Bahl J.,National University of Singapore |
Bahl J.,University of Houston |
Krauss S.,St Jude Childrens Research Hospital |
Kuhnert D.,University of Auckland |
And 18 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2013
Wild birds have been implicated in the emergence of human and livestock influenza. The successful prediction of viral spread and disease emergence, as well as formulation of preparedness plans have been hampered by a critical lack of knowledge of viral movements between different host populations. The patterns of viral spread and subsequent risk posed by wild bird viruses therefore remain unpredictable. Here we analyze genomic data, including 287 newly sequenced avian influenza A virus (AIV) samples isolated over a 34-year period of continuous systematic surveillance of North American migratory birds. We use a Bayesian statistical framework to test hypotheses of viral migration, population structure and patterns of genetic reassortment. Our results reveal that despite the high prevalence of Charadriiformes infected in Delaware Bay this host population does not appear to significantly contribute to the North American AIV diversity sampled in Anseriformes. In contrast, influenza viruses sampled from Anseriformes in Alberta are representative of the AIV diversity circulating in North American Anseriformes. While AIV may be restricted to specific migratory flyways over short time frames, our large-scale analysis showed that the long-term persistence of AIV was independent of bird flyways with migration between populations throughout North America. Analysis of long-term surveillance data provides vital insights to develop appropriately informed predictive models critical for pandemic preparedness and livestock protection. © 2013 Bahl et al.
Maxted A.M.,University of Georgia |
Maxted A.M.,New York State Department of Health |
Page Luttrell M.,University of Georgia |
Goekjian V.H.,University of Georgia |
And 6 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2012
To gain insight into avian influenza virus (AIV) transmission, exposure, and maintenance patterns in shorebirds at Delaware Bay during spring migration, we examined temporal AIV prevalence trends in four Charadriiformes species with the use of serial crosssectional data from 2000 through 2008 and generalized linear and additive models. Prevalence of AIV in Ruddy Turnstones (Arenaria interpres morinella) increased after arrival, peaked in mid-late May, and decreased prior to departure. Antibody prevalence also increased over this period; together, these results suggested local infection and recovery prior to departure. Red Knots (Calidris canutus rufa), Sanderlings (Calidris alba), and Laughing Gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla) were rarely infected, but dynamic changes in antibody prevalence differed among species. In Red Knots, declining antibody prevalence over the stopover period suggested AIV exposure prior to arrival at Delaware Bay with limited infection at this site. Antibody prevalence was consistently high in Laughing Gulls and low in Sanderlings. Both viral prevalence and antibody prevalence in Sanderlings varied directly with those in turnstones, suggesting virus spillover to Sanderlings. Results indicate that, although hundreds of thousands of birds concentrate at Delaware Bay during spring, dynamics of AIV infection differ among species, perhaps due to differences in susceptibility, potential for contact with AIV at this site, or prior exposure. Additionally, Ruddy Turnstones possibly act as a local AIV amplifying host rather than a reservoir. © Wildlife Disease Association 2012.
Stallknecht D.E.,University of Georgia |
Luttrell M.P.,University of Georgia |
Poulson R.,University of Georgia |
Goekjian V.,University of Georgia |
And 4 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2012
Although influenza A viruses have been isolated from numerous shorebird species (Family: Scolopacidae) worldwide, our understanding of natural history of these viruses in this diverse group is incomplete. Gaining this information can be complicated by sampling difficulties related to live capture, the need for large sample sizes related to a potentially low prevalence of infection, and the need to maintain flexibility in diagnostic approaches related to varied capabilities and resources. To provide information relevant to improving sampling and testing of shorebirds for influenza A viruses, we retrospectively evaluated a combined data set from Delaware Bay, USA, collected from 2000 to 2009. Our results indicate that prevalence trends and subtype diversity can be effectively determined by either direct sampling of birds or indirect sampling of feces; however, the extent of detected subtype diversity is a function of the number of viruses recovered during that year. Even in cases where a large number of viruses are identified, an underestimate of true subtype diversity is likely. Influenza A virus isolation from Ruddy Turnstones can be enhanced by testing both cloacal and tracheal samples, and matrix real-time PCR can be used as an effective screening tool. Serologic testing to target species of interest also has application to shorebird surveillance. Overall, all of the sampling and diagnostic approaches have utility as applied to shorebird surveillance, but all are associated with inherent biases that need to be considered when comparing results from independent studies. © Wildlife Disease Association 2012.
