Also see Annual Bibliographies of WCS-authored research publications, or search for all WCS research publications in the Publications Database.
WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS, 31 August-6 September 2021
Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 8
Balza, U., R. Brasso, N. A. Lois, K. Pütz and A. Raya Rey (In Press). "The highest mercury concentrations ever reported in a South American bird, the Striated Caracara (Phalcoboenus australis)." Polar Biology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-021-02938-w
Mercury is a widely available pollutant associated with negative effects on wildlife, especially top predators. Here, we characterized the mercury concentrations in feathers of Striated Caracara Phalcoboenus australis on Isla de los Estados (Argentina). With feather mercury levels averaging 26.3 mg/kg, this population has the highest mean feather mercury ever reported for a bird population in South America. We propose that the high mercury concentrations are related to the feeding habits of the species: during feather moult, they are strongly associated with a Southern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome) colony known to be highly exposed to mercury contamination. Our results suggest that this Striated Caracara population should be monitored for acute effects and potential impacts of mercury toxicity.
Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 8
Crouch, E. E. V., C. Hollinger, S. Zec and D. McAloose (Online First). "Fatal Hymenolepis nana cestodiasis in a ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta)." Veterinary Pathology, e03009858211042580. https://doi.org/10.1177/03009858211042580
The cestode Hymenolepis nana is a common parasite of humans and mice. Fecal shedding in the absence of clinical disease has previously been reported in ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). This report describes fatal, disseminated H. nana cestodiasis infection in an aged ring-tailed lemur in a zoological collection. The parasites were associated with severe multifocal to coalescing and regionally extensive pyogranulomatous hepatitis and moderate multifocal pneumonia. The morphology of the parasites was highly unusual. Profiles were variably sized, ellipsoid to irregularly serpiginous, lined by a thin tegument, and filled with lightly eosinophilic fibrillar stroma and numerous, round basophilic cells. Polymerase chain reaction targeting a portion of the 18S rRNA gene and DNA sequencing of the amplicon showed 100% homology with H. nana.
Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 8
Evans, T. D., A. C. Morel, Y. Malhi and J. E. M. Watson (2021). "Editorial: Intact Forests." Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 4, e753786. https://doi.org/10.3389/ffgc.2021.753786
Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 8
Grace, M. K., E. L. Bennett, H. R. Akçakaya et al. (2021). "IUCN launches Green Status of Species: A new standard for species recovery." Oryx 55(5), 651-652. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605321000880
Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 8
Grorud-Colvert, K., J. Sullivan-Stack, C. Roberts, ..., J. Claudet, ..., E. S. Darling et al. (2021). "The MPA Guide: A framework to achieve global goals for the ocean." Science 373(6560), eabf0861. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abf0861
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are conservation tools intended to protect biodiversity, promote healthy and resilient marine ecosystems, and provide societal benefits. Despite codification of MPAs in international agreements, MPA effectiveness is currently undermined by confusion about the many MPA types and consequent wildly differing outcomes. We present a clarifying science-driven framework—The MPA Guide—to aid design and evaluation. The guide categorizes MPAs by stage of establishment and level of protection, specifies the resulting direct and indirect outcomes for biodiversity and human well-being, and describes the key conditions necessary for positive outcomes. Use of this MPA Guide by scientists, managers, policy-makers, and communities can improve effective design, implementation, assessment, and tracking of existing and future MPAs to achieve conservation goals by using scientifically grounded practices.
Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 8
McClanahan, T., V. Munbodhe, J. Naggea, N. Muthiga and R. Bhagooli (Early View). "Rare coral and reef fish species status, possible extinctions, and associated environmental perceptions in Mauritius." Conservation Science and Practice, e527. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.527
Mauritius is reported to have the highest marine species endemism in the Western Indian Ocean faunal Province but the status of these species has not been evaluated. To address this knowledge gap, 119 reef sites were sampled to evaluate populations of 16 species of rare and endemic reef fish and corals using scuba-based surveys conducted by citizen scientists and marine science professionals. Additionally, we interviewed ~1,000 households in 27 coastal villages to determine their perceptions of the environmental concerns and rare and endemic marine species. In general, population numbers of both studied corals and fish were low and distributions were patchy, with little indication that the fisheries management zones were protecting these species. The Mauritian gregory and Mauritian anemonefish were the most abundant species. The Mauritian and Creole damselfishes, which are range-restricted Mascarene endemics, were not observed and potentially extinct. Endemic fish and coral population numbers were higher on the leeward than windward side of the island. The leeward side has higher tourism use and conservation activities that could promote endemic conservation. Environmental concerns of interviewees were high but varied by district and their socioeconomic contexts. Respondents showed an overall concern for the environment and agreed that endemic and rare species had a right to survive. Nevertheless, these rare and endemic coral reef species are threatened by isolation and habitat loss combined with rapid climate and human resource use change. National and district-specific plans of actions could help to secure their futures.
Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 8
Platt, S. G., H. A. Barrett, L. Ash et al. (2021). "Predation on turkey vultures (Cathartes aura): A new observation and review." Journal of Raptor Research 55(3), 455-459. https://doi.org/10.3356/jrr-20-132
Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 8
Roberson, L. A., H. L. Beyer, C. O'Hara, J. E. M. Watson, ..., H. S. Grantham et al. (Early View). "Multinational coordination required for conservation of over 90% of marine species." Global Change Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15844
Marine species are declining at an unprecedented rate, catalyzing many nations to adopt conservation and management targets within their jurisdictions. However, marine species and the biophysical processes that sustain them are naive to international borders. An understanding of the prevalence of cross-border species distributions is important for informing high-level conservation strategies, such as bilateral or regional agreements. Here, we examined 28,252 distribution maps to determine the number and locations of transboundary marine plants and animals. More than 90% of species have ranges spanning at least two jurisdictions, with 58% covering more than 10 jurisdictions. All jurisdictions have at least one transboundary species, with the highest concentrations of transboundary species in the USA, Australia, Indonesia, and the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. Distributions of mapped biodiversity indicate that overcoming the challenges of multinational governance is critical for a much wider suite of species than migratory megavertebrates and commercially exploited fish stocks-the groups that have received the vast majority of multinational management attention. To effectively protect marine biodiversity, international governance mechanisms (particularly those related to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Migratory Species, and Regional Seas Organizations) must be expanded to promote multinational conservation planning, and complimented by a holistic governance framework for biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction.