Anthropogenic stress on natural systems, particularly the fragmentation of landscapes and the extirpation of predators from food webs, has intensified the need to regulate abundance of wildlife populations with management. Controlling population growth using fertility control has been considered for almost four decades, but nearly all research has focused on understanding effects of fertility control agents on individual animals. Questions about the efficacy of fertility control as a way to control populations remain largely unanswered.
Collateral consequences of contraception can produce unexpected changes in birth rates, survival, immigration and emigration that may reduce the effectiveness of regulating animal abundance. The magnitude and frequency of such effects vary with species-specific social and reproductive systems, as well as connectivity of populations. Developing models that incorporate static demographic parameters from populations not controlled by contraception may bias predictions of fertility control efficacy.
Many population-level studies demonstrate that changes in survival and immigration induced by fertility control can compensate for the reduction in births caused by contraception. The most successful cases of regulating populations using fertility control come from applications of contraceptives to small, closed populations of gregarious and easily accessed species.
Fertility control can result in artificial selection pressures on the population and may lead to long-term unintentional genetic consequences. The magnitude of such selection is dependent on individual heritability and behavioural traits, as well as environmental variation.
Synthesis and applications. Understanding species’ life-history strategies, biology, behavioural ecology and ecological context is critical to developing realistic expectations of regulating populations using fertility control. Before time, effort and funding are invested in wildlife contraception, managers may need to consider the possibility that many species and populations can compensate for reduction in fecundity, and this could minimize any reduction in population growth rate.
Metamorphosis alters contaminants and chemical tracers in insects: implications for food webs
Kraus, J.M., D.M. Walters, J.S. Wesner, C.A. Stricker, T.S. Schmidt, and R.E. Zuellig
Insects are integral to most freshwater and terrestrial food webs, but due to their accumulation of environmental pollutants they are also contaminant vectors that threaten reproduction, development, and survival of consumers. Metamorphosis from larvae to adult can cause large chemical changes in insects, altering contaminant concentrations and fractionation of chemical tracers used to establish contaminant biomagnification in food webs, but no framework exists for predicting and managing these effects. We analyzed data from 39 studies of 68 analytes (stable isotopes and contaminants), and found that metamorphosis effects varied greatly. δ15N, widely used to estimate relative trophic position in biomagnification studies, was enriched by ∼1‰ during metamorphosis, while δ13C used to estimate diet, was similar in larvae and adults. Metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were predominantly lost during metamorphosis leading to ∼2 to 125-fold higher larval concentrations and higher exposure risks for predators of larvae compared to predators of adults. In contrast, manufactured organic contaminants (such as polychlorinated biphenyls) were retained and concentrated in adults, causing up to ∼3-fold higher adult concentrations and higher exposure risks to predators of adult insects. Both food web studies and contaminant management and mitigation strategies need to consider how metamorphosis affects the movement of materials between habitats and ecosystems, with special regard for aquatic-terrestrial linkages.
Fort Collins Science Center Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Science Accomplishments
The Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) is a multi-disciplinary research and development center of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) located in Fort Collins, Colorado. Organizationally, FORT is within the USGS Southwest Region, although our work extends across the Nation and into several other countries. FORT research focuses on needs of the land- and water-management bureaus within the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), other Federal agencies, and those of State and non-government organizations. As a Science Center, we emphasize a multi-disciplinary science approach to provide information for resource-management decisionmaking. FORT’s vision is to maintain and continuously improve the integrated, collaborative, world-class research needed to inform effective, science-based land and resource management. Our science and technological development activities and unique capabilities support all USGS scientific Mission Areas and contribute to successful, collaborative science efforts across the USGS and DOI. We organized our report into an Executive Summary, a cross-reference table, and an appendix. The executive summary provides brief highlights of some key FORT accomplishments for each Mission Area. The table cross-references all major FY2012 and FY2013 science accomplishments with the various Mission Areas that each supports. The one-page accomplishment descriptions in the appendix are organized by USGS Mission Area and describe the many and diverse ways in which our science is applied to resource issues. As in prior years, lists of all FY2012 and FY2013 publications and other product types also are appended.
Statement of Dr. Craig D. Allen, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate, 17 August 2012
The mission of the USGS's National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) is to serve the scientific needs of managers of fish, wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems as they plan for a changing climate. DOI Climate Science Centers (CSCs) are management by NCCWSC and include this mission as a core responsibility, in line with the CSC mission to provide scientific support for climate-adaptation across a full range of natural and cultural resources.
NCCWSC is a Science Center application designed in Drupal with the Bootstrap 3 theme. As a content management system, Drupal allows the science center to keep their website up-to-date with current publications, news, meetings and projects. Bootstrap allows the site to be adaptive at different screen sizes and is developed on the 960 grid.
