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Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

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A General Lake Model (GLM 3.0) for linking with high-frequency sensor data from the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON)

Released February 15, 2019 13:54 EST

2019, Geoscientific Model Development (12) 473-523

Matthew R. Hipsey, Louise C. Bruce, Casper Boon, Brendan Busch, Cayelan C. Carey, David P. Hamilton, Paul C. Hanson, Jordan S. Read, Eduardo de Sousa, Michael Weber, Luke A. Winslow

The General Lake Model (GLM) is a one-dimensional open-source code designed to simulate the hydrodynamics of lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands. GLM was developed to support the science needs of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON), a network of researchers using sensors to understand lake functioning and address questions about how lakes around the world respond to climate and land use change. The scale and diversity of lake types, locations, and sizes, and the expanding observational datasets created the need for a robust community model of lake dynamics with sufficient flexibility to accommodate a range of scientific and management questions relevant to the GLEON community. This paper summarizes the scientific basis and numerical implementation of the model algorithms, including details of sub-models that simulate surface heat exchange and ice cover dynamics, vertical mixing, and inflow–outflow dynamics. We demonstrate the suitability of the model for different lake types that vary substantially in their morphology, hydrology, and climatic conditions. GLM supports a dynamic coupling with biogeochemical and ecological modelling libraries for integrated simulations of water quality and ecosystem health, and options for integration with other environmental models are outlined. Finally, we discuss utilities for the analysis of model outputs and uncertainty assessments, model operation within a distributed cloud-computing environment, and as a tool to support the learning of network participants.

Water column nutrient processing rates in rivermouths of Green Bay (Lake Michigan)

Released February 15, 2019 12:53 EST

2019, Biogeochemistry (142) 73-93

James H. Larson, Mary Anne Evans, Faith A. Fitzpatrick, Paul C. Frost, Sean Bailey, Robert J. Kennedy, William F. James, William B. Richardson, Paul C. Reneau

Understanding the quantity and form of nutrient loads to large lakes is necessary to understand controls over primary production, phytoplankton community composition and the production of phytotoxins. Nutrient loading estimates to large lakes are primarily made at stream gages that are deliberately placed outside the direct influence of lake processes, but these estimates cannot take into account processes that occur in the biologically active river-to-lake transition zone. These transition zones (rivermouths) sometimes alter nutrient concentrations and ratios substantially, but few studies have directly measured processing rates of nutrients within rivermouths. From April through September 2016, we conducted 23 water column incubation experiments to measure nutrient loss rates in four rivermouths. First order loss rates (K) for inorganic nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) indicated greater loss in light than in dark treatments, suggesting primary production increases N and P removal. Variability in K was high across both time and space, and the measured environmental parameters did not appear to be strongly associated with this variation in K for most N and P forms. If the measured Kvalues and water residence times are accurate, then between 0 and 99% of the inorganic P and nitrates entering the rivermouth would be lost (i.e., converted to organic or particulate P). In late summer, Fox River discharge is low and residence times are usually long, which allow for much higher proportional nutrient removal in the water column. Water column processing appears to be capable of transforming large quantities of dissolved N and P to particulate forms and thus altering its transport and presumably its bioavailability.

Marshes are the new beaches: Integrating sediment transport into restoration planning

Released February 15, 2019 12:48 EST

2019, Estuaries and Coasts

Neil Kamal Ganju

Recent coastal storms and associated recovery efforts have led to increased investment in nature-based coastal protection, including restoration of salt marshes and construction of living shorelines. In particular, many of these efforts focus on increasing vertical elevation through sediment nourishment, where sediment is removed from the tidal channel and placed on the marsh plain, or preventing lateral erosion through shoreline protection. In the USA alone, millions of dollars have been allocated or spent on these coastal protection solutions over the last few decades because of their perceived sustainability and ecologically positive co-benefits including habitat provision and carbon sequestration. These projects would benefit from integration of sediment transport pathways, budgets, and metrics during planning and modeling of restoration outcomes, in order to evaluate sustainability before investment. This is analogous to the decades of experience with coastal management and engineering on the open coast. Salt marshes are geomorphic features that rely partially on external sediment supply to maintain their network of tidal channels, intertidal flats, and marsh plain. Removing sediment from one component of the overall system to nourish another component may be counterproductive, given that the net sediment budget is unchanged. For example, dredging a tidal channel beyond its equilibrium condition will cause it to fill with sediment from the tidal flat or elsewhere in the system. This may cause slumping of the marsh edge, or over-deepening of other sections of the channel to compensate. Similarly, shoreline protection that prevents edge erosion hampers the marsh plain’s ability to accrete on the levee and naturally transgress landward or it starves other components of the system of regularly supplied sediment. A limited vertical or lateral-only perspective, instead of a three-dimensional perspective, during project planning and evaluation may lead to suboptimal decision-making regarding restoration priorities, approaches, and outcomes. I contend that before significant investments are made in marsh restoration through sediment nourishment or shoreline protection, sediment transport measurements and models that consider sediment dynamics should be integrated into the early phases of restoration planning. This will help identify where and under what conditions marsh restoration will most likely be successful and economically justified. Triaging and prioritizing is then possible, which is a sustainable approach for restoration, given the persistent vulnerability of marshes to sea-level rise, storms, and sediment deficits.

Description of disparate responses of two indoor feral bee colonies

Released February 15, 2019 12:40 EST

2019, Bee World (96) 12-15

Nimish B. Vyas, Amanda D. Plunkett

As is sometimes the case, field research does not always go according to plan. This is especially true when the research involves free-ranging animals. We recently conducted a preliminary field study that involved placing a beehive in a tent and individually releasing marked honey bees (Apis mellifera) outdoors to study their ability to locate sugar water rewards by following olfactory cues. Herein, we relay our experiences with two beehives and their disparate responses to being held in tents We believe our observations, although anecdotal, can provide much needed guidance to researchers and beekeepers who may need to temporarily hold honey bee colonies in tents or other enclosures.

Design and methods of the U.S. Geological Survey Northeast Stream Quality Assessment (NESQA), 2016

Released February 15, 2019 08:30 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2018-1183

James F. Coles, Karen Riva-Murray, Peter C. Van Metre, Daniel T. Button, Amanda H. Bell, Sharon L. Qi, Celeste A. Journey, Richard W. Sheibley

During 2016, as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Project (NAWQA), the U.S. Geological Survey conducted the Northeast Stream Quality Assessment (NESQA) to investigate stream quality in the northeastern United States. The goal of the NESQA was to assess the health of wadeable streams in the region by characterizing multiple water-quality factors that are stressors to aquatic life and by evaluating the relation between these stressors and the condition of biological communities. Urbanization, agriculture, and human modifications to streamflow are anthropogenic changes that greatly affect water quality in the region; consequently, the study design primarily selected sites and targeted stressors associated with these activities. The NESQA built on a prior NAWQA study conducted in the region in 2014, the Atlantic Highlands flow-ecology study, which investigated the effects of anthropogenically modified flows on aquatic biological communities in primarily forested watersheds. Land-cover data for the NESQA were used to identify and select sites within the region that had watersheds ranging in levels of urban and agricultural development. A total of 95 sites were selected: 67 on streams in watersheds representing a range of urban land use, 13 on streams in watersheds with some degree of agricultural land use, and 15 on streams in predominantly forested watersheds with little development. Depending on land-cover characteristics, sites were sampled weekly for metal and organic contaminants, nutrients, and sediment for either a 9-week period that began the week of June 6, 2016, or a 4-week period that begin the week of July 11, 2016. Beginning August 1, 2016, and for about 2 weeks, an ecological survey was conducted at every site to assess stream habitat, and algal, benthic invertebrate, and fish communities. Additional samples collected during the ecological surveys were streambed sediment for chemical analysis and toxicity testing, and fish tissue for mercury analysis. This report describes the various study components and methods of the NESQA and describes a precursor effort for the Atlantic Highlands flow-ecology study. Details are presented for measurements of water quality, sediment chemistry, streamflow, and ecological surveys of stream biota and habitat, as well as processes of sample analysis, quality assurance and quality control, and data management.

Simulating demography, genetics, and spatially explicit processes to inform reintroduction of a threatened char

Released February 14, 2019 13:18 EST

2019, Ecosphere (10) 1-24

Meryl C. Mims, Casey C. Day, Jacob J. Burkhart, Matthew R. Fuller, Jameson Hinkle, Andrew Bearlin, Jason B. Dunham, Patrick W. DeHaan, Zachary A. Holden, Erin L. Landguth

The success of species reintroductions can depend on a combination of environmental, demographic, and genetic factors. Although the importance of these factors in the success of reintroductions is well‐accepted, they are typically evaluated independently, which can miss important interactions. For species that persist in metapopulations, movement through and interaction with the landscape is predicted to be a vital component of persistence. Simulation‐based approaches are a promising technique for evaluating the independent and combined effects of these factors on the outcome of various reintroduction and associated management actions. We report results from a simulation study of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) reintroduction to three watersheds of the Pend Oreille River system in northeastern Washington State, USA. We used an individual‐based, spatially explicit simulation model to evaluate how reintroduction strategies, life history variation, and riverscape structure (e.g., network topology) interact to influence the demographic and genetic characteristics of reintroduced bull trout populations in three watersheds. Simulation scenarios included a range of initial genetic stocks (informed by empirical bull trout genetic data), variation in migratory tendency and life history, and two landscape connectivity alternatives representing a connected network (isolation‐by‐distance) and a fragmented network (isolation‐by‐barrier, using the known existing barriers). A novel feature of these simulations was the ability to consider the interaction of both demographic and genetic (i.e., demogenetic) factors in riverscapes with implicit asymmetric movement probabilities across the barriers. We found that connectivity (presence or absence of barriers) had the largest effect on demographic and genetic outcomes over 200 yr, with a greater effect than both initial genetic diversity and life history variation. We also identified regions of the study system in which bull trout populations persisted across a wide range of demographic, life history, and environmental connectivity parameters. Finally, we found no evidence that initial neutral genetic diversity influenced genetic diversity and structure after 200 yr; instead, genetic drift due to stray rate and population isolation dominated and erased any initial differences in genetic diversity. Our results highlight the utility of spatially explicit demogenetic approaches in exploring and understanding population dynamics—and their implications for management strategies—in fresh waters.

River‐valley morphology, basin size, and flow‐event magnitude interact to produce wide variation in flooding dynamics

Released February 14, 2019 12:37 EST

2019, Ecosphere (10) 1-25

Molly Van Appledorn, Matthew E. Baker, Andrew J. Miller

Inundation dynamics are a key driver of ecosystem form and function in river‐valley bottoms. Inundation itself is an outcome of multi‐scalar interactions and can vary strongly within and among river reaches. As a result, establishing to what degree and how inundation dynamics vary spatially both within and among river reaches can be challenging. The objective of this study was to understand how river‐valley morphology, basin size, and flow‐event magnitude interact to affect inundation dynamics in river‐valley bottoms. We used 2D hydraulic models to simulate inundation in four river reaches from Maryland's Piedmont physiographic province, and qualitatively and quantitatively summarized within‐ and among‐reach patterns of inundation extent, duration, depth, shear stress, and wetting frequencies. On average, reaches from confined valley settings experienced less extensive flooding, shorter durations and shallower depths, stronger gradients of maximum shear stress, and relatively infrequent wetting compared to reaches from unconfined settings. These patterns were generally consistent across flow‐event magnitudes. Patterns of within‐reach flooding across event magnitudes revealed complex interactions between hydrology and surface topography. We concluded that valley morphology had a greater impact on flooding patterns than basin size: Inundation patterns were more consistent across reaches of similar morphology than similar basin size, but absolute values of inundation characteristics varied between large and small basins. Our results showed that the manifestation of out‐of‐bank flows in valley floors can vary widely depending on geomorphic context, even within a single physiographic province, which suggests that hydrologic and hydraulic conditions experienced on the valley floor may not be well represented by existing hydrologic metrics derived from discharge data alone. We thus support the notion that 2D hydraulic models can be useful hydrometric tools for cross‐scale investigations of floodplain ecosystems.

Effects of urban multi-stressors on three stream biotic assemblages

Released February 14, 2019 12:28 EST

2019, Science of the Total Environment (660) 1472-1485

Ian R. Waite, Mark D. Munn, Patrick W. Moran, Christopher P. Konrad, Lisa H. Nowell, Michael R. Meador, Peter C. Van Metre, Daren M. Carlisle

During 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment(NAWQA) project assessed stream quality in 75 streams across an urban disturbance gradient within the Piedmont ecoregion of southeastern United States. Our objectives were to identify primary instream stressors affecting algal, macroinvertebrate and fish assemblages in wadeable streams. Biotic communities were surveyed once at each site, and various instream stressors were measured during a 4-week index period preceding the ecological sampling. The measured stressors included nutrients; contaminants in water, passive samplers, and sediment; instream habitat; and flow variability. All nine boosted regression tree models – three for each of algae, invertebrates, and fish – had cross-validation R2 (CV R2) values of 0.41 or above, and an invertebrate model had the highest CV R2 of 0.65. At least one contaminant metric was important in every model, and minimum daytime dissolved oxygen (DO), nutrients, and flow alteration were important explanatory variables in many of the models. Physical habitat metrics such as sediment substrate were only moderately important. Flow alteration metrics were useful factors in eight of the nine models. Total phosphorus, acetanilide herbicides and flow (time since last peak) were important in all three algal models, whereas insecticide metrics (especially those representing fipronil and imidacloprid) were dominant in the invertebrate models. DO values below approximately 7 mg/L corresponded to a strong decrease in sensitive taxa or an increase in tolerant taxa. DO also showed strong interactions with other variables, particularly contaminants and sediment, where the combined effect of low DO and elevated contaminants increased the impact on the biota more than each variable individually. Contaminants and flow alteration were strongly correlated to urbanization, indicating the importance of urbanization to ecological stream condition in the region.

Negligible cycling of terrestrial carbon in many lakes of the arid circumpolar landscape

Released February 14, 2019 12:25 EST

2019, Nature Geoscience

Matthew J. Bogard, Catherine D. Kuhn, Sarah Ellen Johnston, Robert G. Striegl, Gordon W. Holtgrieve, Mark M. Dornblaser, Robert G. M. Spencer, Kimberly P. Wickland, David E. Butman

High-latitude environments store nearly half of the planet’s below-ground organic carbon (OC), mostly in perennially frozen permafrost soils. Climatic changes drive increased export of terrestrial OC into many aquatic networks, yet the role that circumpolar lakes play in mineralizing this carbon is unclear. Here we directly evaluate ecosystem-scale OC cycling for lakes of interior Alaska. This arid, low-relief lake landscape is representative of over a quarter of total northern circumpolar lake area, but is greatly under-represented in current studies. Contrary to projections based on work in other regions, the studied lakes had a negligible role in mineralizing terrestrial carbon; they received little OC from ancient permafrost soils, and had small net contribution to the watershed carbon balance. Instead, most lakes recycled large quantities of internally derived carbon fixed from atmospheric CO2, underscoring their importance as critical sites for material and energy provision to regional food webs. Our findings deviate from the prevailing paradigm that northern lakes are hotspots of terrestrial OC processing. The shallow and hydrologically disconnected nature of lakes in many arid circumpolar landscapes isolates them from terrestrial carbon processing under current climatic conditions.

Stratigraphic cross sections of the Niobrara Interval of the Upper Cretaceous Cody Shale in the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming and Montana

Released February 14, 2019 11:30 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Map 3422

Thomas M. Finn

The Bighorn Basin is one of many structural and sedimentary basins that formed in the Rocky Mountain foreland during the Laramide orogeny. The basin is nearly 180 miles long, 100 miles wide, and encompasses about 10,400 square miles in northern Wyoming and southern Montana. The basin is bounded by major basement uplifts that include the Pryor uplift on the northeast, the Beartooth uplift on the northwest, the Bighorn uplift on the east, and the Owl Creek uplift on the south. The northern margin includes a zone of faulting and folding referred to as the Nye-Bowler lineament. The western margin is formed by volcanic rocks of the Absaroka Range.

Many important conventional oil and gas fields producing from reservoirs ranging in age from Cambrian through Tertiary have been discovered in this basin. In addition, an extensive unconventional overpressured basin-centered gas accumulation may be present in Cretaceous strata in the deeper parts of the basin. It has long been suggested that various Upper Cretaceous marine shales, including the Cody Shale, are the principal hydrocarbon source rocks for many of these accumulations. With recent advances and success in horizontal drilling and multistage fracture stimulation, there has been an increase in exploration and completion of wells in these marine shales in other Rocky Mountain Laramide basins that were traditionally thought of only as hydrocarbon source rocks.

The stratigraphic cross sections presented in this report were constructed as part of a project carried out by the U.S. Geological Survey to characterize and evaluate the undiscovered continuous (unconventional) oil and gas resources of the Niobrara interval in the lower part of the Upper Cretaceous Cody Shale in the Bighorn Basin. These cross sections were constructed using borehole geophysical logs from wells drilled for oil and gas exploration and production. The stratigraphic interval extends from the upper part of the Frontier Formation to the middle part of the Cody Shale. The datum is the base of the “chalk kick” marker bed, a distinctive resistivity peak or zone in the lower part of the Cody Shale. A gamma ray and (or) spontaneous potential log was used in combination with a resistivity log to identify and correlate units. Marine molluscan index fossils collected from nearby outcrop sections were projected into the subsurface to help determine the relative ages of the strata and aid in correlation.

Considerations for Globigerinoides ruber (white and pink) paleoceanography: Comprehensive insights from a long‐running sediment trap

Released February 14, 2019 10:27 EST

2019, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology

Julie N. Richey, Kaustubh Thirumalai, Deborah Khider, Caitlin E. Reynolds, Judson W. Partin, Terrence M. Quinn

We present a detailed analysis of the seasonal distribution, size, morphological variability and geochemistry of co‐occurring pink and white chromotypes of Globigerinoides ruberfrom a high‐resolution (1–2 weeks) and long‐running sediment trap time series in the northern Gulf of Mexico. We find no difference in the seasonal flux of the two chromotypes. Although flux of G. ruber is consistently lowest in winter, the flux‐weighted signal exported to marine sediments represents mean annual conditions in the surface mixed‐layer. We observe the same morphological diversity among pink specimens of G. ruber as white. Comparison of the oxygen and carbon isotopic composition (δ18O and δ13C) of two morphotypes (sensu stricto and sensu lato) of pink G. ruber reveals the isotopes to be indistinguishable. The test size distribution within the population varies seasonally, with the abundance of large individuals increasing (decreasing) with increasing (decreasing) sea surface temperature (SST). We find no systematic offsets in the Mg/Ca and δ18O of co‐occurring pink and white G. ruber. The sediment trap data set shows that the Mg/Ca‐temperature sensitivity for both chromotypes is much lower than the canonical 9% per °C, which can likely be attributed to the secondary influence of both salinity and pH on foraminiferal Mg/Ca. Using paired Mg/Ca and δ18O we evaluate the performance of a suite of published equations for calculating SST, sea surface salinity (SSS) and isotopic composition of seawater (δ18Osw), including a new salinity‐δ18Oswrelationship for the northern Gulf of Mexico from water column observations.

Factors affecting the occurrence of lead and manganese in untreated drinking water from Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain aquifers, eastern United States—Dissolved oxygen and pH framework for evaluating risk of elevated concentrations

Released February 14, 2019 10:19 EST

2019, Applied Geochemistry (101) 88-102

Craig J. Brown, Jeannie R. B. Barlow, Charles A. Cravotta III, Bruce D. Lindsey

Groundwater samples collected during 2012 and 2013 from public-supply wells screened in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain aquifers of the eastern and southeastern U.S. rarely contained lead or manganese concentrations that exceeded drinking-water limits, despite having corrosive characteristics. Data indicate that the occurrence of dissolved lead and manganese in sampled groundwater, prior to its distribution or treatment, was related to several explanatory factors including the presence of source minerals, hydrologic position along the flow path, water-rock interactions, and associated geochemical conditions such as pH and dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations. Elevated concentrations of lead compared to health-based benchmarks were associated with groundwater that is acidic (pH ≤ 6.5), oxygenated (DO ≥ 2 mg/L), and closer to recharge zones (relatively young water). Elevated concentrations of manganese were associated with groundwater that is acidic to neutral (pH ≤ 7.5), has low DO (<2 mg/L), and further from recharge zones (relatively old). Under these geochemical conditions, minerals that could sequester lead or manganese tended to be undersaturated, and adsorption by hydrous ferric oxide was limited. Under neutral to alkaline pH conditions, precipitation of impure calcium carbonate or phosphate compounds containing traces of lead or manganese (solid solutions) could maintain low concentrations of the trace elements. Additionally, adsorption of lead or manganese cations by hydrous ferric oxides (HFO) could be another attenuating factor where conditions are oxidizing and dissolved inorganic carbon concentrations are relatively low. A DO/pH framework was developed as a screening tool for evaluating risk of elevated lead or manganese, based on the occurrence of elevated lead and manganese concentrations and the corresponding distributions of DO and pH in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain aquifers. Validation of the DO/pH framework was accomplished using an independent national dataset that showed consistent results for elevated lead (pH ≤ 6.5; DO ≥ 2 mg/L) and manganese (pH ≤ 7.5; DO < 2 mg/L).

