Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

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Surficial geologic map of Berrien County, Michigan, and the adjacent offshore area of Lake Michigan

Released December 13, 2017 11:15 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Map 3383

Byron D. Stone, Kevin A. Kincare, Dennis W. O'Leary, Wayne L. Newell, Emily M. Taylor, Van S. Williams, Scott C. Lundstrom, Jared E. Abraham, Michael H. Powers

The surficial geologic map of Berrien County, southwestern Michigan (sheet 1), shows the distribution of glacial and postglacial deposits at the land surface and in the adjacent offshore area of Lake Michigan. The geologic map differentiates surficial materials of Quaternary age on the basis of their lithologic characteristics, stratigraphic relationships, and age. Drill-hole information correlated in cross sections provides details of typical stratigraphic sequences that compose one or more penetrated geologic map units. A new bedrock geologic map (on sheet 2) includes contours of the altitude of the eroded top of bedrock and shows the distribution of middle Paleozoic shale and carbonate units in the subcrop. A sediment thickness map (also on sheet 2) portrays the extent of as much as 150 meters of surficial materials that overlie the bedrock surface.

The major physical features of the county are related principally to deposits of the last Laurentide ice sheet that advanced and then retreated back through the region from about 19,000 to 14,000 radiocarbon years before present. Glacial and postglacial deposits underlie the entire county; shale bedrock crops out only in the adjacent offshore area on the bottom of Lake Michigan. All glacial deposits and glacial meltwater deposits in Berrien County are related to the late Wisconsinan glacial advances of the Lake Michigan ice lobe and its three regional recessional moraines, which cross the county as three north-northeast-trending belts.

From east to west (oldest to youngest), the three moraine belts are known as the Kalamazoo, Valparaiso, and Lake Border morainic systems. The till-ridge morainic systems (Lake Border and local Valparaiso morainic systems) consist of multiple, elongate moraine ridges separated by till plains and lake-bottom plains. Tills in ground and end moraines in Berrien County are distinguished as informal units, and are correlated with three proposed regional till units in southwestern Michigan, characterized as clayey till, loamy till, or sandy loamy till that are based in part on correlation of silty tills and clay mineralogy. The stratified morainic systems (local Valparaiso and Kalamazoo morainic systems) are composed of multiple ice-marginal glacial-lake deltas and glaciolacustrine fans that form a contiguous array of deposits, welded together at their onlapping contacts, further related by the accordant altitudes of their delta topset plains. Their bounding ice-contact slopes repeatedly are aligned parallel to the regional trend of the receding ice margin. Ice-marginal (ice-contact) deltas were deposited in glacial lakes that expanded northward as the ice sheet retreated. Glaciofluvial topset beds, which overlie deltaic foreset and bottomset facies, fine away from the ice margin. Stratified deposits associated with the Valparaiso moraine were deposited in glacial Lakes Madron and Dowagiac. Subsequent deposits of glacial Lake Baroda preceded basin-wide deposits associated with various levels of Lake Michigan.

Sheet 2 includes a series of 10 map figures that show cut-away three-dimensional time slices of the stratigraphic succession, from basal tills on bedrock, to ice-marginal deltas in the three large proglacial lakes, to stacked till/lake-bottom deposits related to the Lake Border ice margin readvances, to young deposits of glacial Lake Chicago and younger phases of other glacial lakes and the Chippewa lake lowstand.

The pamphlet contains a discussion of the stratigraphic framework, descriptions of each depositional unit, and graphic logs of U.S. Geological Survey stratigraphic drill holes. The pamphlet also relates the geologic history of Berrien County, beginning with bedrock Paleozoic marine deposits, continuing through erosional effects of multiple glaciations and the detailed steps of late Wisconsinan ice-margin recession as recorded in the moraines, and the rise and fall of postglacial lake levels in the Lake Michigan basin.

Are ranger patrols effective in reducing poaching-related threats within protected areas?

Released December 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Applied Ecology (55) 99-107

Jennnifer F. Moore, Felix Mulindahabi, Michel K. Masozera, James Nichols, James Hines, Ezechiel Turikunkiko, Madan K. Oli

  1. Poaching is one of the greatest threats to wildlife conservation world-wide. However, the spatial and temporal patterns of poaching activities within protected areas, and the effectiveness of ranger patrols and ranger posts in mitigating these threats, are relatively unknown.
  2. We used 10 years (2006–2015) of ranger-based monitoring data and dynamic multi-season occupancy models to quantify poaching-related threats, to examine factors influencing the spatio-temporal dynamics of these threats and to test the efficiency of management actions to combat poaching in Nyungwe National Park (NNP), Rwanda.
  3. The probability of occurrence of poaching-related threats was highest at lower elevations (1,801–2,200 m), especially in areas that were close to roads and tourist trails; conversely, occurrence probability was lowest at high elevation sites (2,601–3,000 m), and near the park boundary and ranger posts. The number of ranger patrols substantially increased the probability that poaching-related threats disappear at a site if threats were originally present (i.e. probability of extinction of threats). Without ranger visits, the annual probability of extinction of poaching-related threats was an estimated 7%; this probability would increase to 20% and 57% with 20 and 50 ranger visits per year, respectively.
  4. Our results suggest that poaching-related threats can be effectively reduced in NNP by adding ranger posts in areas where they do not currently exist, and by increasing the number of patrols to sites where the probability of poaching activities is high.
  5. Synthesis and applications. Our application of dynamic occupancy models to predict the probability of presence of poaching-related threats is novel, and explicitly considers imperfect detection of illegal activities. Based on the modelled relationships, we identify areas that are most vulnerable to poaching, and offer insights regarding how ranger patrols can be optimally deployed to reduce poaching-related threats and other illegal activites, while taking into account potential sampling biases. We show that poaching can be effectively reduced by increasing ranger patrols to areas under high risk of poaching activities, and by adding ranger patrols near these sites. These findings are broadly applicable to national parks and protected areas experiencing a high degree of poaching and other illegal activities.

Erratum: Understanding interaction effects of climate change and fire management on bird distributions through combined process and habitat models

Released December 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Conservation Biology

Kevin J. Gutzwiller, Joseph D. White, Wylie Barrow, Lori A. Randall

This article corrects: Understanding Interaction Effects of Climate Change and Fire Management on Bird Distributions through Combined Process and Habitat Models Volume 25, Issue 3, 536–546, Article first published online: 28 April 2011

Phylogenetics of a fungal invasion: Origins and widespread dispersal of white-nose syndrome

Released December 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, mBio (8) 1-15

Kevin P. Drees, Jeffrey M. Lorch, Sebastein J. Puechmaille, Katy L. Parise, Gudrun Wibbelt, Joseph R. Hoyt, Keping Sun, Ariunbold Jargalsaikhan, Munkhnast Dalannast, Jonathan M. Palmer, Daniel L. Linder, Marm Kilpatrick, Talima Pearson, Paul S. Keim, David Blehert, Jeffrey T. Foster

Globalization has facilitated the worldwide movement and introduction of pathogens, but epizoological reconstructions of these invasions are often hindered by limited sampling and insufficient genetic resolution among isolates. Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a fungal pathogen causing the epizootic of white-nose syndrome in North American bats, has exhibited few genetic polymorphisms in previous studies, presenting challenges for both epizoological tracking of the spread of this fungus and for determining its evolutionary history. We used single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from whole-genome sequencing and microsatellites to construct high-resolution phylogenies of P. destructans. Shallow genetic diversity and the lack of geographic structuring among North American isolates support a recent introduction followed by expansion via clonal reproduction across the epizootic zone. Moreover, the genetic relationships of isolates within North America suggest widespread mixing and long-distance movement of the fungus. Genetic diversity among isolates of P. destructans from Europe was substantially higher than in those from North America. However, genetic distance between the North American isolates and any given European isolate was similar to the distance between the individual European isolates. In contrast, the isolates we examined from Asia were highly divergent from both European and North American isolates. Although the definitive source for introduction of the North American population has not been conclusively identified, our data support the origin of the North American invasion by P. destructans from Europe rather than Asia.

Integrating continuous stocks and flows into state-and-transition simulation models of landscape change

Released December 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Colin J. Daniel, Benjamin M. Sleeter, Leonardo Frid, Marie-Josée Fortin

  1. State-and-transition simulation models (STSMs) provide a general framework for forecasting landscape dynamics, including projections of both vegetation and land-use/land-cover (LULC) change. The STSM method divides a landscape into spatially-referenced cells and then simulates the state of each cell forward in time, as a discrete-time stochastic process using a Monte Carlo approach, in response to any number of possible transitions. A current limitation of the STSM method, however, is that all of the state variables must be discrete.
  2. Here we present a new approach for extending a STSM, in order to account for continuous state variables, called a state-and-transition simulation model with stocks and flows (STSM-SF). The STSM-SF method allows for any number of continuous stocks to be defined for every spatial cell in the STSM, along with a suite of continuous flows specifying the rates at which stock levels change over time. The change in the level of each stock is then simulated forward in time, for each spatial cell, as a discrete-time stochastic process. The method differs from the traditional systems dynamics approach to stock-flow modelling in that the stocks and flows can be spatially-explicit, and the flows can be expressed as a function of the STSM states and transitions.
  3. We demonstrate the STSM-SF method by integrating a spatially-explicit carbon (C) budget model with a STSM of LULC change for the state of Hawai'i, USA. In this example, continuous stocks are pools of terrestrial C, while the flows are the possible fluxes of C between these pools. Importantly, several of these C fluxes are triggered by corresponding LULC transitions in the STSM. Model outputs include changes in the spatial and temporal distribution of C pools and fluxes across the landscape in response to projected future changes in LULC over the next 50 years.
  4. The new STSM-SF method allows both discrete and continuous state variables to be integrated into a STSM, including interactions between them. With the addition of stocks and flows, STSMs provide a conceptually simple yet powerful approach for characterizing uncertainties in projections of a wide range of questions regarding landscape change.

Groundwater discharge to the Mississippi River and groundwater balances for the Interstate 94 Corridor surficial aquifer, Clearwater to Elk River, Minnesota, 2012–14

Released December 13, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5114

Erik A. Smith, David L. Lorenz, Erich W. Kessler, Andrew M. Berg, Chris A. Sanocki

The Interstate 94 Corridor has been identified as 1 of 16 Minnesota groundwater areas of concern because of its limited available groundwater resources. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, completed six seasonal and annual groundwater balances for parts of the Interstate 94 Corridor surficial aquifer to better understand its long-term (next several decades) sustainability. A high-precision Mississippi River groundwater discharge measurement of 5.23 cubic feet per second per mile was completed at low-flow conditions to better inform these groundwater balances. The recharge calculation methods RISE program and Soil-Water-Balance model were used to inform the groundwater balances. For the RISE-derived recharge estimates, the range was from 3.30 to 11.91 inches per year; for the SWB-derived recharge estimates, the range was from 5.23 to 17.06 inches per year.

Calculated groundwater discharges ranged from 1.45 to 5.06 cubic feet per second per mile, a ratio of 27.7 to 96.4 percent of the measured groundwater discharge. Ratios of groundwater pumping to total recharge ranged from 8.6 to 97.2 percent, with the longer-term groundwater balances ranging from 12.9 to 19 percent. Overall, this study focused on the surficial aquifer system and its interactions with the Mississippi River. During the study period (October 1, 2012, through November 30, 2014), six synoptic measurements, along with continuous groundwater hydrographs, rainfall records, and a compilation of the pertinent irrigation data, establishes the framework for future groundwater modeling efforts.

Making do with less: Must sparse data preclude informed harvest strategies for European waterbirds?

Released December 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecological Applications

Fred A. Johnson, Mikko Alhainen, Anthony D. Fox, Jesper Madsen, Matthieu Guillemain

The demography of many European waterbirds is not well understood because most countries have conducted little monitoring and assessment, and coordination among countries on waterbird management has little precedent. Yet intergovernmental treaties now mandate the use of sustainable, adaptive harvest strategies, whose development is challenged by a paucity of demographic information. In this study, we explore how a combination of allometric relationships, fragmentary monitoring and research information, and expert judgment can be used to estimate the parameters of a theta-logistic population model, which in turn can be used in a Markov decision process to derive optimal harvesting strategies. We show how to account for considerable parametric uncertainty, as well as for different management objectives. We illustrate our methodology with a poorly understood population of taiga bean geese (Anser fabalis fabalis), which is a popular game bird in Fennoscandia. Our results for taiga bean geese suggest that they may have demographic rates similar to other, well-studied species of geese, and our model-based predictions of population size are consistent with the limited monitoring information available. Importantly, we found that by using a Markov decision process, a simple scalar population model may be sufficient to guide harvest management of this species, even if its demography is age-structured. Finally, we demonstrated how two different management objectives can lead to very different optimal harvesting strategies, and how conflicting objectives may be traded off with each other. This approach will have broad application for European waterbirds by providing preliminary estimates of key demographic parameters, by providing insights into the monitoring and research activities needed to corroborate those estimates, and by producing harvest management strategies that are optimal with respect to the managers’ objectives, options, and available demographic information.

To reduce the global burden of human schistosomiasis, use ‘old fashioned’ snail control

Released December 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Trends in Parasitology

Susanne H. Sokolow, Chelsea L. Wood, Isabel J. Jones, Kevin D. Lafferty, Armand Kuris, Michael H. Hsieh, Giulio A. De Leo

Control strategies to reduce human schistosomiasis have evolved from ‘snail picking’ campaigns, a century ago, to modern wide-scale human treatment campaigns, or preventive chemotherapy. Unfortunately, despite the rise in preventive chemotherapy campaigns, just as many people suffer from schistosomiasis today as they did 50 years ago. Snail control can complement preventive chemotherapy by reducing the risk of transmission from snails to humans. Here, we present ideas for modernizing and scaling up snail control, including spatiotemporal targeting, environmental diagnostics, better molluscicides, new technologies (e.g., gene drive), and ‘outside the box’ strategies such as natural enemies, traps, and repellants. We conclude that, to achieve the World Health Assembly’s stated goal to eliminate schistosomiasis, it is time to give snail control another look.

Ore-forming adakitic porphyry produced by fractional crystallization of oxidized basaltic magmas in a subcrustal chamber (Jiamate, East Junggar, NW China)

Released December 12, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, LITHOS

Tao Hong, Xing-Wang Xu, Jun Gao, Stephen Peters, Di Zhang, Reyaniguli Jielili, Peng Xiang, Hao Li, Chu Wu, Jun You, Jie Liu, Qiang Ke

Adakitic intrusions are supposed to have a close genetic and spatial relationship to porphyry Cu deposits. However, the genesis of adakitic intrusions is still under dispute. Here, we describe newly discovered intrusive complex rocks, which are composed of ore-bearing, layered magnetite-bearing gabbroic and adakitic rocks in Jiamate, East Junggar, NW China. These Jiamate Complex intrusions have diagnostic petrologic, geochronologic and geochemical signatures that indicate they were all generated from the same oxidized precursor magma source. Additionally, these layered rocks underwent the same fractional crystallization process as the ore-bearing adakitic rocks in the adjacent Kalaxiangar Porphyry Cu Belt (KPCB) in an oceanic island arc (OIA) setting. The rocks studied for this paper include layered magnetite-bearing gabbroic intrusive rocks that contain: (1) gradual contact changes between lithological units of mafic and intermediate rocks, (2) geochemical signatures that are the same as those found in oceanic island arc (OIA) rocks, (3) typical adakitic geochemistry, and (4) similar characteristics and apparent fractional crystallization relationships of ultra-basic to basic rocks to those in the nearby Beitashan Formation and to ore-bearing adakitic rocks in the KPCB. They also display similar zircon U-Pb and zircon Hf model ages.

The Jiamate Complex intrusions contain intergrowths of magnetite and layered gabbro, and the intermediate-acidic intrusions of the Complex display typical adakitic affinities. Moreover, in conjunction with previously published geochronological and geochemistry data of the mafic rocks in the Beitashan Formation and in the KPCB area, additional data generated for the Jiamate Complex intrusions rocks indicate that they were formed from fractional crystallization processes. The Jiamate Complex intrusions most likely were derived from a metasomatized mantle wedge that was underplated at the root of the Saur oceanic island arc (Saur OIA). The ore-bearing adakitic intrusions in the KPCB and the adakitic Jiamate Complex intrusions were both probably generated from the same basaltic parental magmas through fractional crystallization. In addition, characteristics of the layered, magnetite-bearing, oxidized, basaltic Jiamate Complex intrusive rocks indicate that they are likely to be the parental arc magmas for the nearby porphyry Cu deposits. This conclusion is based on new interpretations of the regional and local geology, on interpretation of new geochemical analysis, new stable isotope analysis, new geothermobarometry, and new zircon age dating as well as other techniques and interpretations.

Characteristics of dissolved organic matter in the Upper Klamath River, Lost River, and Klamath Straits Drain, Oregon and California

Released December 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1160

Jami H. Goldman, Annett B. Sullivan

Concentrations of particulate organic carbon (POC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC), which together comprise total organic carbon, were measured in this reconnaissance study at sampling sites in the Upper Klamath River, Lost River, and Klamath Straits Drain in 2013–16. Optical absorbance and fluorescence properties of dissolved organic matter (DOM), which contains DOC, also were analyzed. Parallel factor analysis was used to decompose the optical fluorescence data into five key components for all samples. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to investigate differences in DOM source and processing among sites.

At all sites in this study, average DOC concentrations were higher than average POC concentrations. The highest DOC concentrations were at sites in the Klamath Straits Drain and at Pump Plant D. Evaluation of optical properties indicated that Klamath Straits Drain DOM had a refractory, terrestrial source, likely extracted from the interaction of this water with wetland peats and irrigated soils. Pump Plant D DOM exhibited more labile characteristics, which could, for instance, indicate contributions from algal or microbial exudates. The samples from Klamath River also had more microbial or algal derived material, as indicated by PCA analysis of the optical properties. Most sites, except Pump Plant D, showed a linear relation between fluorescent dissolved organic matter (fDOM) and DOC concentration, indicating these measurements are highly correlated (R2=0.84), and thus a continuous fDOM probe could be used to estimate DOC loads from these sites.

U.S. Geological Survey National Strong-Motion Project strategic plan, 2017–22

Released December 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1156

Brad Aagaard, Mehmet Celebi, Lind Gee, Robert Graves, Kishor Jaiswal, Erol Kalkan, Keith L. Knudsen, Nicolas Luco, James Smith, Jamison Steidl, Christopher D. Stephens

The mission of the National Strong-Motion Project is to provide measurements of how the ground and built environment behave during earthquake shaking to the earthquake engineering community, the scientific community, emergency managers, public agencies, industry, media, and other users for the following purposes:

Deepwater Program: Lophelia II, continuing ecological research on deep-sea corals and deep-reef habitats in the Gulf of Mexico

Released December 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1139

Amanda W.J. Demopoulos, Steve W. Ross, Christina A. Kellogg, Cheryl L. Morrison, Martha S. Nizinski, Nancy G. Prouty, Jill R. Bourque, Julie P. Galkiewicz, Michael A. Gray, Marcus J. Springmann, D. Katharine Coykendall, Andrew Miller, Mike Rhode, Andrea Quattrini, Cheryl L. Ames, Sandra D. Brooke, Jennifer McClain Counts, E. Brendan Roark, Noreen A. Buster, Ryan M. Phillips, Janessy Frometa

The deep sea is a rich environment composed of diverse habitat types. While deep-sea coral habitats have been discovered within each ocean basin, knowledge about the ecology of these habitats and associated inhabitants continues to grow. This report presents information and results from the Lophelia II project that examined deep-sea coral habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. The Lophelia II project focused on Lophelia pertusa habitats along the continental slope, at depths ranging from 300 to 1,000 meters. The chapters are authored by several scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Florida State University who examined the community ecology (from microbes to fishes), deep-sea coral age, growth, and reproduction, and population connectivity of deep-sea corals and inhabitants. Data from these studies are presented in the chapters and appendixes of the report as well as in journal publications. This study was conducted by the Ecosystems Mission Area of the U.S. Geological Survey to meet information needs identified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

U.S. Geological Survey shrub/grass products provide new approach to shrubland monitoring

Released December 11, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3084

Steven M. Young

In the Western United States, shrubland ecosystems provide vital ecological, hydrological, biological, agricultural, and recreational services. However, disturbances such as livestock grazing, exotic species invasion, conversion to agriculture, climate change, urban expansion, and energy development are altering these ecosystems.

Improving our understanding of how shrublands are distributed, where they are changing, the extent of the historical change, and likely future change directions is critical for successful management of these ecosystems. Remote-sensing technologies provide the most likely data source for large-area monitoring of ecosystem disturbance—both near-real time and historically. A monitoring framework supported by remote-sensing data can offer efficient and accurate analysis of change across a range of spatial and temporal scales.

The U.S. Geological Survey has been working to develop new remote-sensing data, tools, and products to characterize and monitor these changing shrubland landscapes. Nine individual map products (components) have been developed that quantify the percent of shrub, sagebrush, big sagebrush, herbaceous, annual herbaceous, litter, bare ground, shrub height, and sagebrush height at 1-percent intervals in each 30-meter grid cell. These component products are designed to be combined and customized to widely support different applications in rangeland monitoring, analysis of wildlife habitat, resource inventory, adaptive management, and environmental review.

Recreation economics to inform migratory species conservation: Case study of the northern pintail

Released December 08, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Journal of Environmental Management (206) 971-979

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

Quantification of the economic value provided by migratory species can aid in targeting management efforts and funding to locations yielding the greatest benefits to society and species conservation. Here we illustrate a key step in this process by estimating hunting and birding values of the northern pintail (Anas acuta) within primary breeding and wintering habitats used during the species’ annual migratory cycle in North America. We used published information on user expenditures and net economic values (consumer surplus) for recreational viewing and hunting to determine the economic value of pintail-based recreation in three primary breeding areas and two primary wintering areas. Summed expenditures and consumer surplus for northern pintail viewing were annually valued at $70M, and annual sport hunting totaled $31M (2014 USD). Expenditures for viewing ($42M) were more than twice as high than those for hunting ($18M). Estimates of consumer surplus, defined as the amount consumers are willing to pay above their current expenditures, were $15M greater for viewing ($28M) than for hunting ($13M). We discovered substantial annual consumer surplus ($41M) available for pintail conservation from birders and hunters. We also found spatial differences in economic value among the primary regions used by pintails, with viewing generally valued more in breeding regions than in wintering regions and the reverse being true for hunting. The economic value of pintail-based recreation in the Western wintering region ($26M) exceeded that in any other region by at least a factor of three. Our approach of developing regionally explicit economic values can be extended to other taxonomic groups, and is particularly suitable for migratory game birds because of the availability of large amounts of data. When combined with habitat-linked population models, regionally explicit values could inform development of more effective conservation finance and policy mechanisms to enhance environmental management and societal benefits across the geographically dispersed areas used by migratory species.

Lead and strontium isotopes as monitors of anthropogenic contaminants in the surficial environment: Chapter 12

Released December 08, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Book chapter, Environmental Geochemistry

Robert A. Ayuso, Nora K. Foley

Isotopic discrimination can be an effective tool in establishing a direct link between sources of Pb contamination and the presence of anomalously high concentrations of Pb in waters, soils, and organisms. Residential wells supplying water containing up to 1600 ppb Pb to houses built on the former Mohr orchards commercial site, near Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States, were evaluated to discern anthropogenic from geogenic sources. Pb and Sr isotopic data and REE data were determined for waters from residential wells, test wells (drilled for this study), and surface waters from pond and creeks. Local soils, sediments, bedrock, Zn-Pb mineralization and coal were also analyzed, together with locally used Pb-As pesticide. Pb isotope data for residential wells, test wells, and surface waters show substantial overlap with Pb data reflecting anthropogenic actions (e.g., burning fossil fuels, industrial and urban processing activities). Limited contributions of Pb from bedrock, soils, and pesticides are evident. High Pb concentrations in the residential waters are likely related to Pb in groundwater accumulating in sediment in the residential water tanks. The Pb isotope features of waters in underlying shallow aquifers that supply residential wells in the region are best interpreted as reflecting a legacy of anthropogenic Pb rather than geogenic Pb.

Environmental characteristics and utilization potential of metallurgical slag: Chapter 19

Released December 08, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Book chapter, Environmental Geochemistry

Nadine Piatak

Benedetto De Vivo, Harvey E. Belkin, Annamaria Lima, editor(s)

Slag, an abundant byproduct from the pyrometallurgical processing of ores, can be an environmental liability or a valuable resource. The most common environmental impact of slag is from the leaching of potentially toxic elements, acidity, or alkalinity that may impact nearby soils and surface water and groundwater. Factors that influence its environmental behavior include physical characteristics, such as grain size and porosity, chemical composition with some slag being enriched in certain elements, the mineralogy and partitioning of elements in more or less reactive phases, water-slag interactions, and site conditions. Many of these same factors also influence its resource potential. For example, crystalline ferrous slag is most commonly used as construction aggregate, whereas glassy (i.e., granulated) slag is used in cement. Also, the calcium minerals found in ferrous slag result in useful applications in water treatment. In contrast, the high trace-element content of some base-metal slags makes the slags economically attractive for extraction of residual elements. An evaluation tool is used to help categorize a particular slag as an environmental hazard or valuable byproduct. Results for one type of slag, legacy steelmaking slag from the Chicago area in the USA, suggest the material has potential to be used for treating phosphate-rich or acidic waters; however, the pH and trace-element content of resulting solutions may warrant further examination.

Increased sediment load during a large-scale dam removal changes nearshore subtidal communities

Released December 08, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, PLoS ONE (12) 1-46

Stephen P. Rubin, Ian M. Miller, Melissa M. Foley, Helen D. Berry, Jeffrey J. Duda, Benjamin Hudson, Nancy E. Elder, Matthew M. Beirne, Jonathan Warrick, Michael L. McHenry, Andrew Stevens, Emily Eidam, Andrea Ogston, Guy R. Gelfenbaum, Rob Pedersen

The coastal marine ecosystem near the Elwha River was altered by a massive sediment influx—over 10 million tonnes—during the staged three-year removal of two hydropower dams. We used time series of bathymetry, substrate grain size, remotely sensed turbidity, scuba dive surveys, and towed video observations collected before and during dam removal to assess responses of the nearshore subtidal community (3 m to 17 m depth). Biological changes were primarily driven by sediment deposition and elevated suspended sediment concentrations. Macroalgae, predominantly kelp and foliose red algae, were abundant before dam removal with combined cover levels greater than 50%. Where persistent sediment deposits formed, macroalgae decreased greatly or were eliminated. In areas lacking deposition, macroalgae cover decreased inversely to suspended sediment concentration, suggesting impacts from light reduction or scour. Densities of most invertebrate and fish taxa decreased in areas with persistent sediment deposition; however, bivalve densities increased where mud deposited over sand, and flatfish and Pacific sand lance densities increased where sand deposited over gravel. In areas without sediment deposition, most invertebrate and fish taxa were unaffected by increased suspended sediment or the loss of algae cover associated with it; however, densities of tubeworms and flatfish, and primary cover of sessile invertebrates increased suggesting benefits of increased particulate matter or relaxed competition with macroalgae for space. As dam removal neared completion, we saw evidence of macroalgal recovery that likely owed to water column clearing, indicating that long-term recovery from dam removal effects may be starting. Our results are relevant to future dam removal projects in coastal areas and more generally to understanding effects of increased sedimentation on nearshore subtidal benthic communities.

Fog water collection effectiveness: Mesh intercomparisons

Released December 08, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Aerosol and Air Quality Research

Daniel Fernandez, Alicia Torregrosa, Peter Weiss-Penzias, Bong June Zhang, Deckard Sorensen, Robert Cohen, Gareth McKinley, Justin Kleingartner, Andrew Oliphant, Matthew Bowman

To explore fog water harvesting potential in California, we conducted long-term measurements involving three types of mesh using standard fog collectors (SFC). Volumetric fog water measurements from SFCs and wind data were collected and recorded in 15-minute intervals over three summertime fog seasons (2014–2016) at four California sites. SFCs were deployed with: standard 1.00 m2 double-layer 35% shade coefficient Raschel; stainless steel mesh coated with the MIT-14 hydrophobic formulation; and FogHa-Tin, a German manufactured, 3-dimensional spacer fabric deployed in two orientations. Analysis of 3419 volumetric samples from all sites showed strong relationships between mesh efficiency and wind speed. Raschel mesh collected 160% more fog water than FogHa-Tin at wind speeds less than 1 m s–1 and 45% less for wind speeds greater than 5 m s–1. MIT-14 coated stainless-steel mesh collected more fog water than Raschel mesh at all wind speeds. At low wind speeds of < 1 m s–1 the coated stainless steel mesh collected 3% more and at wind speeds of 4–5 m s–1, it collected 41% more. FogHa-Tin collected 5% more fog water when the warp of the weave was oriented vertically, per manufacturer specification, than when the warp of the weave was oriented horizontally. Time series measurements of three distinct mesh across similar wind regimes revealed inconsistent lags in fog water collection and inconsistent performance. Since such differences occurred under similar wind-speed regimes, we conclude that other factors play important roles in mesh performance, including in-situ fog event and aerosol dynamics that affect droplet-size spectra and droplet-to-mesh surface interactions.

Sequence stratigraphy, seismic stratigraphy, and seismic structures of the lower intermediate confining unit and most of the Floridan aquifer system, Broward County, Florida

Released December 08, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5109

Kevin J. Cunningham, Jared W. Kluesner, Richard L. Wescott, Edward Robinson, Cameron Walker, Shakira A. Khan

Deep well injection and disposal of treated wastewater into the highly transmissive saline Boulder Zone in the lower part of the Floridan aquifer system began in 1971. The zone of injection is a highly transmissive hydrogeologic unit, the Boulder Zone, in the lower part of the Floridan aquifer system. Since the 1990s, however, treated wastewater injection into the Boulder Zone in southeastern Florida has been detected at three treated wastewater injection utilities in the brackish upper part of the Floridan aquifer system designated for potential use as drinking water. At a time when usage of the Boulder Zone for treated wastewater disposal is increasing and the utilization of the upper part of the Floridan aquifer system for drinking water is intensifying, there is an urgency to understand the nature of cross-formational fluid flow and identify possible fluid pathways from the lower to upper zones of the Floridan aquifer system. To better understand the hydrogeologic controls on groundwater movement through the Floridan aquifer system in southeastern Florida, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Broward County Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division conducted a 3.5-year cooperative study from July 2012 to December 2015. The study characterizes the sequence stratigraphy, seismic stratigraphy, and seismic structures of the lower part of the intermediate confining unit aquifer and most of the Floridan aquifer system.

Data obtained to meet the study objective include 80 miles of high-resolution, two-dimensional (2D), seismic-reflection profiles acquired from canals in eastern Broward County. These profiles have been used to characterize the sequence stratigraphy, seismic stratigraphy, and seismic structures in a 425-square-mile study area. Horizon mapping of the seismic-reflection profiles and additional data collection from well logs and cores or cuttings from 44 wells were focused on construction of three-dimensional (3D) visualizations of eight sequence stratigraphic cycles that compose the Eocene to Miocene Oldsmar, Avon Park, and Arcadia Formations. The mapping of these seismic-reflection and well data has produced a refined Cenozoic sequence stratigraphic, seismic stratigraphic, and hydrogeologic framework of southeastern Florida. The upward transition from the Oldsmar Formation to the Avon Park Formation and the Arcadia Formation embodies the evolution from (1) a tropical to subtropical, shallow-marine, carbonate platform, represented by the Oldsmar and Avon Park Formations, to (2) a broad, temperate, mixed carbonate-siliciclastic shallow marine shelf, represented by the lower part of the Arcadia Formation, and to (3) a temperate, distally steepened carbonate ramp represented by the upper part of the Arcadia Formation.

In the study area, the depositional sequences and seismic sequences have a direct correlation with hydrogeologic units. The approximate upper boundary of four principal permeable units of the Floridan aquifer system (Upper Floridan aquifer, Avon Park permeable zone, uppermost major permeable zone of the Lower Floridan aquifer, and Boulder Zone) have sequence stratigraphic and seismic-reflection signatures that were identified on cross sections, mapped, or both, and therefore the sequence stratigraphy and seismic stratigraphy were used to guide the development of a refined spatial representation of these hydrogeologic units. In all cases, the permeability of the four permeable units is related to stratiform megaporosity generated by ancient dissolution of carbonate rock associated with subaerial exposure and unconformities at the upper surfaces of carbonate depositional cycles of several hierarchical scales ranging from high-frequency cycles to depositional sequences. Additionally, interparticle porosity also contributes substantially to the stratiform permeability in much of the Upper Floridan aquifer. Information from seismic stratigraphy allowed 3D geomodeling of hydrogeologic units—an approach never before applied to this area. Notably, the 3D geomodeling provided 3D visualizations and geocellular models of the depositional sequences, hydrostratigraphy, and structural features. The geocellular data could be used to update the hydrogeologic structure inherent to groundwater flow simulations that are designed to address the sustainability of the water resources of the Floridan aquifer system.

Two kinds of pathways that could enable upward cross-formational flow of injected treated wastewater from the Boulder Zone have been identified in the 80 miles of high-resolution seismic data collected for this study: a near-vertical reverse fault and karst collapse structures. The single reverse fault, inferred to be of tectonic origin, is in extreme northeastern Broward County and has an offset of about 19 feet at the level of the Arcadia Formation. Most of the 17 karst collapse structures identified manifest as columniform, vertically stacked sagging seismic reflections that span early Eocene to Miocene age rocks equivalent to much of the Floridan aquifer system and the lower part of the overlying intermediate confining unit. In some cases, the seismic-sag structures extend upward into strata of Pliocene age. The seismic-sag structures are interpreted to have a semicircular shape in plan view on the basis of comparison to (1) other seismic-sag structures in southeastern Florida mapped with two 2D seismic cross lines or 3D data, (2) comparison to these structures located in other carbonate provinces, and (3) plausible extensional ring faults detected with multi-attribute analysis. The seismic-sag structures in the study area have heights as great as 2,500 vertical feet, though importantly, one spans about 7,800 feet. Both multi-attribute analysis and visual detection of offset of seismic reflections within the seismic-sag structures indicate faults and fractures are associated with many of the structures. Multi-attribute analysis highlighting chimney fluid pathways also indicates that the seismic-sag structures have a high probability for potential vertical cross-formational fluid flow along the faulted and fractured structures. A collapse of the seismic-sag structures within a deep burial setting evokes an origin related to hypogenic karst processes by ascending flow of subsurface fluids. In addition, paleo-epigenic karst related to major regional subaerial unconformities within the Florida Platform generated collapse structures (paleo-sinkholes) that are much smaller in scale than the cross-formational seismic-sag structures.

Evaluation and use of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean Watersheds Needs Survey data to quantify nutrient loads to surface water, 1978–2012

Released December 07, 2017 15:45 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5115

Tamara Ivahnenko

Changes in municipal and industrial point-source discharges over time have been an important factor affecting nutrient trends in many of the Nation’s streams and rivers. This report documents how three U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) national datasets—the Permit Compliance System, the Integrated Compliance Information System, and the Clean Watersheds Needs Survey—were evaluated for use in the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment project to assess the causes of nutrient trends. This report also describes how a database of total nitrogen load and total phosphorous load was generated for select wastewater treatment facilities in the United States based on information reported in the EPA Clean Watersheds Needs Survey. Nutrient loads were calculated for the years 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 based on average nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations for reported treatment levels and on annual reported flow values.

The EPA Permit Compliance System (PCS) and Integrated Compliance Information System (ICIS), which monitor point-source facility discharges, together are the Nation’s most spatially comprehensive dataset for nutrients released to surface waters. However, datasets for many individual facilities are incomplete, the PCS/ICIS historical data date back only to 1989, and historical data are available for only a limited number of facilities. Additionally, inconsistencies in facility reporting make it difficult to track or identify changes in nutrient discharges over time. Previous efforts made by the U.S. Geological Survey to “fill in” gaps in the PCS/ICIS data were based on statistical methods—missing data were filled in through the use of a statistical model based on the Standard Industrial Classification code, size, and flow class of the facility and on seasonal nutrient discharges of similar facilities. This approach was used to estimate point-source loads for a single point in time; it was not evaluated for use in generating a consistent data series over time.

