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.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

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.

 

WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS, 24 June-7 July 2024 [2 weeks]

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 10

Amorntiyangkul, P., P. Jornburom, A. Pattanavibool, ... and T. Thongthai (2024). "First dispersal records of the endangered banteng (Bos javanicus) in Thung Yai Naresuan West Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand." Ecology and Evolution 14(6), e11602. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.11602

Abstract: Banteng (Bos javanicus) is listed as an endangered species because of a global population decline of at least 50% over the last 25 years. The Western Forest Complex (WEFCOM) of Thailand has been identified as a priority site for banteng population recovery, and Huai Kha Keang Wildlife Sanctuary (HKK) is the most important source site for this species within the WEFCOM. We have provided evidence and discussed banteng dispersal from HKK to Thung Yai Naresuan West Wildlife Sanctuary (TYW). We sampled an area of 147 km2 in banteng habitat next to the border between HKK and TYW using camera traps. We divided the sampled area into four grid cells and placed camera traps during January to December 2022. We setup the camera traps near saltlicks and natural water sources, as important resources for banteng, to maximize capture probability. In total, 2835 trap days were obtained. Bantengs were captured in all seasons (RAI = 1.66), especially in dry dipterocarp forest, which contains the ground forage availability for banteng, and the low-slope area with elevation 600–700 m adjacent to the border between HKK and TYW. The results highlighted that banteng, which had never been reported in TYW before, appeared there for the first time. They most likely dispersed from the population source in HKK and settled in a habitat that is considered suitable for them. The habitat management and protection are significant for the future recovery of banteng populations in the TYW and the rest of protected areas in the WEFCOM.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 10

Arandjelovic, M., C. R. Stephens, P. Dieguez, ..., V. Estienne et al. (Early View). "Highly precise community science annotations of video camera-trapped fauna in challenging environments." Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1002/rse2.402

Abstract: As camera trapping grows in popularity and application, some analytical limitations persist including processing time and accuracy of data annotation. Typically images are recorded by camera traps although videos are becoming increasingly collected even though they require much more time for annotation. To overcome limitations with image annotation, camera trap studies are increasingly linked to community science (CS) platforms. Here, we extend previous work on CS image annotations to camera trap videos from a challenging environment; a dense tropical forest with low visibility and high occlusion due to thick canopy cover and bushy undergrowth at the camera level. Using the CS platform Chimp&See, established for classification of 599 956 video clips from tropical Africa, we assess annotation precision and accuracy by comparing classification of 13 531 1-min video clips by a professional ecologist (PE) with output from 1744 registered, as well as unregistered, Chimp&See community scientists. We considered 29 classification categories, including 17 species and 12 higher-level categories, in which phenotypically similar species were grouped. Overall, annotation precision was 95.4%, which increased to 98.2% when aggregating similar species groups together. Our findings demonstrate the competence of community scientists working with camera trap videos from even challenging environments and hold great promise for future studies on animal behaviour, species interaction dynamics and population monitoring.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 10

Bosch, S. N., N. I. Stacy, A. G. Armien, C. Hollinger et al. (2024). "A mystery revealed: An update on eosinophil and other blood cell morphology of the Argentine black and white tegu (Salvator merianae)." Frontiers in Veterinary Science 11, e1387178. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2024.1387178

Abstract: Reptile white blood cell (WBC) morphological features are strikingly variable across species. In the Argentine black and white tegu (Salvator merianae), red tegu (Salvator rufescens), and Savannah monitor (Varanus exanthematicus), previous reports described a WBC type with a single distinct, clear, linear- to ovoid- to crescent-shaped inclusion of presumptive monocytic origin. The objective of this study was to further investigate the origin of this unique WBC type with crescent-shaped inclusions. Blood samples from two Argentine black and white tegus, tegu 1, a 4-year-old female, and tegu 2, a 2-year-old presumed male, were submitted for routine hematological evaluation. Additional blood films were prepared and stained with these cytochemical stains: alkaline phosphatase (ALP; naphthol AS-MX phosphate substrate), alpha-naphthyl butyrate esterase, alpha-chloroacetate esterase, myeloperoxidase, Periodic acid-Schiff, and Sudan black B. Blood films from tegu 1 were also stained with a second ALP stain (5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indoxyl-phosphate and nitroblue tetrazolium substrate), Luna, luxol fast blue, and toluidine blue. The blood from tegu 1 was cytocentrifuged to isolate and fix the buffy coat in glutaraldehyde 2.5% aqueous solution for transmission electron microscopy. Six morphologically distinct WBC types were identified from tegu 1, including heterophils, basophils, monocytes, azurophils, lymphocytes, and the unique WBC type, which were identified as eosinophils with inclusions. WBC types in tegu 2 were similar; however, eosinophils lacked a discernable inclusion. Proper WBC identification will be useful in obtaining accurate hemogram data for this species.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 10

Cerutti-Pereyra, F., E. J. Drenkard, M. Espinoza, ..., P. A. Mejía-Falla et al. (2024). "Vulnerability of Eastern Tropical Pacific chondrichthyan fish to climate change." Global Change Biology 30(7), e17373. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.17373

Abstract: Climate change is an environmental emergency threatening species and ecosystems globally. Oceans have absorbed about 90% of anthropogenic heat and 20%–30% of the carbon emissions, resulting in ocean warming, acidification, deoxygenation, changes in ocean stratification and nutrient availability, and more severe extreme events. Given predictions of further changes, there is a critical need to understand how marine species will be affected. Here, we used an integrated risk assessment framework to evaluate the vulnerability of 132 chondrichthyans in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) to the impacts of climate change. Taking a precautionary view, we found that almost a quarter (23%) of the ETP chondrichthyan species evaluated were highly vulnerable to climate change, and much of the rest (76%) were moderately vulnerable. Most of the highly vulnerable species are batoids (77%), and a large proportion (90%) are coastal or pelagic species that use coastal habitats as nurseries. Six species of batoids were highly vulnerable in all three components of the assessment (exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity). This assessment indicates that coastal species, particularly those relying on inshore nursery areas are the most vulnerable to climate change. Ocean warming, in combination with acidification and potential deoxygenation, will likely have widespread effects on ETP chondrichthyan species, but coastal species may also contend with changes in freshwater inputs, salinity, and sea level rise. This climate-related vulnerability is compounded by other anthropogenic factors, such as overfishing and habitat degradation already occurring in the region. Mitigating the impacts of climate change on ETP chondrichthyans involves a range of approaches that include addressing habitat degradation, sustainability of exploitation, and species-specific actions may be required for species at higher risk. The assessment also highlighted the need to further understand climate change's impacts on key ETP habitats and processes and identified knowledge gaps on ETP chondrichthyan species.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 10

Ford-Learner, N., J. Addison and P. Smallhorn-West (Early View). "Conservation and human rights: The public commitments of international conservation organizations." Conservation Letters, e13035. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.13035

Abstract: To ensure the protection of both people and nature, conservation practitioners have a responsibility to integrate human rights considerations into their conservation policies and practices. Here, we (i) develop a human rights-based scoring framework for international conservation organization (NGO) policy commitments and (ii) use this to conduct a gap analysis of policy commitments for nine NGOs, which collectively contribute approximately $1.86 billion USD annually to the global conservation budget. While progress has been made, critical gaps remain in commitments to certain rights and recognizing local groups' rights and knowledge, particularly around social development and decent work, recognitional equity, and commitments to implement human rights-based approach principles. Given the influence of these organizations in global public discourse, more comprehensive public commitments to human rights will likely increase compliance with international law, drive organizational change, and help rebuild trust with vulnerable communities.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 10

Ruano-Chamorro, C., G. G. Gurney, S. Mangubhai, M. Fox, J. Lau, W. Naisilisili, S. Dulunaqio and J. E. Cinner (2024). "Perceived equity in marine management and conservation: Exploring gender intersectionality in Fiji." Biological Conservation 296, e110692. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110692

Abstract: Ensuring equitable decision-making and distribution of costs and benefits in conservation and natural resource management is morally right and instrumental to achieving positive social and ecological outcomes. Understanding perceived equity is key; equity is subjective, context-dependent and has implications for legitimacy, cooperation and wellbeing. Since gender, in combination with other social characteristics, influences how people benefit or participate in management, examining perceived fairness from an intersectional perspective is crucial. However, few studies have examined people's perceptions of equity and how those perceptions are related to intersecting identities. Using data from ten villages in Fiji, we assess how perceptions of distributional and procedural equity differ by gender and the intersection between gender and other social identity characteristics (migrant status, age, education, marital status and wealth). We found that the majority of respondents identified the broader community as benefiting the most from management, while women were the most negatively affected. Overall, respondents' perceptions of distributional and procedural fairness were high regardless of gender. The intersection between gender and other social identity characteristics was not significantly related to perceived fairness, except in relation to migrant status; migrant men were less likely to perceive distributional fairness. Our study provides new insights into patterns of perceived (un)fairness in marine management and conservation. It reveals a discrepancy between conservation costs (women are seen as more negatively affected by conservation) and fairness perceptions (women are not more likely to perceive unfairness). Our findings can inform conservation theory and practice aimed at fostering equity in conservation and management.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 10

Sánchez, M. E., L. D. Llambí, L. E. Gámez, ... and E. Vilanova (2024). "Diversity, structure and dynamics of tropical montane forests: Insights from permanent-plot monitoring in the Venezuelan Andes / Diversidad, estructura y dinámica de los bosques montanos tropicales: Perspectivas del monitoreo de parcelas permanentes en los Andes Venezolanos." Ecología Austral 34, 286-304. https://doi.org/10.25260/EA.24.34.2.0.2349

Abstract: Tropical montane forests in the Andes are hotspots for species diversity and constitute important ecosystems for the provision of numerous services critical for local populations, including biomass/carbon accumulation and hydrological regulation. Additionally, in many countries in the region, these forests are being lost or degraded at alarming rates. Understanding their dynamics in terms of the composition, diversity, structure and function is a key challenge in the region that can inform policies for their sustainable management and conservation. This study focused on the use of monitoring data from ground-based permanent plots (part of the Andean Forest Network) in the two main mountain ranges of the Venezuelan Andes to analyze forest structure, diversity and dynamics over six years (2016-2023), and their potential drivers. We found that although the wetter forests of La Mucuy (northeast) and the more seasonal stands of San Eusebio (northwest) are very similar in terms of overall species richness, they show substantial differences in their species assemblages and their biogeographic origins. Both sites share similarities in tree dispersal strategies and stem turnover rates (mean=1.16%/year), but forests in La Mucuy are significantly more productive, with a mean annual woody productivity rate of 3.09±1.42 Mg C.ha-1.y-1, while this rate was 0.73±0.48 Mg C.ha-1.y-1 in SEU plots. Interestingly, although species richness and composition has not shown significant changes during this 6-year period, both sites have increased their total aboveground biomass, acting as a significant carbon sink, which appears to be largely driven by the growth of large trees in these forests. These results emphasize the need of maintaining long-term monitoring efforts to be able to link more explicitly changes in composition, biodiversity and ecosystem services with changes in environmental drivers under climate change scenarios. / Los bosques montanos tropicales de los Andes son hotspots de biodiversidad y constituyen ecosistemas importantes que proveen numerosos servicios para las poblaciones locales (e.g., acumulación de biomasa/carbono, regulación hidrológica). En países de la región, estos bosques se están perdiendo o degradando a tasas alarmantes. Entender su dinámica en términos de composición de especies, diversidad, estructura y función es un reto clave en la región, y serviría de base para políticas que favorezcan su conservación y gestión sostenible. En este estudio se usaron datos de monitoreo de parcelas permanentes (parte de la Red de Bosques Andinos) en las dos principales cordilleras de los Andes venezolanos para analizar la estructura, diversidad y dinámica de los bosques entre 2016 y 2023, y sus posibles elementos causales. Aunque los bosques más húmedos de La Mucuy (noreste) y los más estacionales de San Eusebio (noroeste) son similares en riqueza general de especies, difieren en la composición de especies y sus orígenes biogeográficos. Ambos sitios comparten similitudes en las estrategias de dispersión de los árboles y en las tasas de reemplazo de los tallos (promedio: 1.16%/año), pero los bosques de La Mucuy son significativamente más productivos (tasa media de productividad leñosa: 3.09±1.42 Mg C.ha-1.y-1), mientras que en las parcelas de SEU la tasa fue 0.73±0.48 Mg C.ha-1.y-1. Asimismo, aunque la riqueza y composición de especies no mostró cambios significativos durante los 6 años, ambos lugares incrementaron su biomasa aérea total, actuando como un importante sumidero de carbono, impulsado quizás por el crecimiento de grandes árboles en estos bosques. Los resultados enfatizan la necesidad de mantener los esfuerzos de seguimiento a largo plazo para vincular de forma explícita los cambios en la composición, biodiversidad y servicios ecosistémicos con los cambios en los factores ambientales bajo escenarios de cambio climático.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 10