Most Earth-surface calcites precipitate out of isotopic equilibrium

Released February 14, 2019 09:43 EST

2019, Nature Communications (10) 1-7

Mathieu Daëron, Russell N Drysdale, Marion Peral, Damien Huyghe, Dominique Blamart, Tyler B. Coplen, Franck Lartaud, Giovanni Zanchetta

Oxygen-isotope thermometry played a critical role in the rise of modern geochemistry and remains extensively used in (bio-)geoscience. Its theoretical foundations rest on the assumption that 18O/16O partitioning among water and carbonate minerals primarily reflects thermodynamic equilibrium. However, after decades of research, there is no consensus on the true equilibrium 18O/16O fractionation between calcite and water (18αcc/w). Here, we constrain the equilibrium relations linking temperature, 18αcc/w, and clumped isotopes (Δ47) based on the composition of extremely slow-growing calcites from Devils Hole and Laghetto Basso (Corchia Cave). Equilibrium 18αcc/w values are systematically ~1.5‰ greater than those in biogenic and synthetic calcite traditionally considered to approach oxygen-isotope equilibrium. We further demonstrate that subtle disequilibria also affect Δ47 in biogenic calcite. These observations provide evidence that most Earth-surface calcites fail to achieve isotopic equilibrium, highlighting the need to improve our quantitative understanding of non-equilibrium isotope fractionation effects instead of relying on phenomenological calibrations.

Research priorities for freshwater mussel conservation assessment

Released February 14, 2019 09:30 EST

2019, Biological Conservation (231) 77-87

Noé Ferreira-Rodríguez, Yoshihiro B. Akiyama, Olga V. Aksenova, M. Christopher Barnhart, Yulia V. Bespalaya, Arthur E. Bogan, Ivan N Bolotov, Prem B. Budha, Cristhian Clavijo, Susan J. Clearwater, Gustavo Darrigran, Van Tu Do, Karel Douda, Elsa Froufe, Clemens Gumpinger, Lennart Henrikson, Chris L. Humphrey, Nathan A. Johnson, Olga Klishko, Michael W. Klunzinger, Satit Kovitvadhi, Uthaiwan Kovitvadhi, Jasna Lajtner, Manuel Lopes-Lima, Evelyn A. Moorkens, Shigeya Nagayama, Karl-Otto Nagel, Mitsunori Nakano, Junjiro N. Negishi, Paz Ondina, Panu Oulasvirta, Vincent Prié, Nicoletta Riccardi, Mudīte Rudzīte, Fran Sheldon, Ronaldo Sousa, David L. Strayer, Motoi Takeuchi, Jouni Taskinen, Amilcar Teixeira, Jeremy S. Tiemann, Maria Urbańska, Simone Varandas, Maxim V. Vinarski, Barry J. Wicklow, Tadeusz Zając, Caryn C. Vaughn

Freshwater mussels are declining globally, and effective conservation requires prioritizing research and actions to identify and mitigate threats impacting mussel species. Conservation priorities vary widely, ranging from preventing imminent extinction to maintaining abundant populations. Here, we develop a portfolio of priority research topics for freshwater mussel conservation assessment. To address these topics, we group research priorities into two categories: intrinsic or extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are indicators of organismal or population status, while extrinsic factors encompass environmental variables and threats. An understanding of intrinsic factors is useful in monitoring, and of extrinsic factors are important to understand ongoing and potential impacts on conservation status. This dual approach can guide conservation status assessments prior to the establishment of priority species and implementation of conservation management actions.

US Topo Product Standard

Released February 13, 2019 15:30 EST

2019, Techniques and Methods 11-B2

Larry R. Davis, Kristin A. Fishburn, Helmut Lestinsky, Laurence R. Moore, Jennifer L. Walter

This document defines a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) digital topographic map. This map product series, named “US Topo,” is modeled on the now historical USGS 7.5-minute (1:24,000 scale) topographic map series produced and printed by the USGS from 1947 to 2006. US Topo maps have the same extent, scale, and general layout as the historical topographic maps. US Topo maps incorporate an orthorectified image (hereinafter referred to as “orthoimage”) and shaded relief image along with a selection of data that were included in the historical 7.5-minute topographic maps. Between June and September of 2017, the USGS transitioned the format of US Topo maps to be published, by using a geospatial extension, in an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 32000-compliant Adobe® portable document format (PDF) that is called a “geospatial PDF.” Previously, US Topo maps were published, by using geospatial extensions patented by TerraGo® Technologies, in PDF in a format called a “GeoPDF®.” The geospatial PDF design allows a user to zoom in and out in a georeferenced environment, turn layers on and off, view or print any combination of layers, and print any portion of the map at the published scale.

US Topo maps are intended to serve conventional map users by providing geographic information system (GIS) information in symbolized form in the customary topographic map layout. The maps are not intended for advanced GIS analysis applications. These products are built on standard coordinate systems and include full U.S. National Grid (USNG) lines, making US Topo maps particularly useful for emergency first-response operations. These maps are also used by traditional topographic map users, such as resource managers, planners, and recreational users who continue to have a need for the symbolized feature data contained in the 7.5-minute quadrangle maps.

Full-size style sheet templates in PDF defining the placement of map elements, marginalia, and font sizes and styles accompany this standard. US Topo maps published as geospatial PDFs are fashioned to conform to these style sheets so that a user can print out a map at the 1:24,000, 1:25,000, or 1:20,000 scale using the dimensions of the traditional standard 7.5-minute quadrangle. Symbology and type specifications for feature content and detailed requirements for geospatial content will be published separately.

This document is an update of the US Topo Product Standard published in 2011 (Cooley and others, 2011). It is applicable to all US Topo maps. Updates in this version include
  • the introduction of an ISO 32000-compliant geospatial PDF as a new file format for published maps;
  • new style sheet templates for 1:24,000-scale maps (conterminous United States and Hawaii), 1:25,000-scale maps (Alaska), and 1:20,000-scale maps (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands);
  • an updated US Topo Map Symbol attachment;
  • minor updates to text, including changes to the features and layers included in the US Topo product and the sheet size of the US Topo maps;
  • updated figures demonstrating the US Topo product;
  • an updated metadata file containing map-specific information.

The dual‐domain porosity apparatus: Characterizing dual porosity at the sediment/water interface

Released February 12, 2019 16:49 EST

2019, Groundwater

Courtney R. Scruggs, Martin A. Briggs, Frederick D. Day-Lewis, Dale D. Werkema, John W. Lane

The characterization of pore-space connectivity in porous media at the sediment/water interface is critical to understanding contaminant transport and reactive biogeochemical processes in zones of groundwater and surface-water exchange. Previous in situ studies of dual-domain (i.e., mobile/less-mobile porosity) studies have been limited to solute tracer injections at scales of meters to 100s of meters and subsequent numerical model parameterization using fluid concentration histories. Pairing fine-scale (e.g., sub-meter) geoelectrical measurements with fluid tracer data over time alleviates dependence on flowpath-scale experiments, enabling spatially targeted characterization of shallow sediment/water interface media where biogeochemical reactivity is often high. The Dual-Domain Porosity Apparatus is a field-tested device capable of variable rate-controlled downward flow experiments. The Dual-Domain Porosity Apparatus facilitates meter-scale inference of dual-domain parameters, i.e., mobile/less-mobile exchange rate coefficient and the ratio of less mobile to mobile porosity. The Dual-Domain Porosity Apparatus experimental procedure uses water electrical conductivity as a conservative tracer of differential loading and flushing of pore spaces within the region of measurement. Variable injection rates permit the direct quantification of the flow-dependence of dual-domain parameters, which has been theorized for decades but remains challenging to assess using existing experimental methodologies.

Three-dimensional geologic mapping to assess geothermal potential: Examples from Nevada and Oregon

Released February 12, 2019 16:21 EST

2019, Geothermal Energy – Science, Society and Technology (7) 1-32

Drew L. Siler, James E. Faulds, Nicholas H. Hinz, Gregory M. Dering, Joel H. Edwards, Brett Mayhew

Geologic structure plays an important role in controlling fluid flow in geothermal systems. In particular, very complex structural settings, consisting of many closely spaced and intersecting faults, host many geothermal systems. To elucidate the key geologic factors that affect fault-controlled geothermal circulation, it is critical to precisely characterize the structural and stratigraphic geometries in these complex settings. Here, we present a methodology and the results of 3D geologic analyses of two geothermal systems in the Basin and Range, USA. This methodology is a quantitative and geologically focused technique that can be used to precisely characterize geothermal areas, in a time when future geothermal growth demands increased exploration precision and efficiency. Surficial and subsurface geologic and geophysical data are synthesized in the construction of detailed 3D geologic maps of geothermal areas. Based on these 3D geologic maps, we examine several geologic attributes that control permeability development and geothermal fluid flow along faults. We use the stress state of faults and the distribution of structural discontinuities (i.e., fault intersections and fault terminations) to identify locations of upflow along faults in these geothermal systems. These results and the methodology presented herein are directly applicable to structurally controlled geothermal fields in the Basin and Range and worldwide. As development focus shifts toward blind geothermal resources, integration of precisely characterized subsurface structural information into exploration methods will be increasingly critical to continued growth in geothermal exploration and development.

A bibliometric profile of the Remote Sensing Open Access Journal published by MDPI between 2009 and 2018

Released February 12, 2019 13:10 EST

2019, Remote Sensing (11) 1-34

YuYing Zhang, Prasad S. Thenkabail, Peng Wang

Remote Sensing Open Access Journal (RS OAJ) is an international leading journal in the field of remote sensing science and technology. It was first published in the year 2009 and is currently celebrating tenth year of publications. In this research, a bibliometric analysis of RS OAJ was conducted based on 5588 articles published during the 10-year (2009–2018) time-period. The bibliometric analysis includes a comprehensive set of indicators such as dynamics and trends of publications, journal impact factor, total cites, eigenfactor score, normalized eigenfactor, CiteScore, h-index, h-classic publications, most productive countries (or territories) and institutions, co-authorship collaboration about countries (territories), research themes, citation impact of co-occurrences keywords, intellectual structure, and knowledge commutation. We found that publications of RS OAJ presented an exponential growth in the past ten years. From 2010 to 2017 (for which complete years data were available), the h-index of RS OAJ is 67. From 2009–2018, RS OAJ includes publications from 129 countries (or territories) and 3826 institutions. The leading nations contributing articles, based on 2009–2018 data, and listed based on ranking were: China, United States, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Canada, England, Australia, Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland and Austria. The leading institutions, also for the same period and listed based on ranking were: Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan University, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing Normal University, The university of Maryland, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, China University of Geosciences, United States Geological Survey, German Aerospace Centre, University of Twente, and California Institute of Technology. For the year 2017, RS OAJ had an impressive journal impact factor of 3.4060, a CiteScore of 4.03, eigenfactor score of 0.0342, and normalized eigenfactor score of 3.99. In addition, based on 2009–2018, data co-word analysis determined that “remote sensing”, “MODIS”, “Landsat”, “LiDAR” and “NDVI” are the high-frequency of author keywords co-occurrence in RS OAJ. The main themes of RS OAJ are multi-spectral and hyperspectral remote sensing, LiDAR scanning and forestry remote sensing monitoring, MODIS and LAI data applications, Remote sensing applications and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Through author keywords citation impact analysis, we find the most influential keyword is Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), followed, forestry, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), terrestrial laser scanning, airborne laser scanning, forestry inventory, urban heat island, monitoring, agriculture, and laser scanning. By analyzing the intellectual structure of RS OAJ, we identify the main reference publications and find that the themes are about Random Forests, MODIS vegetation indices and image analysis, etc. RS OAJ ranks first in cited journals and third in citing, this indicates that RS OAJ has the internal knowledge flow. Our results will bring more benefits to scholars, researchers and graduate students, who hopes to get a quick overview of the RS OAJ. And this article will also be the starting point for communication between scholars and practitioners. Finally, this paper proposed a nuanced h-index (nh-index) to measure productivity and intellectual contribution of authors by considering h-index based on whether the one is first, second, third, or nth author. This nuanced approach to determining h-index of authors is powerful indicator of an academician’s productivity and intellectual contribution.

Uncertainty in quantitative analyses of topographic change: error propagation and the role of thresholding

Released February 12, 2019 13:07 EST

2019, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Scott W. Anderson

Topographic surveys inevitably contain error, introducing uncertainty into estimates of volumetric or mean change based on the differencing of repeated surveys. In the geomorphic community, uncertainty has often been framed as a problem of separating out real change from apparent change due purely to error, and addressed by removing measured change considered indistinguishable from random noise from analyses (thresholding). Thresholding is important when quantifying gross changes (i.e. total erosion or total deposition), which are systematically biased by random errors in stable parts of a landscape. However, net change estimates are not substantially influenced by those same random errors, and the use of thresholds results in inherently biased, and potentially misleading, estimates of net change and uncertainty. More generally, thresholding is unrelated to the important process of propagating uncertainty in order to place uncertainty bounds around final estimates. Error propagation methods for uncorrelated, correlated, and systematic errors are presented. Those equations demonstrate that uncertainties in modern net change analyses, as well as in gross change analyses using reasonable thresholds, are likely to be dominated by low‐magnitude but highly correlated or systematic errors, even after careful attempts to reduce those errors. In contrast, random errors with little to no correlation largely cancel to negligible levels when averaged or summed. Propagated uncertainty is then typically insensitive to the precision of individual measurements, and is instead defined by the relative mean error (accuracy) over the area of interest. Given that real‐world mean elevation changes in many landscape settings are often similar in magnitude to potential mean errors in repeat topographic analyses, reducing highly correlated or systematic errors will be central to obtaining accurate change estimates, while placing uncertainty bounds around those results provides essential context for their interpretation. 

Rayleigh wave ellipticity measurement uncertainty across the IRIS/USGS and New China Digital Seismograph Networks

Released February 12, 2019 11:15 EST

2019, Geophysical Journal International (217) 219-237

Adam T. Ringler, David C. Wilson, Walter Zürn, Robert E. Anthony

Long-period Rayleigh wave horizontal to vertical amplitude (H/V) ratios at a station provide information about local earth structure that is complementary to phase velocity. However, a number of studies have observed that significant scatter appears in these measurements making it difficult to use H/V ratio measurements to resolve earth structure. Some of the scatter in these measurements has been attributed to local geological structure while some has remained unaccounted for. Most Global Seismographic Network (GSN) stations contain two nearby high-quality broad-band seismometers (e.g. in the same vault, but on different piers or in different boreholes). For each broad-band sensor in the IRIS/USGS component of the GSN, we estimate H/V ratios of fundamental mode Rayleigh waves using M > 6.5 earthquakes from 2001 to 2018 (around 19 000 measurements). We compute these ratios at a number of discrete periods (25, 50, 75, 100 and 150 s) and find that for well-isolated Rayleigh waves (windows where the correlation coefficients between radial and the phase-shifted vertical components are greater than 0.9) significant scatter in H/V ratios occurs between colocated sensors (greater than 25 per cent at 100 s period). This suggests the scatter in H/V ratio measurements can be at least partially attributed to extremely local phenomena such as sensor emplacement in the vault. We also find that H/V ratios can vary as a function of event backazimuth, indicating that care must be taken when computing average ratios for a station, as a large number of events from a given region could bias H/V ratio measurements at a station.

Azimuthal seismic anisotropy of 70 Ma Pacific‐plate upper mantle

Released February 11, 2019 11:12 EST

2019, Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth

H. F. Mark, D. Lizarralde, J. A. Collins, Nathaniel C. Miller, G. Hirth, J. B. Gaherty, R. L. Evans

Plate formation and evolution processes are predicted to generate upper mantle seismic anisotropy and negative vertical velocity gradients in oceanic lithosphere. However, predictions for upper mantle seismic velocity structure do not fully agree with the results of seismic experiments. The strength of anisotropy observed in the upper mantle varies widely. Further, many refraction studies observe a fast direction of anisotropy rotated several degrees with respect to the paleospreading direction, suggesting that upper mantle anisotropy records processes other than 2D corner flow and plate‐driven shear near mid‐ocean ridges. We measure 6.0 ± 0.3% anisotropy at the Moho in 70 Ma lithosphere in the central Pacific with a fast direction parallel to paleospreading, consistent with mineral alignment by 2D mantle flow near a mid‐ocean ridge. We also find an increase in the strength of anisotropy with depth, with vertical velocity gradients estimated at 0.02 km/s/km in the fast direction and 0 km/s/km in the slow direction. The increase in anisotropy with depth can be explained by mechanisms for producing anisotropy other than intrinsic effects from mineral fabric, such as aligned cracks or other structures. This measurement of seismic anisotropy and gradients reflects the effects of both plate formation and evolution processes on seismic velocity structure in mature oceanic lithosphere, and can serve as a reference for future studies to investigate the processes involved in lithospheric formation and evolution.

Linking landscapes and people—Projecting the future of the Great Plains

Released February 11, 2019 11:07 EST

2019, Rangelands

Terry L. Sohl, Jordan Dornbierer, Steve Wika

  • We developed a unique set of landscape projections for the Great Plains that use real land-management parcels to represent landscape patterns at high spatial and thematic resolution.
  • Both anthropogenic land use and natural vegetation respond in the model to projected changes in groundwater availability and climate change.
  • Thirty-three scenario combinations were modeled, facilitating landscape planning and mitigation efforts under a range of possible landscape futures.
  • Change in rangeland from 2014 to 2100 varied from an increase of 4.3% for the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) B2 scenario, to a decline of 23.6% for the SRES A1B scenario.
  • The spatially and thematically detailed projections are designed for the assessment of landscape interactions with water flow and water quality, species distribution and abundance modeling, greenhouse gas assessments, and other ecosystem services.

Rapid pre-concentration of mercury in solids and water for isotopic analysis

Released February 11, 2019 10:58 EST

2019, Analytica Chimica Acta (1054) 95-103

Sarah E. Janssen, Ryan F. Lepak, Michael T. Tate, Jacob M. Ogorek, John F. DeWild, Christopher L. Babiarz, James P. Hurley, David P. Krabbenhoft

The precise quantification of mercury (Hg) stable isotope compositions in low concentration or dilute samples poses analytical challenges due to Hg mass limitations. Common Hg pre-concentration procedures require extended processing times, making rapid Hg stable isotope measurements challenging. Here we present a modified pre-concentration method that combines commonly used Hg reduction and gold trap amalgamation followed by semi-rapid thermal desorption (less than 1 h) and chemical trapping. This custom designed system was demonstrated to perform adequately on multiple trapping matrices including a new bromine monochloride (BrCl) wet oxidant trap (40% 3HNO3:BrCl), capable of trapping consistently in 2 mL volume over a wide range of Hg masses (5–200 ng). The procedure was also shown to work effectively on natural matrices, waters and sediments, producing comparable isotope results to the direct digestion analyses. Here, we present a method that can effectively triple sample throughput in comparison to traditional procedures, and also access lower concentration matrices without compromising the accuracy or precision of Hg isotope measurements.

Population connectivity of pelagic megafauna in the Cuba-Mexico-United States triangle

Released February 11, 2019 10:54 EST

2019, Scientific Reports (9) 1-13

Jay R. Rooker, Michael A. Dance, R. J. David Wells, Matthew J. Ajemian, Barbara A. Block, Michael R. Castleton, J. Marcus Drymon, Brett J. Falterman, James S. Franks, Neil Hammerschlag, Jill M. Hendon, Eric R. Hoffmayer, Richard T. Kraus, Jennifer A. McKinney, David H. Secor, Gregory W. Stunz, John F. Walter

The timing and extent of international crossings by billfishes, tunas, and sharks in the Cuba-Mexico-United States (U.S.) triangle was investigated using electronic tagging data from eight species that resulted in >22,000 tracking days. Transnational movements of these highly mobile marine predators were pronounced with varying levels of bi- or tri-national population connectivity displayed by each species. Billfishes and tunas moved throughout the Gulf of Mexico and all species investigated (blue marlin, white marlin, Atlantic bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna) frequently crossed international boundaries and entered the territorial waters of Cuba and/or Mexico. Certain sharks (tiger shark, scalloped hammerhead) displayed prolonged periods of residency in U.S. waters with more limited displacements, while whale sharks and to a lesser degree shortfin mako moved through multiple jurisdictions. The spatial extent of associated movements was generally associated with their differential use of coastal and open ocean pelagic ecosystems. Species with the majority of daily positions in oceanic waters off the continental shelf showed the greatest tendency for transnational movements and typically traveled farther from initial tagging locations. Several species converged on a common seasonal movement pattern between territorial waters of the U.S. (summer) and Mexico (winter).

Economical environmental sampler designs for detecting airborn spread of fungi responsible for rapid `Ōhi` death

Released February 10, 2019 13:18 EST

2019, Hawai`i Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report HCSU-TR087

Carter T. Atkinson, Kylle Roy, Carolina Granthon

We designed two new samplers for monitoring airborne particulates that rely on either natural wind currents (Passive Environmental Sampler) or a battery-operated fan (Active Environmental Sampler). Both samplers are significantly less expensive than commercial devices such as Rotorod® and Burkard Samplers that are used in the agricultural and health science industries. They are economical enough to be deployed in large numbers across broad landscapes. We evaluated their use for detecting airborne spread of ambrosia beetle frass that may contain infective spores of the fungi (Ceratocystis lukuohia and C. huliohia) that are responsible for Rapid `Ōhi`a Death (ROD), a newly documented pathosystem on Hawai`i Island. We compared performance of the new samplers to Rotorod® Model 20 Samplers by releasing synthetic polyethylene spheres (12–160 µm in diameter) and also Xyleborus spp. frass known to contain C. lukuohia and C. huliohia propagules under controlled laboratory and field conditions. Overall, the Active Environmental Sampler proved to be 3–4 times more effective in capturing polyethylene spheres and 2–3 times more effective in capturing frass than either the Passive or Rotorod® Samplers. Significant differences between the Passive and Rotorod® Samplers were not detected. For the frass release experiment, C. lukuohia DNA was detected once by qPCR in an Active Environmental Sampler and C. huliohia DNA was detected during two different trials, once with an Active Environmental Sampler and once with a Passive Environmental Sampler. No detections were made with Rotorod® Samplers. Both Active and Passive Samplers were used in the field for detection of airborne dispersal of C. lukuohia and C. huliohia at Orchidlands Estates in the Puna District of Hawai`i Island. We found that airborne dispersal of potentially infective beetle frass was uncommon over short distances with qPCR detections in up to 10% of weekly sampler collections.

