Research Publications

Since our founding as the New York Zoological Society in 1895, one of WCS’s core strengths has been the quality of our research. Our world-class scientific staff—based in our zoos, aquarium, and conservation programs around the globe—produce hundreds of research publications each year. We use this science to discover and understand the natural world. This knowledge helps us engage and inspire decision-makers, communities, and millions of supporters to take action with us to protect  the wildlife and wild places we all care about.


WCS-authored publications from this year are listed below and updated weekly. For annual bibliographies of WCS-authored publications or to search our database of WCS publications, use the links above. Media inquiries about these and other WCS publications can be directed to WCS Communications staff. For all other inquiries, please contact the WCS Library.




Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 6

Franceschi, I. C., R. A. d. P. Dornas, I. S. Lermen, ..., R. R. Rocha et al. (Early View). "Camera trap surveys of Atlantic Forest mammals: A data set for analyses considering imperfect detection (2004–2020)." Ecology, e4298.

Abstract: Camera traps became the main observational method of a myriad of species over large areas. Data sets from camera traps can be used to describe the patterns and monitor the occupancy, abundance, and richness of wildlife, essential information for conservation in times of rapid climate and land-cover changes. Habitat loss and poaching are responsible for historical population losses of mammals in the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot, especially for medium to large-sized species. Here we present a data set from camera trap surveys of medium to large-sized native mammals (>1 kg) across the Atlantic Forest. We compiled data from 5380 ground-level camera trap deployments in 3046 locations, from 2004 to 2020, resulting in 43,068 records of 58 species. These data add to existing data sets of mammals in the Atlantic Forest by including dates of camera operation needed for analyses dealing with imperfect detection. We also included, when available, information on important predictors of detection, namely the camera brand and model, use of bait, and obstruction of camera viewshed that can be measured from example pictures at each camera location. Besides its application in studies on the patterns and mechanisms behind occupancy, relative abundance, richness, and detection, the data set presented here can be used to study species' daily activity patterns, activity levels, and spatiotemporal interactions between species. Moreover, data can be used combined with other data sources in the multiple and expanding uses of integrated population modeling. An R script is available to view summaries of the data set. We expect that this data set will be used to advance the knowledge of mammal assemblages and to inform evidence-based solutions for the conservation of the Atlantic Forest. The data are not copyright restricted; please cite this paper when using the data.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 6

Guzmán, D. A., E. Diaz, C. Sáenz, H. Álvarez, R. Cueva, G. Zapata-Ríos et al. (2024). "Domestic dogs in indigenous Amazonian communities: Key players in Leptospira cycling and transmission?" PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 18(4), e0011671.

Abstract: Background: Leptospirosis is the world’s most common zoonotic disease. Mitigation and control rely on pathogen identification and understanding the roles of potential reservoirs in cycling and transmission. Underreporting and misdiagnosis obscure the magnitude of the problem and confound efforts to understand key epidemiological components. Difficulties in culturing hamper the use of serological diagnostics and delay the development of DNA detection methods. As a result, especially in complex ecosystems, we know very little about the importance of different mammalian host species in cycling and transmission to humans. Methodology/principal findings: We sampled dogs from five indigenous Kichwa communities living in the Yasuní National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin. Blood and urine samples from domestic dogs were collected to assess the exposure of these animals to Leptospira and to identify the circulating species. Microscopic Agglutination Tests with a panel of 22 different serovars showed anti-leptospira antibodies in 36 sampled dogs (75%), and 7 serogroups were detected. Two DNA-based detection assays revealed pathogenic Leptospira DNA in 18 of 19 dog urine samples (94.7%). Amplicon sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA and SecY genes from 15 urine samples revealed genetic diversity within two of three different Leptospira species: noguchii (n = 7), santarosai (n = 7), and interrogans (n = 1). Conclusions/significance: The high prevalence of antibodies and Leptospira DNA provides strong evidence for high rates of past and current infections. Such high prevalence has not been previously reported for dogs. These dogs live in the peridomestic environment in close contact with humans, yet they are free-ranging animals that interact with wildlife. This complex web of interactions may explain the diverse types of pathogenic Leptospira observed in this study. Our results suggest that domestic dogs are likely to play an important role in the cycling and transmission of Leptospira. Future studies in areas with complex ecoepidemiology will enable better parsing of the significance of genotypic, environmental, and host characteristics.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 6

Klüg-Baerwald, B. J., C. L. Lausen, S. M. Burns and R. M. Brigham (In Press). "Physiological and behavioural adaptations by big brown bats hibernating in dry rock crevices." Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systems, and Environmental Physiology.

Abstract: Winter energy stores are finite and factors influencing patterns of activity are important for overwintering energetics and survival. Hibernation patterns (e.g., torpor bout duration and arousal frequency) often depend on microclimate, with more stable hibernacula associated with greater energy savings than less stable hibernacula. We monitored hibernation patterns of individual big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus; Palisot de Beauvois, 1796) overwintering in rock-crevices that are smaller, drier, and less thermally stable than most known cave hibernacula. While such conditions would be predicted to increase arousal frequency in many hibernators, we did not find support for this. We found that bats were insensitive to changes in hibernacula microclimate (temperature and humidity) while torpid. We also found that the probability of arousal from torpor remained under circadian influence, likely because throughout the winter during arousals, bats commonly exit their hibernacula. We calculated that individuals spend most of their energy on maintaining a torpid body temperature a few degrees above the range of ambient temperatures during steady-state torpor, rather than during arousals as is typical of other small mammalian hibernators. Flight appears to be an important winter activity that may expedite the benefits of euthermic periods and allow for short, physiologically effective arousals. Overall, we found that big brown bats in rock crevices exhibit different hibernation patterns than conspecifics hibernating in buildings and caves.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 6

Luiselli, L., O. Le Duc, T. Pham Van, ..., L. McCaskill et al. (2024). "A threat analysis for the world’s most threatened turtle (Rafetus swinhoei)." Journal for Nature Conservation 78, e126577.

Abstract: We conducted a comprehensive threat analysis of the Swinhoe’s softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), the most endangered freshwater turtle in the world, historically occurring along river systems in Vietnam and China, but currently almost extinct. Here, our goal was to identify the pressures along two main rivers in Vietnam (Black and Red rivers, both extending into Yunnan, People’s Republic of China), building a conceptual framework to understand the causal relationships among driving forces, threats, and the target species. We involved a panel of experts who identified two priority direct threats in Vietnam, classified following the IUCN standard taxonomy, and showing the highest Magnitude (as a proxy of threat pressure): (i) Habitat loss at nesting sites (LOS; code 1.2 - Commercial & industrial areas) and, (ii) Land conversion due to settlements (LAN; code 1.1 - Housing & urban areas). Threats showed a comparable (i.e., not significantly different) Magnitude in the two rivers (Mann-Whitney U test). Experts also identified the underlying driving forces behind these threats: (i) demographic drivers (due to a rapid population growth in the last decades) causing LAN and LOS, as the priority threats, but also sand mining, and water pollution; (ii) economic drivers induced by high poverty in local populations and causing harvesting (fishing activities and related markets), the needs of power supply for economic activities (e.g., dams), and recreational activities; (iii) ethical drivers linked to conservation project teams (limited funds and divergent points about strategies to carry out). Preliminary data for China suggest HAR (Harvesting by native fishers; code 5.4) and POL (water pollution; code 9.2) as priority threats. Threat analysis is an useful tool in the early stages of a conservation project during the context analysis, helping to define priorities for conservation and management.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 6

Rubiano-Pérez, J. C., F. S. Gomez-Castañeda, L. Lemus-Mejía, I. M. Vela-Vargas and J. F. González-Maya (In Press). "State of knowledge and distribution of the Andean white ear opossum (Didelphis pernigra, Allen 1900) in Colombia." Mammalia.

Abstract: The Andean white ear opossum (Didelphis pernigra, Allen 1900) is one of the three species of the genus Didelphis reported in Colombia. Here we present a systematic review of D. pernigra in Colombia, with a geographical and altitudinal distribution hypothesis from the country. We reported geographic records and scientific available information of D. pernigra in 40 studies, 55.26 % of the available literature corresponded to local and regional inventories; 23.68 % of other documents were studies about mammal assemblages, while 21.05 % were specific studies about the species and the genus Didelphis in Colombia. We classified literature according to the following subcategories: natural history, diet, inventories, threats, reproduction, uses and perceptions. Most of the literature corresponded to detection in inventories (55.26 %), followed by natural history information (21.05 %) and threats (7.89 %). Research about diet, uses, perception and reproduction, had the lowest proportion with 5.26 %. Regarding distribution, geographic records ranged between 1060 and 3740 m across the three Andean ranges of Colombia. In general, little is known about the ecology or natural history of the species, efforts should be focused on filling the information gaps about natural history, and surveys should fill the distribution gaps along the Western and Central ranges of Colombia.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 6

Zwerts, J. A., E. H. M. Sterck, P. A. Verweij, F. Maisels et al. (In Press). "FSC-certified forest management benefits large mammals compared to non-FSC." Nature.

Abstract: More than a quarter of the world’s tropical forests are exploited for timber1. Logging impacts biodiversity in these ecosystems, primarily through the creation of forest roads that facilitate hunting for wildlife over extensive areas. Forest management certification schemes such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are expected to mitigate impacts on biodiversity, but so far very little is known about the effectiveness of FSC certification because of research design challenges, predominantly limited sample sizes2,3. Here we provide this evidence by using 1.3 million camera-trap photos of 55 mammal species in 14 logging concessions in western equatorial Africa. We observed higher mammal encounter rates in FSC-certified than in non-FSC logging concessions. The effect was most pronounced for species weighing more than 10 kg and for species of high conservation priority such as the critically endangered forest elephant and western lowland gorilla. Across the whole mammal community, non-FSC concessions contained proportionally more rodents and other small species than did FSC-certified concessions. The first priority for species protection should be to maintain unlogged forests with effective law enforcement, but for logged forests our findings provide convincing data that FSC-certified forest management is less damaging to the mammal community than is non-FSC forest management. This study provides strong evidence that FSC-certified forest management or equivalently stringent requirements and controlling mechanisms should become the norm for timber extraction to avoid half-empty forests dominated by rodents and other small species.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  25 March-7 April 2024 [2 weeks]


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 14

Chen, C., A. Granados, J. F. Brodie, ..., C. Kiebou-Opepa et al. (Early View). "Combining camera trap surveys and IUCN range maps to improve knowledge of species distributions." Conservation Biology, e14221.

Reliable maps of species distributions are fundamental for biodiversity research and conservation. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) range maps are widely recognized as authoritative representations of species’ geographic limits, yet they might not always align with actual occurrence data. In recent area of habitat (AOH) maps, areas that are not habitat have been removed from IUCN ranges to reduce commission errors, but their concordance with actual species occurrence also remains untested. We tested concordance between occurrences recorded in camera trap surveys and predicted occurrences from the IUCN and AOH maps for 510 medium- to large-bodied mammalian species in 80 camera trap sampling areas. Across all areas, cameras detected only 39% of species expected to occur based on IUCN ranges and AOH maps; 85% of the IUCN only mismatches occurred within 200 km of range edges. Only 4% of species occurrences were detected by cameras outside IUCN ranges. The probability of mismatches between cameras and the IUCN range was significantly higher for smaller-bodied mammals and habitat specialists in the Neotropics and Indomalaya and in areas with shorter canopy forests. Our findings suggest that range and AOH maps rarely underrepresent areas where species occur, but they may more often overrepresent ranges by including areas where a species may be absent, particularly at range edges. We suggest that combining range maps with data from ground-based biodiversity sensors, such as camera traps, provides a richer knowledge base for conservation mapping and planning.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 14

Cooper, D. L. M., S. L. Lewis, M. J. P. Sullivan, ..., P. Boundja, ..., V. Estienne, ..., M. B. N. Hockemba, ..., M. E. Leal, ..., P. M. Umunay, ..., E. Vilanova Torre et al. (2024). "Consistent patterns of common species across tropical tree communities." Nature 625(7996), 728-734.

Abstract: Trees structure the Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystem, tropical forests. The vast number of tree species presents a formidable challenge to understanding these forests, including their response to environmental change, as very little is known about most tropical tree species. A focus on the common species may circumvent this challenge. Here we investigate abundance patterns of common tree species using inventory data on 1,003,805 trees with trunk diameters of at least 10 cm across 1,568 locations1–6 in closed-canopy, structurally intact old-growth tropical forests in Africa, Amazonia and Southeast Asia. We estimate that 2.2%, 2.2% and 2.3% of species comprise 50% of the tropical trees in these regions, respectively. Extrapolating across all closed-canopy tropical forests, we estimate that just 1,053 species comprise half of Earth’s 800 billion tropical trees with trunk diameters of at least 10 cm. Despite differing biogeographic, climatic and anthropogenic histories7, we find notably consistent patterns of common species and species abundance distributions across the continents. This suggests that fundamental mechanisms of tree community assembly may apply to all tropical forests. Resampling analyses show that the most common species are likely to belong to a manageable list of known species, enabling targeted efforts to understand their ecology. Although they do not detract from the importance of rare species, our results open new opportunities to understand the world’s most diverse forests, including modelling their response to environmental change, by focusing on the common species that constitute the majority of their trees.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 14

Esch, M. M., C. S. Jarnevich, N. Simões, T. R. McClanahan and A. R. Harborne (In Press). "Modeling the potential spread of the non-native regal demoiselle, Neopomacentrus cyanomos, in the western Atlantic." Coral Reefs.

Predicting the potential distribution of a non-native species can assist management efforts to mitigate impacts on recipient ecosystems. However, such predictions are lacking for marine species, such as the non-native regal demoiselle, Neopomacentrus cyanomos, that is currently expanding its distribution in the western Atlantic. We used correlative species distribution models with three common algorithms to predict suitable habitat for N. cyanomos in the region. We compared models developed using native, non-native, and global occurrences to differentiate drivers across separate ranges using a suite of 12 environmental characteristics. While final models included an ensemble of variables, the majority ranked the combined effect of temperature variables as a key predictor correlated with the distribution of N. cyanomos. Habitat suitability increased as water temperatures increased beyond 16 °C and where annual thermal ranges were greater than 10 °C at the shallowest depth with substrate within a study cell (~ 9.2 km2 resolution). Habitat suitability also increased where maximum surface temperatures were greater than 27 °C. In the non-native range, the proportion of reef available in each cell was another important variable increasing the suitable habitat for N. cyanomos. Our models predicted high habitat suitability for N. cyanomos throughout the Greater Caribbean, in higher latitudes along North and South American Atlantic coasts, in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and highlights key areas where managers can monitor and target potential removal efforts. The distribution of this non-native species is likely to continue expanding throughout the region with little known about potential implications on native communities.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 14

Glennon, M. J. and H. E. Kretser (In Press). "Factors influencing avian nest success in exurban residential areas in the Adirondack Park." The Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies 26(1), 63-74.

Abstract: Exurban development is characterized by low density residential development on large lots generally outside of urban service boundaries, and in which the surrounding matrix remains in its original ecosystem type. This widespread pattern of rural sprawl has a variety of consequences for wildlife and ecological communities, as well as social costs. In 2012-2014, we conducted a large-scale field study to investigate the relative impacts of exurban development on bird and mammal communities in the Adirondack Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The larger project involved documentation of bird, mammal, and plant communities, as well as social survey methods aimed at understanding landowner behaviors, attitudes, and management actions taken around their homes that may subsequently influence ecological communities in these regions. Because presence and abundance of wildlife are not always directly correlated with reproductive success, we also located and monitored the fate of songbird and woodpecker nests in areas of residential development and nearby control sites. Here we describe the factors associated with bird nest success and the potential influence of human disturbance and predation in areas of exurban development. Our sample sizes limited the extent of analysis and therefore the conclusions that can be drawn; however, we found a clear pattern of sensitivity of open cup nesting species, with cavity nesting birds much more likely to successfully fledge young in both residential areas and control sites. Our findings highlight the challenges and tradeoffs that birds and other wildlife face in these landscapes.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 14

Groeneveld, M. J., J. D. Klein, R. H. Bennett, A. S. Abdulla, ..., J. J. Sitoe et al. (2024). "Population genetic structure of bottlenose and whitespotted wedgefishes from the Southwest Indian Ocean using a dual marker approach." Endangered Species Research 53, 409-427.  

Abstract: Wedgefishes (Rhinidae) are threatened by unsustainable fishing globally, and especially in the Southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO), due to their high-value fins in the shark trade. The whitespotted wedgefish Rhynchobatus djiddensis and the bottlenose wedgefish R. australiae are both classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, yet a lack of species-specific knowledge and taxonomic uncertainty still exists within this genus. Genetic approaches aid in taxonomic classification and identifying distinct populations for targeted conservation. Morphological specimen identification of samples (n = 189) collected across the SWIO was confirmed based on the cytochrome oxidase c subunit I (COI) and/or nicotinamide adenine dehydrogenase subunit 2 (ND2) gene regions. The genetic diversity and population structure within and between species and sampling locations were investigated using a dual marker approach: (1) 2 concatenated mitochondrial gene regions, namely COI and the control region (n = 117), and (2) 9 nuclear microsatellite markers (n = 146). The overall genetic diversity was moderate, with an indication that different evolutionary forces are at play on a mitochondrial versus nuclear level. The 2 species were delineated based on both marker types, and for R. djiddensis, the sampling locations of South Africa and Mozambique were genetically homogeneous. For R. australiae, significant differentiation was found between sampling locations, with Madagascar and Tanzania being genetically the most similar. This information provides critical insights into the distribution range and population structure of the whitespotted wedgefish species complex that can support the sustainable management of wedgefishes.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 14

Householder, J. E., F. Wittmann, J. Schöngart, ..., E. Vilanova Torre et al. (In Press). "One sixth of Amazonian tree diversity is dependent on river floodplains." Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Amazonia’s floodplain system is the largest and most biodiverse on Earth. Although forests are crucial to the ecological integrity of floodplains, our understanding of their species composition and how this may differ from surrounding forest types is still far too limited, particularly as changing inundation regimes begin to reshape floodplain tree communities and the critical ecosystem functions they underpin. Here we address this gap by taking a spatially explicit look at Amazonia-wide patterns of tree-species turnover and ecological specialization of the region’s floodplain forests. We show that the majority of Amazonian tree species can inhabit floodplains, and about a sixth of Amazonian tree diversity is ecologically specialized on floodplains. The degree of specialization in floodplain communities is driven by regional flood patterns, with the most compositionally differentiated floodplain forests located centrally within the fluvial network and contingent on the most extraordinary flood magnitudes regionally. Our results provide a spatially explicit view of ecological specialization of floodplain forest communities and expose the need for whole-basin hydrological integrity to protect the Amazon’s tree diversity and its function.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 14

Maldonado, W. (2024). "Viabilidad poblacional del oso andino (Tremarctos ornatus) en un escenario de cacería y pérdida de hábitat " Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad 95, e955108.

Abstract: El oso andino es la única especie de oso que habita Sudamérica; su población se reduce principalmente por pérdida de hábitat y cacería debido a la interacción humano-oso andino. El objetivo de este estudio fue determinar la viabilidad poblacional en el paisaje Madidi Tambopata a través de modelado computacional. Para ésto, se diseñaron varios escenarios: base, fragmentación de hábitat y cacería, y efectos combinados de la fragmentación de hábitat y cacería. Cada escenario se simuló 1,000 veces con proyecciones a 100 años con el software VORTEX 9.6. Se evaluaron: probabilidad de persistencia, tasa de crecimiento y tiempo de extinción. Los resultados señalan que la población del oso andino es viable (PP = 100%) en 100 años de simulación, creciendo en 0.04% anualmente y no hay riesgo de extinción. Sin embargo, la cacería redujo la probabilidad de persistencia a 41%, la tasa de crecimiento disminuyó a -0.03% anualmente. En un paisaje fragmentado, la tasa decrece a -0.04% por efecto de la endogamia y la probabilidad de extinción aparece a los 60 años. Es fundamental establecer estrategias de conservación que apunten al control de la cacería; al mismo tiempo, establecer mecanismo de conservación que aseguren una disponibilidad continua de hábitat adecuado.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 14

Martin, M. J., W. D. Halliday, S. H. Ferguson, B. G. Young, R. Charish, ... and S. J. Insley (Early View). "Exposure of satellite tagged bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) to transiting vessels in the Eastern Canadian Arctic." Marine Mammal Science, e13125.

Climate change poses new challenges to Arctic marine mammals, with increasing vessel traffic and associated underwater noise pollution emerging as significant threats. The bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus), an endemic Arctic cetacean, faces these new threats. The Eastern Canada-West Greenland (ECWG) bowhead whale population migrates through areas with the highest levels of vessel traffic in the Canadian Arctic. Here, we document the spatial and temporal overlap between 36 satellite-tagged ECWG bowhead whales and vessels equipped with Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders during 2012–2017. We report 1,145 instances where vessels were within 125 km of a tagged whale, with 306 occurrences within distances ≤50 km. Overlap between vessels and tagged bowhead whales was quantified monthly within years to investigate individual whale encounter rates. Results indicate that ECWG bowhead whales encounter the majority (79%) of vessels annually during August–October, with the highest number of encounters (42%) observed in September. Encounter rates ranged from 0.25 to 0.51 vessels encountered per day per whale during August–October compared to <0.07 vessels per day in all other months in this study. To better inform conservation strategies, further research is required to assess bowhead whale behavioral responses relative to distance from vessels.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 9 of 14

McClanahan, T. R., A. M. Friedlander, J. Wickel, ..., M. K. Azali and N. A. Muthiga (Early View). "Testing for concordance between predicted species richness, past prioritization, and marine protected area designations in the western Indian Ocean." Conservation Biology, e14256.

Scientific advances in environmental data coverage and machine learning algorithms have improved the ability to make large-scale predictions where data are missing. These advances allowed us to develop a spatially resolved proxy for predicting numbers of tropical nearshore marine taxa. A diverse marine environmental spatial database was used to model numbers of taxa from ∼1000 field sites, and the predictions were applied to all 7039 6.25-km2 reef cells in 9 ecoregions and 11 nations of the western Indian Ocean. Our proxy for total numbers of taxa was based on the positive correlation (r2 = 0.24) of numbers of taxa of hard corals and 5 highly diverse reef fish families. Environmental relationships indicated that the number of fish species was largely influenced by biomass, nearness to people, governance, connectivity, and productivity and that coral taxa were influenced mostly by physicochemical environmental variability. At spatial delineations of province, ecoregion, nation, and strength of spatial clustering, we compared areas of conservation priority based on our total species proxy with those identified in 3 previous priority-setting reports and with the protected area database. Our method identified 119 locations that fit 3 numbers of taxa (hard coral, fish, and their combination) and 4 spatial delineations (nation, ecoregion, province, and reef clustering) criteria. Previous publications on priority setting identified 91 priority locations of which 6 were identified by all reports. We identified 12 locations that fit our 12 criteria and corresponded with 3 previously identified locations, 65 that aligned with at least 1 past report, and 28 that were new locations. Only 34% of the 208 marine protected areas in this province overlapped with identified locations with high numbers of predicted taxa. Differences occurred because past priorities were frequently based on unquantified perceptions of remoteness and preselected priority taxa. Our environment–species proxy and modeling approach can be considered among other important criteria for making conservation decisions.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 10 of 14

Nunn, P. D., R. Kumar, H. M. Barrowman, ..., E. Kubunavanua et al. (Early View). "Traditional knowledge for climate resilience in the Pacific Islands." WIREs Climate Change, e882.

Pacific Islands, many relatively remote and small, have been occupied by people for more than 3000 years during which time they experienced climate-driven environmental changes (both slow and rapid onset) that challenged human survival and led to the evolution of place-based coping strategies expressed through traditional knowledge (TK). In today's globalized Pacific Islands region, into which western worldviews and global adaptation strategies have made significant inroads, most plans for coping with climate-changed futures are founded in science-based understandings of the world that undervalue and sideline TK. Many such plans have proved difficult to implement as a consequence. This paper reviews the nature of extant Pacific TK for coping with climate change, something that includes TK for anticipating climate change (including climate variability and climate extremes) as well as ancillary TK associated with food and water security, traditional ecological knowledge, environmental conservation, and settlement and house construction that represent coping strategies. Much of this TK can be demonstrated as being effective with precedents in other (traditional) contexts and a compelling plausible scientific basis. This study demonstrates that Pacific Islands TK for coping with climate change has value and, especially because of its place-based nature, should be central to future climate-change adaptation strategies to enhance their uptake, effectiveness and sustainability. To this end, this paper proposes specific ways forward to optimize the utility of TK and ensure it has a realistic role in sustaining Pacific Island communities into the future.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 11 of 14

Saalfeld, S. T., M. Valcu, S. Brown, ..., R. McGuire, M. D. Robards et al. (2024). "From land to sea: The fall migration of the red phalarope through the Western Hemisphere." Marine Ecology Progress Series 729, 1-29.

Abstract: Understanding how and where individuals migrate between breeding and wintering areas is important for assessing threats, identifying important areas for conservation, and determining a species’ vulnerability to changing environmental conditions. Between 2017 and 2020, we tracked post-breeding movements of 72 red phalaropes Phalaropus fulicarius with satellite tags from 7 Arctic-breeding sites in the Alaskan and Central Canadian Arctic. All tracked red phalaropes left their Arctic breeding grounds (i.e. were obligate migrants) but then switched to a more facultative migration strategy with a fly-and-forage migration pattern once in the marine environment. We documented high variability in migration timing and routes, with birds often taking indirect, circuitous routes with numerous stops that greatly lengthened both the duration and distance of their southward migration. Across nearly 500 stopover areas, which were often associated with areas of presumed greater food availability, individuals spent an average of 6 d and traveled within an average area of 1880 km2. Stopover areas were concentrated in onshore and nearshore habitats of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, the western edge of the Bering Strait, along the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands, and near the Pribilof Islands in Alaska. Within the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, females frequently stopped within the marginal ice zone, whereas males tended to stay on land or in open water. Our results identified important marine areas that can aid future conservation and management decisions. However, conservation of the species will also need to address the numerous direct and indirect anthropogenic threats red phalaropes experience at sea, many of which are not site-specific.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 12 of 14

Serratosa, J., S. Oppel, S. Rotics, ..., A. Nicholas, ..., M. P. Mgumba et al. (2024). "Tracking data highlight the importance of human-induced mortality for large migratory birds at a flyway scale." Biological Conservation 293, e110525.

Abstract: Human-induced direct mortality affects huge numbers of birds each year, threatening hundreds of species worldwide. Tracking technologies can be an important tool to investigate temporal and spatial patterns of bird mortality as well as their drivers. We compiled 1704 mortality records from tracking studies across the African-Eurasian flyway for 45 species, including raptors, storks, and cranes, covering the period from 2003 to 2021. Our results show a higher frequency of human-induced causes of mortality than natural causes across taxonomic groups, geographical areas, and age classes. Moreover, we found that the frequency of human-induced mortality remained stable over the study period. From the human-induced mortality events with a known cause (n = 637), three main causes were identified: electrocution (40.5 %), illegal killing (21.7 %), and poisoning (16.3 %). Additionally, combined energy infrastructure-related mortality (i.e., electrocution, power line collision, and wind-farm collision) represented 49 % of all human-induced mortality events. Using a random forest model, the main predictors of human-induced mortality were found to be taxonomic group, geographic location (latitude and longitude), and human footprint index value at the location of mortality. Despite conservation efforts, human drivers of bird mortality in the African-Eurasian flyway do not appear to have declined over the last 15 years for the studied group of species. Results suggest that stronger conservation actions to address these threats across the flyway can reduce their impacts on species. In particular, projected future development of energy infrastructure is a representative example where application of planning, operation, and mitigation measures can enhance bird conservation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 13 of 14

Sibarani, M. C., I. Ekanasty and R. A. Surya (First View). "Using bycatch data to model sun bear Helarctos malayanus occupancy in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Sumatra." Oryx.

Surveys targeting flagship species frequently record the presence of other species, providing valuable bycatch data to fill knowledge gaps on the ecology of overlooked species. Using bycatch records from camera-trap surveys for the tiger Panthera tigris, we model occupancy of the sun bear Helarctos malayanus, predict its temporal change in occupancy during 2015–2019 and determine its activity patterns in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sumatra, Indonesia. We performed single-season occupancy modelling that considered unequal detection probability from sun bear detection/non-detection records. We found that the sun bear occupancy in the Intensive Protection Zone (i.e. the priority protection area) of the National Park was slightly higher than in the north of the National Park. In the Intensive Protection Zone, sun bear occupancy was estimated to be 0.67 in 2015 and increased to 0.83 in 2019, but this increase was not substantial. The sun bear exhibited a cathemeral activity pattern. Most activity occurred during the day (46.2%), followed by night (21.2%), dusk (20.9%) and dawn (11.7%). We encourage collaboration amongst institutions conducting camera-trap studies in Sumatra to examine the ecology of other threatened yet overlooked species, to assess the broader biodiversity benefits of flagship species conservation and to strengthen science-based conservation efforts.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 14 of 14

Trabue, S. G., M. L. Rekdahl and H. C. Rosenbaum (2024). "Photo-identification and skin lesion prevalence of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops erebennus) in the waters of New York and New Jersey." Aquatic Mammals 50(2), 65-85.

Abstract: Cetaceans can serve as sentinel species in marine environments as long-lived, apex predators that can concentrate environmental contaminants with potential health consequences. Thus, monitoring the well-being of these species may provide an additional indicator of ecosystem health. In cetaceans, one method for assessing individual and population health is by examining skin conditions. For decades, skin lesions have been increasingly documented in coastal populations of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) worldwide. Lesion presence can indicate diminished health and may reflect environmental stressors. Herein, we document the prevalence of epidermal lesions/marks in bottlenose dolphins from the waters off New York and New Jersey during their seasonal presence from spring to fall. Photographs of distinct individuals sighted from May to October 2017 to 2021 were compiled into a catalog, and skin lesions were categorized and counted. Annually, the lowest skin lesion prevalence was in 2021 (p = 0.31), and the highest was in 2017 (p = 0.81). By month, prevalence generally decreased from spring to fall. Overall lesion prevalence in this population was higher than reported estimates for other populations in the coastal waters of the United States. The five most common categories were cloudy white spots, dark spots, white amorphous lesions, tattoo lesions, and dark fringe lesions; and the three most common groups were potentially pathogenic lesions, hypopigmentation, and rake mark-associated potentially pathogenic lesions. Some of the observed lesions have been associated with viral infections that may be exacerbated by environmental stressors. This research establishes an important baseline for further studies into bottlenose dolphin population health in and around the New York–New Jersey Harbor Estuary, particularly given the continued expansion of anthropogenic activities, including those related to forthcoming offshore wind development.

Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 1

Kaczensky, P., A. Salemgareyev, J. D. C. Linnell, S. Zuther, C. Walzer, N. Huber and T. Petit (2024). “Post-release movement behaviour and survival of kulan reintroduced to the Central Steppes of Kazakhstan.” International Research and Training Conference: Conservation of Biological Diversity and Development of the Network of Specially Protected Natural Areas. Kostanay, Kazakhstan: Akhmet Baitursynuly University.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 4

Clements, H. S., E. Do Linh San, G. Hempson, ..., P. T. Telfer et al. (2024). "The bii4africa dataset of faunal and floral population intactness estimates across Africa’s major land uses." Scientific Data 11(1), e191.

Abstract: Sub-Saharan Africa is under-represented in global biodiversity datasets, particularly regarding the impact of land use on species’ population abundances. Drawing on recent advances in expert elicitation to ensure data consistency, 200 experts were convened using a modified-Delphi process to estimate ‘intactness scores’: the remaining proportion of an ‘intact’ reference population of a species group in a particular land use, on a scale from 0 (no remaining individuals) to 1 (same abundance as the reference) and, in rare cases, to 2 (populations that thrive in human-modified landscapes). The resulting bii4africa dataset contains intactness scores representing terrestrial vertebrates (tetrapods: ±5,400 amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals) and vascular plants (±45,000 forbs, graminoids, trees, shrubs) in sub-Saharan Africa across the region’s major land uses (urban, cropland, rangeland, plantation, protected, etc.) and intensities (e.g., large-scale vs smallholder cropland). This dataset was co-produced as part of the Biodiversity Intactness Index for Africa Project. Additional uses include assessing ecosystem condition; rectifying geographic/taxonomic biases in global biodiversity indicators and maps; and informing the Red List of Ecosystems.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 4

Eppley, T. M., K. E. Reuter, T. M. Sefczek, ..., P. A. Abanyam, ..., I. Imong, ..., D. Kujirakwinja, ..., F. Maisels, ..., C. M. Sanz, ..., R. B. Wallace et al. (Early View). "Tropical field stations yield high conservation return on investment." Conservation Letters, e13007.