Maslo B.,The College of New Jersey |
Handel S.N.,The College of New Jersey |
Pover T.,Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2011
To effectively restore wildlife habitat, ecological research must be easily translated into practical design criteria. Clear directives from research can support arguments that promote more appropriate restoration strategies. For the federally threatened piping plover (Charadrius melodus), beach stabilization practices often accelerate the degradation of suitable breeding habitat and could be revised to provide more advantageous conditions. Several studies of piping plover habitat selection have been conducted, yet useful and detailed design directives remain undeveloped. In this study, we use classification and regression tree analysis to (1) identify microhabitat characteristics and important variable interactions leading to nest establishment and (2) develop target, trigger, and threshold values for use in effective design and adaptive management of piping plover habitat. We found that nests primarily occur in three distinct habitat conditions defined by percent shell and pebble cover, vegetative cover, and distance to nearest dunes and the high tide line. Nest-site characteristics vary depending on where in the landscape a nest is initiated (backshore, overwash fan, or primary dune). We translate these results into the following pragmatic target design parameters: (1) vegetative cover: less than 10% (backshore), 13% (primary dune); (2) shell/pebble cover: 17-18%; (3) dune height: ≤1.1 m; and (4) dune slope: ≤13%. We also recommend threshold values for adaptive management to maintain habitat that is attractive to plovers. This technique can be applied to many other wildlife habitat restorations. Future studies on niche parameters driving chick survival are necessary to realize the full potential of habitat restoration in increasing overall reproductive success. © 2010 Society for Ecological Restoration International.
PubMed | Endangered and Nongame Species Program, New Jersey Audubon, Environmental and Occupational Health, Rutgers University and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental monitoring and assessment | Year: 2017
Stakeholder contributions to conservation projects often occur during the problem formulation stage, yet the role of stakeholders throughout the process is seldom considered. We examine the diversity of state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, other non-governmental organizations, environmental justice communities, consultants, industry, and the general public in the conservation of red knot (Calidris canutus rufa) and black skimmer (Rynchops niger) in New Jersey. We suggest that (1) governmental agencies provide the legal, regulatory, and management framework, but it is often the universities, conservation organizations, consultants, and the public that conduct the research and perform activities that lead to increased research and conservation efforts; (2) departments within agencies may have conflicting mandates, making it difficult to resolve differences in actions; (3) there is often conflict among and within state agencies and conservation organizations about roles and priorities; and (4) the role of the public is critical to ongoing research and conservation efforts. Identification of all the relevant stakeholders is necessary to recognizing competing claims, identifying the threats, deciding how to manage the threats, and enhancing population viability. Conflicts occur even within an agency when one department oversees science and protection of populations and another oversees and fosters an industry (aquaculture or fisheries, or permits for off-road vehicles). Conflicts also occur between resource agencies, industry, and conservation organizations. Recognizing the different stakeholders and their mandates, and encouraging participation in the process, leads to a better understanding of the threats, risks, and possible solutions when conflicts arise. Tracking stakeholder viewpoints and actions can lead to increased involvement and conflict resolution.