Correlation of the Tuscaloosa marine shale in Mississippi, Louisiana, and east Texas, U.S.A.

Released February 08, 2019 11:18 EST

2018, GCAGS Transactions (68) 461-476

William A. Rouse, Catherine B. Enomoto, Nicholas J. Gianoutsos

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed an assessment of undiscovered, technically recoverable unconventional petroleum resources in the Upper Cretaceous marine shale of the Tuscaloosa Group (Tuscaloosa marine shale; TMS) in 2018. As part of the geologic characterization in preparation for the assessment, a series of wireline log cross sections were constructed to illustrate TMS thickness trends and aid in the delineation of the assessment unit (AU). Lithostratigraphic units were correlated based on gamma ray, spontaneous potential, and resistivity log responses and generally follow the classic stratigraphic nomenclature first proposed in the 1960s. Correlated stratigraphic units include (from youngest to oldest) the Austin Group, Eagle Ford Shale, upper Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa marine shale, lower Tuscaloosa, and Lower Cretaceous. A high resistivity zone (HRZ) in the basal Tuscaloosa marine shale was delineated where resistivity was greater than 5 ohm-meters and high resistivity sections were separated by less than 20 feet of low resistivity shale. The HRZ was identified regionally and might indicate petroleum accumulations in the TMS. Third-party biostratigraphic data from wells in Mississippi and Louisiana were integrated into the well control, which aided wireline log correlation. Cross sections depict east-west thinning of the TMS onto the Sabine uplift and north-south thickening of the TMS off of the Lower Cretaceous shelf margin. The western boundary of the USGS-defined Tuscaloosa Marine Shale Continuous Oil AU was drawn in western Louisiana near the Texas-Louisiana state border based on stratigraphic thinning of the Upper Cretaceous section onto the structural high of the Sabine uplift as projected downdip.

Using acoustic Doppler velocity meters to estimate suspended sediment along the lower Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers

Released February 08, 2019 07:23 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5165

Joel T. Groten, Jeffrey R. Ziegeweid, J. William Lund, Christopher A. Ellison, Samuel B. Costa, Erin N. Coenen, Erich W. Kessler

Lake Pepin is the largest naturally formed lake on the Mississippi River and has complex management needs to satisfy economic, environmental, and cultural demands. Lake Pepin is filling in with sediment at a rapid rate compared to conditions before settlement by European immigrants and intense agricultural cultivation. Accordingly, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has developed aggressive plans to prioritize sediment sources, understand transport mechanisms, and implement large-scale strategies to reduce sedimentation in Lake Pepin.

The Minnesota River is the primary sediment source to Lake Pepin, and reductions in sediment loading from the Minnesota River are needed to reduce sedimentation in Lake Pepin. Current loading estimates were calculated from grab sampling and total suspended solids laboratory methods that greatly underestimate the actual concentrations in the rivers when compared to U.S. Geological Survey width and depth integrated sampling and laboratory methods for determining suspended-sediment concentration (SSC). Therefore, the U.S. Geological Survey, with funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lower Minnesota River Watershed District, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, collected SSCs and acoustic backscatter data from acoustic Doppler velocity meters over a 2-year period at nine sites. The purpose of the study was to improve understanding of sediment-transport processes and increase accuracy of estimating SSCs and suspended-sediment loads for the lower Minnesota River and the Mississippi River compared to traditional measures.

The study results indicated that acoustic backscatter worked well in estimating SSCs at sites not regulated by locks, dams, and lakes. The results also confirmed previous studies that determined most of the suspended-sediment loading into the Mississippi River is from the Minnesota River and the largest sediment sink is Lake Pepin. Suspended-sediment loading from site to site and year to year was often variable when compared to streamflow, which has been traditionally used to estimate SSC. As a result, this study demonstrates the value in having high temporal and spatial resolution of continuous sediment monitoring from acoustic devices to help manage the sources of sediment into Lake Pepin.

Response of vegetation in open and partially wooded fens to prescribed burning at Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Released February 07, 2019 18:01 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5168

Jane E. Austin, Wesley E. Newton

The health and function of northern peatlands, particularly for fens, are strongly affected by fire and hydrology. Fens are important to several avian species of conservation interest, notably the yellow rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis). Fire suppression and altered hydrology often result in woody encroachment, altering the plant community and structure. Woody encroachment and its effects on biodiversity have become an increasing concern in the conservation and management of plant communities. This study evaluated the effects of spring and summer prescribed burns on the plant community, cover, and structure in open and partially wooded fens at Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Michigan, using a before-after-control-impact design. Paired, 1-hectare blocks were established in two fen areas, C3 and Marsh Creek, and data were collected for 2 years before burning (2006–7) and 3 years after burning (2008–10). We used generalized linear mixed models and ordination to assess differences among four treatments: C3 control, C3 spring burn (May 2008), Marsh Creek control, and Marsh Creek summer burn (July 2008); results from a block burned under drier conditions in July 2007 also are reported. Variables include water depth; litter depth; graminoid height; species richness and diversity; percent cover of plant taxa, mosses, and open area; shrub height, number of patches, and cover; and visual obstruction readings. The 2008 prescribed burns were done under moderate fire conditions, whereas the 2007 summer burn on one block was done under high fire conditions because of prolonged drought. We identified 104 plant taxa over the 5 years and noted differences between C3 and Marsh Creek communities. We examined data for effects of treatment, year, and year × treatment interactions for percent open and the 28 most common taxa. Most differences among treatments were related to natural differences in the plant community and hydrology between the two areas rather than fire effects; year effects were likely related to annual differences in water conditions. We detected few effects of spring burning in C3, even in the same year of burning. In Marsh Creek, most treatment effects were in 2008, when data were collected within 3 weeks of burning. Some fire effects there, however, persisted one to two growing seasons (2009, 2010) and two to three growing seasons in the block burned in the more intense summer 2007 fire. Effects of burning on shrub measures were more apparent on summer-burned blocks, but most measures returned to preburn conditions by 2010. Our results demonstrate the heterogeneity of plant community and environmental conditions of fens within and among years and the interactions of water conditions with burning. The results also demonstrate that neither single spring nor summer burning under moderate fire conditions are effective in setting back woody cover. Maintaining more open conditions in fens may require different approaches to water management, more frequent fires, more aggressive fire management, or a combination of tools to control woody cover.

Distinguishing recent dispersal from historical genetic connectivity in the coastal California gnatcatcher

Released February 07, 2019 10:39 EST

2019, Scientific Reports (9) 1-12

Amy G. Vandergast, Barbara E. Kus, Kristine L. Preston, Kelly R. Barr

Habitat loss and fragmentation are primary threats to biodiversity worldwide. We studied the impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation on genetic connectivity and diversity among local aggregations of the California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) across its U.S. range. With a dataset of 268 individuals genotyped at 19 microsatellite loci, we analyzed genetic structure across the range using clustering analyses, exact tests for population differentiation, and a pedigree analysis to examine the spatial distribution of first-order relatives throughout the study area. In addition, we developed a habitat suitability model and related percent suitable habitat to genetic diversity indices within aggregations at two spatial scales. We detected a single genetic cluster across the range, with weak genetic structure among recently geographically isolated aggregations in the northern part of the range. The pedigree analysis detected closely related individuals across disparate aggregations and across large geographic distances in the majority of the sampled range, demonstrating that recent long-distance dispersal has occurred within this species. Genetic diversity was independent of suitable habitat at a local 5-km scale, but increased in a non-linear fashion with habitat availability at a broader, 30-km scale. Diversity declined steeply when suitable habitat within 30-km fell below 10%. Together, our results suggest that California gnatcatchers retain genetic connectivity across the majority of the current distribution of coastal sage scrub fragments, with the exception of some outlying aggregations. Connectivity may help support long-term persistence under current conservation and management strategies. However, emerging structure among more remote aggregations and associations between available habitat and genetic diversity also suggest that continued loss of habitat could threaten diversity and connectivity in the future.

Hydrogeology of Lower Amargosa Valley and groundwater discharge to the Amargosa Wild and Scenic River, Inyo and San Bernardino Counties, California, and adjacent areas in Nye and Clark Counties, Nevada

Released February 07, 2019 08:40 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5151

Wayne R. Belcher, Donald S. Sweetkind, Candice B. Hopkins, Megan E. Poff

In 2009, Congress designated certain reaches of the Amargosa River in Inyo County, California between the town of Shoshone and Dumont Dunes as a Wild and Scenic River. As part of the management of the Amargosa Wild and Scenic River, the Bureau of Land Management cooperated with the U.S. Geological Survey to assess the surface and groundwater resources of the Tecopa basin. Groundwater is the primary source of water to the perennial reaches of the Amargosa River. The U.S. Geological Survey studied the surface and groundwater systems in the basin, and assessed the sources and volume of groundwater discharging into the perennial reaches of the Amargosa Wild and Scenic River.

The springs within the Tecopa basin (and the greater Lower Amargosa Valley Hydrographic Area) can be generally grouped by spring type and geographic location. There are four types of groundwater discharge points in the Tecopa basin—regional carbonate-rock springs and seeps, Tecopa Hills springs and seeps, thermal springs and seeps, and Amargosa Canyon hillslope springs and seeps. Results of chemical analysis indicate that water from all of these springs in the Lower Amargosa Valley and particularly in the Tecopa basin, is sourced in the carbonate-rock aquifer, with a local component of recharge. Groundwater is recharged in the Spring Mountains and moves through and around the Nopah and Resting Spring Ranges and into the Tecopa basin. A small (less than 1 cubic foot per second [ft3/s] or 500 acre‑feet per year) component of flow from the Amargosa Desert moves through the river channel alluvium and basin fill from the north.

The location and type of spring appear to be controlled by the geology and geologic structure of the Lower Amargosa Valley. The regional springs (such as Shoshone and Borax Springs) and associated seeps tend to occur along the west side of the basin whereas other carbonate-rock aquifer springs discharge from adjacent mountain ranges, such as the Resting Spring Range, and as a result of low-permeability barriers, such as the Tecopa Hills. The thermal springs and seeps discharge from an area near the town of Tecopa, California. The Amargosa Canyon hillslope springs and seeps discharge directly into the river. Salt-crusted soils adjacent to the river indicate additional areas of diffuse discharge where groundwater is being evaporated.

Perennial flow in the main channel of the Amargosa River appears to originate in an area of thermal springs near Tecopa. Persistent groundwater-fed pools begin to appear along the river channel just to the south of the Tecopa Hills. Flow between these pools is evident, but difficult to measure. During the synoptic seepage measurement survey in February 2014, flow in the Amargosa River at the Tecopa streamgage (U.S. Geological Survey site 10251300, Amargosa River at Tecopa, California) was approximately 1 ft3/s. Just to the south of the Tecopa streamgage, a line of cooler water springs (the Amargosa Canyon hillslope springs) emerges east of the river channel and continues for approximately 1 mile along the Amargosa Canyon wall. At the end of the spring reach, the flow in the river increased to just over 4 ft3/s. Flow then decreased to approximately 3 ft3/s at the confluence of Willow Creek, approximately 3.5 miles downstream. Downstream from the confluence of Willow Creek, the river consistently loses water and was dry just north of Dumont Dunes during the February 2014 synoptic seepage measurement survey.

Predicting the initial spread of novel Asian origin influenza A viruses in the continental USA by wild waterfowl

Released February 06, 2019 16:20 EST

2019, Transboundary and Emerging Diseases

Alan B. Franklin, Sarah N. Bevins, Jeremy W. Ellis, Ryan S. Miller, Susan A. Shriner, J. Jeffrey Root, Daniel P. Walsh, Thomas J. DeLiberto

Using data on waterfowl band recoveries, we identified spatially explicit hotspots of concentrated waterfowl movement to predict occurrence and spatial spread of a novel influenza A virus (clade introduced from Asia by waterfowl from an initial outbreak in North America in November 2014. In response to the outbreak, the hotspots of waterfowl movement were used to help guide sampling for clade viruses in waterfowl as an early warning for the US poultry industry during the outbreak . After surveillance sampling of waterfowl, we tested whether there was greater detection of clade viruses inside hotspots. We found that hotspots defined using kernel density estimates of waterfowl band recoveries worked well in predicting areas with higher prevalence of the viruses in waterfowl. This approach exemplifies the value of ecological knowledge in predicting risk to agricultural security.

A scale to characterize the strength and impacts of atmospheric rivers

Released February 06, 2019 16:08 EST

2019, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (100) 269-289

F. Martin Ralph, Jonathan J. Rutz, Jason M. Cordeira, Michael D. Dettinger, Michael Anderson, David Reynolds, Lawrence J. Schick, Christopher Smallcomb

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) play vital roles in the western United States and related regions globally, not only producing heavy precipitation and flooding, but also providing beneficial water supply. This paper introduces a scale for the intensity and impacts of ARs. Its utility may be greatest where ARs are the most impactful storm type and hurricanes, nor’easters, and tornadoes are nearly nonexistent. Two parameters dominate the hydrologic outcomes and impacts of ARs: vertically integrated water vapor transport (IVT) and AR duration [i.e., the duration of at least minimal AR conditions (IVT ≥ 250 kg m–1s–1)]. The scale uses an observed or predicted time series of IVT at a given geographic location and is based on the maximum IVT and AR duration at that point during an AR event. AR categories 1–5 are defined by thresholds for maximum IVT (3-h average) of 250, 500, 750, 1,000, and 1,250 kg m–1 s–1, and by IVT exceeding 250 kg m–1 s–1 continuously for 24–48 h. If the AR event duration is less than 24 h, it is downgraded by one category. If it is longer than 48 h, it is upgraded one category. The scale recognizes that weak ARs are often mostly beneficial because they can enhance water supply and snowpack, while stronger ARs can become mostly hazardous, for example, if they strike an area with antecedent conditions that enhance vulnerability, such as burn scars or wet conditions. Extended durations can enhance impacts. Short durations can mitigate impacts.

Freshwater tidal forests and estuarine wetlands may confer early life growth advantages for delta-reared Chinook Salmon

Released February 06, 2019 16:04 EST

2019, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society

Melanie J. Davis, Isa Woo, Christopher S. Ellings, Sayre Hodgson, David A. Beauchamp, Glynnis Nakai, Susan E. W. De La Cruz

Large river deltas are complex ecosystems that are believed to play a pivotal role in promoting the early marine growth and survival of threatened Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. We used a fish bioenergetics model to assess the functional role of multiple delta habitats across a gradient of salinities and vegetation types, where consumption and growth rate potential (GRP) were considered as proxies for habitat quality. We subsequently compared our model output to empirical, or realized, growth estimates from scale circuli. In terms of consumption, prey energy density (EDprey) was 46–86% higher in tidal freshwater forest than in any other habitat type, while estimated consumption rates (expressed as proportion of maximum daily consumption; Pcmax) were positively correlated with FL. These size‐related differences in Pcmax led to a noticeable increase along a freshwater‐to‐saline gradient from roughly 0.25 in tidal freshwater forest to 0.55 in the offshore subtidal zone, yet despite higher observed Pcmax values in nearshore and offshore habitats, the tidal freshwater forest and emergent salt marsh demonstrated the highest modeled GRP values. Similarly, realized growth rates for fish caught in tidal freshwater forest were up to 0.5% higher per day than for fish caught in the offshore area, but habitat‐level differences were overshadowed by allometry and rearing origin. Scales from unmarked fish (assumed to be of wild origin) indicated that they grew, on average, 11% faster than did hatchery fish; however, these differences were subtle and were more obvious at fork lengths <100 mm. Our results suggest that tidal forests and emergent marshes may offer early life growth advantages for wild Chinook Salmon, but that wild and hatchery fish can compensate as they move seaward by opportunistically consuming greater quantities of low‐energy density prey, taking advantage of pulses of larval forage fish, or by spending time in multiple interconnected habitat types.

Field diagnostics and seasonality of Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola in wild snake populations

Released February 06, 2019 12:16 EST

2019, EcoHealth

Jennifer M. McKenzie, Steven J. Price, J. Leo Fleckenstein, Andrea N. Drayer, Grant M. Connette, Elizabeth A. Bohuski, Jeffrey M. Lorch

Snake fungal disease (SFD) is an emerging disease caused by the fungal pathogen, Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola. Clinical signs of SFD include dermal lesions, including regional and local edema, crusts, and ulcers. Snake fungal disease is widespread in the Eastern United States, yet there are limited data on how clinical signs of SFD compare with laboratory diagnostics. We compared two sampling methods for O. ophiodiicola, scale clip collection and swabbing, to evaluate whether collection method impacted the results of polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In addition, we evaluated the use of clinical signs to predict the presence of O. ophiodiicola across seasons, snake habitat affiliation (aquatic or terrestrial) and study sites. We found no significant difference in PCR results between sampling methods. Clinical signs were a strong predictor of O. ophiodiicola presence in spring and summer seasons. Snakes occupying terrestrial environments had a lower overall probability of testing positive for O. ophiodiicolacompared to snakes occupying aquatic environments. Although our study indicates that both clinical signs of SFD and prevalence of O. ophiodiicola vary seasonally and based on habitat preferences of the host, our analysis suggests that clinical signs can serve as a reliable indicator of O. ophiodiicola presence, especially during spring and summer.

Assessment of bird exposure to lead at Tyndall and Beale Air Force Bases, 2016–17

Released February 05, 2019 14:30 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5164

Timothy A. Bargar

Soil contamination by lead (Pb) from past small munitions training on Beale Air Force Base, California, and Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, may result in adverse effects for passerine birds that utilize the locations. A study was conducted during 2016-17 by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Air Force, at both Air Force Bases (AFBs) to assess the risk of bird exposure to Pb. Two different methods were used to estimate exposure. The first was analysis of blood and feather samples collected from birds captured on both AFBs, and the second was food chain modeling using data on Pb concentrations in dietary items (invertebrates and seeds) collected from both AFBs. Lead concentrations in blood and feathers for birds captured at Beale AFB indicate low exposure and risk; potential toxicity is possible based on blood and feather data for birds from Tyndall AFB. Food chain modeling utilizing dietary contamination indicates a risk likelihood of up to 35 percent at Beale AFB and up to 34 percent at Tyndall AFB. Lead exposure from incidental soil ingestion increased risk likelihood at both AFBs and is a significant uncertainty in this risk assessment. A companion data release for data collected during this project can be found at https://doi.org/10.5066/P92YXMQ2.

The Mississippi Alluvial Plain aquifers—An engine for economic activity

Released February 05, 2019 14:00 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3003

Mustapha Alhassan, Collin B. Lawrence, Steven Richardson, Emily J. Pindilli

U.S. Geological Survey science supports groundwater resource management in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain region. The USGS Science and Decisions Center is working with the Water Availability and Use Science Program to integrate economics into a sophisticated model of groundwater in the region. The model will quantify the status of the groundwater system and help researchers, stakeholders, and decision-makers understand and manage groundwater resources. Including economics in the model will let users consider the influence of groundwater levels on regional economics and the effects of economic factors on the demand for groundwater.

Monitoring the pulse of our Nation's rivers and streams—The U.S. Geological Survey streamgaging network

Released February 05, 2019 14:00 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2018-3081

Sandra M. Eberts, Michael D. Woodside, Mark N. Landers, Chad R. Wagner

In the late 1800s, John Wesley Powell, second Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), proposed gaging the flow of rivers and streams in the Western United States to evaluate the potential for irrigation. Around the same time, several cities in the Eastern United States established primitive streamgages to help design water-supply systems. Streamgaging technology has greatly advanced since the 1800s, and USGS hydrographers have made at least one streamflow measurement at more than 37,000 sites throughout the years. Today, the USGS Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program supports the collection and (or) delivery of both streamflow and water-level information for more than 8,500 sites (continuous or partial record) and water-level information alone for more than 1,700 additional sites. The data are served online—most in near realtime—to meet many diverse needs; more than 640 million requests for streamflow information were fulfilled during the 2017 water year (October 1, 2016‒September 30, 2017).

Space-based imaging radar studies of U.S. volcanoes

Released February 05, 2019 12:51 EST

2019, Frontiers in Earth Science (6) 1-15

Daniel Dzurisin, Zhong Lu, Michael P. Poland, Charles W. Wicks Jr.

The arrival of space-based imaging radar as a revolutionary land-surface mapping and monitoring tool little more than a quarter century ago enabled a spate of innovative volcano research worldwide. Soon after launch of European Space Agency’s ERS-1 spacecraft in 1991, the U.S. Geological Survey began SAR and InSAR studies of volcanoes in the Aleutian and Cascades arcs, in Hawai’i, and elsewhere in the western U.S. including the Yellowstone and Long Valley calderas. This paper summarizes results of that effort and presents new findings concerning: (1) prevalence of volcano deformation in the Aleutian and Cascade arcs; (2) surface-change detection and hazard assessment during eruptions at Aleutian and Hawaiian volcanoes; (3) geodetic imaging of magma storage and transport systems in Hawai’i; and (4) deformation sources and processes at the Yellowstone and Long Valley calderas. Surface deformation caused by a variety of processes is common in arc settings and could easily escape detection without systematic InSAR surveillance. Space-based SAR imaging of active lava flows and domes in remote or heavily vegetated settings, including during periods of bad weather and darkness, extends land-based monitoring capabilities and improves hazards assessments. At Kīlauea Volcano, comprehensive SAR and InSAR observations identify multiple magma storage zones beneath the summit area and along the East Rift Zone, and illuminate magma transport pathways. The same approach at Yellowstone tracks the ascent of magmatic volatiles from a mid-crustal intrusion to shallow depth and relates that process to increased hydrothermal activity at the surface. Together with recent and planned launches of highly capable imaging-radar satellites, these findings support an optimistic outlook for near-real time surveillance of volcanoes at global scale in the coming decade.