Abstract: Conservation funding is currently limited; cost-effective conservation solutions are essential. We suggest that the thousands of field stations worldwide can play key roles at the frontline of biodiversity conservation and have high intrinsic value. We assessed field stations’ conservation return on investment and explored the impact of COVID-19. We surveyed leaders of field stations across tropical regions that host primate research; 157 field stations in 56 countries responded. Respondents reported improved habitat quality and reduced hunting rates at over 80% of field stations and lower operational costs per km2 than protected areas, yet half of those surveyed have less funding now than in 2019. Spatial analyses support field station presence as reducing deforestation. These “earth observatories” provide a high return on investment; we advocate for increased support of field station programs and for governments to support their vital conservation efforts by investing accordingly.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 4

Gallegos, S. C., C. Mayta, M. Villegas, G. M. Ayala, ..., M. E. Viscarra, N. Bernal-Hoverud et al. (Early View). "Habitat differences in seed-dispersing vertebrates indicate dispersal limitation in tropical bracken-dominated deforested areas." Biotropica, e13317.

Abstract: Shifting agriculture and anthropogenic fires are among the main causes of deforestation in the tropics. After fire and land abandonment, vast deforested areas are commonly dominated by the bracken fern Pteridium for long periods. Although forest regeneration in bracken-dominated areas is mainly hindered by dispersal limitation, little is known about the role of seed-disperser communities in slow forest succession. Our objective was to unravel the differences in the properties of the seed-disperser communities between forests and bracken-dominated areas to assess their role in dispersal limitation to foster ecological restoration. We compared species richness, diversity, abundance, and composition of seed-dispersing birds, bats, and medium and large terrestrial mammals between both habitats in a montane forest of Bolivia. The species richness and diversity were similar for bats and higher for birds in bracken-dominated areas than in the forest, but species composition was different between both habitats and groups. Although species composition was similar between both habitats for terrestrial mammals, the abundance was higher in the forest than in bracken-dominated areas. Differences in species composition of seed-dispersing birds and bats could be one of the main causes of dispersal limitation in forest regeneration in tropical bracken-dominated areas. The few shared species between both habitats could explain the low seed rain of animal-dispersed forest tree species in bracken-dominated areas and the consequent hindered forest regeneration. Future studies relevant to natural forest regeneration should focus on analyzing the effects of animal-attractants such as perches, artificial bat-roosts, and seedling transplants on disperser communities, seed dispersal effectiveness, and forest regeneration. Abstract in Spanish is available with online material.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 4

Stefanović, M., W. Bogdanowicz, R. Adavoudi, ..., S. Ostrowski et al. (2024). "Range-wide phylogeography of the golden jackals (Canis aureus) reveals multiple sources of recent spatial expansion and admixture with dogs at the expansion front." Biological Conservation 290, e110448.

Abstract: The current rapid climate change and human-induced alteration of landscapes and animal communities have led to range expansions in numerous species, raising concerns about potential negative impacts on genetic diversity, biotic interactions and hybridization with related species in newly colonized areas, and the need to adjust management plans. The recent explosive range expansion of golden jackals in Europe, now extending to the Arctic Circle, provides an opportunity to assess the consequences of this process at a broad geographical scale. We analysed the genome-wide diversity of golden jackals from nearly the entire species range, including recently colonized areas. Grey wolves and free-ranging dogs sympatric with golden jackals were also analysed to test for introgression among these canids. Our results showed that golden jackals expanded from Asia to south-eastern Europe at the end of the Pleistocene, while in more recent times they naturally broadened their range in central and northern Europe from at least two distinct southern populations. At the northern edge of the range and in the recently expanded area, golden jackals showed evidence of admixture with dogs. Further monitoring of introgression rates and phenotypic effects of this process is crucial to ensure they do not facilitate the synurbization process. No reduction in genetic diversity was observed at the expansion front, most likely due to complex expansion routes, involving multiple waves and source populations, and introgression of genetic variants from dogs. We propose the development of management and legal plans that focus on transboundary cooperation considering the observed genetic diversity and structuring.


Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 4

Grupo de Trabajo para los Llanos de Moxos and Wildlife Conservation Society, Bolivia (2023). Expedición Científica a los Lagos y Lagunas de Reyes y Santa Rosa. Informe científico. Relevamientos de Biodiversidad y Arqueología en los Llanos de Moxos, Beni. La Paz, Bolivia: Grupo de Trabajo para los Llanos de Moxos and Wildlife Conservation Society, Bolivia.

Grey Literature Citation 2 of 4

Ondzie, A., G. Bounga, B. Ngouembe, K. Cameron, M. Cournarie, E. Kuisma, D. Montecino-Latorre, M. Perrin and S. H. Olson (2023). Rapport de Données sur les Enquêtes Menées Entre 2009 et 2020. Brazzaville, Congo: Wildlife Conservation Society.

Grey Literature Citation 3 of 4

WCS Forests & Climate Change Program (2023). WCS High Integrity Forest (HIFOR) Investment Initiative: The Science Basis. Bronx, NY: Wildlife Conservation Society.

Abstract: This brief describes the science basis for the High Integrity Forest (HIFOR) Investment Initiative. The initiative aims to create a new climate and biodiversity asset class to help finance the protection of high integrity tropical forests — those that are least degraded by human impacts — on the basis of their role in climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation. The HIFOR Unit represents a hectare of well-conserved, high integrity tropical forest. Associated with this unit are metrics that quantify climate regulation benefits (in terms of the number of tons of net CO2 removals into forest biomass over the course of a decade) and biodiversity conservation benefits (in terms of the number of hectares of high biodiversity forest maintained with high integrity over a decade). Large, remote, high integrity forests, and hence the services they provide, are often wrongly perceived to be safe from human pressures, but in fact face substantial and growing risks, and so their protection represents a critical conservation priority. For example, from 2017 to 2021 the extent of high integrity tropical forest declined by about 3.1% per year. Infrastructure expansion, logging, agriculture, fires, mining, and hunting all drive this trend. Natural ecosystems worldwide, primarily forests, reduce the impact of anthropogenic GHG emissions by absorbing ~30% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Carbon uptake by this “land sink” is distinct from the uptake associated with forest restoration, which is accounted for as part of “net land use change.” The action of this sink (currently 11.4 GtCO2 per year; 765 GtCO2 since 1850) has probably prevented around 0.6°C of global warming. Tropical forests mapped as ‘high integrity’ likely contribute around 1.8 GtCO2 per year to the land sink. The strongest average removals in high integrity tropical forests are found in Africa (2.9 tCO2 ha-1 yr-1), followed by Asia (2.0 tCO2 ha-1 yr-1) and the Americas (1.1 tCO2 ha-1 yr-1). Deforestation and degradation are eroding the area that contributes to the sink, whilst climate change and other factors are slowing the rate of carbon removals in some remaining areas. Loss or degradation of high integrity forest cover in the tropics typically causes additional climate warming, quite apart from the carbon impacts, by altering land surface energy and moisture exchanges. These biophysical processes increase the estimated warming effect of tropical deforestation or degradation by about half compared to counting only CO2 emissions. Total deforestation in the tropics could increase global warming by around 0.28°C (at least 0.11°C of this from high integrity forests) through biophysical effects alone. These biophysical effects also promote local climate stability, lowering average peak temperatures in nearby areas by around 1.0°C (range 0.2-2.4°C depending on locality) and reducing extreme temperatures by substantially more. Higher ecological integrity correlates with higher biodiversity. High integrity forests support consistently higher numbers of forest-dependent species, ensure lower extinction risk for the species present, support higher genetic diversity within species and lead to a lower risk of ecosystem collapse. Loss of integrity has an impact on the many functions (often called services) an ecosystem performs. High integrity forests are also better able to cope with climate change and other stresses. In addition to the climate regulatory functions and biodiversity values that this brief focuses on, high integrity forests embed many other environmental values, including large carbon stocks, regulation of local and regional hydrology, decreased risk of zoonotic disease spillovers, and contributions to the livelihoods and cultures of Indigenous Peoples and other local communities. High integrity forests have long helped to buffer us against the worst effects of climate and biodiversity crises. If we are to meet the 1.5-degree goal, halt human-caused extinctions and prevent the collapse of many ecosystems, it is essential that we invest in their protection.

Grey Literature Citation 4 of 4

Wildlife Conservation Society, Viet Nam (2023). Guidelines for the Safe Handling of Wildlife and Wildlife Products During Counter Wildlife Trafficking Enforcement Operations in Viet Nam. Ha Noi, Viet Nam: Wildlife Conservation Society, Viet Nam.


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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 7

Allberry, K., J. J. Rovie-Ryan, N. A. N. G. Ali, N.-A. Elias, M. R. Darmaraj et al. (In Press). "Emerging patterns of genetic diversity in the critically endangered Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)." Biodiversity and Conservation.

Abstract: Southeast Asia experiences some of the highest deforestation in the world. Loss of tropical forest typically leads to widespread habitat fragmentation, with detrimental effects on dispersal ability and gene flow—particularly for large carnivores. We conducted mtDNA and microsatellite analysis to assess—for the first time—contemporary patterns of genetic diversity in the Malayan tiger. We collected 295 suspected carnivore samples in Peninsular Malaysia, from which we identified 26 as originating from tiger using 16 polymorphic microsatellite loci, comprising 22 individual tigers. Despite limitations of the study, our findings suggest tiger subpopulations in the north of the peninsula maintain some genetic connectivity and migration between two putative geographic subpopulations in the Main Range and Greater Taman Negara, with negligible population segregation due to dispersal barriers such as road infrastructure. We identified consistently lower levels of genetic diversity in tigers in the Greater Taman Negara region compared to tigers in the Main Range and small but emerging differences in nuclear and mitochondrial genetic diversity. Our mtDNA haplotype and nuclear DNA analyses suggest the levels of genetic diversity in Malayan tigers may be amongst some of the lowest of the surviving tiger subspecies, though the study is limited both in scale and genomic loci. Our findings are consistent with an expected lag between the rapid decline of tigers in Peninsular Malaysia by over 95% in the last 70 years and observed differences in their levels of genetic diversity.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 7

Bayliss, J., G. B. Bittencourt-Silva, W. R. Branch, ..., H. Matimele et al. (2024). "A biogeographical appraisal of the threatened South East Africa Montane Archipelago ecoregion." Scientific Reports 14(1), e5971.

Abstract: Recent biological surveys of ancient inselbergs in southern Malawi and northern Mozambique have led to the discovery and description of many species new to science, and overlapping centres of endemism across multiple taxa. Combining these endemic taxa with data on geology and climate, we propose the ‘South East Africa Montane Archipelago’ (SEAMA) as a distinct ecoregion of global biological importance. The ecoregion encompasses 30 granitic inselbergs reaching > 1000 m above sea level, hosting the largest (Mt Mabu) and smallest (Mt Lico) mid-elevation rainforests in southern Africa, as well as biologically unique montane grasslands. Endemic taxa include 127 plants, 45 vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals) and 45 invertebrate species (butterflies, freshwater crabs), and two endemic genera of plants and reptiles. Existing dated phylogenies of endemic animal lineages suggests this endemism arose from divergence events coinciding with repeated isolation of these mountains from the pan-African forests, together with the mountains’ great age and relative climatic stability. Since 2000, the SEAMA has lost 18% of its primary humid forest cover (up to 43% in some sites)—one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa. Urgently rectifying this situation, while addressing the resource needs of local communities, is a global priority for biodiversity conservation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 7

Galligan, B. P. and T. R. McClanahan (2024). "Tropical fishery nutrient production depends on biomass-based management." iScience 27(4), e109420.

Abstract: The need to enhance nutrient production from tropical ecosystems to feed the poor could potentially create a new framework for fisheries science and management. Early recommendations have included targeting small fishes and increasing the species richness of fish catches, which could represent a departure from more traditional approaches such as biomass-based management. To test these recommendations, we compared the outcomes of biomass-based management with hypothesized factors influencing nutrient density in nearshore artisanal fish catches in the Western Indian Ocean. We found that enhancing nutrient production depends primarily on achieving biomass-based targets. Catches dominated by low- and mid-trophic level species with smaller body sizes and faster turnover were associated with modest increases in nutrient densities, but the variability in nutrient density was small relative to human nutritional requirements. Therefore, tropical fishery management should focus on restoring biomass to achieve maximum yields and sustainability, particularly for herbivorous fishes.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 7

Luize, B. G., D. Bauman, H. ter Steege, ..., E. Vilanova Torre et al. (Early View). "Geography and ecology shape the phylogenetic composition of Amazonian tree communities." Journal of Biogeography.

Abstract: Aim: Amazonia hosts more tree species from numerous evolutionary lineages, both young and ancient, than any other biogeographic region. Previous studies have shown that tree lineages colonized multiple edaphic environments and dispersed widely across Amazonia, leading to a hypothesis, which we test, that lineages should not be strongly associated with either geographic regions or edaphic forest types. Location: Amazonia. Taxon: Angiosperms (Magnoliids; Monocots; Eudicots). Methods: Data for the abundance of 5082 tree species in 1989 plots were combined with a mega-phylogeny. We applied evolutionary ordination to assess how phylogenetic composition varies across Amazonia. We used variation partitioning and Moran's eigenvector maps (MEM) to test and quantify the separate and joint contributions of spatial and environmental variables to explain the phylogenetic composition of plots. We tested the indicator value of lineages for geographic regions and edaphic forest types and mapped associations onto the phylogeny. Results: In the terra firme and várzea forest types, the phylogenetic composition varies by geographic region, but the igapó and white-sand forest types retain a unique evolutionary signature regardless of region. Overall, we find that soil chemistry, climate and topography explain 24% of the variation in phylogenetic composition, with 79% of that variation being spatially structured (R2 = 19% overall for combined spatial/environmental effects). The phylogenetic composition also shows substantial spatial patterns not related to the environmental variables we quantified (R2 = 28%). A greater number of lineages were significant indicators of geographic regions than forest types. Main Conclusion: Numerous tree lineages, including some ancient ones (>66 Ma), show strong associations with geographic regions and edaphic forest types of Amazonia. This shows that specialization in specific edaphic environments has played a long-standing role in the evolutionary assembly of Amazonian forests. Furthermore, many lineages, even those that have dispersed across Amazonia, dominate within a specific region, likely because of phylogenetically conserved niches for environmental conditions that are prevalent within regions.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 7

Morgans, C. L., S. Jago, N. Andayani, M. Linkie et al. (Early Access). "Improving well-being and reducing deforestation in Indonesia's protected areas." Conservation Letters, e13010.

Abstract: Protected areas (PAs) are central to sustainability targets, yet few evaluations explore outcomes for both conservation and development, or the trade-offs involved. We applied counterfactual analyses to assess the extent to which PAs maintained forest cover and influenced well-being across >31,000 villages in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia. We examined multidimensional aspects of well-being, tracking education, health, living standards, infrastructure, environment, and social cohesion in treatment and control villages between 2005 and 2018. Overall, PAs were effective at maintaining forest cover compared to matched controls and were not detrimental to well-being. However, impacts were highly heterogeneous, varying by island and strictness of protection. While health, living standards, and infrastructure aspects of well-being improved, education access, environmental conditions, and social cohesion declined. Our analysis reveals the contexts through which individual PAs succeed or fail in delivering multiple benefits and provides insights into where further on-ground support is needed to achieve conservation and development objectives.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 7

Nugraha, R. T., W. Y. Komara, P. A. N. Krisna, O. R. Puspita, M. Muslich, U. Mardhiah and W. Marthy (First View). "Evaluating the effectiveness of protected area management in Indonesia." Oryx.

Abstract: Protected areas worldwide are strongholds for safeguarding biodiversity, natural habitats, ecosystem services and cultural values. Yet despite their importance, the effectiveness of protected area management varies greatly. Indonesia is a biodiversity hotspot, with 554 protected areas that cover 27 million ha across the archipelago. To assess and improve the management effectiveness of these protected areas, the Government of Indonesia applied an adapted version of the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) to assess 422 of the country's protected areas, of which 170 were repeatedly assessed in 2015, 2017 and 2019. We investigated the METT score changes across these protected areas and the factors explaining the varying scores. Over the study years, METT scores significantly improved (mean increase of 44.1%). National parks had the highest mean score, which was 13.4 points higher than other protected area types. After correcting for spatial autocorrelation using a generalized least-squares model, we found that METT score increase was positively influenced by year of assessment and having a well-resourced management authority, with no influence of protected area size or mean protected area budget allocation per ha. The assessments identified five main threats to protected areas: poaching, illegal logging, human settlements, tourism and non-timber cultivation. The widespread and repeated use of METT across the protected areas of Indonesia and the increasing METT scores indicate an overall improvement in management and professionalism. Building on the foundational work in our study, future studies should assess the association between METT scores and progress made towards achieving the conservation objectives of protected areas.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 7

Rachman Tarigan, S. A., Munasik, D. P. Wijayanti, ... and S. Pardede (2024). "Dynamic of coral recruits in the Karimunjawa National Park, Central Java, Indonesia." Biodiversitas 25(2), 869-880.

