adaptive modeling and management

Legacy ID: 
557

Investigating How Landscape and Climate Variables Influence Patterns of Adaptive Genetic Variation in White-tailed Ptarmigan

Code: 
RB00CNJ.26.2
A White-tailed Ptarmigan, Mt. Evans, Colorado. Photo by Cameron Aldridge, USGS.
A White-tailed Ptarmigan, Mt. Evans, Colorado. Photo by Cameron Aldridge, USGS.
Abstract: 

We are conducting a landscape genomic analysis to test factors hypothesized to influence spatial patterns of adaptive genetic variation. Genomic data are especially useful for this task because they can capture adaptive divergence along many gradients of variation (e.g., physiological, morphological) – all of which may contribute to a species’ ability to evolve in response to changing environmental conditions. We are conducting this analysis at two spatial scales: broadly across the entire species’ range and at a finer spatial scale within Colorado (the state that has the most ptarmigan habitat in the lower 48 states). We are generating genomic data and will test for outlier genomic sites that are areas of potential adaptation. Those regions will be examined to determine if they are part of or are physically linked with genes of known function (using the annotated chicken genome). We will also examine how variation in those regions of the genome are shaped by landscape variables (which may influence gene flow) and climate variables (which may influence natural selection). This work will inform future work to understand local adaptation in this high-elevation species, and to identify populations that may be adaptively divergent (e.g., adapted to warmer microclimates).

Publication Title: 

Economics and Education

Authors: 
Johnson, R.L
Updated Date (text): 
2010-12-14
Parent Publication Title: 
Cultures and Biodiversity Congress 2000
Publication Type: 
Archive number: 

Pub Abstract: 

Range-wide Connectivity of Greater Sage-Grouse Populations

Code: 
RB00CNJ.22
 A male greater sage grouse
A male greater sage grouse
Abstract: 

The range-wide distribution of greater sage-grouse mainly consists of a few large core populations surrounded by numerous small populations. The viability of many of these small populations may be sustained by dispersing individuals from neighboring populations. Development that causes habitat loss or creates barriers to dispersal between core areas has the potential to restrict movements important to maintain genetic diversity, augment small populations, or recolonize extirpated populations. State and federal agencies are currently focusing management actions for greater sage-grouse in core areas containing the highest densities of breeding birds. The core-area approach was developed to focus limited resources in areas that will have the greatest potential to benefit the largest proportion of sage-grouse. However, the concept of focusing sage-grouse conservation in these core areas could have unintended consequences by fragmenting sagebrush habitat and increasing isolation of individual sage-grouse populations, which in turn can put genetic viability and population persistence at risk.

Habitat and population fragmentation were two of the top factors contributing to the recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision that listing greater sage-grouse was warranted but precluded. The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Natural Resources Conservation Service (through its Sage-Grouse Initiative), University of Montana, and USGS have begun a collaborative effort to examine gene flow and connectivity among greater sage-grouse populations range-wide. More than 5,000 currently mapped breeding locations throughout their range (11 states and 2 Canadian provinces) are visited each year for population monitoring, providing the opportunity to collect feather samples for use in this study. Researchers will collect fine-scale genetic data from these feathers and combine these data with spatial analyses of landscape components such as habitat, elevation, roads, and energy development.

Study results will provide information on levels of population connectivity as well as characteristics of barriers to dispersal and genetic exchange, including geographic distance, topographic features, and human activities and land uses. Ultimately, the spatial and temporal dynamics of colonization derived from the study—based on rate of genetic exchange and barriers to dispersal—can inform estimates of population viability relative to population isolation and risk of extirpation. Managers will be able to apply this new information towards conservation efforts in areas that will most benefit genetic exchange among greater sage-grouse populations, thereby supporting species persistence.

Integrating Variable Location, Geospatial Scale, and Economic Impacts into Decision Support Systems for Managing Natural Resources

Code: 
8327CKZ.4.0
Abstract: 

Decision support systems (DSS) developed by FORT scientists normally have been specific or “hard-wired” for one location, often limited in geospatial scale and lacking an economic impact or land-use component. Ideally, DSS models and tools should be applicable to any location, river basin, watershed, or stream reach. For this study, FORT scientists are developing models and tools that can (1) address complex environmental issues in regulated or unregulated streams; (2) handle hydropower or navigation or both; (3) incorporate watershed, upland, or riparian issues; (4) characterize aquatic and terrestrial organism needs; (5) include stream, reservoir, lake, riparian, or upland habitat values for these biota; and (6) incorporate water quality and public health issues. A geospatial component that can describe the effects of land-use change, climate change, or changes in precipitation and runoff patterns eventually must be incorporated into the modeling and tool set for DSS. FORT scientists also intend to take advantage of technology improvements to move existing DSS models and tools into the future. Examples of this include converting or upgrading models and tools to Windows XP or future operating systems, implementing new graphics libraries in various user interfaces, upgrading installation software, purchasing or utilizing new compilers as needed, and converting DOS- or FORTRAN-based programs to C++ or Visual Basic language. Cooperators include U.S. Fish and Wildlife fishery biologists from field offices in Yreka and Arcata, California.