Diatom assemblage changes in agricultural alluvial plain streams and application for nutrient management

Released February 05, 2019 12:48 EST

2019, Journal of Environmental Quality (48) 83-92

Matthew B. Hicks, Jason M. Taylor

In large, alluvial floodplains dominated by agriculture, small streams have the potential to experience nutrient enrichment affecting algal assemblage structure and metabolism. Nutrient enrichment is largely driven by application of nutrients and altered hydrologic regimes. To inform stressor–response-based nutrient reduction goals for agricultural alluvial plain streams, diatom assemblages were sampled from 25 streams located within the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (MAP) with various land management practices and associated P and N inputs. From August through September 2015, epidendric diatom assemblage samples were collected from instream woody debris. Field nutrient gradients were skewed toward higher concentrations, and ranges of previously reported diatom assemblage response thresholds indicative of oligotrophic conditions were not well represented. Ordination analysis identified a gradient in species composition associated with increasing P and decreasing dissolved oxygen. A significant shift in diatom assemblage structure occurred when total P concentrations in the MAP streams exceeded 0.12 mg L−1. Phosphorus-enriched systems were represented by a distinct set of indicator species, lower abundances of ubiquitous species, greater abundances of highly tolerant species, and greater abundances of high-P indicator species. No relationships were observed among diatom assemblage measures or traits with increasing N. Current results do not address potential criteria for identifying high-quality, oligotrophic streams. However, measures of diatom assemblage structure have potential for helping set benchmarks to reduce nutrient impacts and monitor effects of agricultural best management practices on MAP streams.

Long-term suppression of the Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) population in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho

Released February 05, 2019 10:01 EST

2019, Hydrobiologia

Michael J. Hansen, Matthew P. Corsi, Andrew M. Dux

A simulation model of lake trout Salvelinus namaycush (Walbaum 1792) population dynamics in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho, was used to estimate (1) the optimal allocation of effort among gillnet mesh sizes that minimizes abundance in the shortest time; (2) the number of years needed to suppress the population to 90% of peak abundance; and (3) once suppressed, how much effort could be reduced to sustain abundance indefinitely. A density-dependent stochastic simulation model was parameterized from data in 2006–2016, including parameter uncertainty and implementation error. Time to suppression could be reduced by using more large-mesh gillnet than was used during 2007–2016. Continued fishing at the peak level of total gillnetting effort, but using an optimal effort allocation among meshes, would suppress abundance to the target level within 7–13 years. Once suppressed, gillnet effort could be reduced 76–86% (157,000 m, 95% CI 116,000–199,000 m) to sustain abundance at the target level. Our findings suggest that time to suppression of lake trout populations in other systems may be able to be reduced by optimizing gillnet effort allocation among mesh sizes, and that total effort can be greatly reduced to sustain abundance at the reduced level thereafter.

Lava flow morphology at an erupting andesitic stratovolcano: A satellite perspective on El Reventador, Ecuador

Released February 04, 2019 16:25 EST

2019, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (372) 34-47

David W. D. Arnold, Juliet Biggs, Hannah R. Dietterich, Silvia Vallejo Vargas, Geoffrey Wadge, Patricia Mothes

Lava flows pose a significant hazard to infrastructure and property located close to volcanoes, and understanding how flows advance is necessary to manage volcanic hazard during eruptions. Compared to low-silica basaltic flows, flows of andesitic composition are infrequently erupted and so relatively few studies of their characteristics and behaviour exist. We use El Reventador, Ecuador as a target to investigate andesitic lava flow properties during a 4.5 year period of extrusive eruption between February 2012 and August 2016. We use satellite radar to map the dimensions of 43 lava flows and look at variations in their emplacement behaviour over time. We find that flows descended the north and south flanks of El Reventador, and were mostly emplaced over durations shorter than the satellite repeat interval of 24 days. Flows ranged in length from 0.3 to 1.7 km, and the length of flows generally decreased over the observation period. We measure a decrease in flow volume with time that is correlated with a long-term exponential decrease in effusion rate, and propose that this behaviour is caused by temporary magma storage in the conduit acting as magma capacitor between the magma reservoir and the surface. We use the dimensions of flow levées and widths to estimate the flow yield strengths. We observe that some flows were diverted by topographic obstacles, and compare measurements of decreased channel width and increased flow thickness at the obstacles with observations from laboratory experiments. Radar observations, such as those presented here, could be used to map and measure properties of evolving lava flow fields at other remote or difficult to monitor volcanoes.

Response to “Prepublication communication of research results”: The need for a coordinated wildlife disease surveillance laboratory network

Released February 04, 2019 16:21 EST

2019, EcoHealth

Jonathan M. Sleeman, David S. Blehert, Katherine L. D. Richgels, C. LeAnn White

In “Prepublication Communication of Research Results”, Adams et al. (2018) outline the importance of timeliness in providing scientific results with consequential implications for wildlife management to responsible government agencies. The authors discuss various impediments to sharing of scientific results and provide well-reasoned arguments why scientists should not fear that sharing these results with wildlife management agencies will preclude their ability to subsequently publish this information in the peer-reviewed literature.

Evaluation of temporally correlated noise in global navigation satellite system time series: Geodetic monument performance

Released February 04, 2019 16:12 EST

2019, Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth

John Langbein, Jerry L. Svarc

Estimates of background noise of Global Positioning System‐derived time series of positions for 740 sites in the western United States are examined. These data consist of daily epochs of three components of displacements that are at least 9.75 years long within the interval between 2000 and 2018. We find that these time series have significant temporal correlations that could be represented as a combination of white, flicker, random‐walk, and band‐pass filtered noise. From this noise model, two other metrics are computed: the root‐mean‐square of seasonal noise, that is, the integrated power spectrum between 0.5 and 2 cycles per year, and the standard error in position rate for a 10‐year‐long time series. These two metrics are used to evaluate potential correlations with different geographic regions and with different methods of construction of monuments used to attach the Global Positioning System antenna to the Earth's surface. The sites with the lowest noise, both in terms of rate error and seasonal root‐mean‐square, are located in semiarid regions east of the rain shadow provided by the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. In addition, according to statistical rank tests, monuments known as drilled‐braced monuments perform 30% to 50% better than other monument types (buildings, boreholes, piers, etc.) in terms of having smaller rate errors and lower seasonal noise.

Demographic responses of least terns and piping plovers to the 2011 Missouri River flood—A large-scale case study

Released February 04, 2019 15:51 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2018-1176

Michael J. Anteau, Mark H. Sherfy, Terry L. Shaffer, Rose J. Swift, Dustin L. Toy, Colin M. Dovichin

A catastrophic flood event on the Missouri River system in 2011 led to substantial changes in abundance and distribution of unvegetated sand habitat. This river system is a major component of the breeding range for interior Least terns (Sternula antillarum; “terns”) and piping plovers (Charadrius melodus; “plovers”), both of which are Federally listed ground-nesting birds that prefer open, unvegetated sand and gravel nesting substrates on sandbars and shorelines. The 2011 flood inundated essentially all tern and plover nesting habitat during 2011, but it had potential to generate post-flood habitat conditions that favored use by terns and plovers in subsequent years. We compared several tern and plover demographic parameters during the pre-flood and post-flood periods on the Garrison Reach and Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota, to determine how this event influenced these species (both species on the Garrison Reach, and plovers only on Lake Sakakawea). The principal parameters we measured (nest survival, chick survival, and breeding population) showed spatial and temporal variation typical of opportunistic species occupying highly variable habitats. There was little evidence that nest survival of least terns differed between pre- and post-flood. During 2012 when habitat was most abundant on the Garrison Reach and Lake Sakakawea, piping plover nest survival was higher than in any other year in the study, but returned to rates comparable to pre-flood years in 2013. Chick survival for terns on the Garrison Reach and plovers on Lake Sakakawea showed a similar pattern to plover nest survival, with the 2012 rate exceeding all other years of the study, and the remaining pre-flood and post-flood years being generally similar but slightly higher in post-flood years. However, plover chick survival on the Garrison Reach in 2012 was similar to pre-flood years, and increased annually thereafter to its highest rate in 2014. Although wide confidence intervals precluded firm conclusions about flood effects on breeding populations, the general pattern suggested lower populations of plovers but higher populations of least terns immediately after the flood. Despite near total absence of breeding habitat on either study area during the flood of 2011, populations of both species persisted after the flood due to their propensity to disperse and/or forgo breeding for at least a year. Tern and plover populations have similarly persisted and recovered after the flood, but their mechanisms for persistence likely differ. Data on tern dispersal is generally lacking, but they are thought to show little fidelity to their natal grounds, have a propensity to disperse potentially long distances, and routinely forgo breeding until their second year, thus a lost opportunity to breed in a given area may be easily overcome. Plovers exhibit stronger demographic ties to the general area in which they previously nested, yet they occupy much broader nesting habitat features than terns and exploit three major landforms in the Dakotas (free-flowing rivers, reservoir shorelines, and wetland shorelines). Consequently, dispersal to and from non-Missouri River habitats and potential to exploit non-traditional habitats likely sustained the Northern Great Plains population through the flood event. Terns and plovers normally occupy similar habitats on the Missouri River and both species experienced similar loss of a breeding season due to the flood. Persistence of these populations after the flood underscores the importance of understanding their unique demographic characteristics and the context within which the Missouri River operates.

Explaining harvests of wild-harvested herbaceous plants: American ginseng as a case study

Released February 04, 2019 14:28 EST

2019, Biological Conservation (231) 139-149

John Paul Schmidt, Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, James L. Chamberlain, Susana Ferreira, John A. Young

Wild-harvested plants face increasing demand globally. As in many fisheries, monitoring the effect of harvesting on the size and trajectory of resource stocks presents many challenges given often limited data from disparate sources. Here we analyze American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) harvests from 18 states in the eastern U.S. 1978–2014 to infer temporal patterns and evidence of population declines, and we test the effects of local environmental and socioeconomic factors on ginseng harvesting at the county level 2000–2014.

Despite rising prices, annual wild ginseng harvests decreased from a high point in the late 1980s to early 1990s, then, in most, increased after 2005 or 2010 - suggesting range-wide overexploitation notwithstanding federal regulations that, since 1999, restrict minimum harvest age. County-level harvest rates increased with available habitat, road density, poverty and unemployment, but decreased when public land formed a large proportion of county area. Harvests were largest in the Southern Appalachian region. Poverty and accessibility were strongly related to high levels of harvesting.

A key implication is that to conserve valuable wild native plant products while also improving local livelihoods, wild cultivation and good stewardship practices must be strongly promoted. Our approach to assessing the condition of wild populations offers a broad template that could be adapted to other wild-harvested plants.

Mercury isotopes reveal an ontogenetic shift in habitat use by walleye in lower Green Bay of Lake Michigan

Released February 04, 2019 12:46 EST

2019, Environmental Science & Technology Letters (6) 8-13

Charles P. Madenjian, Sarah E. Janssen, Ryan F. Lepak, Jacob M. Ogorek, Tylor J. Rosera, John F. DeWild, David P. Krabbenhoft, Stewart F. Cogswell, Mark E. Holey

In general, fish residing in rivers differ from fish residing in lakes in their mercury (Hg) isotope ratios. Specifically, fish residing in lakes typically show enriched values for the isotope ratios of δ202Hg (mass-dependent fractionation of isotope 202Hg) and Δ199Hg (mass-independent fractionation of isotope 199Hg) compared with fish residing in rivers, because photochemical effects acting on Hg isotope ratios are stronger in lakes than in rivers. Whole-fish determinations of Hg isotope ratios in age-0 and adult (ages 4–11) walleye (Sander vitreus) caught in the Fox River, the main tributary to lower Green Bay of Lake Michigan, were dissimilar. Age-0 fish exhibited a river signature for δ202Hg and Δ199Hg, with means equal to 0.00 and 0.26‰, respectively. Significantly elevated levels of δ202Hg and Δ199Hg were observed in adult fish, indicating that adult fish primarily resided in the bay. Our results implied that the Fox River serves as a nursery area for juvenile walleye in the Fox River–lower Green Bay ecosystem. Moreover, corrections for photochemical fractionation of δ202Hg revealed that age-0 and adult walleye shared the same source of Hg in this ecosystem. In addition, Hg isotope ratios did not significantly differ between the sexes of adult walleye, suggesting that these ratios did not fractionate during the Hg elimination process.

Effects of flood inundation, invasion by Phalaris arundinacea, and nitrogen enrichment on extracellular enzyme activity in an Upper Mississippi River floodplain forest

Released February 04, 2019 12:43 EST

2019, Wetlands Ecology and Management

Nathan R. De Jager, Whitney Swanson, Daniel L. Hernandez, Julia Reich, Richard A. Erickson, Eric A. Strauss

The community structures and ecosystem functions of floodplains are primarily driven by variation in flood inundation. However, global changes, such as invasive species and nutrient enrichment, may alter the effects of flooding in these systems. We added nitrogen (N) to correspond with twice the annual atmospheric deposition rate of the south-west Wisconsin, USA region within mature floodplain forest plots and patches of an invasive grass (reed canarygrass, Phalaris arundinacea) along a floodplain elevation gradient in an Upper Mississippi River floodplain forest. We measured soil physicochemical properties and the activity of six extracellular enzymes during 3 months that varied in flooding conditions. Multivariate analyses (distance-based redundancy analysis) revealed that floodplain elevation, month of sampling, and vegetation type were all significant predictors of variation in soil physicochemical properties, while elevation and month were significant predictors of multivariate extracellular enzyme activity (EEA). The best model for predicting EEA consisted of nitrogen availability, soil porosity, and water filled pore space. Although the categorical fertilization and invasion treatments were not significant predictors of EEA, our results suggest that their effects depend on the degree to which they modify N availability and soil moisture. In this system, spatial and temporal patterns in flooding appear to be the main driver of these properties, but N enrichment and invasion may have the potential to further modify them.

The compositions of the lunar crust and upper mantle: Spectral analysis of the inner rings of lunar impact basins

Released February 01, 2019 16:53 EST

2019, Planetary and Space Science (165) 230-243

Myriam Lemelin, Paul G. Lucey, Katarina Miljković, Lisa R. Gaddis, Trent M. Hare, Makiko Ohtake

The innermost ring in impact basins exposes material originating from various depths, and can be used to study the composition of the lunar crust with depth. In this study, we conduct quantitative mineralogical analyses of the innermost ring in 13 lunar impact basins using reflectance data from the Kaguya Multiband Imager and radiative transfer modeling. We use results from recent hydrocode modeling to calculate the depth of origin of the material exposed by the innermost rings. We find that the most abundant rock type on the innermost ring of most basins is anorthosite. The mafic assemblages are dominated by olivine in some cases, but most often by pyroxene. The impact modeling suggests that the innermost ring material was excavated from a wide range of depths. Here we focus on two mean depths: a crustal component and a mantle component. The crustal component largely dominates the innermost ring material, and the mantle component is present on the innermost ring of 9 of the basins we studied. On these 9 rings, the abundance of low-calcium pyroxene decreases with the proportion of crustal component, suggesting a dominantly mantle origin. However, as we do not detect exposures of ultramafic material, such mantle material is possibly present at the sub-pixel scale (<62 m). This quantitative study reassesses the composition of the lunar crust and upper mantle, which is of great importance for understanding the formation of the Moon.

Effects of antecedent streamflow and sample timing on trend assessments of fish, invertebrate, and diatom communities

Released February 01, 2019 16:40 EST

2019, Journal of the American Water Resources Association (55) 102-115

Robert E. Zuellig, Daren M. Carlisle

Detecting trends in biological attributes is central to many stream monitoring programs; however, understanding how natural variability in environmental factors affects trend results is not well understood. We evaluated the influence of antecedent streamflow and sample timing (covariates) on trend estimates for fish, invertebrate, and diatom taxa richness and biological condition from 2002 to 2012 at 51 sites distributed across the conterminous United States. A combination of linear regression and Kendall‐tau test for trends were used to evaluate covariate influence on trend estimates. Adjusting for covariates changed the magnitude of trend estimates in two‐thirds of cases on average by 21%, most often reducing the estimated magnitude of the trend. Additionally, covariates influenced the interpretation of over one‐third of trend estimates by either strengthening or weakening trends after adjustment. Our findings clearly indicate that antecedent streamflow and sample timing influences trend estimates and subsequent interpretation. Accounting for covariates during trend analysis will enhance stream monitoring programs by providing a better understanding and interpretation of estimated changes in biological endpoints at monitored sites. Failure to account for antecedent streamflow and sample timing may lead to mischaracterization of a trend and/or misunderstanding of potential causes.

Potential for negative emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O) through coastal peatland re-establishment: Novel insights from high frequency flux data at meter and kilometer scales

Released February 01, 2019 16:26 EST

2018, Environmental Research Letters (13) 1-14

Lisamarie Windham-Myers, Brian Bergamaschi, Frank A. Anderson, Sarah Knox, Robin Miller, Roger Fujii

High productivity temperate wetlands that accrete peat via belowground biomass (peatlands) may be managed for climate mitigation benefits due to their global distribution and notably negative emissions of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) through rapid storage of carbon (C) in anoxic soils. Net emissions of additional greenhouse gases (GHG)—methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O)—are more difficult to predict and monitor due to fine-scale temporal and spatial variability, but can potentially reverse the climate mitigation benefits resulting from CO2 uptake. To support management decisions and modeling, we collected continuous 96 hour high frequency GHG flux data for CO2, CH4 and N2O at multiple scales—static chambers (1 Hz) and eddy covariance (10 Hz)—during peak productivity in a well-studied, impounded coastal peatland in California's Sacramento Delta with high annual rates of C fluxes, sequestering 2065 ± 150 g CO2 m−2 y−1 and emitting 64.5 ± 2.4 g CH4 m−2 y−1. Chambers (n = 6) showed strong spatial variability along a hydrologic gradient from inlet to interior plots. Daily (24 hour) net CO2 uptake (NEE) was highest near inlet locations and fell dramatically along the flowpath (−25 to −3.8 to +2.64 g CO2 m−2 d−1). In contrast, daily net CH4 flux increased along the flowpath (0.39 to 0.62 to 0.88 g CH4 m−2d−1), such that sites of high daily CO2 uptake were sites of low CH4 emission. Distributed, continuous chamber data exposed five novel insights, and at least two important datagaps for wetland GHG management, including: (1) increasing dominance of CH4 ebullition fluxes (15%–32% of total) along the flowpath and (2) net negative N2O flux across all sites as measured during a 4 day period of peak biomass (−1.7 mg N2O m−2 d−1; 0.51 g CO2 eq m−2 d−1). The net negative emissions of re-established peat-accreting wetlands are notably high, but may be poorly estimated by models that do not consider within-wetland spatial variability due to water flowpaths.

The Shumagin seismic gap structure and associated tsunami hazards, Alaska convergent margin

Released February 01, 2019 16:25 EST

2019, Geosphere

Roland E. von Huene, John J. Miller, Anne Krabbenhoeft

Shane T. Detweiler, editor(s)

The potential for a major earthquake in the Shumagin seismic gap, and the tsunami it could generate, was reported in 1971. However, while potentially tsunamigenic splay faults in the adjacent Unimak and Semidi earthquake segments are known, such features along the Shumagin segment were undocumented until recently. To investigate margin structure and search for splay faults, we reprocessed six legacy seismic records and also processed seismic data acquired by RV Langseth during the ALEUT project (cf. Bécel et al., 2017). All records show splay faults separating the frontal prism from the margin framework. A ridge uplifted by the splay fault hanging wall extends along the entire segment. At the plate interface, the splay fault cuts across subducted sediment strata in some images, whereas in others, the plate interface sediment cuts across the fault. Splay fault zones are commonly associated with subducting lower-plate relief.

Along the upper slope, beneath a sediment cover, major normal faults dipping landward and seaward border a ridge of basement rock. The faults displace a regional unconformity that elsewhere received Oligocene–Miocene sediment. Low seafloor scarps above some normal faults indicate recent tectonism. The buried ridge is a continuation of the Unimak Ridge structure that extends NE of the Unimak/Shumagin segment boundary. Some geological characteristics of the Shumagin segment differ from those of other Alaskan earthquake segments, but a causal link to the proposed Shumagin creeping seismic behavior is equivocal.

Isotopes matter

Released February 01, 2019 16:16 EST

2019, Chemistry International (41) 27-31

Norman E. Holden, Tyler B. Coplen, Peter Mahaffy

Two years ago, the King’s Centre for Visualization in Science (KCVS) at The King’s University, Edmonton released a new digital interactive version of the IUPAC Periodic Table of the Elements and Isotopes with accompanying educational resources at an International Conference on Chemistry Education. It can be found at www.isotopesmatter.com. The effort was part of an IUPAC project. The science behind this new table was developed by Inorganic Chemistry Division scientists working for over a decade on an earlier IUPAC project. These projects were joint efforts between the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE) and the Inorganic Chemistry Division.

Climate change, coral loss, and the curious case of the parrotfish paradigm: Why don't marine protected areas improve reef resilience?

Released February 01, 2019 16:01 EST

2019, Annual Review of Marine Science (11) 307-334

John F. Bruno, Isabelle M. Cote, Lauren T. Toth

Scientists have advocated for local interventions, such as creating marine protected areas and implementing fishery restrictions, as ways to mitigate local stressors to limit the effects of climate change on reef-building corals. However, in a literature review, we find little empirical support for the notion of managed resilience. We outline some reasons for why marine protected areas and the protection of herbivorous fish (especially parrotfish) have had little effect on coral resilience. One key explanation is that the impacts of local stressors (e.g., pollution and fishing) are often swamped by the much greater effect of ocean warming on corals. Another is the sheer complexity (including numerous context dependencies) of the five cascading links assumed by the managed-resilience hypothesis. If reefs cannot be saved by local actions alone, then it is time to face reef degradation head-on, by directly addressing anthropogenic climate change—the root cause of global coral decline.