Abstract: After a disturbance event, coral reefs can recover naturally by recruiting new corals. These can be affected by environmental factors like the substrate's physical and biological structure, predation, and accidental mortality of recruits by grazers, as well as the number and size of parent corals supplying larvae. This study examined the connection between newly recruited corals and biological factors such as sea urchin density, herbivorous fish abundance, and hard coral coverage. The study was monitored changes in coral cover, juvenile coral density, herbivore abundance, and hard coral coverage at 43 locations and two depths (shallow; 2-3 m) and deep (8-10 m) from 2013 to 2022. The locations were distributed across six different zone systems: the core zone, protection zone, tourism zone, traditional fisheries zone, aquaculture zone, and rehabilitation zone. Multiple Linae Regression, ANOVA test, and Principal Component Analysis were employed to assess the relationship between coral recruitment and other variables. Results indicated that the coral recruitment density was not significantly different when comparing different zoning systems (two-way ANOVA test, P-value>0.05). Based on the PCA analysis, we found that in 2013 and 2019, excavator, sea urchin, browser, and hard coral have a positive relationship with coral recruitment, which implies that coral recruitment would increase as sea urchin, browser, and hard coral increase. Meanwhile, in 2019 and 2022, coral recruitment has a negative relationship with scraper, and also with hard coral growth (although only in 2022), implying that coral recruitment would decrease if scraper and hard coral increase. The study recommends restoring the role of herbivorous species in Karimunjawa National Park (KNP) by prioritizing them in conservation efforts and managing their populations.


Prepublication Citations

Prepublication Citation 1 of 1

Romero, L., G. Rodrigo, O. Loayza and R. B. Wallace (Prepublication). “Gold mining and genotoxic effects on vicuñas: A comparative study of buccal cells and lymphocytes.” Research Square.

Abstract: The vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) is a wild camelid native from South America, known for its highly valued fiber. In Bolivia, the Apolobamba protected area is a key area for vicuña conservation and Apolobamba’s indigenous communities sustainably harvest the fiber of wild vicuña. The vicuña is an important cultural and economic resource, as well as an indicator of ecosystem health. Over the last decade gold mining activities have increased in Apolobamba potentially causing high levels of mercury contamination, endangering the health of vicuñas, humans, and terrestrial ecosystems. This study used genotoxicity markers: micronuclei (MN) and nuclear abnormalities (NA) in buccal cells and lymphocytes of vicuñas in 13 vicuña management communities in Apolobamba. A mean frequency of 0.48% MN and 14.91% NA was found in buccal cells, and 0.32% MN and 57.13% NA in lymphocytes. A higher frequency of MN in buccal cells was expected as they are the first barrier to inhalation or ingestion of genotoxic agents. However, a higher frequency of NA in lymphocytes suggests a possible prevalence of damage. Furthermore, a gradient of MN frequency was observed consistently with mining activity, but mining may not be the only cause of this damage, as vicuñas are exposed to mixtures of environmental chemicals, including traces of microplastics and persistent organic pollutants that have been detected in the area too. These findings provide a baseline for future vicuña populations monitoring and can be used as bio monitors and sentinels of environmental pollution.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 9

Finucci, B., N. Pacoureau, C. L. Rigby, ..., P. A. Mejía-Falla, ..., J.-M. Cuevas et al. (2024). "Fishing for oil and meat drives irreversible defaunation of deepwater sharks and rays." Science 383(6687), 1135-1141.

Abstract: The deep ocean is the last natural biodiversity refuge from the reach of human activities. Deepwater sharks and rays are among the most sensitive marine vertebrates to overexploitation. One-third of threatened deepwater sharks are targeted, and half the species targeted for the international liver-oil trade are threatened with extinction. Steep population declines cannot be easily reversed owing to long generation lengths, low recovery potentials, and the near absence of management. Depth and spatial limits to fishing activity could improve conservation when implemented alongside catch regulations, bycatch mitigation, and international trade regulation. Deepwater sharks and rays require immediate trade and fishing regulations to prevent irreversible defaunation and promote recovery of this threatened megafauna group. Over the past decade, the plight of the world?s sharks has received increasing attention, leading to increased regulation and finning bans. However, whether this increased attention has translated into improved outcomes for sharks is unclear. Finucci et al. found a need for increased regulations in their study of deep sea sharks and rays, which are experiencing declines due to increased fishing mortality, particularly when targeted for oil and meat. Increased regulations are urgent, because the potential for most sharks to recover from such declines is limited due to their slow development and reproduction. ?Sacha Vignieri The international fish liver oil and meat trade is driving rapid depletion of deepwater sharks with extremely slow life histories.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 9

Galligan, B. P. and T. R. McClanahan (In Press). "Tropical fishery nutrient production depends on biomass-based management." iScience, e109420.

Abstract: The need to enhance nutrient production from tropical ecosystems to feed the poor could potentially create a new framework for fisheries science and management. Early recommendations have included targeting small fishes and increasing the species richness of fish catches, which could represent a departure from more traditional approaches such as biomass-based management. To test these recommendations, we compared the outcomes of biomass-based management with hypothesized factors influencing nutrient density in nearshore artisanal fish catches in the Western Indian Ocean. We found that enhancing nutrient production depends primarily on achieving biomass-based targets. Catches dominated by low- and mid-trophic level species with smaller body sizes and faster turnover were associated with modest increases in nutrient densities, but the variability in nutrient density was small relative to human nutritional requirements. Therefore, tropical fishery management should focus on restoring biomass to achieve maximum yields and sustainability, particularly for herbivorous fishes.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 9

Homsy King, M., H. Nahabwe, B. Ssebide et al. (2024). "Preventing zoonotic and zooanthroponotic disease transmission at wild great ape sites: Recommendations from qualitative research at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park." PLOS ONE 19(3), e0299220.

Abstract: Employees at wild great ape sites are at high risk of transmitting infectious diseases to endangered great apes. Because of the significant amount of time employees spend near great apes, they are a priority population for the prevention and treatment of zoonotic and zooanthroponotic spillover and need adequate preventive and curative healthcare. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 46 staff (rangers and porters) at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda (BINP) and key informants from five other wild great ape sites around the world were performed. The objectives of the study were to 1) evaluate health-seeking behavior and health resources used by staff in contact with great apes at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; 2) evaluate existing occupational health programs for employees working with great apes in other parts of the world; and 3) make recommendations for improvement of occupational health at BINP. Results show that BINP employees do not frequently access preventive healthcare measures, nor do they have easy access to diagnostic testing for infectious diseases of spillover concern. Recommendations include assigning a dedicated healthcare provider for great ape site staff, providing free annual physical exams, and stocking rapid malaria tests and deworming medication in first aid kits at each site.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 9

Jagadish, A., A. Freni-Sterrantino, Y. He, ..., S. Mangubhai et al. (2024). "Scaling Indigenous-led natural resource management." Global Environmental Change 84, e102799.

Abstract: Rights-holders, practitioners, and researchers recognize the importance of Indigenous-led resource management for building a more ecologically just world and addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. Yet, it remains unclear how to support them in a way that increases their spatial extent and ensuring impact on equitable biodiversity conservation. We address this gap by using Diffusion of Innovations theory to explain the rapid spread of an Indigenous-led network of Locally Managed Marine Areas in Fiji. We found that 74.9 percent of adopters had a previous adopter as their nearest neighbor, and that despite contrasting patterns of adoption at the island level, such patterns could be accounted for by: perceived relative advantage, village chiefly status, distance to tourism hotspots, and presence of district-level management committees, support organizations, and trust. These insights can inform the design and implementation of Indigenous-led approaches that can scale appropriately and respond to the global environmental crisis.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 9

McClanahan, T. R., A. M. Friedlander, P. Chabanet, ... and M. K. Azali (2024). "Modeling the spatial distribution of numbers of coral reef fish species and community types in the Western Indian Ocean faunal province." Marine Ecology Progress Series 730, 59-78.   

Abstract: Predicting and mapping coral reef diversity at moderate scales can assist spatial planning and prioritizing conservation activities. We made coarse-scale (6.25 km<sup>2</sup>) predictive models for numbers of coral reef fish species and community composition starting with a spatially complete database of 70 environmental variables available for 7039 mapped reef cells in the Western Indian Ocean. An ensemble model was created from a process of variable elimination and selectivity to make the best predictions irrespective of human influences. This best model was compared to models using preselected variables commonly used to evaluate climate change and human fishing and water quality influences. Many variables (~27) contributed to the best number of species and community composition models, but local variables of biomass, depth, and retention connectivity were dominant predictors. The key human-influenced variables included fish biomass and distance to human populations, with weaker associations with sediments and nutrients. Climate-influenced variables were generally weaker and included median sea surface temperature (SST) with contributions in declining order from SST kurtosis, bimodality, excess summer heat, SST skewness, SST rate of rise, and coral cover. Community composition variability was best explained by 2 dominant community richness axes of damselfishes-angelfishes and butterflyfishes-parrotfishes. Numbers of damselfish-angelfish species were ecologically separated by depth, and damselfishes declined with increasing depth, median temperature, cumulative excess heat, rate of temperature rise, and chronic temperature stresses. Species of butterflyfish-parrotfish separated by median temperature, and butterflyfish numbers declined with increasing temperature, chronic and acute temperature variability, and the rate of temperature rise. Several fish diversity hotspots were found in the East African Coastal Current Ecoregion centered in Tanzania, followed by Mayotte, southern Kenya, and northern Mozambique. If biomass can be maintained, the broad distributions of species combined with compensatory community responses should maintain high diversity and ecological resilience to climate change and other human stressors.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 9

Moheb, Z., K. Sahel, M. Fazli, M. Hakimi and S. Ismaily (2024). "Safeguarding snow leopards in Badakhshan, Afghanistan." Snow Leopard Reports 2(1), 1-5.

Abstract: Snow leopard Panthera uncia predation on livestock is common across the species’ range, which poses potential threat to human livelihood and also risk the predator’s own survival. Here we report snow leopard intrusion into livestock corrals and making surplus killing of livestock in two districts of Badakhshan, one of which being the first documented record of the species in those areas. In all but one of the incidents, the predator had been trapped within the corral but due to the safeguarding of the new administration and with the support of WCS-Afghanistan the snow leopards were returned safely to the wild. Local communities have also had very supportive role in releasing the illusive mountain predator despite being responsible for the loss of over 40 livestock.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 9

Moreno, P., M. Uhart, M. M. Cafrune, H. Ferreyra, L. F. Beltrán-Saavedra et al. (2024). "Disease ecology in wild South American camelids: Conservation implications of a long cohabitation history with exotic ungulates". In G. Acosta-Jamett and A. Chaves, Eds., Ecology of Wildlife Diseases in the Neotropics, 287-319. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Abstract: Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) and vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) are wild South American camelids (WSAC) adapted to arid landscapes of the neotropical region. Guanacos have an extensive distribution, ranging from southern Argentina and Chile to northern Perú, while vicuñas are restricted to high Andean environments above 3000 masl. The geographical distribution of both species has been gradually shrinking in recent decades, affected by competition with livestock and habitat fragmentation. Interactions with livestock and habitat loss carry implications for the health of wild camelid populations. SAC (South American camelids) are known to be susceptible to pathogens introduced by livestock (cattle and sheep). Habitat fragmentation and loss, on the other hand, restrict the area available to WSAC, and this can increase their population densities, which in turn may influence pathogen transmission. This chapter addresses the known and unknown aspects of the ecology of health and disease of WSAC populations, summarizing current knowledge and identifying gaps that need further research efforts.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 9

Nampindo, S. and T. O. Randhir (2024). "Dynamic modeling of African elephant populations under changing climate and habitat loss across the Greater Virunga Landscape." PLOS Sustainability and Transformation 3(1), e0000094.

Abstract: Elephants in Africa are declining rapidly due to habitat loss and human-wildlife conflicts, with these problems worsening with climate change. Understanding how age classes respond to such events is crucial to designing and implementing mitigation strategies and developing the adaptive capacity of wildlife managers to respond to these challenges adequately. This study builds a dynamic simulation model of the age classes of elephants and their interaction with habitat, water, and climate. The dynamic response of elephant populations to habitat change, water resources, and climate change is assessed. It is observed that climate change affects older elephants more than young ones in terms of survivability and migration. It is also likely that the undetected direct climate change impact on the elephant population is due to changes in habitats, particularly forests and wetlands used for thermal regulation. An improvement in the habitat type and availability of water resources improved the age classes of populations. The results suggest that if the environmental and anthropogenic stressors are not mitigated, Greater Virunga Landscape (GVL) will face a change in population demography for younger elephants and impact overall populations. Such age-class-specific stress could substantially affect African elephants’ long-term population viability and sustainability. Conservation of elephants requires a transboundary management approach to climate change mitigation, cooperation among conservation agencies, and effective partnerships with all relevant stakeholders for conservation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 9 of 9

Rodriguez, P., D. K. Tarbert, F. Ridgley, K. J. Conley et al. (2024). "Clinical and pathologic findings in iguanids with sodium urate cholelithiasis." Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 55(1), 256-267.

Abstract: Four green iguanas (Iguana iguana) and one blue iguana (Cyclura lewisi) from five facilities were diagnosed with sodium urate cholelithiasis. One case was diagnosed antemortem via ultrasonography, and the iguana underwent a choledochotomy for treatment. The other four cases were identified at necropsy. Pathologic hepatic and biliary changes were present in four of the five cases at necropsy. Histologically, four iguanas had hepatic fibrosis, three had bile duct hyperplasia, and one had cholangiohepatitis and pancreaticocholedochitis. Two iguanas had pathologic renal changes. This is the first report of sodium urate cholelithiasis in reptiles. This case series highlights the potential significant clinical disease caused by sodium urate cholelithiasis and the importance of biliary system evaluation. Further investigation is recommended to explore the pathogenesis of reptilian sodium urate cholelith formation.


Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 5

Johnson, J. E., D. J. Welch, M. C. Pineda, A. Hughes, S. D. Jupiter and R. Howard (2023). Solomon Islands Community Marine Monitoring Toolkit: A Facilitators Guide. C2O Pacific and Wildlife Conservation Society.

Grey Literature Citation 2 of 5

Johnson, J. E., D. J. Welch, M. C. Pineda, A. Hughes, S. D. Jupiter and R. Howard (2023). Solomon Islands Community Marine Monitoring Toolkit: Field Guide. C2O Pacific and Wildlife Conservation Society.

Abstract: This Field Guide has been developed to support the Solomon Islands Community Marine Monitoring Toolkit. It provides guidance and tools to be used in the field when conducting monitoring using the Toolkit methods. The development of this Field Guide recognises that community members may need prompting when conducting monitoring and assistance while they become more experienced in the methods. The Field Guide is designed to support trained community monitors and empower them to provide leadership and training for others in their community to raise awareness about local coastal resources and effective community-based resource management. This Field Guide includes resources for each module: a quick start for monitoring methods, identification guides, data sheets, data analysis sheets, pictorial examples to assist with surveys and reporting posters. The Field Guide has five modules for community-based monitoring: 1. Fish catch surveys 2. Invertebrate surveys 3. Coral reef surveys 4. Mangrove surveys 5. Seagrass meadow surveys Each module is independent, and community monitors can use one or more modules, depending on their local needs, issues and resources. The Field Guide provides all the steps to establish and conduct community monitoring for each module, and how to share the results with communities to inform local decisions.

Grey Literature Citation 3 of 5

Nguimdo Vouffo, V. R., E. E. Abwe, B. J. Morgan, …, F. Maisels et al. (2023). “Long-term impacts of conservation interventions on landscape-level hunting dynamics in the African rainforest.” Wildlife Research and Conservation 2023, 9-11 September 2023. Wildlife Research and Conservation 2023 Conference Proceedings. Berlin, Germany: Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, 71.

Grey Literature Citation 4 of 5

Sandrin, F. and D. Wilkie (2024). Kuwinda Nyama: A multiplayer hunting game for social learning and sustainable use. Rome: FAO, Wildlife Conservation Society, CIFOR-ICRAF and CIRAD.