Another national EPA dataset that is available is the Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS), conducted every 4 years beginning 1973. The CWNS is an assessment of the capital needs of wastewater facilities to meet the water-quality goals set in the Clean Water Act. Data collected about these facilities include location and contact information for the facilities; population served; flow and treatment level of the facility; estimated capital needs to upgrade, repair, or improve facilities for water quality; and nonpoint-source best management practices.

Total nitrogen and total phosphorous load calculations for each of the CWNS years were based on treatment level information and average annual outflow (in million gallons per day) from each of the facilities that had reported it. Treatment levels categories (such as Primary, Secondary, or Advanced) were substituted with average total nitrogen and total phosphorous concentrations for each treatment level based on those reported in literature. The CWNS dataset, like the PCS/ICIS dataset, has years where facilities did not report either a treatment level or an annual average outflow, or both. To fill in the data gaps, simple linear assumptions were made based on each facility’s responses to the survey in years bracketing the data gap or immediately before or after the data gap if open ended. Treatment level and flow data unique to each facility were used to complete the CWNS dataset for that facility.

Numerical modeling of salt marsh morphological change induced by Hurricane Sandy

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Coastal Engineering (132) 63-81

Kelin Hu, Qin Chen, Hongqing Wang, Ellen K. Hartig, Philip M. Orton

The salt marshes of Jamaica Bay serve as a recreational outlet for New York City residents, mitigate wave impacts during coastal storms, and provide habitat for critical wildlife species. Hurricanes have been recognized as one of the critical drivers of coastal wetland morphology due to their effects on hydrodynamics and sediment transport, deposition, and erosion processes. In this study, the Delft3D modeling suite was utilized to examine the effects of Hurricane Sandy (2012) on salt marsh morphology in Jamaica Bay. Observed marsh elevation change and accretion from rod Surface Elevation Tables and feldspar Marker Horizons (SET-MH) and hydrodynamic measurements during Hurricane Sandy were used to calibrate and validate the wind-waves-surge-sediment transport-morphology coupled model. The model results agreed well with in situ field measurements. The validated model was then used to detect salt marsh morphological change due to Sandy across Jamaica Bay. Model results indicate that the island-wide morphological changes in the bay's salt marshes due to Sandy were in the range of −30 mm (erosion) to +15 mm (deposition), and spatially complex and heterogeneous. The storm generated paired deposition and erosion patches at local scales. Salt marshes inside the west section of the bay showed erosion overall while marshes inside the east section showed deposition from Sandy. The net sediment amount that Sandy brought into the bay is only about 1% of the total amount of reworked sediment within the bay during the storm. Numerical experiments show that waves and vegetation played a critical role in sediment transport and associated wetland morphological change in Jamaica Bay. Furthermore, without the protection of vegetation, the marsh islands of Jamaica Bay would experience both more erosion and less accretion in coastal storms.

Ecosystem features determine seagrass community response to sea otter foraging

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Marine Pollution Bulletin

Margot Hessing-Lewis, Erin U. Rechsteiner, Brent B. Hughes, M. Tim Tinker, Zachary L. Monteith, Angeleen M. Olson, Matthew Morgan Henderson, Jane C. Watson

Comparing sea otter recovery in California (CA) and British Columbia (BC) reveals key ecosystem properties that shape top-down effects in seagrass communities. We review potential ecosystem drivers of sea otter foraging in CA and BC seagrass beds, including the role of coastline complexity and environmental stress on sea otter effects. In BC, we find greater species richness across seagrass trophic assemblages. Furthermore, Cancer spp. crabs, an important link in the seagrass trophic cascade observed in CA, are less common. Additionally, the more recent reintroduction of sea otters, more complex coastline, and reduced environmental stress in BC seagrass habitats supports the hypotheses that sea otter foraging pressure is currently reduced there. In order to manage the ecosystem features that lead to regional differences in top predator effects in seagrass communities, we review our findings, their spatial and temporal constraints, and present a social-ecological framework for future research.

Landscape-scale variation in canopy water content of giant sequoias during drought

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Forest Ecology and Management

Tarin Paz-Kagan, Nicolas R. Vaughn, Roberta E. Martin, Philip G. Brodrick, Nathan L. Stephenson, Adrian Das, Koren R. Nydick, Gregory P. Asner

Recent drought (2012–2016) caused unprecedented foliage dieback in giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum), a species endemic to the western slope of the southern Sierra Nevada in central California. As part of an effort to understand and map sequoia response to droughts, we studied the patterns of remotely sensed canopy water content (CWC), both within and among sequoia groves in two successive years during the drought period (2015 and 2016). Our aims were: (1) to quantify giant sequoia responses to severe drought stress at a landscape scale using CWC as an indicator of crown foliage status, and (2) to estimate the effect of environmental correlates that mediate CWC change within and among giant sequoia groves. We utilized airborne high fidelity imaging spectroscopy (HiFIS) and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data from the Carnegie Airborne Observatory to assess giant sequoia foliage status during 2015 and 2016 of the 2012–2016 droughts. A series of statistical models were generated to classify giant sequoias and to map their location in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI) and vicinity. We explored the environmental correlates and the spatial patterns of CWC change at the landscape scale. The mapped CWC was highly variable throughout the landscape during the two observation years, and proved to be most closely related to geological substrates, topography, and site-specific water balance. While there was an overall net gain in sequoia CWC between 2015 and 2016, certain locations (lower elevations, steeper slopes, areas more distant from surface water sources, and areas with greater climate water deficit) showed CWC losses. In addition, we found greater CWC loss in shorter sequoias and those growing in areas with lower sequoia stem densities. Our results suggest that CWC change indicates sequoia response to droughts across landscapes. Long-term monitoring of giant sequoia CWC will likely be useful for modeling and predicting their population-level response to future climate change.

Navigating translational ecology: Creating opportunities for scientist participation

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (15) 578-586

Lauren M. Hallett, Toni Morelli, Leah R. Gerber, Max A. Moritz, Mark W. Schwartz, Nathan L. Stephenson, Jennifer L. Tank, Matthew A. Williamson, Connie A. Woodhouse

Interest in translational ecology (TE) – a research approach that yields useful scientific outcomes through ongoing collaboration between scientists and stakeholders – is growing among both of these groups. Translational ecology brings together participants from different cultures and with different professional incentives. We address ways to cultivate a culture of TE, such as investing time in understanding one another's decision context and incentives, and outline common entry points to translational research, such as working through boundary organizations, building place-based research programs, and being open to opportunities as they arise. We also highlight common institutional constraints on scientists and practitioners, and ways in which collaborative research can overcome these limitations, emphasizing considerations for navigating TE within current institutional frameworks, but also pointing out ways in which institutions are evolving to facilitate translational research approaches.

A prototype operational earthquake loss model for California based on UCERF3-ETAS – A first look at valuation

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Earthquake Spectra

Edward Field, Keith Porter, Kevn Milner

We present a prototype operational loss model based on UCERF3-ETAS, which is the third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast with an Epidemic Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) component. As such, UCERF3-ETAS represents the first earthquake forecast to relax fault segmentation assumptions and to include multi-fault ruptures, elastic-rebound, and spatiotemporal clustering, all of which seem important for generating realistic and useful aftershock statistics. UCERF3-ETAS is nevertheless an approximation of the system, however, so usefulness will vary and potential value needs to be ascertained in the context of each application. We examine this question with respect to statewide loss estimates, exemplifying how risk can be elevated by orders of magnitude due to triggered events following various scenario earthquakes. Two important considerations are the probability gains, relative to loss likelihoods in the absence of main shocks, and the rapid decay of gains with time. Significant uncertainties and model limitations remain, so we hope this paper will inspire similar analyses with respect to other risk metrics to help ascertain whether operationalization of UCERF3-ETAS would be worth the considerable resources required.

Fear of feces? Trade-offs between disease risk and foraging drive animal activity around raccoon latrines

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Oikos

Sara B. Weinstein, Chad W. Moura, Jon Francis Mendez, Kevin D. Lafferty

Fear of predation alters prey behavior, which can indirectly alter entire landscapes. A parasite-induced ecology of fear might also exist if animals avoid parasite-contaminated resources when infection costs outweigh foraging benefits. To investigate whether animals avoid parasite contaminated sites, and if such avoidance balances disease costs and foraging gains, we monitored animal behavior at raccoon latrines – sites that concentrate both seeds and pathogenic parasite eggs. Using wildlife cameras, we documented over 40 potentially susceptible vertebrate species in latrines and adjacent habitat. Latrine contact rates reflected background activity, diet preferences and disease risk. Disease-tolerant raccoons and rats displayed significant site attraction, while susceptible birds and small mammals avoided these high-risk sites. This suggests that parasites, like predators, might create a landscape of fear for vulnerable hosts. Such non-consumptive parasite effects could alter disease transmission, population dynamics, and even ecosystem structure.

Using gene transcription to assess ecological and anthropological stressors in brown bears

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, EcoHealth

Lizabeth Bowen, A. Keith Miles, Shannon C. Waters, Dave Gustine, Kyle Joly, Grant Hilderbrand

Increasingly, population- and ecosystem-level health assessments are performed using sophisticated molecular tools. Advances in molecular technology enable the identification of synergistic effects of multiple stressors on the individual physiology of different species. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are an apex predator; thus, they are ideal candidates for detecting potentially ecosystem-level systemic perturbations using molecular-based tools. We used gene transcription to analyze 130 brown bear samples from three National Parks and Preserves in Alaska. Although the populations we studied are apparently stable in abundance and exist within protected and intact environments, differences in transcript profiles were noted. The most prevalent differences were among locations. The transcript patterns among groups reflect the influence of environmental factors, such as nutritional status, disease, and xenobiotic exposure. However, these profiles also likely represent baselines for each unique environment by which future measures can be made to identify early indication of population-level changes due to, for example, increasing Arctic temperatures. Some of those environmental changes are predicted to be potentially positive for brown bears, but other effects such as the manifestation of disease or indirect effects of oceanic acidification may produce negative impacts.

Oak habitat recovery on California's largest islands: Scenarios for the role of corvid seed dispersal

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Applied Ecology

Mario B. Pesendorfer, Christopher M. Baker, Martin Stringer, Eve McDonald-Madden, Michael Bode, A. Kathryn McEachern, Scott A. Morrison, T. Scott Sillett

  1. Seed dispersal by birds is central to the passive restoration of many tree communities. Reintroduction of extinct seed dispersers can therefore restore degraded forests and woodlands. To test this, we constructed a spatially explicit simulation model, parameterized with field data, to consider the effect of different seed dispersal scenarios on the extent of oak populations. We applied the model to two islands in California's Channel Islands National Park (USA), one of which has lost a key seed disperser.

  2. We used an ensemble modelling approach to simulate island scrub oak (Quercus pacifica) demography. The model was developed and trained to recreate known population changes over a 20-year period on 250-km2 Santa Cruz Island, and incorporated acorn dispersal by island scrub-jays (Aphelocoma insularis), deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and gravity, as well as seed predation. We applied the trained model to 215-km2 Santa Rosa Island to examine how reintroducing island scrub-jays would affect the rate and pattern of oak population expansion. Oak habitat on Santa Rosa Island has been greatly reduced from its historical extent due to past grazing by introduced ungulates, the last of which were removed by 2011.

  3. Our simulation model predicts that a seed dispersal scenario including island scrub-jays would increase the extent of the island scrub oak population on Santa Rosa Island by 281% over 100 years, and by 544% over 200 years. Scenarios without jays would result in little expansion. Simulated long-distance seed dispersal by jays also facilitates establishment of discontinuous patches of oaks, and increases their elevational distribution.

  4. Synthesis and applications. Scenario planning provides powerful decision support for conservation managers. We used ensemble modelling of plant demographic and seed dispersal processes to investigate whether the reintroduction of seed dispersers could provide cost-effective means of achieving broader ecosystem restoration goals on California's second-largest island. The simulation model, extensively parameterized with field data, suggests that re-establishing the mutualism with seed-hoarding jays would accelerate the expansion of island scrub oak, which could benefit myriad species of conservation concern.

Regional water table (2016) in the Mojave River and Morongo groundwater basins, southwestern Mojave Desert, California

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Map 3391

Meghan Dick, Adam Kjos

From January to April 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Mojave Water Agency, and other local water districts made approximately 1,200 water-level measurements in about 645 wells located within 15 separate groundwater basins, collectively referred to as the Mojave River and Morongo groundwater basins. These data document recent conditions and, when compared with older data, changes in groundwater levels. A water-level contour map was drawn using data measured in 2016 that shows the elevation of the water table and general direction of groundwater movement for most of the groundwater basins. Historical water-level data stored in the USGS National Water Information System (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/) database were used in conjunction with data collected for this study to construct 37 hydrographs to show long-term (1930–2016) and short-term (1990–2016) water-level changes in the study area.

Analysis of the variability in ground-motion synthesis and inversion

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1151

Paul A. Spudich, Antonella Cirella, Laura Scognamiglio, Elisa Tinti

In almost all past inversions of large-earthquake ground motions for rupture behavior, the goal of the inversion is to find the “best fitting” rupture model that predicts ground motions which optimize some function of the difference between predicted and observed ground motions. This type of inversion was pioneered in the linear-inverse sense by Olson and Apsel (1982), who minimized the square of the difference between observed and simulated motions (“least squares”) while simultaneously minimizing the rupture-model norm (by setting the null-space component of the rupture model to zero), and has been extended in many ways, one of which is the use of nonlinear inversion schemes such as simulated annealing algorithms that optimize some other misfit function. For example, the simulated annealing algorithm of Piatanesi and others (2007) finds the rupture model that minimizes a “cost” function which combines a least-squares and a waveform-correlation measure of misfit.

All such inversions that look for a unique “best” model have at least three problems. (1) They have removed the null-space component of the rupture model—that is, an infinite family of rupture models that all fit the data equally well have been narrowed down to a single model. Some property of interest in the rupture model might have been discarded in this winnowing process. (2) Smoothing constraints are commonly used to yield a unique “best” model, in which case spatially rough rupture models will have been discarded, even if they provide a good fit to the data. (3) No estimate of confidence in the resulting rupture models can be given because the effects of unknown errors in the Green’s functions (“theory errors”) have not been assessed. In inversion for rupture behavior, these theory errors are generally larger than the data errors caused by ground noise and instrumental limitations, and so overfitting of the data is probably ubiquitous for such inversions.

Recently, attention has turned to the inclusion of theory errors in the inversion process. Yagi and Fukahata (2011) made an important contribution by presenting a method to estimate the uncertainties in predicted large-earthquake ground motions due to uncertainties in the Green’s functions. Here we derive their result and compare it with the results of other recent studies that look at theory errors in a Bayesian inversion context particularly those by Bodin and others (2012), Duputel and others (2012), Dettmer and others (2014), and Minson and others (2014).

Notably, in all these studies, the estimates of theory error were obtained from theoretical considerations alone; none of the investigators actually measured Green’s function errors. Large earthquakes typically have aftershocks, which, if their rupture surfaces are physically small enough, can be considered point evaluations of the real Green’s functions of the Earth. Here we simulate smallaftershock ground motions with (erroneous) theoretical Green’s functions. Taking differences between aftershock ground motions and simulated motions to be the “theory error,” we derive a statistical model of the sources of discrepancies between the theoretical and real Green’s functions. We use this model with an extended frequency-domain version of the time-domain theory of Yagi and Fukahata (2011) to determine the expected variance 2 τ caused by Green’s function error in ground motions from a larger (nonpoint) earthquake that we seek to model.

We also differ from the above-mentioned Bayesian inversions in our handling of the nonuniqueness problem of seismic inversion. We follow the philosophy of Segall and Du (1993), who, instead of looking for a best-fitting model, looked for slip models that answered specific questions about the earthquakes they studied. In their Bayesian inversions, they inductively derived a posterior probability-density function (PDF) for every model parameter. We instead seek to find two extremal rupture models whose ground motions fit the data within the error bounds given by 2 τ , as quantified by using a chi-squared test described below. So, we can ask questions such as, “What are the rupture models with the highest and lowest average rupture speed consistent with the theory errors?” Having found those models, we can then say with confidence that the true rupture speed is somewhere between those values. Although the Bayesian approach gives a complete solution to the inverse problem, it is computationally demanding: Minson and others (2014) needed 1010 forward kinematic simulations to derive their posterior probability distribution. In our approach, only about107 simulations are needed. Moreover, in practical application, only a small set of rupture models may be needed to answer the relevant questions—for example, determining the maximum likelihood solution (achievable through standard inversion techniques) and the two rupture models bounding some property of interest.

The specific property that we wish to investigate is the correlation between various rupturemodel parameters, such as peak slip velocity and rupture velocity, in models of real earthquakes. In some simulations of ground motions for hypothetical large earthquakes, such as those by Aagaard and others (2010) and the Southern California Earthquake Center Broadband Simulation Platform (Graves and Pitarka, 2015), rupture speed is assumed to correlate locally with peak slip, although there is evidence that rupture speed should correlate better with peak slip speed, owing to its dependence on local stress drop. We may be able to determine ways to modify Piatanesi and others’s (2007) inversion’s “cost” function to find rupture models with either high or low degrees of correlation between pairs of rupture parameters. We propose a cost function designed to find these two extremal models.

Groundwater, surface-water, and water-chemistry data, Black Mesa area, northeastern Arizona—2013–2015

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1127

Jamie P. Macy, Jon P. Mason

The Navajo (N) aquifer is an extensive aquifer and the primary source of groundwater in the 5,400-square-mile Black Mesa area in northeastern Arizona. Availability of water is an important issue in northeastern Arizona because of continued water requirements for industrial and municipal use by a growing population and because of low precipitation in the arid climate of the Black Mesa area. Precipitation in the area typically is between 6 and 16 inches per year.

The U.S. Geological Survey water-monitoring program in the Black Mesa area began in 1971 and provides information about the long-term effects of groundwater withdrawals from the N aquifer for industrial and municipal uses. This report presents results of data collected as part of the monitoring program in the Black Mesa area from January 2013 to December 2015. The monitoring program includes measurements of (1) groundwater withdrawals (pumping), (2) groundwater levels, (3) spring discharge, (4) surface-water discharge, and (5) groundwater chemistry.

In 2013, total groundwater withdrawals were 3,980 acre-feet (ft), in 2014 total withdrawals were 4,170 acre-ft, and in 2015 total withdrawals were 3,970 acre-ft. From 2013 to 2015 total withdrawals varied by less than 5 percent.

From 2014 to 2015, annually measured water levels in the Black Mesa area declined in 9 of 15 wells that were available for comparison in the unconfined areas of the N aquifer, and the median change was -0.1 feet. Water levels declined in 3 of 16 wells measured in the confined area of the aquifer. The median change for the confined area of the aquifer was 0.6 feet. From the prestress period (prior to 1965) to 2015, the median water-level change for 34 wells in both the confined and unconfined areas was -13.2 feet; the median water-level changes were -1.7 feet for 16 wells measured in the unconfined areas and -42.3 feet for 18 wells measured in the confined area.

Spring flow was measured at four springs in 2014. Flow fluctuated during the period of record for Burro Spring and Unnamed Spring near Dennehotso, but a decreasing trend was statistically significant (p<0.05) at Moenkopi School Spring and Pasture Canyon Spring. Discharge at Burro Spring has remained relatively constant since it was first measured in the 1980s and discharge at Unnamed Spring near Dennehotso has fluctuated for the period of record. Trend analysis for discharge at Moenkopi and Pasture Canyon Springs yielded a slope significantly different (p<0.05) from zero.

Continuous records of surface-water discharge in the Black Mesa area were collected from streamflow-gaging stations at the following sites: Moenkopi Wash at Moenkopi 09401260 (1976 to 2015), Dinnebito Wash near Sand Springs 09401110 (1993 to 2015), Polacca Wash near Second Mesa 09400568 (1994 to 2015), and Pasture Canyon Springs 09401265 (2004 to 2015). Median winter flows (November through February) of each water year were used as an index of the amount of groundwater discharge at the above-named sites. For the period of record of each streamflow-gaging station, the median winter flows have generally remained constant, which suggests no change in groundwater discharge.

In 2014, water samples collected from four springs in the Black Mesa area were analyzed for selected chemical constituents, and the results were compared with previous analyses. Dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate concentrations increased at Moenkopi School Spring during the more than 25 years of record at that site. Concentrations of dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate at Pasture Canyon Spring have not varied significantly (p>0.05) since the early 1980s, and there is no increasing or decreasing trend in those data. Concentrations of dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate at Burro Spring and Unnamed Spring near Dennehotso have varied for the period of record, but there is no increasing or decreasing statistical trend in the data.

Groundwater quality in the Rio Grande aquifer system, southwestern United States

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3047

MaryLynn Musgrove, Laura M. Bexfield

Groundwater provides nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. To help protect this vital resource, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assesses groundwater quality in aquifers that are important sources of drinking water (Burow and Belitz, 2014). The Rio Grande aquifer system constitutes one of the important areas being evaluated.

Groundwater quality in the glacial aquifer system, United States

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3055

Paul E. Stackelberg

Groundwater provides nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. To help protect this vital resource, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assesses groundwater quality in aquifers that are important sources of drinking water (Burow and Belitz, 2014). The glacial aquifer system constitutes one of the important areas being evaluated.

Groundwater quality in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, midwestern United States

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3056

Paul E. Stackelberg

Groundwater provides nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. To help protect this vital resource, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assesses groundwater quality in aquifers that are important sources of drinking water (Burow and Belitz, 2014). The Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system constitutes one of the important areas being evaluated.

Groundwater quality in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge crystalline-rock aquifers, eastern United States

Released December 07, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3040

Bruce Lindsey

Groundwater provides nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. To help protect this vital resource, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assesses groundwater quality in aquifers that are important sources of drinking water (Burow and Belitz, 2014). The Piedmont and Blue Ridge crystalline-rock aquifers constitute one of the important areas being evaluated.

The influence of bed friction variability due to land cover on storm-driven barrier island morphodynamics

Released December 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Coastal Engineering (132) 82-94

Davina Passeri, Joseph W. Long, Nathaniel G. Plant, Matthew V. Bilskie, Scott C. Hagen

Variations in bed friction due to land cover type have the potential to influence morphologic change during storm events; the importance of these variations can be studied through numerical simulation and experimentation at locations with sufficient observational data to initialize realistic scenarios, evaluate model accuracy and guide interpretations. Two-dimensional in the horizontal plane (2DH) morphodynamic (XBeach) simulations were conducted to assess morphodynamic sensitivity to spatially varying bed friction at Dauphin Island, AL using hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Katrina (2005) as experimental test cases. For each storm, three bed friction scenarios were simulated: (1) a constant Chezy coefficient across land and water, (2) a constant Chezy coefficient across land and depth-dependent Chezy coefficients across water, and (3) spatially varying Chezy coefficients across land based on land use/land cover (LULC) data and depth-dependent Chezy coefficients across water. Modeled post-storm bed elevations were compared qualitatively and quantitatively with post-storm lidar data. Results showed that implementing spatially varying bed friction influenced the ability of XBeach to accurately simulate morphologic change during both storms. Accounting for frictional effects due to large-scale variations in vegetation and development reduced cross-barrier sediment transport and captured overwash and breaching more accurately. Model output from the spatially varying friction scenarios was used to examine the need for an existing sediment transport limiter, the influence of pre-storm topography and the effects of water level gradients on storm-driven morphodynamics.

From salmon to shad: Shifting sources of marine-derived nutrients in the Columbia River Basin

Released December 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Ecology of Freshwater Fish (27) 310-322

Craig A. Haskell

Like Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), nonnative American shad (Alosa sapidissima) have the potential to convey large quantities of nutrients between the Pacific Ocean and freshwater spawning areas in the Columbia River Basin (CRB). American shad are now the most numerous anadromous fish in the CRB, yet the magnitude of the resulting nutrient flux owing to the shift from salmon to shad is unknown. Nutrient flux models revealed that American shad conveyed over 15,000 kg of nitrogen (N) and 3,000 kg of phosphorus (P) annually to John Day Reservoir, the largest mainstem reservoir in the lower Columbia River. Shad were net importers of N, with juveniles and postspawners exporting just 31% of the N imported by adults. Shad were usually net importers of P, with juveniles and postspawners exporting 46% of the P imported by adults on average. American shad contributed <0.2% of the total annual P load into John Day Reservoir, but during June when most adult shad are migrating into John Day Reservoir, they contributed as much as 2.0% of the P load. Nutrient inputs by American shad were similar to current but far less than historical inputs of Pacific salmon owing to their smaller size. Given the relatively high background P levels and low retention times in lower Columbia River reservoirs, it is unlikely that shad marine-derived nutrients affect nutrient balances or food web productivity through autotrophic pathways. However, a better understanding of shad spawning aggregations in the CRB is needed.

MHC class II DRB diversity predicts antigen recognition and is associated with disease severity in California sea lions naturally infected with Leptospira interrogans

Released December 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Infection, Genetics and Evolution (57) 158-165

Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse, Frances Gulland, Lizabeth Bowen

We examined the associations between California sea lion MHC class II DRB (Zaca-DRB) configuration and diversity, and leptospirosis. As Zaca-DRB gene sequences are involved with antigen presentation of bacteria and other extracellular pathogens, we predicted that they would play a role in determining responses to these pathogenic spirochaetes. Specifically, we investigated whether Zaca-DRB diversity (number of genes) and configuration (presence of specific genes) explained differences in disease severity, and whether higher levels of Zaca-DRB diversity predicted the number of specific Leptospira interrogans serovars that a sea lion's serum would react against. We found that serum from diseased sea lions with more Zaca-DRB loci reacted against a wider array of serovars. Specific Zaca-DRB loci were linked to reactions with particular serovars. Interestingly, sea lions with clinical manifestation of leptospirosis that had higher numbers of Zaca-DRB loci were less likely to recover from disease than those with lower diversity, and those that harboured Zaca-DRB.C or –G were 4.5 to 5.3 times more likely to die from leptospirosis, regardless of the infective serovars. We propose that for leptospirosis, a disadvantage of having a wider range of antigen presentation might be increased disease severity due to immunopathology. Ours is the first study to examine the importance of Zaca-DRB diversity for antigen detection and disease severity following natural exposure to infective leptospires.

Contaminant gradients in trees: Directional tree coring reveals boundaries of soil and soil-gas contamination with potential applications in vapor intrusion assessment

Released December 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Environmental Science & Technology

Jordan L. Wilson, Matthew A. Limmer, V.A. Samaranayake, Joel Burken

Contaminated sites pose ecological and human-health risks through exposure to contaminated soil and groundwater. Whereas we can readily locate, monitor, and track contaminants in groundwater, it is harder to perform these tasks in the vadose zone. In this study, tree-core samples were collected at a Superfund site to determine if the sample-collection location around a particular tree could reveal the subsurface location, or direction, of soil and soil-gas contaminant plumes. Contaminant-centroid vectors were calculated from tree-core data to reveal contaminant distributions in directional tree samples at a higher resolution, and vectors were correlated with soil-gas characterization collected using conventional methods. Results clearly demonstrated that directional tree coring around tree trunks can indicate gradients in soil and soil-gas contaminant plumes, and the strength of the correlations were directly proportionate to the magnitude of tree-core concentration gradients (spearman’s coefficient of -0.61 and -0.55 in soil and tree-core gradients, respectively). Linear regression indicates agreement between the concentration-centroid vectors is significantly affected by in-planta and soil concentration gradients and when concentration centroids in soil are closer to trees. Given the existing link between soil-gas and vapor intrusion, this study also indicates that directional tree coring might be applicable in vapor intrusion assessment.

Feeding ecology and niche overlap of Lake Ontario offshore forage fish assessed with stable isotopes

Released December 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

James Mumby, Timothy Johson, Thomas Stewart, Edward Halfyard, Maureen Walsh, Brian C. Weidel, Jana Lantry, Aarron Fisk

The forage fish communities of the Laurentian Great Lakes continue to experience changes that have altered ecosystem structure, yet little is known about how they partition resources. Seasonal, spatial and body size variation in δ13C and δ15N was used to assess isotopic niche overlap and resource and habitat partitioning among the five common offshore Lake Ontario forage fish species (n = 2037) [Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax), Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus), and Deepwater (Myoxocephalus thompsonii) and Slimy (Cottus cognatus) Sculpin]. Round Goby had the largest isotopic niche (6.1‰2, standard ellipse area (SEAC)), followed by Alewife (3.4‰2) while Rainbow Smelt, Slimy Sculpin and Deepwater Sculpin had the smallest and similar niche size (1.7-1.8‰2), with only the Sculpin species showing significant isotopic niche overlap (>63%). Stable isotopes in Alewife, Round Goby and Rainbow Smelt varied with location, season and size, but did not in the Sculpin spp. Lake Ontario forage fish species have partitioned food and habitat resources, and non-native Alewife and Round Goby have the largest isotopic niche, suggestive of a boarder ecological niche, and may contribute to their current high abundance.

Cooperative science to inform Lake Ontario management: Research from the 2013 Lake Ontario CSMI program

Released December 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Great Lakes Research (43) 779-781

James M. Watkins, Brian C. Weidel, Aaron T. Fisk, Lars G. Rudstam

Since the mid-1970s, successful Lake Ontario management actions including nutrient load and pollution reductions, habitat restoration, and fish stocking have improved Lake Ontario. However, several new obstacles to maintenance and restoration have emerged. This special issue presents management-relevant research from multiple agency surveys in 2011 and 2012 and the 2013 Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI), that span diverse lake habitats, species, and trophic levels. This research focused on themes of nutrient loading and fate; vertical dynamics of primary and secondary production; fish abundance and behavior; and food web structure. Together these papers identify the status of many of the key drivers of the Lake Ontario ecosystem and contribute to addressing lake-scale questions and management information needs in Lake Ontario and the other Great Lakes and connecting water bodies.

Assessing diet compositions of Lake Ontario predators using fatty acid profiles of prey fishes

Released December 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Great Lakes Research (43) 838-845

Austin Happell, Robert Pattridge, Jacques Rinchard, Maureen Walsh

Fatty acid profiles are used in food web studies to assess trophic interactions between predator and prey. The present study provides the first comprehensive fatty acid dataset for important prey and predator species in Lake Ontario. Three major prey fish (alewife, rainbow smelt, and round goby) were collected at three sites along the southern shore of Lake Ontario during the spring and fall of 2013, and predator species were collected in similar locations during the summer of 2013. Fatty acid compositions were compared among all prey species, all predator species, and information from both predator and prey was used to infer foraging differences among predators. Seasonal differences in fatty acids were found within each prey species studied. Differences among prey species were greater than any spatio-temporal differences detected within species. Fatty acids of predators revealed species-specific differences that matched known foraging habits. Chinook and Coho salmon, which are known to select alewife as their dominant prey item, had relatively little variation in fatty acid profiles. Conversely, brown trout, lake trout, yellow perch and esocids had highly variable fatty acid profiles and likely highly variable diet compositions. In general, our data suggested three dominant foraging patterns: 1) diet composed of nearly exclusively alewife for Chinook and Coho Salmon; 2) a mixed diet of alewife and round goby for brown and lake trout, and both rock and smallmouth bass; 3) a diet that is likely comprised of forage fishes other than those included in our study for northern pike and chain pickerel.

Reply to the discussion of Pinter et al. on ‘Fluvial system response to late Pleistocene-Holocene sea-level change on Santa Rosa Island, Channel Islands National Park, California’ by Schumann et al. (2016)

Released December 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geomorphology (301) 144-146

R. Randall Schumann, Jeff Pigati

We appreciate the thoughtful discussion offered by Pinter et al. (2017) because it gives us an opportunity to elucidate some of the main points of our study, address some apparent misinterpretations, and recapitulate one of our conclusions. Pinter et al.’s discussion emphasizes and reinforces some of the important concepts we presented but also raises questions regarding specific aspects of our study, including that: (1) base level is the dominant control on fluvial system change on Santa Rosa Island (SRI); (2) post-Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) fluvial aggradation on SRI occurred at uniform rates; and (3) the transition from aggradation to incision on SRI occurred during the last 500 to ≤150 years.

Chemical elements in the environment: multi-element geochemical datasets from continental to national scale surveys on four continents

Released December 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Applied Geochemistry

Patrice de Caritat, Clemens Reimann, David Smith, Xueqiu Wang

During the last 10-20 years, Geological Surveys around the world have undertaken a major effort towards delivering fully harmonized and tightly quality-controlled low-density multi-element soil geochemical maps and datasets of vast regions including up to whole continents. Concentrations of between 45 and 60 elements commonly have been determined in a variety of different regolith types (e.g., sediment, soil). The multi-element datasets are published as complete geochemical atlases and made available to the general public. Several other geochemical datasets covering smaller areas but generally at a higher spatial density are also available. These datasets may, however, not be found by superficial internet-based searches because the elements are not mentioned individually either in the title or in the keyword lists of the original references. This publication attempts to increase the visibility and discoverability of these fundamental background datasets covering large areas up to whole continents.

Stratigraphic intervals for oil and tar sands deposits in the Uinta Basin, Utah

Released December 06, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Mountain Geologist (54) 227-265

Ronald C. Johnson, Justin E. Birdwell, Paul G. Lillis

No abstract available.

Detection of microcystin and other cyanotoxins in lakes at Isle Royale National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, northern Michigan, 2012–13

Released December 05, 2017 16:20 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5122

Lori M. Fuller, Angela K. Brennan, Lisa R. Fogarty, Keith A. Loftin, Heather E. Johnson, David D. VanderMeulen, Brenda Moraska Lafrancois

Although cyanotoxins released during algal blooms have become an increasing concern in surface waters across the United States, the presence of cyanotoxins in northern Michigan lakes had not been evaluated in detail. The U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service (NPS) led a 2-year study (2012 and 2013) to determine the presence of microcystin and other algal toxins in several inland lakes at Isle Royale National Park (hereafter referred to as ISRO, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (hereafter referred to as PIRO), and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (hereafter referred to as SLBE). Samples also were collected at four sites in Lake Michigan within the SLBE. The two analytical techniques used in the study were enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) for microcystin, cylindrospermopsin, and saxitoxin; and liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) for a larger suite of algal toxins. Neither cylindrospermopsin nor saxitoxin were detected in the 211 samples. Microcystin was detected in 31 percent of samples (65 of 211 samples) analyzed by the ELISA method, but no sample results exceeded the World Health Organization recreational health advisory standard for microcystin (10 micrograms per liter [µg/L]). However, about 10 percent of the samples (21 of 211 samples) that were collected from PIRO and SLBE and were analyzed by ELISA for microcystin had concentrations greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water 10-day health advisory of 0.3 µg/L for children preschool age and younger (less than 6-years old). One sample collected in 2012 from SLBE exceeded the EPA drinking water 10-day health advisory of 1.6 µg/L for school-age children through adults (6-years old and older). In 2012, the highest concentration of 2.7 µg/L was detected in Florence Lake within SLBE. Many visitors enjoy recreation in or on the water and camp in the backcountry at these national parks where the most common source of drinking water is filtered surface water.

Approximately 18 percent of the samples (39 of 211 samples) were analyzed by LC/MS/MS to confirm the ELISA results and to evaluate the samples for a larger suite of algal toxins. In general, the microcystin results between the ELISA and LC/MS/MS methods were similar; although, the ELISA results tended to be slightly higher than the summation of LC/MS/MS microcystin congeners. The slightly higher ELISA results might be because the ELISA microcystin method is reactive with the ADDA functional group common to all microcystins, and because not all microcystin congeners are included in the LC/MS/MS method. The LC/MS/MS method indicated that the congener microcystin-LR was the most frequently detected, followed by microcystin-WR and microcystin-YR.