Identifying natural and anthropogenic variability of uranium at the well scale, Homestake Superfund site, near Milan, New Mexico, USA

Released February 01, 2019 15:17 EST

2019, Environmental Earth Sciences (78) 1-19

Philip T. Harte, Johanna M. Blake, Jonathan V. Thomas, Kent D. Becher

The San Mateo Creek Basin in New Mexico, USA is located within the Grants Mineral Belt-an area with numerous uranium (U) ore deposits, mines, and milling operations. Six monitoring wells set in an alluvial aquifer near the Homestake Mining Co. Superfund site in the lower San Mateo Creek Basin were logged with a suite of borehole geophysical tools including spectral gamma-ray (SGR), vertically profiled with passive samplers for U and selenium (Se) concentrations, and purged sampled for same constituents. The integrated approach allowed for an assessment on the role of heterogeneity (both physical and chemical) in determining U concentrations in groundwater. Uranium, as measured with SGR logging, is ubiquitous in the alluvial aquifer and the underlying Chinle Group. Aqueous U concentrations appear to be inversely related to thorium (Th) concentrations, as measured by the SGR log, indicating the possibility that U is bound in or adsorbed to clays in the aquifer. The stratigraphy of the alluvium likely plays a role in elevated concentrations of aqueous U. Interbedded clay and sand layers allow for the mobilization of U in oxic sandy layers from U adsorbed in sediments in reduced clay layers. The stratigraphy also plays a role in the degree of mixing of groundwater in the formation and well. Mixing can obscure the ability to identify U sources. Mixing is exacerbated by the relatively long screens (> 20 ft long or > 6.1 m) of the monitoring wells.

Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the South Florida basin, 2016

Released February 01, 2019 15:15 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2018-3074

Tina L. Roberts-Ashby, Paul C. Hackley, Celeste D. Lohr, Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Katherine J. Whidden, Phuong A. Le, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Cheryl A. Woodall, Michael E. Brownfield, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Kristen R. Marra, Thomas M. Finn

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean undiscovered, technically recoverable resources of 49 million barrels of oil and 18 billion cubic feet of gas in the onshore and State waters part of the South Florida basin.

Preferential groundwater seepage in karst terrane inferred from geoelectric measurements

Released February 01, 2019 15:11 EST

2019, Near Surface Geophysics (17) 43-53

Scott Ikard, Emily Pease

The Ellenburger–San Saba aquifer discharges spring flows into the overlying Hamilton Creek bed in Burnet County, central Texas. The aquifer is susceptible to contamination from surface‐water reservoirs because of the presence of dissolution cavities that are hydraulically connected to the reservoirs in some locations. There is concern that preferential groundwater seepage from reservoirs into the aquifer in these locations might ultimately degrade the quality of the springwater that enters Hamilton Creek. To investigate preferential groundwater seepage patterns and hydraulic connectivity between surface‐water reservoirs and the Ellenburger–San Saba aquifer, geophysical reconnaissance surveys were completed between July 2017 and January 2018 to map dissolution cavities and locate preferential groundwater seepage within a specific region of the aquifer. Two‐dimensional electric resistivity tomography and self‐potential profiling were utilized, and a simplified, three‐dimensional finite‐element model of the field site was constructed to provide an interpretive aid. The self‐potential data indicated the occurrence of preferential groundwater seepage through a porous seepage conduit that was imaged by the electric resistivity tomography data but did not indicate the occurrence of groundwater seepage through two fluid‐filled dissolution cavities that were imaged by electric resistivity tomography data. Collectively, the surveying and modelling results demonstrate the efficacy of geoelectric methods for mapping the locations of dissolution cavities and preferential groundwater seepage in the electrically resistive karst terrane of the Ellenburger–San Saba aquifer.

Patterning emergent marsh vegetation assemblages in coastal Louisiana, USA, with unsupervised artificial neural networks

Released February 01, 2019 15:08 EST

2019, Applied Vegetation Science

Gregg A. Snedden


Are self‐organizing maps (SOMs) useful for patterning coastal wetland vegetation communities? Do SOMs provide robust alternatives to traditional classification methods, particularly when underlying species response functions are unknown or difficult to approximate, or when a need exists to continuously classify new samples obtained under ongoing long‐term ecosystem monitoring programs as they become available?.


Coastal Louisiana, USA.


A SOM was trained from in situ observations of 559 vegetation species relative cover data from 2526 samples collected over eight years at 343 locations across coastal Louisiana. Hierarchical cluster analysis was applied to the SOM output to delineate vegetation community types, and indicator species analysis was conducted. Salinity and flood duration were compared across the delineated community types.


The SOM patterned the 2526 training samples into 260 output neurons, which were further clustered into eleven community types. Clear gradients in salinity and flood duration existed among the community types, and geographic zonation of the communities was evident across the landscape. At some locations assemblages were temporally stable; at other locations they varied considerably. Samples not used in training the network were effectively projected onto the SOM and assigned to one of the delineated community types.


The SOM was effective in delineating plant communities in the region that were qualitatively similar to those obtained in previous investigations. Being robust to skewed distributions and the presence of outliers, SOMs provide an alternative to traditional distribution‐based statistical approaches. Their ability to efficiently classify new data into existing community types makes their use an ideal approach to classifying samples obtained from ongoing, long‐term ecological monitoring programs.

Valuation of the flood attenuation ecosystem service in Difficult Run, VA, USA

Released February 01, 2019 15:02 EST

2019, Journal of Environmental Management (231) 1056-1064

Collin B. Lawrence, Emily J. Pindilli, Dianna M. Hogan

Floodplains and riparian wetlands provide several ecosystem services that directly benefit people. We present a methodology for valuing the flood attenuation ecosystem service in Difficult Run, a suburban watershed with extensive natural floodplains in northern Virginia. High-resolution lidar-derived data were combined with GIS modeling techniques to produce estimates of flood inundation. We combined the modeled estimates with parcel-level property and primary economic data using a baseline and a counterfactual scenario to estimate the magnitude of flood attenuation and the associated value of the ecosystem service. Our framework brings new models and data to look at floodplains and an alternative land surface scenario in a way that has not previously been done. Annualized avoided property losses totaled $42,184 in the baseline scenario and $115,596 in the counterfactual scenario for the combined 200-, 100-, 50-, 20-, 10-, and 5-year flood events. We estimate the total annualized value of the flood attenuation ecosystem service in Difficult Run is $73,412, which is $77 per hectare of floodplain area and is consistent with similar valuation studies of floodplains. The framework presented here is not specific to the study area and could be deployed at larger spatial areas in other locations. Our methods may better inform land use decision making on the impacts of development in and surrounding floodplain areas.

Pathology and case definition of Severe Perkinsea Infections of frogs

Released February 01, 2019 14:57 EST

2019, Veterinary Pathology (56) 133-142

Marcos Isidoro Ayza, Daniel A. Grear, Aurélie Chambouvet

Severe Perkinsea infection (SPI) is an emerging disease of frogs responsible for mass mortalities of tadpoles across the United States. It is caused by protozoa belonging to the phylum Perkinsozoa that form a distinct group referred to as the Pathogenic Perkinsea Clade of frogs. In this work, we provide detailed description of gross and histologic lesions from 178 naturally infected tadpoles, including 10 species from 22 mortality events and 6 amphibian health monitoring studies from diverse geographic areas. On external examination, we observed abdominal distension (10, 5.6%), cutaneous erythema and petechia (3, 1.7%), subcutaneous edema (3, 1.7%), and areas of white skin discoloration (3, 1.7%). On macroscopic examination of internal organs, we found hepatomegaly (68, 38.2%), splenomegaly (51, 28.7%), nephromegaly (47, 26.4%), ascites (15, 8.4%), segmental irregular thickening and white discoloration of the intestine (8, 4.5%), pancreatomegaly (4, 2.2%), and pancreatic petechia (1, 0.6%). Histologically, over 60% of the liver (148/165, 89.7%), kidney (113/147, 76.9%), spleen (96/97, 99%), and pancreas (46/68, 67.6%) were invaded by myriad intracellular and extracellular Perkinsea hypnospore-like and trophozoite-like organisms. Numerous other tissues were affected to a lesser extent. Mild histiocytic inflammation with fewer lymphocytes or eosinophils was commonly observed in areas of infection that were not obscured by lympho-granulocytic hematopoietic tissue. In light of these observations, we suggest a logical pathogenesis sequence. Finally, we propose a “case definition” for SPI to promote standardized communication of results and prevent misdiagnosis with epidemiological and pathologically overlapping diseases such as ranavirosis.

A vision for documenting and sharing knowledge in conservation

Released February 01, 2019 14:02 EST

2019, Conservation Science and Practice (1) 1-2

Mark W. Schwartz, Dyhia Belhabib, Duan Biggs, Carly N. Cook, James Fitzsimmons, Anthony J. Giordano, Louise Glew, Sara Gottlieb, Gustavo Kattan, Andrew T. Knight, Carolyn J. Lundquist, Antony J. Lynam, Yuta J. Masuda, Tuyeni H. Mwampamba, Ana Nuno, Andrew J. Plumptre, Justina C. Ray, Sheila M. Reddy, Michael C. Runge

As editors, we mark the launch of Conservation Science and Practice, a journal of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), with the following remarks framing the purpose and aspirations of the journal. Our aim is to share scholarship on and experiences of the practice of conservation. We define conservation practice as the application of conservation principles or theory across conservation issues, from planning and directly managing nature to influencing public policy and private behaviors—at scales from local communities to international governing bodies. We are striving for Conservation Science and Practice to be a forum for sharing lessons learned from research and practice to reciprocally informing and improving both arenas.

Landsat benefiting society for fifty years

Released February 01, 2019 13:24 EST

2018, Report

Laura E. P. Rocchio, Peggy Connot, Steve Young, Kate Ramsayer, Linda Owen, Michelle Bouchard, Christopher Barnes

Since 1972, data acquired by the Landsat series of satellites have become integral to land management for both government and the private sector, providing scientists and decision makers with key information about agricultural productivity, ice sheet dynamics, urban growth, forest monitoring, natural resource management, water quality, and supporting disaster response.

Landsat 9 continues the mission of unrivaled space-based Earth observation and will lead the Landsat program into its second half century of Earth imagery provided to users, worldwide, at no charge. More than 8 million Landsat scenes held in the USGS archive to date are used in conjunction with advanced geographic information systems, image processing software, and cloud computing capabilities to enable Landsat users to study changes on the Earth’s surface across continental regions and extended time periods.

The Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) instruments onboard Landsat 9 —which replicate the technologically-advanced instruments introduced onboard Landsat 8—allow for the collection of continuous high-quality data required for advancing Earth applications, including our ability to map surface temperature and surface water quality.

Landsat 9 will build on the Landsat legacy, achieving a half-century record of global Earth observations.

U.S. Geological Survey science for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative—2017 annual report

Released February 01, 2019 13:20 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2018-1188

Linda C. Zeigenfuss, Ellen Aikens, Cameron L. Aldridge, Patrick J. Anderson, Timothy J. Assal, Zachary H. Bowen, Anna D. Chalfoun, Geneva W. Chong, Cheryl A. Eddy-Miller, Stephen S. Germaine, Tabitha Graves, Collin G. Homer, Christopher C. Huber, Aaron Johnston, Matthew J. Kauffman, Daniel J. Manier, Ryan R. McShane, Kirk A. Miller, Adrian P. Monroe, Anna Ortega, Annika W. Walters, Teal B. Wyckoff

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) was established in 2008 to address the scientific and conservation questions associated with land use changes because of energy development and other factors in southwest Wyoming. Over the past decade, partners from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), State and Federal land management agencies, universities, and the public have collaborated to implement a long-term (defined here as more than 10 years), science-based program that assesses and enhances the quality and quantity of wildlife habitats in this region while facilitating responsible development. The USGS Science Team completes scientific research and develops tools that inform and support WLCI partner planning, decision making, and on-the-ground management actions. In fiscal year 2017, USGS published 18 products (including peer-reviewed journal articles, USGS series publications, and data releases), prepared an additional 7 products for publication, and presented 14 talks or posters at professional scientific meetings in addition to numerous informal presentations to WLCI partners at meetings and workshops. In this report, we summarize the science themes that describe USGS science for the WLCI and highlight work completed in fiscal year 2017 for each science theme. We also provide information on how USGS science is being used by land managers to better achieve habitat conservation objectives.

Secular changes in Cenozoic arc magmatism recorded by trends in forearc-basin sandstone composition, Cook Inlet, southern Alaska

Released February 01, 2019 11:48 EST

2018, Book chapter, Tectonics, sedimentary basins, and provenance: A celebration of the career of William R. Dickinson

Kenneth P. Helmold, Marwan A. Wartes, Robert J. Gillis, David L. LePain, Trystan M. Herriott, Richard G. Stanley, Michael D. Wilson

Raymond V. Ingersoll, Timothy F. Lawton, Stephan A. Graham, editor(s)

A robust set of modal composition data (238 samples) for Eocene to Pliocene sandstone from the Cook Inlet forearc basin of southern Alaska reveals strong temporal trends in composition, particularly in the abundance of volcanic lithic grains. Field and petrographic point-count data from the northwestern side of the basin indicate that the middle Eocene West Foreland Formation was strongly influenced by nearby volcanic activity. The middle Eocene to lower Miocene Hemlock Conglomerate and Oligocene to middle Miocene Tyonek Formation have a more mature quartzose composition with limited volcanic input. The middle to upper Miocene Beluga Formation includes abundant argillaceous sedimentary lithic grains and records an upward increase in volcanogenic material. The up-section increase in volcanic detritus continues into the upper Miocene to Pliocene Sterling Formation.

These first-order observations are interpreted to primarily reflect the waxing and waning of nearby arc magmatism. Available U-Pb detrital zircon geochronologic data indicate a dramatic reduction in zircon abundance during the early Eocene, and again during the Oligocene to Miocene, suggesting the arc was nearly dormant during these intervals. The reduced arc flux may record events such as subduction of slab windows or material that resisted subduction. The earlier hiatus in volcanism began ca. 56 Ma and coincided with a widely accepted model of ridge subduction beneath south-central Alaska. The later hiatus (ca. 25–8 Ma) coincided with insertion of the leading edge of the Yakutat terrane beneath the North American continental margin, resulting in an Oligocene to Miocene episode of flat-slab subduction that extended farther to the southwest than the modern seismically imaged flat-slab region. The younger tectonic event coincided with development of some of the best petroleum reservoirs in Cook Inlet.

Climate, snow, and soil moisture data set for the Tuolumne and Merced river watersheds, California, USA

Released February 01, 2019 10:46 EST

2019, Earth System Science Data (11) 101-110

James W. Roche, Robert Rice, Xiande Meng, Daniel R. Cayan, Michael D. Dettinger, Douglas Alden, Sarina C. Patel, Megan A. Mason, Martha H. Conklin, Roger C. Bales

We present hourly climate data to force land surface process models and assessments over the Merced and Tuolumne watersheds in the Sierra Nevada, California, for the water year 2010–2014 period. Climate data (38 stations) include temperature and humidity (23), precipitation (13), solar radiation (8), and wind speed and direction (8), spanning an elevation range of 333 to 2987 m. Each data set contains raw data as obtained from the source (Level 0), data that are serially continuous with noise and nonphysical points removed (Level 1), and, where possible, data that are gap filled using linear interpolation or regression with a nearby station record (Level 2). All stations chosen for this data set were known or documented to be regularly maintained and components checked and calibrated during the period. Additional time-series data included are available snow water equivalent records from automated stations (8) and manual snow courses (22), as well as distributed snow depth and co-located soil moisture measurements (2–6) from four locations spanning the rain–snow transition zone in the center of the domain. Spatial data layers pertinent to snowpack modeling in this data set are basin polygons and 100 m resolution rasters of elevation, vegetation type, forest canopy cover, tree height, transmissivity, and extinction coefficient. All data are available from online data repositories (https://doi.org/10.6071/M3FH3D).

Assessment of continuous oil and gas resources in the Duvernay Formation, Alberta Basin Province, Canada, 2018

Released January 31, 2019 16:50 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2018-3065

Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Phuong A. Le, Michael E. Brownfield, Kristen R. Marra, Stephanie B. Gaswirth, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Ronald M. Drake II

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 1.3 billion barrels of oil and 22.2 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Duvernay Formation of the Alberta Basin Province, Canada.

Defensible standardized ploidy assessments for Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella, Cyprinidae) intercepted from the commercial supply chain

Released January 31, 2019 15:55 EST

2019, Journal of Great Lakes Research

Jill A. Jenkins, Megan D. Chauvin, Darren Johnson, Bonnie L. Brown, Jennifer Bailey, Anita M. Kelly, Bryan T. Kinter

Although methods are in place through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) program for ploidy testing of feral caught Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) and black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus), no guidelines exist for carp hauled across state lines. Using 1200 Grass Carp purchased by undercover Ohio law enforcement during 2015–2016, we developed a standardized protocol for discriminating ploidy by using two parameters, nuclear size and DNA content. Bead standards at 2 μm or 4 μm were used to establish nuclear size from Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), known diploid (n = 20) and triploid (n = 20) Grass Carp blood, and cells derived from eyeballs of purchased field carp. The control for establishing DNA content was cryopreserved or fresh tilapia blood (2.40 pg). Time postmortem indicated nuclear size was similar over 4 days, but DNA quality from triploids was best at 24 h. Occasionally, only size or DNA content was measurable. Tilapia mean nuclear size (n = 501 samples) was 4.61 μm (SE 0.05) (R2 = 0.94). Known diploid and triploid blood nuclear sizes, compared with tilapia size, were 3.62 μm (SE 0.13) (R2 = 0.96) and 7.58 μm (SE 0.27) (R2 = 0.96), respectively. Mean field carp eye nuclear size was 5.83 μm (SE 0.13). Mean DNA content of cells from field carp eyes (n = 698 fish) was 3.51 pg (SE 0.06). No diploid Grass Carp were detected in the USFWS certified triploid Grass Carp transports. This standard protocol reliably discriminates ploidy and can be used for enforcement of regulations that differ among state jurisdictions.

Critical review: Grand challenges in assessing the adverse effects of contaminants of emerging concern on aquatic food webs

Released January 31, 2019 15:42 EST

2019, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (38) 46-60

Elena Nilsen, Kelly L. Smalling, Lutz Ahrens, Meritxell Gros, Karina S. B. Miglioranza, Yolanda Pico, Heiko L. Schoenfuss

Much progress has been made in the past few decades in understanding the sources, transport, fate, and biological effects of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in aquatic ecosystems. Despite these advancements, significant obstacles still prevent comprehensive assessments of the environmental risks associated with the presence of CECs. Many of these obstacles center around the extrapolation of effects of single chemicals observed in the laboratory or effects found in individual organisms or species in the field to impacts of multiple stressors on aquatic food webs. In the present review, we identify 5 challenges that must be addressed to promote studies of CECs from singular exposure events to multispecies aquatic food web interactions. There needs to be: 1) more detailed information on the complexity of mixtures of CECs in the aquatic environment, 2) a greater understanding of the sublethal effects of CECs on a wide range of aquatic organisms, 3) an ascertaining of the biological consequences of variable duration CEC exposures within and across generations in aquatic species, 4) a linkage of multiple stressors with CEC exposure in aquatic systems, and 5) a documenting of the trophic consequences of CEC exposure across aquatic food webs. We examine the current literature to show how these challenges can be addressed to fill knowledge gaps.

The expectations and challenges of wildlife disease research in the era of genomics: forecasting with a horizon scan-like exercise

Released January 31, 2019 15:33 EST

2019, Journal of Heredity

Robert R. Fitak, Jennifer D. Antonides, Eric J. Baitchman, Elisa Bonaccorso, Josephine Braun, Steven Kubiski, Elliott Chiu, Anna C. Fagre, Roderick B. Gagne, Justin S. Lee, Jennifer L. Malmberg, Mark D. Stenglein, Robert J. Dusek, David Forgacs, Nicholas M. Fountain-Jones, Marie L. J. Gilbertson, Katherine E. L. Worsley-Tonks, W. Chris Funk, Daryl R. Trumbo, Bruno M. Ghersi, Wray Grimaldi, Sara E. Heisel, Claire M. Jardine, Pauline L. Kamath, Dibesh Karmacharya, Christopher P. Kozakiewicz, Simona Kraberger, Dagan A. Loisel, Cait McDonald, Steven Miller, Devon O’Rourke, Caitlin N. Ott-Conn, Mónica Páez-Vacas, Alison J. Peel, Wendy C. Turner, Meredith C. VanAcker, Sue VandeWoude, Jill Pecon-Slattery

The outbreak and transmission of disease-causing pathogens are contributing to the unprecedented rate of biodiversity decline. Recent advances in genomics have coalesced into powerful tools to monitor, detect, and reconstruct the role of pathogens impacting wildlife populations. Wildlife researchers are thus uniquely positioned to merge ecological and evolutionary studies with genomic technologies to exploit unprecedented ‘Big Data’ tools in disease research; however, many researchers lack the training and expertise required to use these computationally intensive methodologies. To address this disparity, the inaugural ‘Genomics of Disease in Wildlife’ workshop assembled early to mid-career professionals with expertise across scientific disciplines (e.g., genomics, wildlife biology, veterinary sciences, and conservation management) for training in the application of genomic tools to wildlife disease research. A horizon scanning-like exercise, an activity to identify forthcoming trends and challenges, performed by the workshop participants identified and discussed five themes considered to be the most pressing to the application of genomics in wildlife disease research: i) “Improving Communication”, ii) “Methodological and Analytical Advancements”, iii) “Translation into Practice”, iv) “Integrating Landscape Ecology and Genomics”, and v) “Emerging New Questions”. Wide-ranging solutions from the horizon scan were international in scope, itemized both deficiencies and strengths in wildlife genomic initiatives, promoted the use of genomic technologies to unite wildlife and human disease research, and advocated best practices for optimal use of genomic tools in wildlife disease projects. The results offer a glimpse of the potential revolution in human and wildlife disease research possible through multi-disciplinary collaborations at local, regional, and global scales.