Abstract: Games can help people learn about complex issues, make choices and adapt their actions as they observe the consequences of their choices. They allow adults and children to explore, safely, different scenarios that can generate a variety of outcomes depending on the choices they make as they play the game. Therefore, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) with support from the SWM Programme, developed this low-tech, multiplayer decision-making game to play with rural communities in the Republic of the Congo and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This Manual explains the rules and materials needed to play the Kwinda Nyama game which tests players’ responses to different hunting scenarios with different rules. The SWM Programme is a major international initiative that aims to improve the conservation and sustainable use of wildlife in forest, savannah and wetland ecosystems. It is being funded by the European Union with co-funding from the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) and the French Development Agency (AFD). Projects are being piloted and tested with governments and communities in 17 participating countries. The initiative is coordinated by a dynamic consortium of four partners, namely the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

Grey Literature Citation 5 of 5

WISH Fiji (2023). Watershed Interventions for Systems Health in Fiji: Report on the 2022 “Impact and Interventions” Workshop. Suva, Fiji: Wildlife Conservation Society, Edith Cowan University, University of Sydney and Fiji National University.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  26 February-3 March 2024


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 3

Gill, D. A., S. E. Lester, C. M. Free, ..., E. S. Darling et al. (2024). "A diverse portfolio of marine protected areas can better advance global conservation and equity." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 121(10), e2313205121.

Abstract: Marine protected areas (MPAs) are widely used for ocean conservation, yet the relative impacts of various types of MPAs are poorly understood. We estimated impacts on fish biomass from no-take and multiple-use (fished) MPAs, employing a rigorous matched counterfactual design with a global dataset of >14,000 surveys in and around 216 MPAs. Both no-take and multiple-use MPAs generated positive conservation outcomes relative to no protection (58.2% and 12.6% fish biomass increases, respectively), with smaller estimated differences between the two MPA types when controlling for additional confounding factors (8.3% increase). Relative performance depended on context and management: no-take MPAs performed better in areas of high human pressure but similar to multiple-use in remote locations. Multiple-use MPA performance was low in high-pressure areas but improved significantly with better management, producing similar outcomes to no-take MPAs when adequately staffed and appropriate use regulations were applied. For priority conservation areas where no-take restrictions are not possible or ethical, our findings show that a portfolio of well-designed and well-managed multiple-use MPAs represents a viable and potentially equitable pathway to advance local and global conservation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 3

Platt, S. G., S. Boutxakittilah, O. Thongsavath, S. C. Leslie, L. D. McCaskill et al. (2024). "First confirmed reproduction by a translocated female Siamese Crocodile Crocodylus siamensis (Crocodylidae: Crocodilia) with observations of nest attendance and nest-associated fauna " Journal of Threatened Taxa 16(2), 24760-24768.

Abstract: The Siamese Crocodile Crocodylus siamensis is considered one of the most imperiled and poorly-studied crocodilians in the world. Translocations (reintroductions) - often in conjunction with head-starting of juveniles - are a critical component of efforts to restore viable wild populations of C. siamensis. We here report the first confirmed nesting by a known-age, head-started, and translocated female C. siamensis together with observations of nest attendance and nest-associated fauna based on camera trap imagery. Our observations occurred in the Greater Xe Champhone Wetland Complex (GXCWC) in Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR. GXCWC encompasses 45,000 ha of seasonally inundated natural and anthropogenic wetlands, agricultural ecosystems, scrubland, and forest. While collecting eggs for incubation in May 2022, we were able to identify a unique series of notched tail scutes on a female C. siamensis as she aggressively defended a nest. From these markings we determined the female was hatched on 11 August 2012 (age = 9.75 years) and released in March 2014, approximately 3.5 km from the nest site. A game camera placed at the nest on 11 May 2022 and recovered on 5 July 2022 (34 trap nights) recorded 1724 images. These images indicated the female remained in attendance at the nest throughout the monitoring period. Camera trap imagery captured eight nest repair events and two nest defense events; during the latter the female defended the nest from village dogs. Eleven species of nest-associated fauna were recorded by the game camera, including eight and three species of birds and mammals, respectively. Our observations are the first confirmed nesting by a head-started, translocated female C. siamensis indicating these are effective conservation strategies for restoring wild populations. We also unequivocally established that head-started female C. siamensis are capable of reproducing when nine-years-old.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 3

Theobald, D. M., A. L. Jacob, P. R. Elsen et al. (Early View). "Evaluating ecosystem protection and fragmentation of the world's major mountain regions." Conservation Biology, e14240.

Abstract: Conserving mountains is important for protecting biodiversity because they have high beta diversity and endemicity, facilitate species movement, and provide numerous ecosystem benefits for people. Mountains are often thought to have lower levels of human modification and contain more protected area than surrounding lowlands. To examine this, we compared biogeographic attributes of the largest, contiguous, mountainous region on each continent. In each region, we generated detailed ecosystems based on Köppen−Geiger climate regions, ecoregions, and detailed landforms. We quantified anthropogenic fragmentation of these ecosystems based on human modification classes of large wild areas, shared lands, and cities and farms. Human modification for half the mountainous regions approached the global average, and fragmentation reduced the ecological integrity of mountain ecosystems up to 40%. Only one-third of the major mountainous regions currently meet the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework target of 30% coverage for all protected areas; furthermore, the vast majority of ecosystem types present in mountains were underrepresented in protected areas. By measuring ecological integrity and human-caused fragmentation with a detailed representation of mountain ecosystems, our approach facilitates tracking progress toward achieving conservation goals and better informs mountain conservation.


Prepublication Citations

Prepublication Citation 1 of 1

Stiegler, J., C. Gallagher, R. Hering, ..., B. Buuveibaatar, ..., K. Olson et al. (Prepublication). “Sensitivities of mammals to capture and tagging: Faster recovery in human-disturbed landscapes.” Research Square.

Abstract: Wildlife tagging provides critical insights into animal movement ecology, physiology, and behavior amid global ecosystem changes. However, the stress induced by capture, handling, and tagging can impact post-release locomotion and activity and, consequently, the interpretation of study results. We analyzed post-tagging effects on 1585 individuals of 42 terrestrial mammal species using collar-collected GPS and accelerometer data. Species-specific displacements and overall dynamic body acceleration, as a proxy for activity, were assessed over 20 days post-release to quantify disturbance intensity, recovery duration, and speed. Differences were evaluated, considering species-specific traits and the human footprint of the study region. Over 70% of the analyzed species exhibited significant behavioral changes following collaring events. Herbivores traveled farther with variable activity reactions, while omnivores and carnivores were initially less active and mobile. Recovery duration proved brief, with alterations diminishing within 4-7 tracking days for most species. Herbivores, particularly males, showed quicker displacement recovery (4 days) but slower activity recovery (7 days). Individuals in high human footprint areas displayed faster recovery, indicating adaptation to human disturbance. Our findings emphasize the necessity of extending tracking periods beyond one week and particular caution in remote study areas or herbivore-focused research, specifically in smaller mammals.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  12-25 February 2024 [2 Weeks]


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 11

Anderson, C., A. Zuckerwise, R. B. Wallace, G. Ayala, M. Viscarra and O. J. Schmitz (2024). "Small felids coexist in mixed-use landscape in the Bolivian Amazon." Animals 14, e697

Abstract: In the face of global species loss, it is paramount to understand the effects of human activity on vulnerable species, particularly in highly diverse, complex systems. The Greater Madidi Landscape in the Bolivian Amazon includes several biodiverse protected areas that were created with the goal of sustaining healthy and diverse ecosystems while not impeding the livelihoods of local indigenous peoples. In this study, we sought to use camera trap data and single-species occupancy analysis to assess the impacts of different forms of human activity on four species of small felids: ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), margays (Leopardus wiedii), jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), and oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus). We modeled both human variables (proximity to indigenous communities, roads, and tourist camps) and non-human variables (terrain ruggedness, proximity to rivers, canopy height, prey availability, and large cat abundance). Margay occupancy was unaffected by any of these human variables and ocelots showed only weak evidence of being affected by tourism. Ocelots were particularly pervasive throughout the study area and were consistently estimated to have high occupancy probability. We did not obtain sufficient data on jaguarundi or oncilla to reliably model these effects. Our results indicate that small cats successfully coexist both with each other and with the surrounding human activity in this unique landscape, which serves as a model for global protected area management.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 11

Calderón, A. P., P. Landaverde-Gonzalez, C. Wultsch, ..., R. Garcia-Anleu et al. (2024). "Modelling jaguar gene flow in fragmented landscapes offers insights into functional population connectivity." Landscape Ecology 39(2), e12.

Abstract: Preserving functional connectivity is a conservation priority to secure the long-term viability of geographically dispersed subpopulations, such as the jaguar (Panthera onca) populations in Central America. However, managing connectivity in this region is limited due to the scarcity of local assessments of the connectivity between existing populations, some of which exhibit low levels of gene flow and genetic admixture.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 11

Heimpel, E., A. Ahrends, K. G. Dexter, ..., C. Sanz and D. J. Harris (2024). "Floristic and structural distinctness of monodominant Gilbertiodendron dewevrei forest in the western Congo Basin." Plant Ecology and Evolution 157(1), 55-74.

Abstract: Background and aims: The forests of the Congo Basin contain high levels of biodiversity, and are globally important for carbon storage. In order to design effective conservation strategies, and to accurately model carbon stocks, a fine-scale understanding of the different forest types that make up this forest block is needed. Monodominant Gilbertiodendron dewevrei forest covers large areas of the Congo Basin, but it is currently unclear whether it is sufficiently distinct from adjacent mixed terre firme forest to warrant separate treatment for conservation planning and carbon calculations. This study aimed to compare the structure and diversity of monodominant and mixed forest, and ask whether there is a unique vascular plant community associated with G. dewevrei forest. Material and methods: We utilised a combination of plot data and herbarium specimens collected in the Sangha Trinational (a network of protect areas in Cameroon, Central African Republic, and the Republic of Congo). Plot inventories were used to compare G. dewevrei forest and mixed forest for stem density, basal area, above ground biomass, stem size distribution, species diversity, and species composition. In addition, a database of 3,557 herbarium specimens was used to identify species of vascular plant that are associated with G. dewevrei forest. Key results: Gilbertiodendron dewevrei forest is distinct in both structure and species composition from mixed forest. Gilbertiodendron dewevrei forest has a lower stem number (of trees ≥ 10 cm), but a greater proportion of larger trees (> 70 cm), suggesting higher carbon stocks. The species composition is distinct from mixed forest, with 56 species of vascular plant significantly associated with G. dewevrei forest. Conclusion: Monodominant G. dewevrei forest in the Sangha Trinational is both compositionally and structurally distinct from mixed forest. We therefore recommend this forest type be considered separately from mixed forest for conservation planning and carbon stock calculations.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 11

Iyer, M. L., D. Sanchez-Migallon Guzman, M. Sosa-Higareda, ... and C. E. Alex (2024). "Multifocal hepatocellular carcinoma in a Malayan wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus)." Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 37(4), 321-329.

Abstract: A 30-year-old female intact Malayan wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) was presented for presumed nesting behavior, progressive anorexia, dropping food, and coelomic distension. A complete blood count and plasma biochemistry analysis revealed marked inflammation, severe electrolyte abnormalities, elevated liver enzyme activities and bile acids, and normal plasma iron concentrations. Radiographic images of the patient were consistent with hepatomegaly and loss of serosal detail in the coelomic cavity. A computed tomography study revealed multiple poorly contrast-enhancing hepatic nodules, hepatoperitoneal and intestinal peritoneal fluid and gas, and a contrast-enhancing mass in the ventral coelom. Cytologic samples of the liver were consistent with necrosis, and the coelomic effusion was characterized as an aseptic suppurative exudate. An exploratory coeliotomy was performed and biopsy samples of the liver and a mesenteric mass were histologically interpreted as a tubular carcinoma with metastasis to the liver and secondary portal hepatitis. Euthanasia was elected and multiple liver masses and a peripancreatic mass were identified on necropsy. Histopathological samples collected during the postmortem gross examination showed multiple well-demarcated hepatic masses consisting of neoplastic hepatocytes encapsulated by fibrous tissue and proliferation of dysplastic biliary ductules, as well as a peripancreatic heterophilic granuloma with adjacent pancreatic atrophy and ductular proliferation. Ultimately, the patient was diagnosed with multifocal hepatocellular carcinoma and chronic granulomatous and heterophilic pancreatitis, steatitis, and coelomitis with intralesional bacteria. Malignant hepatobiliary neoplasia has been poorly documented in hornbills despite high anecdotal incidence in this and other avian species predisposed to iron storage disease. This report illustrates clinical and pathological information, including advanced imaging, which could aid in the diagnosis of this condition in hornbills and other avian species.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 11

McClanahan, T. R. (2024). "Perceptions of preparedness to address climate change threats in the western Indian Ocean." Marine Policy 162, e106055.

Abstract: The aim of the study was to improve understanding of the state and needs of knowledge, perceptions, threats, preparedness, and actions to address climate change among maritime Western Indian Ocean national institutions. Two hundred and eighty-nine respondents were contacted directly and 134 (46.4%) fully completed a questionnaire asking specifics concerning these aspects of climate preparedness. Results allowed evaluations of respondents in 9 nations and 7 marine and research organizational categories. Responses indicated that climate change is broadly acknowledged, being addressed, and organizations are making progress towards adaptation goals. However, specifics of locations, timing, and organizational planning and action cycles were less clearly articulated. Respondents clustered into 3 main groupings named as decisive, indecisive, and divergent as reflected in their degree of affirmation of proposed adaptive planning and interventions. The decisive group were 43% of the respondents who were clear that sea level rise and hotter temperatures were the main threats. The indecisive and divergent respondents (28% each) had a mixture of negative and uncertain responses that represented a mixture of critical thinking and a mixed state of preparation. All respondents reported a mixed implementation approach that included biodiversity conservation, sustainable resource extract, coastal development, and alternative livelihoods activities. Most were influenced by a portfolio of funding opportunities, but primarily focused on capacity building. Planning, monitoring, revising, and coordination were less frequently reported even among organizations with this capacity. There was little evidence that respondent organization were completing an adaptive cycle where data collection and sharing provided feedback and needed adjustments. Common-sense capacity building drove most funding and actions, but rapid responses for effective change will require building monitoring, evaluation, and coordination activities to accelerate learning and adaptation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 11

McClanahan, T. R., R. M. Oddenyo and J. K. Kosgei (2024). "Challenges to managing fisheries with high inter-community variability on the Kenya-Tanzania border." Current Research in Environmental Sustainability 7, e100244.

Abstract: Reconciling variable between-community and neighboring country goals is the focus of the United Nations partnership goals (Sustainable Development Goal 17) because of the challenges of managing shared common-pool resources, such as fisheries. Our objective was to better understand and suggest management that accounts for this variability among fishing villages along the Kenya-Tanzania national boundary. We asked stakeholders to scale their dependency on fish, objective knowledge of fisheries, governance effectiveness, management preferences, and future fisheries provisioning scenarios among villages economically aligned with international trade or national park conservation. We found high dependency on fish (90% daily consumption), modest objective knowledge about fisheries and their status (62% correct answers) but a broad agreement on the need for community engagement (>90% agreement). The perceived weakest governance principles were fisheries monitoring and the resolution of conflicts with neighbors. Considerable variability in opinions about how to provide more fish reflected the international boundary trade and conservation contexts. Rural households further from the border favored community management and local or national fisheries closure management whereas stakeholder preferences with more urban and public were associated with greater support for offshore fishing and port and aquaculture infrastructure developments. Previously measured losses of fisheries catch production in most villages was hidden from stakeholders by a lack of catch monitoring and production potential estimates. Lost fisheries production and sustainability could be recovered by increased knowledge of resource production capacity, monitoring, and governance engagement that increases compliance. Village level economics and transnational contexts require multilevel governance and good coordination to manage the diverse capacities, preferences, and management needs.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 11

Mo, L., C. M. Zohner, P. B. Reich, ..., B. Swanepoel et al. (2023). "Integrated global assessment of the natural forest carbon potential." Nature 624(7990), 92-101.