News Article | January 17, 2016
What used to be endangered birds are now soaring high in the skies of New Jersey. Bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 2007 and after eight years, they continue to exhibit increasing numbers. The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) documented in its 2015 New Jersey Bald Eagle Project Report the current status of bald eagle nesting pairs, active nests and nests productivity in the state. The report was created in collaboration with CWF biologists, some volunteers and members of the Division of Fish and Wildlife at New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection. The CWF was able to monitor a total of 191 nest sites during the nesting season. Out of this number, 150 had eggs and thus were considered active. 11 nests were said to be housekeeping, or territorial pairs. For the said season, the observers discovered 13 new eagle pairs, of which nine came from the south, two from central New Jersey and another two in northern New Jersey. The productivity rate for each active and known-outcome nest was 1.33 offsprings. Such percentage can be translated to 199 young eagles produced in 122 nests or 81 percent of the 150 nests monitored. Meanwhile, 19 percent or 28 nests were not able to fledge young. The area where the bald eagles are highly dominant remains to be Delaware Bay, with 40 percent of all nests found in Salem and Cumberland counties. "In addition to our fellow scientists in New Jersey and nearby states, I'd like to thank the wonderful eagle project volunteers who make keeping track of all these nests possible," said CWF eagle biologist Larissa Smith. "The state's eagle population would not be thriving without the efforts of the dedicated eagle volunteers who observe nests, report sightings and help protect critical habitat," the CWF wrote in its report. Although historic data are incomplete, the authors cited one study that said New Jersey had more than 20 pairs of nests in the Delaware Bay. Come the 1970s, the pairs plummeted to only one as a result of the pesticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT). The low numbers persisted until the early 1980s. In 1972, authorities banned the use of DDT. This protocol, together with efforts from the Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP), restored the number of the bald eagles little by little. The nesting pairs increased to 23 by the year 2000, 48 by 2005 and 82 by 2010.
Newstead D.J.,1305 N Shoreline Blvd |
Niles L.J.,Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey |
Porter R.R.,800 Quinard Court |
Dey A.D.,Fish and Wildlife |
And 2 more authors.
Wader Study Group Bulletin | Year: 2013
Red Knots Calidris canutus are commonly observed along the Texas coast during fall and spring. Although some significant winter records have been reported in Texas, it was previously unknown if birds were using Texas as a wintering area or primarily as a stopover area en route to more southerly wintering destinations. We fitted 69 Red Knots with geolocators on Mustang and Padre Islands between fall 2009 and fall 2010, and recovered eight of them between fall 2010 and spring 2012. The data showed that these knots: 1) spent nearly the entire nonbreeding phase of their annual cycle (78.4%) in the north-west Gulf of Mexico, 2) used the Mid- Continent (or Central) Flyway as a migratory route on both north and southbound migrations, 3) used stopover sites in the Northern Great Plains of the United States and Canada as well as the Nelson River Delta/Hudson Bay area, and 4) exhibited stronger consistency in timing of northbound migratory movements than in southbound movements. For the two birds for which geolocator data included consecutive years of data, one showed consistency in northbound and southbound stopover location between years, while the other showed variability in northbound, but not southbound stopover locations. A geolocator recovered from a bird that was originally captured in the year in which it hatched showed that it also oversummered in Texas. The data further highlights the critical importance of the north-west Gulf of Mexico – particularly the Laguna Madre and Padre Island – for this population of Red Knots, and the need for further investigation to discover specific wintering sites. © 2013, International Wader Study Group. All rights reserved.
Harrington B.A.,Manomet Center for Conservation science |
Koch S.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service |
Niles L.K.,Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey |
Kalasz K.,The Landing
Waterbirds | Year: 2010
Southward migrating Red Knots (Calidris canutus) were surveyed on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Unique markers, including ones applied to birds in wintering areas in North and South America, were found. Northern and southern-marked knots had different migration chronologies, plumage characteristics and flight feather molt. Knots from the two groups were found to have different foods and foraging habitats. Numbers of knots more than one year old were found to increase from mid-July to mid-August, decline during late August and then increase in SeptemberOctober. As numbers declined in August, the proportion of knots from South America decreased and, by 1 September, all remaining marked birds had been tagged in North America. Average minimum stopover durations were found to vary according to original banding locations, e.g. 8.5 (±2.6) days for South America, 14.2 (±3.2) days for Delaware Bay, 16.1 (±3.5) days for the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast and 49.5 (±24.6) days for Florida. The proportion of knots with alternate plumage was higher in JulyAugust than in September and by mid-October almost all had basic plumage. Also, low numbers (tens) of basic-plumaged knots-probably one-year-old subadults were found during JulyAugust; most had active flight feather molt. First-arriving juvenile knots were seen beginning in the third week of August and their numbers peaked in mid-September. Differential uses of foraging and roosting habitats were found to be related to migration destinations. Vital habitats that should be managed for protection of threatened Red Knots at this key southward migration stopover area were identified.