Sixteen of the lakes included in this study also were monitored by the NPS for nutrients. Total phosphorus (TP) concentrations were, on average, highest at the ISRO lakes, whereas total nitrogen (TN) concentrations were highest at SLBE. The average annual TN:TP ratios for the 16 lakes within the national park and national lakeshores ranged from ratios of 20 to 89. Overall, results indicated a slight increase in percentage of microcystin detections with an increase in the TN:TP ratio (R-squared 0.269 and 0.340, respectively [2012 and 2013 combined dataset] derived from linear regression).

This study also indicated that even in the absence of visible algal blooms, microcystin may be present. Most microcystin concentrations did not exceed the EPA’s 10-day health advisory drinking-water benchmark. In general, these results provide a useful baseline with which to evaluate potential future changes in algal toxin concentrations.

Modeling fine-scale coral larval dispersal and interisland connectivity to help designate mutually-supporting coral reef marine protected areas: Insights from Maui Nui, Hawaii

Released December 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Frontiers in Marine Science (4) 1-14

Curt Storlazzi, Maarten van Ormondt, Yi-Leng Chen, Edwin P. L. Elias

Connectivity among individual marine protected areas (MPAs) is one of the most important considerations in the design of integrated MPA networks. To provide such information for managers in Hawaii, USA, a numerical circulation model was developed to determine the role of ocean currents in transporting coral larvae from natal reefs throughout the high volcanic islands of the Maui Nui island complex in the southeastern Hawaiian Archipelago. Spatially- and temporally-varying wind, wave, and circulation model outputs were used to drive a km-scale, 3-dimensional, physics-based circulation model for Maui Nui. The model was calibrated and validated using satellite-tracked ocean surface current drifters deployed during coral-spawning conditions, then used to simulate the movement of the larvae of the dominant reef-building coral, Porites compressa, from 17 reefs during eight spawning events in 2010–2013. These simulations make it possible to investigate not only the general dispersal patterns from individual coral reefs, but also how anomalous conditions during individual spawning events can result in large deviations from those general patterns. These data also help identify those reefs that are dominated by self-seeding and those where self-seeding is limited to determine their relative susceptibility to stressors and potential roadblocks to recovery. Overall, the numerical model results indicate that many of the coral reefs in Maui Nui seed reefs on adjacent islands, demonstrating the interconnected nature of the coral reefs in Maui Nui and providing a key component of the scientific underpinning essential for the design of a mutually supportive network of MPAs to enhance conservation of coral reefs.

Loss of dendritic connectivity in southern California's urban riverscape facilitates decline of an endemic freshwater fish

Released December 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Molecular Ecology

Jonathan Q. Richmond, Adam R. Backlin, Carey Galst-Cavalcante, John W. O'Brien, Robert N. Fisher

Life history adaptations and spatial configuration of metapopulation networks allow certain species to persist in extreme fluctuating environments, yet long-term stability within these systems relies on the maintenance of linkage habitat. Degradation of such linkages in urban riverscapes can disrupt this dynamic in aquatic species, leading to increased extinction debt in local populations experiencing environment-related demographic flux. We used microsatellites and mtDNA to examine the effects of collapsed network structure in the endemic Santa Ana sucker Catostomus santaanae of southern California, a threatened species affected by natural flood-drought cycles, ‘boom-and-bust’ demography, hybridization, and presumed artificial transplantation. Our results show a predominance of drift-mediated processes in shaping population structure, and that reverse mechanisms for counterbalancing the genetic effects of these phenomena have dissipated with the collapse of dendritic connectivity. We use approximate Bayesian models to support two cases of artificial transplantation, and provide evidence that one of the invaded systems better represents the historic processes that maintained genetic variation within watersheds than any remaining drainages where C. santaanae is considered native. We further show that a stable dry gap in the northern range is preventing genetic dilution of pure C. santaanae persisting upstream of a hybrid assemblage involving a non-native sucker, and that local accumulation of genetic variation in the same drainage is influenced by position within the network. This work has important implications for declining species that have historically relied on dendritic metapopulation networks to maintain source-sink dynamics in phasic environments, but no longer possess this capacity in urban-converted landscapes.

Colloid mobilization and seasonal variability in a semiarid headwater stream

Released December 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Environmental Quality (46) 88-95

Taylor J. Mills, Suzanne P. Ancerson, Carleton Bern, Arnulfo Aguirre, Louis A. Derry

Colloids can be important vectors for the transport of contaminants in the environment, but little is known about colloid mobilization at the watershed scale. We present colloid concentration, composition, and flux data over a large range of hydrologic conditions from a small watershed (Gordon Gulch) in the foothills of the Colorado Front Range. Colloids, consisting predominantly of Si, Fe, and Al, were present in most stream samples but were not detected in groundwater samples. Mineralogical and morphological analysis indicated that the colloids were composed of kaolinite and illite clays with lesser amounts of amorphous Fe-hydroxides. Although colloid composition remained relatively constant over the sampled flow conditions, colloid concentrations varied considerably and increased as ionic strength of stream water decreased. The highest concentrations occurred during precipitation events after extended dry periods. These observations are consistent with laboratory studies that have shown colloids can be mobilized by decreases in pore-water ionic strength, which likely occurs during precipitation events. Colloidal particles constituted 30 to 35% of the Si mass flux and 93 to 97% of the Fe and Al mass fluxes in the <0.45-µm fraction in the stream. Colloids are therefore a significant and often overlooked component of mass fluxes whose temporal variations may yield insight into hydrologic flowpaths in this semiarid catchment.

Will fluctuations in salt marsh–mangrove dominance alter vulnerability of a subtropical wetland to sea-level rise?

Released December 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Global Change Biology

Karen L. Mckee, William Vervaeke

To avoid submergence during sea-level rise, coastal wetlands build soil surfaces vertically through accumulation of inorganic sediment and organic matter. At climatic boundaries where mangroves are expanding and replacing salt marsh, wetland capacity to respond to sea-level rise may change. To compare how well mangroves and salt marshes accommodate sea-level rise, we conducted a manipulative field experiment in a subtropical plant community in the subsiding Mississippi River Delta. Experimental plots were established in spatially equivalent positions along creek banks in monospecific stands of Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass) or Avicennia germinans (black mangrove) and in mixed stands containing both species. To examine the effect of disturbance on elevation dynamics, vegetation in half of the plots was subjected to freezing (mangrove) or wrack burial (salt marsh), which caused shoot mortality. Vertical soil development was monitored for 6 years with the surface elevation table-marker horizon system. Comparison of land movement with relative sea-level rise showed that this plant community was experiencing an elevation deficit (i.e., sea level was rising faster than the wetland was building vertically) and was relying on elevation capital (i.e., relative position in the tidal frame) to survive. Although Avicennia plots had more elevation capital, suggesting longer survival, than Spartina or mixed plots, vegetation type had no effect on rates of accretion, vertical movement in root and sub-root zones, or net elevation change. Thus, these salt marsh and mangrove assemblages were accreting sediment and building vertically at equivalent rates. Small-scale disturbance of the plant canopy also had no effect on elevation trajectories—contrary to work in peat-forming wetlands showing elevation responses to changes in plant productivity. The findings indicate that in this deltaic setting with strong physical influences controlling elevation (sediment accretion, subsidence), mangrove replacement of salt marsh, with or without disturbance, will not necessarily alter vulnerability to sea-level rise.

Observations and first reports of saprolegniosis in Aanaakłiq, broad whitefish (Coregonus nasus), from the Colville River near Nuiqsut, Alaska

Released December 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Polar Science (14) 78-82

Todd L. Sformo, Billy Adams, John C. Seigle, Jayde A. Ferguson, Maureen Purcell, Raphaela Stimmelmayr, Joseph H. Welch, Leah M. Ellis, Jason C. Leppi, John C. George

We report the first confirmed cases (2013–2016) of saprolegniosis caused by water mold from the genus Saprolegnia in Aanaakłiq, broad whitefish (Coregonus nasus), from the Colville River near Nuiqsut, Alaska. While this mold is known to be worldwide, these instances represent the first cases in Nuiqsut and only the second instance on a single fish on the North Slope, occurring in 1980. We describe the collaborative work on monitoring this emerging disease. Because fish constitute a critical component of the diet in Nuiqsut and fishing is an integral part of Inupiaq nutritional and cultural subsistence activities overall, individual subsistence fishers, local governmental entities, and Alaska Native organizations representing Nuiqsut requested an examination of affected fish and information on possible drivers of this emerging disease. The collaborative work described here ranges from recording fishermen observations, acquiring fish and mold specimens, histopathology, and molecular identification of the mold. This work, not currently grant-funded, begins with Native observation that incorporates western scientific methods and involves local, state, and federal departments as well as for-profit and non-profit organizations. Additionally, we report the more recent (2016) observation of this disease in a second species of whitefish, Pikuktuuq, humpback whitefish (Coregonus pidschain).

Evidence for the interior evolution of Ceres from geologic analysis of fractures

Released December 05, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geophysical Research Letters (44) 9564-9572

Jennifer E. C. Scully, Debra Buczkowski, Nico Schmedemann, Carol A. Raymond, Julie C. Castillo-Rogez, Scott King, Michael Bland, Anton Ermakov, D.P. O'Brien, S. Marchi, A. Longobardo, C.T. Russell, R.R. Fu, M. Neveu

Ceres is the largest asteroid belt object, and the Dawn spacecraft observed Ceres since 2015. Dawn observed two morphologically distinct linear features on Ceres's surface: secondary crater chains and pit chains. Pit chains provide unique insights into Ceres's interior evolution. We interpret pit chains called the Samhain Catenae as the surface expression of subsurface fractures. Using the pit chains' spacings, we estimate that the localized thickness of Ceres's fractured, outer layer is approximately ≥58 km, at least ~14 km greater than the global average. We hypothesize that extensional stresses, induced by a region of upwelling material arising from convection/diapirism, formed the Samhain Catenae. We derive characteristics for this upwelling material, which can be used as constraints in future interior modeling studies. For example, its predicted location coincides with Hanami Planum, a high-elevation region with a negative residual gravity anomaly, which may be surficial evidence for this proposed region of upwelling material.

Ecology of the Sand Roller (Percopsis transmontana) in a lower Snake River Reservoir, Washington

Released December 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Northwestern Naturalist (98) 203-214

Kenneth F. Tiffan, John M. Erhardt, Tobyn N. Rhodes, Rulon J. Hemingway

The Sand Roller (Percopsis transmontana), has not been abundant in the Snake River since it was first found in the system in the 1950s, but its population has apparently increased in recent years. As a result, we initiated a study to better understand its ecology in habitats of Lower Granite Reservoir. From November 2014 to October 2015, Sand Rollers were present along shorelines, with peak abundance being observed during spring months. Logistic regression analyses showed that Sand Rollers were more likely to be present in shoreline habitats at temperatures ≤18.4°C. Fish were found over a range of substrates, with the lowest odds of fish presence being associated with riprap, which is common in hydropower reservoirs. From length-frequency analysis, we suggest that Sand Roller spawning occurs primarily in May and early June. Assessment of Sand Roller diets found dipteran (chironomid) larvae and pupae were the most important prey consumed by all sizes of Sand Rollers, but Opossum Shrimp (Neomysis mercedis) were also prominent in diets of larger fish in shoreline and offshore habitats. At a time when the populations of so many native species are in decline, the increase of the Sand Roller population in the lower Snake River represents a positive, yet curious occurrence.

A pesticide paradox: Fungicides indirectly increase fungal infections

Released December 04, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecological Applications (27) 2290-2302

Jason R. Rohr, Jenise Brown, William A. Battaglin, Teagan A. McMahon, Rick A. Reylea

There are many examples where the use of chemicals have had profound unintended consequences, such as fertilizers reducing crop yields (paradox of enrichment) and insecticides increasing insect pests (by reducing natural biocontrol). Recently, the application of agrochemicals, such as agricultural disinfectants and fungicides, has been explored as an approach to curb the pathogenic fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which is associated with worldwide amphibian declines. However, the long-term, net effects of early-life exposure to these chemicals on amphibian disease risk have not been thoroughly investigated. Using a combination of laboratory experiments and analysis of data from the literature, we explored the effects of fungicide exposure on Bd infections in two frog species. Extremely low concentrations of the fungicides azoxystrobin, chlorothalonil, and mancozeb were directly toxic to Bd in culture. However, estimated environmental concentrations of the fungicides did not reduce Bd on Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) tadpoles exposed simultaneously to any of these fungicides and Bd, and fungicide exposure actually increased Bd-induced mortality. Additionally, exposure to any of these fungicides as tadpoles resulted in higher Bd abundance and greater Bd-induced mortality when challenged with Bd post-metamorphosis, an average of 71 d after their last fungicide exposure. Analysis of data from the literature revealed that previous exposure to the fungicide itraconazole, which is commonly used to clear Bd infections, made the critically endangered booroolong frog (Litoria booroolongensis) more susceptible to Bd. Finally, a field survey revealed that Bd prevalence was positively associated with concentrations of fungicides in ponds. Although fungicides show promise for controlling Bd, these results suggest that, if fungicides do not completely eliminate Bd or if Bd recolonizes, exposure to fungicides has the potential to do more harm than good. To ensure that fungicide applications have the intended consequence of curbing amphibian declines, researchers must identify which fungicides do not compromise the pathogen resistance mechanisms of amphibians.

Single-beam bathymetry data collected in 2015 from Grand Bay, Alabama-Mississippi

Released December 01, 2017 12:00 EST

2017, Data Series 1070

Nancy T. DeWitt, Chelsea A. Stalk, Christopher G. Smith, Stanley D. Locker, Jake J. Fredericks, Terrence A. McCloskey, Cathryn J. Wheaton

As part of the Sea-level and Storm Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines (SSIEES) project, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center conducted a single-beam bathymetry survey within the estuarine, open-bay, and tidal creek environments of Grand Bay, Alabama-Mississippi, from May to June 2015. The goal of the SSIEES project is to assess the physical controls of sediment and material exchange between wetlands and estuarine environments along the northern Gulf of Mexico, specifically Grand Bay, Alabama-Mississippi; Vermilion Bay, Louisiana; and, along the east coast, within Chincoteague Bay, Virginia-Maryland. The data described in this report provide baseline bathymetric information for future research investigating wetland-marsh evolution, sediment transport, erosion, recent and long-term geomorphic change, and can also support the modeling of changes in response to restoration and storm impacts. The survey area encompasses more than 40 square kilometers of Grand Bay’s waters.

Molybdenum isotope fractionation during adsorption to organic matter

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (222) 584-598

Elizabeth K. King, Steven Perakis, Julie C. Pett-Ridge

Organic matter is of emerging interest as a control on molybdenum (Mo) biogeochemistry, and information on isotope fractionation during adsorption to organic matter can improve interpretations of Mo isotope variations in natural settings. Molybdenum isotope fractionation was investigated during adsorption onto insolubilized humic acid (IHA), a surrogate for organic matter, as a function of time (2–170 h) and pH (2–7). For the time series experiment performed at pH 4.2, the average Mo isotope fractionation between the solution and the IHA (Δ98Mosolution-IHA) was 1.39‰ (± 0.16‰, 2σ, based on 98Mo/95Mo relative to the NIST 3134 standard) at steady state. For the pH series experiment, Mo adsorption decreased as pH increased from 2.0 to 6.9, and the Δ98Mosolution-IHA increased from 0.82‰ to 1.79‰. We also evaluated natural Mo isotope patterns in precipitation, foliage, organic horizon, surface mineral soil, and bedrock from 12 forested sites in the Oregon Coast Range. The average Mo isotope offset observed between precipitation and organic (O) horizon soil was 2.1‰, with light Mo isotopes adsorbing preferentially to organic matter. Fractionation during adsorption to organic matter is similar in magnitude and direction to prior observations of Mo fractionation during adsorption to Fe- and Mn- (oxyhydr)oxides. Our finding that organic matter influences Mo isotope composition has important implications for the role of organic matter as a driver of trace metal retention and isotopic fractionation.

Rapid 3-week transition from migration to incubation in a female Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii)

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, North American Bird Bander (42) 62-64

Jeffrey A. Spendelow

A female Roseate Tern that staged in Puerto Rico on 10 May 2008 on its migration north was first observed in the nesting area at Bird Island, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts on 21 May. It was incubating a complete clutch of two eggs by 1 June and likely had initiated laying within 20 days of having been in Puerto Rico.

First evidence that paired Roseate Terns may travel together during spring migration

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, North American Bird Bander (42) 60-62

Jeffrey A. Spendelow, Gabriel Lugo

A mated pair of colorbanded Roseate Terns from the Northwest Atlantic Ocean breeding population was photographed on 12 May 2010 while staging near Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. This represents the first evidence that mated pairs of this species may travel together during their northward spring migration

Occurrence of dichloroacetamide herbicide safeners and co-applied herbicides in midwestern U.S. streams

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Emily Woodward, Michelle Hladik, Dana W. Kolpin

Dichloroacetamide safeners (e.g., AD-67, benoxacor, dichlormid, and furilazole) are co-applied with chloroacetanilide herbicides to protect crops from herbicide toxicity. While such safeners have been used since the early 1970s, there are minimal data about safener usage, occurrence in streams, or potential ecological effects. This study focused on one of these research gaps, occurrence in streams. Seven Midwestern U.S. streams (five in Iowa and two in Illinois), with extensive row-crop agriculture, were sampled at varying frequencies from spring 2016 through summer 2017. All four safeners were detected at least once; furilazole was the most frequently detected (31%), followed by benoxacor (29%), dichlormid (15%), and AD-67 (2%). The maximum concentrations ranged from 42 to 190 ng/L. Stream detections and concentrations of safeners appear to be driven by a combination of timing of application (spring following herbicide application) and precipitation events. Detected concentrations were below known toxicity levels for aquatic organisms.

Methane- and dissolved organic carbon-fueled microbial loop supports a tropical subterranean estuary ecosystem

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Nature Communications (8) 1-12

D. Brankovits, John Pohlman, H. Niemann, M.B. Leigh, M.C. Leewis, K. W. Becker, T.M. Iliffe, Alvarez. F., M.F. Lehmann, B. Phillips

Subterranean estuaries extend inland into density-stratified coastal carbonate aquifers containing a surprising diversity of endemic animals (mostly crustaceans) within a highly oligotrophic habitat. How complex ecosystems (termed anchialine) thrive in this globally distributed, cryptic environment is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that a microbial loop shuttles methane and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to higher trophic levels of the anchialine food web in the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico). Methane and DOC production and consumption within the coastal groundwater correspond with a microbial community capable of methanotrophy, heterotrophy, and chemoautotrophy, based on characterization by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and respiratory quinone composition. Fatty acid and bulk stable carbon isotope values of cave-adapted shrimp suggest that carbon from methanotrophic bacteria comprises 21% of their diet, on average. These findings reveal a heretofore unrecognized subterranean methane sink and contribute to our understanding of the carbon cycle and ecosystem function of karst subterranean estuaries.

Interactions among invasive plants: Lessons from Hawai‘i

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics (48) 521-541

Carla M. D'Antonio, Rebecca Ostertag, Susan Cordell, Stephanie G. Yelenik

Most ecosystems have multiple-plant invaders rather than single-plant invaders, yet ecological studies and management actions focus largely on single invader species. There is a need for general principles regarding invader interactions across varying environmental conditions, so that secondary invasions can be anticipated and managers can allocate resources toward pretreatment or postremoval actions. By reviewing removal experiments conducted in three Hawaiian ecosystems (a dry tropical forest, a seasonally dry mesic forest, and a lowland wet forest), we evaluate the roles environmental harshness, priority effects, productivity potential, and species interactions have in influencing secondary invasions, defined here as invasions that are influenced either positively (facilitation) or negatively (inhibition/priority effects) by existing invaders. We generate a conceptual model with a surprise index to describe whether long-term plant invader composition and dominance is predictable or stochastic after a system perturbation such as a removal experiment. Under extremely low resource availability, the surprise index is low, whereas under intermediate-level resource environments, invader dominance is more stochastic and the surprise index is high. At high resource levels, the surprise index is intermediate: Invaders are likely abundant in the environment but their response to a perturbation is more predictable than at intermediate resource levels. We suggest further testing across environmental gradients to determine key variables that dictate the predictability of postremoval invader composition.

How many Laysan Teal Anas laysanensis are on Midway Atoll? Methods for monitoring abundance after reintroduction

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Wildfowl (67) 60-71

Michelle H. Reynolds, Karen Courtot, Jeffrey Hatfield

Wildlife managers often request a simple approach to monitor the status of species of concern. In response to that need, we used eight years of monitoring data to estimate population size and test the validity of an index for monitoring accurately the abundance of reintroduced, endangered Laysan Teal Anas laysanensis. The population was established at Midway Atoll in the Hawaiian archipelago after 42 wild birds were translocated from Laysan Island during 2004–2005. We fitted 587 birds with unique markers during 2004–2015, recorded 21,309 sightings until March 2016, and conducted standardised survey counts during 2007–2015. A modified Lincoln-Petersen mark-resight estimator and ANCOVA models were used to test the relationship between survey counts, seasonal detectability, and population abundance. Differences were found between the breeding and non-breeding seasons in detection and how maximum counts recorded related to population estimates. The results showed strong, positive correlations between the seasonal maximum counts and population estimates. The ANCOVA models supported the use of standardised bi-monthly counts of unmarked birds as a valid index to monitor trends among years within a season at Midway Atoll. The translocated population increased to 661 adult and juvenile birds (95% CI = 608–714) by 2010, then declined by 38% between 2010 and 2012 after the Toˉhoku Japan earthquake-generated tsunami inundated 41% of the atoll and triggered an Avian Botulism type C Clostridium botulinum outbreak. Following another severe botulism outbreak during 2015, the population experienced a 37% decline. Data indicated that the Midway Atoll population, like the founding Laysan Island population, is susceptible to catastrophic population declines. Consistent standardised monitoring using simple counts, in place of mark-recapture and resightings surveys, can be used to evaluate population status over the long-term. We estimate there were 314–435 Laysan Teal (95% CI for population estimate; point estimate = 375 individuals) at Midway Atoll in 2015; c. 50% of the global population. In comparison, the most recent estimate for numbers on Laysan Island was of 339 individuals in 2012 (95% CI = 265–413). We suggest that this approach can be used to validate a survey index for any marked, reintroduced resident wildlife population.

Detrital zircon geochronology of quartzose metasedimentary rocks from parautochthonous North America, east-central Alaska

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Lithosphere (9) 927-952

Cynthia Dusel-Bacon, Christopher S. Holm-Denoma, James V. Jones III, John N. Aleinikoff, James K. Mortensen

We report eight new U-Pb detrital zircon ages for quartzose metasedimentary rocks from four lithotectonic units of parautochthonous North America in east-central Alaska: the Healy schist, Keevy Peak Formation, and Sheep Creek Member of the Totatlanika Schist in the northern Alaska Range, and the Butte assemblage in the northwestern Yukon-Tanana Upland. Excepting 1 of 3 samples from the Healy schist, all have dominant detrital zircon populations of 1.9–1.8 Ga and a subordinate population of 2.7–2.6 Ga. Three zircons from Totatlanika Schist yield the youngest age of ca. 780 Ma. The anomalous Healy schist sample has abundant 1.6–0.9 Ga detrital zircon, as well as populations at 2.0–1.8 Ga and 2.7–2.5 Ga that overlap the ages from the rest of our samples; it has a minimum age population of ca. 1007 Ma.

Detrital zircon age populations from all but the anomalous sample are statistically similar to those from (1) other peri-Laurentian units in east-central Alaska; (2) the Snowcap assemblage in Yukon, basement of the allochthonous Yukon-Tanana terrane; (3) Neoproterozoic to Ordovician Laurentian passive margin strata in southern British Columbia, Canada; and (4) Proterozoic Laurentian Sequence C strata of northwestern Canada. Recycling of zircon from the Paleoproterozoic Great Bear magmatic zone in the Wopmay orogen and its Archean precursors could explain both the Precambrian zircon populations and arc trace element signatures of our samples. Zircon from the anomalous Healy schist sample resembles that in Nation River Formation and Adams Argillite in eastern Alaska, suggesting recycling of detritus in those units.

Miocene−Pleistocene deformation of the Saddle Mountains: Implications for seismic hazard in central Washington, USA

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, GSA Bulletin

Lydia Staisch, Harvey Kelsey, Brian Sherrod, Andreas Möller, James B. Paces, Richard J. Blakely, Richard Styron

The Yakima fold province, located in the backarc of the Cascadia subduction zone, is a region of active strain accumulation and deformation distributed across a series of fault-cored folds. The geodetic network in central Washington has been used to interpret large-scale N-S shortening and westward-increasing strain; however, geodetic data are unable to resolve shortening rates across individual structures in this low-strain-rate environment. Resolving fault geometries, slip rates, and timing of faulting in the Yakima fold province is critically important to seismic hazard assessment for nearby infrastructure and population centers.

The Saddle Mountains anticline is one of the most prominent Yakima folds. It is unique within the Yakima fold province in that the syntectonic strata of the Ringold Formation are preserved and provide a record of deformation and drainage reorganization. Here, we present new stratigraphic columns, U-Pb zircon tephra ages, U-series caliche ages, and geophysical modeling that constrain two line-balanced and retrodeformed cross sections. These new constraints indicate that the Saddle Mountains anticline has accommodated 1.0−1.3 km of N-S shortening since 10 Ma, that shortening increases westward along the anticline, and that the average slip rate has increased 6-fold since 6.8 Ma. Provenance analysis suggests that the source terrane for the Ringold Formation was similar to that of the modern Snake River Plain. Using new slip rates and structural constraints, we calculate the strain accumulation time, interpretable as a recurrence interval, for earthquakes on the Saddle Mountains fault and find that large-magnitude earthquakes could rupture along the Saddle Mountains fault every 2−11 k.y.

Inferring epidemiologic dynamics from viral evolution: 2014–2015 Eurasian/North American highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses exceed transmission threshold, R0 = 1, in wild birds and poultry in North America

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Evolutionary Applications

Daniel Grear, Jeffrey S. Hall, Robert Dusek, Hon S. Ip

Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) is a multihost pathogen with lineages that pose health risks for domestic birds, wild birds, and humans. One mechanism of intercontinental HPAIV spread is through wild bird reservoirs, and wild birds were the likely sources of a Eurasian (EA) lineage HPAIV into North America in 2014. The introduction resulted in several reassortment events with North American (NA) lineage low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses and the reassortant EA/NA H5N2 went on to cause one of the largest HPAIV poultry outbreaks in North America. We evaluated three hypotheses about novel HPAIV introduced into wild and domestic bird hosts: (i) transmission of novel HPAIVs in wild birds was restricted by mechanisms associated with highly pathogenic phenotypes; (ii) the HPAIV poultry outbreak was not self-sustaining and required viral input from wild birds; and (iii) reassortment of the EA H5N8 generated reassortant EA/NA AIVs with a fitness advantage over fully Eurasian lineages in North American wild birds. We used a time-rooted phylodynamic model that explicitly incorporated viral population dynamics with evolutionary dynamics to estimate the basic reproductive number (R0) and viral migration among host types in domestic and wild birds, as well as between the EA H5N8 and EA/NA H5N2 in wild birds. We did not find evidence to support hypothesis (i) or (ii) as our estimates of the transmission parameters suggested that the HPAIV outbreak met or exceeded the threshold for persistence in wild birds (R0 > 1) and poultry (R0 ≈ 1) with minimal estimated transmission among host types. There was also no evidence to support hypothesis (iii) because R0 values were similar among EA H5N8 and EA/NA H5N2 in wild birds. Our results suggest that this novel HPAIV and reassortments did not encounter any transmission barriers sufficient to prevent persistence when introduced to wild or domestic birds.

Water guns affect abundance and behavior of bigheaded carp and native fish differently

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Biological Invasions

Jose Rivera, David C. Glover, Patrick Kocovsky, James E. Garvey, Mark Gaikowski, Nathan R. Jensen, Ryan F. Adams

Water guns have shown the potential to repel nuisance aquatic organisms. This study examines the effects of exposure to a 1966.4 cm3 seismic water gun array (two guns) on the abundance and behavior of Bighead Carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, Silver Carp H. molitrix (collectively referred to as bigheaded carp) and native fishes (e.g., Smallmouth Buffalo Ictiobus bubalus). Water guns were deployed in a channel that connects the Illinois River to backwater quarry pits that contained a large transient population of bigheaded carp. To evaluate the effect of water guns, mobile side-looking split-beam hydroacoustic surveys were conducted before, during and between replicated water gun firing periods. Water guns did not affect abundance of bigheaded carp, but abundance of native fish detected during the firing treatment was 43 and 34% lower than the control and water guns off treatments, respectively. The proximity of bigheaded carp to the water gun array was similar between the water guns on and water guns off treatments. In contrast, the closest detected native fish were detected farther from the water guns during the water guns on treatment (mean ± SE, 32.38 ± 3.32 m) than during the water guns off treatment (15.04 ± 1.59 m). The water gun array had a greater impact on native fish species than on bigheaded carp. Caution should be taken to the extrapolation of these results to other fish species and to fish exposed to water guns in different environments (e.g., reduced shoreline interaction) or exposure to a larger array of water guns, or for use of water guns for purposes other than a barrier.

Estimating the per-capita contribution of habitats and pathways in a migratory network: A modelling approach

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecography

Ruscena Wiederholt, Brady J. Mattsson, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Michael C. Runge, Jay E. Diffendorfer, Richard A. Erickson, Paula Federico, Laura Lopez-Hoffman, John Fryxell, D. Ryan Norris, Christine Sample

Every year, migratory species undertake seasonal movements along different pathways between discrete regions and habitats. The ability to assess the relative demographic contributions of these different habitats and pathways to the species’ overall population dynamics is critical for understanding the ecology of migratory species, and also has practical applications for management and conservation. Metrics for assessing habitat contributions have been well-developed for metapopulations, but an equivalent metric is not currently available for migratory populations. Here, we develop a framework for estimating the demographic contributions of the discrete habitats and pathways used by migratory species throughout the annual cycle by estimating the per capita contribution of cohorts using these locations. Our framework accounts for seasonal movements between multiple breeding and non-breeding habitats and for both resident and migratory cohorts. We illustrate our framework using a hypothetical migratory network of four habitats, which allows us to better understand how variations in habitat quality affect per capita contributions. Results indicate that per capita contributions for any habitat or pathway are dependent on habitat-specific survival probabilities in all other areas used as part of the migratory circuit, and that contribution metrics are spatially linked (e.g. reduced survival in one habitat also decreases the contribution metric for other habitats). Our framework expands existing theory on the dynamics of spatiotemporally structured populations by developing a generalized approach to estimate the habitat- and pathway-specific contributions of species migrating between multiple breeding and multiple non-breeding habitats for a range of life histories or migratory strategies. Most importantly, it provides a means of prioritizing conservation efforts towards those migratory pathways and habitats that are most critical for the population viability of migratory species.

Mineralogical characterization of weathered outcrops as a tool for constraining water chemistry predictions during project planning

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Conference Paper, Proceedings of IMWA 2017

Tamara Diedrich, Paul Fix, Andrea L. Foster

Weathered samples from naturally exposed outcrops of troctolite associated with a magmatic Ni-Cu sulphide deposit were characterized by synchrotron-based micro-X-ray fluorescence mapping (µ-XRF) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), as well as by lab-based X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and wet chemical methods. Metal mobility in weathered samples was assessed using a sequential leach procedure. Results are interpreted in the context of predictions for future mine water chemistry and used to refine the conceptual model for metal mobility following weathering of waste rock at a potential future mine site.

Attaching transmitters to waterbirds using one versus two subcutaneous anchors: Retention and survival trade-offs

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Wildlife Society Bulletin

Tyler Lewis, Daniel N. Esler, Brian D. Uher-Koch, Rian D. Dickson, Eric M. Anderson, Joseph R. Evenson, Jerry Hupp, Paul L. Flint

A major challenge of wildlife telemetry is choosing an attachment technique that maximizes transmitter retention while minimizing negative side effects. For waterbirds, attachment of transmitters with subcutaneous anchors has been an effective and well-established technique, having been used on >40 species. This method was recently modified to include a second subcutaneous anchor, presumably increasing transmitter retention beyond that of single-anchor attachments. This putative benefit may be offset, however, by increased health risks related to additional incisions and subcutaneous protrusions. To test this potential trade-off, we attached radiotransmitters to molting and wintering surf (Melanitta perspicillata) and white-winged scoters (M. fusca) during 2008 and 2009 in Washington State and southeast Alaska, USA, using single- (121 scoters) and double-anchor (128 scoters) attachment techniques. We estimated daily probabilities of survival and radio retention for each group, this being apparent retention for wintering scoters because we could not differentiate shed transmitters from flighted emigration. For scoters during the flightless remigial molt, we found that addition of a second anchor increased cumulative retention probability (±SE) over a 49-day period from 0.69 ± 0.11 for single-anchor to 0.88 ± 0.07 for double-anchor attachments, while having no effect on survival. However, during winter, scoters with double-anchor attachments experienced no improvement in apparent retention, while having significantly lower survival during their first 14 days following transmitter attachment; of 15 mortalities during this period, 11 had 2 subcutaneous anchors. From day 15 onward, winter survival rates were nearly identical for single- versus double-anchor attachments, indicating that adverse effects of subcutaneous anchors were mainly limited to the 14-day postattachment period. Overall, given that the survival cost of adding a second subcutaneous anchor was substantial for wintering scoters—decreasing 14-day survival by 12% for adults and 23% for juveniles—we recommend that researchers opt for single-anchor attachments under most circumstances, especially during winter when birds may be energetically challenged. 

Quantifying animal movement for caching foragers: the path identification index (PII) and cougars, Puma concolor

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Movement Ecology (5) 1-17

Kirsten E. Ironside, David J. Mattson, Tad Theimer, Brian Jansen, Brandon Holton, Terry Arundel, Michael Peters, Joseph O. Sexton, Thomas C. Edwards Jr.

Relocation studies of animal movement have focused on directed versus area restricted movement, which rely on correlations between step-length and turn angles, along with a degree of stationarity through time to define behavioral states. Although these approaches may work well for grazing foraging strategies in a patchy landscape, species that do not spend a significant amount of time searching out and gathering small dispersed food items, but instead feed for short periods on large, concentrated sources or cache food result in movements that maybe difficult to analyze using turning and velocity alone. We use GPS telemetry collected from a prey-caching predator, the cougar (Puma concolor), to test whether adding additional movement metrics capturing site recursion, to the more traditional velocity and turning, improve the ability to identify behaviors. We evaluated our movement index’s ability to identify behaviors using field investigations. We further tested for statistical stationarity across behaviors for use of topographic view-sheds. We found little correlation between turn angle, velocity, tortuosity, and site fidelity and combined them into a movement index used to identify movement paths (temporally autocorrelated movements) related to fast directed movements (taxis), area restricted movements (search), and prey caching (foraging). Changes in the frequency and duration of these movements were helpful for identifying seasonal activities such as migration and denning in females. Comparison of field investigations of cougar activities to behavioral classes defined using the movement index and found an overall classification accuracy of 81%. Changes in behaviors resulted in changes in how cougars used topographic view-sheds, showing statistical non-stationarity over time. The movement index shows promise for identifying behaviors in species that frequently return to specific locations such as food caches, watering holes, or dens, and highlights the role memory and cognitive abilities may play in determining animal movements. With the addition of measures capturing site recursion the temporal structure in movements of a caching forager was revealed.