Abstract: Forests are a substantial terrestrial carbon sink, but anthropogenic changes in land use and climate have considerably reduced the scale of this system1. Remote-sensing estimates to quantify carbon losses from global forests2–5 are characterized by considerable uncertainty and we lack a comprehensive ground-sourced evaluation to benchmark these estimates. Here we combine several ground-sourced6 and satellite-derived approaches2,7,8 to evaluate the scale of the global forest carbon potential outside agricultural and urban lands. Despite regional variation, the predictions demonstrated remarkable consistency at a global scale, with only a 12% difference between the ground-sourced and satellite-derived estimates. At present, global forest carbon storage is markedly under the natural potential, with a total deficit of 226 Gt (model range = 151–363 Gt) in areas with low human footprint. Most (61%, 139 Gt C) of this potential is in areas with existing forests, in which ecosystem protection can allow forests to recover to maturity. The remaining 39% (87 Gt C) of potential lies in regions in which forests have been removed or fragmented. Although forests cannot be a substitute for emissions reductions, our results support the idea2,3,9 that the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of diverse forests offer valuable contributions to meeting global climate and biodiversity targets.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 11

Rainwater, T. R., R. Singh, C. A. Tuten, ..., S. G. Platt et al. (2024). "Fauna associated with American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) nests in coastal South Carolina, USA." Animals 14, e620

Abstract: Crocodilians are considered to be “ecosystem engineers” because their modification of habitats provides opportunities for feeding, drinking, breeding, and other vital life activities to a wide variety of other animals. One such habitat modification is the construction of nest mounds during the breeding season by most crocodilian species, including American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). While many reports exist describing wildlife associated with alligator nests, no studies have quantified faunal associates and their corresponding behaviors while visiting nests. To address this data gap, we used automated game cameras to monitor wildlife and their behaviors at alligator nests during the egg incubation period (June–September) in coastal South Carolina, USA (2016–2021). We documented a total of 81 species (79 vertebrates and 2 invertebrates) at 78 alligator nests representing six taxonomic groups, including 48 birds (59.2%), 9 mammals (11.1%), 19 reptiles (23.4%), 3 amphibians (3.7%), 1 malacostracan (1.2%), and 1 insect (1.2%). Collectively, faunal associates primarily used alligator nests for feeding/foraging (51.8%), traveling (29.3%), and loafing (19.9%) and to a much lesser extent basking, burrowing/shelter, breeding, and nesting. However, trends in alligator nest use varied among faunal associate groups (birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, etc.), subgroups (e.g., passerines, raptors, wading birds, and waterfowl), and species. Several novel behaviors by some nest associates were also noted during the study, including the first observations of Virginia oppossum (Didelphis virginiana) opening and predating nests, bobcat (Lynx rufus) consuming alligator hatchlings, and Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) feeding on the contents of a recently predated alligator egg. The results of this study indicate that a diverse assemblage of vertebrates (and some invertebrates) use alligator nest sites in coastal South Carolina for a variety of life activities during the egg incubation period, and the proportion of the behaviors exhibited varies among animal groups and species. This study provides a first step for investigations regarding the net impacts of alligator nest-faunal associate interactions and ultimately the greater ecological role of alligators and other crocodilians.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 9 of 11

Stinchcomb, T. R., Z. Ma, R. K. Swihart et al. (Early View). "Mapping social conflicts to enhance the integrated management of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)." Conservation Science and Practice, e13086.

Abstract: Understanding the social feasibility of wildlife conservation approaches is essential to reducing social conflicts over wildlife and public backlash toward wildlife agencies and organizations. The Potential for Conflict Index2 (PCI2) and geospatial analyses of conflict can help wildlife practitioners strategically engage their publics, but these two tools have yet to be combined. Using data from a 2021 survey about white-tailed deer in Indiana (n = 1806), we analyzed conflict levels among stakeholder self-identities and political ideologies regarding the acceptability of six possible management methods, three lethal and three nonlethal. We then conducted a hotspot analysis of gridded PCI2 values to map areas of high and low social conflicts across the state. Conflict potentials showed more consistent covariation with political ideologies than with stakeholder self-identities, aligning with urban–rural divides in wildlife experiences. Data on political leanings and residency may thus be more reliable than stakeholder categories to predict social conflicts over wildlife management. Hotspots of conflict over lethal methods clustered around urban areas, indicating that agencies should focus on engaging urban residents about deer management. Our conflict hotspots can be combined with other spatial data to create social units of analysis, which can help practitioners develop targeted and socially accepted strategies for wildlife conservation and management.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 10 of 11

Walter, R. K., J. K. O'Leary, S. Vitousek et al.. (2023). "Corrigendum to “Large-scale erosion driven by intertidal eelgrass loss in an estuarine environment” [Estuar. Coast Shelf Sci. 243 (2020) 106910]." Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 291, e108431.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 11 of 11

Zec, S., M. A. Mitchell, K. Rockwell and D. Lindemann (2024). "Evaluating the anesthetic and physiologic effects of intramuscular and intravenous alfaxalone in eastern mud turtles (Kinosternon subrubrum)." Animals 14, e460

Abstract: Current sedation protocols for chelonians can pose a challenge to clinicians because of prolonged induction and recovery times, difficulties in gaining venous access, and natural species variation. This study evaluated the sedative and physiologic effects of intramuscular (IM) and intravenous (IV) alfaxalone in six wild-caught adult eastern mud turtles (Kinosternon subrubrum). The turtles received alfaxalone 10 mg/kg IM and IV in a randomized cross-over design. A 10-day washout period occurred between trials. Baseline parameters (heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, and reflexes) were assessed prior to injection and every 5 min post-injection until recovery. Three venous blood gas samples were also collected and analyzed over the course of each trial (baseline, induction, and recovery). Intravenous alfaxalone resulted in a significantly faster induction (p = 0.016; median: 1.5 min, 25–75%: 1–7.5, minimum–maximum: 1–21) and a shorter total sedation time (p = 0.041; median: 52 min, 25–75%: 34.5–62.5, minimum–maximum: 33–87) when compared with IM alfaxalone (induction, median: 20 min, 25–75%: 15–22.5, minimum–maximum: 15–25; total, median: 70 min, 25–75%: 65–82.5, minimum–maximum: 65–90). Blood gas and physiologic parameters were not significantly different between groups; however, the pH (p = 0.009) and glucose (p = 0.0001) significantly increased, and partial pressure of carbon dioxide (p = 0.024) significantly decreased over time. This study demonstrated that alfaxalone 10 mg/kg IV or IM can be used to provide safe and effective sedation in eastern mud turtles.


Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 1 of 2

Pauly, M., W. Crosse, C. Moore, K. Brown, O. Griffin et al. (Prepublication). “A multi-modal analysis of REDD+ baselines in Cambodia.” Research Square.

Abstract: Cambodia is facing widespread deforestation due to agriculture, logging, land grabbing, and infrastructure. The implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) projects has become a key strategy to protect at-risk forests using the sale of verified emission reductions as financing; generated by reducing forest loss against counterfactual baseline scenarios. We test a series of ex-post baseline assessment methodologies on three Cambodian REDD+ projects using two geospatial datasets (one global and one locally calibrated for maximum accuracy); integrating results to assess the reasonable accuracy of their respective baselines. We find different datasets applied to different control sites produce a wide range of forest loss rates. The baselines of all three projects fall within or below a “zone of reasonable accuracy,” based on an integration of ex-post forest loss rate results, establishing the concept of reasonable accuracy as a valid standard against which to assess REDD+ project baselines.

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 2 of 2

Villalba, L., B. Ortiz and N. Gengler (2024). Principales Mamíferos del Chaco Central. Asunción, Paraguay: Wildlife Conservation Society, Paraguay.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 5

King-Nolan, C. D., M. L. Rekdahl, A. Murray, S. Strindberg, M. F. Baumgartner and H. C. Rosenbaum (2024). "Fin whale song characteristics and potential subpopulation identity in the New York Bight." Scientific Reports 14(1), e2931.

Abstract: Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) song can follow a highly consistent pattern, and regional differences in song patterns can be a valuable indicator of subpopulation identity and distribution. In the Northwest Atlantic, endangered fin whales are currently managed as a single stock despite previous identification of different regional song patterns, which indicates potential subpopulation structuring and vulnerability to anthropogenic disturbance if not managed accordingly. Here we document fin whale song in the New York Bight (NYB) from 2017 to 2020 using passive acoustic data to identify monthly and yearly trends in song patterns and to explore potential subpopulation structuring. The predominant song pattern observed was highly consistent with the pattern documented almost a decade prior in the NYB, with short inter-note intervals (INI) from fall–winter and long-INIs in the spring. However, in one song year the majority of songs were composed of long-INIs. This change in song pattern could be due to a shift in fin whale behavior or possibly multiple fin whale subpopulations using the NYB. Fin whales in the NYB may be particularly vulnerable to disturbance given the increasing anthropogenic pressures in this region, and further research into subpopulation structuring is needed to ensure adequate management of these endangered whales.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 5

Li, Y., X. C. Gao, H. J. Chen, Q. Wang and J. Zhao (In Press). "Spatial-temporal distribution characteristics of Harpadon nehereus in the Yangtze River Estuary and its relationship with environmental factors " Frontiers in Marine Science 11.

Abstract: To investigate the spatial-temporal distribution characteristics of Harpadon nehereus in the Yangtze River Estuary (YRE) and its relationship with environmental factors, this study used the data from resource and environmental surveys conducted in the YRE and adjacent waters during August (summer) and November (autumn), 2017-2022. Generalized additive models (GAM) were employed to analyze the relationships between the relative resources of H. nehereus and environmental factors and to predict the spatial-temporal distribution of H. nehereus resources in 2022. Our results revealed that the best model deviance explained in summer and autumn was 64.89% and 49.90%, with average effect sizes of 0.75 and 0.70, respectively, for cross-validated regression slopes. Water temperature and salinity were identified as the key environmental factors influencing the relative resources of H.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 5

Lisnizer, N., P. Giudici, M. Pollicelli, ... and P. Yorio (In Press). "Winter consumption of the introduced green crab Carcinus maenas by kelp gulls Larus dominicanus." New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research.

Abstract: The introduction of species can have negative effects on species, communities, and ecosystems, although native predators may profit from the introduced prey. We present an evaluation of the consumption of the introduced Green Crab (Carcinus maenas) by Kelp Gulls (Larus dominicanus) during the austral winter in Patagonia, Argentina. Green Crab remains were present in 9.4% (n?=?416) of the Kelp Gull pellets collected between June and August of 2021, at four coastal sectors distributed along more than 400?km of coastline. Frequency of occurrence of Green Crabs in Kelp Gull pellets varied between 0 and 66.7% depending on the location, and being similar for the three studied months. Overall, Kelp gulls included at least 35 food items in their diet with variable contributions from different food categories, again depending on the location. This is the first report on the winter consumption of Green Crabs by Kelp Gulls and provides baseline information for understanding the role of this introduced species in newly invaded coastal ecosystems.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 5

Mendoza, A. P., A. Muñoz-Maceda, B. M. Ghersi, M. De La Puente, C. Zariquiey, N. Cavero, Y. Murillo, M. Sebastian, Y. Ibañez, ..., S. H. Olson and M. H. Rosenbaum (2024). "Diversity and prevalence of zoonotic infections at the animal-human interface of primate trafficking in Peru." PLOS ONE 19(2), e0287893.

Abstract: Wildlife trafficking creates favorable scenarios for intra- and inter-specific interactions that can lead to parasite spread and disease emergence. Among the fauna affected by this activity, primates are relevant due to their potential to acquire and share zoonoses - infections caused by parasites that can spread between humans and other animals. Though it is known that most primate parasites can affect multiple hosts and that many are zoonotic, comparative studies across different contexts for animal-human interactions are scarce. We conducted a multi-parasite screening targeting the detection of zoonotic infections in wild-caught monkeys in nine Peruvian cities across three contexts: captivity (zoos and rescue centers, n = 187); pet (households, n = 69); and trade (trafficked or recently confiscated, n = 132). We detected 32 parasite taxa including mycobacteria, simian foamyvirus, bacteria, helminths, and protozoa. Monkeys in the trade context had the highest prevalence of hemoparasites (including Plasmodium malariae/brasilianum, Trypanosoma cruzi, and microfilaria) and enteric helminths and protozoa were less common in pet monkeys. However, parasite communities showed overall low variation between the three contexts. Parasite richness (PR) was best explained by host genus and the city where the animal was sampled. Squirrel (genus Saimiri) and wooly (genus Lagothrix) monkeys had the highest PR, which was ~2.2 times the PR found in tufted capuchins (genus Sapajus) and tamarins (genus Saguinus/Leontocebus) in a multivariable model adjusted for context, sex, and age. Our findings illustrate that the threats of wildlife trafficking to One Health encompass exposure to multiple zoonotic parasites well-known to cause disease in humans, monkeys, and other species. We demonstrate these threats continue beyond the markets where wildlife is initially sold; monkeys trafficked for the pet market remain a reservoir for and contribute to the translocation of zoonotic parasites to households and other captive facilities where contact with humans is frequent. Our results have practical applications for the healthcare of rescued monkeys and call for urgent action against wildlife trafficking and ownership of monkeys as pets.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 5

Thurman, L. L., K. Alger, O. LeDee, ..., S. H. Olson, M. Pruvot et al. (Early View). "Disease-smart climate adaptation for wildlife management and conservation." Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, e2716.

Abstract: Climate change is a well-documented driver and threat multiplier of infectious disease in wildlife populations. However, wildlife disease management and climate-change adaptation have largely operated in isolation. To improve conservation outcomes, we consider the role of climate adaptation in initiating or exacerbating the transmission and spread of wildlife disease and the deleterious effects thereof, as illustrated through several case studies. We offer insights into best practices for disease-smart adaptation, including a checklist of key factors for assessing disease risks early in the climate adaptation process. By assessing risk, incorporating uncertainty, planning for change, and monitoring outcomes, natural resource managers and conservation practitioners can better prepare for and respond to wildlife disease threats in a changing climate.

Prepublication Citations

Prepublication Citation 1 of 2

Cook, C. N., M. Rao, P. J. Clyne, V. Rathbone, C. Barrientos, A. Boveda, A. Diment, J. Parra, V. Falabella, M. Linkie, D. Kujirakwinja, S. Ostrowski, K. Olson, V. Patankar, L. Rasolofomanan and H. S. Grantham (Prepublication). “Evaluating the likelihood for areas important for conservation to be recognized as Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures.” bioRxiv

Abstract: Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) have expanded area-based conservation to recognize sites that deliver effective biodiversity outcomes even if not managed for conservation. Yet our ability to identify sites likely to qualify as OECMs remains limited. To address this gap, we established and tested a set of indicators to judge whether sites meet the essential criteria to be considered OECMs, evaluating a large, global sample of 173 important conservation areas: 81 potential OECMs and 92 nearby protected areas. We found that most potential OECMs were largely in good condition with the potential to achieve conservation outcomes, but none currently met all the OECM criteria. Formally designated protected areas in our dataset performed better but the majority also failed the criteria. With so many important conservation areas unable to deliver effective conservation outcomes, our findings raise important questions about how to ensure area-based conservation promotes positive and sustained outcomes for biodiversity.

Prepublication Citation 2 of 2

Valenzuela, L., C. Saavedra, A. Herrera and G. Forero-Medina (Prepublication). “Environmental and human-mediated factors influence vertebrate occupancy in two tropical ecosystems.” Authorea.

Abstract: A species presence within its geographic range can be influenced by environmental variables and disturbance history, resulting in particular occupancy patterns. Understanding the factors affecting occupancy is essential to evaluate the impact of human activities on species and design conservation or restoration measures. For tropical vertebrates, there is little understanding of how multiple factors influence occupancy and interactions with other species under different conditions and disturbance levels. In this study, we evaluated how natural and human-mediated factors determine the presence of mammals and terrestrial birds in two tropical landscapes that share some species but differ in the type of ecosystems and the degree of human disturbance. We adjusted single-season occupancy models for each species to assess the key variables (human-influenced and natural) determining its presence in each landscape, and co-occurrence models to evaluate potential inter-specific relationships. Although species richness was similar between landscapes, small, generalist species had a higher occupancy in the more disturbed landscape (ψ 0.58 Vs 0.40), while larger species had a higher occupancy in the less disturbed one (ψ 0.79 Vs 0.21). Species in the more fragmented and altered landscape were mainly affected by human-mediated variables, although the effect was not always negative, with smaller species being favored by such conditions. In contrast, in the less altered landscape, environmental variables were more determinant of vertebrate occupancy. Additionally, the number, magnitude, and direction of species interactions usually changed from one landscape to another. Results from this study contribute to the broader understanding of the mechanisms that determine vertebrate occupancy in tropical ecosystems. They confirm how human disturbance can have a direct effect on occupancy of larger species of mammals, and demonstrate how in more altered ecosystems factors associated with human presence may become more limiting or more beneficial than natural ones becoming the primary determinants of occupancy.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  29 January-4 February 2024


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 2

Lemos, L. P., D. S. S. Ferreira, M. A. Oliveira, ..., C. C. Durigan et al. (2023). "Subsistence hunting and wild meat trade in Brazilian Amazonia." In W. R. Spironello, A. A. Barnett, J. W. Lynch et al., Eds., Amazonian Mammals: Current Knowledge and Conservation Priorities, 241-274. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Abstract: Subsistence hunting is a widespread human activity in Brazilian Amazonia, rooted in diverse and complex socioecological universes and intrinsic to a continental-wide region. In this sense, hunting needs to be understood in its whole complexity, encompassing material factors as well as immaterial attributes of peoples and cultures that use wildlife across Amazonia. Mammal species occur in a variety of hunting profiles and together are the most targeted game taxa in this biome. In addition, mammal meat trade is undertaken in poor sanitary conditions and in an unregulated manner in this region, affecting social, ecological, and sanitary security. Nowadays, people who deal with hunting management in Brazil are in a virtual “limbo,” where hunting continues to be carried out by rural and urban populations, surveillance campaigns are hampered by a poor legal framework to prevent overhunting, and hunting comanagement or other forms of sustainable use of wildlife are inactive. In this chapter, we provide a literature review and case studies concerning subsistence hunting and the wild meat trade of mammals, with the aim of highlighting that wildlife management is imperative to achieving biodiversity conservation in Brazilian Amazonia. / A caça de subsistência é uma atividade humana amplamente difundida na Amazônia brasileira, enraizada em universos socioecológicos diversos e complexos e intrínseca a uma região de proporções continentais. Nesse sentido, a caça de mamíferos precisa ser compreendida em toda a sua complexidade, abrangendo tanto os fatores materiais quanto os atributos imateriais das pessoas e culturas que utilizam a fauna na Amazônia. As espécies de mamíferos ocorrem em uma variedade de perfis de caça e, juntas, são o táxon mais visado nesse bioma. Além disso, o comércio de carne de mamíferos é realizado em condições sanitárias precárias e de forma não regulamentada nessa região, afetando tanto a segurança social, ecológica quanto sanitária daqueles que utilizam da fauna silvestre. Atualmente, as pessoas que lidam com o manejo da caça de subsistência no Brasil estão em um “limbo” virtual, onde a caça continua sendo realizada por populações rurais e urbanas, as campanhas de vigilância são prejudicadas por um fraco arcabouço legal para prevenir a superexploração dos animais silvestres, e a cogestão da atividade de caça ou outras formas de uso sustentável da fauna, estão inativas. Neste capítulo, fornecemos uma revisão da literatura e estudos de caso sobre a caça de subsistência e o comércio de carne de mamíferos, com o objetivo de destacar que o manejo da fauna é imperativo para alcançar a conservação da biodiversidade na Amazônia brasileira.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 2

Zhuo, Y., M. Wang, Z. Liu, ..., A. M. Rajabi, ..., S. P. Faryabi, S. Michel, S. Ostrowski, Z. Moheb et al. (2024). "Border fences reduce potential for transboundary migration of Marco Polo Sheep (Ovis ammon polii) in the Pamir Plateau." Science of The Total Environment 912, e169298.

