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East Missoula, MT, United States

Mckelvey K.S.,Rocky Research | Young M.K.,Rocky Research | Knotek W.L.,Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks | Carim K.J.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Fish Biology | Year: 2016

This study tested the efficacy of environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling to delineate the distribution of bull trout Salvelinus confluentus in headwater streams in western Montana, U.S.A. Surveys proved fast, reliable and sensitive: 124 samples were collected across five basins by a single crew in c. 8 days. Results were largely consistent with past electrofishing, but, in a basin where S. confluentus were known to be scarce, eDNA samples indicated that S. confluentus were more broadly distributed than previously thought. © 2016 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles. Source


Kovach R.P.,U.S. Geological Survey | Muhlfeld C.C.,U.S. Geological Survey | Boyer M.C.,Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks | Lowe W.H.,University of Montana | And 2 more authors.
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2015

Hybridization between native and non-native species has serious biological consequences, but our understanding of how dispersal and selection interact to influence invasive hybridization is limited. Here, we document the spread of genetic introgression between a native (Oncorhynchus clarkii) and invasive (Oncorhynchus mykiss) trout, and identify the mechanisms influencing genetic admixture. In two populations inhabiting contrasting environments, non-native admixture increased rapidly from 1984 to 2007 and was driven by surprisingly consistent processes. Individual admixture was related to two phenotypic traits associated with fitness: size at spawning and age of juvenile emigration. Fish with higher non-native admixture were larger and tended to emigrate at a younger age--relationships that are expected to confer fitness advantages to hybrid individuals. However, strong selection against non-native admixture was evident across streams and cohorts (mean selection coefficient against genotypes with non-native alleles (s) = 0.60; s.e. = 0.10). Nevertheless, hybridization was promoted in both streams by the continuous immigration of individuals with high levels of non-native admixture from other hybrid source populations. Thus, antagonistic relationships between dispersal and selection are mediating invasive hybridization between these fish, emphasizing that data on dispersal and natural selection are needed to fully understand the dynamics of introgression between native and non-native species. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. Source


Kovach R.P.,U.S. Geological Survey | Kovach R.P.,University of Montana | Muhlfeld C.C.,U.S. Geological Survey | Boyer M.C.,Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks | And 3 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2015

Hybridization between native and non-native species has serious biological consequences, but our understanding of how dispersal and selection interact to influence invasive hybridization is limited. Here, we document the spread of genetic introgression between a native (Oncorhynchus clarkii) and invasive (Oncorhynchus mykiss) trout, and identify the mechanisms influencing genetic admixture. In two populations inhabiting contrasting environments, non-native admixture increased rapidly from 1984 to 2007 and was driven by surprisingly consistent processes. Individual admixture was related to two phenotypic traits associated with fitness: size at spawning and age of juvenile emigration. Fish with higher non-native admixture were larger and tended to emigrate at a younger age—relationships that are expected to confer fitness advantages to hybrid individuals. However, strong selection against non-native admixture was evident across streams and cohorts (mean selection coefficient against genotypes with non-native alleles (s) ¼ 0.60; s.e. ¼ 0.10). Nevertheless, hybridization was promoted in both streams by the continuous immigration of individuals with high levels of non-native admixture from other hybrid source populations. Thus, antagonistic relationships between dispersal and selection are mediating invasive hybridization between these fish, emphasizing that data on dispersal and natural selection are needed to fully understand the dynamics of introgression between native and non-native species. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. Source


Morris L.R.,University of Florida | Proffitt K.M.,Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks | Asher V.,123 Research Drive | Blackburn J.K.,University of Florida
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2016

Anthrax, caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis, is a zoonotic disease that affects humans and animals throughout the world. In North America, anthrax outbreaks occur in livestock and wildlife species. Vaccine administration in wildlife is untenable; the most effective form of management is surveillance and decontamination of carcasses. Successful management is critical because untreated carcasses can create infectious zones increasing risk for other susceptible hosts. We studied the bacterium in a re-emerging anthrax zone in southwest Montana. In 2008, a large anthrax epizootic primarily affected a domestic bison (Bison bison) herd and the male segment of a free-ranging elk (Cervus elaphus) herd in southwestern Montana. Following the outbreak, we initiated a telemetry study on elk to evaluate resource selection during the anthrax season to assist with anthrax management. We used a mixed effects generalized linear model (GLM) to estimate resource selection by male elk, and we mapped habitat preferences across the landscape. We overlaid preferred habitats on ecological niche model-based estimates of B. anthracis presence. We observed significant overlap between areas with a high predicted probability of male elk selection and B. anthracis potential. These potentially risky areas of elk and B. anthracis overlap were broadly spread over public and private lands. Future outbreaks in the region are probable, and this analysis identified the spatial extent of the risk area in the region, which can be used to prioritize anthrax surveillance. © 2015 The Wildlife Society. Source


Muhlfeld C.C.,U.S. Geological Survey | Giersch J.J.,U.S. Geological Survey | Marotz B.,Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
Fisheries Management and Ecology | Year: 2012

Non-native lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush (Walbaum), threaten native salmonid populations in the western United States. Effective management of lake trout requires understanding movements within connected lake and river systems. This study determined the seasonal movements of subadult lake trout in the Flathead River upstream of Flathead Lake, Montana, USA using radio telemetry. The spatiotemporal distribution of lake trout in the river was related to water temperature. Lake trout were detected in the river primarily during autumn, winter and spring, when water temperatures were cool. By contrast, fewer were detected when temperatures were warmest during summer and during high spring flows. Downriver movements to Flathead Lake occurred throughout autumn and winter when water temperature decreased below 5°C, and in late spring as water temperature rose towards 15°C and river discharge declined following spring runoff. Upriver movements occurred primarily in October, which coincided with migrations of prey fishes. These results suggest that lake trout are capable of moving throughout connected river and lake systems (up to 230km) and that warm water temperatures function as an impediment to occupancy of the river during summer. Controlling source populations and maintaining natural water temperatures may be effective management strategies for reducing the spread of non-native lake trout. Published 2011. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. Source

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