Natural Resources Model and Tool Development

Code: 
8327CKZ.2.0
Abstract: 

FORT scientists have developed or assisted with a variety of ongoing decision support applications for FORT clients. Application enhancements, troubleshooting, and training are required on an intermittent as well as a more sustained basis as specific proposals are funded. This task involves enhancing several FORT software products, such as the Stream Impact Assessment Model (SIAM), and assisting DOI and other clients with assessments, peer review, and referral. Development work will continue on the Wood River Resources Assessment Tool (WRRAT), a land-use modeling product. WRRAT will help clients gain the participation of willing landowners in implementing best management practices to reduce phosphorus loading to Upper Klamath Lake from the Wood River valley. This modeling tool is currently a very basic prototype that has a constructed database. Obtaining true-cost estimates for various management practices and adding water quality data are the next steps in WRRAT development. Development work also continues on SIAM and other modeling tools that aid in planning actions for restoring salmon above some of the hydropower dams on the Klamath River. Cooperators include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fishery biologists from the Yreka and Arcata, California, field offices.

Ecoregional Analysis of Sagebrush Ecosystems of the Wyoming Basin and Colorado Plateau

Code: 
9354BO9.431.0
Abstract: 

Conservation and restoration of the sagebrush ecosystem are of special concern to federal and state resource management agencies due to extensive habitat degradation and loss during the last century. Accelerated energy and natural resource development, livestock grazing, and the construction of associated infrastructure such as roads, powerlines, and pipelines potentially influence a substantial proportion of the sagebrush ecosystem, especially in Wyoming and adjacent states. Threats to these systems require systematic assessment on an ecoregional scale to guide development of management plans and reduce further loss or degradation of these habitats. Because processes operating at regional scales can be independent of processes operating in local, smaller systems, conservation strategies developed at regional scales are a necessary part of effective conservation and land-use planning. By the same token, fine-scale data are helpful in setting local objectives. To support integrated planning and management at all levels, this task will (1) provide data layers appropriate for use in preparing ecoregional assessments; (2) identify primary land uses and changes, potential impacts to sagebrush habitats and associated wildlife, and species of concern that use sagebrush during some part of their life-cycle; (3) model potential impacts on sagebrush habitat and associated wildlife species; and (4) conduct extensive field sampling to test wildlife occupancy models.

Water Management Studies

Code: 
RB00CM8.1.0
Abstract: 

As the need for incorporating biological objectives into water management decisions has grown, so has the need for methods and metrics to incorporate predictions of relevant biological responses into an increasingly complex decision environment that attempts to balance multiple uses. This task involves the integration of a variety of models including, but not restricted to, reservoir operations, water allocation, flow routing, 2-d hydraulics, spatially explicit habitat responses for aquatic biota, water temperature, sediment transport, water deliveries and exports, habitat connectivity, and flood frequency and magnitude. The general approach for model integration is to develop customized decision-support systems that link outputs from the numerous types of models described above and organize the results over time in a “control and treatment” comparative format. The “ownership” of the resulting product is transferred to Federal and other water and aquatic resource managers to help them predict the impacts of different management alternatives over multiple time and spatial scales. Key aspects of this task include (1) development of concise displays of information on all affected resource values in an easily understood format, and (2) development of reference materials, user documentation, and training to enable client and stakeholder groups to analyze and troubleshoot management scenarios on their own. Collaborators include area offices of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS Water Science Centers, and other USGS biology laboratories and centers.

Upper Yellowstone River Fish Habitat

Code: 
832798A.2.0
Abstract: 

During the last several decades, portions of the upper Yellowstone River have been modified extensively for flood control and erosion prevention. Following two consecutive 100-year floods in 1996 and 1997, the number of proposed channel modification projects has increased. The increased number of proposed channel modification projects and evidence of related declines in salmonid populations highlight the need for an evaluation of how channel modification affects habitat for fish. This study will help determine whether certain types of channel modification on the Upper Yellowstone River are potentially more detrimental to fish populations than others.

FWS-SALMOD: Klamath River Historical Analysis/Limiting Factors

Code: 
832798A.12.0
Abstract: 

SALMOD is a computer model that simulates the dynamics of freshwater salmonid populations, both anadromous and resident. This study will apply SALMOD to the Klamath River in California. The study will use historic flow and temperature data and determine if any trends or relationships are apparent between smolt production, flow, and water temperature. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can use the information to evaluate management alternatives concerning salmon. Specifically, quantifying the magnitude of production resulting from feasible alterations in water management can help inform mainstem flow regime recommendations.

Geological/Ecological Indicators

Code: 
832798A.11.0
Abstract: 

In modeling relationships among aquatic species and habitats, there is a major need to incorporate sediment considerations into physical habitat predictions. This study improves physical habitat assessment techniques and models by incorporating sediment, substrate, and habitat dynamics, including metals concentrations. Linking these physical habitat characteristics (Geoindictors) and macroinvertebrate community structure and fish species (Bioindicators) with water quality characteristics will lead to a more robust modeling of aquatic systems.