Abstract: Border fences have severely impeded the transboundary migration of a number of large mammals worldwide, with central Asia being one of the most impacted. The Marco Polo sheep (Ovis ammon polii), an iconic species of Pamir, is threatened in its transboundary movement by increasing border fencing among their five distributed countries, including Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. In this study, by building ensemble species distribution models, we found that eastern Tajikistan had the largest suitable Macro Polo sheep habitat (about 42 % of the total suitable habitat), followed by China (about 32 %). We used least-cost paths to identify 51 ecological corridors including 5 transboundary ecological corridors, which may be important to maintain connectivity in both domestic and transboundary regions. To assess the potential barrier effect of border fences, we assessed four scenarios (30, 40, 50 and 60°) corresponding to the upper limit of the slope for the construction of fences. In areas too steep for fencing, these could be used by wild sheep to cross barriers or borders and may represent migration or movement routes, defined as natural passages. In the most pessimistic Scenario 60, only 25 migratory passages along the border fences were identified, compared to 997 in the most optimistic scenario (Scenario 30), indicating a strong negative effect of intensive border fencing on the transboundary movement of Marco Polo sheep. The establishment of transnational conservation parks, and ensuring permeability is maintained in key areas, could have a positive impact on the connectivity and persistence of Marco Polo sheep populations, and provide important lessons for other large migratory mammals in transboundary regions.

Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 1

Diogou, N., W. D. Halliday, S. Dosso, ... and S. J. Insley (2023). “Spatiotemporal patterns and habitat preferences of bowhead whales in the Eastern Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean.” In A. Astolfi, F. Asdrudali, and L. Shtrepi, Eds., Proceedings of the 10th Convention of the European Acoustics Association Forum Acusticum 2023, 4843-4846. Turin, Italy: European Acoustics Association.

Abstract: The Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the globe. The shrinking sea-ice causes cascading effects throughout the ecosystem. While cetaceans experience climate-driven changes in the ocean, their adaptation mechanisms include spatially and/or temporally shifting their habitat occupancy, or even permanently altering their migration phenology. The urgent need for monitoring Arctic cetaceans, combined with the challenge of long-term studies in the Arctic, was addressed with passive acoustics. During 2014-2021, ten sites in the Beaufort Sea were equipped with fixed acoustic recorders, monitoring the ocean soundscape for 1-12 months. Combined manual and automated bioacoustic analysis with statistical analysis, allowed quantifying the variability of bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) presence through time and space. The bowhead is the only Arctic endemic mysticete and a species of high cultural and nutritional value for the Inuit. Results indicate a large variation in bowhead presence over the years and across the stations. However, a clear seasonal pattern is dominant throughout the data. These spatiotemporal patterns, combined with in-situ and remotely-sensed environmental variables in multivariate models allowed identifying the conditions that affect the bowhead distribution. Understanding these responses is key for predicting the impact of environmental change and important while the ocean is warming.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 6

Arias, M., P. Coals, Ardiantiono, ..., M. da Silva, ..., E. Payán et al. (2024). "Reflecting on the role of human-felid conflict and local use in big cat trade." Conservation Science and Practice 6(1), e13030.

Abstract: Illegal trade in big cat (Panthera spp.) body parts is a prominent topic in scientific and public discourses concerning wildlife conservation. While illegal trade is generally acknowledged as a threat to big cat species, we suggest that two enabling factors have, to date, been under-considered. To that end, we discuss the roles of human-felid conflict, and “local” use in illegal trade in big cat body parts. Drawing examples from across species and regions, we look at generalities, contextual subtleties, ambiguities, and definitional complexities. We caution against underestimating the extent of “local” use of big cats and highlight the potential of conflict killings to supply body parts.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 6

Campbell, M. A., R. J. Brown, K. M. Fraley, ... and M. D. Robards (In Press). "Biogeography of Beringian fishes after the molecular revolution and into the post-genomics era." Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries.

Abstract: Significant progress in our knowledge of Beringian biodiversity and in the technologies available for biodiversity research has been made in the several decades since a comprehensive biogeographic synthesis of Beringian freshwater fishes was compiled and published in 1986. Further, the fish fauna of Beringia and, more broadly, of high latitude freshwater systems of the northern hemisphere face some of the most intense well documented effects of global climate change. Here we synthesize current understanding of how the dynamic spatial and ecological landscapes of Pleistocene glaciations have shaped the distribution of taxonomic and genetic diversity in fish faunas of Beringia. Through a more complete integration of knowledge obtained in studies of fishes in Russian drainages, we aimed to identify promising strategies to test alternative biogeographic hypotheses on the roles played by the Bering land bridge, paleorivers and glacial history in intercontinental faunal movement. We focus on freshwater fishes of the Bering Strait region, which live in an environment that is premised on extreme instability and profound changes in long-term connectivity for fishes and offers opportunities to assess long-term evolutionary trends in both speciation and life history variation. Such information is critical for both our scientific understanding of evolutionary processes in fishes and valuable for those tasked with the challenges of management and conservation of natural resources in this expansive, dynamic and remote region. We provide an overview of Beringian freshwater ichthyofauna and examine genetic differentiation among population units within these lineages. We also examine evidence for how long population units have been separated based on historic glacially-related separations and the more recent marine barrier of the Bering Strait that constrains freshwater or diadromous species based on their ability to disperse in salt water. Our review concludes on how Arctic and sub-Arctic fishes may adapt and persist in their dynamic environment considering low genetic diversity, the role of adaptive introgression, and epigenetic variation. We find that Beringian fishes may poorly fit traditional taxonomic categories and the designation of conservation units below the species level may be of great practical application. Furthermore, as hybridization is documented to increase in the Arctic, the use of this process for ecological monitoring may also be of high utility with Beringian fishes.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 6

Chimeddorj, B., B. Buuveibaatar, N. Galsandorj et al. (In Press). "From isolation to integration: assessing habitat connectivity of the endangered saiga antelope in Mongolia." Mammalian Biology.

Abstract: This study provides the first comprehensive assessment of habitat connectivity for the Mongolian saiga, a species endemic to Western Mongolia. We utilized a resource selection function (RSF) to identify core habitats (CHs) throughout the saiga’s entire range. Additionally, the Circuitscape approach was employed to map the least-cost paths (LCPs) among these core habitats. The RSF models revealed a strong preference for high productivity areas, while avoiding disturbed regions. Through a spatially explicit model, 34 CHs covering an area of 12,480 km2 (30.7% of the saiga’s range) were identified. The connectivity models identified 68 LCPs between various pairs of CHs, totaling 1700 km in length across the entire saiga range. The core habitat in the center of the saiga range displayed the highest centrality scores, highlighting their critical importance in maintaining their habitat interconnectedness. Furthermore, the presence of pinch points was observed in several CH pairs within the northwest region, suggesting potential bottlenecks that may hinder movement between these habitats. It is imperative to implement measures aimed at addressing these pinch points and establishing secure corridors to facilitate the saiga movement between the CHs. To ensure the survival of the saiga, it is also crucial to mitigate the impact of existing and planned linear infrastructures, as well as other human disturbances that have the potential to fragment habitats and disrupt connectivity. These findings serve as valuable insights for targeted conservation efforts and the formulation of effective management strategies geared toward safeguarding this iconic species in Western Mongolia.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 6

Choy, C., H. Booth and D. Verissimo (Early View). "Understanding consumers to inform market interventions for Singapore's shark fin trade." People and Nature.

Abstract: 1. Sharks, rays and their cartilaginous relatives (Class Chondrichthyes, herein ‘sharks’) are among the world's most threatened species groups, primarily due to overfishing, which in turn is driven by complex market forces including demand for fins. Understanding the high-value shark fin market is a global priority for conserving shark and rays, yet the preferences of shark fin consumers are not well understood. This gap hinders the design of evidence-based consumer-focused conservation interventions. 2. Using an online discrete choice experiment, we explored preferences for price, quality, size, menu types (as a proxy for exclusivity) and source of fins (with varying degrees of sustainability) among 300 shark fin consumers in Singapore: a global entrepôt for shark fin trade. 3. Overall, consumers preferred lower priced fins sourced from responsible fisheries or produced using novel lab-cultured techniques. We also identified four consumer segments, each with distinct psychographic characteristics and consumption behaviours. 4. These preferences and profiles could be leveraged to inform new regulatory and market-based interventions regarding the sale and consumption of shark fins, and incentivize responsible fisheries and lab-cultured innovation for delivering conservation and sustainability goals. 5. In addition, message framing around health benefits, shark endangerment and counterfeiting could reinforce existing beliefs among consumers in Singapore and drive behavioural shifts to ensure that market demand remains within the limits of sustainable supply.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 6

Elsen, P. R. (In Press). "Shifting needs to safeguard diversity." Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Abstract: Systematic conservation planning in the European Alps suggests that priorities to safeguard multifaceted plant diversity will shift from low to high elevations and across latitudes, necessitating a coordinated and transboundary conservation strategy.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 6

Mendgen, P., N. Dejid, K. Olson, B. Buuveibaatar et al. (2023). "Nomadic ungulate movements under threat: Declining mobility of Mongolian gazelles in the Eastern Steppe of Mongolia." Biological Conservation 286, e110271.

Abstract: Increasing habitat fragmentation and disturbance threaten long-distance movements of ungulates. While the effects of impermeable barriers on ungulate migrations have been well researched, quantitative evidence for gradual, long-term changes of mobility remains rare. We investigated changes in movement behavior of Mongolian gazelle Procapra gutturosa using GPS tracking data collected from 62 gazelle individuals between 2007 and 2021. We quantified 16-day displacement distances as a metric for long-distance movements before using linear mixed models, generalized additive models and quantile regressions to assess how anthropogenic and environmental factors affected gazelle movement behavior. Long-distance 16-day movements decreased by 36 %, from 142 km in 2007 to 92 km in 2021. Changes in mobility were affected by increasing vehicle numbers in Mongolia, but could not be explained by concurrent changes in other environmental factors like temperature, precipitation or vegetation greenness. Gazelle movement decreased close to roads, and gazelles stayed further away from roads during the snow-free season, when traffic likely is most intense. Conserving landscape permeability is essential for maintaining populations of highly mobile species. Our study provides evidence for a gradual decline in gazelle mobility over fifteen years as a response to increasing anthropogenic impact. The transportation infrastructure permeating the Eastern Steppe does not pose physical barriers, yet our findings suggest that increasing traffic volume may create semipermeable barriers to gazelle movement. As human activity is increasing, interactions between ungulates and vehicle traffic need to be closely monitored to identify and mitigate semipermeable barrier effects before landscape permeability is severely altered.

Prepublication Citations

Prepublication Citation 1 of 1

Emogor, C. A., L. Coad, B. Balmford, D. J. Ingram, D. Detoeuf, R. J. Fletcher Jr., I. Imong, A. Dunn and A. Balmford (Prepublication). “Changes in wild meat hunting and use by rural communities during the COVID-19 socio-economic shock.” OSF Preprints.

Abstract: There has been limited quantitative research into the effects of socio-economic shocks on biological resource use. Focusing on wild meat hunting, a substantial livelihood and food source in tropical regions, we evaluated the impacts of the shock from Nigeria’s COVID-19 lockdown on species exploitation around a global biodiversity hotspot. Using a three-year quantitative dataset collected during and after the lockdown (covering 1,008 hunter-months) and matching by time of year, we found that successful hunting trip rates were more frequent during lockdown, with a corresponding increase in the monthly number, mass, and value of animals caught. Moreover, hunters consumed a larger proportion of wild meat and sold less during lockdown compared to non-lockdown periods. These results suggest that local communities relied on wild meat to supplement reduced food and income during lockdown, buffering COVID-19’s socio-economic shock. Our findings also indicate that wild species may be especially vulnerable to increased hunting pressure during such shocks.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 7

Cadaillon, A. M., B. Mattera, A. Albizzi, ..., A. Raya Rey et al. (In Press). "Multispecies mass mortality in the Beagle Channel associated with Paralytic Shellfish Toxins." Harmful Algae, 102581.

Abstract: The Beagle Channel is a Subantarctic semi-estuarine environment at the southern tip of South America, where intoxication events associated with harmful algal blooms have been reported since 1886, including a world record in toxicity due to Alexandrium catenella in 1992. Toxic algae affect public health and ecosystem services, particularly mussel aquaculture and fisheries management. During the austral summer of 2022, an intense bloom of A. catenella (5 × 104 cells L−1) occurred in the Beagle Channel, leading to the second most toxic event in the area, with mussel toxicity reaching 197266 µg STXeq kg−1. This event was synchronous with the mortality of marine organisms from different trophic levels and terrestrial fauna, i.e., two Fuegian red foxes and a southern caracara. Stomach content and liver samples from dead kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus), Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus), papua penguins (Pygoscelis papua), and imperial cormorants (Leucocarbo atriceps), presented variable paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) levels (up to 3427 µg STXeq kg−1) as measured by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), suggesting that deaths were associated with high PST toxicity level. The different toxin profiles found in phytoplankton, zooplankton, squat lobsters (Grimothea gregaria), Fuegian sprat (Sprattus fuegensis), and seabirds evidenced possible toxin transformation along the food web and the possible transfer vectors. The unexpected detection of PST in terrestrial fauna (up to 2707 µg STXeq kg−1) suggested intoxication by scavenging on squat lobsters, which had high toxicity (26663 µg STXeq kg−1). PST trace levels were also detected in a liver sample of a dead false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), an oceanic odontocete stranded on the coast during the bloom. Overall, our results denote the exceptional nature of the toxic, multispecies mortality event and that toxins may propagate to several levels of the food web in this Subantarctic environment.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 7

Crisfield, V. E., F. Guillaume Blanchet, C. Raudsepp-Hearne and D. Gravel (Early View). "How and why species are rare: Towards an understanding of the ecological causes of rarity." Ecography, e07037.