Maslo B.,Rutgers University |
Leu K.,Rutgers University |
Faillace C.,Rutgers University |
Weston M.A.,Deakin University |
And 2 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2016
Umbrella species are rarely selected systematically from a range of candidate species. On sandy beaches, birds that nest on the upper beach or in dunes are threatened globally and hence are prime candidates for conservation intervention and putative umbrella species status. Here we use a maximum-likelihood, multi-species distribution modeling approach to select an appropriate conservation umbrella from a group of candidate species occupying similar habitats. We identify overlap in spatial extent and niche characteristics among four beach-nesting bird species of conservation concern, American oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus), black skimmers (Rynchops niger), least terns (Sterna antillarum) and piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), across their entire breeding range in New Jersey, USA. We quantify the benefit and efficiency of using each species as a candidate umbrella on the remaining group. Piping plover nesting habitat encompassed 86% of the least tern habitat but only 15% and 13% of the black skimmer and American oystercatcher habitat, respectively. However, plovers co-occur with all three species across 66% of their total nesting habitat extent (~ 649 ha), suggesting their value as an umbrella at the local scale. American oystercatcher nesting habitat covers 100%, 99% and 47% of piping plover, least tern and black skimmer habitat, making this species more appropriate conservation umbrellas at a regional scale. Our results demonstrate that the choice of umbrella species requires explicit consideration of spatial scale and an understanding of the habitat attributes that an umbrella species represents and to which extent it encompasses other species of conservation interest. Notwithstanding the attractiveness of the umbrella species concept, local conservation interventions especially for breeding individuals in small populations may still be needed. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd
Burger J.,Rutgers University |
Niles L.J.,Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey
Wader Study Group Bulletin | Year: 2013
Managing shorebirds that use beaches requires understanding the responses of people, as well as the factors that contribute to the birds’ foraging efficiency during migration and winter. We observed the responses of people (and shorebirds) to two experimental management methods on beaches highly used by migratory shorebirds: 1) complete closure (Brigantine Beach, New Jersey), and 2) voluntary avoidance of shorebirds, or voluntary closure (Avalon Beach, New Jersey). We examined the types of recreationists using each beach, visitation rates, response of recreationists to the two management methods, the compliance rate, and the response of shorebirds. We focused on Red Knot Calidris canutus rufa, Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Dunlin C. alpina and Sanderling C. alba. Flock-size varied as a function of species and whether they were mixed or monospecific. Dunlin and Red Knots occurred in the largest flocks. The major recreationists at both beaches were anglers (Brigantine) and walkers (Avalon), and most people visited the beach 1–6 times per month. Compliance (not entering the closed area) at Brigantine Beach was nearly 100 % because of monitoring by researchers and park police, but at Avalon, 15 % of the time people did not voluntarily avoid the shorebirds, and thus disturbed them. Voluntary avoidance of shorebirds varied significantly by type of recreationist. Anglers and birdwatchers were the most compliant, and dog-walkers and others (mainly joggers) were least compliant. Response to management also varied significantly by recreationist type; more birdwatchers were positive than others, followed by anglers (Avalon) and dog-walkers (Brigantine). Most flocks of shorebirds flew away when confronted with people, and the return rate varied by flock composition and location. © 2013, International Wader Study Group. All rights reserved.