distribution from 2004 to 2010. The 2004 kriging surface was 2.4% smaller than the previous fixedkernel estimate, but more closely represented the data. Grizzly bear distribution increased 38.3% from 2004 to 2010, with most expansion in the northern and southern regions of the range. This technique can be used to provide a current estimate of grizzly bear distribution for management and conservation applications. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.

Schwartz C.C.,2327 University Way | Cain S.L.,National Park Service | Podruzny S.,2327 University Way | Cherry S.,Montana State University | Frattaroli L.,National Park Service
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2010

The distribution of grizzly (Ursus arctos) and American black bears (U. americanus) overlaps in western North America. Few studies have detailed activity patterns where the species are sympatric and no studies contrasted patterns where populations are both sympatric and allopatric. We contrasted activity patterns for sympatric black and grizzly bears and for black bears allopatric to grizzly bears, how human influences altered patterns, and rates of grizzlyblack bear predation. Activity patterns differed between black bear populations, with those sympatric to grizzly bears more day-active. Activity patterns of black bears allopatric with grizzly bears were similar to those of female grizzly bears; both were crepuscular and day-active. Male grizzly bears were crepuscular and night-active. Both species were more night-active and less day-active when ≤1 km from roads or developments. In our sympatric study area, 2 of 4 black bear mortalities were due to grizzly bear predation. Our results suggested patterns of activity that allowed for intra- and inter-species avoidance. National park management often results in convergence of locally high human densities in quality bear habitat. Our data provide additional understanding into how bears alter their activity patterns in response to other bears and humans and should help park managers minimize undesirable bearhuman encounters when considering needs for temporal and spatial management of humans and human developments in bear habitats. © 2010 The Wildlife Society.

Clements W.H.,Colorado State University | Arnold J.L.,Fisheries and Aquatic science Program | Koel T.M.,Fisheries and Aquatic science Program | Daley R.,2327 University Way | Jean C.,2327 University Way
Aquatic Ecology | Year: 2011

We examined responses of benthic macroinvertebrate communities to natural geothermal discharges in 32 streams in Yellowstone National Park (YNP), USA. Geothermal discharges played a major role in structuring benthic communities in YNP, as downstream communities were characterized by low species richness, reduced abundance of EPT taxa and increased abundance of tolerant caddisflies (Trichoptera), chironomids and non-insects. While some taxa were a subset of tolerant organisms that were also common at references sites, others (the damselfly Argia sp., the caddisfly Oxyethira sp. and the exotic New Zealand mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum Gray 1843) were found almost exclusively in geothermal streams. Because geothermal waters are a common feature of YNP, monitoring programs designed to assess long-term status and trends of Yellowstone's aquatic ecosystems must account for the influence of these discharges. To separate geothermal effects from other potential anthropogenic disturbances in YNP (e.g., atmospheric deposition, road construction, wastewater, global change), we developed a multimetric index based on responses of benthic communities to geothermal discharges. Streams were placed into one of four geothermal categories based on conductivity (reference = ≤ 150 μS/cm; low, moderate and high = 151-300, 301-600 and >600 μS/cm, respectively). The index clearly distinguished among these categories and showed a well-defined threshold response to geothermal effects at very low levels of conductivity. Although the index was specific to geothermal effects, the approach used to develop the index has broad applicability for other systems where impacts of stressors must be assessed within the context of natural environmental gradients. Our findings may provide important insights into how benthic macroinvertebrate communities respond to global change. Reduced discharge and warmer temperatures predicted for Rocky Mountain streams may favor the establishment and expansion of exotic species such as New Zealand mudsnails (P. antipodarum), which are highly tolerant of geothermal influences. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Fortin J.K.,Washington State University | Ware J.V.,Washington State University | Jansen H.T.,Washington State University | Schwartz C.C.,2327 University Way | Robbins C.T.,Washington State University
Journal of Mammalogy | Year: 2013

Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) have been reported as either nocturnal or diurnal in various studies, but have not been known to switch between the 2 times unless disturbed by humans. Black bears (Ursus americanus) are almost solely diurnal in studies unless human influences occur. Because human disturbance is often difficult to control, the relative temporal niche of both species remains ill-defined. Thus, the present study examined bears in Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming) where hunting does not occur, human activities are relatively benign, and bear species are sympatric to determine if niche occupancy was a stable feature of the species. Onset of activity was anticipatory of both sunrise or morning civil twilight (illumination sufficient for human vision) for individuals of either species. The peak hour of activity in black bears was consistently midday, but fluctuated in grizzly bears from midday during early spring, late summer, and fall to evening during late spring and early summer. Black bears did not temporally avoid the times when the more dominant grizzly bears were active. Mean activity levels were higher for male black bears than for both male and female grizzly bears. Together, results suggest that the foraging needs of black bears necessitate ingestion of less-digestible, lower-quality foods requiring longer foraging time during daytime hours, whereas grizzly bears adapt their diet to seasonally available food sources, necessitating greater temporal flexibility. © 2013 American Society of Mammalogists. © 2013 American Society of Mammalogists.

Ryan S.J.,New York University | Cross P.C.,2327 University Way | Winnie J.,Montana State University | Hay C.,Southern African Wildlife College | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2012

Many studies of mammalian herbivores have employed remotely sensed vegetation greenness, in the form of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as a proxy for forage quality. The assumption that reflected greenness represents forage quality often goes untested, and limited data exist on the relationships between remotely sensed and traditional forage nutrient indicators. We provide the first study connecting NDVI and forage nutrient indicators within a free-ranging African herbivore ecosystem. We examined the relationships between fecal nutrient levels (nitrogen and phosphorus), forage nutrient levels, body condition, and NDVI for African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in a South African savanna ecosystem over a 2-year period (2001 and 2002). We used an information-theoretic approach to rank models of fecal nitrogen (N f) and phosphorus (P f) as functions of geology, season, and NDVI in each year separately. For each year, the highest ranked models for N f accounted for 61% and 65% of the observed variance, and these models included geology, season, and NDVI. The top-ranked model for P f in 2001, although capturing 54% of the variability, did not include NDVI. In 2002, we could not identify a top ranking model for phosphorus (i.e.; all models were within 2 AIC c of each other). Body condition was most highly correlated (R adj 2 = 0.75; P≤0.001) with NDVI at a 1 month time lag and with f at a 3 months time lag (R adj 2 = 0.65; P≤0.001), but was not significantly correlated with P f. Our findings suggest that NDVI can be used to index nitrogen content of forage and is correlated with improved body condition in African buffalo. Thus, NDVI provides a useful means to assess forage quality where crude protein is a limiting resource. We found that NDVI accounted for more than a seasonal effect, and in a system where standing biomass may be high but of low quality, understanding available nutrients is useful for management. © 2012 The Wildlife Society. Copyright © The Wildlife Society, 2012.

Layhee M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Sepulveda A.,U.S. Geological Survey | Ray A.,U.S. Geological Survey | Ray A.,2327 University Way | And 2 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

Managers often nest sections of water bodies together into assessment units (AUs) to monitor and assess water quality criteria. Ideally, AUs represent an extent of waters with similar ecological, watershed, habitat and land-use conditions and no overlapping characteristics with other waters. In the United States, AUs are typically based on political or hydrologic boundaries rather than on ecologically relevant features, so it can be difficult to detect changes in impairment status. Our goals were to evaluate if current AU designation criteria of an impaired water body in southeastern Idaho, USA that, like many U.S. waters, has three-quarters of its mainstem length divided into two AUs. We focused our evaluation in southeastern Idaho's Portneuf River, an impaired river and three-quarters of the river is divided into two AUs. We described biological and environmental conditions at multiple reaches within each AU. We used these data to (1) test if variability at the reach-scale is greater within or among AUs and, (2) to evaluate alternate AU boundaries based on multivariate analyses of reach-scale data. We found that some biological conditions had greater variability within an AU than between AUs. Multivariate analyses identified alternative, 2- and 3-group, AUs that reduced this variability. Our results suggest that the current AU designations in the mainstem Portneuf River contain ecologically distinct sections of river and that the existing AU boundaries should be reconsidered in light of the ecological conditions measured at the reach scale. Variation in biological integrity within designated AUs may complicate water quality and biological assessments, influence management decisions or affect where monitoring or mitigation resources are directed. © 2015.

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