Sandoval Calderon, A. P., M. Van Kuijk, Y. Hautier, H. Alberto and P. A. Verweij (In Press). "Mining expansion may reduce livestock but facilitate vicuñas recovery in tropical Puna of South America." Frontiers in Conservation Science 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcosc.2024.1405392

Abstract: High-elevation tropical grasslands in South America are vital for sustaining the livelihoods of indigenous communities, particularly in the Central Andes where herding of both wild and domesticated camelids has been a primary socio-economic activity for centuries. However, these grasslands are facing challenges due to changes in land use, economic activities, and climate, posing threats to the sustainability of camelid herding. Here, we determine the intricate relationship between land use management and camelid populations of the highlands of Apolobamba National Park in Bolivia. We identified two critical milestones in land use management across the indigenous communities: the creation of the Tierra Comunitaria de Origen (TCO) in 1999 and the expansion of the National Park in 2000. These initiatives collectively resulted in the diversification of livelihood sources by increasing the number of mining concessions and facilitating the management of wild camelids for their wool and fibers, catering to international markets. We found that this diversification of livelihood sources was negatively related to the densities of domesticated camelids across the studied communities. In contrast, the densities of wild camelids populations increased with an increasing number of mining concessions, likely due to local conservation efforts and reduced competition with livestock. Our results indicate a potential shift in land use management strategies and suggest that mining activities encroach upon pastoralism practices within indigenous communities. Understanding the long-term effects of land use changes is essential for providing comprehensive and sustainable land use strategies that will support both grasslands and animal conservation while providing livelihood security in this ecologically sensitive region.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 9 of 10

Seidu, I., L. K. Brobbey, O.-T. Paul, D. van Beuningen et al. (2024). "Practices and informal institutions governing artisanal gillnet fisheries in Western Ghana." Maritime Studies 23(3), e32. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40152-024-00379-9

Abstract: Understanding the informal institutions arising from cultural norms, taboos, and beliefs can improve conservation efforts and resource management in Africa. However, little is known of their potential for governing the management of artisanal gillnet fisheries, as well as, the practices and activities of fishers in Ghana. Here, we explore the practices of artisanal gillnet fishers landing shark and ray as their major components and the informal institutions governing the management of these fisheries. We interviewed 33 active and retired fishers in five fishing communities in Western Ghana, complemented with participant observations to collect data for the study. While fishing effort and the financing of fishing trips vary between fishers using drift gillnets and bottomset gillnets, the sharing systems and payment of crew members are relatively uniform in both fisheries and across the study communities. Despite the absence of state regulation, the species-specific taboos recorded offer protection for Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) and whales (Cetacea), which are considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The role of modern religions (like Christianity and Islam) and the influx of different people with different values, beliefs, and cultures explain the erosion of some resource management taboos and beliefs. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of officially recognizing these informal institutions as legitimate institutions for the effective management of imperiled marine species targeted by gillnet fishers at the local level.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 10 of 10

Venegas-Li, R., H. S. Grantham, H. Rainey, A. Diment, R. Tizard and J. E. M. Watson (Early View). "An operational methodology to identify Critical Ecosystem Areas to help nations achieve the Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework." Conservation Letters, e13037. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.13037

Abstract: The Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) will become the most important multilateral agreement to guide biodiversity conservation actions globally over the coming decades. An ecosystem goal and various targets for maintaining integrity, restoring degraded ecosystems, and achieving representation in conservation areas feature throughout the GBF. Here, we provide an operational framework that combines disparate information on ecosystem type, extent, integrity, protection levels, and risk of collapse to support identifying irreplaceable “Critical Ecosystem Areas” (CEAs), to help implement these ecosystem targets. The framework classifies each component ecosystem based on its integrity, importance in ensuring no ecosystem collapse, and relative value in achieving ecosystem-specific representation targets. These CEAs are immediate conservation opportunities given that they achieve multiple ecosystem GBF goals and targets, and we showcase its application using Myanmar's forested ecosystems as a case study.

 

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations 1 of 3

Chea, M., B. T. Fraser, S. Nay, L. Sok, H. Strasser and R. Tizard (Prepublication). “A survey of changes in grasslands within the Tonle Sap Lake landscape: 2004–2023.” Preprints.org. https://doi.org/10.20944/preprints202407.0174.v1

Abstract: The Tonle Sap Lake (TSL) landscape is a region of vast natural resources and biological diversity in the heart of Southeast Asia. In addition to serving as the foundation for a highly productive fisheries system, this landscape is home to numerous globally threatened species. Despite recognition by several governmental and international agencies for decades, nine protected areas have been established within this region, natural landcover such as grasslands have experienced considerable declines since the turn of the century. This project used local expert knowledge to train and validate a random forest supervised classification of Landsat satellite imagery in Google Earth Engine. The time series of thematic maps was then used to quantify the conversion of grasslands to croplands between 2004 and 2023. The classification encompassed a 10-kilometer buffer surrounding the landscape, an area of nearly 3 million hectares. The average overall accuracy for these thematic maps was 82.5% (78.5% - 87.9%), with grasslands averaging a 76.1% user’s accuracy. The change detection indicated that over 207,281 ha of grasslands were lost over this period (> 59.5% of the 2004 area), with approx. 89.3% of this loss could be attributed to cropland expansion. The results of this project will inform conservation efforts focused on local scale planning and management of commercial agriculture.

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 2 of 3

Elsen, P. R., S. P. Faryabi, G. S. Surya and H. Grantham (2024).گزارش ارزیابی آسیب پذیری برای حوزه دریای پنج آمو افغانستان. Bronx, NY: Wildlife Conservation Society. https://doi.org/10.19121/2024.Report.50415

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations 3 of 3

Elsen, P. R., G. S. Surya, S. P. Faryabi et al. (2024). Downscaled and Bias-Adjusted Climate Projections for Afghanistan. Bronx, NY: Wildlife Conservation Society. https://doi.org/10.19121/2024.Report.50418

Abstract: Climate scenario analysis: • Historical climate datasets and an ensemble of climate projections have been downscaled and bias-adjusted to enable analysis of climate-driven hazards and risks to ecosystems, wildlife, hydrology, and communities across Afghanistan and in portions of neighboring countries. Overview of the changing climate • Climate model projections indicate that climate change will impact a range of sectors and alter the bioclimatic conditions across Afghanistan. Climate-related hazards will also shift, as critical variables such as precipitation (total and intensity), temperatures, extreme heat, soil moisture, snow, and permafrost change over time. • The balance of changes across average and extreme climate conditions suggest disruptive pressures on society and natural ecosystems, which are important to recognize in current and future planning for Afghanistan. • As future climate is likely to be different from past and current conditions, incorporating a range of possible projections in planning and decision-making is essential to minimize impacts and build resilience. A range of results is provided in this report by using two climate change scenarios, RCP2.6 (a low emissions pathway) and RCP8.5 (a high emissions pathway), accounting for uncertainty by examining eight separate downscaled climate models. Projected mean temperature changes • Projected warming is uniformly higher under the higher emissions RCP8.5 scenario compared to a lower emissions (higher mitigation) RCP2.6 scenario. • RCP2.6 has a temperature peak in the 2050s and then declines slightly by the 2080s due to a substantial decrease in greenhouse gas concentrations under this pathway. By end century, temperatures are projected to increase by approximately 1.0-1.5 o C compared to the recent past. • Warming under RCP8.5 continues throughout the 21 st century, with accelerated warming between mid-century and end-century, resulting in an average temperature increase of approximately 4-6 o C. • Warming trends generally shift current temperature zones to higher elevations and lengthen the warmer seasons of the year. • Warming is highest in the central portions of the country, in areas such as Bamyan, Ghor, Wardak and Daykundi provinces. Warming is lowest in the periphery of the country, in provinces such as Kunduz, Jawzjan and Nimroz. Projected total precipitation changes • Projected precipitation changes vary widely across the country, with some regions becoming drier and others becoming wetter by end century. The projected magnitude of changes is much greater under RCP8.5 compared to RCP2.6, although uncertainty across climate projections also increases. As with temperature projections, differences under RCP2.6 peak by mid-century, before returning closer to baseline by end-century; differences under RCP8.5 accelerate after mid-century, making those projections diverge widely from RCP2.6 by end-century. • Under RCP2.6 by end-century, the largest decreases in precipitation are ~30 mm, in portions of provinces including Zabul and Kabul. The largest increases are ~60 mm, in portions of Kunar and Badakhshan provinces. • Under RCP8.5 by end-century, decreases of ~200 mm are projected to occur in portions of Kabul and Kunar provinces (the latter of which has among the largest differences in projections under RCP2.6 and RCP8.5). On the other hand, portions of Badakhshan province are expected to experience increases of up to 100 mm. Projected changes in natural hazards • Extreme heat: The country is expected to experience ~0-15 extra days of extreme heat by end-century under RCP2.6, and ~0-60 extra days of extreme heat by end-century under RCP8.5. The spatial variation is pronounced. Generally, the coldest parts of the country such as eastern Badakhshan have the least risk; the warmest parts of the country such as Nimroz province have intermediate risk; and the portions of the country with intermediate temperatures such as Paktika and Khost provinces have the highest risk. • Extreme precipitation: The frequency of extreme precipitation events is expected to increase in some areas and decrease in others, with the magnitude of the change depending on the threshold for considering a precipitation event to be extreme. Using 20 millimeters in a day as an illustrative threshold, northeastern provinces such as Badakhshan and Panjshir are expected to experience up to 5 more events per year compared to baseline by end-century under RCP8.5. On the other hand, provinces such as Laghman and Kunar are expected to experience 2-3 fewer events per year under the same scenario. • Snow cover: The number of days per year with snow will decline across the entire country by mid-century, even under RCP2.6, and will not recover to baseline by end-century. Declines are much larger under RCP8.5 (up to 80 fewer days per year in provinces such as Ghazni); generally, the warmest parts of the country and the coolest parts of the country have the lowest projected changes, while areas of intermediate temperature (broadly the central provinces) have the largest projected difference. • Soil moisture drought: Under RCP2.6, the frequency of 1-in-10-year soil moisture droughts is expected to decrease across the entire country using baseline thresholds for drought events, with the exception of portions of a few provinces such as Kunar and Faryab. Generally, the increase in drought risk for those places is of far lower magnitude than the decrease in drought risk for much of the rest of the country, with the biggest decreases in risk in southeastern provinces such as Zabul and Paktika. However, under RCP8.5, by end-century, several parts of the country will see significant increases in drought risk, such as Kunar, Khost and Nangarhar provinces. • Growing season length: Growing season length will increase across the country, in line with the increased temperatures across the country. As with temperature, the largest increases will occur under RCP8.5 and by end-century. The warmest provinces, such as Nimroz, will see little to no increase as the baseline growing season spans virtually the entire year. The largest increases in growing season length are projected to occur in provinces such as Kapisa, Panjshir and Paktya, with those increases being up to 60 days by mid-century under RCP8.5.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS, 17-23 June 2024

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 4

Dingwall, J. T., W. D. Halliday, N. Diogou, ... and S. J. Insley (2024). "The Arctic marine soundscape of the Amundsen Gulf, Western Canadian Arctic." Marine Pollution Bulletin 204, e116510. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2024.116510

Abstract: The underwater soundscape, a habitat component for Arctic marine mammals, is shifting. We examined the drivers of the underwater soundscape at three sites in the Amundsen Gulf, Northwest Territories, Canada from 2018 to 2019 and estimated the contribution of abiotic and biotic sources between 20 Hz and 24 kHz. Higher wind speeds and the presence of bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) vocalizations led to increased SPL (0.41 dB/km/h and 3.87 dB, respectively), while higher ice concentration and air temperature led to decreased SPL (−0.39 dB/% and − 0.096 dB/°C, respectively). Other marine mammals did not significantly impact the ambient soundscape. The presence of vessel traffic led to increased SPLs (12.37 dB) but was quieter at distances farther from the recorder (−2.57 dB/log m). The presence of high frequency and broadband signals produced by ice led to increased SPLs (7.60 dB and 10.16 dB, respectively).

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 4

Harper, S. J., G. G. Gurney, E. Darling, S. Mangubhai, S. Jupiter, ..., M. Fox and N. C. Ban (2024). "Gender differences in the perceived impacts of coastal management and conservation." npj Ocean Sustainability 3(1), e34. https://doi.org/10.1038/s44183-024-00070-w

Abstract: Gender influences the ways that people are involved in and rely on coastal resources and spaces. However, a limited understanding of gender differences in this context hinders the equity and effectiveness of coastal management and conservation. Drawing on data collected through purposive sampling from 3063 people in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Kenya, and Madagascar, we explored how men and women perceived the effects of coastal management and conservation on human well-being. We found significant gender differences in perceptions of the presence of impacts, whereby 37% of women and 46% of men perceived individual-level impacts, while 47% of women and 54% of men perceived community-level impacts. When asked about the degree and direction of impacts, the responses were not significantly different by gender. When describing the types of impacts, women and men articulated these differently, particularly impacts related to economic, governance, and health aspects of well-being. These findings highlight pathways for developing more equitable and gender-responsive coastal management and conservation initiatives aimed at safeguarding biodiversity, sustaining fisheries, and supporting the well-being of all those who depend on the marine environment.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 4

Mancilla García, M., C. Abunge, S. O. Bandeira, C. Cheupe, ..., N. Muthiga et al (Early View). "Exploring a process-relational approach to qualitative research methods for sustainability science." People and Nature. https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10667

Abstract: 1. As sustainability scientists increasingly put forward the relevance of process-relational approaches to make sense of social-ecological phenomena, an inquiry on which methods would fit a process-relational approach is necessary. 2. This paper discusses how a process-relational approach can be applied to traditional qualitative research methods, namely interviews and coding and the tensions associated with it. 3. Process-relational perspectives share commonalities with interpretative approaches but also present specific characteristics, such as the importance of material aspects and the understanding of the phenomenon as a moment in which different elements become defined respective to each other. 4. The paper uses data and researchers' experiences from an action research project seeking to support collective action among coastal communities affected by environmental changes in Kenya and Mozambique.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 4

Nurrofik, A., L. Hakim, L. Septiadi and N. Kurniawan (2024). "Could road structures impact the avian community? A study case from the South Coast Remained Forest in Malang region, East Java Province, Indonesia." Journal of Tropical Life Science 14(2), 295-308. https://doi.org/10.11594/jtls.14.02.10

Abstract: The remaining tropical forest on the south coast of the Malang region is one of the secluded areas that served as an important habitat for its biodiversity, particularly for avians. Nevertheless, the presence of the road structure that crosses over the forest might impact avian communities, which needs to be investigated. The avian survey was conducted to investigate the diversity, community profiles, abundance, and feeding guild based on two different ecosystem patches (on the roads versus outside the road structures) during January–April 2022. The audiovisual encounter methods were performed during the surveys on a total of ten sampling points. Avian species were identified using field guides where the conservation status was based on the national regulation (P106 KLHK), CITES, and IUCN Redlist. The comparison through the avian community based on species richness was analyzed using Venn Diagrams and predicted using rarefaction and interpolation curves on INEXT packages. Additionally, the comparison of sizes of avian abundance was investigated using the α-diversity parameter index, and the feeding guild was determined by five diet guilds. In total, 2536 individuals from 67 species, 34 families, and 13 orders were found during the survey. The avian communities were richer outside the road structure, but their abundance qualitatively reveals that both different ecosystem patches showed relatively good condition. Overall, road structures generate both positive (unique habitat patches) and negative (physical barriers that could disrupt natural ecological processes) impacts on avian diversity. In light of these, sustainable management and conservation action plans were urgently needed to prevent the negative effects on avian communities posed by the road structure.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS, 3-16 June 2024 [2 weeks]

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 1 of 12

Chagnon-Lafortune, A., É. Duchesne, P. Legagneux, ..., D. Reid et al. (2024). "A circumpolar study unveils a positive non-linear effect of temperature on arctic arthropod availability that may reduce the risk of warming-induced trophic mismatch for breeding shorebirds." Global Change Biology 30(6), e17356. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.17356

Abstract: Seasonally abundant arthropods are a crucial food source for many migratory birds that breed in the Arctic. In cold environments, the growth and emergence of arthropods are particularly tied to temperature. Thus, the phenology of arthropods is anticipated to undergo a rapid change in response to a warming climate, potentially leading to a trophic mismatch between migratory insectivorous birds and their prey. Using data from 19 sites spanning a wide temperature gradient from the Subarctic to the High Arctic, we investigated the effects of temperature on the phenology and biomass of arthropods available to shorebirds during their short breeding season at high latitudes. We hypothesized that prolonged exposure to warmer summer temperatures would generate earlier peaks in arthropod biomass, as well as higher peak and seasonal biomass. Across the temperature gradient encompassed by our study sites (>10°C in average summer temperatures), we found a 3-day shift in average peak date for every increment of 80 cumulative thawing degree-days. Interestingly, we found a linear relationship between temperature and arthropod biomass only below temperature thresholds. Higher temperatures were associated with higher peak and seasonal biomass below 106 and 177 cumulative thawing degree-days, respectively, between June 5 and July 15. Beyond these thresholds, no relationship was observed between temperature and arthropod biomass. Our results suggest that prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures can positively influence prey availability for some arctic birds. This positive effect could, in part, stem from changes in arthropod assemblages and may reduce the risk of trophic mismatch.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 2 of 12

Conley, K. J., M. T. Jones, E. Crouch, S. L. Bartlett, A. Sirois-Pitel, D. McAloose and M. Murray (2024). "Hepatic neoplasia in two bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) from the same Massachusetts fen." Northeastern Naturalist 31(sp12), 18-27. https://doi.org/10.1656/045.031.s1207

Abstract: Massachusetts populations of Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Bog Turtle) encompass the northeasternmost limit of the species' range. Populations of this species have declined primarily as a result of habitat alterations and fragmentation. We report hepatic neoplasia in 2 adult Bog Turtles from the same fen in Massachusetts in the spring and summer of 2020. The presence of neoplasia in 2 turtles from the same site is notable and has potential conservation implications for disease surveillance and research, population monitoring, and threats assessment of this critically endangered species that often occurs in small, isolated populations.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 3 of 12

Eggen, M., R. Heilmayr, P. Anderson, R. Armson, K. Austin et al. (2024). "Smallholder participation in zero-deforestation supply chain initiatives in the Indonesian palm oil sector: Challenges, opportunities, and limitations." Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 12(1), e00099. https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.2023.00099

Abstract: As actors in tropical agricultural commodity supply chains implement commitments to end deforestation, they risk exacerbating social inequities by excluding smallholder farmers, who are important producers of many tropical commodity crops. Here, we explore the potential for independent oil palm smallholders in Indonesia to participate in zero-deforestation supply chains. We find that these smallholders are underrepresented in the share of zero-deforestation compliant oil palm production. We then synthesize perspectives from key actors in the oil palm industry including smallholders and their representatives, palm oil producing and consulting companies, nongovernmental organizations, and academic researchers. Based on these perspectives, we find that challenges to smallholder supply chain participation include limitations in knowledge (e.g., smallholders may not know the location of protected forests), institutional issues (e.g., absence of trust between oil palm growing companies and smallholder farmers), and financial constraints (e.g., the opportunity cost of not clearing forest). To address these shortcomings, we encourage oil palm growing and milling companies to take the lead on incentivizing, supporting, and facilitating smallholder participation in zero-deforestation initiatives. Specifically, these companies could build and use their technical and political resources to identify and map all forests in their entire supply shed and ensure small producers have land rights that enable participation in zero-deforestation supply chains. These policy levers would need to be combined with economic incentives such as access to improved inputs or price premia for their products. However, we caution that smallholder integration into existing zero-deforestation supply chains alone is unlikely to result in significant additional forest conservation at scale in Indonesia due to selection bias, leakage, and existing land tenure norms. Community-led and jurisdictional or landscape-scale supply chain initiatives that acknowledge multi-commodity production are more likely to provide equitable and just avenues for Indonesian smallholder farmers to steward forest resources.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 4 of 12

Glass, T. W. and M. D. Robards (2024). "Wolverine population density and home range size in Arctic Alaska." The Journal of Wildlife Management 88(5), e22600. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.22600

Abstract: Understanding the spatial requirements of exploited wildlife species, including population density and home range size, is important for wildlife management and conservation. Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are hunted and trapped across the Arctic, and are vulnerable to numerous, often interrelated, threats resulting from anthropogenic changes in their environment. Previous population density estimates for wolverines in the Arctic range tenfold, from the lowest to highest available for the species, limiting their utility outside the specific areas and times they were derived. The most recent density estimate in Arctic Alaska, USA, was produced 4 decades ago and was derived from a relatively small study area. We evaluated wolverine population density and home range size across the North Slope of Alaska during 2017–2022 using global positioning system (GPS)-based collar data and spatial capture-recapture models. Population density estimates were 2.0 individuals/1,000 km2 (95% credible interval = 1.3–3.5) in 2018 and 2.8 individuals/1,000 km2 (95% credible interval = 1.7–3.5) in 2021. Median home range sizes modeled with autocorrelated kernel density estimators and Ornstein-Uhlenbeck foraging movement processes were 699 km2 (range = 158–2,895 km2) among 12 females and 2,332 km2 (range = 797–4,699 km2) among 10 males. These population density estimates are nearly 10 times lower than the previous estimate for Arctic Alaska. We recommend incorporating this information into management strategies to ensure sustainable harvest, particularly as the region's remote areas are more efficiently accessed by hunters and are being considered for transportation corridors supporting new industrial development.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 5 of 12

Kacker, S., S. Krishna, A. Das and G. Shahabuddin (2024). "Patterns of tree regeneration and their implications for succession in Himalayan pine-oak forests, India." Forest Ecology and Management 562, e121941. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2024.121941

Abstract: Factors affecting successional processes are critical determinants of the structural and compositional changes in a plant community. The present study examines the role of plant traits, such as seed size and dispersal mode, habitat factors such as canopy closure, leaf litter, soil moisture, disturbance, fire frequency, and landscape forest cover, in arrival and establishment of tree species in the oak-pine forests of the Western Himalayas. For this, we compared the regeneration, abundance, and composition of tree species in pine forests (pioneer stage) with that in oak-dominated hardwood forests (climax stage). The microsite factors and landscape forest cover varied significantly between the two stages. While species diversity was comparable across seedling, sapling, and pole stages, density of regenerating individuals was relatively lower in oak forest sites. The extent of overlap in species composition between oak and pine forest sites was also found to be low for both regeneration and adult stages. The amount of forest cover surrounding the study sites (landscape forest cover) did not significantly impact regeneration. Instead, factors related to establishment were determined to be more important. Regeneration density decreased with an increase in canopy closure (light environment) and litter depth, implying their crucial role in driving the successional trajectories. When plant traits were considered, all three regeneration stages of large-seeded and animal-dispersed species were of comparable densities in pine and oak forests, suggesting an absence of dispersal or arrival limitation. However, anthropogenic disturbance was found to negatively impact density of zoochorous species while fire frequency negatively influenced the diversity of large-seeded species. Control of extractive pressures, reducing incidence of fire, and retention of protected oak stands may be necessary to enable regeneration of zoochorous and of large-seeded species and thereby, natural succession to oak-dominated hardwood forest in this human-dominated landscape.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 6 of 12

Kesuma, A., L. I. Bernawis, B. Subhan, Muhidin and N. M. Sangadji (2024). "Distribution of coral life forms based on sea current velocity in Kei Besar Island, Maluku, and Mare Island, North Maluku." IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science 1350(1), e012017. https://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/1350/1/012017

Abstract: Diverse life forms found on coral reefs indicate resilience to environmental change, sustaining marine biodiversity and ensuring the stability of the coastal community’s ecosystems. This study investigates the relationship between sea currents and the life forms of coral reefs in Indonesia and focuses on two primary locations: Kei Besar Island, Maluku, and Mare Island in North Maluku. Sea current data from the current real-time global forecasting and coral cover data were analysed to assess the influence of current velocities on the percentage of hard coral cover and the morphological composition of corals. The dominant bottom substrate in both locations is hard coral, with varying percentages of cover. Thirteen distinct life forms of coral were identified in both study sites, with massive and sub-massive forms being the most prevalent on Kei Besar Island (41%) having average current velocities of 0.159 m/s, and branching forms (40%) being dominant on Mare Island with average current velocities were 0.103 m/s. The massive form (CM) is strongly positively (negatively) correlated with faster (slower) currents, with a correlation coefficient of 0.81 (-0.69). On the other hand, several life form of fragile coral reefs particularly Acropora branching (ACB); Acropora sub-massive (ACS); and coral Tubipora (CTU) were found to be positively (negatively) correlated with slower (faster) currents, with a correlation coefficient of 0.55 (-0.63); 0.77 (-0.75); and 0.58 (-0.67).

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 7 of 12

Muñoz Lobos, C. and A. Vásquez (2024). "Overlapping protected areas and other designations in Central Chile: A multiscale governance analysis." HCIAS Working Papers on Ibero-America 3(13), 2-18. https://doi.org/10.48629/hcias.2024.1.105134

Abstract: The protected areas have four types of governance in multiple scales: government, private, community, and shared. However, the lack of coordination among these has hindered the effectiveness of nature heritage protection efforts. This issue becomes apparent when protected areas overlap with other designations, resulting in a variety of regulations and administrators. Chile’s central zone there is overlapping in different protection units seek to compatibility the urban and productive growth with the protection of natural heritage. The analysis of synergies and/or duplications in protected areas’ overlaps with a multi-scale governance approach was the focus of the study. For this, was combined SIG analysis and review governance and protected areas’ rule system using secondary information sources. The results show that, out of 40 protection units, there are 88 spatial overlaps. Reviewing the case of overlapping in Sanctuary Nature Cerro El Roble, some duplications found were: 1) redundant protection functions distributed in different government sections; and 2) the regulation system does not generate accumulative protection benefits when designations are overlapped. On the other hand, synergies were: 3) a combination of global, regional and/or local protections makes more visible the relevance of protecting. The shared governance between private, local and government agents can be seen as a synergy and duplicity to protection. It is recommended to develop mixed regulatory models that consider both state regulations at different levels and contributions from the private sector. In this point, is crucial to emphasize that overlap can be a beneficial strategy to create synergies, as long as the different protection efforts and interests among stakeholders are effectively coordinated and aligned.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 8 of 12

Ocampo, M., J. Aparicio, N. Bernal-Hoverud, E. Domic and R. B. Wallace (2024). "Amphibian diversity in Madidi National Park and Natural Integrated Management Area, Bolivia, one of the most diverse parks in South America." Herpetology Notes 17, 371-389. https://www.biotaxa.org/hn/article/view/77675

Abstract: Bolivia has a great diversity of ecoregions and is home to a large number of amphibian species. Many of these ecoregions are protected in several national parks. However, Madidi National Park and Natural Integrated Management Area is especially striking among them, for having the largest number of ecoregions represented. In this study we carried out a thorough literature search for information on amphibian records within the national park, as well as extensive field work to understand the alpha, beta, gamma, and dark diversity of amphibians in different ecoregions of Madidi. We confirmed the presence of 127 amphibian species in the park. Diversity indices indicate that the ecoregions are quite different from one another, with high species turnover and many unique species in each ecoregion. Our results show that the amphibian diversity found in this protected area exceeds the diversity reported for other megadiverse protected areas in the Tropical Andes, such as Manu in Peru or Yasuní in Ecuador, further suggesting that it may be the most diverse national protected area in the world.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 9 of 12

Ogurek, S. D.-L., W. D. Halliday, M. B. Woods et al. (2024). "Boat noise impedes vocalizations of wild plainfin midshipman fish." Marine Pollution Bulletin 203, e116412. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2024.116412

Abstract: Marine noise is recognised as a growing threat that can induce maladaptive behavioural changes in many aquatic animals, including fishes. The plainfin midshipman is a soniferous fish with a prolonged breeding period, during which males produce tonal hums that attract females, and grunts and growls during agonistic interactions. In this study, we used acoustic recordings to assess the effects of boat noise on the presence, peak frequencies, and durations of plainfin midshipman calls in the wild. We found that all three call types were less likely to occur, and the peak frequencies of hums and grunts increased in the presence of boat noise. We also show that loud and quiet boat noise affected plainfin midshipman vocalizations similarly. As anthropogenic noise is likely to increase in the ocean, it will be important to understand how such noise can affect communication systems, and consequently population health and resiliency.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 10 of 12

Ruiz-Miranda, C., F. Michalski, V. Hull, M. Krofel, L. Hunter, and Z. Xiang, Eds. (2024). Science-Based Conservation of Tigers: Assessing the Past to Prepare for the Future. Lausanne, Switzerland: Frontiers Media. http://doi.org/10.3389/978-2-8325-4640-6

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 11 of 12

Shajahan, N., W. D. Halliday, J. Dawson, ... and S. J. Insley (2024). "Opportunistic ship source level measurements in the Western Canadian Arctica." The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 155(6), 3807-3821. https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0026361

Abstract: Increased ship traffic due to climate change increases underwater noise in the Arctic. Therefore, accurate measurements of underwater radiated noise are necessary to map marine sound and quantify shipping's impact on the Arctic ecosystem. This paper presents a method to calculate opportunistic source levels (SLs) using passive acoustic data collected at six locations in the Western Canadian Arctic from 2018 to 2022. Based on Automatic Identification System data, acoustic data, and a hybrid sound propagation model, the SLs of individual ships were calculated within a 5 km radius of each measurement site. A total of 66 measurements were obtained from 11 unique vessels, with multiple measurements from the same vessel type contributing more SLs. For vessels with propeller cavitation, measured SLs correlated positively with vessel parameters, such as speed and length. SL and speed did not correlate well for vessels without propeller cavitation. The JOMOPANS-ECHO SL model produced good agreement with measured SL for certain ship types (container ships, a tanker, and a passenger vessel). However, significant differences between measurement and model are evident for certain polar-class ships that travel in the Arctic, indicating that more controlled SL measurements are needed.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations 12 of 12

Strahan, E. K., J. Witherbee, R. Bergl, ..., R. Ikfuingei et al. (2024). "Potentially zoonotic enteric infections in gorillas and chimpanzees, Cameroon and Tanzania " Emerging Infectious Diseases 30(3), 577-580. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid3003.230318

Abstract: Despite zoonotic potential, data are lacking on enteric infection diversity in wild apes. We employed a novel molecular diagnostic platform to detect enteric infections in wild chimpanzees and gorillas. Prevalent Cryptosporidium parvum, adenovirus, and diarrheagenic Escherichia coli across divergent sites and species demonstrates potential widespread circulation among apes in Africa.

 

 

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 1 of 2

Nykol, J., M. Americo and C. Benjamin (Prepublication). “The roles of alpha, beta, and functional diversity indices in the ecological connectivity between two sub-Antarctic macrobenthic assemblages.” Preprints.org. http://dx.doi.org/10.20944/preprints202406.0263.v1

Abstract: The study of ecological connectivity is a global priority due to the important role it plays in the conservation of diversity. However, few studies in this context have focused on marine benthic ecosystems. To address this issue, the present work determines the ecological connectivity between two sub-Antarctic macrobenthic assemblages through assessment of the α-, β-, and functional diversity indices. Samples were collected using a van Veen grab at stations located in Bahia Inútil and Seno Almirantazgo. The ecological analysis was based on a total of 113 invertebrate taxa. The mean abundance values were lower in Bahia Inútil (888.9 ± 26.8 ind m-2) than in Seno Almirantazgo (1358.6 ± 43.4 ind m-2). While the mean α-diversity values showed significant differences between assemblages, β- and functional diversity indices presented no significant differences. These results indicate that, despite the distance (56 km) separating the two basins from each other, there is a high degree of connectivity at the functional level between the assemblages, due to the high number of shared species and their functional traits. The species most responsible for this observation were the polychaetes Capitela capitata and Aricidia (Acmira) finitima, as well as the bivalves Nucula pisum and Yoldiella sp. 1. In terms of functional biodiversity, species characterized as omnivorous and with lecithotrophic larval development were mostly responsible for connectivity between assemblages. These results suggest the importance of including β- and functional diversity indices as criteria in the future planning of marine protected areas for the maintenance of marine ecosystem integrity.

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 2 of 2

Wildlife Conservation Society, Peru (2024). Guía de Facilitación para el Fortalecimiento de Liderazgos de Hombres y Mujeres de las Comunidades Amazónicas. Lima, Peru: Wildlife Conservation Society, Peru. https://library.wcs.org/en-us/Scientific-Research/Research-Publications/Publications-Library/ctl/view/mid/40093/pubid/DMX5039700000.aspx

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS, 27 May -2 June 2024

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 9

Berger, J. and N. Kusi (2024). "Meeting your ancestors – Sticks, stones, and discord in Earth’s outposts." Global Ecology and Conservation 52, e02959. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2024.e02959

Abstract: An unusual problem at the extreme edges of Earth involves marginalized people and associated livelihoods when their domestic stock is lost to wild ancestors. Animosity to wildlife results due to economic costs, personal injury, and death. Despite IUCN recognition of biodiversity at a policy front, justice and equity for humans have not been well integrated in these realms. In particular, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Changpas, Nepalis, Bhutanese, and Brokpa, as well as Mongolians in the Gobi Desert deal with these realities when the wild progenitors of their livestock attempt to appropriate genetically-related domestic females to biologically propagate. Among the highly endangered ancestors are the likes of wild camels, wild yaks, banteng, and gaur. Beyond Asia, some similarity of issues still thwart African, and South and North American pastoralists and involve species from caribou and bison to wild sheep and goats, and guanacos. Biologically reality has trumped our evolutionary innovation to benefit ourselves through domestication because of the powerful mutual attraction between descendent domestics and their wild ancestors. Conservation biologists and on-the-ground practitioners must engage more with local pastoralists to tackle these complex and infrequently described conflicts on how best to implement protective policies. Sticks and stones are neither the answer for pastoral safety nor for avoiding introgression among these iconic mammals.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 9

Duangchantrasiri, S., M. Sornsa, D. Jathanna, P. Jornburom et al. (In Press). "Rigorous assessment of a unique tiger recovery in Southeast Asia based on photographic capture-recapture modeling of population dynamics." Global Ecology and Conservation, e03016. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2024.e03016

Abstract: Tigers and other large predatory carnivores have suffered population extirpations and range contractions. This is particularly true for tiger populations in southeastern Asia, which harbours one-third of their remaining habitats. In stark contrast, a sustained recovery of a wild tiger population has occurred between 2007-2023, in three reserves of Thailand: Huai Kha Khaeng (HKK), Thung Yai East (TYE) and Thung Yai West (TYW), which together cover 6470km2 (36%) of the larger Western Forest Complex (WEFCOM). We quantitatively monitored this recovery employing closed and open model analyses of data from photographic capture-recapture sampling. The resulting estimates of tiger population dynamic parameters showed: mean (±SE) tiger abundance annually varied from 36 (1.0) to 79 (1.53) in HKK, 2 (0.26) to 20 (4.45) in TYE and 3 (0.26) to 44 (2.11) in TYW, driven by mean annual survival rates of 0.79 (0.02) in HKK, 0.72 (0.05) in TYE, and 0.69 (0.05) in TYW. The annual numbers of recruits fluctuated from 0 (1.69) to 33 (1.93) tigers in HKK, 0 (0.47) to 13 (0.57) in TYE and 0 (1.13) to 36 (2.28) in TYW. Overall, the mean tiger population densities/100km2 ranged between 1.3 (0.19) and 2.9 (0.29) in HKK, 0.2 (0.08) and 1.8 (0.34) in TYE, and 0.2 (0.07) and 3.1 (0.56) in TYW. Generally, the tiger population trended upward, with reserves protected over longer periods leading the tiger recovery. Our results are further backed by ancillary records on births of 67 cubs, 47 tiger dispersal events, as well as the recovery corresponding with incremental spatio-temporal coverage by the patrols. Cumulatively, our results provide evidence that effective law enforcement should be a critical component for achieving tiger population recoveries in Asia. Alternative conservation strategies that ignore this component do not appear to be evidence-based. Our results also demonstrate the utility of the independent collaborative monitoring framework adopted by the Thailand Government.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 9

Glasier, J. R. N. and M. Rudy (2024). "First records of the ant genus Dolichoderus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Saskatchewan, Canada." The Canadian Field-Naturalist 137(3), 272-275. https://doi.org/10.22621/cfn.v137i3.2957

Abstract: We report the first provincial records of the genus Dolichoderus in Saskatchewan, represented by two species: Taschenberg’s Long-necked Ant (Dolichoderus taschenbergi) and Mary’s Long-necked Ant (Dolichoderus mariae). These species are previously known from eastern Canada and the eastern United States. The new discoveries fill in the range for D. taschenbergi, which has previously been found in Alberta and Manitoba, but has not been reported from Saskatchewan, and they represent a significant westerly range expansion of D. mariae, which has previously been reported in southeastern Manitoba and Ontario.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 9

Ramachandran, N., J. Irvin, H. Sheng, ... and K. Austin (2024). "Automatic deforestation driver attribution using deep learning on satellite imagery." Global Environmental Change 86, e102843. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2024.102843

Abstract: Deforestation is a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions globally. Understanding the direct drivers of forest loss is essential for developing targeted forest conservation and management policies. However, this data is hard to collect at scale due to the complexity of forest loss drivers and expertise required for accurately identifying them. To address this challenge, we developed a deep learning model called ForestNet which uses publicly available satellite imagery to automatically classify the drivers of primary forest loss. We validated ForestNet on a test set of expert-annotated forest loss events and showed that ForestNet achieved high performance across four major driver classes. We used ForestNet to identify these drivers on over 2 million forest loss events in Indonesia between 2012 and 2019, with significant improvement in spatial and temporal resolution over previously available data. We found that plantations and smallholder agriculture were the primary direct drivers of deforestation in Indonesia during this period, accounting for 64 % of total forest loss. Deforestation has decreased steadily since 2012 after increasing steadily from 2001 to 2009 and peaking from 2009 to 2012, trends that we found are primarily due to changes in plantation-driven deforestation. Our approach can serve as a general framework for scalably attributing deforestation to specific drivers and can be extended to other regions of interest, providing a flexible and cost-effective way for countries to regularly monitor, understand, and address their unique and dynamic drivers of deforestation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 9

Saisamorn, A., S. Duangchantrasiri, M. Sornsa et al. (2024). "Recovery of globally threatened ungulate species in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand." Global Ecology and Conservation 53, e03012. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2024.e03012