Case study - Dynamic pressure-limited capacity and costs of CO2 storage in the Mount Simon sandstone

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Conference Paper, 35th USAEE/IAEE North American Conference

Steven T. Anderson, Hossein Jahediesfanjani

Widespread deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) is likely necessary to be able to satisfy baseload electricity demand, to maintain diversity in the energy mix, and to achieve climate and other objectives at the lowest cost. If all of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from stationary sources (such as fossil-fuel burning power plants, and other industrial plants) in the United States needed to be captured and stored, it could be possible to store only a small fraction of this CO2 in oil and natural gas reservoirs, including as a result of CO2 utilization for enhanced oil recovery. The vast majority would have to be stored in saline-filled reservoirs (Dahowski et al., 2005). Given a lack of long-term commercial-scale CCS projects, there is considerable uncertainty in the risks, dynamic capacity, and their cost implications for geologic storage of CO2. Pressure buildup in the storage reservoir is expected to be a primary source of risk associated with CO2 storage, and could severely limit CO2 injection rates (dynamic storage capacities). Most cost estimates for commercial-scale deployment of CCS estimate CO2 storage costs under assumed availability of a theoretical capacity to store tens, hundreds, or even thousands of gigatons of CO2, without considering geologic heterogeneities, pressure limitations, or the time dimension. This could lead to underestimation of the costs of CO2 storage (Anderson, 2017). This paper considers the impacts of pressure limitations and geologic heterogeneity on the dynamic CO2 storage capacity and storage (injection) costs. In the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)’s National Assessment of Geologic CO2 Storage Resources (USGS, 2013), the mean estimate of the theoretical storage capacity in the Mount Simon Sandstone was about 94 billion metric tons of CO2. However, our results suggest that the pressure-limited capacity after 50 years of injection could be only about 4% of the theoretical geologic storage capacity in this formation. Because this is far less than emissions of CO2 from stationary sources in the region around the Mount Simon Sandstone, the costs to accommodate the potential annual demand for CO2 storage in this formation could be significantly greater than current estimates. Our results could have implications for how long and to what extent decision makers can expect to be able to deploy CCS before transitioning to other low- or zero-carbon energy technologies.

Status and conservation of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the Greater Yellowstone Area

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Yellowstone Science (25) 13-17

Robert K. Al-Chokhachy, Bradley Shepard, Jason Burckhardt, Scott Opitz, Dan Garren, Todd M. Koel, Lee M. Nelson

No abstract available.

Sampling for age and growth estimation: Chapter 5

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Age and growth of fishes: Principles and techniques

Leandro E. Miranda, M.E. Colvin

Michael C. Quist, Daniel A. Isermann, editor(s)

No abstract available.

Evolution, natural history, and conservation of black-footed ferrets: Chapter 15

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter

Dean E. Biggins, David A. Eads

No abstract available.

Vulnerability of coral reefs to bioerosion from land-based sources of pollution

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans

Nancy G. Prouty, Anne Cohen, Kimberly K. Yates, Curt Storlazzi, Peter W. Swarzenski, Darla White

Ocean acidification (OA), the gradual decline in ocean pH and [ math formula] caused by rising levels of atmospheric CO2, poses a significant threat to coral reef ecosystems, depressing rates of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) production, and enhancing rates of bioerosion and dissolution. As ocean pH and [ math formula] decline globally, there is increasing emphasis on managing local stressors that can exacerbate the vulnerability of coral reefs to the effects of OA. We show that sustained, nutrient rich, lower pH submarine groundwater discharging onto nearshore coral reefs off west Maui lowers the pH of seawater and exposes corals to nitrate concentrations 50 times higher than ambient. Rates of coral calcification are substantially decreased, and rates of bioerosion are orders of magnitude higher than those observed in coral cores collected in the Pacific under equivalent low pH conditions but living in oligotrophic waters. Heavier coral nitrogen isotope (δ15N) values pinpoint not only site-specific eutrophication, but also a sewage nitrogen source enriched in 15N. Our results show that eutrophication of reef seawater by land-based sources of pollution can magnify the effects of OA through nutrient driven-bioerosion. These conditions could contribute to the collapse of coastal coral reef ecosystems sooner than current projections predict based only on ocean acidification.

Fena Valley Reservoir watershed and water-balance model updates and expansion of watershed modeling to southern Guam

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5093

Sarah N. Rosa, Lauren E. Hay

In 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, initiated a project to evaluate the potential impacts of projected climate-change on Department of Defense installations that rely on Guam’s water resources. A major task of that project was to develop a watershed model of southern Guam and a water-balance model for the Fena Valley Reservoir. The southern Guam watershed model provides a physically based tool to estimate surface-water availability in southern Guam. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Precipitation Runoff Modeling System, PRMS-IV, was used to construct the watershed model. The PRMS-IV code simulates different parts of the hydrologic cycle based on a set of user-defined modules. The southern Guam watershed model was constructed by updating a watershed model for the Fena Valley watersheds, and expanding the modeled area to include all of southern Guam. The Fena Valley watershed model was combined with a previously developed, but recently updated and recalibrated Fena Valley Reservoir water-balance model.

Two important surface-water resources for the U.S. Navy and the citizens of Guam were modeled in this study; the extended model now includes the Ugum River watershed and improves upon the previous model of the Fena Valley watersheds. Surface water from the Ugum River watershed is diverted and treated for drinking water, and the Fena Valley watersheds feed the largest surface-water reservoir on Guam. The southern Guam watershed model performed “very good,” according to the criteria of Moriasi and others (2007), in the Ugum River watershed above Talofofo Falls with monthly Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency statistic values of 0.97 for the calibration period and 0.93 for the verification period (a value of 1.0 represents perfect model fit). In the Fena Valley watershed, monthly simulated streamflow volumes from the watershed model compared reasonably well with the measured values for the gaging stations on the Almagosa, Maulap, and Imong Rivers—tributaries to the Fena Valley Reservoir—with Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency values of 0.87 or higher. The southern Guam watershed model simulated the total volume of the critical dry season (January to May) streamflow for the entire simulation period within –0.54 percent at the Almagosa River, within 6.39 percent at the Maulap River, and within 6.06 percent at the Imong River.

The recalibrated water-balance model of the Fena Valley Reservoir generally simulated monthly reservoir storage volume with reasonable accuracy. For the calibration and verification periods, errors in end-of-month reservoir-storage volume ranged from 6.04 percent (284.6 acre-feet or 92.7 million gallons) to –5.70 percent (–240.8 acre-feet or –78.5 million gallons). Monthly simulation bias ranged from –0.48 percent for the calibration period to 0.87 percent for the verification period; relative error ranged from –0.60 to 0.88 percent for the calibration and verification periods, respectively. The small bias indicated that the model did not consistently overestimate or underestimate reservoir storage volume.

In the entirety of southern Guam, the watershed model has a “satisfactory” to “very good” rating when simulating monthly mean streamflow for all but one of the gaged watersheds during the verification period. The southern Guam watershed model uses a more sophisticated climate-distribution scheme than the older model to make use of the sparse climate data, as well as includes updated land-cover parameters and the capability to simulate closed depression areas.

The new Fena Valley Reservoir water-balance model is useful as an updated tool to forecast short-term changes in the surface-water resources of Guam. Furthermore, the now spatially complete southern Guam watershed model can be used to evaluate changes in streamflow and recharge owing to climate or land-cover changes. These are substantial improvements to the previous models of the Fena Valley watershed and Reservoir. Datasets associated with this report are available as a U.S. Geological Survey data release (Rosa and Hay, 2017; DOI:10.5066/F7HH6HV4).

Groundwater model of the Great Basin carbonate and alluvial aquifer system version 3.0: Incorporating revisions in southwestern Utah and east central Nevada

Released December 01, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5072

Lynette E. Brooks

The groundwater model described in this report is a new version of previously published steady-state numerical groundwater flow models of the Great Basin carbonate and alluvial aquifer system, and was developed in conjunction with U.S. Geological Survey studies in Parowan, Pine, and Wah Wah Valleys, Utah. This version of the model is GBCAAS v. 3.0 and supersedes previous versions. The objectives of the model for Parowan Valley were to simulate revised conceptual estimates of recharge and discharge, to estimate simulated aquifer storage properties and the amount of reduction in storage as a result of historical groundwater withdrawals, and to assess reduction in groundwater withdrawals necessary to mitigate groundwater-level declines in the basin. The objectives of the model for the area near Pine and Wah Wah Valleys were to recalibrate the model using new observations of groundwater levels and evapotranspiration of groundwater; to provide new estimates of simulated recharge, hydraulic conductivity, and interbasin flow; and to simulate the effects of proposed groundwater withdrawals on the regional flow system. Meeting these objectives required the addition of 15 transient calibration stress periods and 14 projection stress periods, aquifer storage properties, historical withdrawals in Parowan Valley, and observations of water-level changes in Parowan Valley. 

Recharge in Parowan Valley and withdrawal from wells in Parowan Valley and two nearby wells in Cedar City Valley vary for each calibration stress period representing conditions from March 1940 to November 2013. Stresses, including recharge, are the same in each stress period as in the steady-state stress period for all areas outside of Parowan Valley. The model was calibrated to transient conditions only in Parowan Valley. Simulated storage properties outside of Parowan Valley were set the same as the Parowan Valley properties and are not considered calibrated. 

Model observations in GBCAAS v. 3.0 are groundwater levels at wells and discharge locations; water-level changes; and discharge to springs, evapotranspiration of groundwater, rivers, and lakes. All observations in the model outside of Parowan Valley are considered to represent steady-state conditions. Composite scaled sensitivities indicate the observations of discharge to rivers and springs provide more information about model parameters in the model focus area than do water-level observations. Water levels and water-level changes, however, provide the only information about specific yield and specific storage parameters and provide more information about recharge and withdrawals in Parowan Valley than any other observation group. 

Comparisons of simulated water levels and measured water levels in Parowan Valley indicated that the model fits the overall trend of declining water levels and provides reasonable estimates of long-term reduction in storage and of storage changes from 2012 to 2013. The conceptual and simulated groundwater budgets for Parowan Valley from November 2012 to November 2013 are similar, with recharge of about 20,000 acre-feet and discharge of about 45,000 acre-feet. In the simulation, historical withdrawals averaging about 28,000 acre-feet per year (acre-ft/yr) cause major changes in the groundwater system in Parowan Valley. These changes include the cessation of almost all natural discharge in the valley and the long-term removal of water from storage. 

Simulated recharge in Pine Valley of 11,000 acre-ft/yr and in Wah Wah Valley of 3,200 acre-ft/yr is substantially less in GBCAAS v. 3.0 than that simulated by previous model versions. In addition, the valleys have less simulated inflow from and outflow to other hydrographic areas than were simulated by previous model versions. The effects of groundwater development in these valleys, however, are independent of the amount of water recharging in and flowing through the valleys. Groundwater withdrawals in Pine and Wah Wah Valleys will decrease groundwater storage (causing drawdown) until discharge in surrounding areas and mountain springs around the two valleys is reduced by the rate of withdrawal. 

The model was used to estimate that reducing withdrawals in Parowan Valley from 35,000 to about 22,000 acre-ft/yr would likely stabilize groundwater levels in the valley if recharge varies as it did from about 1950 to 2012. The model was also used to demonstrate that withdrawals of 15,000 acre-ft/yr from Pine Valley and 6,500 acre-ft/yr from Wah Wah Valley could ultimately cause long-term steady-state water-level declines of about 1,900 feet near the withdrawal wells and of more than 5 feet in an area of about 10,500 square miles. The timing of drawdown and capture and the ultimate amount of drawdown are dependent on the proximity to areas of simulated natural groundwater discharge, simulated transmissivity, and simulated storage properties. The model projections are a representation of possible effects.

Cobalt—Styles of deposits and the search for primary deposits

Released November 30, 2017 17:15 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1155

Murray W. Hitzman, Arthur A. Bookstrom, John F. Slack, Michael L. Zientek

Cobalt (Co) is a potentially critical mineral. The vast majority of cobalt is a byproduct of copper and (or) nickel production. Cobalt is increasingly used in magnets and rechargeable batteries. More than 50 percent of primary cobalt production is from the Central African Copperbelt. The Central African Copperbelt is the only sedimentary rock-hosted stratiform copper district that contains significant cobalt. Its presence may indicate significant mafic-ultramafic rocks in the local basement. The balance of primary cobalt production is from magmatic nickel-copper and nickel laterite deposits. Cobalt is present in several carbonate-hosted lead-zinc and copper districts. It is also variably present in Besshi-type volcanogenic massive sulfide and siliciclastic sedimentary rock-hosted deposits in back arc and rift environments associated with mafic-ultramafic rocks. Metasedimentary cobalt-copper-gold deposits (such as Blackbird, Idaho), iron oxide-copper-gold deposits, and the five-element vein deposits (such as Cobalt, Ontario) contain different amounts of cobalt. None of these deposit types show direct links to mafic-ultramafic rocks; the deposits may result from crustal-scale hydrothermal systems capable of leaching and transporting cobalt from great depths. Hydrothermal deposits associated with ultramafic rocks, typified by the Bou Azzer district of Morocco, represent another type of primary cobalt deposit.

In the United States, exploration for cobalt deposits may focus on magmatic nickel-copper deposits in the Archean and Proterozoic rocks of the Midwest and the east coast (Pennsylvania) and younger mafic rocks in southeastern and southern Alaska; also, possibly basement rocks in southeastern Missouri. Other potential exploration targets include—

Groundwater flux and nutrient loading in the northeast section of Bear Lake, Muskegon County, Michigan, 2015

Released November 30, 2017 11:30 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5092

Alexander R. Totten, Jessica A. Maurer, Joseph W. Duris

Bear Lake in North Muskegon, Michigan, is listed as part of the Muskegon Lake area of concern as designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This area of concern was designated as a result of eutrophication and beneficial use impairments. On the northeast end of Bear Lake, two man-made retention ponds (Willbrandt Pond East and Willbrandt Pond West), formerly used for celery farming, may contribute nutrients to Bear Lake. Willbrandt Ponds (East and West) were previously muck fields that were actively used for celery farming from the early 1900s until 2002. The restoration and reconnection of the Willbrandt Ponds into Bear Lake prompted concerns of groundwater nutrient loading into Bear Lake. Studies done by the State of Michigan and Grand Valley State University revised initial internal phosphorus load estimates and indicated an imbalance in the phosphorus budget in Bear Lake. From June through November 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) did an investigative study to quantify the load of nutrients from shallow groundwater around the Willbrandt Ponds in an effort to update the phosphorus budget to Bear Lake. Seven sampling locations were established, including five shallow groundwater wells and two surface-water sites, in the Willbrandt pond study area and Bear Lake. A total of 12 nutrient samples and discrete water-level measurements were collected from each site from June through November 2015. Continuous water-level data were recorded for both surface-water monitoring locations for the entire sampling period.

Water-level data indicated that Willbrandt Pond West had the highest average water-level elevation of all sites monitored, which indicated the general direction of flux is from Willbrandt Pond West to Bear Lake. Nutrient and chloride loading from Willbrandt Pond West to Bear Lake was calculated using two distinct methods: Dupuit and direct seepage methods. Shallow groundwater loading calculations were determined by using groundwater levels to first determine a flux of shallow groundwater, then nutrient concentrations to determine a load. It was determined that Willbrandt Pond East and Willbrandt Pond West contributed between 2 to 4 percent of the total annual phosphorus load to Bear Lake by way of shallow groundwater flow. Annual loads calculated for other constituents include orthophosphate (40–100 pounds per year [lb P/yr]), total nitrogen (200–830 lb/yr), chloride (12,700–32,100 lb/yr), and ammonia (130–670 lb N/yr). Study results indicated that mean groundwater and surface-water nutrient concentrations calculated in this study were higher than reported Michigan statewide values. The data collected in this study allow understanding of groundwater nutrient loading into Bear Lake in an effort to help inform future restoration and management decisions.

Evidence for migratory spawning behavior by morphologically distinct Cisco (Coregonus artedi) from a small inland lake

Released November 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, The American Midland Naturalist (178) 237-244

Alexander J. Ross, Brian C. Weidel, Mellisa Leneker, Christopher T. Solomon

Conservation and management of rare fishes relies on managers having the most informed understanding of the underlying ecology of the species under investigation. Cisco (Coregonus artedi), a species of conservation concern, is a cold-water pelagic fish that is notoriously variable in morphometry and life history. Published reports indicate, at spawning time, Cisco in great lakes may migrate into or through large rivers, whereas those in small lakes move inshore. Nonetheless, during a sampling trip to Follensby Pond, a 393 ha lake in the Adirondack Mountains, New York, we observed gravid Cisco swimming over an outlet sill from a narrow shallow stream and into the lake. We opportunistically dip-netted a small subsample of 11 individuals entering the lake from the stream (three female, eight male) and compared them to fish captured between 2013 and 2015 with gillnets in the lake. Stream-captured Cisco were considerably larger than lake-captured individuals at a given age, had significantly larger asymptotic length, and were present only as mature individuals between age of 3 and age 5. These results could suggest either Cisco are migrating from a nearby lake to spawn in Follensby Pond, or that a distinct morphotype of Cisco from Follensby Pond migrates out to the stream and then back in at spawning time. Our results appear to complement a handful of other cases in which Cisco spawning migrations have been documented and to provide the first evidence for such behavior in a small inland lake.

Potential for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems applications for identifying groundwater-surface water exchange in a meandering river reach

Released November 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geophysical Research Letters

H. Pai, H. Malenda, Martin Briggs, K. Singha, R. González-Pinzón, M. Gooseff, S.W. Tyler, AirCTEMPS Team

The exchange of groundwater and surface water (GW-SW), including dissolved constituents and energy, represents a critical yet challenging characterization problem for hydrogeologists and stream ecologists. Here, we describe the use of a suite of high spatial-resolution remote-sensing techniques, collected using a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS), to provide novel and complementary data to analyze GW-SW exchange. sUAS provided centimeter-scale resolution topography and water surface elevations, which are often drivers of exchange along the river corridor. Additionally, sUAS-based vegetation imagery, vegetation-top elevation, and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) mapping indicated GW-SW exchange patterns that are difficult to characterize from the land surface and may not be resolved from coarser satellite-based imagery. We combined these data with estimates of sediment hydraulic conductivity to provide a direct estimate of GW “shortcutting” through meander necks, which was corroborated by temperature data at the riverbed interface.

The geomorphic legacy of water and erosion control structures in a semiarid rangeland watershed

Released November 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Mary H. Nichols, Christopher S. Magirl, N.F. Sayre, Jeremy R. Shaw

Control over water supply and distribution is critical for agriculture in drylands where manipulating surface runoff often serves the dual purpose of erosion control. However, little is known of the geomorphic impacts and legacy effects of rangeland water manipulation infrastructure, especially if not maintained. This study investigated the geomorphic impacts of structures such as earthen berms, water control gates, and stock tanks, in a semiarid rangeland in the southwestern USA that is responding to both regional channel incision that was initiated over a century ago, and a more recent land use change that involved cattle removal and abandonment of structures. The functional condition of remnant structures was inventoried, mapped, and assessed using aerial imagery and lidar data. Headcut initiation, scour, and channel incision associated with compromised lateral channel berms, concrete water control structures, floodplain water spreader berms, and stock tanks were identified as threats to floodplains and associated habitat. Almost half of 27 identified lateral channel berms (48%) have been breached and 15% have experienced lateral scour; 18% of 218 shorter water spreader berms have been breached and 17% have experienced lateral scour. A relatively small number of 117 stock tanks (6%) are identified as structurally compromised based on analysis of aerial imagery, although many currently do not provide consistent water supplies. In some cases, the onset of localized disturbance is recent enough that opportunities for mitigation can be identified to alter the potentially damaging erosion trajectories that are ultimately driven by regional geomorphic instability. Understanding the effects of prior land use and remnant structures on channel and floodplain morphologic condition is critical because both current land management and future land use options are constrained by inherited land use legacy effects.

Sage grouse

Released November 30, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Colorado Encyclopedia

Shawna Zimmerman, Jennifer M. Timmer, Cameron Aldridge, Sara J. Oyler-McCance, Clait E. Braun, Jessica R. Young

Sage grouse are a group of chicken-sized birds with a unique breeding behavior and dependence on sagebrush shrubs (genus Artemisia) for food and shelter throughout their life cycle. In the last century, human population expansion throughout western North America has reduced the amount of sagebrush and degraded and fragmented the remaining areas. Vanishing sagebrush has resulted in sage grouse (genus Centrocercus) population declines and elevated conservation concern. Western Colorado is home to both species of sage grouse: greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison sage grouse (Centrocercus minimus). Populations in the state, and throughout their range, have declined sufficiently to warrant consideration for federal protection for both species under the Endangered Species Act.

Anticoagulant rodenticide toxicity to non-target wildlife under controlled exposure conditions

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Book chapter, Anticoagulant rodenticides and wildlife

Barnett A. Rattner, F. Nicholas Mastrota

Nico van den Brink, J. Elliott, R. Shore, B. Rattner, editor(s)

Much of our understanding of anticoagulant rodenticide toxicity to non-target wildlife has been derived from molecular through whole animal research and registration studies in domesticated birds and mammals, and to a lesser degree from trials with captive wildlife. Using these data, an adverse outcome pathway identifying molecular initiating and anchoring events (inhibition of vitamin K epoxide reductase, failure to activate clotting factors), and established and plausible linkages (coagulopathy, hemorrhage, anemia, reduced fitness) associated with toxicity, is presented. Controlled exposure studies have demonstrated that second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (e.g., brodifacoum) are more toxic than first- and intermediate-generation compounds (e.g., warfarin, diphacinone), however the difference in potency is diminished when first- and intermediate-generation compounds are administered on multiple days. Differences in species sensitivity are inconsistent among compounds. Numerous studies have compared mortality rate of predators fed prey or tissue containing anticoagulant rodenticides. In secondary exposure studies in birds, brodifacoum appears to pose the greatest risk, with bromadiolone, difenacoum, flocoumafen and difethialone being less hazardous than brodifacoum, and warfarin, coumatetralyl, coumafuryl, chlorophacinone and diphacinone being even less hazardous. In contrast, substantial mortality was noted in secondary exposure studies in mammals ingesting prey or tissue diets containing either second- or intermediate-generation compounds. Sublethal responses (e.g., prolonged clotting time, reduced hematocrit and anemia) have been used to study the sequelae of anticoagulant intoxication, and to some degree in the establishment of toxicity thresholds or toxicity reference values. Surprisingly few studies have undertaken histopathological evaluations to identify cellular lesions and hemorrhage associated with anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in non-target wildlife. Ecological risk assessments of anticoagulant rodenticides would be improved with additional data on (i) interspecific differences in sensitivity, particularly for understudied taxa, (ii) sublethal effects unrelated to coagulopathy, (iii) responses to mixtures and sequential exposures, and (iv) the role of vitamin K status on toxicity, and significance of inclusion of supplemental vitamin K or menadione (provitamin) in the diet of test organisms. A more complete understanding of the toxicity of anticoagulant rodenticides in non-target wildlife would enable regulators and natural resource managers to better predict and even mitigate risk.

Anticoagulant rodenticides and wildlife: Introduction

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Book chapter, Anticoagulant rodenticides and wildlife

Nico W. van den Brink, John E. Elliott, Richard F. Shore, Barnett A. Rattner

Nico W. van den Brink, John E. Elliott, Richard F. Shore, Barnett A. Rattner, editor(s)

Rodents have interacted with people since the beginning of systematic food storage by humans in the early Neolithic era. Such interactions have had adverse outcomes such as threats to human health, spoiling and consumption of food sources, damage to human infrastructure and detrimental effects on indigenous island wildlife (through inadvertent anthropogenic assisted introductions). These socio/economic and environmental impacts illustrate the clear need to control populations of commensal rodents. Different methods have been applied historically but the main means of control in the last decades is through the application of rodenticides, mainly anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) that inhibit blood clotting. The so-called First Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (FGARs) proved highly effective but rodents increasingly developed resistance. This led to a demand for more effective alternative compounds and paved the way to the development of Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGARs). These were more acutely toxic and persistent, making them more effective but also increasing the risks of exposure of non-target species and secondary poisoning of predatory species. SGARs often fail the environmental thresholds of different regulatory frameworks because of these negative side-effects, but their use is still permitted because of the overwhelming societal needs for rodent control and the lack of effective alternatives. This book provides a state-of-the-art overview of the scientific advancements in assessment of environmental exposure, effects and risks of currently used ARs. This is discussed in relation to the societal needs for rodent control, including risk mitigation and development of alternatives.

Anticoagulant rodenticides and wildlife: Concluding remarks

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Book chapter, Anticoagulant rodenticides and wildlife

Nico W. van den Brink, John E. Elliott, Richard F. Shore, Barnett A. Rattner

Rodents are known to affect human society globally in various adverse ways, resulting in a widespread demand for their continuous control. Anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) have been, and currently remain, the cornerstone of rodent control throughout the world. Although alternative control methods exist, they are generally less effective. ARs work by affecting vitamin K metabolism, thereby preventing the activation of blood clotting factors and eventual coagulopathy. Since ARs are non-selective, their undoubted benefits for rodent control have to be balanced against the environmental risks that these compounds pose. Although they have been used for decades, pharmacokinetic and toxicokinetic data are mainly available for laboratory mammals and have concentrated on acute effects. Limited information is available on chronic exposure scenarios and for wildlife species. Important gaps exist in our understanding of the large inter- and intra-species differences in sensitivity to ARs, especially for non-target species, and in our knowledge about the occurrence and importance of sub-lethal effects in wildlife. It is clear that mere presence of AR residues in the body tissues may not indicate the occurrence of effects, although unequivocal assessment of effects under field conditions is difficult. Ante-mortem symptoms, like lethargy, subdued behaviour and unresponsiveness are generally not very specific as is true for more generic post-mortem observations (e.g. pallor of the mucous membranes or occurrence of haemorrhages). It is only by combining ante or post-mortem data with information on exposure that effects in the field may be confirmed. We do know however that a wide variety of non-target species are directly exposed to ARs. Secondary exposure in predators is also widespread although there is limited information on whether this exposure causes actual effects. Exposure is driven by ecological factors and is context specific with respect to spatial habitat configuration and bait placement. Another key factor that affects the interaction between ARs and wildlife is the development of resistance in target species. The development of resistance has resulted in higher use of SGARs, thereby increasing the potential of non-target and secondary exposure. AR use has increasingly become more strictly regulated, increasing the need for alternatives. Alternatives are available, including non-anticoagulant rodenticides, but these may also pose significant risk to environmental organisms, humans and pets. There are also various mitigation measures that can be implemented when using ARs, including bait protection, pulsed baiting at the onset of infestation, restricting use by non-professionals, and avoiding use in areas of high non-target density. Reduction in secondary exposure may result from e.g. non-chemical control, habitat management, and, in agricultural habitats, the use of lure crops and supplemental feeding. Such Integrated Pest Management (IPM) may not only reduce non-target exposure but also benefit resistance management. Barriers to adopt IPM approaches however, include the perception that they do not work or too slowly and are more laborious, expensive and time consuming. It is therefore important that the expectations of stakeholders are considered and managed. Nevertheless, further development of alternatives and IPM measures is essential, so the key research priority related to rodent control may ultimately be to address the lack of scientific assessment of the effectiveness of both specific AR mitigation measures and of IPM approaches to rodent control.

Urban raptor communities: Why some raptors and not others occupy urban environments: Chapter 3

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Book chapter, Urban raptors: Ecology and conservation of birds of prey in cities

Clint W. Boal

Clint W. Boal, C.R. Dykstra, editor(s)

No abstract available.

Combining remote sensing and water-balance evapotranspiration estimates for the conterminous United States

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Remote Sensing (9) 1-17

Meredith Reitz, Gabriel Senay, Ward E. Sanford

Evapotranspiration (ET) is a key component of the hydrologic cycle, accounting for ~70% of precipitation in the conterminous U.S. (CONUS), but it has been a challenge to predict accurately across different spatio-temporal scales. The increasing availability of remotely sensed data has led to significant advances in the frequency and spatial resolution of ET estimates, derived from energy balance principles with variables such as temperature used to estimate surface latent heat flux. Although remote sensing methods excel at depicting spatial and temporal variability, estimation of ET independently of other water budget components can lead to inconsistency with other budget terms. Methods that rely on ground-based data better constrain long-term ET, but are unable to provide the same temporal resolution. Here we combine long-term ET estimates from a water-balance approach with the SSEBop (operational Simplified Surface Energy Balance) remote sensing-based ET product for 2000–2015. We test the new combined method, the original SSEBop product, and another remote sensing ET product (MOD16) against monthly measurements from 119 flux towers. The new product showed advantages especially in non-irrigated areas where the new method showed a coefficient of determination R2 of 0.44, compared to 0.41 for SSEBop or 0.35 for MOD16. The resulting monthly data set will be a useful, unique contribution to ET estimation, due to its combination of remote sensing-based variability and ground-based long-term water balance constraints.

An extirpated lineage of a threatened frog species resurfaces in southern California

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Oryx

Adam R. Backlin, Jonathan Q. Richmond, Elizabeth Gallegos, Clinton K. Christensen, Robert N. Fisher

Southern California has experienced widespread amphibian declines since the 1960s. One species, the Vulnerable California red-legged frog Rana draytonii, is now considered to be extirpated from most of southern California. In February 2017 a population of R. draytonii was discovered in the southern foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains of Riverside County, California, near the edge of the species’ historical distribution. This population belongs to an mtDNA lineage that was presumed to be extirpated within the USA but is still extant in Baja California, Mexico. This discovery increases the potential for future, evolutionarily informed translocations within the southern portion of this species’ range in California.

The hyper-enrichment of V and Zn in black shales of the Late Devonian-Early Mississippian Bakken Formation (USA)

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Chemical Geology (452) 24-33

Clinton T. Scott, John F. Slack, Karen Duttweiler Kelley

Black shales of the Late Devonian to Early Mississippian Bakken Formation are characterized by high concentrations of organic carbon and the hyper-enrichment (> 500 to 1000s of mg/kg) of V and Zn. Deposition of black shales resulted from shallow seafloor depths that promoted rapid development of euxinic conditions. Vanadium hyper-enrichments, which are unknown in modern environments, are likely the result of very high levels of dissolved H2S (~ 10 mM) in bottom waters or sediments. Because modern hyper-enrichments of Zn are documented only in Framvaren Fjord (Norway), it is likely that the biogeochemical trigger responsible for Zn hyper-enrichment in Framvaren Fjord was also present in the Bakken basin. With Framvaren Fjord as an analogue, we propose a causal link between the activity of phototrophic sulfide oxidizing bacteria, related to the development of photic-zone euxinia, and the hyper-enrichment of Zn in black shales of the Bakken Formation.

Bacterial sulfur disproportionation constrains timing of neoproterozoic oxygenation

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geology (45) 207-210

Marcus Kunzmann, Thi Hao Bui, Peter W. Crockford, Galen P. Halverson, Clinton T. Scott, Timothy W. Lyons, Boswell A. Wing

Various geochemical records suggest that atmospheric O2 increased in the Ediacaran (635–541 Ma), broadly coincident with the emergence and diversification of large animals and increasing marine ecosystem complexity. Furthermore, geochemical proxies indicate that seawater sulfate levels rose at this time too, which has been hypothesized to reflect increased sulfide oxidation in marine sediments caused by sediment mixing of the newly evolved macrofauna. However, the exact timing of oxygenation is not yet understood, and there are claims for significant oxygenation prior to the Ediacaran. Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that physical mixing of sediments did not become important until the late Silurian. Here we report a multiple sulfur isotope record from a ca. 835–630 Ma succession from Svalbard, further supported by data from Proterozoic strata in Canada, Australia, Russia, and the United States, in order to investigate the timing of oxygenation. We present isotopic evidence for onset of globally significant bacterial sulfur disproportionation and reoxidative sulfur cycling following the 635 Ma Marinoan glaciation. Widespread sulfide oxidation helps to explain the observed first-order increase in seawater sulfate concentration from the earliest Ediacaran to the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary by reducing the amount of sulfur buried as pyrite. Expansion of reoxidative sulfur cycling to a global scale also indicates increasing environmental O2 levels. Thus, our data suggest that increasing atmospheric O2 levels may have played a role in the emergence of the Ediacaran macrofauna and increasing marine ecosystem complexity.

EROD activity, chromosomal damage, and oxidative stress in response to contaminants exposure in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nestlings from Great Lakes Areas of Concern

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecotoxicology (26) 1392-1407

Thomas W. Custer, Christine M. Custer, Paul Dummer, Emilie Bigorgne, Elias Oziolor, Natalie K. Karouna-Renier, Sandra Schultz, Richard A. Erickson, Kevin Aagaard, Cole W. Matson

Tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor, nestlings were collected from 60 sites in the Great Lakes, which included multiple sites within 27 Areas of Concern (AOCs) and six sites not listed as AOCs from 2010 to 2014. Nestlings, approximately 12 days-of-age, were evaluated for ethoxyresorufin-O-dealkylase (EROD) activity, chromosomal damage, and six measures of oxidative stress. Data on each of these biomarkers were divided into four equal numbered groups from the highest to lowest values and the groups were compared to contaminant concentrations using multivariate analysis. Contaminant concentrations, from the same nestlings, included polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), and 17 elements. Alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (aPAHs) and parent PAHs (pPAHs) were measured in pooled nestling dietary samples. Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, and pesticides were measured in sibling eggs. Concentrations of aPAHs, pPAHs, chlordane, dieldrin, heptachlor, and PCBs, in that order, were the major contributors to the significant differences between the lowest and highest EROD activities; PFCs, PBDEs, the remaining pesticides, and all elements were of secondary importance. The four categories of chromosomal damage did not separate out well based on the contaminants measured. Concentrations of aPAHs, pPAHs, heptachlor, PCBs, chlordane, and dieldrin were the major contributors to the significant differences between the lowest and highest activities of two oxidative stress measures, total sulfhydryl (TSH) activity and protein bound sulfhydryl (PBSH) activity. The four categories of thiobarbituric acid reacting substances (TBARS), oxidized glutathione (GSSG), reduced glutathione (GSH), and the ratio of GSSG/GSH did not separate well based on the contaminants measured.

Constraining the magmatic system at Mount St. Helens (2004–2008) using Bayesian inversion with physics-based models including gas escape and crystallization

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth (122) 7789-7812

Ying-Qi Wong, Paul Segall, Andrew Bradley, Kyle R. Anderson

Physics-based models of volcanic eruptions track conduit processes as functions of depth and time. When used in inversions, these models permit integration of diverse geological and geophysical data sets to constrain important parameters of magmatic systems. We develop a 1-D steady state conduit model for effusive eruptions including equilibrium crystallization and gas transport through the conduit and compare with the quasi-steady dome growth phase of Mount St. Helens in 2005. Viscosity increase resulting from pressure-dependent crystallization leads to a natural transition from viscous flow to frictional sliding on the conduit margin. Erupted mass flux depends strongly on wall rock and magma permeabilities due to their impact on magma density. Including both lateral and vertical gas transport reveals competing effects that produce nonmonotonic behavior in the mass flux when increasing magma permeability. Using this physics-based model in a Bayesian inversion, we link data sets from Mount St. Helens such as extrusion flux and earthquake depths with petrological data to estimate unknown model parameters, including magma chamber pressure and water content, magma permeability constants, conduit radius, and friction along the conduit walls. Even with this relatively simple model and limited data, we obtain improved constraints on important model parameters. We find that the magma chamber had low (<5wt%) total volatiles and that the magma permeability scale is well constrained at ~10-11.4 m2 to reproduce observed dome rock porosities. Compared with previous results, higher magma overpressure and lower wall friction are required to compensate for increased viscous resistance while keeping extrusion rate at the observed value.

Progress and lessons learned from water-quality monitoring networks

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, The science behind sustaining the world's most crucial resource

Donna N. Myers, Amy S. Ludtke

Stream-quality monitoring networks in the United States were initiated and expanded after passage of successive federal water-pollution control laws from 1948 to 1972. The first networks addressed information gaps on the extent and severity of stream pollution and served as early warning systems for spills. From 1965 to 1972, monitoring networks expanded to evaluate compliance with stream standards, track emerging issues, and assess water-quality status and trends. After 1972, concerns arose regarding the ability of monitoring networks to determine if water quality was getting better or worse and why. As a result, monitoring networks adopted a hydrologic systems approach targeted to key water-quality issues, accounted for human and natural factors affecting water quality, innovated new statistical methods, and introduced geographic information systems and models that predict water quality at unmeasured locations. Despite improvements, national-scale monitoring networks have declined over time. Only about 1%, or 217, of more than 36,000 US Geological Survey monitoring sites sampled from 1975 to 2014 have been operated throughout the four decades since passage of the 1972 Clean Water Act. Efforts to sustain monitoring networks are important because these networks have collected information crucial to the description of water-quality trends over time and are providing information against which to evaluate future trends.