Landscape controls on the distribution and ecohydrology of central Oregon springs

Released January 31, 2019 15:13 EST

2019, Ecohydrology

Zach Freed, Allison Aldous, Marshall W. Gannett

Small springs in semiarid landscapes are essential for maintaining aquatic biodiversity and supporting livestock grazing operations. However, little is known about controls on the distribution and physical characteristics of small springs, the aquatic species they support, or their sensitivity to disturbance. We address this information gap in the Crooked River subbasin, a tributary of the Deschutes River in Oregon. We conducted spatial analyses on 2,519 mapped springs to investigate the influence of landscape controls (precipitation and bedrock permeability) on spring density in the Crooked River subbasin and the adjacent Upper Deschutes subbasin. Spring density was highest in areas of low bedrock permeability (P < 0.0001) and high annual precipitation (P < 0.0001). We suggest that the high density of small springs on low‐permeability bedrock indicates that these springs generally have short, shallow flow paths and thus may be susceptible to forecasted climate changes. A survey of 137 springs in the Crooked River subbasin revealed the hydrogeologic setting affects spring discharge type (P = 0.017), temperature (P = 0.011), and pH (P = 0.026). We found a high frequency of anthropogenic impacts on springs: 95% of diffuse‐discharge springs and 79% of discrete‐discharge springs were disturbed by livestock grazing. Species inventories at 10 of the most intact surveyed springs confirm that small springs are biologically diverse, with 151 total species of plants and 135 total taxa of macroinvertebrates. Springs in the Crooked River subbasin are ecologically important habitats but require careful management to protect against livestock disturbance and development.

Decision-making in agent-based modeling: A current review and future prospectus

Released January 31, 2019 15:10 EST

2019, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (6) 1-16

Donald L. DeAngelis, Stephanie G. Diaz

All basic processes of ecological populations involve decisions; when and where to move, when and what to eat, and whether to fight or flee. Yet decisions and the underlying principles of decision-making have been difficult to integrate into the classical population-level models of ecology. Certainly, there is a long history of modeling individuals' searching behavior, diet selection, or conflict dynamics within social interactions. When all the individuals are given certain simple rules to govern their decision-making processes, the resultant population–level models have yielded important generalizations and theory. But it is also recognized that such models do not represent the way real individuals decide on actions. Factors that influence a decision include the organism's environment with its dynamic rewards and risks, the complex internal state of the organism, and its imperfect knowledge of the environment. In the case of animals, it may also involve complex social factors, and experience and learning, which vary among individuals. The way that all factors are weighed and processed to lead to decisions is a major area of behavioral theory.

While classic population-level modeling is limited in its ability to integrate decision-making in its actual complexity, the development of individual- or agent-based models (IBM/ABMs) (we use ABM throughout to designate both “agent-based modeling” and an “agent-based model”) has opened the possibility of describing the way that decisions are made, and their effects, in minute detail. Over the years, these models have increased in size and complexity. Current ABMs can simulate thousands of individuals in realistic environments, and with highly detailed internal physiology, perception and ability to process the perceptions and make decisions based on those and their internal states. The implementation of decision-making in ABMs ranges from fairly simple to highly complex; the process of an individual deciding on an action can occur through the use of logical and simple (if-then) rules to more sophisticated neural networks and genetic algorithms. The purpose of this paper is to give an overview of the ways in which decisions are integrated into a variety of ABMs and to give a prospectus on the future of modeling of decisions in ABMs.

The formation of gullies on Mars today

Released January 31, 2019 12:44 EST

2019, Geological Society, London, Special Publications (467) 67-94

Colin M. Dundas, Alfred S. McEwen, Serina Diniega, Candice J. Hansen, Jim N. McElwaince

A decade of high-resolution monitoring has revealed extensive activity in fresh Martian gullies. Flows within the gullies are diverse: they can be relatively light, neutral or dark, colourful or bland, and range from superficial deposits to 10 m-scale topographic changes. We observed erosion and transport of material within gullies, new terraces, freshly eroded channel segments, migrating sinuous curves, channel abandonment, and lobate deposits. We also observed early stages of gully initiation, demonstrating that these processes are not merely modifying pre-existing landforms. The timing of activity closely correlates with the presence of seasonal CO2 frost, so the current changes must be part of ongoing gully formation that is driven largely by its presence. We suggest that the cumulative effect of many flows erodes alcoves and channels, and builds lobate aprons, with no involvement of liquid water. Instead, flows may be fluidized by sublimation of entrained CO2 ice or other mechanisms. The frequent activity is likely to have erased any features dating from high-obliquity periods, so fresh gully geomorphology at middle and high latitudes is not evidence for past liquid water. CO2 ice-driven processes may have been important throughout Martian geological history and their deposits could exist in the rock record, perhaps resembling debris-flow sediments.

Lethal infection of wild raptors with highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 and H5N2 viruses in the USA, 2014–15

Released January 31, 2019 12:37 EST

2019, Journal of Wildlife Diseases (55) 164-168

Susan N. Knowles, Valerie I. Shearn-Bochsler, Hon S. Ip

An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) led to heavy losses of poultry in commercial farms in North America in 2014–15. Enhanced surveillance by virologists and pathologists at the US Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center and its partners resulted in the identification of lethal infections with clade subgroup icA2 H5N8 and novel reassortant H5N2 viruses in diverse wild raptor species that died concomitant with the poultry epizootic in the US. A range of pathologic abnormalities were present in dead raptors, including necrotizing encephalitis and myocarditis, pancreatic necrosis, and pulmonary congestion and edema. Raptors are highly susceptible to disease caused by infection with HPAI clade viruses.

The flood lavas of Kasei Valles, Mars

Released January 31, 2019 11:48 EST

2019, Icarus (321) 346-357

Colin M. Dundas, Glen E. Cushing, Laszlo P. Kestay

Both the northern and southern arms of Kasei Valles are occupied by platy-ridged flood lavas. We have mapped these flows and examined their morphology to better understand their emplacement. The lavas were emplaced as high-flux, turbulent flows (exceeding 106 m3 s−1). Lava in southern Kasei Valles can be traced back up onto the Tharsis rise, which is also the likely source of lavas in the northern arm. These eruptions were similar to, but somewhat smaller than, the Athabasca Valles flood lava in Elysium Planitia, with estimated volumes of > 1200 km3 here and 5000 km3 in Athabasca Valles. The flood lavas in both Kasei and Athabasca Valles have evidence for distal inflation as well as widespread drainage or volume loss in medial areas; this may be an important characteristic of many large, recent Martian eruptions. Despite their great size and flux, the Kasei Valles flood lavas are only a late modification to the valley system capable of only modest local erosion. The more vigorous Athabasca Valles lava may have been capable of somewhat more erosion in its smaller valley system.

Delineation of tile-drain networks using thermal and multispectral imagery—Implications for water quantity and quality differences from paired edge-of-field sites

Released January 31, 2019 11:43 EST

2019, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (74) 1-11

Tanja N. Williamson, Edward G. Dobrowolski, Shawn M. Meyer, Jeffrey W. Frey, Barry J. Allred

As part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, paired edge-of-field sites were established in high priority subwatersheds to assess the effectiveness of agricultural management practices. One pairing was in Black Creek, a tributary to the Maumee River and Lake Erie. These fields were paired because of similarity in soils, topography, and agricultural management. Following two years of baseline data collection from these fields, consistent differences in water quantity and quality were observed for tile networks draining the fields, despite these fields being adjacent and managed together. Consequently, it was hypothesized that differences in subsurface water movement, specifically tile-drain density and connectivity, were the source of the observed differences. Our objective was to map the tile-drain network using remote sensing methodology in order to improve the understanding of nutrient and water transport as well as management on these fields. A combination of multispectral and thermal imagery, collected in spring of 2017, was incorporated to delineate the tile-drain network within each field. This imagery led to locating a cracked tile, which provided a direct path for overland flow to enter the tile-drain system and suggested that a tile-drain segment under the road connected the two fields. A ground-penetrating radar survey verified multiple tile locations, including the tile segment under the road. The distribution of these tiles helps explain the difference in water quantity and quality in the two fields.

Sensitivity of streamflow simulation in the Delaware River Basin to forecasted land‐cover change for 2030 and 2060

Released January 31, 2019 11:41 EST

2019, Hydrological Processes (33) 115-129

Tanja N. Williamson, Peter Claggett

In order to simulate the potential effect of forecasted land‐cover change on streamflow and water availability, there has to be confidence that the hydrologic model used is sensitive to small changes in land cover (<10%) and that this land‐cover change exceeds the inherent uncertainty in forecasted conditions. To investigate this, a 26‐year streamflow record was simulated for 33 basins (54–928 km2) in the Delaware River Basin using three dates of land cover: the 2011 National Land‐Cover Dataset (Homer, Fry, & Barnes, 2012), 2030 land‐cover conditions representing median values from 101 equally‐likely forecasts, and 2060 land‐cover conditions corresponding to the same iterations used to represent 2030. Streamflow was simulated using a process‐based hydrologic model that includes both pervious and impervious methods as parameterized by three land‐cover‐based hydrologic response units (HRUs)—forested, agricultural, and developed land. Small, but significant differences in streamflow magnitude, variability, and seasonality were seen among the three time periods—2011, 2030, and 2060. Temporal differences were discernible from the range of conditions simulated with 101 equally likely forecasts for 2030. Development was co‐located with the most frequent landscape components, as characterized by topographic wetness index, resulting in a change in hydrology for each HRU, highlighting that knowing the location of disturbance is key to understanding potential streamflow changes. These results show that streamflow simulation using regional calibration that incorporates land‐cover‐based HRUs can be sensitive to relatively small changes in land‐cover and that temporal trends resulting from land‐cover change can be isolated in order to evaluate other changes that might affect water resources.

Contaminant baselines and sediment provenance along the Puget Sound Energy Transport Corridor, 2015

Released January 31, 2019 11:09 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2018-1196

Renee K. Takesue, Pamela L. Campbell

The transport of coal and oil can result in contaminated soil, water, and organisms from unintended releases. Trains carrying coal and crude oil regularly pass through Puget Sound, Washington, and an increase in the number of coal and oil trains is expected in the future. This study characterized levels of potentially toxic contaminants in sediment in September 2015: arsenic, metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at four sites with fine-grained sediment (Chuckanut Bay, Padilla Bay, Snohomish River Delta, Nisqually River Delta) adjacent to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line in the Puget Sound region. Arsenic (As) and metals levels were compared to those measured at a fifth site, urban Saltwater State Park, which was expected to show contaminants associated with urbanization but not rail transport of coal and oil because it is not adjacent to the BNSF rail line. Knowledge about current properties of soil and sediment is essential for quantifying impacts of spills and other releases, and for setting remediation or restoration targets. For the sampling effort and timing of this study, all five sites had fine sediment contents of cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) below minimal effects levels. Pb and Zn appeared to be urban sourced. Median As, chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), and nickel (Ni) levels were in the range where adverse biological effects would possibly occur; however, Cr and Ni were geologically sourced and unlikely to be bioavailable to organisms. As, Cu, and antimony (Sb) levels were highly correlated, an association that is characteristic of legacy smelting operations; however, total sediment contents of these three elements, along with Hg and As/Sb ratios, were near natural levels and could indicate river-borne inputs. Median total PAH concentrations were highest at Snohomish River Delta, but were below minimal effects levels at all sites. Diagnostic PAH ratios were indicative of PAHs sourced from petroleum combustion and coal/biomass burning, rather than from spilled petroleum or coal. Rare earth element patterns were distinct among watersheds with Cascade volcanoes, granitic rocks, or non-volcanic sediments, making them promising sediment provenance indicators. Knowledge about sediment sources and contaminant distributions could provide unique insights about sediment-bound contaminant sourcing, delivery, and dispersal in nearshore regions.

Whooping crane use of riverine stopover sites

Released January 31, 2019 11:08 EST

2019, PLoS ONE (14) 1-20

David M. Baasch, Patrick D. Farrell, Shay Howlin, Aaron T. Pearse, Jason M. Farnsworth, Chadwin B. Smith

Migratory birds like endangered whooping cranes (Grus americana) require suitable nocturnal roost sites during twice annual migrations. Whooping cranes primarily roost in shallow surface water wetlands, ponds, and rivers. All these features have been greatly impacted by human activities, which present threats to the continued recovery of the species. A portion of one such river, the central Platte River, has been identified as critical habitat for the survival of the endangered whooping crane. Management intervention is now underway to rehabilitate habitat form and function on the central Platte River to increase use and thereby contribute to the survival of whooping cranes. The goal of our analyses was to develop habitat selection models that could be used to direct riverine habitat management activities (i.e., channel widening, tree removal, flow augmentation, etc.) along the central Platte River and throughout the species’ range. As such, we focused our analyses on two robust sets of whooping crane observations and habitat metrics the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (Program or PRRIP) and other such organizations could influence. This included channel characteristics such as total channel width, the width of channel unobstructed by dense vegetation, and distance of forest from the edge of the channel and flow-related metrics like wetted width and unit discharge (flow volume per linear meter of wetted channel width) that could be influenced by flow augmentation or reductions during migration. We used 17 years of systematic monitoring data in a discrete-choice framework to evaluate the influence these various metrics have on the relative probability of whooping crane use and found the width of channel unobstructed by dense vegetation and distance to the nearest forest were the best predictors of whooping crane use. Secondly, we used telemetry data obtained from a sample of 38 birds of all ages over the course of seven years, 2010–2016, to evaluate whooping crane use of riverine habitat within the North-central Great Plains, USA. For this second analysis, we focused on the two metrics found to be important predictors of whooping crane use along the central Platte River, unobstructed channel width and distance to nearest forest or wooded area. Our findings indicate resource managers, such as the Program, have the potential to influence whooping crane use of the central Platte River through removal of in-channel vegetation to increase the unobstructed width of narrow channels and through removal of trees along the bank line to increase unforested corridor widths. Results of both analyses also indicated that increases in relative probability of use by whooping cranes did not appreciably increase with unobstructed views ≥200 m wide and unforested corridor widths that were ≥330 m. Therefore, managing riverine sites for channels widths >200 m and removing trees beyond 165 m from the channel’s edge would increase costs associated with implementing management actions such as channel and bank-line disking, removing trees, augmenting flow, etc. without necessarily realizing an additional appreciable increase in use by migrating whooping cranes.

Morphology and genetics of Lythrum salicaria from latitudinal gradients of the Northern Hemisphere grown in cold and hot common gardens

Released January 30, 2019 16:04 EST

2019, PLoS ONE (14) 1-24

Beth A. Middleton, Steven E. Travis, Barbora Kubátová, Darren Johnson, Keith R. Edwards

The aim of this project was to compare the phenotypic responses of global populations of Lythrum salicaria in cold/dry and hot/humid environments to determine if phenotypic plasticity varied between the native and invasive ranges, and secondarily if this variation was linked to genetic diversity. Common garden studies were conducted in Třeboň, Czech Republic, and Lafayette, Louisiana, USA (cold/dry vs. hot/humid garden, respectively), using populations from latitudinal gradients in Eurasia and North America. Lythrum salicaria seeds collected from the same maternal plants across these latitudinal gradients were germinated and grown in Třeboň and Lafayette. Tissue masses (above-, below-ground, inflorescence and total) of these individuals were assessed at the end of each growing season (2006–2008). Worldwide field measurements of Lsalicaria height were made by volunteers from 2004–2016. Biomass and height data were analyzed using the General Linear Model framework and multivariate techniques. Molecular markers (amplified fragment length polymorphisms) of individuals used in the common garden study were analyzed using traditional genetic diversity metrics and Bayesian clustering algorithms in STRUCTURE. Reaction norms were developed from differences in maternal plant responses in Třeboň versus Lafayette. In the common garden studies, stem/leaf, root and total biomass generally were highest for individuals grown from seeds collected in the southern part of the range in the cold garden, particularly by the third year of the study. In contrast, inflorescence biomass in the cold garden was higher by the third year in individuals from mid-latitude populations. As measured by volunteers, plants were taller in Eurasia than in North America moving from north to south with the pattern switching southward of 40°N latitude. Genetic diversity was similar between native and non-native invasive populations regardless of geographical origin of the seed and was not significantly different in the GLM Select model (p > 0.05). Reaction norm slopes showed that Eurasia had larger values than North America for reaction norms for above-ground and total biomass. Plants from the seeds of mother plants from Turkey had wide variation in total biomass when grown in Třeboň versus Lafayette; this variation in response within certain populations may have contributed to the lack of population-level differences in plasticity. These results indicate no loss of genetic diversity for Lsalicaria during its North American invasion, nor reduction in plastic tissue allocation responses to a varying environment, which may help explain some of its invasive qualities and which could be of adaptive value under changing future environments.

Uncertainty and risk evaluation during the exploration stage of geothermal development: A review

Released January 30, 2019 13:59 EST

2019, Geothermics (78) 233-242

Jeffrey B. Witter, Whitney J. Trainor-Guitton, Drew L. Siler

Quantifying and representing uncertainty for geothermal systems is often ignored, in practice, during the exploration phase of a geothermal development project. We propose that this occurs potentially because the task seems so formidable. The primary goal of this paper is to initiate a dialogue within the geothermal community about: which geothermal uncertainties should receive the most attention and which uncertainty analysis methods could provide the greatest benefit for the advancement of the geothermal energy industry. Specifically, in this paper, we review uncertainty quantification techniques that are applicable to geothermal exploration. In general, uncertainty associated with data acquisition/processing (i.e., objective uncertainty) is small compared to the uncertainty in interpretational space (i.e., subjective uncertainty) that lies between data points where extrapolation is required. Therefore, it is important to classify, assess, and quantify uncertainty to help select strategies to reduce uncertainty and to better gauge the impact that separate uncertainties have on the overall likelihood of project success. The discipline of geostatistics provides multiple quantitative methods for producing stochastic models which adhere to measured data and spatial correlation. The petroleum industry has successfully used both geostatistics and decision analysis methods to combine diverse and multiple types of uncertainties. We argue that instead of one single and final interpretation of the geothermal system, numerous interpretations may be more indicative of the possible subsurface scenarios, and these different scenarios can be evaluated using decision analyses and value of information methodologies. Finally, we recommend that the potential power generation of a geothermal reservoir should be grounded in the geologic data and modeling for a specific field and their estimated uncertainties.

The missing dead: The lost role of animal remains in nutrient cycling in North American Rivers

Released January 30, 2019 13:57 EST

2019, Food Webs (18) 1-6

Seth J. Wengerd, Amanda L. Subalusky, Mary C. Freeman

While leaf litter, wood, and other plant remnants are known to play a central role in lotic ecosystems, animal remains (carcasses, bones, shells) have received less attention. We propose a simple classification scheme for animal remains in rivers based on origin (authochthonous vs. allochthonous) and frequency (pulsed vs continuous). We then present case studies in which we estimate the former biomass of several taxonomic groups that are now diminished in abundance to determine whether their remains could have historically constituted a significant flux of nutrients in rivers of North America. We focus on bones and shells, which decompose slowly and could provide long-term reservoirs of nutrients. We find that carcasses of alligator snapping turtles, once abundant in southeastern rivers, could have provided an amount of phosphorus equivalent to about 1% of total phosphorus (TP) load at median flow, and more at low flows. Mussel shells could have contributed a similar amount (0.8% of TP) but the contribution of beaver carcasses, even at former abundances, was likely small. In contrast, a single documented mass drowning of bison in the Assiniboine River could have contributed half the annual TP load for that river. Such drownings could have been a common occurrence prior to the loss of most wild terrestrial megafauna in North America. We conclude that animal remnants, particularly allochthonous remains from terrestrial animals, formerly played a substantial role in nutrient cycling. Existing models of ecosystem function under reference conditions are incomplete without consideration of these lost animal legacies.

Assessment of continuous gas resources in the Montney and Doig Formations, Alberta Basin Province, Canada, 2018

Released January 30, 2019 12:30 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2018-3071

Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Marilyn E. Tennyson, Thomas M. Finn, Cheryl A. Woodall, Phuong A. Le, Michael E. Brownfield, Kristen R. Marra, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 47.6 trillion cubic feet of gas and 2.2 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in the Montney and Doig Formations of the Alberta Basin Province in Canada.