Abstract: The forests of Southeast (SE) Asia support large ungulate species listed as globally threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List. In Thailand, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary (HKK) still contains the endangered banteng (Bos javanicus) and the vulnerable gaur (Bos gaurus) and sambar (Rusa unicolor). These species have been declining for decades in SE Asia. HKK is within the core area of the Western Forest Complex, one of the largest protected forest landscapes in SE Asia. This area is one of the few remaining that have the capacity to support species recovery for large ungulates and the tiger that depend on them. However, critical knowledge gaps remain on ungulate population metrics and trends of the species. In 2021, we revisited the locations surveyed in 2007–2008 and used distance sampling methodology to estimate density and abundance of banteng, gaur, and sambar. Using 32 transects in 2007, 2008 and 2021, we conducted replicated sample surveys with a total walk-efforts of 1,000 km per year and collected Distance-sampling data on target species. Banteng density increased two-fold from 0.91 ± 0.40–1.71 ± 0.79 individuals/km2, and sambar density doubled from 2.03 ± 0.51–3.99 ± 0.95 individuals/km2. In 2021, HKK supported 2,736 ± 1,264 banteng and 9,855 ± 2,347 sambar, the largest populations of these two globally threatened species in SE Asia. These results indicate evidence for recovery of large ungulate species in HKK and hope for the conservation of these globally threatened species. Our results illustrate the value of HKK as an important tiger recovery site in SE Asia, as these species are primary prey for tigers and underscore the value of ongoing efforts to eradicate poaching.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 9

Sun, C., A. Granados, C. Beirne, ..., P. Soroye et al. (2024). "A toolkit for greater equity, diversity, and inclusion in early-career ecology funding." FACETS 9, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1139/facets-2023-0065

Abstract: Funding is critical in ecology and related fields, as it enables research and sustains livelihoods. However, early-career researchers (ECRs) from diverse backgrounds are disproportionately underrepresented as funding recipients. To help funding programs self-evaluate progress towards increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in their funding opportunities, we introduce the Stage-based Assessments of Grants for EDI (SAGE) Toolkit. Developed using existing literature, semi-structured interviews, and coauthors? experiences, the toolkit considers how each funding stage (Advertisement, Application, Review, Awarding) interacts with applicants from racialized and other underrepresented backgrounds. The toolkit offers specific criteria and recommendations, with explanations and examples from funding agencies, to support applicants who have been historically marginalized in ecology and are often left out of equitable funding consideration. Changes in funding mechanisms alone will not reverse the marginalization of communities and peoples in the field of ecology, but advancing EDI must include action throughout the grant process. Efforts to increase EDI must be sustained, and the toolkit allows for additional considerations and evolving best practices. With the SAGE Toolkit, efforts to increase EDI can help to transition away from a transactional dynamic between funder and applicant to instead supportive community and collaboration. The SAGE Toolkit is available online at bit.ly/ediSAGEtoolkit.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 9

Vences, M., J. Kohler, M. D. Scherz, C. R. Hutter, H. M. Rabe Maheritafika, J. M. Rafanoharana, H. Raherinjatovo et al. (2024). "Four new species of forest-dwelling mantellid frogs from Madagascar allied to Gephyromantis moseri (Amphibia, Anura)." SPIXIANA 46(2), 297-319.

Abstract: The Gephyromantis moseri complex, classified in the mantellid subgenus Duboi mantis, currently contains one species of frog, G. moseri (Glaw & Vences, 2002) from the Andasibe area in the Northern Central East of Madagascar, as well as several genetically divergent populations from the North East that have been provisionally assigned to the species. We here analyse DNA sequences of one mitochondrial (16S rRNA) and one nuclear-encoded gene (RAG-1), morphology, and advertisement calls of newly collected material of this species complex from various localities in Madagascar. Based on this integrative evidence, in particular concordant nuclear gene differentiation between seven highly divergent (> 4 %) mitochondrial lineages, as well as differences in advertisement call structure, body size and head shape between some of these lineages, we conclude that the G. moseri complex contains several additional species of which four are formally named and described in this study: G. fuscus sp. nov., a rather small-sized species sister to G. moseri, occurring in two sites (Mahasoa and the western part of the Makira Reserve), G. makira sp. nov., a species known from only one available voucher specimen from eastern Makira, G. bemiray sp. nov. from eastern Makira, Masoala, and Ambolokopatrika; and G. ampondo sp. nov. from Marojejy in the North East. Two further lineages for which voucher specimens were not available in the framework of this study are considered unconfirmed candidate species G. sp. Ca19 and G. sp. Ca33, pending the collection of further material. The revision of the G. moseri complex adds to the diversity of Duboimantis and once more demonstrates the existence of secretive or genuinely rare restricted-range species among the Malagasy frogs whose inventory can only be completed by further fieldwork and integrative taxonomic research.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 9

Wijaksana Extrada Dumas, D., R. Lasabuda, I. Shelovita Manembu, D. M. Makapedua, S. Darwasito, A. Luasunaung, D. A. Sumilat and O. P. Darmono (2024). "Institutional domain assessment of the EAFM approach to snapper and grouper fisheries in the waters of the Sangihe Islands, North Sulawesi / Penilaian Domain Kelembagaan pada Pendekatan EAFM Perikanan Kakap dan Kerapu di Perairan Kepulauan Sangihe Sulawesi Utara." Jurnal Ilmiah PLATAX 12(1), 379-387. https://doi.org/10.35800/jip.v12i1.52237

Abstract: This research aims to assess the status of snapper and grouper fisheries management in the Sangihe Islands district using an ecosystem approach (EAFM) in the institutional domain. The research method uses observation and interview methods (questionnaires). Data collection used semi-structured interview (SSI) techniques. As a result of the assessment of 6 (six) institutional indicators, there are 2 indicators with a value of 1 (less, red flag model), namely indicators of compliance with the principles of responsible fisheries and indicators of fisheries management plans. 3 indicators each: decision-making mechanism indicators, indicators of the level of synergy of fisheries management policies & institutions, and stakeholder capacity indicators) with a value of 2 (medium, yellow model flag). Only the indicator for the completeness of the rules in fisheries management has a value of 3 (good, green model flag). The average score for the 6 indicators is 1.76 while the composite value is 58.53. This value shows that the application of the EAFM institutional domain in the management of snapper and grouper fisheries in the Sangihe Islands district is in the medium category (yellow model flag). / Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk menilai  status pengelolaan perikanan kakap dan kerapu di kabupaten Kepulauan Sangihe dengan pendekatan ekosistem (EAFM) pada domain kelembagaan. Metode penelitian menggunakan metode observasi dan wawancara (kuisioner). Pengumpulan data menggunakan teknik semi structured interview (SSI).  Hasil penilaian dari 6 (enam) indikator kelembagaan, ada 2 indikator yang nilai-nya 1 (kurang, flag model merah) yaitu  indikator kepatuhan terhadap prinsip-prinsip perikanan yang bertanggung jawab dan indikator rencana pengelolaan  perikanan. 3 indikator masing-masing : indikator mekanisme pengambilan  keputusan, indikator tingkat sinergisitas kebijakan & kelembagaan pengelolaan perikanan, indikator kapasitas pemangku  kepentingan) bernilai 2 (sedang, flag model kuning). Hanya indikator kelengkapan aturan main dalam  pengelolaan perikanan yang bernilai 3 (baik, flag model hijau).  Nilai skor rerata 6 indikator adalah 1,76 sedangkan  nilai komposit-nya 58,53. Nilai ini menunjukkan bahwa penerapan domain kelembagaan EAFM pada pengelolaan perikanan kakap dan kerapu di kabupaten Kepulauan Sangihe kategori sedang (flag model kuning).

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 9 of 9

Zou, Y., C. M. Zohner, C. Averill, ..., B. Swanepoel et al. (2024). "Positive feedbacks and alternative stable states in forest leaf types." Nature Communications 15(1), e4658. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-48676-5

Abstract: The emergence of alternative stable states in forest systems has significant implications for the functioning and structure of the terrestrial biosphere, yet empirical evidence remains scarce. Here, we combine global forest biodiversity observations and simulations to test for alternative stable states in the presence of evergreen and deciduous forest types. We reveal a bimodal distribution of forest leaf types across temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere that cannot be explained by the environment alone, suggesting signatures of alternative forest states. Moreover, we empirically demonstrate the existence of positive feedbacks in tree growth, recruitment and mortality, with trees having 4–43% higher growth rates, 14–17% higher survival rates and 4–7 times higher recruitment rates when they are surrounded by trees of their own leaf type. Simulations show that the observed positive feedbacks are necessary and sufficient to generate alternative forest states, which also lead to dependency on history (hysteresis) during ecosystem transition from evergreen to deciduous forests and vice versa. We identify hotspots of bistable forest types in evergreen-deciduous ecotones, which are likely driven by soil-related positive feedbacks. These findings are integral to predicting the distribution of forest biomes, and aid to our understanding of biodiversity, carbon turnover, and terrestrial climate feedbacks.

 

Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 2

Reid, D., N. Barichello, M. Leung, B. Sagar and H. Cooke (2024). Towards a National Park in Natural Region 7: The Ross River Dena Council's Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area - Science Background. WCS Canada Conservation Report No. 18. Toronto, Canada: Wildlife Conservation Society, Canada. https://doi.org/10.19121/2024.Report.50343

Grey Literature Citation 2 of 2

Vermeulen, E., P. Tixier, E. L. Carroll, S. Cerchio, T. Collins et al. (2024). Multi-method observations suggest recolonization of the Crozet Islands by southern right whales with links to different coastal calving grounds. Impington, England: International Whaling Commission. http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.30794.99528

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS, 20-26 May 2024

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 11

Esmaeili, S., M.-R. Hemami, P. Kaczensky, ..., C. Walzer and J. R. Goheen (2024). "Rainfall reduces the potential for competitive suppression of a globally endangered ungulate by livestock." Biological Conservation 292, e110476. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110476

Abstract: Protected areas often are too small to house populations of wide-ranging species. Viability of wildlife populations therefore depends on whether interactions with humans and their land uses are negative, neutral, or positive. In central Iran, we measured interactions between globally endangered onagers (Equus hemionus onager) and livestock by analyzing remotely-sensed vegetation metrics within livestock grazing areas, tracking 9 animals with GPS telemetry, and assessing onagers' diet quality through analysis of fecal samples. Resource selection by onagers depended both on season and the presence of livestock. During the dry season, livestock reduced forage (some combination of forage biomass and forage quality) compared to pre-grazing periods, demonstrating potential for competitive suppression of onagers by livestock when resources are scarce. Additionally, and during both seasons, selection for forage by onagers was accentuated at night when livestock were absent, indicating onager avoidance of livestock. During the wet season, onagers exposed to livestock exhibited higher-quality diets than those that did not co-occur with livestock, suggesting that livestock grazing may potentially enhance forage quality for onagers. Consequently, collaboration with pastoralists to regularly rotate the locations of dry and wet season leases could alleviate negative effects of livestock grazing on onagers. Similar to other cases in multi-use landscapes, temporal shifts in the strength of competition—driven by diel cycles and seasonal rainfall—may characterize wildlife-livestock interactions in Iran and elsewhere in Asian rangelands. Our study is the first in-depth investigation of one of the world’s remaining populations of onager, and highlights the possibility that conservation of an endangered mammal could be compatible with livestock production, at least during wet seasons.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 11

Gerstenhaber, C., A. Ipavec, V. Lapeyre, C. Plowman et al. (2024). "Illegal wildlife trade: An analysis of carnivore products found in markets in Benin and Niger." Global Ecology and Conservation 51, e02880. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2024.e02880

Abstract: West Africa is home to one of the largest protected area systems in Africa, the W-Arly- Pendjari (WAP) Complex, which provides a last refuge for many threatened carnivore species extirpated from most other protected areas in the region. However, rising global demand for wildlife products has increased concerns about the impacts of Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) on these species. To assess the extent of IWT, covert market surveys were conducted in Benin and Niger to identify wildlife products and derivatives coming from carnivore species (African civet, serval, caracal, lion, cheetah, leopard, and spotted hyena) suspected to be targeted by IWT. When possible, information about product origin was gathered to understand trading routes. Data were analysed to determine if products were available in markets due to their proximity to source populations or due to accessibility to trade and transport hubs. A variety of products from several threatened species, including multiple lion skins, were found in Benin and Niger. Products were found more frequently in markets near the WAP Complex and main trade and transport hubs. Sellers reported that a large majority of products originated from international trade, but some could also have been sourced from the WAP Complex. There was little evidence indicating that product availability was more affected by the distance to the WAP Complex than by the distance to international transport hubs, suggesting that trade was widespread across both countries. The study provides an evidence base and monitoring baselines to identify and assess interventions to address IWT and ultimately reduce illegal trafficking of wildlife. / L’Afrique de l’Ouest abrite l'un des plus grands systèmes d’aires protégées d’Afrique, le complexe W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP), qui constitue le dernier refuge aux grands félins qui ont disparu de la plupart des autres zones protégées de la région. Cependant, l’augmentation de la demande mondiale de produits issus de la faune sauvage a suscité des inquiétudes quant à l’impact du commerce illégal sur ces espèces. Afin d’évaluer l’ampleur de ce commerce illégal, des enquêtes sous couverture ont été menées sur des marchés du Bénin et du Niger. L’objectif de ces enquêtes était d’identifier les produits et dérivés provenant d’espèces de carnivores (civette africaine, serval, caracal, lion, guépard, léopard et hyène tachetée) soupçonnées d'être ciblées par le commerce illégal. Lorsque cela a été possible, des informations sur leur provenance ont été recueillies afin de comprendre les itinéraires commerciaux. Les données ont été analysées pour déterminer si les produits étaient disponibles sur les marchés en raison de leur proximité avec les populations sources ou de l’accessibilité des centres de commerce et de transport. Une variété de produits provenant de plusieurs espèces menacées, y compris une grande quantité de peaux de lion, a été trouvée au Bénin et au Niger. Les rapports des vendeurs indiquent qu'une grande majorité des produits provient du commerce international, mais certains pourraient également provenir du Complexe WAP. Peu d'éléments indiquent que la disponibilité des produits est plus affectée par la distance au complexe WAP que par la distance aux centres de transport internationaux, ce qui suggère que le commerce est largement répandu dans les deux pays. Cette étude fournit les informations de base nécessaires pour identifier et évaluer les interventions visant à lutter contre le trafic illicite d'espèces sauvages et, à terme, le réduire.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 11