Refining the formation and early evolution of the Eastern North American Margin: New insights from multiscale magnetic anomaly analyses

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth

John A. Greene, Masako Tominaga, Nathaniel Miller, Deborah Hutchinson, Matthew R. Karl

To investigate the oceanic lithosphere formation and early seafloor spreading history of the North Atlantic Ocean, we examine multiscale magnetic anomaly data from the Jurassic/Early Cretaceous age Eastern North American Margin (ENAM) between 31 and 40°N. We integrate newly acquired sea surface magnetic anomaly and seismic reflection data with publicly available aeromagnetic and composite magnetic anomaly grids, satellite-derived gravity anomaly, and satellite-derived and shipboard bathymetry data. We evaluate these data sets to (1) refine magnetic anomaly correlations throughout the ENAM and assign updated ages and chron numbers to M0–M25 and eight pre-M25 anomalies; (2) identify five correlatable magnetic anomalies between the East Coast Magnetic Anomaly (ECMA) and Blake Spur Magnetic Anomaly (BSMA), which may document the earliest Atlantic seafloor spreading or synrift magmatism; (3) suggest preexisting margin structure and rifting segmentation may have influenced the seafloor spreading regimes in the Atlantic Jurassic Quiet Zone (JQZ); (4) suggest that, if the BSMA source is oceanic crust, the BSMA may be M series magnetic anomaly M42 (~168.5 Ma); (5) examine the along and across margin variation in seafloor spreading rates and spreading center orientations from the BSMA to M25, suggesting asymmetric crustal accretion accommodated the straightening of the ridge from the bend in the ECMA to the more linear M25; and (6) observe anomalously high-amplitude magnetic anomalies near the Hudson Fan, which may be related to a short-lived propagating rift segment that could have helped accommodate the crustal alignment during the early Atlantic opening.

Effects of host injury on susceptibility of marine reef fishes to ectoparasitic gnathiid isopods

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Symbiosis

William G. Jenkins, Amanda W.J. Demopoulos, Paul C. Sikkel

The importance of the role that parasites play in ecological communities is becoming increasingly apparent. However much about their impact on hosts and thus populations and communities remains poorly understood. A common observation in wild populations is high variation in levels of parasite infestation among hosts. While high variation could be due to chance encounter, there is increasing evidence to suggest that such patterns are due to a combination of environmental, host, and parasite factors. In order to examine the role of host condition on parasite infection, rates of Gnathia marleyi infestation were compared between experimentally injured and uninjured fish hosts. Experimental injuries were similar to the minor wounds commonly observed in nature. The presence of the injury significantly increased the probability of infestation by gnathiids. However, the level of infestation (i.e., total number of gnathiid parasites) for individual hosts, appeared to be unaffected by the treatment. The results from this study indicate that injuries obtained by fish in nature may carry the additional cost of increased parasite burden along with the costs typically associated with physical injury. These results suggest that host condition may be an important factor in determining the likelihood of infestation by a common coral reef fish ectoparasite, G. marleyi.

Conceptual model for invasive bivalve control on wetland productivity

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Interagency Ecological Program Technical Report 91

Rosemary Hartman, Larry R. Brown, Janet K. Thompson, Francis Parchaso

Tidal wetlands were the historically dominant features of many coastal regions around the world, including the San Francisco Estuary (Callaway et al. 2011; Whipple et al. 2012). These mosaics of varied interconnected habitats (Mitsch and Gosselink 1993) provide a host of ecosystem services, including biodiversity maintenance, fish and wildlife habitat, water quality improvement, flood abatement, and carbon sequestration (Rabenhorst 1995; Costanza et al. 1997; Bottom et al. 2005; Zedler and Kercher 2005; Barbier et al. 2010). They also support human activities and values such as recreation and aesthetic appreciation (Barbier et al. 2010; Milligan and Kraus-Polk 2016). Despite their critical functions, many wetland landscapes have been destroyed or irreparably altered, either incidentally or intentionally, by human activities (Holland et al. 2004; Zedler and Kercher 2005; Callaway et al. 2011; Cloern and Jassby 2012; Whipple et al. 2012; Schile et al. 2014).

San Francisco Estuary (SFE) (see Figure 1) tidal wetlands were largely converted to other land uses in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with the extent of loss and new use varying by region. Wetland losses in the North, Central, and South San Francisco bays and Suisun Bay ranged from 70 percent to 93 percent to accommodate agricultural uses, salt production, managed waterfowl habitat, and urban development (Callaway et al. 2011). Landscape transformation within the most inland portion of the SFE, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta), was even more dramatic. Overall, today’s Delta contains 97 percent less freshwater tidal wetland than its historical state and nearly double the open water area (Whipple et al. 2012). The majority of the modern Delta consists of agricultural tracts protected from tidal waters by human-made dikes or levees, which are commonly armored with riprap. The de-watered, rich peat soils of these created islands have supported abundant agricultural production, but have oxidized, compacted, and blown away in the process, causing significant subsidence (Deverel and Leighton 2010). Occasional levee failures turn islands into lakes; a few large shallow lakes remain after accidental levee breaches were not repaired (Whipple et al. 2012).

Polar bears, Ursus maritimus

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Encyclopedia of marine mammals

Karyn D. Rode, Ian Stirling

Polar bears are the largest of the eight species of bears found worldwide and are covered in a pigment-free fur giving them the appearance of being white. They are the most carnivorous of bear species consuming a high-fat diet, primarily of ice-associated seals and other marine mammals. They range throughout the circumpolar Arctic to the southernmost extent of seasonal pack ice.

Role of social media and networking in volcanic crises and communication

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Advances in Volcanology

Sally K. Sennert, Erik W. Klemetti, Deanne Bird

The growth of social media as a primary and often preferred news source has contributed to the rapid dissemination of information about volcanic eruptions and potential volcanic crises as an eruption begins. Information about volcanic activity comes from a variety of sources: news organisations, emergency management personnel, individuals (both public and official) and volcano monitoring agencies. Once posted, this information is easily shared, increasing the reach to a much broader population than the original audience. The onset and popularity of social media as a vehicle for eruption information dissemination has presented many benefits as well as challenges, and points towards a need for a more unified system for information. This includes volcano observatories using social media as an official channels to distribute activity statements, forecasts and predictions on social media, in addition to the archiving of images and data activity. This chapter looks at two examples of projects that collect / disseminate information regarding volcanic crises and eruptive activity utilizing social media sources. Based on those examples, recommendations are made to volcanic observatories in relation to the use of social media as a two-way communication tool. These recommendations include: using social media as a two-way dialogue to communicate and receive information directly from the public and other sources; stating that the social media account is from an official source; and, posting types of information that the public are seeking such as images, videos and figures.

Volcanic ash and aviation–The challenges of real-time, global communication of a natural hazard

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Advances in Volcanology

Peter Lechner, Andrew C. Tupper, Marianne C. Guffanti, Sue Loughlin, Thomas Casadevall

More than 30 years after the first major aircraft encounters with volcanic ash over Indonesia in 1982, it remains challenging to inform aircraft in flight of the exact location of potentially dangerous ash clouds on their flight path, particularly shortly after the eruption has occurred. The difficulties include reliably forecasting and detecting the onset of significant explosive eruptions on a global basis, observing the dispersal of eruption clouds in real time, capturing their complex structure and constituents in atmospheric transport models, describing these observations and modelling results in a manner suitable for aviation users, delivering timely warning messages to the cockpit, flight planners and air traffic management systems, and the need for scientific development in order to undertake operational enhancements. The framework under which these issues are managed is the International Airways Volcano Watch (IAVW), administered by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO outlines in its standards and recommended practices (International Civil Aviation Organization, 2014) the basic volcanic monitoring and communication that is necessary at volcano observatories in Member States (countries). However, not all volcanoes are monitored and not all countries with volcanoes have mandated volcano observatories or equivalents. To add to the efforts of volcano observatories, a system of Meteorological Watch Offices, Air Traffic Management Area Control Centres, and nine specialist Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAACs) are responsible for observing, analysing, forecasting and communicating the aviation hazard (airborne ash), using agreed techniques and messages in defined formats. Continuous improvement of the IAVW framework is overseen by expert groups representing the operators of the system, the user community, and the science community. The IAVW represents a unique marriage of two scientific disciplines - volcanology and meteorology - with the aviation user community. There have been many multifaceted volcanic eruptions in complex meteorological conditions during the history of the IAVW. Each new eruption brings new insights into how the warning system can be improved, and each reinforces the lessons that have gone before. The management of these events has improved greatly since the major ash encounters in the 1980s, but discontinuities in the warning and communications system still occur. A good example is a 2014 ash encounter over Indonesia following the eruption of Kelut where the warnings did not reach the aircraft crew. Other events present enormous management challenges – for example the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland was, overall, less hazardous than many less publicised eruptions, but numerous small to moderate explosions over several weeks produced widespread disruption and a large economic impact. At the time of writing, while there has been hundreds of millions of US dollars in damage to aircraft from encounters with ash, there have been no fatalities resulting from aviation incidents in, or proximal to volcanic ash cloud. This reflects, at least in part, the hard work done in putting together a global warning system - although to some extent it also reflects a measure of good statistical fortune. In order to minimise the risk of aircraft encounters with volcanic ash clouds, the global effort continues. The future priorities for the IAVW are strongly focused on enhancing communication before, and at the very onset of a volcanic ash-producing event (typically the more dangerous stage), together with improved downstream information and warning systems to help reduce the economic impact of eruptions on aviation.

Human–polar bear interactions in a changing Arctic: Existing and emerging concerns

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Marine Mammal Welfare

Todd C. Atwood, Kristin Simac, Stewart Breck, Geoff York, James Wilder

The behavior and sociality of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have been shaped by evolved preferences for sea ice habitat and preying on marine mammals. However, human behavior is causing changes to the Arctic marine ecosystem through the influence of greenhouse gas emissions that drive long-term change in ecosystem processes and via the presence of in situ stressors associated with increasing human activities. These changes are making it more difficult for polar bears to reliably use their traditional habitats and maintain fitness. Here, we provide an overview of how human activities in the Arctic are likely to change a polar bear’s behavior and to influence their resilience to environmental change. Developing a more thorough understanding of polar bear behavior and their capacity for flexibility in response to anthropogenic disturbances and subsequent mitigations may lead to successful near-term management interventions.

Implications of rapid environmental change for polar bear behavior and sociality

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Marine Mammal Welfare

Todd C. Atwood

Historically, the Arctic sea ice has functioned as a structural barrier that has limited the nature and extent of interactions between humans and polar bears (Ursus maritimus). However, declining sea ice extent, brought about by global climate change, is increasing the potential for human-polar bear interactions. Loss of sea ice habitat is driving changes to both human and polar bear behavior—it is facilitating increases in human activities (e.g., offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction, trans-Arctic shipping, recreation), while also causing the displacement of bears from preferred foraging habitat (i.e., sea ice over biologically productive shallow) to land in some portions of their range. The end result of these changes is that polar bears are spending greater amounts of time in close proximity to people. Coexistence between humans and polar bears will require imposing mechanisms to manage further development, as well as mitigation strategies that reduce the burden to local communities.

Monitoring the welfare of polar bear populations in a rapidly changing Arctic

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Marine Mammal Welfare

Todd C. Atwood, Colleen G. Duncan, Kelly A. Patyk, Sarah A. Sonsthagen

Most programs for monitoring the welfare of wildlife populations support efforts aimed at reaching discrete management objectives, like mitigating conflict with humans. While such programs can be effective, their limited scope may preclude systemic evaluations needed for large-scale conservation initiatives, like the recovery of at-risk species. We discuss select categories of metrics that can be used to monitor how polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are responding to the primary threat to their long-term persistence—loss of sea ice habitat due to the unabated rise in atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG; e.g., CO2) concentrations—that can also provide information on ecosystem function and health. Monitoring key aspects of polar bear population dynamics, spatial behavior, health and resiliency can provide valuable insight into ecosystem state and function, and could be a powerful tool for achieving Arctic conservation objectives, particularly those that have transnational policy implications.

Field practices: Assessing tiger population dynamics using photographic captures

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Methods for monitoring tiger and prey populations

K. Ullas Karanth, James D. Nichols, Abishek Harihar, Dale Miquelle, N. Samba Kumar, Robert Dorazio

From these histories, capture frequency statistics and estimates of capture probabilities can be derived.

Concepts and practices: Estimating abundance of prey species using hierarchical model-based approaches

Released November 29, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Methods for monitoring tiger and prey populations

Robert Dorazio, N. Samba Kumar, Andy Royle, Arjun M. Gopalaswamy

Tigers predominantly prey on large ungulate species, such as sambar (Cervus unicolor), red deer (Cervus elaphus), gaur (Bos gaurus), banteng (Bos javanicus), chital (Axis axis), muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak), wild pig (Sus scrofa), and bearded pig (Sus barbatus). The density of a tiger population is strongly correlated with the density of such prey species (Karanth et al. 2004). In the absence of direct hunting of tigers, abundance of prey in an area is the key determinant of the “carrying capacity” of that area for tigers (Chap. 2). Accurate estimates of prey abundance are often needed to assess the potential number of tigers a conservation area can support.

Procedure for calculating estimated ultimate recoveries of wells in the Mississippian Barnett Shale, Bend Arch–Fort Worth Basin Province of north-central Texas

Released November 28, 2017 17:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5102

Heidi M. Leathers-Miller

In 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey published an assessment of technically recoverable continuous oil and gas resources of the Mississippian Barnett Shale in the Bend Arch–Fort Worth Basin Province of north-central Texas. Of the two assessment units involved in the overall assessment, one included a roughly equal number of oil wells and gas wells as classified by the U.S. Geological Survey’s standard of gas wells having production greater than or equal to 20,000 cubic feet of gas per barrel of oil and oil wells having production less than 20,000 cubic feet of gas per barrel of oil. As a result, estimated ultimate recoveries (EURs) were calculated for both oil wells and gas wells in one of the assessment units. Generally, only gas EURs or only oil EURs are calculated for an assessment unit. These EURs were calculated with data from IHS MarkitTM using DeclinePlus software in the Harmony interface and were a major component of the quantitative resource assessment. The calculated mean EURs ranged from 235 to 2,078 million cubic feet of gas and 21 to 39 thousand barrels of oil for various subsets of wells.

A seasonal and spatial comparison of metals, and stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes, in Chincoteague Bay and the marsh deposits of Assateague Island and the adjacent vicinity, Maryland and Virginia

Released November 28, 2017 11:30 EST

2017, Data Series 1059

Alisha M. Ellis, Christopher G. Smith

After Hurricane Sandy, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center conducted a seasonal collection of estuarine, marsh, and sandy overwash surface sediments from Chincoteague Bay, Tom’s Cove, and the surrounding Assateague Island and Delmarva Peninsula in March–April and October 2014. Surplus surface sediment was analyzed for metals, percent carbon and nitrogen, δ13C, and δ15N as part of a complementary U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program Sea-level and Storm Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines project study. The geochemical subsample analyzed for metals and stable isotopes at each site may be used for comparison with past data sets, to create a modern baseline of the natural distribution of the area, to understand seasonal variability as it relates to the health of the local environment, and to assess marsh-to-bay interactions. The use of metals, stable carbon, and stable nitrogen isotopes allows for a more cohesive snapshot of factors influencing the environment and could aid in tracking environmental change.

This report serves as an archive for chemical data derived from the surface sediment. Data are available for a seasonal comparison between the March–April 2014 and October 2014 sampling trips. Downloadable data are available as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. These additional files include formal Federal Geographic Data Committee metadata (data downloads).

Distribution of foraminifera in Chincoteague Bay and the marshes of Assateague Island and the adjacent vicinity, Maryland and Virginia

Released November 28, 2017 11:30 EST

2017, Data Series 1060

Alisha M. Ellis, Jaimie Shaw, Lisa E. Osterman, Christopher G. Smith

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center conducted a seasonal collection of estuarine, marsh, and sandy washover surface sediments from Chincoteague Bay, Tom’s Cove, and the surrounding Assateague Island and Delmarva Peninsula in March–April and October 2014, after Hurricane Sandy. Micropaleontology samples were collected as part of a complementary USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program Sea-level and Storm Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines project study. For comparison with estuarine and overwash deposited foraminifera, a group of scientists from the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center in Massachusetts collected samples offshore of Assateague Island on the inner continental shelf during a seafloor mapping study in the summer of 2014 and shipped select samples to the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center. The micropaleontological subsamples analyzed for foraminifera at each site can be used to establish a foraminiferal baseline assemblage that takes into consideration the seasonal variability of the various species, regarding density and geographic extent, which are influenced by transient and stable environmental parameters. By understanding what parameters affect the various foraminiferal assemblages, researchers can delineate how alterations in salinity, temperature, or marsh-to-bay interactions, such as marsh erosion, might affect that assemblage.

Characterizing storm response and recovery using the beach change envelope: Fire Island, New York

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Geomorphology (300) 189-202

Owen T. Brenner, Erika Lentz, Cheryl J. Hapke, Rachel Henderson, Kathleen Wilson, Timothy Nelson

Hurricane Sandy at Fire Island, New York presented unique challenges in the quantification of storm impacts using traditional metrics of coastal change, wherein measured changes (shoreline, dune crest, and volume change) did not fully reflect the substantial changes in sediment redistribution following the storm. We used a time series of beach profile data at Fire Island, New York to define a new contour-based morphologic change metric, the Beach Change Envelope (BCE). The BCE quantifies changes to the upper portion of the beach likely to sustain measurable impacts from storm waves and capture a variety of storm and post-storm beach states. We evaluated the ability of the BCE to characterize cycles of beach change by relating it to a conceptual beach recovery regime, and demonstrated that BCE width and BCE height from the profile time series correlate well with established stages of recovery. We also investigated additional applications of this metric to capture impacts from storms and human modification by applying it to several post-storm historical datasets in which impacts varied considerably; Nor'Ida (2009), Hurricane Irene (2011), Hurricane Sandy (2012), and a 2009 community replenishment. In each case, the BCE captured distinctive upper beach morphologic change characteristic of these different beach building and erosional events. Analysis of the beach state at multiple profile locations showed spatial trends in recovery consistent with recent morphologic island evolution, which other studies have linked with sediment availability and the geologic framework. Ultimately we demonstrate a new way of more effectively characterizing beach response and recovery cycles to evaluate change along sandy coasts.

Estimating virus occurrence using Bayesian modeling in multiple drinking water systems of the United States

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Science of the Total Environment (619-620) 1330-1339

Eunice A. Varughese, Nichole E Brinkman, Emily M Anneken, Jennifer S Cashdollar, G. Shay Fout, Edward T. Furlong, Dana W. Kolpin, Susan T. Glassmeyer, Scott P Keely

Drinking water treatment plants rely on purification of contaminated source waters to provide communities with potable water. One group of possible contaminants are enteric viruses. Measurement of viral quantities in environmental water systems are often performed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or quantitative PCR (qPCR). However, true values may be underestimated due to challenges involved in a multi-step viral concentration process and due to PCR inhibition. In this study, water samples were concentrated from 25 drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) across the US to study the occurrence of enteric viruses in source water and removal after treatment. The five different types of viruses studied were adenovirus, norovirus GI, norovirus GII, enterovirus, and polyomavirus. Quantitative PCR was performed on all samples to determine presence or absence of these viruses in each sample. Ten DWTPs showed presence of one or more viruses in source water, with four DWTPs having treated drinking water testing positive. Furthermore, PCR inhibition was assessed for each sample using an exogenous amplification control, which indicated that all of the DWTP samples, including source and treated water samples, had some level of inhibition, confirming that inhibition plays an important role in PCR based assessments of environmental samples. PCR inhibition measurements, viral recovery, and other assessments were incorporated into a Bayesian model to more accurately determine viral load in both source and treated water. Results of the Bayesian model indicated that viruses are present in source water and treated water. By using a Bayesian framework that incorporates inhibition, as well as many other parameters that affect viral detection, this study offers an approach for more accurately estimating the occurrence of viral pathogens in environmental waters.

Determining fine-scale use and movement patterns of diving bird species in federal waters of the Mid-Atlantic United States using satellite telemetry

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Report

Caleb Spiegel, Alicia Berlin, Andrew Gilbert, Carrie E. Gray, William Montevecchi, Iain Stenhouse, Scott Ford, Glenn H. Olsen, Jonathan Fiely, Lucas Savoy, M. Wing Goodale, Chantelle Burke

Offshore wind energy development in the United States is projected to expand in the upcoming decades to meet growing energy demands and reduce fossil fuel emissions. There is particular interest in commercial offshore wind development within Federal waters (i.e., > 3 nautical miles from shore) of the mid-Atlantic. In order to understand the potential for adverse effects on marine birds in this area, information on distribution and behavior (e.g., flight pathways, timing, etc.) is required for a broad suite of species. In areas where offshore wind development is likely to occur, such information can be used to identify high use areas during critical life stages, which can inform the siting of offshore facilities. It can also be used to provide baseline data for understanding broad changes in distributions that occur after offshore wind developments are constructed in a specific area.

Living on the edge: Opportunities for Amur tiger recovery in China

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Biological Conservation (217) 269-279

Tianming Wang, Andy Royle, J.L.D. Smith, Liang Zou, Xinyue Lu, Tong Li, Haitao Yang, Zhilin Li, Rongna Feng, Yajing Bian, Limin Feng, Jianping Ge

Sporadic sightings of the endangered Amur tiger Panthera tigris altaica along the China-Russia border during the late 1990s sparked efforts to expand this subspecies distribution and abundance by restoring potentially suitable habitats in the Changbai Mountains. To guide science-based recovery efforts and provide a baseline for future monitoring of this border population, empirical, quantitative information is needed on what resources and management practices promote or limit the occurrence of tigers in the region. We established a large-scale field camera-trapping network to estimate tiger density, survival and recruitment in the Hunchun Nature Reserve and the surrounding area using an open population spatially explicit capture-recapture model. We then fitted an occupancy model that accounted for detectability and spatial autocorrelation to assess the relative influence of habitat, major prey, disturbance and management on tiger habitat use patterns. Our results show that the ranges of most tigers abut the border with Russia. Tiger densities ranged between 0.20 and 0.27 individuals/100 km2 over the study area; in the Hunchun Nature Reserve, the tiger density was three times higher than that in the surrounding inland forested area. Tiger occupancy was strongly negatively related to heavy cattle grazing, human settlements and roads and was positively associated with sika deer abundance and vegetation cover. These findings can help to identify the drivers of tiger declines and dispersal limits and refine strategies for tiger conservation in the human-dominated transboundary landscape. Progressively alleviating the impacts of cattle and human disturbances on the forest, and simultaneously addressing the economic needs of local communities, should be key priority actions to increase tiger populations. The long-term goal is to expand tiger distribution by improving habitats for large ungulates.

The value of information for woodland management: Updating a state–transition model

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecosphere (8) 1-12

William K. Morris, Michael C. Runge, Peter A. Vesk

Value of information (VOI) analyses reveal the expected benefit of reducing uncertainty to a decision maker. Most ecological VOI analyses have focused on population models rarely addressing more complex community models. We performed a VOI analysis for a complex state–transition model of Box-Ironbark Forest and Woodland management. With three management alternatives (limited harvest/firewood removal (HF), ecological thinning (ET), and no management), managing the system optimally (for 150 yr) with the original information would, on average, increase the amount of forest in a desirable state from 19% to 35% (a 16-percentage point increase). Resolving all uncertainty would, on average, increase the final percentage to 42% (a 19-percentage point increase). However, only resolving the uncertainty for a single parameter was worth almost two-thirds the value of resolving all uncertainty. We found the VOI to depend on the number of management options, increasing as the management flexibility increased. Our analyses show it is more cost-effective to monitor low-density regrowth forest than other states and more cost-effective to experiment with the no-management alternative than the other management alternatives. Importantly, the most cost-effective strategies did not include either the most desired forest states or the least understood management strategy, ET. This implies that managers cannot just rely on intuition to tell them where the most VOI will lie, as critical uncertainties in a complex system are sometimes cryptic.

Estimating rupture distances without a rupture

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (10) 1-9

Eric Thompson, Charles Worden

Most ground motion prediction equations (GMPEs) require distances that are defined relative to a rupture model, such as the distance to the surface projection of the rupture (RJB) or the closest distance to the rupture plane (RRUP). There are a number of situations in which GMPEs are used where it is either necessary or advantageous to derive rupture distances from point-source distance metrics, such as hypocentral (RHYP) or epicentral (REPI) distance. For ShakeMap, it is necessary to provide an estimate of the shaking levels for events without rupture models, and before rupture models are available for events that eventually do have rupture models. In probabilistic seismic hazard analysis, it is often convenient to use point-source distances for gridded seismicity sources, particularly if a preferred orientation is unknown. This avoids the computationally cumbersome task of computing rupture-based distances for virtual rupture planes across all strikes and dips for each source. We derive average rupture distances conditioned on REPI, magnitude, and (optionally) back azimuth, for a variety of assumed seismological constraints. Additionally, we derive adjustment factors for GMPE standard deviations that reflect the added uncertainty in the ground motion estimation when point-source distances are used to estimate rupture distances.

Application of synthetic scenarios to address water resource concerns: A management-guided case study from the Upper Colorado River Basin

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Climate Services (8) 26-35

Stephanie A. McAfee, Gregory T. Pederson, Connie A. Woodhouse, Gregory McCabe

Water managers are increasingly interested in better understanding and planning for projected resource impacts from climate change. In this management-guided study, we use a very large suite of synthetic climate scenarios in a statistical modeling framework to simultaneously evaluate how (1) average temperature and precipitation changes, (2) initial basin conditions, and (3) temporal characteristics of the input climate data influence water-year flow in the Upper Colorado River. The results here suggest that existing studies may underestimate the degree of uncertainty in future streamflow, particularly under moderate temperature and precipitation changes. However, we also find that the relative severity of future flow projections within a given climate scenario can be estimated with simple metrics that characterize the input climate data and basin conditions. These results suggest that simple testing, like the analyses presented in this paper, may be helpful in understanding differences between existing studies or in identifying specific conditions for physically based mechanistic modeling. Both options could reduce overall cost and improve the efficiency of conducting climate change impacts studies.

Factors influencing uptake of sylvatic plague vaccine baits by prairie dogs

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, EcoHealth

Rachel C. Abbott, Robin E. Russell, Katherine Richgels, Daniel W. Tripp, Marc R. Matchett, Dean E. Biggins, Tonie E. Rocke

Sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) is a virally vectored bait-delivered vaccine expressing Yersinia pestis antigens that can protect prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) from plague and has potential utility as a management tool. In a large-scale 3-year field trial, SPV-laden baits containing the biomarker rhodamine B (used to determine bait consumption) were distributed annually at a rate of approximately 100–125 baits/hectare along transects at 58 plots encompassing the geographic ranges of four species of prairie dogs. We assessed site- and individual-level factors related to bait uptake in prairie dogs to determine which were associated with bait uptake rates. Overall bait uptake for 7820 prairie dogs sampled was 70% (95% C.I. 69.9–72.0). Factors influencing bait uptake rates by prairie dogs varied by species, however, in general, heavier animals had greater bait uptake rates. Vegetation quality and day of baiting influenced this relationship for black-tailed, Gunnison’s, and Utah prairie dogs. For these species, baiting later in the season, when normalized difference vegetation indices (a measure of green vegetation density) are lower, improves bait uptake by smaller animals. Consideration of these factors can aid in the development of species-specific SPV baiting strategies that maximize bait uptake and subsequent immunization of prairie dogs against plague.

Solid-phase arsenic speciation in aquifer sediments: A micro-X-ray absorption spectroscopy approach for quantifying trace-level speciation

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (211) 228-255

Sarah L. Nicholas, Melinda L. Erickson, Laurel G. Woodruff, Alan R. Knaeble, Matthew A. Marcus, Joshua K. Lynch, Brandy M. Toner

e of this research is to identify the solid-phase sources and geochemical mechanisms of release of As in aquifers of the Des Moines Lobe glacial advance. The overarching concept is that conditions present at the aquifer-aquitard interfaces promote a suite of geochemical reactions leading to mineral alteration and release of As to groundwater. A microprobe X-ray absorption spectroscopy (lXAS) approach is developed and applied to rotosonic drill core samples to identify the solid-phase speciation of As in aquifer, aquitard, and aquifer-aquitard interface sediments. This approach addresses the low solid-phase As concentrations, as well as the fine-scale physical and chemical heterogeneity of the sediments. The spectroscopy data are analyzed using novel cosine-distance and correlation-distance hierarchical clustering for Fe 1s and As 1s lXAS datasets. The solid-phase Fe and As speciation is then interpreted using sediment and well-water chemical data to propose solid-phase As reservoirs and release mechanisms. The results confirm that in two of the three locations studied, the glacial sediment forming the aquitard is the source of As to the aquifer sediments. The results are consistent with three different As release mechanisms: (1) desorption from Fe (oxyhydr)oxides, (2) reductive dissolution of Fe (oxyhydr)oxides, and (3) oxidative dissolution of Fe sulfides. The findings confirm that glacial sediments at the interface between aquifer and aquitard are geochemically active zones for As. The diversity of As release mechanisms is consistent with the geographic heterogeneity observed in the distribution of elevated-As wells.

Spatially explicit dynamic N-mixture models

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Population Ecology (59) 293-300

Qing Zhao, Andy Royle, G. Scott Boomer

Knowledge of demographic parameters such as survival, reproduction, emigration, and immigration is essential to understand metapopulation dynamics. Traditionally the estimation of these demographic parameters requires intensive data from marked animals. The development of dynamic N-mixture models makes it possible to estimate demographic parameters from count data of unmarked animals, but the original dynamic N-mixture model does not distinguish emigration and immigration from survival and reproduction, limiting its ability to explain important metapopulation processes such as movement among local populations. In this study we developed a spatially explicit dynamic N-mixture model that estimates survival, reproduction, emigration, local population size, and detection probability from count data under the assumption that movement only occurs among adjacent habitat patches. Simulation studies showed that the inference of our model depends on detection probability, local population size, and the implementation of robust sampling design. Our model provides reliable estimates of survival, reproduction, and emigration when detection probability is high, regardless of local population size or the type of sampling design. When detection probability is low, however, our model only provides reliable estimates of survival, reproduction, and emigration when local population size is moderate to high and robust sampling design is used. A sensitivity analysis showed that our model is robust against the violation of the assumption that movement only occurs among adjacent habitat patches, suggesting wide applications of this model. Our model can be used to improve our understanding of metapopulation dynamics based on count data that are relatively easy to collect in many systems.

Viscous relaxation as a prerequisite for tectonic resurfacing on Ganymede: Insights from numerical models of lithospheric extension

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Icarus

Michael Bland, William B. McKinnon

Ganymede’s bright terrain formed during a near-global resurfacing event (or events) that produced both heavily tectonized and relatively smooth terrains. The mechanism(s) by which resurfacing occurred on Ganymede (e.g., cryovolcanic or tectonic), and the relationship between the older, dark and the younger, bright terrain are fundamental to understanding the geological evolution of the satellite. Using a two-dimensional numerical model of lithospheric extension that has previously been used to successfully simulate surface deformation consistent with grooved terrain morphologies, we investigate whether large-amplitude preexisting topography can be resurfaced (erased) by extension (i.e., tectonic resurfacing). Using synthetically produced initial topography, we show that when the total relief of the initial topography is larger than 25–50 m, periodic groove-like structures fail to form. Instead, extension is localized in a few individual, isolated troughs. These results pose a challenge to the tectonic resurfacing hypothesis. We further investigate the effects of preexisting topography by performing suites of simulations initialized with topography derived from digital terrain models of Ganymede’s surface. These include dark terrain, fresh (relatively deep) impact craters, smooth bright terrain, and a viscously relaxed impact crater. The simulations using dark terrain and fresh impact craters are consistent with our simulations using synthetic topography: periodic groove-like deformation fails to form. In contrast, when simulations were initialized with bright smooth terrain topography, groove-like deformation results from a wide variety of heat flow and surface temperature conditions. Similarly, when a viscously relaxed impact crater was used, groove-like structures were able to form during extension. These results suggest that tectonic resurfacing may require that the amplitude of the initial topography be reduced before extension begins. We emphasize that viscous relaxation may be the key to enabling tectonic resurfacing, as the heat fluxes associated with groove terrain formation are also capable of reducing crater topography through viscous relaxation. For long-wavelength topography (large craters) viscous relaxation is unavoidable. We propose that the resurfacing of Ganymede occurred through a combination of viscous relaxation, tectonic resurfacing, cryovolcanism and, at least in a few cases, band formation. Variations in heat flow and strain magnitudes across Ganymede likely produced the complex variety of terrain types currently observed.

Exploration of diffuse and discrete sources of acid mine drainage to a headwater mountain stream in Colorado, USA

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Mine Water and the Environment (36) 463-478

Allison Johnston, Robert L. Runkel, Alexis Navarre-Sitchler, Kamini Singha

We investigated the impact of acid mine drainage (AMD) contamination from the Minnesota Mine, an inactive gold and silver mine, on Lion Creek, a headwater mountain stream near Empire, Colorado. The objective was to map the sources of AMD contamination, including discrete sources visible at the surface and diffuse inputs that were not readily apparent. This was achieved using geochemical sampling, in-stream and in-seep fluid electrical conductivity (EC) logging, and electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) of the subsurface. The low pH of the AMD-impacted water correlated to high fluid EC values that served as a target for the ERI. From ERI, we identified two likely sources of diffuse contamination entering the stream: (1) the subsurface extent of two seepage faces visible on the surface, and (2) rainfall runoff washing salts deposited on the streambank and in a tailings pile on the east bank of Lion Creek. Additionally, rainfall leaching through the tailings pile is a potential diffuse source of contamination if the subsurface beneath the tailings pile is hydraulically connected with the stream. In-stream fluid EC was lowest when stream discharge was highest in early summer and then increased throughout the summer as stream discharge decreased, indicating that the concentration of dissolved solids in the stream is largely controlled by mixing of groundwater and snowmelt. Total dissolved solids (TDS) load is greatest in early summer and displays a large diel signal. Identification of diffuse sources and variability in TDS load through time should allow for more targeted remediation options.

Regionalizing indicators for marine ecosystems: Bering Sea–Aleutian Island seabirds, climate, and competitors

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ecological Indicators (78) 458-469

William J. Sydeman, Sarah Ann Thompson, John F. Piatt, Marisol García-Reyes, Stephani Zador, Jeffrey C. Williams, Marc Romano, Heather Renner

Seabirds are thought to be reliable, real-time indicators of forage fish availability and the climatic and biotic factors affecting pelagic food webs in marine ecosystems. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that temporal trends and interannual variability in seabird indicators reflect simultaneously occurring bottom-up (climatic) and competitor (pink salmon) forcing of food webs. To test this hypothesis, we derived multivariate seabird indicators for the Bering Sea–Aleutian Island (BSAI) ecosystem and related them to physical and biological conditions known to affect pelagic food webs in the ecosystem. We examined covariance in the breeding biology of congeneric pelagic gulls (kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla and R. brevirostris) andauks (murres Uria aalge and U. lomvia), all of whichare abundant and well-studiedinthe BSAI. At the large ecosystem scale, kittiwake and murre breeding success and phenology (hatch dates) covaried among congeners, so data could be combined using multivariate techniques, but patterns of responsedifferedsubstantially betweenthe genera.Whiledata fromall sites (n = 5)inthe ecosystemcould be combined, the south eastern Bering Sea shelf colonies (St. George, St. Paul, and Cape Peirce) provided the strongest loadings on indicators, and hence had the strongest influence on modes of variability. The kittiwake breeding success mode of variability, dominated by biennial variation, was significantly related to both climatic factors and potential competitor interactions. The murre indicator mode was interannual and only weakly related to the climatic factors measured. The kittiwake phenology indicator mode of variability showed multi-year periods (“stanzas”) of late or early breeding, while the murre phenology indicator showed a trend towards earlier timing. Ocean climate relationships with the kittiwake breeding success indicator suggestthat early-season (winter–spring) environmental conditions and the abundance of pink salmon affect the pelagic food webs that support these seabirds in the BSAI ecosystem.