Seismic velocity structure across the 2013 Craig, Alaska rupture from aftershock tomography: Implications for seismogenic conditions

Released January 29, 2019 15:18 EST

2019, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (507) 94-104

Maureen A. L. Walton, Emily C. Roland, Jacob I. Walter, Sean P. S. Gulick, Peter J. Dotray

The 2013 Craig, Alaska MW 7.5 earthquake ruptured along ∼150 km of the Queen Charlotte Fault (QCF), a right-lateral strike-slip plate boundary fault separating the Pacific and North American plates. Regional shear wave analyses suggest that the Craig earthquake rupturepropagated in the northward direction faster than the S-wave (supershear). Theoretical studies suggest that a bimaterial interface, such as that along the QCF, which separates oceanic and continental crust with differing elastic properties, can promote supershear rupture propagation. We deployed short-period ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS) as a part of a rapid-response effort less than four months after the Craig earthquake mainshock. During a 21-day period, 1,133 aftershocks were recorded by 8 OBS instruments. Aftershock spatial distribution indicates that the base of the seismogenic zone along the QCF approaches ∼25 km depth, consistent with a thermally-controlled fault rheology expected for igneous rocks at oceanic transform faults. The spatial distribution also provides supporting evidence for a previously hypothesized active strand of the QCF system within the Pacific Plate. Tomographic traveltime inversion for velocity structure indicates a low-velocity (VP and VS) zone on the Pacific side of the plate boundary at 5–20 km depths, where NeogenePacific crust and upper mantle seismic velocities average ∼3–11% slower than the North American side, where the Paleozoic North American crust is seismically faster. Our results suggest that elastic properties along the studied portion of the QCF are different than those of a simple oceanic–continental plate boundary fault. In our study region, velocity structure across the QCF, while bimaterial, does not support faster material on the west side of the fault, which has been proposed as one possible explanation for northward supershear propagation during the Craig earthquake. Instead, we image low-velocity material on the west side of the fault. Explanations could include that part of the rupture was subshear, or that fault damage zone properties or fault smoothness are more important controls on supershear rupture than a bimaterial contrast.

Proposed attributes of national wildlife health programmes

Released January 29, 2019 14:47 EST

2018, Scientific and Technical Review

Craig Stephen, Jonathan M. Sleeman, Natalie T. Nguyen, P. Zimmer, J. P. Duff, D. Gavier-Widen, T. Grillo, H. Lee, J. Rijks, Marie-Pierre Ryser-Degiorgis, T. Tana, M. Uhart

Wildlife health is important for conservation, healthy ecosystems, sustainable development, and biosecurity. It presents unique challenges for national programme governance and delivery because wildlife health crosses not only jurisdictional responsibilities and authorities but also inherently spans multiple sectors of expertise. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) encourages its Members to have wildlife disease monitoring and notification systems. Where national wildlife health surveillance programmes do exist, they vary in scope and size. Evidence-based guidance is lacking on the critical functions and roles needed to meet the OIE’s recommendations and other expectations of a national programme. A literature review and consultation with national wildlife health programme leaders identified five key attributes of national programmes including: (1) being knowledge and science based; (2) fostering cross-nation equivalence and harmonisation; (3) developing partnerships and national coordination; (4) providing leadership and administration of national efforts and (5) capacity development. Proposed core purposes include: (1) establishing and communication of the national wildlife health status; (2) leading national planning; (3) centralising information and expertise; (4) developing national networks leading to harmonisation and collaborations; (5) developing wildlife health workforces and (6) centralising administration and management of national programmes. A national wildlife health programme should aim to identify, effectively communicate, and manage the risk to or from a country’s wildlife populations. It should generate the appropriate knowledge required to improve the effectiveness of wildlife policies and systems, including identifyinhttp://www.oie.int/en/publications-and-documentation/scientific-and-technical-review-free-access/peer-reviewed-papers-for-the-plurithematic-review-2018/g and assessing emerging priorities, thus increasing warning for preparedness and preventive actions.

Linking the agricultural landscape of the Midwest to stream health with structural equation modeling

Released January 29, 2019 14:35 EST

2019, Environmental Science & Technology (53) 452-462

Travis S. Schmidt, Peter C. Van Metre, Daren M. Carlisle

Multiple physical and chemical stressors can simultaneously affect the biological condition of streams. To better understand the complex interactions of land-use practices, water quality, and ecological integrity of streams, the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment Project is conducting regional-scale assessments of stream condition across the United States. In the summer of 2013, weekly water samples were collected from 100 streams in the Midwestern United States. Employing watershed theory, we used structural equation modeling (SEM) to represent a general hypothesis for how 16 variables (previously identified to be important to stream condition) might be inter-related. Again, using SEM, we evaluated the ability of this “stressor network” to explain variations in multimetrics of algal, invertebrate, and fish community health, trimming away any environmental variables not contributing to an explanation of the ecological responses. Seven environmental variables—agricultural and urban land use, sand content of soils, basin area, percent riparian area as forest, channel erosion, and relative bed stability—were found to be important for all three-community metrics. The algal and invertebrate models included water-chemistry variables not included in the fish model. Results suggest that ecological integrity of Midwest streams are affected by both agricultural and urban land uses and by the natural geologic setting, as indicated by the sand content of soils. Chemicals related to crops (pesticides and nutrients) and residential uses (pyrethroids) were found to be more strongly related to ecological integrity than were natural factors (riparian forest, watershed soil character).

Widespread loss of lake ice around the Northern Hemisphere in a warming world

Released January 29, 2019 14:32 EST

2019, Nature Climate Change

Sapna Sharma, Kevin Blagrave, John J. Magnuson, Catherine O'Reilly, Samantha Oliver, Ryan D. Batt, Madeline R. Magee, Dietmar Straile, Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer, Luke A. Winslow, R. Iestyn Woolway

Ice provides a range of ecosystem services—including fish harvest, cultural traditions, transportation, recreation and regulation of the hydrological cycle—to more than half of the world’s 117 million lakes. One of the earliest observed impacts of climatic warming has been the loss of freshwater ice, with corresponding climatic and ecological consequences. However, while trends in ice cover phenology have been widely documented, a comprehensive large-scale assessment of lake ice loss is absent. Here, using observations from 513 lakes around the Northern Hemisphere, we identify lakes vulnerable to ice-free winters. Our analyses reveal the importance of air temperature, lake depth, elevation and shoreline complexity in governing ice cover. We estimate that 14,800 lakes currently experience intermittent winter ice cover, increasing to 35,300 and 230,400 at 2 and 8 °C, respectively, and impacting up to 394 and 656 million people. Our study illustrates that an extensive loss of lake ice will occur within the next generation, stressing the importance of climate mitigation strategies to preserve ecosystem structure and function, as well as local winter cultural heritage.

Hydrogen isotopes in high 3He/4He submarine basalts: Primordial vs. recycled water and the veil of mantle enrichment

Released January 29, 2019 14:28 EST

2019, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (508) 62-73

Matthew W. Loewen, David W. Graham, Ilya N. Bindeman, John E. Lupton, Michael O. Garcia

The hydrogen isotope value (δD) of water indigenous to the mantle is masked by the early degassing and recycling of surface water through Earth's history. High 3He/4He ratios in some ocean island basalts, however, provide a clear geochemical signature of deep, primordial mantle that has been isolated within the Earth's interior from melting, degassing, and convective mixing with the upper mantle. Hydrogen isotopes were measured in high 3He/4He submarine basalt glasses from the Southeast Indian Ridge (SEIR) at the Amsterdam–St. Paul (ASP) Plateau (δD = −51 to −90‰, 3He/4He = 7.6 to 14.1 RA) and in submarine glasses from Loihi seamount south of the island of Hawaii (δD = −70 to −90‰, 3He/4He = 22.5 to 27.8 RA). These results highlight two contrasting patterns of δD for high 3He/4He lavas: one trend toward high δD of approximately −50‰, and another converging at δD = −75‰. These same patterns are evident in a global compilation of previously reported δD and 3He/4He results. We suggest that the high δD values result from water recycled during subduction that is carried into the source region of mantle plumes at the core–mantle boundary where it is mixed with primordial mantle, resulting in high δD and moderately high 3He/4He. Conversely, lower δD values of −75‰, in basalts from Loihi seamount and also trace element depleted mid-ocean ridge basalts, imply a primordial Earth hydrogen isotopic value of −75‰ or lower. δD values down to −100‰ also occur in the most trace element-depleted mid-ocean ridge basalts, typically in association with 87Sr/86Sr ratios near 0.703. These lower δD values may be a result of multi-stage melting history of the upper mantle where minor D/H fractionation could be associated with hydrogen retention in nominally anhydrous residual minerals. Collectively, the predominance of δD around −75‰ in the majority of mid-ocean ridge basalts and in high 3He/4He Loihi basalts is consistent with an origin of water on Earth that was dominated by accretion of chondritic material.

Compounding effects of climate change reduce population viability of a montane amphibian

Released January 29, 2019 13:58 EST

2019, Ecological Applications

Amanda M. Kissel, Wendy J. Palen, Maureen E. Ryan, Michael J. Adams

Anthropogenic climate change presents challenges and opportunities to the growth, reproduction, and survival of individuals throughout their life cycles. Demographic compensation among life‐history stages has the potential to buffer populations from decline, but alternatively, compounding negative effects can lead to accelerated population decline and extinction. In montane ecosystems of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, increasing temperatures are resulting in a transition from snow‐dominated to rain‐dominated precipitation events, reducing snowpack. For ectotherms such as amphibians, warmer winters can reduce the frequency of critical minimum temperatures and increase the length of summer growing seasons, benefiting post‐metamorphic stages, but may also increase metabolic costs during winter months, which could decrease survival. Lower snowpack levels also result in wetlands that dry sooner or more frequently in the summer, increasing larval desiccation risk. To evaluate how these challenges and opportunities compound within a species’ life history, we collected demographic data on Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) in Olympic National Park in Washington state to parameterize stage‐based stochastic matrix population models under current and future (A1B, 2040s, and 2080s) environmental conditions. We estimated the proportion of reproductive effort lost each year due to drying using watershed‐specific hydrologic models, and coupled this with an analysis that relates 15 yr of R. cascadae abundance data with a suite of climate variables. We estimated the current population growth (λs) to be 0.97 (95% CI 0.84–1.13), but predict that λs will decline under continued climate warming, resulting in a 62% chance of extinction by the 2080s because of compounding negative effects on early and late life history stages. By the 2080s, our models predict that larval mortality will increase by 17% as a result of increased pond drying, and adult survival will decrease by 7% as winter length and summer precipitation continue to decrease. We find that reduced larval survival drives initial declines in the 2040s, but further declines in the 2080s are compounded by decreases in adult survival. Our results demonstrate the need to understand the potential for compounding or compensatory effects within different life history stages to exacerbate or buffer the effects of climate change on population growth rates through time.

Implications of introgression for wildlife translocations: the case of North American martens

Released January 29, 2019 12:27 EST

2019, Conservation Genetics

Jocelyn P. Colella, Robert E. Wilson, Sandra L. Talbot, Joseph A. Cook

The evolutionary consequences of natural introgression provide a rare opportunity to retrospectively evaluate how the introduction of exotics or genetic rescue efforts may impact endemic faunas. Phylogeographic structure among mainland, endemic insular, and introduced North American marten (Martes americana and M. caurina) populations have been shaped by a complex history of natural, post-glacial population expansion followed by a series of anthropogenic introductions. In some cases, both natural colonization and translocations facilitated secondary contact, offering a series of replicated experiments that demonstrate how introgression, in these cases following isolation (insular and refugial), shapes genetic diversity. We test whether genetic exchange is occurring between North American marten species using mitochondrial genomes and ten nuclear loci. We present evidence of biased nuclear introgression from M. caurina into M. americana across two natural hybrid zones (insular and mainland) and found no remnant evidence of M. caurina on islands that received M. americana translocations, suggesting prior absence, potential extirpation, or genetic swamping of M. caurina from these islands. Our results highlight the importance of understanding phylogeographic variation prior to identifying source populations for wildlife translocations and caution the use of genetic rescue for North American marten populations. Although previously managed as a single species, these two species show substantial genetic divergence. When the two are placed into contact, they exhibit unidirectional, asymmetric introgression with potentially negative consequences for M. caurina, underscoring the value of mindful consideration of introgression in wildlife management.

Behavioral effects of copper on larval white sturgeon

Released January 29, 2019 12:25 EST

2019, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (38) 132-144

Holly J. Puglis, Robin D. Calfee, Edward E. Little

Early–life stage white sturgeon are sensitive to copper (Cu), with adverse behavioral responses observed during previous studies. The objectives of the present study were to quantify the effects of Cu exposure on white sturgeon swimming and feeding behaviors and determine their time to response. Larval sturgeon (1–2, 28, or 35 d posthatch [dph]) were exposed to Cu (0.5–8 μg/L) for 4 to 14 d. Abnormal behavioral changes were observed within the first few days of exposure including loss of equilibrium and immobilization. Digital video tracking software revealed decreased swimming activity with increasing Cu concentration. Significant changes in behavior and mortality occurred at concentrations of Cu between 1 and 8 μg/L. Juvenile white sturgeon, 58 dph, exposed to 12 μg/L Cu consumed 37 to 60% less food than controls after 3 d of exposure. The present results indicate that behavioral endpoints were more sensitive than some standard toxicity test endpoints and can effectively expand the sensitivity of standard toxicity tests for white sturgeon. Swimming behavior was impaired to the extent that survival in the field would likely be jeopardized. Such data would provide managers a useful metric for characterizing the risks of Cu contamination to white sturgeon. 

Mercury contamination in resident and migrant songbirds and potential effects on body condition

Released January 28, 2019 15:43 EST

2019, Environmental Pollution (246) 797-810

Joshua T. Ackerman, Christopher Hartman, Mark P. Herzog

Methlymercury is a significant risk to environmental health globally. We examined the ecological drivers of methylmercury bioaccumulation in songbirds and its effect on body condition while experimentally removing the potentially confounding and predominant effects of site and habitat. We measured blood and feather mercury concentrations and body condition in nearly 1200 individuals representing resident or migrant songbirds of 52 species and 5 foraging guilds. Songbird mercury concentrations differed among species, foraging guilds, residency status, dates, and ages, but not sexes. Blood mercury concentrations 1) ranged from 0.003 in house finch to 0.85 μg/g ww in American robin, 2) were 125 times greater in insectivores than granivores and 3.6 times greater in insectivores than omnivores, 3) were 3.3 times greater in summer residents than in migrating songbirds, 4) increased by 25% throughout spring and summer, and 5) were 45% higher in adults than juveniles. Songbird mercury concentrations were negatively correlated with body condition, with blood mercury concentrations decreasing by 44% and 34% over the range of standardized body masses and fat scores, respectively. Our results highlight the importance of foraging and migration ecology in determining methylmercury contamination in birds, and the potential for reduced body condition with methylmercury exposure in songbirds.

Time-dependent pore filling

Released January 28, 2019 14:39 EST

2018, Water Resources Research (54) 10242-10253

Zhonghao Sun, Junbong Jang, J. Carlos Santamarina

Capillarity traps fluids in porous media during immiscible fluid displacement. Most field situations involve relatively long time scales, such as hydrocarbon migration into reservoirs, resource recovery, nonaqueous phase liquid remediation, geological CO2 storage, and sediment‐atmosphere interactions. Yet laboratory studies and numerical simulations of capillary phenomena rarely consider the impact of time on these processes. We use time‐lapse microphotography to record the evolution of saturation in air‐ or hydrocarbon‐filled capillary tubes submerged in water to investigate long‐term pore filling phenomena beyond imbibition. Microphotographic sequences capture a lively pore filling history where various concurrent physical phenomena coexist. Dissolution and diffusion play a central role. Observations indicate preferential transport of the wetting liquid along corners, vapor condensation, capillary flow induced by asymmetrical interfaces, and interface pinning that defines the diffusion length. Other processes include internal snap‐offs, fluid redistribution, and changes in wettability as fluids dissolve into each other. Overall, the rate of pore filling is diffusion‐controlled for a given interfacial configuration; diffusive transport takes place at a constant rate for pinned interfaces and is proportional to the square root of time for free interfaces where the diffusion length increases with time.

Elevated manganese concentrations in United States groundwater, role of land surface–soil–aquifer connections

Released January 28, 2019 14:36 EST

2019, Environmental Science & Technology (53) 29-38

Peter B. McMahon, Kenneth Belitz, James E. Reddy, Tyler D. Johnson

Chemical data from 43 334 wells were used to examine the role of land surface–soil–aquifer connections in producing elevated manganese concentrations (>300 μg/L) in United States (U.S.) groundwater. Elevated concentrations of manganese and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in groundwater are associated with shallow, anoxic water tables and soils enriched in organic carbon, suggesting soil-derived DOC supports manganese reduction and mobilization in shallow groundwater. Manganese and DOC concentrations are higher near rivers than farther from rivers, suggesting river-derived DOC also supports manganese mobilization. Anthropogenic nitrogen may also affect manganese concentrations in groundwater. In parts of the northeastern U.S. containing poorly buffered soils, ∼40% of the samples with elevated manganese concentrations have pH values < 6 and elevated concentrations of nitrate relative to samples with pH ≥ 6, suggesting acidic recharge produced by the oxidation of ammonium in fertilizer helps mobilize manganese. An estimated 2.6 million people potentially consume groundwater with elevated manganese concentrations, the highest densities of which occur near rivers and in areas with organic carbon rich soil. Results from this study indicate land surface–soil–aquifer connections play an important role in producing elevated manganese concentrations in groundwater used for human consumption.

Investigating lake-area dynamics across a permafrost-thaw spectrum using airborne electromagnetic surveys and remote sensing time-series data in Yukon Flats, Alaska

Released January 28, 2019 13:57 EST

2019, Environmental Research Letters (14) 1-13

David Rey, Michelle Ann Walvoord, Burke Minsley, Jennifer Rover, Kamini Singha

Lakes in boreal lowlands cycle carbon and supply an important source of freshwater for wildlife and migratory waterfowl. The abundance and distribution of these lakes are supported, in part, by permafrost distribution, which is subject to change. Relationships between permafrost thaw and lake dynamics remain poorly known in most boreal regions. Here, new airborne electromagnetic (AEM) data collected during June 2010 and February 2016 were used to constrain deep permafrost distribution. AEM data were coupled with Landsat-derived lake surface-area data from 1979 through 2011 to inform temporal lake behavior changes in the 35 500- km2 Yukon Flats ecoregion of Alaska. Together, over 1500 km of AEM data, and roughly 30 years of Landsat data were used to explore processes that drive lake dynamics across a variety of permafrost thaw states not possible in studies conducted with satellite imagery or field measurements alone. Clustered time-series data identified lakes with similar temporal dynamics. Clusters possessed similarities in lake permanence (i.e. ephemeral versus perennial), subsurface permafrost distribution, and proximity to rivers and streams. Of the clustered lakes, ~66% are inferred to have at least intermittent connectivity with other surface-water features, ~19% are inferred to have shallow subsurface connectivity to other surface water features that served as a low-pass filter for hydroclimatic fluctuations, and ~15% appear to be isolated by surrounding permafrost (i.e. no connectivity). Integrated analysis of AEM and Landsat data reveals a progression from relatively synchronous lake dynamics among disconnected lakes in the most spatially continuous, thick permafrost to quite high spatiotemporal heterogeneity in lake behavior among variably-connected lakes in regions with notably less continuous permafrost. Variability can be explained by the preferential development of thawed permeable gravel pathways for lateral water redistribution in this area. The general spatial progression in permafrost thaw state and lake area behavior may be extended to the temporal dimension. However, extensive permafrost thaw, beyond what is currently observed, is expected to promote ubiquitous subsurface connectivity, eventually evolving to a state of increased lake synchronicity.

Mini-columns and ghost columns in Columbia river lava

Released January 28, 2019 13:52 EST

2019, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

James G. Moore

The master joints bounding the columns that make up the basal colonnade of large lava flows of the Columbia Plateau are, in places, flanked by sub-horizontal mini-columns that have grown normal to the master joints. The secondary mini-columns grow into the main columns and are clearly younger than them. They are small adjacent to the master joint, but merge together and thicken away from the fracture toward the master column interior. Commonly the mini-columns are one-half meter in length and 2–12 cm in diameter. Where the horizontal mini-columns grow longer they intersect toward the middle of the master joints. This plexus of joints changes the aspect of the original master columns making them almost unrecognizable producing ghost columns. The basalt flow may acquire an entablature-like appearance where the ghost column outlines disappear due to extensive secondary fracturing. At the time that the hot flow center had cooled sufficiently below the brittle-plastic transformation, the primary vertical basal colonnade joints growing up from the bottom connected with those in the upper colonnade growing down. This allowed steam trapped beneath the flow to be released to the surface and ushered in a change from a conduction-cooling regime to a convection-cooling regime. The steam beneath the flow was formed and sustained by heat from the lava that boiled the groundwater in the underlying substrate. Large volumes of the rising steam was on average much cooler than the hot fractures in the flow interior through which it passed, causing contraction of the master column walls to produce the secondary horizontal mini-columns. The presence of mini-columns indicates emplacement of lava over moist ground and are absent where the lavas advanced across arid areas or flowed over recently-erupted lava. The extreme shattering that forms ghost columns by late stage convective cooling can produce a flow layer of considerable thickness, a layer that can later serve as an aquifer with high porosity and permeability.

Preface to historic and paleoflood analyses: New perspectives on climate, extreme flood risk, and the geomorphic effects of large floods

Released January 28, 2019 13:50 EST

2019, Geomorphology (327) 610-612

Lisa Davis, Tessa M. Harden, Samuel E. Muñoz, Jeanne E. Godaire, Jim E. O'Connor

Paleofloods are flood events that occurred prior to instrumented records that are discerned from sedimentary evidence. Historic floods are flood events that predate the instrumented record that have been reconstructed based on evidence provided by historical sources. This special issue presents papers on historic and paleoflood analyses that stemmed from the 5th International Paleoflood Symposium held in 2016 and a technical paper session convened during the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Denver, Colorado, titled ‘Paleofloods and Related Fluvial Processes during the Late Quaternary: Reconstructions and Causes.’ The papers included in this special issue address a wide variety of flood science questions, including hydrologic hazard and risk assessments, the examination of prehistoric human migration patterns, understanding relationships between large floods and climate, and the investigation of cataclysmic flood processes.

Multi-country willingness to pay for transborder migratory species conservation: A case study of Northern Pintails

Released January 28, 2019 13:43 EST

2019, Ecological Economics (157) 321-331

Michelle A. Haefele, John B. Loomis, Aaron M. Lien, James A. Dubovsky, Robert W. Merideth, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Ta-Ken Huang, Brady J. Mattsson, Darius J. Semmens, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Ruscena Wiederholt, James E. Diffendorfer, Laura Lopez-Hoffman

Using contingent valuation, we estimated willingness to pay (WTP) in Canada, Mexico, and the United States to protect habitat for Northern Pintails (hereafter pintails), a migratory waterfowl species that provides benefits to and requires habitat in the three countries. Our study contributes to research on spatial subsidies by measuring the value of migratory species habitat. While WTP to protect pintail habitat is highest in the household's own country, there also is substantial WTP to protect pintail habitat in the other two countries. Canadian households' annual WTP is US$12 (all dollar values are in 2016 US dollars) to stabilize the pintail population in Canada, US$4 in Mexico, and US$5 in the U.S. Mexican households would pay US$8 in Mexico, US$5 in the U.S., and US$5 in Canada. U.S. households would pay US$28 in the U.S., US$18 in Canada, and US$16 in Mexico. WTP is statistically significantly higher in all three countries to increase the pintail population. WTP as a percentage of household income is statistically significantly higher for respondents in Mexico. WTP is logically related to explanatory variables such as respondent income, interest in hunting waterfowl, and financial support of wildlife conservation organizations. This study has important implications for conducting economic analyses of habitat issues of transboundary migratory species' conservation and to more effectively and equitably achieve conservation goals.

Ecosystem service flows from a migratory species: Spatial subsidies of the northern pintail

Released January 28, 2019 13:32 EST

2019, Ambio (48) 61-73

Kenneth J. Bagstad, Darius J. Semmens, James E. Diffendorfer, Brady J. Mattsson, James A. Dubovsky, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Ruscena Wiederholt, John B. Loomis, Joanna A. Bieri, Christine Sample, Joshua Goldstein, Laura Lopez-Hoffman

Migratory species provide important benefits to society, but their cross-border conservation poses serious challenges. By quantifying the economic value of ecosystem services (ESs) provided across a species’ range and ecological data on a species’ habitat dependence, we estimate spatial subsidies—how different regions support ESs provided by a species across its range. We illustrate this method for migratory northern pintail ducks in North America. Pintails support over $101 million USD annually in recreational hunting and viewing and subsistence hunting in the U.S. and Canada. Pintail breeding regions provide nearly $30 million in subsidies to wintering regions, with the “Prairie Pothole” region supplying over $24 million in annual benefits to other regions. This information can be used to inform conservation funding allocation among migratory regions and nations on which the pintail depends. We thus illustrate a transferrable method to quantify migratory species-derived ESs and provide information to aid in their transboundary conservation.

Social equity shapes zone-selection: Balancing aquatic biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services delivery in the transboundary Danube River Basin

Released January 28, 2019 13:30 EST

2019, Science of the Total Environment (656) 797-807

Sami Domisch, Karan Kakouei, Javier Martinez-Lopez, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Ainhoa Magrach, Stefano Balbi, Ferdinando Villa, Andrea Funk, Thomas Hein, Florian Borgwardt, Virgilio Hermoso, Sonja C. Jähnig, Simone D. Langhans

Freshwater biodiversity is declining, despite national and international efforts to manage and protect freshwater ecosystems. Ecosystem-based management (EBM) has been proposed as an approach that could more efficiently and adaptively balance ecological and societal needs. However, this raises the question of how social and ecological objectives can be included in an integrated management plan. Here, we present a generic model-coupling framework tailored to address this question for freshwater ecosystems, using three components: biodiversity, ecosystem services (ESS), and a spatial prioritisation that aims to balance the spatial representation of biodiversity and ESS supply and demand. We illustrate this model-coupling approach within the Danube River Basin using the spatially explicit, potential distribution of (i) 85 fish species as a surrogate for biodiversity as modelled using hierarchical Bayesian models, and (ii) four estimated ESS layers produced by the Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services (ARIES) platform (with ESS supply defined as carbon storage and flood regulation, and demand specified as recreation and water use). These are then used for (iii) a joint spatial prioritisation of biodiversity and ESS employing Marxan with Zones, laying out the spatial representation of multiple management zones. Given the transboundary setting of the Danube River Basin, we also run comparative analyses including the country-level purchasing power parity (PPP)-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) and each country's percent cover of the total basin area as potential cost factors, illustrating a scheme for balancing the share of establishing specific zones among countries. We demonstrate how emphasizing various biodiversity or ESS targets in an EBM model-coupling framework can be used to cost-effectively test various spatially explicit management options across a multi-national case study. We further discuss possible limitations, future developments, and requirements for effectively managing a balance between biodiversity and ESS supply and demand in freshwater ecosystems.

Chlorinated byproducts of neonicotinoids and their metabolites: An unrecognized human exposure potential?

Released January 28, 2019 13:14 EST

2019, Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Kathryn L. Klarich Wong, Danielle T. Webb, Matthew R. Nagorzanski, Dana W. Kolpin, Michelle L. Hladik, David M. Cwiertny, Gregory H. LeFevre

We recently reported the initial discovery of neonicotinoid pesticides in drinking water and their potential for transformation through chlorination and alkaline hydrolysis during water treatment. The objectives of this research were: (1) to determine if neonicotinoid metabolites are relevant to drinking water exposure and (2) to identify the products formed from chlorination of neonicotinoids and their metabolites. Desnitro-imidacloprid and imidacloprid-urea, two known metabolites of imidacloprid, are documented for the first time in drinking water. Desnitro-imidacloprid was present above the lower level of detection (0.03 ng/L) in 67% of samples (six of nine) from drinking water systems but detectable in all samples (up to 0.6 ng/L). Although concentrations of desnitro-imidacloprid were lower than concentrations of the parent neonicotinoids, desnitro-imidacloprid exhibits significantly greater mammalian toxicity than imidacloprid. Using LC-HR-ToF-MS/MS analysis of  results from laboratory experiments, we propose structures for novel transformation products resulting from the chlorination of clothianidin, imidacloprid, desnitro-imidacloprid, imidacloprid-urea, and hydrolysis products of thiamethoxam. Formation of chlorinated neonicotinoid byproducts occurs at time scales relevant to water treatment and/or distribution for the imidacloprid metabolites (t1/2 values from 2.4 min to 1.0 h) and thiamethoxam hydrolysis products (4.8 h). Neonicotinoid metabolites in finished drinking water and potential formation of novel disinfection byproducts during treatment and/or distribution are relevant to evaluating the exposure and potential impacts of neonicotinoids on human health.

Landscape genetics reveal broad and fine‐scale population structure due to landscape features and climate history in the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) in North Dakota

Released January 28, 2019 13:10 EST

2019, Ecology and Evolution

Justin M. Waraniak, Justin D. L. Fisher, Kevin Purcell, David M. Mushet, Craig A. Stockwell

Prehistoric climate and landscape features play large roles structuring wildlife populations. The amphibians of the northern Great Plains of North America present an opportunity to investigate how these factors affect colonization, migration, and current population genetic structure. This study used 11 microsatellite loci to genotype 1,230 northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) from 41 wetlands (30 samples/wetland) across North Dakota. Genetic structure of the sampled frogs was evaluated using Bayesian and multivariate clustering methods. All analyses produced concordant results, identifying a major east–west split between two R. pipiens population clusters separated by the Missouri River. Substructuring within the two major identified population clusters was also found. Spatial principal component analysis (sPCA) and variance partitioning analysis identified distance, river basins, and the Missouri River as the most important landscape factors differentiating R. pipiens populations across the state. Bayesian reconstruction of coalescence times suggested the major east–west split occurred ~13–18 kya during a period of glacial retreat in the northern Great Plains and substructuring largely occurred ~5–11 kya during a period of extreme drought cycles. A range‐wide species distribution model (SDM) for R. pipiens was developed and applied to prehistoric climate conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum (21 kya) and the mid‐Holocene (6 kya) from the CCSM4 climate model to identify potential refugia. The SDM indicated potential refugia existed in South Dakota or further south in Nebraska. The ancestral populations of R. pipiens in North Dakota may have inhabited these refugia, but more sampling outside the state is needed to reconstruct the route of colonization. Using microsatellite genotype data, this study determined that colonization from glacial refugia, drought dynamics in the northern Great Plains, and major rivers acting as barriers to gene flow were the defining forces shaping the regional population structure of R. pipiens in North Dakota.

Potential toxicity of complex mixtures in surface waters from a nationwide survey of United States streams: Identifying in vitro bioactivities and causative chemicals

Released January 28, 2019 13:07 EST

2019, Environmental Science & Technology (53) 973-983

Brett R. Blackwell, Gerald T. Ankley, Paul M. Bradley, Keith A. Houck, Sergei S. Makarov, Alexander V. Medvedev, Joe Swintek, Daniel L. Villeneuve

While chemical analysis of contaminant mixtures remains an essential component of environmental monitoring, bioactivity-based assessments using in vitro systems increasingly play a role in the detection of biological effects. Historically, in vitro assessments focused on a few biological pathways, e.g., aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) or estrogen receptor (ER) activities. High-throughput screening (HTS) technologies have greatly increased the number of biological targets and processes that can be rapidly assessed. Here we screened extracts of surface waters from nationwide survey of United States (US) streams for bioactivities associated with 69 different endpoints using two multiplexed HTS assays. Bioactivity of extracts from 38streams was evaluated and compared with concentrations of over 700 analytes to identify chemicals contributing to observed effects. Eleven primary biological endpoints were detected. Pregnane X receptor and AhR-mediated activities were the most commonly detected. Measured chemicals did not completely account for AhR and PXR responses. Surface waters with AhR and PXR effects were associated with low intensity, developed land-cover. Likewise, elevated bioactivities frequently associated with wastewater discharges included endocrine related endpoints— ER and glucocorticoid receptor (GR). These results underscore the value of bioassay-based monitoring of environmental mixtures for detecting biological effects that could not be ascertained solely through chemical analyses.

Evidence for interactions among environmental stressors in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Released January 28, 2019 11:37 EST

2019, Ecological Indicators (101) 203-211

Sigrid D. P. Smith, David B. Bunnell, G.A. Burton Jr., Jan J. H. Ciborowski, Alisha D. Davidson, Caitlin E. Dickinson, Lauren A. Eaton, Peter C. Esselman, Mary Anne Evans, Donna R. Kashian, Nathan F. Manning, Peter B. McIntyre, Thomas F. Nalepa, Alicia Perez-Fuentetaja, Alan D. Steinman, Donald G. Uzarski, J. David Allan

Co-occurrence of environmental stressors is ubiquitous in ecosystems, but cumulative effects are difficult to predict for effective indicator development. Individual stressors can amplify (synergies) or lessen (antagonisms) each other's impacts or have fully independent effects (additive). Here we use the Laurentian Great Lakes, where a multitude of stressors have been studied for decades, as a case study for considering insights from both a systematic literature review and an expert elicitation (or structured expert judgment) to identify stressor interactions. In our literature search for pairs of stressors and interaction-related keywords, relatively few studies (9%, or 6/65) supported additive interactions with independent stressor effects. Instead, both antagonisms (42%, or 27/65) and synergies (49%, or 32/65) were common. We found substantial evidence for interactions of invasive dreissenid mussels with nutrient loading and between pairs of invasive species (predominantly dreissenids × round goby), yet both sets of records included mixtures of synergies and antagonisms. Complete quantification of individual and joint effects of stressors was rare, but effect sizes for dreissenid mussels × nutrient loading supported an antagonism. Our expert elicitation included discussion in focus groups and a follow-up survey. This process highlighted the potential for synergies of nutrient loading with dreissenid mussels and climate change as seen from the literature review. The elicitation also identified additional potential interactions less explored in the literature, particularly synergies of nutrient loading with hypoxia and wetland loss. To stimulate future research, we built a conceptual model describing interactions among dreissenid mussels, climate change, and nutrient loading. Our case study illustrates the value of considering results from both elicitations and systematic reviews to overcome data limitations. The simultaneous occurrence of synergies and antagonisms in a single ecosystem underscores the challenge of predicting the cumulative effects of stressors to guide indicator development and other management and restoration decisions.

Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum prolonged by fossil carbon oxidation

Released January 28, 2019 11:33 EST

2019, Nature Geoscience (12) 54-60

Shelby L. Lyons, Allison A. Baczynski, Tali L. Babila, Timothy J. Bralower, Elizabeth A. Hajek, Lee R. Kump, Ellen G. Polites, Jean M. Self-Trail, Sheila M. Trampush, Jamie R. Vornlocher, James C. Zachos, Katherine H. Freeman

A hallmark of the rapid and massive release of carbon during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum is the global negative carbon isotope excursion. The delayed recovery of the carbon isotope excursion, however, indicates that CO2 inputs continued well after the initial rapid onset, although there is no consensus about the source of this secondary carbon. Here we suggest this secondary input might have derived partly from the oxidation of remobilized sedimentary fossil carbon. We measured the biomarker indicators of thermal maturation in shelf records from the US Mid-Atlantic coast, constructed biomarker mixing models to constrain the amount of fossil carbon in US Mid-Atlantic and Tanzania coastal records, estimated the fossil carbon accumulation rate in coastal sediments and determined the range of global CO2 release from fossil carbon reservoirs. This work provides evidence for an order of magnitude increase in fossil carbon delivery to the oceans that began ~10–20 kyr after the event onset and demonstrates that the oxidation of remobilized fossil carbon released between 102 and 104 PgC as CO2 during the body of the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. The estimated mass is sufficient to have sustained the elevated atmospheric CO2 levels required by the prolonged global carbon isotope excursion. Even after considering uncertainties in the sedimentation rates, these results indicate that the enhanced erosion, mobilization and oxidation of ancient sedimentary carbon contributed to the delayed recovery of the climate system for many thousands of years.

Ecological changes in the nannoplankton community across a shelf transect during the onset of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

Released January 28, 2019 11:29 EST

2018, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology (33) 1396-1407

Isabel A. León y León, Timothy J. Bralower, Jean M. Self-Trail

Warming and other environmental changes during the Paleocene‐Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) led to profound shifts in the composition and structure of nannoplankton assemblages. Here we analyze the nature of these changes in expanded records from the Cambridge‐Dorchester and Mattawoman Creek‐Billingsley Road cores in Maryland. These cores comprise part of a transect of five paleoshelf cores from Maryland and New Jersey. We integrate multivariate analysis of assemblage data with proxy data to revise understanding of the paleoecological affinities of key species. In particular, Discoasterand Fasciculithus are interpreted as thermophiles without adaptation to particular nutrient levels, while Hornibrookina is considered an opportunist adapted to highly variable nearshore environments. Together the cores show consistent margin‐wide changes across the onset of the PETM, including a pulse of preevent warming, possibly combined with lower salinity, high seasonality, or increased turbidity. The event itself was characterized by continued warming and eutrophication across the paleoshelf. The Maryland sites experienced higher environmental variability as a result of their proximity to large river systems.

Evaluating response distances to develop buffer zones for staging terns

Released January 28, 2019 11:26 EST

2019, Journal of Wildlife Management (83) 260-271

Melissa A. Althouse, Jonathan B. Cohen, Sarah M. Karpanty, Jeffrey A. Spendelow, Kayla L. Davis, Katherine C. Parsons, Cristin F. Luttazi

Buffer zones, calculated by flight‐initiation distance (FID), are often used to reduce anthropogenic disturbances to wildlife, but FID can vary significantly across life‐history stages. We examined the behavioral effect of potential natural (gulls and shorebirds) and anthropogenic (pedestrians) disturbance sources to staging roseate (Sterna dougallii) and common tern (S. hirundo) flocks from July to September in 2014 and 2015 at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. We estimated the proportion of the flock exhibiting different responses to potential disturbance sources as a function of distance, flock size, percent roseate terns, and local disturbance rates, using Bayesian zero‐and‐one inflated beta regression. The proportion of tern flocks responding to the presence of shorebirds by flying was low (0.01 ± 0.001 [SE]) and did not vary by distance or other covariates, whereas the proportion flying in response to gulls increased as distance decreased, with smaller flocks, and with flocks with a larger proportion of roseate terns being more sensitive to gull presence. Prolonged flight response rapidly increased in probability from 0.0 to as much as 1.0 as distance from pedestrians to the flock decreased from 100 m and was much more likely with smaller flocks. Pedestrian activity levels also had an effect on flock responses; those engaged in active behaviors such as jogging were more likely to cause flushing than those engaged in passive behaviors. Terns seemed to view pedestrians as more of a threat than shorebirds and gulls, even though gulls are frequent kleptoparasites of terns. Pedestrians >120 m from a tern flock generally elicited the same probability of flight response as shorebirds and gulls. We recommend managers maintain anthropogenic disturbance levels at or below the intensity of those from natural sources at sites where recreation and wildlife values are both important. Because staging tern flocks may use a variety of areas within a site, we recommend instituting a 100‐m buffer around areas potentially used by staging flocks at Cape Cod, where we studied every location roseate terns are known to use in large numbers. For other sites used by mixed‐species tern flocks, we recommend the use of our field and analytical methods to develop appropriate buffer distances that will keep pedestrians far enough away to reduce the likelihood of flight and other non‐locomotive anti‐predator behaviors. These buffer zones will also benefit other species sensitive to human activity. 

Comparing clustered sampling designs for spatially explicit estimation of population density

Released January 28, 2019 11:15 EST

2019, Population Ecology (61) 93-101

Joseph D. Clark

Spatially explicit capture–recapture methods do not assume that animals have equal access to sampling devices (e.g., detectors), which allows for gaps in the sampling extent and nonuniform (e.g., clustered) sampling designs. However, the performance (i.e., relative root mean squared error [RRMSE], confidence interval coverage, relative bias and relative standard error) of clustered detector arrays has not been thoroughly evaluated. I used simulations to evaluate the performance of various detector and cluster spacings, cluster configurations (i.e., number of detectors arranged in a square grid), sampling extents and number of sampling occasions for estimating population density, the relationship between detection rate and distance to a detector from the animal's center of activity (σ) and base detection rates, using American black bears (Ursus americanus) as a case study. My simulations indicated that a wide range of detector configurations can provide reliable estimates if spacing between detectors in clusters is ≥1σ and ≤3σ. A number of cluster configurations and occasion lengths produced estimates that were unbiased, resulted in good spatial coverage, and were relatively precise. Moreover, increasing the duration of sampling, establishing large study areas, increasing detection rates and spacing clusters so that cross‐cluster sampling of individuals can occur could help ameliorate deficiencies in the detector layout. These results have application for a wide array of species and sampling methods (e.g., DNA sampling, camera trapping, mark‐resight and search‐encounter) and suggest that clustered sampling can significantly reduce the effort necessary to provide reliable estimates of population density across large spatial extents that previously would have been infeasible with nonclustered sampling designs.

Allowable take of black vultures in the eastern United States

Released January 28, 2019 11:14 EST

2019, Journal of Wildlife Management (83) 272-282

Guthrie S. Zimmerman, Brian A. Millsap, Michael L. Avery, John R. Sauer, Michael C. Runge, Kenneth D. Richkus

Black vultures (Coragyps atratus) have been increasing in density and expanding their range in the eastern United States since at least the 1960s. In many areas, their densities have increased to the level where they are causing damage to property and livestock and the number of requests for allowable take permits has increased throughout these areas. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) requires updated information to help inform the number of take permits that could reduce conflicts while meeting obligations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. We expanded analyses used to estimate allowable take in Virginia to cover the range of black vultures in the eastern United States. We used the prescribed take level approach, which integrates demographic rates, population size estimates, and management objectives into an estimate of allowable take. We provide estimates of allowable take at 4 different scales: individual states, Bird Conservation Regions, USFWS administrative regions, and flyways. Our updated population time series provides evidence of rapidly increasing black vulture populations in many regions of the eastern United States, with an overall population estimate of approximately 4.26 million in 2015 in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways. Estimated allowable take ranged from a few hundred individuals per year in states at the northern end of the species range to approximately 287,000/year over the entire eastern United States. The USFWS has no legal mandate regarding the spatial scale at which take should be managed and we found little biological evidence of subpopulation structure for black vultures in the eastern United States. We suggest that allowable take for the species be implemented at a scale that meets stakeholder objectives (e.g., reducing conflict, and ensuring that black vultures are not extirpated from local areas) and is efficient for administrative and monitoring purposes.

Development of perennial thaw zones in boreal hillslopes enhances potential mobilization of permafrost carbon

Released January 17, 2019 14:33 EST

2019, Environmental Research Letters (14) 1-11

Michelle A. Walvoord, Clifford I. Voss, Brian A. Ebel, Burke J. Minsley

Permafrost thaw alters subsurface flow in boreal regions that in turn influences the magnitude, seasonality, and chemical composition of streamflow. Prediction of these changes is challenged by incomplete knowledge of timing, flowpath depth, and amount of groundwater discharge to streams in response to thaw. One important phenomenon that may affect flow and transport through boreal hillslopes is development of lateral perennial thaw zones (PTZs), the existence of which is here supported by geophysical observations and cryohydrogeologic modeling. Model results link thaw to enhanced and seasonally-extended baseflow, which have implications for mobilization of soluble constituents. Results demonstrate the sensitivity of PTZ development to organic layer thickness and near-surface factors that mediate heat exchange at the atmosphere/ground-surface interface. Study findings suggest that PTZs serve as a detectable precursor to accelerated permafrost degradation. This study provides important contextual insight on a fundamental thermo-hydrologic process that can enhance terrestrial-to-aquatic transfer of permafrost carbon, nitrogen, and mercury previously sequestered in thawing watersheds.