Goetze, J. S., M. R. Heithaus, M. A. MacNeil, ..., T. Boslogo, ..., S. D. Jupiter, ..., C. F. Razafindrakoto et al. (In Press). "Directed conservation of the world’s reef sharks and rays." Nature Ecology & Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-024-02386-9

Abstract: Many shark populations are in decline around the world, with severe ecological and economic consequences. Fisheries management and marine protected areas (MPAs) have both been heralded as solutions. However, the effectiveness of MPAs alone is questionable, particularly for globally threatened sharks and rays (‘elasmobranchs’), with little known about how fisheries management and MPAs interact to conserve these species. Here we use a dedicated global survey of coral reef elasmobranchs to assess 66 fully protected areas embedded within a range of fisheries management regimes across 36 countries. We show that conservation benefits were primarily for reef-associated sharks, which were twice as abundant in fully protected areas compared with areas open to fishing. Conservation benefits were greatest in large protected areas that incorporate distinct reefs. However, the same benefits were not evident for rays or wide-ranging sharks that are both economically and ecologically important while also threatened with extinction. We show that conservation benefits from fully protected areas are close to doubled when embedded within areas of effective fisheries management, highlighting the importance of a mixed management approach of both effective fisheries management and well-designed fully protected areas to conserve tropical elasmobranch assemblages globally.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 11

Green, A. R., C. Plowman, R. Mwinyihali, M. Wieland and M. L. Gore (2024). "Women and urban wildmeat trafficking in the Republic of Congo." Biological Conservation 293, e110587. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110587

Abstract: As a result of declining biodiversity and increasing rates of urbanization, the illegal urban wildmeat trade is projected to become an integral sector of the wildlife crime industry. Adequate assessment of urban wildmeat trafficking requires investigation into the roles and behaviors of individuals who engage in wildlife crimes. However, akin to much of wildlife crime literature, women's engagement within the urban wildmeat trade have received little investigation. The objectives of our investigation were to (1) explore relationships between women and wildlife products across the supply chain, and (2) determine whether a significant relationship exists between women and specific wildlife products. Through systematic social observations, we evaluate the gendered dimensions of urban wildmeat trafficking in the Republic of Congo between the urban centers of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire. We place particular emphasis on species of conservation concern, namely great apes, African pangolins, and dwarf crocodiles. Results indicate that there are gendered variations at the species and the geographic level, indicating that women are sourcing and sending their products to different locations than men, and that women are specializing in trade of different species. We attest that urban wildmeat trafficking prevention strategies implement a gender-aware approach due to the unique ways that individuals engage with the industry and how that engagement is gendered.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 11

Koch Liston, A. L., X. Zhu, T. V. Bang, ..., C. Agger, S. Ai, E. Auda et al. (2024). "A model for the noninvasive, habitat-inclusive estimation of upper limit abundance for synanthropes, exemplified by M. fascicularis." Science Advances 10(21), eadn5390. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adn5390

Abstract: Accurately estimating population sizes for free-ranging animals through noninvasive methods, such as camera trap images, remains particularly limited by small datasets. To overcome this, we developed a flexible model for estimating upper limit populations and exemplified it by studying a group-living synanthrope, the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis). Habitat preference maps, based on environmental and GPS data, were generated with a maximum entropy model and combined with data obtained from camera traps, line transect distance sampling, and direct sightings to produce an expected number of individuals. The mapping between habitat preference and number of individuals was optimized through a tunable parameter ? (inquisitiveness) that accounts for repeated observations of individuals. Benchmarking against published data highlights the high accuracy of the model. Overall, this approach combines citizen science with scientific observations and reveals the long-tailed macaque populations to be (up to 80%) smaller than expected. The model?s flexibility makes it suitable for many species, providing a scalable, noninvasive tool for wildlife conservation. A flexible model estimates the upper limit of animal population sizes by accounting for habitat diversity and species? behavior.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 11

Lepage, A. T., B. Laird, K. Skinner, J. M. Gunn and G. L. Lescord (In Press). "A review of arsenic speciation in freshwater fish: Perspectives on monitoring approaches and analytical methods." Environmental Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1139/er-2024-0011

Abstract: Arsenic accumulation in fish poses concerns for subsistence and recreational fishers worldwide. However, the toxicity of arsenic to consumers strongly depends on the chemical forms, or species, present. Risk assessments often rely on total arsenic concentrations ([As]), adjusting for assumed small percentages of the most harmful inorganic species. While studies on arsenic speciation in marine fish are widespread, and commonly report less toxic arsenobetaine (AsB) as the dominant form, fewer studies have been conducted on freshwater fish, where arsenic speciation may be more variable. To assess these findings, we conducted a systematic literature review on arsenic speciation in freshwater fish using Covidence? review management software. From over 1100 screened studies, 41 were selected for inclusion based on predefined criteria. These studies reported highly variable arsenic speciation patterns in freshwater fish, calling into question the assumption that AsB is the dominant form present. Sites with suspected or known arsenic contamination issues were prominent, with >50% of data reviewed originating from a contaminated river or lake, but the effect of contamination on arsenic speciation was variable. Although AsB and other organic forms typically dominated, some studies (6/41; 15%) identified fish with elevated concentrations of inorganic arsenic (>1 mg/kg dry wt.), most often corresponding to over 20% of total arsenic. Furthermore, arsenic speciation results accounted for a highly variable proportion of total [As] in fish, often less than 50%. Assuming 20% inorganic arsenic appears to be a poor approximation that cannot be applied to all fish. Based on this considerable variability, we recommend the direct measurement of arsenic species whenever possible, especially when total [As] is elevated above relevant guidelines for the most toxic species (e.g., 0.1-2 mg/kg inorganic arsenic wet wt.). We also recommend future works communicate their results in more detail, including complete description of QAQC protocols, to improve the potential for future meta-analyses. Additional work is needed to characterize arsenic speciation in freshwater fish and assess the toxicity of various arsenic species to accurately evaluate the environmental and human health risks associated with arsenic in fish.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 11

Mangubhai, S., M. Fox, Y. Nand and N. Mason (Early View). "Value chain analysis of a women-dominated wild-caught mud crab fishery." Fish and Fisheries. https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12838

Abstract: A value chain analysis (VCA) is a cost-effective tool to guide targeted value chain development interventions to address social wellbeing and environmental performance. Examining value chains through a gender lens can help design and implement interventions that enhance opportunities for women in the fisheries and address gender inequalities in the sector. We conducted a VCA in 2015 of the wild-caught mud crab (Scylla serrata) fishery in Bua Province, Fiji. We found five main players involved in the selling of mud crabs – fishers, traders, retail shops, restaurants and exporters. The value chain was dominated by Indigenous (iTaukei) women fishers (88.1% of fishers) and characterised by low technological input, targeted largely for domestic markets or consumption, and with limited value-adding activities. Although most women harvested mud crabs on a part-time basis, it was an important source of income for most with 30% relying on it as their main livelihood. Despite being a lucrative commodity, there are several bottlenecks in the fishery – the relative informality of relationships amongst players in the value chain, the independent livelihood-driven harvest behaviours of fishers, and opportunistic sale of products. As a result, the fishery did not meet the demands of the domestic market. Our study concluded the gendered-skewness in the fishery increases the vulnerability of the chain to declines in economic productivity because of its reliance on irregular suppliers, and gender-based constraints. However, the low frequency and intensity of harvesting and use of low technological harvesting methods meant the fishery was not over-exploited and likely sustainable.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 11

Marina, T. I., I. R. Schloss, G. A. Lovrich, ..., A. Raya Rey et al. (2024). "Complex network of trophic interactions in Burdwood Bank, a sub-Antarctic oceanic marine protected area." Marine Ecology Progress Series 736, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14600

Abstract: The world's oceans designated under marine protection have increased recently. Most marine protected areas (MPAs) target vulnerable, keystone, charismatic, and/or endemic species. In the sub-Antarctic, ocean protection is associated with oceanic islands, except for the MPAs Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank I and II (MPA N-BB; ~53-55°S, ~56-62°W), which are associated with a submarine plateau and a southern deep slope, respectively. We present the first analysis of the predator-prey network for the MPA N-BB, applying a topological network approach to characterise the complexity and structure of the food web and to identify the species role. The MPA N-BB food web consists of 1788 interactions and 379 species, with a connectance of 0.01. Almost half of the consumers feed at more than one trophic level (0.48), and the network displays a small-world pattern (short path length, high clustering of compartments). This network pattern suggests that the ecosystem might be vulnerable to perturbations targeting highly connected species, although some properties might provide resilience and resistance, resulting in a rearranged structure that preserves its original functions. Several species arise as being important in trophic structure and functioning and response to perturbations. Generalist species, mainly fishes, play a crucial role in the bentho-pelagic coupling and should be considered as relevant energy transfer agents for the ecosystem. We argue that the diversity of species, including both the benthic and pelagic habitats, is responsible for securing the connectivity within the food web to withstand perturbations, thereby contributing to the structure and stability of the ecosystem.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 9 of 11

Platt, S. G., W. Ko Ko, K. Platt, T. Lwin, S. H. N. Aung, K. Myo Myo, M. M. Soe, ..., H. Thu, S. Hsu Hsu Naing, B. D. Horne and T. R. Rainwater (2024). "Range-wide demographic collapse and extinction dynamics of the endemic Burmese roofed turtle, Batagur trivittata, in Myanmar." Chelonian Research Monographs 9, 1-26. https://doi.org/10.3854/crm.9.trivittata.2024

Abstract: The Burmese Roofed Turtle (Batagur trivittata) is endemic to the major rivers of Myanmar. Once widespread and abundant, by the late 1990s B. trivittata was considered extinct until “rediscovered” in the Dokhtawady and Chindwin rivers during the early 2000s; the Dokhtawady has since been greatly altered by construction of the Yeywa Hydropower Dam and Reservoir (YHDR). Although a combination of ex- and in-situ conservation measures has averted biological extinction, B. trivittata remains critically endangered in the wild. We conducted a multi-year (2009–2019) investigation into the conservation status of B. trivittata with the following objectives: 1) determine the fate of the species in the Dokhtawady River and YHDR; 2) determine its conservation status in rivers not previously surveyed; and 3) query individuals with first-hand knowledge of the species to understand the processes that resulted in its near-extinction. Our investigation included Dokhtawady and YHDR, and the Shweli, Chindwin (including tributaries and headwaters), and Sittaung rivers. Our investigation relied heavily on the traditional ecological knowledge of villagers living along these rivers. We visited 243 villages, towns, and encampments, interviewed ca. 1433 persons, identified six vernacular names applied to B. trivittata, and accompanied villagers to 26 sandbanks used by nesting turtles (5 active and 21 former nesting sites). We determined that B. trivittata is no longer extant in the Dokhtawady River and YDHR, Sittaung, Shweli, and lower Chindwin rivers, or the Chindwin tributaries of Myitthar River, Nam Thalet Chaung, and creeks of Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary. The year of the last known occurrence of B. trivittata varied among rivers, ranging from the early 1990s to 2012. Residents along the Sittaung River had no knowledge of B. trivittata and the most recent museum specimen was collected in 1961. The Thanlwin is the only major river in Myanmar that remains unsurveyed for B. trivittata. A small number of turtles in the upper Chindwin River constitute the only surviving—and reproducing—wild population. Here B. trivittata is confined to a 21-km stretch of the river (based on active nest sites), i.e., approximately 1.7% of its historical distribution in the Chindwin. Our results and previous surveys of other rivers suggest an overall reduction of >99% in the historical geographic range of B. trivittata. Based on extensive interviews along the Chindwin River, we propose the following extirpation scenario. First, long-term, chronic over-harvesting of eggs created a “decadent” population composed largely of reproductively mature adults. Despite the traditional practice of leaving in-situ a small number of eggs from each clutch to complete incubation, low juvenile survival meant that few hatchlings attained adulthood. However, because B. trivittata is long-lived, the number of nests produced each year was not perceived to diminish over time and traditional practices therefore appeared effective in ensuring a sustainable crop of eggs. Second, nylon (and later monofilament) fishing nets introduced in the 1960s resulted in an increasing number of adults being drowned as fisheries by-catch. Transient fishers from elsewhere moved onto the Chindwin in the 1980s, failed to respect traditional proscriptions protecting turtles, and greatly increased mortality rates by killing adults and harvesting eggs. With no juveniles to replace adults, B. trivittata populations declined rapidly to near-extinction by the 1990s and early 2000s. The extinction scenario in the Dokhtawady River and YDHR is somewhat different. This area was formerly a war zone between an Ethnic Armed Organization (EAO) and the Myanmar Government, where fishers could venture only at great personal risk. As such, the war zone functioned as a de facto protected area, where B. trivittata was able to persist until being rediscovered in 2001. Population declines began with the cessation of hostilities, which was followed by a sudden influx of fishers. Completion of the YDHR intensified fishing pressure on the now rapidly declining B. trivittata population and inundated the only nesting sandbank. With the extirpation of B. trivittata in the Dokhtawady, the few turtles surviving in the upper Chindwin became the sole remaining known wild population of this species.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 10 of 11