A swath across the great divide: Kelp forests across the Samalga Pass biogeographic break

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Continental Shelf Research (143) 78-88

Brenda H. Konar, Matthew S. Edwards, Aaron Bland, Jacob Metzger, Alexandra Ravelo, Sarah Traiger, Ben P. Weitzman

Biogeographic breaks are often described as locations where a large number of species reach their geographic range limits. Samalga Pass, in the eastern Aleutian Archipelago, is a known biogeographic break for the spatial distribution of several species of offshore-pelagic communities, including numerous species of cold-water corals, zooplankton, fish, marine mammals, and seabirds. However, it remains unclear whether Samalga Pass also serves as a biogeographic break for nearshore benthic communities. The occurrence of biogeographic breaks across multiple habitats has not often been described. In this study, we examined if the biogeographic break for offshore-pelagic communities applies to nearshore kelp forests. To examine whether Samalga Pass serves as a biogeographic break for kelp forest communities, this study compared abundance, biomass and percent bottom cover of species associated with kelp forests on either side of the pass. We observed marked differences in kelp forest community structure, with some species reaching their geographic range limits on the opposing sides of the pass. In particular, the habitat-forming kelp Nereocystis luetkeana, and the predatory sea stars Pycnopodia helianthoides and Orthasterias koehleri all occurred on the eastern side of Samalga Pass but were not observed west of the pass. In contrast, the sea star Leptasterias camtschatica dispar was observed only on the western side of the pass. We also observed differences in overall abundance and biomass of numerous associated fish, invertebrate and macroalgal species on opposing sides of the pass. We conclude that Samalga Pass is important biogeographic break for kelp forest communities in the Aleutian Archipelago and may demark the geographic range limits of several ecologically important species.

PRISM software—Processing and review interface for strong-motion data

Released November 28, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Techniques and Methods 12-A2

Jeanne M. Jones, Erol Kalkan, Christopher D. Stephens, Peter Ng

Rapidly available and accurate ground-motion acceleration time series (seismic recordings) and derived data products are essential to quickly providing scientific and engineering analysis and advice after an earthquake. To meet this need, the U.S. Geological Survey National Strong Motion Project has developed a software package called PRISM (Processing and Review Interface for Strong-Motion data). PRISM automatically processes strong-motion acceleration records, producing compatible acceleration, velocity, and displacement time series; acceleration, velocity, and displacement response spectra; Fourier amplitude spectra; and standard earthquake-intensity measures. PRISM is intended to be used by strong-motion seismic networks, as well as by earthquake engineers and seismologists.

Effects of climate change on ecological disturbance in the northern Rockies

Released November 25, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Book chapter, Climate change and Rocky Mountain ecosystems; Advances in Global Change Research v. 63

Rachel A. Loehman, Barbara J. Bentz, Gregg A. DeNitto, Robert E. Keane, Mary E. Manning, Jacob P. Duncan, Joel M. Egan, Marcus B. Jackson, Sandra Kegley, I. Blakey Lockman, Dean E. Pearson, James A. Powell, Steve Shelly, Brytten E. Steed, Paul J. Zambino

Jessica E. Halofsky, David L. Peterson, editor(s)

Disturbances alter ecosystem, community, or population structure and change elements of the biological and/or physical environment. Climate changes can alter the timing, magnitude, frequency, and duration of disturbance events, as well as the interactions of disturbances on a landscape, and climate change may already be affecting disturbance events and regimes. Interactions among disturbance regimes, such as the cooccurrence in space and time of bark beetle outbreaks and wildfires, can result in highly visible, rapidly occurring, and persistent changes in landscape composition and structure. Understanding how altered disturbance patterns and multiple disturbance interactions might result in novel and emergent landscape behaviors is critical for addressing climate change impacts and for designing land management strategies that are appropriate for future climates This chapter describes the ecology of important disturbance regimes in the Northern Rockies region, and potential shifts in these regimes as a consequence of observed and projected climate change. We summarize five disturbance types present in the Northern Rockies that are sensitive to a changing climate--wildfires, bark beetles, white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola), other forest diseases, and nonnative plant invasions—and provide information that can help managers anticipate how, when, where, and why climate changes may alter the characteristics of disturbance regimes.

Effects of climate change on forest vegetation in the northern Rockies

Released November 25, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Book chapter, Climate change and Rocky Mountain ecosystems; Advances in Global Change Research v. 63

Robert E. Keane, Mary Frances Mahalovich, Barry L. Bollenbacher, Mary E. Manning, Rachel A. Loehman, Terrie B. Jain, Lisa M. Holsinger, Andrew J. Larson

Jessica E. Halofsky, David L. Peterson, editor(s)

Increasing air temperature, through its influence on soil moisture, is expected to cause gradual changes in the abundance and distribution of tree, shrub, and grass species throughout the Northern Rockies, with drought tolerant species becoming more competitive. The earliest changes will be at ecotones between lifeforms (e.g., upper and lower treelines). Ecological disturbance, including wildfire and insect outbreaks, will be the primary facilitator of vegetation change, and future forest landscapes may be dominated by younger age classes and smaller trees. High-elevation forests will be especially vulnerable if disturbance frequency

Concepts: Integrating population survey data from different spatial scales, sampling methods, and species

Released November 25, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Methods for monitoring tiger and prey populations

Robert Dorazio, Mohan Delampady, Soumen Dey, Arjun M. Gopalaswamy

K. Ullas Karanth, James D. Nichols, editor(s)

Conservationists and managers are continually under pressure from the public, the media, and political policy makers to provide “tiger numbers,” not just for protected reserves, but also for large spatial scales, including landscapes, regions, states, nations, and even globally. Estimating the abundance of tigers within relatively small areas (e.g., protected reserves) is becoming increasingly tractable (see Chaps. 9 and 10), but doing so for larger spatial scales still presents a formidable challenge. Those who seek “tiger numbers” are often not satisfied by estimates of tiger occupancy alone, regardless of the reliability of the estimates (see Chaps. 4 and 5). As a result, wherever tiger conservation efforts are underway, either substantially or nominally, scientists and managers are frequently asked to provide putative large-scale tiger numbers based either on a total count or on an extrapolation of some sort (see Chaps. 1 and 2).

Feral goats and sheep

Released November 25, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Ecology and management of terrestrial vertebrate invasive species in the United States

Steve Hess, Dirk H. Van Vuren, Gary W. Witmer

William C. Pitt, James Beasley, Gary W. Witmer, editor(s)

No abstract available.

Advancing mangrove macroecology

Released November 25, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Book chapter, Mangrove ecosystems: A global biogeographic perspective

Victor H. Rivera-Monroy, Michael J. Osland, John W. Day, Santanu Ray, Andre S. Rovai, Richard H. Day, Joyita Mukherjee

Victor H. Rivera-Monroy, Shing Yip Lee, Erik Kristensen, Robert R. Twilley, editor(s)

Mangrove forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services to society, yet they are among the most anthropogenically impacted coastal ecosystems in the world. In this chapter, we discuss and provide examples for how macroecology can advance our understanding of mangrove ecosystems. Macroecology is broadly defined as a discipline that uses statistical analyses to investigate large-scale, universal patterns in the distribution, abundance, diversity, and organization of species and ecosystems, including the scaling of ecological processes and structural and functional relationships. Macroecological methods can be used to advance our understanding of how non-linear responses in natural systems can be triggered by human impacts at local, regional, and global scales. Although macroecology has the potential to gain knowledge on universal patterns and processes that govern mangrove ecosystems, the application of macroecological methods to mangroves has historically been limited by constraints in data quality and availability. Here we provide examples that include evaluations of the variation in mangrove forest ecosystem structure and function in relation to macroclimatic drivers (e.g., temperature and rainfall regimes) and climate change. Additional examples include work focused upon the continental distribution of aboveground net primary productivity and carbon storage, which are rapidly advancing research areas. These examples demonstrate the value of a macroecological perspective for the understanding of global- and regional-scale effects of both changing environmental conditions and management actions on ecosystem structure, function, and the supply of goods and services. We also present current trends in mangrove modeling approaches and their potential utility to test hypotheses about mangrove structural and functional properties. Given the gap in relevant experimental work at the regional scale, we also discuss the potential use of mangrove restoration and rehabilitation projects as macroecological studies that advance the critical selection and conservation of ecosystem services when managing mangrove resources. Future work to further incorporate macroecology into mangrove research will require a concerted effort by research groups and institutions to launch research initiatives and synthesize data collected across broad biogeographic regions.

Integrated wetland management for waterfowl and shorebirds at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina

Released November 22, 2017 07:15 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1052

Brian G. Tavernia, John D. Stanton, James E. Lyons

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) offers a mix of open water, marsh, forest, and cropland habitats on 20,307 hectares in coastal North Carolina. In 1934, Federal legislation (Executive Order 6924) established MNWR to benefit wintering waterfowl and other migratory bird species. On an annual basis, the refuge staff decide how to manage 14 impoundments to benefit not only waterfowl during the nonbreeding season, but also shorebirds during fall and spring migration. In making these decisions, the challenge is to select a portfolio, or collection, of management actions for the impoundments that optimizes use by the three groups of birds while respecting budget constraints. In this study, a decision support tool was developed for these annual management decisions.

Within the decision framework, there are three different management objectives: shorebird-use days during fall and spring migrations, and waterfowl-use days during the nonbreeding season. Sixteen potential management actions were identified for impoundments; each action represents a combination of hydroperiod and vegetation manipulation. Example hydroperiods include semi-permanent and seasonal drawdowns, and vegetation manipulations include mechanical-chemical treatment, burning, disking, and no action. Expert elicitation was used to build a Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) model that predicts shorebird- and waterfowl-use days for each potential management action. The BBN was parameterized for a representative impoundment, MI-9, and predictions were re-scaled for this impoundment to predict outcomes at other impoundments on the basis of size. Parameter estimates in the BBN model can be updated using observations from ongoing monitoring that is part of the Integrated Waterbird Management and Monitoring (IWMM) program.

The optimal portfolio of management actions depends on the importance, that is, weights, assigned to the three objectives, as well as the budget. Five scenarios with a variety of objective weights and budgets were developed. Given the large number of possible portfolios (1614), a heuristic genetic algorithm was used to identify a management action portfolio that maximized use-day objectives while respecting budget constraints. The genetic algorithm identified a portfolio of management actions for each of the five scenarios, enabling refuge staff to explore the sensitivity of their management decisions to objective weights and budget constraints.

The decision framework developed here provides a transparent, defensible, and testable foundation for decision making at MNWR. The BBN model explicitly structures and parameterizes a mental model previously used by an expert to assign management actions to the impoundments. With ongoing IWMM monitoring, predictions from the model can be tested, and model parameters updated, to reflect empirical observations. This framework is intended to be a living document that can be updated to reflect changes in the decision context (for example, new objectives or constraints, or new models to compete with the current BBN model). Rather than a mandate to refuge staff, this framework is intended to be a decision support tool; tool outputs can become part of the deliberations of refuge staff when making difficult management decisions for multiple objectives.

Variability in eddy sandbar dynamics during two decades of controlled flooding of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

Released November 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Sedimentary Geology (363) 181-199

Erich R. Mueller, Paul E. Grams, Joseph E. Hazel Jr., John C. Schmidt

Sandbars are iconic features of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S.A. Following completion of Glen Canyon Dam in 1963, sediment deficit conditions caused erosion of eddy sandbars throughout much of the 360 km study reach downstream from the dam. Controlled floods in 1996, 2004, and 2008 demonstrated that sand on the channel bed could be redistributed to higher elevations, and that floods timed to follow tributary sediment inputs would increase suspended sand concentrations during floods. Since 2012, a new management protocol has resulted in four controlled floods timed to follow large inputs of sand from a major tributary. Monitoring of 44 downstream eddy sandbars, initiated in 1990, shows that each controlled flood deposited significant amounts of sand and increased the size of subaerial sandbars. However, the magnitude of sandbar deposition varied from eddy to eddy, even over relatively short distances where main-stem suspended sediment concentrations were similar. Here, we characterize spatial and temporal trends in sandbar volume and site-scale (i.e., individual eddy) sediment storage as a function of flow, channel, and vegetation characteristics that reflect the reach-scale (i.e., kilometer-scale) hydraulic environment. We grouped the long-term monitoring sites based on geomorphic setting and used a principal component analysis (PCA) to correlate differences in sandbar behavior to changes in reach-scale geomorphic metrics. Sites in narrow reaches are less-vegetated, stage changes markedly with discharge, sandbars tend to remain dynamic, and sand storage change dominantly occurs in the eddy compared to the main channel. In wider reaches, where stage-change during floods may be half that of narrow sites, sandbars are more likely to be stabilized by vegetation, and floods tend to aggrade the vegetated sandbar surfaces. In these locations, deposition during controlled floods is more akin to floodplain sedimentation, and the elevation of sandbar surfaces increases with successive floods. Because many sandbars are intermediate to the end members described above, high-elevation bar surfaces stabilized by vegetation often have a more dynamic unvegetated sandbar on the channel-ward margin that aggrades and erodes in response to controlled flood cycles. Ultimately, controlled floods have been effective at increasing averaged sandbar volumes, and, while bar deposition during floods decreases through time where vegetation has stabilized sandbars, future controlled floods are likely to continue to result in deposition in a majority of the river corridor.

Organic carbon burial in global lakes and reservoirs

Released November 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Nature Communications (8)

Raquel Mendonça, Roger A. Müller, David W. Clow, Charles Verpoorter, Peter Raymond, Lars Tranvik, Sebastian Sobek

Burial in sediments removes organic carbon (OC) from the short-term biosphere-atmosphere carbon (C) cycle, and therefore prevents greenhouse gas production in natural systems. Although OC burial in lakes and reservoirs is faster than in the ocean, the magnitude of inland water OC burial is not well constrained. Here we generate the first global-scale and regionally resolved estimate of modern OC burial in lakes and reservoirs, deriving from a comprehensive compilation of literature data. We coupled statistical models to inland water area inventories to estimate a yearly OC burial of 0.15 (range, 0.06–0.25) Pg C, of which ~40% is stored in reservoirs. Relatively higher OC burial rates are predicted for warm and dry regions. While we report lower burial than previously estimated, lake and reservoir OC burial corresponded to ~20% of their C emissions, making them an important C sink that is likely to increase with eutrophication and river damming.

Wildlife governance in the 21st century—Will sustainable use endure?

Released November 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Wildlife Society Bulletin

Daniel J. Decker, John Organ, Ann Forstchen, Cynthia A. Jacobson, William F. Siemer, Christian A. Smith, Patrick E. Lederle, Michael V. Schiavone

In light of the trajectory of wildlife governance in the United States, the future of sustainable use of wildlife is a topic of substantial interest in the wildlife conservation community. We examine sustainable-use principles with respect to “good governance” considerations and public trust administration principles to assess how sustainable use might fare in the 21st century. We conclude that sustainable-use principles are compatible with recently articulated wildlife governance principles and could serve to mitigate broad values and norm shifts in American society that affect social acceptability of particular uses. Wildlife governance principles emphasize inclusive discourse among diverse wildlife interests, which could minimize isolated exchanges among cliques of like-minded people pursuing their ambitions without seeking opportunity for sharing or understanding diverse views. Aligning governance practices with wildlife governance principles can help avoid such isolation. In summary, sustainable use of wildlife is likely to endure as long as society 1) believes the long-term sustainability of wildlife is not jeopardized, and 2) accepts practices associated with such use as legitimate. These are 2 criteria needing constant attention.

Spring fasting behavior in a marine apex predator provides an index of ecosystem productivity

Released November 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Global Change Biology

Karyn D. Rode, Ryan R. Wilson, David C. Douglas, Vanessa L Muhlenbruch, Todd C. Atwood, Eric V. Regehr, Evan Richardson, Nicholas Pilfold, Andrew E. Derocher, George M. Durner, Ian Stirling, Steven C. Amstrup, Michelle St Martin, Anthony M. Pagano, Kristin Simac

The effects of declining Arctic sea ice on local ecosystem productivity are not well understood but have been shown to vary inter-specifically, spatially, and temporally. Because marine mammals occupy upper trophic levels in Arctic food webs, they may be useful indicators for understanding variation in ecosystem productivity. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are apex predators that primarily consume benthic and pelagic-feeding ice-associated seals. As such, their productivity integrates sea ice conditions and the ecosystem supporting them. Declining sea ice availability has been linked to negative population effects for polar bears but does not fully explain observed population changes. We examined relationships between spring foraging success of polar bears and sea ice conditions, prey productivity, and general patterns of ecosystem productivity in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas (CSs). Fasting status (≥7 days) was estimated using serum urea and creatinine levels of 1,448 samples collected from 1,177 adult and subadult bears across three subpopulations. Fasting increased in the Beaufort Sea between 1983–1999 and 2000–2016 and was related to an index of ringed seal body condition. This change was concurrent with declines in body condition of polar bears and observed changes in the diet, condition and/or reproduction of four other vertebrate consumers within the food chain. In contrast, fasting declined in CS polar bears between periods and was less common than in the two Beaufort Sea subpopulations consistent with studies demonstrating higher primary productivity and maintenance or improved body condition in polar bears, ringed seals, and bearded seals despite recent sea ice loss in this region. Consistency between regional and temporal variation in spring polar bear fasting and food web productivity suggests that polar bears may be a useful indicator species. Furthermore, our results suggest that spatial and temporal ecological variation is important in affecting upper trophic-level productivity in these marine ecosystems.

6th international conference on Mars polar science and exploration: Conference summary and five top questions

Released November 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Icarus

Isaac B. Smith, Serina Diniega, David W. Beaty, Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson, Patricio Becerra, Ali Bramson, Stephen M. Clifford, Christine S. Hvidberg, Ganna Portyankina, Sylvain Piqueux, Aymeric Spiga, Timothy N. Titus

We provide a historical context of the International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration and summarize the proceedings from the 6th iteration of this meeting. In particular, we identify five key Mars polar science questions based primarily on presentations and discussions at the conference and discuss the overlap between some of those questions. We briefly describe the seven scientific field trips that were offered at the conference, which greatly supplemented conference discussion of Mars polar processes and landforms. We end with suggestions for measurements, modeling, and laboratory and field work that were highlighted during conference discussion as necessary steps to address key knowledge gaps.

Imaging shear strength along subduction faults

Released November 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geophysical Research Letters

Quentin Bletery, Amanda M. Thomas, Alan W. Rempel, Jeanne L. Hardebeck

Subduction faults accumulate stress during long periods of time and release this stress suddenly, during earthquakes, when it reaches a threshold. This threshold, the shear strength, controls the occurrence and magnitude of earthquakes. We consider a 3-D model to derive an analytical expression for how the shear strength depends on the fault geometry, the convergence obliquity, frictional properties, and the stress field orientation. We then use estimates of these different parameters in Japan to infer the distribution of shear strength along a subduction fault. We show that the 2011 Mw9.0 Tohoku earthquake ruptured a fault portion characterized by unusually small variations in static shear strength. This observation is consistent with the hypothesis that large earthquakes preferentially rupture regions with relatively homogeneous shear strength. With increasing constraints on the different parameters at play, our approach could, in the future, help identify favorable locations for large earthquakes.

Macroinvertebrate communities evaluated prior to and following a channel restoration project in Silver Creek, Blaine County, Idaho, 2001-16

Released November 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5126

Dorene E. MacCoy, Terry M. Short

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Blaine County and The Nature Conservancy, evaluated the status of macroinvertebrate communities prior to and following a channel restoration project in Silver Creek, Blaine County, Idaho. The objective of the evaluation was to determine whether 2014 remediation efforts to restore natural channel conditions in an impounded area of Silver Creek caused declines in local macroinvertebrate communities. Starting in 2001 and ending in 2016, macroinvertebrates were sampled every 3 years at two long-term trend sites and sampled seasonally (spring, summer, and autumn) in 2013, 2015, and 2016 at seven synoptic sites. Trend-site communities were collected from natural stream-bottom substrates to represent locally established macroinvertebrate assemblages. Synoptic site communities were sampled using artificial (multi-plate) substrates to represent recently colonized (4–6 weeks) assemblages. Statistical summaries of spatial and temporal patterns in macroinvertebrate taxonomic composition at both trend and synoptic sites were completed.

The potential effect of the restoration project on resident macroinvertebrate populations was determined by comparing the following community assemblage metrics:

  1. Total taxonomic richness (taxa richness);
  2. Total macroinvertebrate abundance (total abundance);
  3. Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera (EPT) richness;
  4. EPT abundance;
  5. Simpson’s diversity; and
  6. Simpson’s evenness for periods prior to and following restoration.

A significant decrease in one or more metric values in the period following stream channel restoration was the basis for determining impairment to the macroinvertebrate communities in Silver Creek.

Comparison of pre-restoration (2001–13) and post‑restoration (2016) macroinvertebrate community composition at trend sites determined that no significant decreases occurred in any metric parameter for communities sampled in 2016. Taxa and EPT richness of colonized assemblages at synoptic sites increased significantly from pre-restoration in 2013 to post-restoration in 2015 and 2016. Similarly, total and EPT abundances at synoptic sites showed non-significant increases from 2013 to 2015 and 2016. Significant seasonal differences in macroinvertebrate assemblages were apparent at synoptic site locations and likely reflected typical life-history patterns of increased insect emergence and development in the late spring and early summer months. Taxa and EPT richness were each significantly higher in spring and summer than in autumn, and total abundances were significantly higher in spring than in summer and autumn. No significant differences in community diversity or evenness of colonized communities were noted at synoptic site locations between pre- and post-restoration years or among seasons. Select community-metric results from the trend- and synopticsite sampling indicated that the Silver Creek restoration effort in 2014 did not result in a significant decline in resident macroinvertebrate communities.

Geology and assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Zyryanka Basin Province, 2008

Released November 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Professional Paper 1824-X

Timothy Klett, Janet Pitman

T.E. Moore, D.L. Gautier, editor(s)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently assessed the potential for undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Zyryanka Basin Province as part of the 2008 USGS Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal program. The province is in the Russian Federation and is situated on the Omolon superterrane of the Kolyma block. The one assessment unit (AU) that was defined for this study, called the Zyryanka Basin AU, which coincides with the province, was assessed for undiscovered, technically recoverable, conventional resources. The estimated mean volumes of undiscovered resources in the Zyryanka Basin Province are ~72 million barrels of crude oil, 2,282 billion cubic feet of natural gas, and 61 million barrels of natural-gas liquids. About 66 percent of the study area and undiscovered petroleum resources are north of the Arctic Circle.

Geology and assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Lena-Vilyui Basin Province, 2008

Released November 22, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Professional Paper 1824-V

Timothy Klett, Janet Pitman

T.E. Moore, D.L. Gautier, editor(s)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently assessed the potential for undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Lena-Vilyui Basin Province, north of the Arctic Circle, as part of the Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal program. The province is in the Russian Federation and is situated between the Verkhoyansk fold-and-thrust belt and the Siberian craton. The one assessment unit (AU) defined for this study—the Northern Priverkhoyansk Foredeep AU—was assessed for undiscovered, technically recoverable resources. The estimated mean volumes of undiscovered resources for the Northern Priverkhoyansk Foredeep in the Lena-Vilyui Basin Province are ~400 million barrels of crude oil, 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 40 million barrels of natural-gas liquids, practically all (99.49 percent) of which is north of the Arctic Circle.

Vaccine effects on heterogeneity in susceptibility and implications for population health management

Released November 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, mBio (8) 1-13

Kate E. Langwig, Andrew R. Wargo, Darbi R. Jones, Jessie R. Viss, Barbara J. Rutan, Nicholas A. Egan, Pedro Sá-Guimarães, Min Sun Kim, Gael Kurath, M. Gabriela M. Gomes, Marc Lipsitch

Shweta Bansal, Melinda M. Pettigrew, editor(s)

Heterogeneity in host susceptibility is a key determinant of infectious disease dynamics but is rarely accounted for in assessment of disease control measures. Understanding how susceptibility is distributed in populations, and how control measures change this distribution, is integral to predicting the course of epidemics with and without interventions. Using multiple experimental and modeling approaches, we show that rainbow trout have relatively homogeneous susceptibility to infection with infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus and that vaccination increases heterogeneity in susceptibility in a nearly all-or-nothing fashion. In a simple transmission model with an R0 of 2, the highly heterogeneous vaccine protection would cause a 35 percentage-point reduction in outbreak size over an intervention inducing homogenous protection at the same mean level. More broadly, these findings provide validation of methodology that can help to reduce biases in predictions of vaccine impact in natural settings and provide insight into how vaccination shapes population susceptibility.

Timing of warm water refuge use in Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge by manatees—Results and insights from Global Positioning System telemetry data

Released November 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1146

Daniel H. Slone, Susan M. Butler, James P. Reid, Catherine G. Haase

Managers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge (CRNWR) desire to update their management plan regarding the operation of select springs including Three Sisters Springs. They wish to refine existing parameters used to predict the presence of federally threatened Trichechus manatus latirostris (Florida manatee) in the springs and thereby improve their manatee management options. The U.S. Geological Survey Sirenia Project has been tracking manatees in the CRNWR area since 2006 with floating Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite-monitored telemetry tags. Analyzing movements of these tagged manatees will provide valuable insight into their habitat use patterns.

A total of 136 GPS telemetry bouts were available for this project, representing 730,009 locations generated from 40 manatees tagged in the Gulf of Mexico north of Tampa, Florida. Dates from October through March were included to correspond to the times that cold ambient temperatures were expected, thus requiring a need for manatee thermoregulation and a physiologic need for warm water. Water level (tide) and water temperatures were obtained for the study from Salt River, Crystal River mouth, Bagley Cove, Kings Bay mouth, and Magnolia Spring. Polygons were drawn to subdivide the manatee locations into areas around the most-used springs (Three Sisters/Idiots Delight, House/Hunter/Jurassic, Magnolia and King), Kings Bay, Crystal/Salt Rivers and the Gulf of Mexico.

Manatees were found in the Crystal or Salt Rivers or in the Gulf of Mexico when ambient temperatures were warmer (>20 °C), while they were found in or near the springs (especially Three Sisters Springs) at colder ambient water temperatures. There was a trend of manatees entering springs early in the morning and leaving in the afternoon. There was a strong association of manatee movements in and out of the Three Sisters/Idiots Delight polygon with tide cycles: manatees were more likely to enter the Three Sisters/Idiots Delight polygon on an incoming tide, and leave the polygon on an outgoing tide. Both movement directions were associated with midtide. Future analysis will incorporate human activity and a finer spatial scale, including movements between Three Sisters Springs and Idiots Delight and nearby canals.

The U.S. Geological Survey Peak-Flow File Data Verification Project, 2008–16

Released November 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5119

Karen R. Ryberg, Burl B. Goree, Tara Williams-Sether, Robert R. Mason Jr.

Annual peak streamflow (peak flow) at a streamgage is defined as the maximum instantaneous flow in a water year. A water year begins on October 1 and continues through September 30 of the following year; for example, water year 2015 extends from October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2015. The accuracy, characterization, and completeness of the peak streamflow data are critical in determining flood-frequency estimates that are used daily to design water and transportation infrastructure, delineate flood-plain boundaries, and regulate development and utilization of lands throughout the United States and are essential to understanding the implications of climate and land-use change on flooding and high-flow conditions.

As of November 14, 2016, peak-flow data existed for 27,240 unique streamgages in the United States and its territories. The data, collectively referred to as the “peak-flow file,” are available as part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) public web interface, the National Water Information System, at https://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/peak. Although the data have been routinely subjected to periodic review by the USGS Office of Surface Water and screening at the USGS Water Science Center level, these data were not reviewed in a national, systematic manner until 2008 when automated scripts were developed and applied to detect potential errors in peak-flow values and their associated dates, gage heights, and peak-flow qualification codes, as well as qualification codes associated with the gage heights. USGS scientists and hydrographers studied the resulting output, accessed basic records and field notes, and corrected observed errors or, more commonly, confirmed existing data as correct.

This report summarizes the changes in peak-flow file data at a national level, illustrates their nature and causation, and identifies the streamgages affected by these changes. Specifically, the peak-flow data were compared for streamgages with peak flow measured as of November 19, 2008 (before the automated scripts were widely applied) and on November 14, 2016 (after several rounds of corrections). There were 659,332 peak-flow values in the 2008 dataset and 731,965 peak-flow values in the 2016 dataset. When compared to the 2016 dataset, 5,179 (0.79 percent) peak-flow values had changed; 36,506 (5.54 percent) of the peak-flow qualification codes had changed; 1,938 (0.29 percent) peak-flow dates had changed; 18,599 (2.82 percent) of the peak-flow gage heights had changed; and 20,683 (3.14 percent) of the gage-height qualification codes had changed—most as a direct result of the peak-flow file data verification effort led by USGS personnel. The various types of changes are summarized and mapped in this report. In addition to this report, a corresponding USGS data release is provided to identify changes in peak flows at individual streamgages. The data release and the procedures to access the data release are described in this report.

Data from exploratory sampling of groundwater in selected oil and gas areas of coastal Los Angeles County and Kern and Kings Counties in southern San Joaquin Valley, 2014–15: California oil, gas, and groundwater project

Released November 21, 2017 00:00 EST

2016, Open-File Report 2016-1181

David B. Dillon, Tracy A. Davis, Matthew K. Landon, Michael T. Land, Michael T. Wright, Justin T. Kulongoski

Exploratory sampling of groundwater in coastal Los Angeles County and Kern and Kings Counties of the southern San Joaquin Valley was done by the U.S. Geological Survey from September 2014 through January 2015 as part of the California State Water Resources Control Board’s Water Quality in Areas of Oil and Gas Production Regional Groundwater Monitoring Program. The Regional Groundwater Monitoring Program was established in response to the California Senate Bill 4 of 2013 mandating that the California State Water Resources Control Board design and implement a groundwater-monitoring program to assess potential effects of well-stimulation treatments on groundwater resources in California. The U.S. Geological Survey is in cooperation with the California State Water Resources Control Board to collaboratively implement the Regional Groundwater Monitoring Program through the California Oil, Gas, and Groundwater Project. Many researchers have documented the utility of different suites of chemical tracers for evaluating the effects of oil and gas development on groundwater quality. The purpose of this exploratory sampling effort was to determine whether tracers reported in the literature could be used effectively in California. This reconnaissance effort was not designed to assess the effects of oil and gas on groundwater quality in the sampled areas. A suite of water-quality indicators and geochemical tracers were sampled at groundwater sites in selected areas that have extensive oil and gas development. Groundwater samples were collected from a total of 51 wells, including 37 monitoring wells at 17 multiple-well monitoring sites in coastal Los Angeles County and 5 monitoring wells and 9 water-production wells in southern San Joaquin Valley, primarily in Kern and Kings Counties. Groundwater samples were analyzed for field waterquality indicators; organic constituents, including volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds and dissolved organic carbon indicators; naturally present inorganic constituents, including trace elements, nutrients, major and minor ions, and iron species; naturally present stable and radioactive isotopes; dissolved noble gases; dissolved standard and hydrocarbon gases, δ13C of methane, ethane, and δ2 H of methane. In total, 249 constituents and water-quality indicators were measured. Four types of quality-control samples (blanks, replicates, matrix spikes, and surrogates spiked in environmental and blank samples) were collected at approximately 10 percent of the wells. The quality-control data were used to determine whether the groundwater-sample data were of sufficient quality for the measured analytes to be used as potential indicators of oil and gas effects. The data from the 51 groundwater samples and from the quality-control samples are presented in this report.

A Holocene record of ocean productivity and upwelling from the northern California continental slope

Released November 20, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Quaternary International

Jason A. Addison, John A. Barron, Bruce P. Finney, Jennifer E. Kusler, David Bukry, Linda E. Heusser, Clark R. Alexander

The Holocene upwelling history of the northern California continental slope is examined using the high-resolution record of TN062-O550 (40.9°N, 124.6°W, 550 m water depth). This 7-m-long marine sediment core spans the last ∼7500 years, and we use it to test the hypothesis that marine productivity in the California Current System (CCS) driven by coastal upwelling has co-varied with Holocene millennial-scale warm intervals. A combination of biogenic sediment concentrations (opal, total organic C, and total N), stable isotopes (organic matter δ13C and bulk sedimentary δ15N), and key microfossil indicators of upwelling were used to test this hypothesis. The record of biogenic accumulation in TN062-O550 shows considerable Holocene variability despite being located within 50 km of the mouth of the Eel River, which is one of the largest sources of terrigenous sediment to the Northeast Pacific Ocean margin. A key time interval beginning at ∼2900 calibrated years before present (cal yr BP) indicates the onset of modern upwelling in the CCS, and this period also corresponds to the most intense period of upwelling in the last 7500 years. When these results are placed into a regional CCS context during the Holocene, it was found that the timing of upwelling intensification at TN062-O550 corresponds closely to that seen at nearby ODP Site 1019, as well as in the Santa Barbara Basin of southern California. Other CCS records with less refined age control show similar results, which suggest late Holocene upwelling intensification may be synchronous throughout the CCS. Based on the strong correspondence between the alkenone sea surface temperature record at ODP Site 1019 and the onset of late Holocene upwelling in northern California, we suggest that CCS warming may be conducive to upwelling intensification, though future changes are unclear as the mechanisms forcing SST variability may differ.

Intraspecific evolutionary relationships among peregrine falcons in western North American high latitudes

Released November 20, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, PLoS ONE (12) 1-25

Sandra Talbot, Kevin Sage, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Meg C. Gravley, Ted Swem, Jeffrey C. Williams, Jonathan L. Longmire, Skip Ambrose, Melanie J Flamme, Stephen B. Lewis, Laura M. Phillips, Clifford Anderson, Clayton M White

Subspecies relationships within the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) have been long debated because of the polytypic nature of melanin-based plumage characteristics used in subspecies designations and potential differentiation of local subpopulations due to philopatry. In North America, understanding the evolutionary relationships among subspecies may have been further complicated by the introduction of captive bred peregrines originating from non-native stock, as part of recovery efforts associated with mid 20th century population declines resulting from organochloride pollution. Alaska hosts all three nominal subspecies of North American peregrine falcons–F. p. tundrius, anatum, and pealei–for which distributions in Alaska are broadly associated with nesting locales within Arctic, boreal, and south coastal maritime habitats, respectively. Unlike elsewhere, populations of peregrine falcon in Alaska were not augmented by captive-bred birds during the late 20th century recovery efforts. Population genetic differentiation analyses of peregrine populations in Alaska, based on sequence data from the mitochondrial DNA control region and fragment data from microsatellite loci, failed to uncover genetic distinction between populations of peregrines occupying Arctic and boreal Alaskan locales. However, the maritime subspecies, pealei, was genetically differentiated from Arctic and boreal populations, and substructured into eastern and western populations. Levels of interpopulational gene flow between anatum and tundrius were generally higher than between pealei and either anatum or tundrius. Estimates based on both marker types revealed gene flow between augmented Canadian populations and unaugmented Alaskan populations. While we make no attempt at formal taxonomic revision, our data suggest that peregrine falcons occupying habitats in Alaska and the North Pacific coast of North America belong to two distinct regional groupings–a coastal grouping (pealei) and a boreal/Arctic grouping (currently anatum and tundrius)–each comprised of discrete populations that are variously intra-regionally connected.

