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This study provides the first comparison of historical (1979-1994) and recent (2012-2013) breeding distributions of Lanius ludovicianus (Loggerhead Shrike) at a single location in southeastern North America. I conducted roadside and area searches for Loggerhead Shrikes in the spring (April-early June 2012 and late March-early May 2013) in Richmond County, NC, and small areas of 4 adjacent counties. Most of the study area is within the Sandhills, a subregion of the Coastal Plain. I documented a total of 44-45 breeding territories in 2012-2013, of which 36-38 (82-84%) were in the Sandhills, where I estimated the recent breeding density to be 3.2-3.4 pairs/100 km2. In both years, a smaller percentage of confirmed historic breeding sites were occupied in the Piedmont compared to the Sandhills portion of the study area, and the Piedmont had a much lower breeding density (0.6-0.8 pairs/100 km2). Sixteen of 22 (73%) confirmed historical breeding sites were occupied (n = 10) or retained suitable breeding habitat (n = 6) for Loggerhead Shrikes in 2012-2013. The breeding population in the sampled portion of the Sandhills has apparently declined slowly yet is still fairly stable, an unexpected result based on sharp declines of Loggerhead Shrikes in the Atlantic Coastal Plain for over the past 40 years as documented by coarse-scale surveys (breeding bird surveys, Christmas bird counts, spring bird counts). This study reaffirms the importance of conducting fine-scale surveys to produce a precise estimate of a persistent population in a geographically restricted area. © 2015, BioOne. All rights reserved. Source

Wheeler J.S.,Acadia National Park | Thiet R.K.,Antioch University New England | Smith S.M.,Wellfleet
Park Science | Year: 2012

The tidal restoration of Hatches Harbor, a 100-acre (41 ha) salt marsh in Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts, has resulted in substantial native halophyte (salt-tolerant taxa) reestablishment in portions of the marsh. However, extensive stands of the invasive Phragmites australis still occupy a large area of the marsh. These stands present a physical barrier to the dispersal and establishment of seeds from the adjacent, recovering salt marsh. The goal of this study was to evaluate the establishment success of native halophytes in response to manual cutting of Phragmites growth in Phragmites-dominated areas of Hatches Harbor where halophyte reestablishment has been poor. We measured species composition, abundance, and diversity in one hundred 10.76 ft2 (1.00 m2) plots at Hatches Harbor over two growing seasons in 2008 and 2009. Very few halophytes naturally grew within dense stands of untreated Phragmites, whereas halophyte abundance and diversity were significantly greater in plots where Phragmites was mechanically removed. Thus, mechanical removal of Phragmites improves conditions for halophyte establishment, presumably by reducing barriers to seed dispersal and through increased light exposure. Source

Mittermayr A.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Fox S.E.,Wellfleet | Sommer U.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2014

Simultaneous triple stable isotope analysis of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur was employed to study the temporal variation in the food web of a subtidal eelgrass Zostera marina bed in the western Baltic Sea. Samples of 3 potential food sources (eelgrass, epiphytes and seston) and consumer species were collected biweekly from March through September 2011. Temporal variation of stable isotope compositions was observed in primary producers and consumer species. However, variation between replicates, particularly omnivores, often exceeded variation over time. The high degree of omnivory among the generalist feeders in this eelgrass community allows for generalist feeders to flexibly switch food sources, thus enhancing food-web stability. As coastal systems are subject to seasonal changes, as well as alterations related to human disturbance and climate, these food webs may retain a certain resilience due to their plentiful omnivores. © 2014 Inter-Research. Source

Tyrrell M.C.,Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve | Tyrrell M.C.,Wellfleet | Dionne M.,Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve | Eberhardt S.A.,University of Hawaii at Manoa
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2012

Salt marsh fucoid algae are a conspicuous component of north temperate marshes, yet comparatively little research has been conducted to examine their ecological effects. We examined the influence of salt marsh fucoids on physical conditions and the biotic community in a manipulative experiment conducted in a southern Maine back-barrier salt marsh. The biomass of salt marsh fucoids was higher than that of aboveground Spartina alterniflora in the zone where we conducted the experiment. Average daytime temperatures at the sediment surface were significantly reduced by the presence of salt marsh fucoids. Density and biomass of standing-dead S. alterniflora was significantly higher when salt marsh fucoids were removed. In contrast, the abundance of various species of epifauna and infauna were significantly enhanced by the presence of salt marsh fucoids. A regional survey indicated that results from the study site may be conservative because the biomass of salt marsh fucoids was lowest among other back-barrier marshes. Salt marsh fucoids are little studied ecosystem engineers whose presence affects the microclimate and biotic community, especially the animals that constitute the basal components of the salt marsh trophic relay. © 2011 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (outside the USA). Source

News Article | June 28, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/earth.xml

Ticked Off! Here's What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease Five months after rehabilitation, a New England green sea turtle once rescued by a Newfoundland dog has been released back into the waters of Assateague State Park in Maryland. In early January, an observant 2-year-old dog named Veda spotted a stranded loggerhead turtle while strolling with her owners on a nearby beach. After being treated at the New England Aquarium's sea turtle hospital, the green sea turtle — named Newfie after the breed of its hero — was among nine sea turtles brought to Maryland for safe release. Officials from the New England Aquarium said a strong storm in January had washed debris onto Ellisville Beach. Among the pile carried on the shore was Newfie the 40-pound loggerhead turtle. Had Veda not spotted the turtle while inspecting seaweed, aquarium officials say the marine animal would not have survived for more than a few hours because of further exposure to the sub 20-degree temperatures at the beach. As it turns out, Veda accidentally sat at the pile of seaweed and then saw the turtle. The 120-pound dog alerted her owners, Leah and Brad Bares, to the creature's presence by lying down near the water. Newfoundland dogs like Veda have become known for rescuing fishermen, but saving a sea turtle may be a first, experts say. The Bares couple asked the help of William Gray, a volunteer for Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, to carry the green sea turtle to the New England Aquarium's sea turtle hospital. Newfie the sea turtle had hypothermia and required several months of intense care and rehabilitation. The animal's temperature steadily increased after four days at the sea turtle hospital. Meanwhile, Newfie was not the only sea turtle released back into the wild after treatment. In Marineland, Florida, a juvenile green sea turtle named Cisco Kid was carried into the Atlantic Ocean after months of laser treatment. The green sea turtle suffered from anemia and had to undergo a series of laser surgeries to remove large tumors that it developed. It was the first green sea turtle ever released by the staff at the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory Sea Turtle Hospital. According to Brooke Burkhalte, Cisco Kid's veterinarian who carried the turtle to the shore, the marine animal frantically paddled long before it paddled the waves. And then it was free. Jessica Long, a spokesperson for Whitney Laboratory, hopes that Cisco Kid will stay healthy and well because although science has helped it escape a serious disease, the rest is up to nature. "It could come back," says Long. "If the immune system of the turtle is compromised, it could come back again." © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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