Robinson, J. G., D. LaBruna, T. O’Brien, P. J. Clyne, N. Dudley, S. J. Andelman, E. L. Bennett, A. Chicchon, C. Durigan, ..., S. Lieberman, F. Maisels, A. Moreira, M. Rao, E. Stokes, J. Walston and J. E. M. Watson (2024). "Scaling up area-based conservation to implement the Global Biodiversity Framework’s 30x30 target: The role of Nature’s Strongholds." PLOS Biology 22(5), e3002613. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3002613

Abstract: The 2022 Global Biodiversity Framework set out target of conserving a global area of 30% by 2030. This Essay provides a framework for area-based conservation that preferences "Nature’s Strongholds", arguing that these areas are disproportionately important for the conservation of biodiversity.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 11 of 11

Tavera, E. A., D. B. Lank, D. C. Douglas, ..., M. Robards et al. (2024). "Why do avian responses to change in Arctic green-up vary?" Global Change Biology 30(5), e17335. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.17335

Abstract: Global climate change has altered the timing of seasonal events (i.e., phenology) for a diverse range of biota. Within and among species, however, the degree to which alterations in phenology match climate variability differ substantially. To better understand factors driving these differences, we evaluated variation in timing of nesting of eight Arctic-breeding shorebird species at 18 sites over a 23-year period. We used the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index as a proxy to determine the start of spring (SOS) growing season and quantified relationships between SOS and nest initiation dates as a measure of phenological responsiveness. Among species, we tested four life history traits (migration distance, seasonal timing of breeding, female body mass, expected female reproductive effort) as species-level predictors of responsiveness. For one species (Semipalmated Sandpiper), we also evaluated whether responsiveness varied across sites. Although no species in our study completely tracked annual variation in SOS, phenological responses were strongest for Western Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, and Red Phalaropes. Migration distance was the strongest additional predictor of responsiveness, with longer-distance migrant species generally tracking variation in SOS more closely than species that migrate shorter distances. Semipalmated Sandpipers are a widely distributed species, but adjustments in timing of nesting relative to variability in SOS did not vary across sites, suggesting that different breeding populations of this species were equally responsive to climate cues despite differing migration strategies. Our results unexpectedly show that long-distance migrants are more sensitive to local environmental conditions, which may help them to adapt to ongoing changes in climate.

 

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 1 of 3

Loaiza, C., W. A. Ramirez, A. F. Claros, F. Ayerbe, F. Salazar and S. J. Alvarez (2024). Aves del Cacao de Conservación de Calamar. Cali, Colombia: Wildlife Conservation Society, Colombia. https://doi.org/10.19121/2024.Report.50322

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 2 of 3

Loaiza, C., D. F. Rocha, A. F. Claros, F. Ayerbe, F. Salazar and S. J. Alvarez (2024). Aves del Cacao de Conservación de Orito. Cali, Colombia: Wildlife Conservation Society, Colombia. https://doi.org/10.19121/2024.Report.50319

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 3 of 3

Stevens, T., R. Zimmerman, G. Albery, ..., D. Montecino-Latorre, Z. O'Donoghue, S. H. Olson et al. (Prepublication). “A minimum data standard for wildlife disease studies.” EcoEvoRxiv. https://doi.org/10.32942/X2TW4J

Abstract: Thousands of scientists and practitioners conduct research on infectious diseases of wildlife. Rapid and comprehensive data sharing is vital to the transparency and actionability of their work, but unfortunately, most efforts designed to publically share these data are focused on pathogen determination and genetic sequence data. Other facets of existing surveillance data – particularly negative results – are often withheld or, at best, summarized in a descriptive table with limited metadata. As a result, very few datasets on wildlife disease dynamics over space and time are publicly available for synthesis research or applied uses in conservation or public health. Here, we propose a minimum data and metadata reporting standard for wildlife disease studies. Our checklist identifies a minimum set of 30 fields required to standardize and document a dataset consisting of records disaggregated to the finest possible spatial, temporal, and taxonomic scale. We illustrate how this standard is applied to an example study, which documented a novel alphacoronavirus found in bats in Belize. Finally, we outline best practices for how data should be formatted for optimal re-use, and how researchers can navigate potential safety concerns around data sharing.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS, 13-19 May 2024

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 6

Claudet, J., J. Blythe, D. A. Gill, ..., S. D. Jupiter et al. (In Press). "Advancing ocean equity at the nexus of development, climate and conservation policy." Nature Ecology & Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-024-02417-5

Abstract: Achieving inclusive and sustainable ocean economies, long-term climate resilience and effective biodiversity conservation requires urgent and strategic actions from local to global scales. We discuss fundamental changes that are needed to allow equitable policy across these three domains.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 6

Jagadish, A., A. Freni-Sterrantino, Y. He, ..., S. Mangubhai et al. (2024). "Corrigendum to “Scaling Indigenous-led natural resource management” [Glob. Environ. Chang. 84 (2024) 102799]." Global Environmental Change 86, e102824. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2024.102824

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 6

Márquez-García, M., C. Nuñez-Godoy, A. Eguren, ..., N. Püschel, ..., M. Varese et al. (2024). "Overcoming gender-related challenges and supporting women in conservation in Latin America." Biological Conservation 294, e110625. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110625

Abstract: Long-term solutions to environmental problems will not succeed without representative, collaborative, and inclusive approaches. Supporting women in conservation science and practice requires policymakers and organizations to consider a range of actions from those that mitigate biases to those that actively promote equality. Selecting a suitable course of action involves assessing information on both the hurdles and the potential for improvement. Here, we provide a perspective into challenges and opportunities gleaned from four workshops with women from 16 countries. These workshops and a final encounter, involving 163 women, culminated in bottom-up development of a regionally-constructed, gender-conscious conceptual model for change. The model encompasses the multiple domains in which nature conservation is implemented: resource management and local actor agency, knowledge co-production and management, and planning and policymaking. It also considers major challenges that disproportionately impact women: 1) Social, institutional, and cultural context; 2) Training and capacity building; 3) Production, reproduction, and dependent care; 4) Violence, safety, and recognition. We have a challenging task ahead, and the future of our field rests on our ability to provide more diverse, inclusive, and equitable spaces. Our workshops series fostered community and empowerment for women conservation scientists and practitioners in Latin America. We experienced how this empowerment and energy decisively translated into a practical conceptual model, a broad-based, growing network of over 1000 women, and an endorsed living Agenda of Women in Conservation for Latin America and the Caribbean (RedMeC) that supports women caring for nature worldwide.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 6

Molder, Z. A., W. D. Halliday, R. Reidy et al. (Early View). "Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) social calls in southern British Columbia." Marine Mammal Science, e13138. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.13138

Abstract: Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) nonsong vocalizations, or social calls, are much more poorly understood than humpback song. We examined humpback whale social calls from a foraging ground in southern British Columbia (BC) and developed a catalog for humpback social calls in BC. We tagged four humpback whales on the eastern edge of Swiftsure Bank, BC, in early September 2020, with a passive acoustic and movement tag. We manually classified 32 call types in our data set based on comparisons with published classifications of humpback social calls. Many of the calls identified in our data set had similar characteristics to calls from other locations. We also used two statistical classification methods, a cluster analysis and a random forest. The cluster analysis grouped 20 of these call types into four categories, and the random forest classifier was able to accurately classify all 20 call types 87.6% of the time. This study fills a geographical gap of humpback whale social calls on foraging grounds and is a first step towards categorizing the social calls of humpback whales in BC.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 6

Waller, S. J., K. Morelle, I. V. Seryodkin, ... and D. G. Miquelle (Early View). "Resource-driven changes in wild boar movement and their consequences for the spread of African Swine Fever in the Russian Far East." Wildlife Biology, e01276. https://doi.org/10.1002/wlb3.01276

Abstract: Knowledge of animal movement patterns is invaluable to understanding the spread of diseases among wildlife populations. One example is the recent African swine fever (ASF) outbreak among wild boar Sus scrofa populations across East Asia, where there is a lack of information on movements of this species. During a wild boar tracking project to inform abundance estimation methods in the Russian Far East's Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Zapovednik, the combination of high variability in pulsed resources of acorns and pine nuts between fall 2019 and fall 2020, and the outbreak of ASF during the latter year, offered the unique opportunity to investigate the relationship between wild boar movements to exploit pulsed resources and the potential for disease spread. We analyzed relocation data from GPS-collared wild boar in fall 2019 and 2020 and compared them to reference data in Belgium, representative of western Europe. We found remarkable differences in movement patterns, with Far East wild boar travelling large distances in fall 2020 (maximum observed of 77 km in four days) when the availability of acorns was low. In our resource selection analysis, we found clear selection for mast-producing forest types that corresponded with the species of greater mast production (oak or pine) for that year. Comparing the displacement of individual wild boar along a moving window of 1–7 days (time between infection and the onset ASF symptoms) highlighted the potential of rapid ASF spread over long distances when wild boar are in search of pulsed resources. This work demonstrates the capacity of wild boar to move long distances to exploit resources and emphasizes the need to consider resource availability when predicting the speed and extent to which diseases such as ASF can spread.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 6

Young, R. E., H. R. Akçakaya, E. L. Bennett et al. (2024). "Opportunity: Assess programme impact by testing an adaptation of the IUCN Green Status of Species." Oryx 58(3), 281-281. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605324000292

 

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS, 6-12 May 2024

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 4

Farrell, C. E., J. Simard, S. Louttit, M. Southee, L. Cruz-Font, D. P. Struthers, J. L. Seguin and C. M. O'Connor (2024). "Occupancy, movement, and behaviour of namew (lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens) in an intact river in Canada." Endangered Species Research 54, 59-81. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01325

Abstract: Most sturgeon populations are imperilled and living in fragmented rivers. Here, we studied namew (lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens), fish important to Ililiwak (Moose Cree Peoples), in the North French River: a free-flowing, intact river in Kit Aski Nahnuun (the Moose Cree Homeland) in northern Ontario, Canada. This study was co-created alongside members of Moose Cree First Nation and used acoustic telemetry to passively track 20 tagged namew over 6 yr (2016-2022). Namew occupied the entire monitored river reach: about 45 km. Namew used 2 overwintering areas and occupied more overall river sections during spring and summer (out of 6 total seasons often used by Ililiwak). We did not detect namew moving upstream or downstream during freeze-up and winter. Generally, namew showed the greatest acceleration and travelled the longest distances during spring and summer, and they occupied shallower water during summer at lower water levels and deepest waters during freeze-up. We found an interaction between season and diurnal period, where namew occupied shallower depths and had higher acceleration at dawn and night relative to morning and afternoon in most seasons; dusk behaviour was variable among seasons. However, this pattern was absent in spring, when namew showed no diurnal pattern in acceleration and were in shallower water during morning and afternoon. Diurnal patterns were less pronounced, but detectable, during ice-affected seasons. This river provides year-round habitat for namew, and our data reveal distinct patterns of namew occupancy, movement, and behaviour in a free-flowing, intact river. Our work is an example of successfully co-creating research that addresses both scientific and community priorities.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 4

Jiménez-Ruiz, S., N. Santos, J. A. Barasona, A. E. Fine and F. Jori (In Press). "Editorial: Pathogen transmission at the domestic-wildlife interface: A growing challenge that requires integrated." Frontiers in Veterinary Science, e1415335. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2024.1415335

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 4

Keany, J. M., P. Burns, A. J. Abraham, ..., F. Maisels et al. (Early View). "Using multiscale lidar to determine variation in canopy structure from African forest elephant trails." Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1002/rse2.395