Abstract: The three-dimensional rarity typology proposed by Rabinowitz in 1981, based on geographic range, habitat specificity, and local abundance, is among the most widely used frameworks for describing rarity in ecological and conservation research. While this framework is descriptive and is not meant to explain the causes of rarity, recent advances in ecology may be leveraged to add explanatory power. Here we present a macroecological exploration of rarity and its underlying causes. We propose a modification of Rabinowitz's typology to better distinguish between the dimensions of rarity and the ecological processes that drive them, and explore the conservation implications of our modified framework. We propose to add occupancy (the proportion of occupied sites within a species' range) as a rarity axis, and recast habitat specificity as a cause of rarity, thus yielding a modified classification based on range size, occupancy, and local abundance. Under our framework, habitat specialists are no longer considered rare if they are widespread and abundant; we argue that this modification more accurately identifies truly rare species, as habitat specialists may be common if their habitat is abundant. Finally, we draw on the macroecological and theoretical literature to identify the key processes and associated traits that drive each rarity axis. In this respect, we identify four processes (environmental filtering, movement, demography and interactions), and hypothesise that range size and occupancy are primarily driven by environmental filtering and movement, whereas local abundance is more strongly influenced by demography and interactions. We further use ecological theory to hypothesise the conservation concerns associated with each rarity axis, and propose conservation measures that may be suitable for conserving different types of rare species. Our work may provide a basis for developing hypotheses about the causes of rarity of particular focal taxa or groups, and inform the development of targeted conservation strategies.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 7

Hua, F., W. Wang, S. Nakagawa, ... and P. R. Elsen (In Press). "Ecological filtering shapes the impacts of agricultural deforestation on biodiversity." Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Abstract: The biodiversity impacts of agricultural deforestation vary widely across regions. Previous efforts to explain this variation have focused exclusively on the landscape features and management regimes of agricultural systems, neglecting the potentially critical role of ecological filtering in shaping deforestation tolerance of extant species assemblages at large geographical scales via selection for functional traits. Here we provide a large-scale test of this role using a global database of species abundance ratios between matched agricultural and native forest sites that comprises 71 avian assemblages reported in 44 primary studies, and a companion database of 10 functional traits for all 2,647 species involved. Using meta-analytic, phylogenetic and multivariate methods, we show that beyond agricultural features, filtering by the extent of natural environmental variability and the severity of historical anthropogenic deforestation shapes the varying deforestation impacts across species assemblages. For assemblages under greater environmental variability—proxied by drier and more seasonal climates under a greater disturbance regime—and longer deforestation histories, filtering has attenuated the negative impacts of current deforestation by selecting for functional traits linked to stronger deforestation tolerance. Our study provides a previously largely missing piece of knowledge in understanding and managing the biodiversity consequences of deforestation by agricultural deforestation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 7

Pacha, A. S., A. Pande, S. Arya et al. (2023). "New insights on the phylogeny and genetic status of a highly vagile seabird from East Antarctica." Polar Science 38, e100972.

Abstract: Wilson's storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus, family Oceanitidae, order Procellariiformes) breeds in rock cavities along the ice-free coastline of Antarctica, a habitat susceptible to environmental change and human disturbance. Despite extensive presence, high numbers and wide-ranging movement, there are taxonomic ambiguities surrounding species' phylogenetic positioning and data gaps for most parts of its range. In this study, we provide support to the phylogenetic status of family Oceanitidae through new genetic datasets and modern analytical approaches. We generated mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences from samples collected from east Antarctica's ice-free regions. Reconstructed trees obtained using Bayesian and maximum likelihood models show Oceanitidae as a monophyletic group where Hydrobatidae (northern storm-petrels) appeared as a basal group to the order Procellariiformes. Phylogeographic network analysis resulted in seven distinct haplotypes with strong genetic differentiation (FST > 0.99) between east Antarctic and sub-Antarctic populations. Our study provides one of the first genetic datasets on Wilson's storm-petrel populations in east Antarctica. It serves as a baseline to undertake rigorous investigations into species' population structure, genetic connectivity and demographic responses to human-mediated changes in the austral environment.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 7

Peripato, V., C. Levis, G. A. Moreira, ..., E. Vilanova Torre et al. (2023). "More than 10,000 pre-Columbian earthworks are still hidden throughout Amazonia." Science 382(6666), 103-109. [Prepublication here:]

Abstract: Indigenous societies are known to have occupied the Amazon basin for more than 12,000 years, but the scale of their influence on Amazonian forests remains uncertain. We report the discovery, using LIDAR (light detection and ranging) information from across the basin, of 24 previously undetected pre-Columbian earthworks beneath the forest canopy. Modeled distribution and abundance of large-scale archaeological sites across Amazonia suggest that between 10,272 and 23,648 sites remain to be discovered and that most will be found in the southwest. We also identified 53 domesticated tree species significantly associated with earthwork occurrence probability, likely suggesting past management practices. Closed-canopy forests across Amazonia are likely to contain thousands of undiscovered archaeological sites around which pre-Columbian societies actively modified forests, a discovery that opens opportunities for better understanding the magnitude of ancient human influence on Amazonia and its current state. Indigenous societies have lived in the Amazon for at least 12,000 years. Finding evidence of these societies, however, has been greatly hampered by the density of the forest in Amazonia. Peripato et al. used LIDAR (light detection and ranging) surveys to identify more than 20 previously unidentified developments and then modeled the occurrence of others across the Amazon. The authors predict that between 10,000 and 24,000 ancient earthworks are waiting to be discovered. Sampling of some of the LIDAR transects revealed a consistent set of domesticated tree species associated with the developments, suggesting active forestry practices among these societies. ?Sacha Vignieri Amazon-wide LIDAR surveys and predictive models suggest thousands of undocumented archaeological sites across the basin.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 7

Sari, I., E. Matthews, K. Barclay, N. M. L. Thant, N. Stacey and M. i. Mizrahi (2023). "A review of resources and experiences supporting gender and fisheries within development projects in Southeast Asia." Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section of the Asian Fisheries Society Newsletter 4, 17-21.

Abstract: Many resources and materials have been published on women’s empowerment and gender inclusion in fisheries and conservation management. While these provide useful theoretical frameworks, these materials often fail to meet the needs of local practitioners due to the use of technical and academic language. Furthermore, these materials provide limited practical guidance on the entire project cycle from institutional strategy to design and implementation. In addition, the operational tools developed by in-house gender specialists tend to serve unique objective(s) of individual projects and are accessible only internally. Toward optimizing resources needed for promoting gender equality in small-scale fisheries, the sharing of implementation tools as well as the conceptual or theoretical frameworks are crucial to assist the organizations more widely, especially those with limited resources. To this end, we offer seven recommendations and emphasize that a collaborative platform may be needed to facilitate the sharing process and accelerate gender inclusion initiatives.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 7

Plumptre, A. J., D. Baisero, T. M. Brooks, ..., C. Raudsepp-Hearne et al. (2024). "Targeting site conservation to increase the effectiveness of new global biodiversity targets." One Earth 7(1), 11-17.

Abstract: Global protected area extent has increased recently but often outside areas of biodiversity importance. Governments recently committed to conserving 30% of land and seas, especially “areas of particular importance for biodiversity.” Reviewing site-based conservation approaches, we propose harnessing key biodiversity area criteria to target such locations.


Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 1 of 4

Abreu Grobois, F. A., A. C. Broderick, M. W. Bruford, C. Ciofi, A. Formia et al. (2023). “Ascension Island hawksbills: Where do they hail from?” Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. International Sea Turtle Symposium, March 13-16, 2002, Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico. Miami, FL: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 70-71.

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 2 of 4

Chang Bennett, R., A. Ingram, E. Christian, ..., C. L. Campbell and C. J. Lagueux (2002). “Conservation and management of the legal green turtle fishery in the Region Autonoma Atlantico Sur (RAAS), Nicaragua.” Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. International Sea Turtle Symposium, March 13-16, 2002, Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico. Miami, FL: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 51-52.

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 3 of 4

Maina, D., J. A. Kawaka and R. B. Machaku (2002). “Community driven awareness and advocacy initiatives in restoring sea turtle populations and management of the marine environment: Experiences from Kenya.” Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. International Sea Turtle Symposium, March 13-16, 2002, Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico. Miami, FL: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 59.

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 4 of 4

Vander Zanden, H. B., K. Arthur, A. B. Bolten, B. N. Popp, C. J. Lagueux, E. C. Harrison, C. L. Campbell and K. A. Bjorndal (2002). “You are what you eat and where you eat it: Interpreting the isotopic niche of the Caribbean green turtle.” Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. International Sea Turtle Symposium, March 13-16, 2002, Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico. Miami, FL: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 92.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 4

Bayu, Z. A., F. Surahmat, M. I. Lubis, R. A. Surya and L. Septiadi (2024). "A new locality record and observation of the False Warted Treefrog, Theloderma pseudohorridum Kurniawan et al., 2023 in southern Sumatra, Indonesia." Herpetology Notes 17, 21-24.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 4

Delavaux, C. S., T. W. Crowther, C. M. Zohner, ..., B. Swanepoel et al. (2023). "Native diversity buffers against severity of non-native tree invasions." Nature 621(7980), 773-781.

Abstract: Determining the drivers of non-native plant invasions is critical for managing native ecosystems and limiting the spread of invasive species. Tree invasions in particular have been relatively overlooked, even though they have the potential to transform ecosystems and economies. Here, leveraging global tree databases, we explore how the phylogenetic and functional diversity of native tree communities, human pressure and the environment influence the establishment of non-native tree species and the subsequent invasion severity. We find that anthropogenic factors are key to predicting whether a location is invaded, but that invasion severity is underpinned by native diversity, with higher diversity predicting lower invasion severity. Temperature and precipitation emerge as strong predictors of invasion strategy, with non-native species invading successfully when they are similar to the native community in cold or dry extremes. Yet, despite the influence of these ecological forces in determining invasion strategy, we find evidence that these patterns can be obscured by human activity, with lower ecological signal in areas with higher proximity to shipping ports. Our global perspective of non-native tree invasion highlights that human drivers influence non-native tree presence, and that native phylogenetic and functional diversity have a critical role in the establishment and spread of subsequent invasions.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 4

Marcinczyk, M., N. Songsasen, E. E. Hammond, G. DeCesare, ... and D. McAloose (2023). "A retrospective study of disease processes in maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in North American zoological institutions with emphasis on urolithiasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and neoplasia." Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 54(4), 681-691.

Abstract: The objective of this retrospective study is to summarize causes of disease and mortality in maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in the North American Species Survival Plan Program (SSP) population. This information will inform and enhance animal health, husbandry, and conservation efforts. Pathology reports were requested from all zoological institutions housing maned wolves between 1930 and 2021. Data were reviewed and cause of death (COD) and reported diseases were summarized and compared by age group, organ system and disease process. One hundred and seventy-one wolves, 82 females and 89 males, met the inclusion criteria. The majority were geriatric (>11 yr; n = 96) or adult (2–11 yr; n = 67). Noninfectious diseases were the most common COD by process (n = 94; 54.9%). For COD by organ system, diseases of the digestive (n = 41) and urinary (n = 34) systems were most common. Neoplasia was the most common noninfectious COD and was the primary COD in 37 wolves (21.6% overall; 39.4% of noninfectious diseases). A total of 145 benign (n = 72) and malignant (n = 73) neoplasms were diagnosed in 44 individuals. Dysgerminoma was the most commonly reported tumor (n = 18), and was the most common neoplastic COD (n = 8). Cystinuria or urolithiasis (n = 71) and gastritis, enteritis, enterocolitis, or colitis (n = 50) (overall and grouped in each system due to presumed common underlying cause) were also common but were more often reported as comorbidities than as COD (n = 16 and n = 11, respectively). Infectious COD were reported in 17 wolves and included babesiosis (n = 4), acanthocephalans (n = 2), and one viral infection. Infections with a variety of bacteria in different organ systems were a COD in eight wolves.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 4

Pérez-Fleitas, E., Y. Milián-García, G. Sosa-Rodríguez, ..., N. Rossi et al. (2023). "Environmental DNA-based biomonitoring of Cuban Crocodylus and their accompanying vertebrate fauna from Zapata Swamp, Cuba." Scientific Reports 13(1), e20438.

Abstract: Crocodylians globally face considerable challenges, including population decline and extensive habitat modification. Close monitoring of crocodylian populations and their habitats is imperative for the timely detection of population trends, especially in response to management interventions. Here we use eDNA metabarcoding to identify the Critically Endangered Crocodylus rhombifer and the Vulnerable C. acutus, as well as vertebrate community diversity, in Cuba’s Zapata Swamp. We tested four different primer sets, including those used previously in Crocodylus population genetic and phylogenetic research, for their efficiency at detecting crocodylian eDNA. We detected C. rhombifer eDNA in 11 out of 15 sampled locations within its historical geographic distribution. We found that data analyses using the VertCOI primers and the mBRAVE bioinformatics pipeline were the most effective molecular marker and pipeline combination for identifying this species from environmental samples. We also identified 55 vertebrate species in environmental samples across the four bioinformatics pipelines— ~ 85% known to be present in the Zapata ecosystem. Among them were eight species previously undetected in the area and eight alien species, including known predators of hatchling crocodiles (e.g., Clarias sp.) and egg predators (e.g., Mus musculus). This study highlights eDNA metabarcoding as a powerful tool for crocodylian biomonitoring within fragile and diverse ecosystems, particularly where fast, non-invasive methods permit detection in economically important areas and will lead to a better understanding of complex human-crocodile interactions and evaluate habitat suitability for potential reintroductions or recovery programs for threatened crocodylian species.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 4

Campagna, C., M. Uhart, V. Falabella, J. Campagna, V. Zavattieri et al. (Early View). "Catastrophic mortality of southern elephant seals caused by H5N1 avian influenza." Marine Mammal Science.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 4

Galligan, B. P. and T. R. McClanahan (2024). "Nutrition contributions of coral reef fisheries not enhanced by capture of small fish." Ocean & Coastal Management 249, e107011.

Abstract: Recent policy recommendations have highlighted the nutritional benefits of fisheries that capture small finfish species. Small fish, particularly those that feed in the pelagic zone, tend to be more nutrient dense than larger species, with increased concentrations of calcium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. However, capturing fish below some recommended size limit (i.e., length at first maturity = Lmat) in coral reefs is frequently considered to be unsustainable and associated with reduced yields and losses of ecosystem functions. To evaluate the potential effects of fish body size, we analyzed nutrient concentrations of 424 demersal and pelagic finfish species reported from Western Indian Ocean artisanal fisheries. We found that length and food source are associated with only small differences in nutrient density in the artisanal catches of this region (≤7% of a child's daily requirement in most cases). We also analyzed 20 years of catch monitoring data from Kenya, where many of the common species have Lmat ∼20–25 cm, to test the potential benefits and tradeoffs of capturing small fishes. Small capture sizes were associated with low yields and sexually immature catches with a mean length of 15 cm resulting in 38% lower catch per unit effort, 37% lower nutrient yield, and a 22% lower maturity index compared to a mean body length of 30 cm. Catches of undersized fish were not associated with substantial increases or decreases in nutrient content relative to human nutritional requirements. Thus, coral reef artisanal fisheries should target moderate to large fishes (>20 cm) to maximize overall yield, nutrient yield, and sustainability.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 4

Peters, N., C. J. Kendall, M. Mgumba, C. Bracebridge and C. Beale (2024). "Identifying priority high risk areas for anti-poison work for the conservation of endangered vultures." Vulture News 84(1), 72.

Abstract: Vultures are declining worldwide and poisoning is the greatest threat in Africa. This study estimated the exposure, threat, and risk of poisoning to vultures in southern Tanzania. Exposure to poisoning was defined as the areas that vultures use and where carcasses are likely to be found by a given individual, and was calculated using GPS tracking data from 33 vultures and capture-recapture modelling. Threat of poisoning was a proxy of human footprint and thus areas where poisoning was possible. Risk of poisoning was determined by areas with an overlap of exposure and threat. Similar to other studies, the results support that vultures are highly efficient at finding the carcasses where they spend time foraging. Risk areas identified using the risk assessment framework covered a smaller geographic area than simple spatial buffers. The inference from these findings were to prioritise anti-poisoning interventions to reduce the risk of vultures encountering poisoned carcasses.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 4

Veith, T., L. F. Beltrán-Saavedra, T. Bleicker, M. L. Schmidt, J. L. Mollericona, K. Grützmacher, R. Wallace, J. F. Drexler, C. Walzer, T. C. Jones, C. Drosten and V. M. Corman (2023). "Divergent genotype of Hepatitis A virus in alpacas, Bolivia, 2019." Emerging Infectious Diseases 29(12), 2524-2527.

Abstract: Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is a common human pathogen found exclusively in primates. In a molecular and serologic study of 64 alpacas in Bolivia, we detected RNA of distinct HAV in ≈9% of animals and HAV antibodies in ≈64%. Complete-genome analysis suggests a long association of HAV with alpacas.

Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 1

Holroyd, S., C. L. Lausen, S. Dulc, E. de Freitas et al. (2023). Best Management Practices for the Use of Bat Houses in US and Canada -- with focus on summer habitat mitigation for Little Brown Myotis, Yuma Myotis, and Big Brown Bat. Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, produced in cooperation with US Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative for the WNS Conservation and Recovery Working Group.

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