Waterbird communities and seed biomass in managed and reference-restored wetlands in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

Released November 20, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Restoration Ecology

Jessica L. Tapp, Matthew M. Weegman, Elisabeth B. Webb, Richard M. Kaminski, J. Brian Davis

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) commenced the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (MBHI) in summer 2010 after the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The MBHI enrolled in the program 193,000 ha of private wet- and cropland inland from potential oil-impaired wetlands. We evaluated waterfowl and other waterbird use and potential seed/tuber food resources in NRCS Wetland Reserve Program easement wetlands managed via MBHI funding and associated reference wetlands in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri. In Louisiana and Mississippi, nearly three times more dabbling ducks and all ducks combined were observed on managed than reference wetlands. Shorebirds and waterbirds other than waterfowl were nearly twice as abundant on managed than referenced wetlands. In Arkansas and Missouri, managed wetlands had over twice more dabbling ducks and nearly twice as many duck species than reference wetlands. Wetlands managed via MBHI in Mississippi and Louisiana contained ≥1.3 times more seed and tuber biomass known to be consumed by waterfowl than reference wetlands. Seed and tuber resources did not differ between wetlands in Arkansas and Missouri. While other studies have documented greater waterbird densities on actively than nonmanaged wetlands, our results highlighted the potential for initiatives focused on managing conservation easements to increase waterbird use and energetic carrying capacity of restored wetlands for waterbirds.

An expert elicitation process to project the frequency and magnitude of Florida manatee mortality events caused by red tide (Karenia brevis)

Released November 20, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1132

Julien Martin, Michael C. Runge, Leanne J. Flewelling, Charles J. Deutsch, Jan H. Landsberg

Red tides (blooms of the harmful alga Karenia brevis) are one of the major sources of mortality for the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), especially in southwest Florida. It has been hypothesized that the frequency and severity of red tides may increase in the future because of global climate change and other factors. To improve our ecological forecast for the effects of red tides on manatee population dynamics and long-term persistence, we conducted a formal expert judgment process to estimate probability distributions for the frequency and relative magnitude of red-tide-related manatee mortality (RTMM) events over a 100-year time horizon in three of the four regions recognized as manatee management units in Florida. This information was used to update a population viability analysis for the Florida manatee (the Core Biological Model). We convened a panel of 12 experts in manatee biology or red-tide ecology; the panel met to frame, conduct, and discuss the elicitation. Each expert provided a best estimate and plausible low and high values (bounding a confidence level of 80 percent) for each parameter in each of three regions (Northwest, Southwest, and Atlantic) of the subspecies’ range (excluding the Upper St. Johns River region) for two time periods (0−40 and 41−100 years from present). We fitted probability distributions for each parameter, time period, and expert by using these three elicited values. We aggregated the parameter estimates elicited from individual experts and fitted a parametric distribution to the aggregated results.

Across regions, the experts expected the future frequency of RTMM events to be higher than historical levels, which is consistent with the hypothesis that global climate change (among other factors) may increase the frequency of red-tide blooms. The experts articulated considerable uncertainty, however, about the future frequency of RTMM events. The historical frequency of moderate and intense RTMM (combined) in the Southwest region was 0.35 (80-percent confidence interval [CI]: 0.21−0.52), whereas the forecast probability was 0.48 (80-percent CI: 0.30−0.64) over a 40-year projected time horizon. Moderate and intense RTMM events are expected to continue to be most frequent in the Southwest region, to increase in mean frequency in the Northwest region (historical frequency of moderate and intense RTMM events [combined] in the Northwest region was 0, whereas the forecast probability was 0.12 [80-percent CI: 0.02−0.39] over a 40-year projected time horizon) and in the Atlantic region (historical frequency of moderate and intense RTMM events [combined] in the Atlantic region was 0.05 [80-percent CI: 0.005–0.18], whereas the forecast probability was 0.11 [80-percent CI: 0.03−0.25] over a 40-year projected time horizon), and to remain absent from the Upper St. Johns River region.

The impact of red-tide blooms on manatee mortality has been measured for the Southwest region but not for the Northwest and Atlantic regions, where such events have been rare. The expert panel predicted that the median magnitude of RTMM events in the Atlantic and Northwest regions will be much smaller than that in the Southwest; given the large uncertainties, however, they acknowledged the possibility that these events could be larger in their mortality impacts than in the Southwest region.

By its nature, forecasting requires expert judgment because it is impossible to have empirical evidence about the future. The large uncertainties in parameter estimates over a 100-year timeframe are to be expected and may also indicate that the training provided to panelists successfully minimized one common pitfall of expert judgment, that of overconfidence. This study has provided useful and needed inputs to the Florida manatee population viability analysis associated with an important and recurrent source of mortality from harmful algal blooms.

Geologic field-trip guide to the volcanic and hydrothermal landscape of the Yellowstone Plateau

Released November 20, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5022-P

Lisa Ann Morgan Morzel, W. C. Pat Shanks, Jacob B. Lowenstern, Jamie M. Farrell, Joel E. Robinson

Yellowstone National Park, a nearly 9,000 km2 (~3,468 mi2) area, was preserved in 1872 as the world’s first national park for its unique, extraordinary, and magnificent natural features. Rimmed by a crescent of older mountainous terrain, Yellowstone National Park has at its core the Quaternary Yellowstone Plateau, an undulating landscape shaped by forces of late Cenozoic explosive and effusive volcanism, on-going tectonism, glaciation, and hydrothermal activity. The Yellowstone Caldera is the centerpiece of the Yellowstone Plateau. 

The Yellowstone Plateau lies at the most northeastern front of the 17-Ma Yellowstone hot spot track, one of the few places on Earth where time-transgressive processes on continental crust can be observed in the volcanic and tectonic (faulting and uplift) record at the rate and direction predicted by plate motion. 

Over six days, this field trip presents an intensive overview into volcanism, tectonism, and hydrothermal activity on the Yellowstone Plateau (fig. 1). Field stops are linked directly to conceptual models related to monitoring of the various volcanic, geochemical, hydrothermal, and tectonic aspects of the greater Yellowstone system. Recent interest in young and possible future volcanism at Yellowstone as well as new discoveries and synthesis of previous studies, (for example, tomographic, deformation, gas, aeromagnetic, bathymetric, and seismic surveys), provide a framework in which to discuss volcanic, hydrothermal, and seismic activity in this dynamic region.

Characteristics of peak streamflows and extent of inundation in areas of West Virginia and southwestern Virginia affected by flooding, June 2016

Released November 17, 2017 14:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1140

Samuel H. Austin, Kara M. Watson, R. Russell Lotspeich, Stephen J. Cauller, Jeremy S. White , Shaun M. Wicklein

Heavy rainfall occurred across central and southern West Virginia in June 2016 as a result of repeated rounds of torrential thunderstorms. The storms caused major flooding and flash flooding in central and southern West Virginia with Kanawha, Fayette, Nicholas, and Greenbrier Counties among the hardest hit. Over the duration of the storms, from 8 to 9.37 inches of rain was reported in areas in Greenbrier County. Peak streamflows were the highest on record at 7 locations, and streamflows at 18 locations ranked in the top five for the period of record at U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging stations used in this study. Following the storms, U.S. Geological Survey hydrographers identified and documented 422 high-water marks in West Virginia, noting location and height of the water above land surface. Many of these high-water marks were used to create flood-inundation maps for selected communities of West Virginia that experienced flooding in June 2016. Digital datasets of the inundation areas, mapping boundaries, and water depth rasters are available online.

Geologic map of the upper Arkansas River valley region, north-central Colorado

Released November 17, 2017 12:30 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Map 3382

Karl S. Kellogg, Ralph R. Shroba, Chester A. Ruleman, Robert G. Bohannon, William C. McIntosh, Wayne R. Premo, Michael A. Cosca, Richard J. Moscati, Theodore R. Brandt

This 1:50,000-scale U.S. Geological Survey geologic map represents a compilation of the most recent geologic studies of the upper Arkansas River valley between Leadville and Salida, Colorado. The valley is structurally controlled by an extensional fault system that forms part of the prominent northern Rio Grande rift, an intra-continental region of crustal extension. This report also incorporates new detailed geologic mapping of previously poorly understood areas within the map area and reinterprets previously studied areas. The mapped region extends into the Proterozoic metamorphic and intrusive rocks in the Sawatch Range west of the valley and the Mosquito Range to the east. Paleozoic rocks are preserved along the crest of the Mosquito Range, but most of them have been eroded from the Sawatch Range. Numerous new isotopic ages better constrain the timing of both Proterozoic intrusive events, Late Cretaceous to early Tertiary intrusive events, and Eocene and Miocene volcanic episodes, including widespread ignimbrite eruptions. The uranium-lead ages document extensive about 1,440-million years (Ma) granitic plutonism mostly north of Buena Vista that produced batholiths that intruded an older suite of about 1,760-Ma metamorphic rocks and about 1,700-Ma plutonic rocks. As a result of extension during the Neogene and possibly latest Paleogene, the graben underlying the valley is filled with thick basin-fill deposits (Dry Union Formation and older sediments), which occupy two sub-basins separated by a bedrock high near the town of Granite. The Dry Union Formation has undergone deep erosion since the late Miocene or early Pliocene. During the Pleistocene, ongoing steam incision by the Arkansas River and its major tributaries has been interrupted by periodic aggradation. From Leadville south to Salida as many as seven mapped alluvial depositional units, which range in age from early to late Pleistocene, record periodic aggradational events along these streams that are commonly associated with deposition of glacial outwash or bouldery glacial-flood deposits. Many previously unrecognized Neogene and Quaternary faults, some of the latter with possible Holocene displacement, have been identified on lidar (light detection and ranging) imagery which covers 59 percent of the map area. This imagery has also permitted more accurate remapping of glacial, fluvial, and mass-movement deposits and aided in the determination of their relative ages. Recently published 10beryllium cosmogenic surface-exposure ages, coupled with our new geologic mapping, have revealed the timing and rates of late Pleistocene deglaciation. Glacial dams that impounded the Arkansas River at Clear Creek and possibly at Pine Creek failed at least three times during the middle and late Pleistocene, resulting in catastrophic floods and deposition of enormous boulders and bouldery alluvium downstream; at least two failures occurred during the late Pleistocene during the Pinedale glaciation.

Mineral supply for sustainable development requires resource governance

Released November 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Nature (543) 367-372

Saleem H. Ali, Damien Giurco, Nicholas Arndt, Edmund Nickless, Graham Brown, Alecos Demetriades, Ray Durrheim, Maria Amélia Enriquez, Judith Kinnaird, Anna Littleboy, Lawrence D. Meinert, Roland Oberhänsli, Janet Salem, Richard Schodde, Gabi Schneider, Olivier Vidal, Natalia Yakovleva

Successful delivery of the United Nations sustainable development goals and implementation of the Paris Agreement requires technologies that utilize a wide range of minerals in vast quantities. Metal recycling and technological change will contribute to sustaining supply, but mining must continue and grow for the foreseeable future to ensure that such minerals remain available to industry. New links are needed between existing institutional frameworks to oversee responsible sourcing of minerals, trajectories for mineral exploration, environmental practices, and consumer awareness of the effects of consumption. Here we present, through analysis of a comprehensive set of data and demand forecasts, an interdisciplinary perspective on how best to ensure ecologically viable continuity of global mineral supply over the coming decades.

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans and the risk of a second amphibian pandemic

Released November 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, EcoHealth

Tiffany A. Yap, Natalie Nguyen, Megan Serr, Alex Shepak, Vance Vredenburg

Amphibians are experiencing devastating population declines globally. A major driver is chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease caused by the fungal pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). Bdwas described in 1999 and has been linked with declines since the 1970s, while Bsal is a more recently discovered pathogen that was described in 2013. It is hypothesized that Bsaloriginated in Asia and spread via international trade to Europe, where it has been linked to salamander die-offs. Trade in live amphibians thus represents a significant threat to global biodiversity in amphibians. We review the current state of knowledge regarding Bsal and describe the risk of Bsal spread. We discuss regional responses to Bsal and barriers that impede a rapid, coordinated global effort. The discovery of a second deadly emerging chytrid fungal pathogen in amphibians poses an opportunity for scientists, conservationists, and governments to improve global biosecurity and further protect humans and wildlife from a growing number of emerging infectious diseases.

Hatching success and predation of Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) eggs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Released November 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Chelonian Conservation and Biology

Robert T. Zappalorti, Annalee M. Tutterow, Shannon E. Pittman, Jeffrey E. Lovich

Nest-site selection by most turtles affects the survival of females and their offspring. Although bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) do not typically leave their wetlands for nesting, nest-site selection can impact hatching success and hatchling survival. Between 1974 and 2012, we monitored the fates of 258 bog turtle eggs incubated in the field and 91 eggs incubated under laboratory conditions from 11 different bogs, fens, or wetland complexes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Laboratory-incubated eggs exhibited the greatest hatching success (81%), but we did not detect a significant difference in hatching success between nests protected with predator excluder cages (43%) and unprotected nests (33%). However, we found significantly lower predation rates in protected nests, suggesting that while predator excluder cages successfully reduced predation, other environmental factors persisted to reduce egg survival in the field. Natural hatching success was potentially reduced by poor weather conditions, which may have resulted in embryo developmental problems, dehydration, or embryos drowning in the egg. Our results suggest that egg depredation, coupled with embryo developmental problems and infertility, are limiting factors to hatching success in our study populations. Using predator excluder cages to protect bog turtle eggs in the field, or incubating eggs in the laboratory and releasing hatchlings at original nesting areas, may be an effective conservation tool for recovering populations of this federally threatened species.

A spatial approach to combatting wildlife crime

Released November 17, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Conservation Biology

Sally C. Faulkner, Michael C.A. Stevens, Stephanie Romanach, Peter A. Lindsey, Steven C. LeComber

Poaching can have devastating impacts on animal and plant numbers, and in many countries has reached crisis levels, with illegal hunters employing increasingly sophisticated techniques. Here, we show how geographic profiling – a mathematical technique originally developed in criminology and recently applied to animal foraging and epidemiology – can be adapted for use in investigations of wildlife crime, using data from an eight-year study in Savé Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe that in total includes more than 10,000 incidents of illegal hunting and the deaths of 6,454 wild animals. Using a subset of these data for which the illegal hunters’ identities are known, we show that the model can successfully identify the illegal hunters’ home villages using the spatial locations of hunting incidences (for example, snares) as input, and show how this can be improved by manipulating the probability surface inside the Conservancy to reflect the fact that – although the illegal hunters mostly live outside the Conservancy, the majority of hunting occurs inside (in criminology, ‘commuter crime’). The results of this analysis – combined with rigorous simulations – show for the first time how geographic profiling can be combined with GIS data and applied to situations with more complex spatial patterns – for example, where landscape heterogeneity means that some parts of the study area are unsuitable (e.g. aquatic areas for terrestrial animals, or vice versa), or where landscape permeability differs (for example, forest bats tending not to fly over open areas). More broadly, these results show how geographic profiling can be used to target anti-poaching interventions more effectively and more efficiently, with important implications for the development of management strategies and conservation plans in a range of conservation scenarios.

Assessment of undiscovered resources in calcrete uranium deposits, Southern High Plains region of Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, 2017

Released November 16, 2017 18:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3078

Susan M. Hall, Mark J. Mihalasky, Bradley S. Van Gosen

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates a mean of 40 million pounds of in-place uranium oxide (U3O8) remaining as potential undiscovered resources in the Southern High Plains region of Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. This estimate used a geology-based assessment method specific to calcrete uranium deposits.

Bedrock geology and hydrostratigraphy of the Edwards and Trinity aquifers within the Driftwood and Wimberley 7.5-minute quadrangles, Hays and Comal Counties, Texas

Released November 16, 2017 17:30 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Map 3386

Allan K. Clark, Robert R. Morris

The Edwards and Trinity aquifers are major sources of water in south-central Texas and are both classified as major aquifers by the State of Texas. The population in Hays and Comal Counties is rapidly growing, increasing demands on the area’s water resources. To help effectively manage the water resources in the area, refined maps and descriptions of the geologic structures and hydrostratigraphic units of the aquifers are needed. This report presents the detailed 1:24,000-scale bedrock hydrostratigraphic map as well as names and descriptions of the geologic and hydrostratigraphic units of the Driftwood and Wimberley 7.5-minute quadrangles in Hays and Comal Counties, Tex.

Hydrostratigraphically, the rocks exposed in the study area represent a section of the upper confining unit to the Edwards aquifer, the Edwards aquifer, the upper zone of the Trinity aquifer, and the middle zone of the Trinity aquifer. In the study area, the Edwards aquifer is composed of the Georgetown Formation and the rocks forming the Edwards Group. The Trinity aquifer is composed of the rocks forming the Trinity Group. The Edwards and Trinity aquifers are karstic with high secondary porosity along bedding and fractures. The Del Rio Clay is a confining unit above the Edwards aquifer and does not supply appreciable amounts of water to wells in the study area.

The hydrologic connection between the Edwards and Trinity aquifers and the various hydrostratigraphic units is complex because the aquifer system is a combination of the original Cretaceous depositional environment, bioturbation, primary and secondary porosity, diagenesis, and fracturing of the area from Miocene faulting. All of these factors have resulted in development of modified porosity, permeability, and transmissivity within and between the aquifers. Faulting produced highly fractured areas which allowed for rapid infiltration of water and subsequently formed solutionally enhanced fractures, bedding planes, channels, and caves that are highly permeable and transmissive. Because of faulting the juxtaposition of the aquifers and hydrostratigraphic units has resulted in areas of interconnectedness between the Edwards and Trinity aquifers and the various hydrostratigraphic units that form the aquifers.

Multi-model comparison highlights consistency in predicted effect of warming on a semi-arid shrub

Released November 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Global Change Biology

Katherine M. Renwick, Caroline Curtis, Andrew R. Kleinhesselink, Daniel R. Schlaepfer, Bethany A. Bradley, Cameron Aldridge, Benjamin Poulter, Peter B. Adler

A number of modeling approaches have been developed to predict the impacts of climate change on species distributions, performance, and abundance. The stronger the agreement from models that represent different processes and are based on distinct and independent sources of information, the greater the confidence we can have in their predictions. Evaluating the level of confidence is particularly important when predictions are used to guide conservation or restoration decisions. We used a multi-model approach to predict climate change impacts on big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), the dominant plant species on roughly 43 million hectares in the western United States and a key resource for many endemic wildlife species. To evaluate the climate sensitivity of A. tridentata, we developed four predictive models, two based on empirically derived spatial and temporal relationships, and two that applied mechanistic approaches to simulate sagebrush recruitment and growth. This approach enabled us to produce an aggregate index of climate change vulnerability and uncertainty based on the level of agreement between models. Despite large differences in model structure, predictions of sagebrush response to climate change were largely consistent. Performance, as measured by change in cover, growth, or recruitment, was predicted to decrease at the warmest sites, but increase throughout the cooler portions of sagebrush's range. A sensitivity analysis indicated that sagebrush performance responds more strongly to changes in temperature than precipitation. Most of the uncertainty in model predictions reflected variation among the ecological models, raising questions about the reliability of forecasts based on a single modeling approach. Our results highlight the value of a multi-model approach in forecasting climate change impacts and uncertainties and should help land managers to maximize the value of conservation investments.

Development of microsatellite loci exhibiting reverse ascertainment bias and a sexing marker for use in Emperor Geese (Chen canagica)

Released November 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Avian Biology Research (10) 201-210

Meg C. Gravley, George K. Sage, Joel A. Schmutz, Sandra Talbot

The Alaskan population of Emperor Geese (Chen canagica) nests on the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta in western Alaska. Numbers of Emperor Geese in Alaska declined from the 1960s to the mid-1980s and since then, their numbers have slowly increased. Low statistical power of microsatellite loci developed in other waterfowl species and used in previous studies of Emperor Geese are unable to confidently assign individual identity. Microsatellite loci for Emperor Goose were therefore developed using shotgun amplification and next-generation sequencing technology. Forty-one microsatellite loci were screened and 14 were found to be polymorphic in Emperor Geese. Only six markers – a combination of four novel loci and two loci developed in other waterfowl species – are needed to identify an individual from among the Alaskan Emperor Goose population. Genetic markers for identifying sex in Emperor Geese were also developed. The 14 novel variable loci and 15 monomorphic loci were screened for polymorphism in four other Arctic-nesting goose species, Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans), Greater White-fronted (Anser albifrons), Canada (B. canadensis) and Cackling (B. hutchinsii) Goose. Emperor Goose exhibited the smallest average number of alleles (3.3) and the lowest expected heterozygosity (0.467). Greater White-fronted Geese exhibited the highest average number of alleles (4.7) and Cackling Geese the highest expected heterozygosity (0.599). Six of the monomorphic loci were variable and able to be characterised in the other goose species assayed, a predicted outcome of reverse ascertainment bias. These findings fail to support the hypothesis of ascertainment bias due to selection of microsatellite markers.

The Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) for the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

Released November 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Space Science Reviews (212) 1897-1944

N. Thomas, G. Cremonese, R. Ziethe, M. Gerber, M. Brändli, G. Bruno, M. Erismann, L. Gambicorti, T. Gerber, K. Ghose, M. Gruber, P. Gubler, H. Mischler, J. Jost, D. Piazza, A. Pommerol, M. Rieder, V. Roloff, A. Servonet, W. Trottmann, T. Uthaicharoenpong, C. Zimmermann, D. Vernani, M. Johnson, E. Pelò, T. Weigel, J. Viertl, N. De Roux, P. Lochmatter, G. Sutter, A. Casciello, T. Hausner, I. Ficai Veltroni, V. Da Deppo, P. Orleanski, W. Nowosielski, T. Zawistowski, S. Szalai, B. Sodor, S. Tulyakov, G. Troznai, M. Banaskiewicz, J.C. Bridges, S. Byrne, S. Debei, M. R. El-Maarry, E. Hauber, C.J. Hansen, A. Ivanov, L. Keszthelyil, Randolph L. Kirk, R. Kuzmin, N. Mangold, L. Marinangeli, W. J. Markiewicz, M. Massironi, A.S. McEwen, Chris H. Okubo, L.L. Tornabene, P. Wajer, J.J. Wray

The Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) is the main imaging system onboard the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) which was launched on 14 March 2016. CaSSIS is intended to acquire moderately high resolution (4.6 m/pixel) targeted images of Mars at a rate of 10–20 images per day from a roughly circular orbit 400 km above the surface. Each image can be acquired in up to four colours and stereo capability is foreseen by the use of a novel rotation mechanism. A typical product from one image acquisition will be a 9.5 km×45 km9.5 km×∼45 km swath in full colour and stereo in one over-flight of the target thereby reducing atmospheric influences inherent in stereo and colour products from previous high resolution imagers. This paper describes the instrument including several novel technical solutions required to achieve the scientific requirements.

Persistent shoreline shape induced from offshore geologic framework: Effects of shoreface connected ridges

Released November 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans

Ilgar Safak, Jeffrey List, John C. Warner, William C. Schwab

Mechanisms relating offshore geologic framework to shoreline evolution are determined through geologic investigations, oceanographic deployments, and numerical modeling. Analysis of shoreline positions from the past 50 years along Fire Island, New York, a 50 km long barrier island, demonstrates a persistent undulating shape along the western half of the island. The shelf offshore of these persistent undulations is characterized with shoreface-connected sand ridges (SFCR) of a similar alongshore length scale, leading to a hypothesis that the ridges control the shoreline shape through the modification of flow. To evaluate this, a hydrodynamic model was configured to start with the US East Coast and scale down to resolve the Fire Island nearshore. The model was validated using observations along western Fire Island and buoy data, and used to compute waves, currents and sediment fluxes. To isolate the influence of the SFCR on the generation of the persistent shoreline shape, simulations were performed with a linearized nearshore bathymetry to remove alongshore transport gradients associated with shoreline shape. The model accurately predicts the scale and variation of the alongshore transport that would generate the persistent shoreline undulations. In one location, however, the ridge crest connects to the nearshore and leads to an offshore-directed transport that produces a difference in the shoreline shape. This qualitatively supports the hypothesized effect of cross-shore fluxes on coastal evolution. Alongshore flows in the nearshore during a representative storm are driven by wave breaking, vortex force, advection and pressure gradient, all of which are affected by the SFCR.

Estimating disperser abundance using open population models that incorporate data from continuous detection PIT arrays

Released November 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Maria C. Dzul, Charles B. Yackulic, Josh Korman

Autonomous passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag antenna systems continuously detect individually marked organisms at one or more fixed points over long time periods. Estimating abundance using data from autonomous antennae can be challenging, because these systems do not detect unmarked individuals. Here we pair PIT antennae data from a tributary with mark-recapture sampling data in a mainstem river to estimate the number of fish moving from the mainstem to the tributary. We then use our model to estimate abundance of non-native rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss that move from the Colorado River to the Little Colorado River (LCR), the latter of which is important spawning and rearing habitat for federally-endangered humpback chub Gila cypha. We estimate 226 rainbow trout (95% CI: 127-370) entered the LCR from October 2013-April 2014. We discuss the challenges of incorporating detections from autonomous PIT antenna systems into mark-recapture population models, particularly in regards to using information about spatial location to estimate movement and detection probabilities.

Late Quaternary uplift along the North America-Caribbean plate boundary: Evidence from the sea level record of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Released November 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Quaternary Science Reviews (178) 54-76

Daniel Muhs, Eugene S. Schweig, Kathleen Simmons, Robert B. Halley

The tectonic setting of the North America-Caribbean plate boundary has been studied intensively, but some aspects are still poorly understood, particularly along the Oriente fault zone. Guantanamo Bay, southern Cuba, is considered to be on a coastline that is under a transpressive tectonic regime along this zone, and is hypothesized to have a low uplift rate. We tested this by studying emergent reef terrace deposits around the bay. Reef elevations in the protected, inner part of the bay are ∼11–12 m and outer-coast, wave-cut benches are as high as ∼14 m. Uranium-series analyses of corals yield ages ranging from ∼133 ka to ∼119 ka, correlating this reef to the peak of the last interglacial period, marine isotope stage (MIS) 5.5. Assuming a span of possible paleo-sea levels at the time of the last interglacial period yields long-term tectonic uplift rates of 0.02–0.11 m/ka, supporting the hypothesis that the tectonic uplift rate is low. Nevertheless, on the eastern and southern coasts of Cuba, east and west of Guantanamo Bay, there are flights of multiple marine terraces, at higher elevations, that could record a higher rate of uplift, implying that Guantanamo Bay may be anomalous. Southern Cuba is considered to have experienced a measurable but modest effect from glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) processes. Thus, with a low uplift rate, Guantanamo Bay should show no evidence of emergent marine terraces dating to the ∼100 ka (MIS 5.3) or ∼80 ka (MIS 5.1) sea stands and results of the present study support this.

Behavioral response of giant gartersnakes (Thamnophis gigas) to the relative availability of aquatic habitat on the landscape

Released November 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1141

Gabriel A. Reyes, Brian J. Halstead, Jonathan P. Rose, Julia S. M. Ersan, Anna C. Jordan, Allison M. Essert, Kristen J. Fouts, Alexandria M. Fulton, K. Benjamin Gustafson, Raymond F. Wack, Glenn D. Wylie, Michael L. Casazza

Most extant giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas) populations persist in an agro-ecosystem dominated by rice, which serves as a surrogate to the expansive marshes lost to flood control projects and development of the Great Central Valley of California. Knowledge of how giant gartersnakes use the rice agricultural landscape, including how they respond to fallowing, idling, or crop rotations, would greatly benefit conservation of giant gartersnakes by informing more snake-friendly land and water management practices. We studied adult giant gartersnakes at 11 sites in the rice-growing regions of the Sacramento Valley during an extended drought in California to evaluate their response to differences in water availability at the site and individual levels. Although our study indicated that giant gartersnakes make little use of rice fields themselves, and avoid cultivated rice relative to its availability on the landscape, rice is a crucial component of the modern landscape for giant gartersnakes. Giant gartersnakes are strongly associated with the canals that supply water to and drain water from rice fields; these canals provide much more stable habitat than rice fields because they maintain water longer and support marsh-like conditions for most of the giant gartersnake active season. Nonetheless, our results suggest that maintaining canals without neighboring rice fields would be detrimental to giant gartersnake populations, with decreases in giant gartersnake survival rates associated with less rice production in the surrounding landscape. Increased productivity of prey populations, dispersion of potential predators across a larger landscape, and a more secure water supply are just some of the mechanisms by which rice fields might benefit giant gartersnakes in adjacent canals. Results indicate that identifying how rice benefits giant gartersnakes in canals and the extent to which the rice agro-ecosystem could provide these benefits when rice is fallowed would inform the use of water for other purposes without harm to giant gartersnakes. Our study also suggests that without such understanding, maintaining rice and associated canals in the Sacramento Valley is critical for the sustainability of giant gartersnake populations.

Suitability of river delta sediment as proppant, Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, Nebraska and South Dakota, 2015

Released November 16, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5105

Ronald B. Zelt, Christopher M. Hobza, Bethany L. Burton, Nathaniel J. Schaepe, Nadine Piatak

Sediment management is a challenge faced by reservoir managers who have several potential options, including dredging, for mitigation of storage capacity lost to sedimentation. As sediment is removed from reservoir storage, potential use of the sediment for socioeconomic or ecological benefit could potentially defray some costs of its removal. Rivers that transport a sandy sediment load will deposit the sand load along a reservoir-headwaters reach where the current of the river slackens progressively as its bed approaches and then descends below the reservoir water level. Given a rare combination of factors, a reservoir deposit of alluvial sand has potential to be suitable for use as proppant for hydraulic fracturing in unconventional oil and gas development. In 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey began a program of researching potential sources of proppant sand from reservoirs, with an initial focus on the Missouri River subbasins that receive sand loads from the Nebraska Sand Hills. This report documents the methods and results of assessments of the suitability of river delta sediment as proppant for a pilot study area in the delta headwaters of Lewis and Clark Lake, Nebraska and South Dakota. Results from surface-geophysical surveys of electrical resistivity guided borings to collect 3.7-meter long cores at 25 sites on delta sandbars using the direct-push method to recover duplicate, 3.8-centimeter-diameter cores in April 2015. In addition, the U.S. Geological Survey collected samples of upstream sand sources in the lower Niobrara River valley.

At the laboratory, samples were dried, weighed, washed, dried, and weighed again. Exploratory analysis of natural sand for determining its suitability as a proppant involved application of a modified subset of the standard protocols known as American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommended Practice (RP) 19C. The RP19C methods were not intended for exploration-stage evaluation of raw materials. Results for the washed samples are not directly applicable to evaluations of suitability for use as fracture sand because, except for particle-size distribution, the API-recommended practices for assessing proppant properties (sphericity, roundness, bulk density, and crush resistance) require testing of specific proppant size classes. An optical imaging particle-size analyzer was used to make measurements of particle-size distribution and particle shape. Measured samples were sieved to separate the dominant-size fraction, and the separated subsample was further tested for roundness, sphericity, bulk density, and crush resistance.

For the bulk washed samples collected from the Missouri River delta, the geometric mean size averaged 0.27 millimeters (mm), 80 percent of the samples were predominantly sand in the API 40/70 size class, and 17 percent were predominantly sand in the API 70/140 size class. Distributions of geometric mean size among the four sandbar complexes were similar, but samples collected from sandbar complex B were slightly coarser sand than those from the other three complexes. The average geometric mean sizes among the four sandbar complexes ranged only from 0.26 to 0.30 mm. For 22 main-stem sampling locations along the lower Niobrara River, geometric mean size averaged 0.26 mm, an average of 61 percent was sand in the API 40/70 size class, and 28 percent was sand in the API 70/140 size class. Average composition for lower Niobrara River samples was 48 percent medium sand, 37 percent fine sand, and about 7 percent each very fine sand and coarse sand fractions. On average, samples were moderately well sorted.

Particle shape and strength were assessed for the dominant-size class of each sample. For proppant strength, crush resistance was tested at a predetermined level of stress (34.5 megapascals [MPa], or 5,000 pounds-force per square inch). To meet the API minimum requirement for proppant, after the crush test not more than 10 percent of the tested sample should be finer than the precrush dominant-size class. For particle shape, all samples surpassed the recommended minimum criteria for sphericity and roundness, with most samples being well-rounded.

For proppant strength, of 57 crush-resistance tested Missouri River delta samples of 40/70-sized sand, 23 (40 percent) were interpreted as meeting the minimum criterion at 34.5 MPa, or 5,000 pounds-force per square inch. Of 12 tested samples of 70/140-sized sand, 9 (75 percent) of the Missouri River delta samples had less than 10 percent fines by volume following crush testing, achieving the minimum criterion at 34.5 MPa. Crush resistance for delta samples was strongest at sandbar complex A, where 67 percent of tested samples met the 10-percent fines criterion at the 34.5-MPa threshold. This frequency was higher than was indicated by samples from sandbar complexes B, C, and D that had rates of 50, 46, and 42 percent, respectively. The group of sandbar complex A samples also contained the largest percentages of samples dominated by the API 70/140 size class, which overall had a higher percentage of samples meeting the minimum criterion compared to samples dominated by coarser size classes; however, samples from sandbar complex A that had the API 40/70 size class tested also had a higher rate for meeting the minimum criterion (57 percent) than did samples from sandbar complexes B, C, and D (50, 43, and 40 percent, respectively). 

For samples collected along the lower Niobrara River, of the 25 tested samples of 40/70-sized sand, 9 samples passed the API minimum criterion at 34.5 MPa, but only 3 samples passed the more-stringent criterion of 8 percent postcrush fines. All four tested samples of 70/140 sand passed the minimum criterion at 34.5 MPa, with postcrush fines percentage of at most 4.1 percent.

For two reaches of the lower Niobrara River, where hydraulic sorting was energized artificially by the hydraulic head drop at and immediately downstream from Spencer Dam, suitability of channel deposits for potential use as fracture sand was confirmed by test results. All reach A washed samples were well-rounded and had sphericity scores above 0.65, and samples for 80 percent of sampled locations met the crush-resistance criterion at the 34.5-MPa stress level. A conservative lower-bound estimate of sand volume in the reach A deposits was about 86,000 cubic meters. All reach B samples were well-rounded but sphericity averaged 0.63, a little less than the average for upstream reaches A and SP. All four samples tested passed the crush-resistance test at 34.5 MPa. Of three reach B sandbars, two had no more than 3 percent fines after the crush test, surpassing more stringent criteria for crush resistance that accept a maximum of 6 percent fines following the crush test for the API 70/140 size class.

Relative to the crush-resistance test results for the API 40/70 size fraction of two samples of mine output from Loup River settling-basin dredge spoils near Genoa, Nebr., four of five reach A sample locations compared favorably. The four samples had increases in fines composition of 1.6–5.9 percentage points, whereas fines in the two mine-output samples increased by an average 6.8 percentage points.

Influences of landscape heterogeneity on home-range sizes of brown bears

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2018, Mammalian Biology (88) 1-7

Lindsey S. Mangipane, Jerrold L. Belant, Tim L. Hiller, Michael E. Colvin, David Gustine, Buck A. Mangipane, Grant Hilderbrand

Animal space use is influenced by many factors and can affect individual survival and fitness. Under optimal foraging theory, individuals use landscapes to optimize high-quality resources while minimizing the amount of energy used to acquire them. The spatial resource variability hypothesis states that as patchiness of resources increases, individuals use larger areas to obtain the resources necessary to meet energetic requirements. Additionally, under the temporal resource variability hypothesis, seasonal variation in available resources can reduce distances moved while providing a variety of food sources. Our objective was to determine if seasonal home ranges of brown bears (Ursus arctos) were influenced by temporal availability and spatial distribution of resources and whether individual reproductive status, sex, or size (i.e., body mass) mediated space use. To test our hypotheses, we radio collared brown bears (n = 32 [9 male, 23 female]) in 2014–2016 and used 18 a prioriselected linear models to evaluate seasonal utilization distributions (UD) in relation to our hypotheses. Our top-ranked model by AICc, supported the spatial resource variability hypothesis and included percentage of like adjacency (PLADJ) of all cover types (P < 0.01), reproductive class (P > 0.17 for males, solitary females, and females with dependent young), and body mass (kg; P = 0.66). Based on this model, for every percentage increase in PLADJ, UD area was predicted to increase 1.16 times for all sex and reproductive classes. Our results suggest that landscape heterogeneity influences brown bear space use; however, we found that bears used larger areas when landscape homogeneity increased, presumably to gain a diversity of food resources. Our results did not support the temporal resource variability hypothesis, suggesting that the spatial distribution of food was more important than seasonal availability in relation to brown bear home range size.

