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Allen K.E.,University of Georgia | Moore R.,University of Georgia | Moore R.,Fort Collins Science Center
Ecosystem Services

There has been much discussion across the ecosystem services literature as to the role of economic valuation in identifying ecosystem service values and shaping policy. This article demonstrates a non-typical use of a nonmarket valuation technique known as the stated choice experiment (CE) for understanding a range of public preferences for stream-related ecosystem services in Macon County, NC. The experiment was carried out as part of the National Science Foundation funded Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research initiative, and it reflects an interdisciplinary attempt to produce knowledge regarding ecosystem service values that is of relevance to policy makers. The CE uses a split-sample design to test for the impact of mechanism of program implementation on respondent preferences and demonstrate a range of public willingness to pay (WTP) for stream health improvements. Responses are analyzed with a latent class logit and the results show that altering the mechanism of program implementation changes the latent class composition. Results also demonstrate consistent preferences for certain attributes of stream health, but WTP for ecosystem service provisioning varies widely with proposed program implementation. The use of the CE in this research demonstrates the flexibility of the tool for combining with interdisciplinary knowledge, as well as the usefulness of information provided by nonmarket valuation techniques for informing policy design. © 2016 Published by Elsevier B.V. Source

Perry L.G.,Colorado State University | Perry L.G.,Fort Collins Science Center | Blumenthal D.M.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Monaco T.A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | And 2 more authors.

Increased soil N availability may often facilitate plant invasions. Therefore, lowering N availability might reduce these invasions and favor desired species. Here, we review the potential efficacy of several commonly proposed management approaches for lowering N availability to control invasion, including soil C addition, burning, grazing, topsoil removal, and biomass removal, as well as a less frequently proposed management approach for lowering N availability, establishment of plant species adapted to low N availability. We conclude that many of these approaches may be promising for lowering N availability by stimulating N immobilization, even though most are generally ineffective for removing N from ecosystems (excepting topsoil removal). C addition and topsoil removal are the most reliable approaches for lowering N availability, and often favor desired species over invasive species, but are too expensive or destructive, respectively, for most management applications. Less intensive approaches, such as establishing low-N plant species, burning, grazing and biomass removal, are less expensive than C addition and may lower N availability if they favor plant species that are adapted to low N availability, produce high C:N tissue, and thus stimulate N immobilization. Regardless of the method used, lowering N availability sufficiently to reduce invasion will be difficult, particularly in sites with high atmospheric N deposition or agricultural runoff. Therefore, where feasible, the disturbances that result in high N availability should be limited in order to reduce invasions by nitrophilic weeds. © Springer-Verlag 2010. Source

Castle K.T.,Wildlife Veterinary Consulting | Weller T.J.,Pacific Southwest Research Station | Cryan P.M.,Fort Collins Science Center | Hein C.D.,Bat Conservation International | Schirmacher M.R.,Bat Conservation International
Ecology and Evolution

Determining the detailed movements of individual animals often requires them to carry tracking devices, but tracking broad-scale movement of small bats (<30 g) has been limited by transmitter technology and long-term attachment methods. This limitation inhibits our understanding of bat dispersal and migration, particularly in the context of emerging conservation issues such as fatalities at wind turbines and diseases. We tested a novel method of attaching lightweight global positioning system (GPS) tags and geolocating data loggers to small bats. We used monofilament, synthetic, absorbable sutures to secure GPS tags and data loggers to the skin of anesthetized big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) in Colorado and hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus) in California. GPS tags and data loggers were sutured to 17 bats in this study. Three tagged bats were recaptured 7 months after initial deployment, with tags still attached; none of these bats showed ill effects from the tag. No severe injuries were apparent upon recapture of 6 additional bats that carried tags up to 26 days after attachment; however, one of the bats exhibited skin chafing. Use of absorbable sutures to affix small tracking devices seems to be a safe, effective method for studying movements of bats over multiple months, although additional testing is warranted. This new attachment method has the potential to quickly advance our understanding of small bats, particularly as more sophisticated miniature tracking devices (e.g., satellite tags) become available. © 2015 The Authors. Source

Keith Barker F.,University of Minnesota | Oyler-Mccance S.,Fort Collins Science Center | Tomback D.F.,University of Colorado at Denver
Mitochondrial DNA

Next generation sequencing methods allow rapid, economical accumulation of data that have many applications, even at relatively low levels of genome coverage. However, the utility of shotgun sequencing data sets for specific goals may vary depending on the biological nature of the samples sequenced. We show that the ability to assemble mitogenomes from three avian samples of two different tissue types varies widely. In particular, data with coverage typical of microsatellite development efforts (∼1×) from DNA extracted from avian blood failed to cover even 50% of the mitogenome, relative to at least 500-fold coverage from muscle-derived data. Researchers should consider possible applications of their data and select the tissue source for their work accordingly. Practitioners analyzing low-coverage shotgun sequencing data (including for microsatellite locus development) should consider the potential benefits of mitogenome assembly, including internal barcode verification of species identity, mitochondrial primer development, and phylogenetics. © 2013 Informa UK Ltd. All rights reserved: reproduction in whole or part not permitted. Source

Heath J.,Colorado State University | Baron J.S.,Colorado State University | Baron J.S.,Fort Collins Science Center
Aquatic Geochemistry

Watershed mass-balance methods are valuable tools for demonstrating impacts to water quality from atmospheric deposition and chemical weathering. Owen Bricker, a pioneer of the mass-balance method, began applying mass-balance modeling to small watersheds in the late 1960s and dedicated his career to expanding the literature and knowledge of complex watershed processes. We evaluated long-term trends in surface-water chemistry in the Loch Vale watershed, a 660-ha. alpine/subalpine catchment located in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, USA. Many changes in surface-water chemistry correlated with multiple drivers, including summer or monthly temperature, snow water equivalent, and the runoff-to-precipitation ratio. Atmospheric deposition was not a significant causal agent for surface-water chemistry trends. We observed statistically significant increases in both concentrations and fluxes of weathering products including cations, SiO2, SO4 2-, and ANC, and in inorganic N, with inorganic N being primarily of atmospheric origin. These changes are evident in the individual months June, July, and August, and also in the combined June, July, and August summer season. Increasingly warm summer temperatures are melting what was once permanent ice and this may release elements entrained in the ice, stimulate chemical weathering with enhanced moisture availability, and stimulate microbial nitrification. Weathering rates may also be enhanced by sustained water availability in high snowpack years. Rapid change in the flux of weathering products and inorganic N is the direct and indirect result of a changing climate from warming temperatures and thawing cryosphere. © 2013 The Author(s). Source

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