White-nose syndrome in bats: Illuminating the darkness
Happy ten-year anniversary to BMC Biology! We can attest to the effectiveness of the journal in reaching a great diversity of scientists based on reader responses to our commentary  about bat white-nose syndrome (WNS) two years ago. WNS is still on course to rank among the most destructive wildlife diseases to emerge in recent history, and it has continued to have unprecedented effects on populations of hibernating bats in eastern North America. At the time of our last writing in November 2010, the cold-adapted fungus then presumed to cause WNS (Geomyces destructans) had spread about 1,300 km from an index site in New York (Figure 1). In those early years of the epizootic, WNS caused a staggering wave of mass mortality among all six species of hibernating bats that occur in north-eastern North America. Since November 2010, WNS has spread into eight additional US states and two more Canadian provinces (Figure 1), and has continued to cause mortality in those six species most affected during the early years of the epizootic. Although part of a mostly tragic story has continued to unfold as new areas are affected, anecdotal signs are emerging that all may not be lost when it comes to hibernating bats and WNS. Amid the continued large-scale population declines of certain species, we have yet to see mass mortality in some of the more westerly areas where the fungus was detected two winters ago (Figure 1). Also, recently disease without obvious mortality was diagnosed in gray bats (Myotis grisescens) - an endangered species thought by many two years ago to be at high risk of extinction from WNS. Clearly, large gaps in our understanding of WNS remain, but some have been filled since we last communicated with readers of BMC Biology.
Modeling Human Population Growth using Dasymetric Mapping: Scenario Building for Wildlife Management
Assal, T.J. and Montag, J.M
Updated Date (text):
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Topics in Land Use Research II, Association of American Geographers 2010 Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., April 17, 2010
The Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) is a multi-disciplinary research and development center of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) located in Fort Collins, Colo. Organizationally, FORT is within the USGS Rocky Mountain Area, although our work extends across the Nation and into several other countries. FORT research focuses on needs of the land- and water-management bureaus within the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), other Federal agencies, and the needs of State and non-government organizations. As a Science Center, we emphasize a multi-disciplinary science approach to provide information for resource-management decisionmaking. FORT’s vision is to maintain and continuously improve the integrated, collaborative, world-class research needed to inform effective, science-based land management. Our innovative scientists and technical specialists accomplish this mission in two fundamental ways:
We build teams across USGS centers and Federal agencies.
Resource management decisions and planning processes require a broad range of biological, ecological, and economic analyses and often must consider a landscape or ecoregional perspective that involves multiple Federal and State agencies and often university and private partners. Our Center has a long history of addressing resource management and planning issues, leveraging shared data and expertise across centers and agencies. This collaborative work has been recognized through three consecutive DOI “Partners in Conservation” awards and our selection as the host site for the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis.
We provide interdisciplinary science support and Information Technology infrastructure that facilitates integrated and collaborative research.
Advanced Information Technology (IT) and data capabilities at FORT include the Resource for Advanced Modeling laboratory, high throughput and high performance computing resources, and easily accessible libraries of large geospatial datasets. Our Center is also piloting for USGS a number of cutting-edge technologies that could dramatically lower IT costs and improve performance, such as network optimization tools and virtualization. These services provide support to as many as 14 working groups per year for the Powell Center, in addition to new levels of data management and analysis for our own scientists. With an interdisciplinary science staff from several USGS science centers, we are located within the Natural Resource Research Center campus at Colorado State University, where there are more than 1,000 natural resource professionals from six Federal agencies.
Our science and technological development activities and unique capabilities support all six USGS scientific Mission Areas and contribute to successful, collaborative science efforts across the USGS and DOI. This year, we have organized our annual report into an Executive Summary with an appendix of 70 science accomplishments. These one-page accomplishment descriptions are organized by USGS Mission Area. As in prior years, lists of all FY2011 publications and other product types also are appended.
This executive summary of our annual report provides brief highlights of a few key FORT accomplishments for each Mission Area, along with a table cross-referencing all major FY11 accomplishments with the various Mission Areas each supports. I hope you will also peruse the accomplishment descriptions in Appendix 1, as they describe the many and diverse ways in which the “rubber meets the road” here at FORT.
Ecology of zoonotic infectious diseases in bats: Current knowledge and future directions
Hayman, D.T.S., R.A. Bowen, P.M. Cryan, G.F. McCracken, T.J. O'Shea, A. Peel, A. Turmelle, C.T. Webb, and J.L.N. Wood
Bats are hosts to a range of zoonotic and potentially zoonotic pathogens. Human activities that increase exposure to bats will likely increase the opportunity for infections to spill over in the future. Ecological drivers of pathogen spillover and emergence in novel hosts, including humans, involve a complex mixture of processes, and understanding these complexities may aid in predicting spillover. In particular, only once the pathogen and host ecologies are known can the impacts of anthropogenic changes be fully appreciated. Cross-disciplinary approaches are required to understand how host and pathogen ecology interact. Bats differ from other sylvatic disease reservoirs because of their unique and diverse lifestyles, including their ability to fly, often highly gregarious social structures, long lifespans and low fecundity rates. We highlight how these traits may affect infection dynamics and how both host and pathogen traits may interact to affect infection dynamics. We identify key questions relating to the ecology of infectious diseases in bats and propose that a combination of field and laboratory studies are needed to create data-driven mechanistic models to elucidate those aspects of bat ecology that are most critical to the dynamics of emerging bat viruses. If commonalities can be found, then predicting the dynamics of newly emerging diseases may be possible. This modelling approach will be particularly important in scenarios when population surveillance data are unavailable and when it is unclear which aspects of host ecology are driving infection dynamics.