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Arcata, CA, United States

Gerber L.R.,Arizona State University | Gonzalez-Suarez M.,Arizona State University | Gonzalez-Suarez M.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Gonzalez-Suarez M.,CSIC - Donana Biological Station | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

In polygynous mating systems, males often increase their fecundity via aggressive defense of mates and/or resources necessary for successful mating. Here we show that both male and female reproductive behavior during the breeding season (June-August) affect female fecundity, a vital rate that is an important determinant of population growth rate and viability. By using 4 years of data on behavior and demography of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), we found that male behavior and spatial dynamics-aggression and territory size-are significantly related to female fecundity. Higher rates of male aggression and larger territory sizes were associated with lower estimates of female fecundity within the same year. Female aggression was significantly and positively related to fecundity both within the same year as the behavior was measured and in the following year. These results indicate that while male aggression and defense of territories may increase male fecundity, such interactions may cause a reduction in the overall population growth rate by lowering female fecundity. Females may attempt to offset male-related reductions in female fecundity by increasing their own aggression-perhaps to defend pups from incidental injury or mortality. Thus in polygynous mating systems, male aggression may increase male fitness at the cost of female fitness and overall population viability. © 2010 Gerber et al.

Doak D.F.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Bakker V.J.,Montana State University | Vickers W.,Institute for Wildlife Studies
Conservation Biology | Year: 2013

Outbreaks of infectious disease represent serious threats to the viability of many vertebrate populations, but few studies have included quantitative evaluations of alternative approaches to the management of disease. The most prevalent management approach is monitoring for and rapid response to an epizootic. An alternative is vaccination of a subset of the free-living population (i.e., a "vaccinated core") such that some individuals are partially or fully immune in the event of an epizootic. We developed a simulation model describing epizootic dynamics, which we then embedded in a demographic simulation to assess these alternative approaches to managing rabies epizootics in the island fox (Urocyon littoralis), a species composed of only 6 small populations on the California Channel Islands. Although the monitor and respond approach was superior to the vaccinated-core approach for some transmission models and parameter values, this type of reactive management did not protect the population from rabies under many disease-transmission assumptions. In contrast, a logistically feasible program of prophylactic vaccination for part of the wild population yielded low extinction probabilities across all likely disease-transmission scenarios, even with recurrent disease introductions. Our use of a single metric of successful management-probability of extreme endangerment (i.e., quasi extinction)-to compare very different management approaches allowed an objective assessment of alternative strategies for controlling the threats posed by infectious disease outbreaks. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.

Newsome S.D.,University of New Mexico | Collins P.W.,Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Sharpe P.,Institute for Wildlife Studies
Condor | Year: 2015

Successful management of reintroduced populations requires recognizing that ecological conditions may have changed between extirpation and reintroduction. For example, characterizing dietary patterns of generalist apex predators in the past and present can help to define how their functional role may change as translocated populations grow. We identified prey remains collected from Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nests and used carbon (λ13C) and nitrogen (λ15N) stable isotope analysis to quantify diet composition of the recently reintroduced Bald Eagle population on the Channel Islands off southern California, USA. We collected ≥6,000 prey items from recently occupied nests on Santa Catalina, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and Anacapa islands in 2010 and 2011. Prey identification and stable isotope analysis yielded similar results and showed that eagles on Santa Catalina Island consumed a high proportion (~60%) of marine fish and a lower proportion (25-30%) of seabirds, while their counterparts on the Northern Channel Islands consumed equal proportions (~40-45%) of these prey types. Terrestrial resource use was low with the exception of eagles from one nest on Santa Catalina Island, where eagles primarily consumed ground squirrels and freshwater fish. We suggest that a combination of natural and anthropogenic factors is responsible for the interisland differences in Bald Eagle diet. Bald Eagle interactions with a robust recreational fishery off Santa Catalina Island may enhance access to fish species that are not available to eagles on the Northern Channel Islands, where the availability of breeding seabirds is far greater. The proportion of seabirds consumed by eagles on the Northern Channel Islands today is similar to that consumed by eagles from this region historically and prehistorically. This suggests that the restoration of breeding seabirds on the Channel Islands will benefit the long-term viability of eagle populations in the northern archipelago. © 2015 Cooper Ornithological Society.

Daniel K.,University of Guelph | Daniel K.,North Carolina State University | Brian H.,Institute for Wildlife Studies | Haddad N.M.,North Carolina State University | And 2 more authors.
Ecology | Year: 2010

Determining connectivity within complex landscapes is difficult if habitats that facilitate dispersal differ from habitats where animals normally are found or enter. We addressed the question of how landscape features affect dispersal by quantifying two critical aspects of animal movement behavior that determine dispersal rates across complex landscapes: conductivity of major habitat types and behavior at boundaries between habitat types. Our tests consisted of behavioral experiments and observational surveys of a wetland butterfly, Satyrodes appalachia. Displacement rates varied among habitats, with the longest moves and straightest paths leading to greater displacement rate in open habitat and shortest moves and most sinuous paths causing the slowest displacement rate in riparian forest habitat. We found a strong negative relationship between the probability of entering a habitat and the speed of moving through it. Recognizing this central conflict between entering and moving through habitat is important for assessing the connectivity of complex landscapes. © by the Ecological society of America.

Bridges A.S.,Institute for Wildlife Studies | Vaughan M.R.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Fox J.A.,Saint Louis University
Ursus | Year: 2011

Timing of parturition and, to a lesser extent, estrus, are rarely explored aspects of American black bear (Ursus americanus) reproductive ecology. The Cooperative Alleghany Bear Study was an intensive 10-year multi-faceted research project conducted on 2 study areas in western Virginia. We examined timing of estrus based on 430 observations of 326 lone (without cubs at the time of capture) female bears from late May-August, 1994-2002. We estimated parturition date for 383 cubs from 150 litters born from 1996-2003 to 99 individual females ranging from 3-24 years old. Bears were documented in estrus from late May through August with a peak during early July. Parturition dates ranged from late December to mid February with most births occurring in mid January. Three- and 4-year olds gave birth, on average, 12 days later than older bears. We suggest parturition date likely affects den exit date and perhaps cub survival, an area requiring further inquiry. © 2011 International Association for Bear Research and Management.

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