Monitoring gas and heat emissions at Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, USA based on a combined eddy covariance and Multi-GAS approach

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (347) 312-326

Jennifer L. Lewicki, Peter Kelly, Deborah Bergfeld, R. Greg Vaughan, Jacob B. Lowenstern

We quantified gas and heat emissions in an acid-sulfate, vapor-dominated area (0.04-km2) of Norris Geyser Basin, located just north of the 0.63 Ma Yellowstone Caldera and near an area of anomalous uplift. From 14 May to 3 October 2016, an eddy covariance system measured half-hourly CO2, H2O and sensible (H) and latent (LE) heat fluxes and a Multi-GAS instrument measured (1 Hz frequency) atmospheric H2O, CO2 and H2S volumetric mixing ratios. We also measured soil CO2 fluxes using the accumulation chamber method and temperature profiles on a grid and collected fumarole gas samples for geochemical analysis. Eddy covariance CO2 fluxes ranged from − 56 to 885 g m− 2 d− 1. Using wavelet analysis, average daily eddy covariance CO2 fluxes were locally correlated with average daily environmental parameters on several-day to monthly time scales. Estimates of CO2emission rate from the study area ranged from 8.6 t d− 1 based on eddy covariance measurements to 9.8 t d− 1 based on accumulation chamber measurements. Eddy covariance water vapor fluxes ranged from 1178 to 24,600 g m− 2 d− 1. Nighttime H and LEwere considered representative of hydrothermal heat fluxes and ranged from 4 to 183 and 38 to 504 W m− 2, respectively. The total hydrothermal heat emission rate (H + LE + radiant) estimated for the study area was 11.6 MW and LE contributed 69% of the output. The mean ± standard deviation of H2O, CO2 and H2S mixing ratios measured by the Multi-GAS system were 9.3 ± 3.1 parts per thousand, 467 ± 61 ppmv, and 0.5 ± 0.6 ppmv, respectively, and variations in the gas compositions were strongly correlated with diurnal variations in environmental parameters (wind speed and direction, atmospheric temperature). After removing ambient H2O and CO2, the observed variations in the Multi-GAS data could be explained by the mixing of relatively H2O-CO2-H2S-rich fumarole gases with CO2-rich and H2O-H2S-poor soil gases. The fumarole H2O/CO2 and CO2/H2S end member ratios (101.7 and 27.1, respectively, on average) were invariant during the measurement period and fell within the range of values measured in direct fumarole gas samples. The soil gas H2O/CO2end member ratios (~ 15–30) were variable and low relative to the fumarole end member, likely resulting from water vapor loss during cooling and condensation in the shallow subsurface, whereas the CO2/H2S end member ratio was high (~ 160), presumably related to transport of CO2-dominated soil gas emissions mixed with trace fumarolic emissions to the Multi-GAS station. Nighttime eddy covariance ratios of H2O to CO2 flux were typically between the soil gas and fumarole end member H2O/CO2 ratios defined by Multi-GAS measurements. Overall, the combined eddy covariance and Multi-GAS approach provides a powerful tool for quasi-continuous measurements of gas and heat emissions for improved volcano-hydrothermal monitoring.

Introduction to the 2008 Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA) professional paper

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Professional Paper 1824-A

Donald L. Gautier, Thomas E. Moore

T.E. Moore, D.L. Gautier, editor(s)

The amount of yet-to-find oil and gas in the high northern latitudes is one of the great uncertainties of future energy supply. The possibility of extensive new petroleum developments in the Arctic Ocean is of interest to the Arctic nations, to petroleum companies, and to those concerned with the delicate and changing Arctic environment. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 2008 Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA) had the express purpose of conducting a geologically based assessment of undiscovered petroleum north of the Arctic Circle, thereby providing an initial evaluation of resource potential. 

The 2008 Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Professional Paper 1824

Thomas E. Moore, Donald L. Gautier, editor(s)

Professional Paper 1824 comprises 30 chapters by various U.S. Geological Survey authors, including introduction and methodology chapters, which together provide documentation of the geological basis and methodology of the 2008 Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal, results of which were first released in August 2008.  Twenty-eight chapters summarize the petroleum geology and resource potential of individual, geologically defined provinces north of the Arctic Circle, including those of northern Alaska, northern Canada, east and west Greenland, and most of Arctic Russia, as well as certain offshore areas of the north Atlantic Basin and the Polar Sea. Appendixes tabulate the input and output information used during the assessment.

Stormwater management network effectiveness and implications for urban watershed function: A critical review

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Hydrological Processes (31) 4056-4080

Anne J. Jefferson, Aditi S. Bhaskar, Kristina G. Hopkins, Rosemary Fanelli, Pedro M. Avellaneda, Sara K. McMillan

Deleterious effects of urban stormwater are widely recognized. In several countries, regulations have been put into place to improve the conditions of receiving water bodies, but planning and engineering of stormwater control is typically carried out at smaller scales. Quantifying cumulative effectiveness of many stormwater control measures on a watershed scale is critical to understanding how small-scale practices translate to urban river health. We review 100 empirical and modelling studies of stormwater management effectiveness at the watershed scale in diverse physiographic settings. Effects of networks with stormwater control measures (SCMs) that promote infiltration and harvest have been more intensively studied than have detention-based SCM networks. Studies of peak flows and flow volumes are common, whereas baseflow, groundwater recharge, and evapotranspiration have received comparatively little attention. Export of nutrients and suspended sediments have been the primary water quality focus in the United States, whereas metals, particularly those associated with sediments, have received greater attention in Europe and Australia. Often, quantifying cumulative effects of stormwater management is complicated by needing to separate its signal from the signal of urbanization itself, innate watershed characteristics that lead to a range of hydrologic and water quality responses, and the varying functions of multiple types of SCMs. Biases in geographic distribution of study areas, and size and impervious surface cover of watersheds studied also limit our understanding of responses. We propose hysteretic trajectories for how watershed function responds to increasing imperviousness and stormwater management. Even where impervious area is treated with SCMs, watershed function may not be restored to its predevelopment condition because of the lack of treatment of all stormwater generated from impervious surfaces; non-additive effects of individual SCMs; and persistence of urban effects beyond impervious surfaces. In most cases, pollutant load decreases largely result from run-off reductions rather than lowered solute or particulate concentrations. Understanding interactions between natural and built landscapes, including stormwater management strategies, is critical for successfully managing detrimental impacts of stormwater at the watershed scale.

Nesting ecology of grassland birds following a wildfire in the southern Great Plains

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Southwestern Naturalist (62) 39-45

Anthony J. Roberts, Clint W. Boal, Heather A. Whitlaw

We studied the response of nesting grassland birds occupying short-grass and mixed-grass prairie sites 2 and 3 y following two, large-scale wildfires that burned ≥360,000 ha in the Texas Panhandle in March 2006. Nest success was greater on burned plots compared to unburned plots, though this varied by species and year. Woody vegetation cover was greater around nests on unburned plots compared to burned plots for Cassin's sparrow (Peucaea cassinii) and lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus). Cassin's sparrows and lark sparrows nested in more-woody vegetation than did grasshopper sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum), and woody vegetation was reduced following the wildfires. The wildfires appear to have had few if any negative influences on the avian community 3 years postfire. This may be due to grassland breeding birds being adapted to landscapes in which, historically, periodic disturbance (e.g., wildfire, intensive grazing by bison [Bison bison]) resulted in vegetation heterogeneity.

Future soil moisture and temperature extremes imply expanding suitability for rainfed agriculture in temperate drylands

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Reports (7)

John B. Bradford, Daniel R. Schlaepfer, William K. Lauenroth, Charles B. Yackulic, Michael C. Duniway, Sonia A. Hall, Gensuo Jia, Khishigbayar Jamiyansharav, Seth M. Munson, Scott D. Wilson, Britta Tietjen

The distribution of rainfed agriculture is expected to respond to climate change and human population growth. However, conditions that support rainfed agriculture are driven by interactions among climate, including climate extremes, and soil moisture availability that have not been well defined. In the temperate regions that support much of the world’s agriculture, these interactions are complicated by seasonal temperature fluctuations that can decouple climate and soil moisture. Here, we show that suitability to support rainfed agriculture can be effectively represented by the interactive effects of just two variables: suitability increases where warm conditions occur with wet soil, and suitability decreases with extreme high temperatures. 21st century projections based on ecohydrological modeling of downscaled climate forecasts imply geographic shifts and overall increases in the area suitable for rainfed agriculture in temperate regions, especially at high latitudes, and pronounced, albeit less widespread, declines in suitable areas in low latitude drylands, especially in Europe. These results quantify the integrative direct and indirect impact of rising temperatures on rainfed agriculture.

Comparing catchment hydrologic response to a regional storm using specific conductivity sensors

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Hydrological Processes (31) 1074-1085

Ashley Inserillo, Mark B. Green, James B. Shanley, Joseph Boyer

A better understanding of stormwater generation and solute sources is needed to improve the protection of aquatic ecosystems, infrastructure, and human health from large runoff events. Much of our understanding of water and solutes produced during stormflow comes from studies of individual, small headwater catchments. This study compared many different types of catchments during a single large event to help isolate landscape controls on streamwater and solute generation, including human-impacted land cover. We used a distributed network of specific electrical conductivity sensors to trace storm response during the post-tropical cyclone Sandy event of October 2012 at 29 catchments across the state of New Hampshire. A citizen science sensor network, Lotic Volunteer for Temperature, Electrical Conductivity, and Stage, provided a unique opportunity to investigate high-temporal resolution stream behavior at a broad spatial scale. Three storm response metrics were analyzed in this study: (a) fraction of new water contributing to the hydrograph; (b) presence of first flush (mobilization of solutes during the beginning of the rain event); and (c) magnitude of first flush. We compared new water and first flush to 64 predictor attributes related to land cover, soil, topography, and precipitation. The new water fraction was positively correlated with low and medium intensity development in the catchment and riparian buffers and with the precipitation from a rain event 9 days prior to Sandy. The presence of first flush was most closely related (positively) to soil organic matter. Magnitude of first flush was not strongly related to any of the catchment variables. Our results highlight the potentially important role of human landscape modification in runoff generation at multiple spatial scales and the lack of a clear role in solute flushing. Further development of regional-scale in situ sensor networks will provide better understanding of stormflow and solute generation across a wide range of landscape conditions.

Investigating the influence of nitrate nitrogen on post-smolt Atlantic salmon Salmo salar reproductive physiology in water recirculation aquaculture systems

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Aquacultural Engineering (78) 2-8

Christopher Good, John Davidson, Luke Iwanowicz, Michael T. Meyer, Julie E. Dietze, Dana W. Kolpin, David Marancik, Jill Birkett, Christina Williams, Steven T. Summerfelt

A major issue affecting land-based, closed containment Atlantic salmon Salmo salar growout production in water recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS) is precocious male maturation, which can negatively impact factors such as feed conversion, fillet yield, and product quality. Along with other water quality parameters, elevated nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) has been shown to influence the reproductive development and endogenous sex steroid production in a number of aquatic animal species, including Atlantic salmon. We sought to determine whether elevated NO3-N in RAS can influence early maturation in post-smolt Atlantic salmon in an 8-month trial in replicated freshwater RAS. Post-smolt Atlantic salmon (102 ± 1 g) were stocked into six RAS, with three RAS randomly selected for dosing with high NO3-N (99 ± 1 mg/L) and three RAS set for low NO3-N (10 ± 0 mg/L). At 2-, 4-, 6-, and 8-months post-stocking, 5 fish were randomly sampled from each RAS, gonadosomatic index(GSI) data were collected, and plasma was sampled for 11-ketotestosterone(11-KT) quantification. At 4- and 8-months post-stocking, samples of culture tank and spring water (used as “makeup” or replacement water) were collected and tested for a suite of 42 hormonally active compounds using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, as well as for estrogenicity using the bioluminescent yeast estrogen screen (BLYES) reporter system. Finally, at 8-months post-stocking 8–9 salmon were sampled from each RAS for blood gas and chemistry analyses, and multiple organ tissues were sampled for histopathology evaluation. Overall, sexually mature males were highly prevalent in both NO3-N treatment groups by study’s end, and there did not appear to be an effect of NO3-N on male maturation prevalence based on grilse identification, GSI, and 11-KT results, indicating that other culture parameters likely instigated early maturation. No important differences were noted between treatment groups for whole blood gas and chemistry parameters, and no significant tissue changes were noted on histopathology. No hormones, hormone conjugates, or mycotoxins were detected in any water samples; phytoestrogens were generally detected at low levels but were unrelated to NO3-N treatment. Finally, low-level estrogenicity was detected in RAS water, but a NO3-N treatment effect could not be determined. The major findings of this study are i) the NO3-N treatments did not appear to be related to the observed male maturation, and ii) the majority of hormonally active compounds were not detectable in RAS water.

The efficacy of combined educational and site management actions in reducing off-trail hiking in an urban-proximate protected area

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Environmental Management (203) 17-28

Karen Hockett, Jeff Marion, Yu-Fai Leung

Park and protected area managers are tasked with protecting natural environments, a particularly daunting challenge in heavily visited urban-proximate areas where flora and fauna are already stressed by external threats. In this study, an adaptive management approach was taken to reduce extensive off-trail hiking along a popular trail through an ecologically diverse and significant area in the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park near Washington DC. Substantial amounts of off-trail hiking there had created an extensive 16.1 km network of informal (visitor-created) trails on a 39 ha island in the Potomac Gorge. A research design with additive treatments integrating educational and site management actions was applied and evaluated using self-reported behavior from an on-site visitor survey and unobtrusive observations of off-trail hiking behavior at two locations along the trail. Study treatments included: 1) trailhead educational signs developed using attribution theory and injunctive-proscriptive wording, 2) symbolic “no hiking” prompter signs attached to logs placed across all informal trails, 3) placement of concealing leaf litter and small branches along initial sections of informal trails, 4) restoration work on selected trails with low fencing, and 5) contact with a trail steward to personally communicate the trailhead sign information. The final, most comprehensive treatment reduced visitor-reported intentional off-trail hiking from 70.3% to 43.0%. Direct observations documented reduction in off-trail hiking from 25.9% to 2.0%. The educational message and site management actions both contributed to the decline in off-trail travel and the two evaluation methods enhanced our ability to describe the efficacy of the different treatments in reducing off-trail travel.

Geoelectric monitoring at the Boulder magnetic observatory

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems (6) 447-452

Cletus Blum, Tim White, Edward A. Sauter, Duff Stewart, Paul A. Bedrosian, Jeffrey J. Love

Despite its importance to a range of applied and fundamental studies, and obvious parallels to a robust network of magnetic-field observatories, long-term geoelectric field monitoring is rarely performed. The installation of a new geoelectric monitoring system at the Boulder magnetic observatory of the US Geological Survey is summarized. Data from the system are expected, among other things, to be used for testing and validating algorithms for mapping North American geoelectric fields. An example time series of recorded electric and magnetic fields during a modest magnetic storm is presented. Based on our experience, we additionally present operational aspects of a successful geoelectric field monitoring system.

Enhanced Arctic amplification began at the Mid-Brunhes Event 430,000 years ago

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Scientific Reports (7)

Thomas M. Cronin, Gary S. Dwyer, Emma Caverly, Jesse Farmer, Lauren H. DeNinno, Julio Rodriguez-Lazaro, Laura Gemery

Arctic Ocean temperatures influence ecosystems, sea ice, species diversity, biogeochemical cycling, seafloor methane stability, deep-sea circulation, and CO2 cycling. Today's Arctic Ocean and surrounding regions are undergoing climatic changes often attributed to "Arctic amplification" - that is, amplified warming in Arctic regions due to sea-ice loss and other processes, relative to global mean temperature. However, the long-term evolution of Arctic amplification is poorly constrained due to lack of continuous sediment proxy records of Arctic Ocean temperature, sea ice cover and circulation. Here we present reconstructions of Arctic Ocean intermediate depth water (AIW) temperatures and sea-ice cover spanning the last ~ 1.5 million years (Ma) of orbitally-paced glacial/interglacial cycles (GIC). Using Mg/Ca paleothermometry of the ostracode Krithe and sea-ice planktic and benthic indicator species, we suggest that the Mid-Brunhes Event (MBE), a major climate transition ~ 400-350 ka, involved fundamental changes in AIW temperature and sea-ice variability. Enhanced Arctic amplification at the MBE suggests a major climate threshold was reached at ~ 400 ka involving Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), inflowing warm Atlantic Layer water, ice sheet, sea-ice and ice-shelf feedbacks, and sensitivity to higher post-MBE interglacial CO2 concentrations.

Geology and assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Timan-Pechora Basin Province, Russia, 2008

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Professional Paper 1824-N

Christopher J. Schenk

T.E. Moore, D.L. Gautier, editor(s)

The Timan-Pechora Basin Province is a triangular area that represents the northeasternmost cratonic block of east European Russia. A 75-year history of petroleum exploration and production in the area there has led to the discovery of more than 16 billion barrels of oil (BBO) and 40 trillion cubic feet of gas (TCFG). Three geologic assessment units (AUs) were defined for assessing the potential for undiscovered oil and gas resources in the province: (1) the Northwest Izhma Depression AU, which includes all potential structures and reservoirs that formed in the northwestern part of the Izhma-Pechora Depression, although this part of the basin contains only sparse source and reservoir rocks and so was not assessed quantitatively; (2) the Main Basin Platform AU, which includes all potential structures and reservoirs that formed in the central part of the basin, where the tectonic and petroleum system evolution was complex; and (3) the Foredeep Basins AU, which includes all potential structures and reservoirs that formed within the thick sedimentary section of the foredeep basins west of the Uralian fold and thrust belt during the Permian and Triassic Uralian orogeny.

For the Timan-Pechora Basin Province, the estimated means of undiscovered resources are 3.3 BBO, 17 TCFG, and 0.3 billion barrels of natural-gas liquids (BBNGL). For the AU areas north of the Arctic Circle in the province, the estimated means of undiscovered resources are 1.7 BBO, 9.0 TCFG, and 0.2 BBNGL. These assessment results indicate that exploration in the Timan-Pechora Basin Province is at a mature level.

Methodology for assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources for the 2008 Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Professional Paper 1824-B

Ronald R. Charpentier

T.E. Moore, D.L. Gautier, editor(s)

The methodological procedures used in the geologic assessments of the 2008 Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA) were based largely on the methodology developed for the 2000 U.S. Geological Survey World Petroleum Assessment. The main variables were probability distributions for numbers and sizes of undiscovered accumulations with an associated risk of occurrence. The CARA methodology expanded on the previous methodology in providing additional tools and procedures more applicable to the many Arctic basins that have little or no exploration history. Most importantly, geologic analogs from a database constructed for this study were used in many of the assessments to constrain numbers and sizes of undiscovered oil and gas accumulations.

Geology and assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the North Kara Basins and Platforms Province, 2008

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Professional Paper 1824-P

Timothy R. Klett, Janet K. Pitman

T.E. Moore, D.L. Gautier, editor(s)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently assessed the potential for undiscovered oil and gas resources of the North Kara Basins and Platforms Province as part of the its Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal. This geologic province is north of western Siberia, Russian Federation, in the North Kara Sea between Novaya Zemlya to the west and Severnaya Zemlya to the east. One assessment unit (AU) was defined, the North Kara Basins and Platforms AU, which coincides with the geologic province. This AU was assessed for undiscovered, technically recoverable resources. The total estimated mean volumes of undiscovered petroleum resources in the province are ~1.8 billion barrels of crude oil, ~15.0 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and ~0.4 billion barrels of natural-gas liquids, all north of the Arctic Circle.

Geology and Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the East Barents Basins Province and the Novaya Zemlya Basins and Admiralty Arch Province, 2008

Released November 15, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Professional Paper 1824-O

Timothy R. Klett

T.E. Moore, D.L. Gautier, editor(s)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently assessed the potential for undiscovered petroleum resources of the East Barents Basins Province and the Novaya Zemlya Basins and Admiralty Arch Province as part of its Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal. These two provinces are situated northeast of Scandinavia and the northwestern Russian Federation, on the Barents Sea Shelf between Novaya Zemlya to the east and the Barents Platform to the west. Three assessment units (AUs) were defined in the East Barents Basins Province for this study: the Kolguyev Terrace AU, the South Barents and Ludlov Saddle AU, and the North Barents Basin AU. A fourth AU, defined as the Novaya Zemlya Basins and Admiralty Arch AU, coincides with the Novaya Zemlya Basins and Admiralty Arch Province. These four AUs, all lying north of the Arctic Circle, were assessed for undiscovered, technically recoverable resources, resulting in total estimated mean volumes of ~7.4 billion barrels of crude oil, 318 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas, and 1.4 billion barrels of natural-gas liquids.

Virginia flow-ecology modeling results—An initial assessment of flow reduction effects on aquatic biota

Released November 14, 2017 10:30 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1088

Jennifer L. Rapp, Pamela A. Reilly

Background

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), reviewed a previously compiled set of linear regression models to assess their utility in defining the response of the aquatic biological community to streamflow depletion.

As part of the 2012 Virginia Healthy Watersheds Initiative (HWI) study conducted by Tetra Tech, Inc., for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Virginia DEQ, a database with computed values of 72 hydrologic metrics, or indicators of hydrologic alteration (IHA), 37 fish metrics, and 64 benthic invertebrate metrics was compiled and quality assured. Hydrologic alteration was represented by simulation of streamflow record for a pre-water-withdrawal condition (baseline) without dams or developed land, compared to the simulated recent-flow condition (2008 withdrawal simulation) including dams and altered landscape to calculate a percent alteration of flow. Biological samples representing the existing populations represent a range of alteration in the biological community today.

For this study, all 72 IHA metrics, which included more than 7,272 linear regression models, were considered. This extensive dataset provided the opportunity for hypothesis testing and prioritization of flow-ecology relations that have the potential to explain the effect(s) of hydrologic alteration on biological metrics in Virginia streams.

Groundwater-quality data associated with abandoned underground coal mine aquifers in West Virginia, 1973-2016: Compilation of existing data from multiple sources

Released November 14, 2017 10:15 EST

2017, Data Series 1069

Mitchell A. McAdoo, Mark D. Kozar

This report describes a compilation of existing water-quality data associated with groundwater resources originating from abandoned underground coal mines in West Virginia. Data were compiled from multiple sources for the purpose of understanding the suitability of groundwater from abandoned underground coal mines for public supply, industrial, agricultural, and other uses. This compilation includes data collected for multiple individual studies conducted from July 13, 1973 through September 7, 2016. Analytical methods varied by the time period of data collection and requirements of the independent studies.This project identified 770 water-quality samples from 294 sites that could be attributed to abandoned underground coal mine aquifers originating from multiple coal seams in West Virginia.

Bathymetric map and area/capacity table for Castle Lake, Washington

Released November 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Open-File Report 2017-1145

Adam R. Mosbrucker, Kurt R. Spicer

The May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens produced a 2.5-cubic-kilometer debris avalanche that dammed South Fork Castle Creek, causing Castle Lake to form behind a 20-meter-tall blockage. Risk of a catastrophic breach of the newly impounded lake led to outlet channel stabilization work, aggressive monitoring programs, mapping efforts, and blockage stability studies. Despite relatively large uncertainty, early mapping efforts adequately supported several lake breakout models, but have limited applicability to current lake monitoring and hazard assessment. Here, we present the results of a bathymetric survey conducted in August 2012 with the purpose of (1) verifying previous volume estimates, (2) computing an area/capacity table, and (3) producing a bathymetric map. Our survey found seasonal lake volume ranges between 21.0 and 22.6 million cubic meters with a fundamental vertical accuracy representing 0.88 million cubic meters. Lake surface area ranges between 1.13 and 1.16 square kilometers. Relationships developed by our results allow the computation of lake volume from near real-time lake elevation measurements or from remotely sensed imagery.

Modeling the compensatory response of an invasive tree to specialist insect herbivory

Released November 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Biological Control

Bo Zhang, Xin Liu, Don DeAngelis, Lu Zhai, Min B. Rayamajhi, Shu Ju

The severity of the effects of herbivory on plant fitness can be moderated by the ability of plants to compensate for biomass loss. Compensation is an important component of the ecological fitness in many plants, and has been shown to reduce the effects of pests on agricultural plant yields. It can also reduce the effectiveness of biocontrol through introduced herbivores in controlling weedy invasive plants. This study used a modeling approach to predict the effect of different levels of foliage herbivory by biological control agents introduced to control the invasive tree Melaleuca quinquennervia (melaleuca) in Florida. It is assumed in the model that melaleuca can optimally change its carbon and nitrogen allocation strategies in order to compensate for the effects of herbivory. The model includes reallocation of more resources to production and maintenance of photosynthetic tissues at the expense of roots. This compensation is shown to buffer the severity of the defoliation effect, but the model predicts a limit on the maximum herbivory that melaleuca can tolerate and survive. The model also shows that the level of available limiting nutrient (e.g., soil nitrogen) may play an important role in a melaleuca’s ability to compensate for herbivory. This study has management implications for the best ways to maximize the level of damage using biological control or other means of defoliation.

Grooming behaviors of black-tailed prairie dogs are influenced by flea parasitism, conspecifics, and proximity to refuge

Released November 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Ethology (123) 924-932

David A. Eads, Dean E. Biggins, Samantha L. Eads

Grooming is a common animal behavior that aids in ectoparasite defense. Ectoparasites can stimulate grooming, and natural selection can also favor endogenous mechanisms that evoke periodic bouts of “programmed” grooming to dislodge or kill ectoparasites before they bite or feed. Moreover, grooming can function as a displacement or communication behavior. We compared the grooming behaviors of adult female black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) on colonies with or without flea control via pulicide dust. Roughly 91% of the prairie dogs sampled on the non-dusted colony carried at least one flea, whereas we did not find fleas on two dusted colonies. During focal observations, prairie dogs on the non-dusted colony groomed at higher frequencies and for longer durations than prairie dogs on the dusted colonies, lending support to the hypothesis that fleas stimulated grooming. However, the reduced amount of time spent grooming on the dusted colonies suggested that approximately 25% of grooming might be attributed to factors other than direct stimulation from ectoparasites. Non-dusted colony prairie dogs rarely autogroomed when near each other. Dusted colony prairie dogs autogroomed for shorter durations when far from a burrow opening (refuge), suggesting a trade-off between self-grooming and antipredator defense. Allogrooming was detected only on the non-dusted colony and was limited to adult females grooming young pups. Grooming appears to serve an antiparasitic function in C. ludovicianus. Antiparasitic grooming might aid in defense against fleas that transmit the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis. Plague was introduced to North America ca. 1900 and now has a strong influence on most prairie dog populations, suggesting a magnified effect of grooming on prairie dog fitness.

Streamflow conditions along Soldier Creek, Northeast Kansas

Released November 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Fact Sheet 2017-3083

Kyle E. Juracek

The availability of adequate water to meet the present (2017) and future needs of humans, fish, and wildlife is a fundamental issue for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in northeast Kansas. Because Soldier Creek flows through the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Reservation, it is an important tribal resource. An understanding of historical Soldier Creek streamflow conditions is required for the effective management of tribal water resources, including drought contingency planning. Historical data for six selected U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgages along Soldier Creek were used in an assessment of streamflow characteristics and trends by Juracek (2017). Streamflow data for the period of record at each streamgage were used to compute annual mean streamflow, annual mean base flow, mean monthly flow, annual peak flow, and annual minimum flow. Results of the assessment are summarized in this fact sheet.

Predicting intensity of white-tailed deer herbivory in the Central Appalachian Mountains

Released November 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Forestry Research

Andrew B. Kniowski, W. Mark Ford

In eastern North America, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) can have profound influences on forest biodiversity and forest successional processes. Moderate to high deer populations in the central Appalachians have resulted in lower forest biodiversity. Legacy effects in some areas persist even following deer population reductions or declines. This has prompted managers to consider deer population management goals in light of policies designed to support conservation of biodiversity and forest regeneration while continuing to support ample recreational hunting opportunities. However, despite known relationships between herbivory intensity and biodiversity impact, little information exists on the predictability of herbivory intensity across the varied and spatially diverse habitat conditions of the central Appalachians. We examined the predictability of browsing rates across central Appalachian landscapes at four environmental scales: vegetative community characteristics, physical environment, habitat configuration, and local human and deer population demographics. In an information-theoretic approach, we found that a model fitting the number of stems browsed relative to local vegetation characteristics received most (62%) of the overall support of all tested models assessing herbivory impact. Our data suggest that deer herbivory responded most predictably to differences in vegetation quantity and type. No other spatial factors or demographic factors consistently affected browsing intensity. Because herbivory, vegetation communities, and productivity vary spatially, we suggest that effective broad-scale herbivory impact assessment should include spatially-balanced vegetation monitoring that accounts for regional differences in deer forage preference. Effective monitoring is necessary to avoid biodiversity impacts and deleterious changes in vegetation community composition that are difficult to reverse and/or may not be detected using traditional deer-density based management goals.

Novel RAD sequence data reveal a lack of genomic divergence between dietary ecotypes in a landlocked salmonid population

Released November 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Conservation Genetics Resources

Morten T. Limborg, Wesley Larson, Kyle Shedd, Lisa W. Seeb, James E. Seeb

Preservation of heritable ecological diversity within species and populations is a key challenge for managing natural resources and wild populations. Salmonid fish are iconic and socio-economically important species for commercial, aquaculture, and recreational fisheries across the globe. Many salmonids are known to exhibit ecological divergence within species, including distinct feeding ecotypes within the same lakes. Here we used 5559 SNPs, derived from RAD sequencing, to perform population genetic comparisons between two dietary ecotypes of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in Jo-Jo Lake, Alaska (USA). We tested the standing hypothesis that these two ecotypes are currently diverging as a result of adaptation to distinct dietary niches; results support earlier conclusions of a single panmictic population. The RAD sequence data revealed 40 new SNPs not previously detected in the species, and our sequence data can be used in future studies of ecotypic diversity in salmonid species.

Placement of intracoelomic radio transmitters and silicone passive sampling devices in northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens)

Released November 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery (27) 111-115

Taylor Yaw, Jennifer E Swanson, Clay Pierce, Erin L. Muths, Kelly Smalling, Mark Vandever, Bianca Anne Zaffarano

Historically, wetland toxin exposure studies have relied on single time point samples from stationary sampling devices. Development of passive sampling devices (PSDs) that can be attached to individual animals within wetland habitats has greatly improved in recent years, presenting an innovative sampling technology that can potentially yield individual-specific, quantifiable data about chemical exposure. In this study, silicone based PSDs were attached to the ventral skin of 20 northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens) with polypropylene sutures after radio transmitters had been surgically implanted into the coleomic cavity. After a recovery period frogs were released back into the wetland habitat where they were acquired. The animals were located daily using radio telemetry to assess how long PSDs would remain attached in the frogs' natural habitat. After one week, PSDs remained on 18 of the original 20 frogs. At 2 weeks 17 frogs were recovered and no PSDs remained attached. Although valuable data can be obtained over a short time period, more research will be necessary to demonstrate effectiveness of externally attaching silicone PSDs to northern leopard frogs for time periods longer than 1-2 weeks.

Understanding the basis of shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) partial migration in the Gulf of Maine

Released November 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Matthew E. Altenritter, Gayle B. Zydlewski, Michael T. Kinnison, Joseph D. Zydlewski, Gail S. Wippelhauser

Movement of shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) among major river systems in the Gulf of Maine is common and has implications for the management of this endangered species. Directed movements of 61 telemetered individuals monitored between 2010 and 2013 were associated with the river of tagging and individual characteristics. While a small proportion of fish tagged in the Kennebec River moved to the Penobscot River (5%), a much higher proportion of fish tagged in the Penobscot River moved to the Kennebec River (66%), during probable spawning windows. This suggests that Penobscot River fish derive from a migratory contingent within a larger Kennebec River population. Despite this connectivity, fish captured in the Penobscot River were larger (∼100 mm fork length) and had higher condition factors (median Fulton’s K: 0.76) than those captured in the Kennebec River (median Fulton’s K: 0.61). Increased abundance and resource limitation in the Kennebec River may be constraining growth and promoting migration to the Penobscot River by individuals with sufficient initial size and condition. Migrants could experience an adaptive reproductive advantage relative to nonmigratory individuals.

Unexpected stasis in a changing world: Lake nutrient and chlorophyll trends since 1990

Released November 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Global Change Biology (23) 5455-5467

Samantha K. Oliver, Sarah M. Collins, Patricia A. Soranno, Tyler Wagner, Emily H. Stanley, John R. Jones, Craig A. Stow, Noah R. Lottig

The United States (U.S.) has faced major environmental changes in recent decades, including agricultural intensification and urban expansion, as well as changes in atmospheric deposition and climate—all of which may influence eutrophication of freshwaters. However, it is unclear whether or how water quality in lakes across diverse ecological settings has responded to environmental change. We quantified water quality trends in 2913 lakes using nutrient and chlorophyll (Chl) observations from the Lake Multi-Scaled Geospatial and Temporal Database of the Northeast U.S. (LAGOS-NE), a collection of preexisting lake data mostly from state agencies. LAGOS-NE was used to quantify whether lake water quality has changed from 1990 to 2013, and whether lake-specific or regional geophysical factors were related to the observed changes. We modeled change through time using hierarchical linear models for total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), stoichiometry (TN:TP), and Chl. Both the slopes (percent change per year) and intercepts (value in 1990) were allowed to vary by lake and region. Across all lakes, TN declined at a rate of 1.1% year−1, while TP, TN:TP, and Chl did not change. A minority (7%–16%) of individual lakes had changing nutrients, stoichiometry, or Chl. Of those lakes that changed, we found differences in the geospatial variables that were most related to the observed change in the response variables. For example, TN and TN:TP trends were related to region-level drivers associated with atmospheric deposition of N; TP trends were related to both lake and region-level drivers associated with climate and land use; and Chl trends were found in regions with high air temperature at the beginning of the study period. We conclude that despite large environmental change and management efforts over recent decades, water quality of lakes in the Midwest and Northeast U.S. has not overwhelmingly degraded or improved.

The effects of swimming exercise and dissolved oxygen on growth performance, fin condition and precocious maturation of early-rearing Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

Released November 14, 2017 00:00 EST

2017, Aquaculture Research

Thomas Waldrop, Steven T. Summerfelt, Patricia M. Mazik, Christopher Good

Swimming exercise, typically measured in body-lengths per second (BL/s), and dissolved oxygen (DO), are important environmental variables in fish culture. While there is an obvious physiological association between these two parameters, their interaction has not been adequately studied in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Because exercise and DO are variables that can be easily manipulated in modern aquaculture systems, we sought to assess the impact of these parameters, alone and in combination, on the performance, health and welfare of juvenile Atlantic salmon. In our study, Atlantic salmon fry were stocked into 12 circular 0.5 m3 tanks in a flow-through system and exposed to either high (1.5–2 BL/s) or low (<0.5 BL/s) swimming speeding and high (100% saturation) or low (70% saturation) DO while being raised from 10 g to approximately 350 g in weight. Throughout the study period, we assessed the impacts of exercise and DO concentration on growth, feed conversion, survival and fin condition. By study's end, both increased swimming speed and higher DO were independently associated with a statistically significant increase in growth performance (p < .05); however, no significant differences were noted in survival and feed conversion. Caudal fin damage was associated with low DO, while right pectoral fin damage was associated with higher swimming speed. Finally, precocious male sexual maturation was associated with low swimming speed. These results suggest that providing exercise and dissolved oxygen at saturation during Atlantic salmon early rearing can result in improved growth performance and a lower incidence of precocious parr.