Abstract: Recently classified as a unique species by the IUCN, African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) are critically endangered due to severe poaching. With limited knowledge about their ecological role due to the dense tropical forests they inhabit in central Africa, it is unclear how the Afrotropics are influenced by elephants. Although their role as seed dispersers is well known, they may also drive large-scale processes that determine forest structure through the creation of elephant trails and browsing the understory, allowing larger, carbon-dense trees to succeed. Multiple scales of lidar were collected by NASA in Lopé National Park, Gabon from 2015 to 2022. Utilizing two airborne lidar datasets in an African forest elephant stronghold, detailed canopy structural information was used in conjunction with elephant trail data to determine how forest structure varies on and off trails. Forest along elephant trails displayed different structural characteristics than forested areas off trails, with lower canopy height, canopy cover, and different vertical distribution of plant density. Less plant area density was found on trails at 1 m in height, while more vegetation was found at 12 m, compared to off trail locations. Trails in forest areas with previous logging history had lower plant area in the top of the canopy. Forest elephants can be considered as “logging light” ecosystem engineers, affecting canopy structure through browsing and movement. Both airborne lidar scales were able to capture elephant impact along trails, with the high-resolution discrete return lidar performing higher than waveform lidar.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 4

McGuire, R. L., M. Robards, B. J. Lagassé, W. Egelhoff and J. Helmericks (2024). "Migratory and winter movements of Arctic Alaska breeding Sabine's gulls (Xema sabini)." Waterbirds 46(2-4), 243-250. https://doi.org/10.1675/063.046.0414

Abstract: The Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini) is a pelagic, Arctic-breeding species with a circumpolar breeding distribution. Little is known about migration routes for northern Alaska-breeding Sabine's Gulls. We tagged Sabine's Gulls on their northern Alaska breeding grounds to identify migration routes and wintering areas and compare geolocators and GPS pinpoint tags for use on small-bodied gulls. Twelve geolocators were deployed in northern Alaska in 2011 (Colville River delta) of which four were recovered, and five GPS pinpoint tags in 2021 (Qupaluk). Although the GPS pinpoint tags provided more accurate locations allowing for finer-scale habitat evaluation, and did not require recapture of birds, the overall coverage provided by geolocators was superior given constraints on the number of locations GPS pinpoint tags record. Broadly, Sabine's Gulls migrated away from the breeding grounds as expected, passing along the west coast of Alaska and south along the west coast of the Americas to winter in the Humboldt Current off the coast of Peru. Our tracked gulls used the same migratory staging and wintering areas as did Sabine's Gulls breeding in the Canadian Arctic (Davis et al. 2016). Such reliance on specific marine areas presents risks from climate-related changes or ecological damage to those areas.

Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 1

Parra Bastos, J. E., G. Chaves-Rosero and Y. Murillo-Posso (2024). Aves Playeras del Pacífico Colombiano. Cali, Colombia: Wildlife Conservation Society, Colombia. https://doi.org/10.19121/2024.Report.50189

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  29 April-5 May 2024

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 2

Ardiantiono, N. J. Deere, E. Ramadiyanta, M. C. Sibarani, A. N. Hadi, N. Andayani et al. (2024). "Selecting umbrella species as mammal biodiversity indicators in tropical forest." Biological Conservation 292, e110511. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110511

Abstract: Conservation managers often monitor umbrella species as indicators of broader biodiversity patterns, but this assumption is seldom evaluated due to lack of survey data and objective umbrella criteria. We evaluated the performance of eight candidate umbrella species in representing broader patterns of mammal biodiversity in Sumatra, Indonesia, using a comprehensive camera trap dataset from the island's largest remaining tropical rainforest. We employed an occupancy modeling framework to quantify the association between species-level occupancy and four community-level biodiversity parameters while accounting for imperfect detection. Sambar deer and clouded leopard were consistently ranked the top umbrellas. Areas where these species were prevalent were associated with higher levels of community occupancy, species richness, functional and phylogenetic diversity. Sumatran tiger and rhino were among the lower ranked umbrellas, and inadequately represented other biodiversity parameters despite being the main subjects of monitoring. Our results demonstrate that the occurrence status of charismatic species commonly regarded as umbrellas does not necessarily represent broader patterns of biodiversity. Species that are frequently overlooked by conservation decision-making may better represent overall mammal diversity. We advocate utilizing umbrella fleets with multiple species monitored to better represent biodiversity patterns, and encourage broader application of our data-driven framework to assess umbrella species performance.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 2

Robira, B., S. Benhamou, E. Obeki Bayanga, T. Breuer and S. Masi (2024). "Changes in movement patterns in relation to sun conditions and spatial scales in wild western gorillas." Animal Cognition 27(1), e37. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-024-01871-9

Abstract: For most primates living in tropical forests, food resources occur in patchworks of different habitats that vary seasonally in quality and quantity. Efficient navigation (i.e., spatial memory-based orientation) towards profitable food patches should enhance their foraging success. The mechanisms underpinning primate navigating ability remain nonetheless mostly unknown. Using GPS long-term tracking (596 days) of one group of wild western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), we investigated their ability to navigate at long distances, and tested for how the sun was used to navigate at any scale by improving landmark visibility and/or by acting as a compass. Long episodic movements ending at a distant swamp, a unique place in the home range where gorillas could find mineral-rich aquatic plants, were straighter and faster than their everyday foraging movements relying on spatial memory. This suggests intentional targeting of the swamp based on long-distance navigation skills, which can thus be efficient over a couple of kilometres. Interestingly, for both long-distance movements towards the swamp and everyday foraging movements, gorillas moved straighter under sunlight conditions even under a dense vegetation cover. By contrast, movement straightness was not markedly different when the sun elevation was low (the sun azimuth then being potentially usable as a compass) or high (so providing no directional information) and the sky was clear or overcast. This suggests that gorillas navigate their home range by relying on visual place recognition but do not use the sun azimuth as a compass. Like humans, who rely heavily on vision to navigate, gorillas should benefit from better lighting to help them identify landmarks as they move through shady forests. This study uncovers a neglected aspect of primate navigation. Spatial memory and vision might have played an important role in the evolutionary success of diurnal primate lineages.

 

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 1 of 3

Bravo-Pedraza, W., L.M. Caro, S. Torres, and F. Gonzalez-Zapata (2023). Un Vistazo a las Plantas Emblemáticas del Sur del Tolima. Cali, Colombia: Alianza Río Saldaña, una cuenca de vida, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Foundation Franklinia, 1-79. https://library.wcs.org/en-us/Scientific-Research/Research-Publications/Publications-Library/ctl/view/mid/40093/pubid/DMX5017200000.aspx

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 2 of 3

Chang, C. H., J. T. Erbaugh, P. Fajardo, ..., K. Austin et al. (Prepublication). “A global evidence map of human well-being and biodiversity co-benefits and trade-offs of natural climate solutions.” arXiv. https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2405.00079

Abstract: Natural climate solutions (NCS) are critical for mitigating climate change through ecosystem-based carbon removal and emissions reductions. NCS implementation can also generate biodiversity and human well-being co-benefits and trade-offs ("NCS co-impacts"), but the volume of evidence on NCS co-impacts has grown rapidly across disciplines, is poorly understood, and remains to be systematically collated and synthesized. A global evidence map of NCS co-impacts would overcome key barriers to NCS implementation by providing relevant information on co-benefits and trade-offs where carbon mitigation potential alone does not justify NCS projects. We employ large language models to assess over two million articles, finding 257,266 relevant articles on NCS co-impacts. We analyze this large and dispersed body of literature using innovative machine learning methods to extract relevant data (e.g., study location, species, and other key variables), and create a global evidence map on NCS co-impacts. Evidence on NCS co-impacts has grown approximately ten-fold in three decades, although some of the most abundant evidence is associated with pathways that have less mitigation potential. We find that studies often examine multiple NCS pathways, indicating natural NCS pathway complements, and each NCS is often associated with two or more coimpacts. Finally, NCS co-impacts evidence and priority areas for NCS are often mismatched--some countries with high mitigation potential from NCS have few published studies on the broader co-impacts of NCS implementation. Our work advances and makes available novel methods and systematic and representative data of NCS co-impacts studies, thus providing timely insights to inform NCS research and action globally.

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 3 of 3

Montecino-Latorre, D., M. Pruvot and S. H. Olson (Prepublication). “Wildlife health perceptions and monitoring practices in globally distributed protected areas.” EcoEvoRxiv. https://doi.org/10.32942/X2789Z

Abstract: Diseases are a threat to biodiversity conservation and global health, however, wildlife health (WH) surveillance systems remain uncommon. This deficit is especially relevant in protected areas (PAs) facing anthropogenic pressures. Integration of field conservation actors patrolling PAs can drastically strengthen WH surveillance. Nevertheless, baseline information regarding current WH monitoring mandates and practices at these sites is missing. To address this gap, we surveyed globally distributed protected area data managers (PADMs). PADMs considered WH as relevant to the conservation goals of PAs and >90% of them confirmed that non-healthy and dead wildlife are encountered. However, >50% and >20% of PADMs claimed that these animals were not recorded, respectively. When these animals were documented, the recording methods and information collected differed. Although domestic animal presence was common and considered a conservation concern, these animals and their health status were not always recorded. Health data were often stored in a database, but paper forms and spreadsheets were also used. Responses suggest that valuable syndromic WH surveillance data from PAs are being lost due to non-collection or inadequate management and their value could be limited by unstandardized documentation. Rangers could become a globally distributed “One Health workforce” but these flaws must be addressed first.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  22-28 April 2024

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 5

Bardales, R., V. Boron, D. F. Passos Viana, ..., E. Payán et al. (2024). "Neotropical mammal responses to megafires in the Brazilian Pantanal." Global Change Biology 30(4), e17278. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.17278

Abstract: The increasing frequency and severity of human-caused fires likely have deleterious effects on species distribution and persistence. In 2020, megafires in the Brazilian Pantanal burned 43% of the biome's unburned area and resulted in mass mortality of wildlife. We investigated changes in habitat use or occupancy for an assemblage of eight mammal species in Serra do Amolar, Brazil, following the 2020 fires using a pre- and post-fire camera trap dataset. Additionally, we estimated the density for two naturally marked species, jaguars Panthera onca and ocelots Leopardus pardalis. Of the eight species, six (ocelots, collared peccaries Dicotyles tajacu, giant armadillos Priodontes maximus, Azara's agouti Dasyprocta azarae, red brocket deer Mazama americana, and tapirs Tapirus terrestris) had declining occupancy following fires, and one had stable habitat use (pumas Puma concolor). Giant armadillo experienced the most precipitous decline in occupancy from 0.431 ± 0.171 to 0.077 ± 0.044 after the fires. Jaguars were the only species with increasing habitat use, from 0.393 ± 0.127 to 0.753 ± 0.085. Jaguar density remained stable across years (2.8 ± 1.3, 3.7 ± 1.3, 2.6 ± 0.85/100 km2), while ocelot density increased from 13.9 ± 3.2 to 16.1 ± 5.2/100 km2. However, the low number of both jaguars and ocelots recaptured after the fire period suggests that immigration may have sustained the population. Our results indicate that the megafires will have significant consequences for species occupancy and fitness in fire-affected areas. The scale of megafires may inhibit successful recolonization, thus wider studies are needed to investigate population trends.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 5

Linder, J. M., D. T. Cronin, N. Ting, ..., D. Kujirakwinja, B. Long, F. Maisels et al. (Early View). "To protect African tropical forests, invest in the conservation of its most endangered group of monkeys, red colobus." Conservation Letters, e13014. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.13014

Abstract: Forest loss and overhunting are eroding African tropical biodiversity and threatening local human food security, livelihoods, and health. Emblematic of this ecological crisis is Africa's most endangered group of monkeys, the red colobus (genus Piliocolobus). All 17 species, found in forests from Senegal in the west to the Zanzibar archipelago in the east, are threatened with extinction. Red colobus are among the most vulnerable mammals to gun hunting, typically disappearing from heavily hunted forests before most other large-bodied animals. Despite their conservation status, they are rarely a focus of conservation attention and continue to be understudied. However, red colobus can act as critical barometers of forest health and serve as flagships for catalyzing broader African tropical forest conservation efforts. We offer a plan for conservation of red colobus and their habitats and discuss conservation and policy implications.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 5

Mendes, C. P., W. R. Albert, Z. Amir, ..., A. Latinne, M. Linkie, F. Loi, A. J. Lynam, ..., T. O'Brien, ..., D. M. Rayan et al. (Early View). "CamTrapAsia: A dataset of tropical forest vertebrate communities from 239 camera trapping studies." Ecology, e4299. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.4299

Abstract: Information on tropical Asian vertebrates has traditionally been sparse, particularly when it comes to cryptic species inhabiting the dense forests of the region. Vertebrate populations are declining globally due to land-use change and hunting, the latter frequently referred as “defaunation.” This is especially true in tropical Asia where there is extensive land-use change and high human densities. Robust monitoring requires that large volumes of vertebrate population data be made available for use by the scientific and applied communities. Camera traps have emerged as an effective, non-invasive, widespread, and common approach to surveying vertebrates in their natural habitats. However, camera-derived datasets remain scattered across a wide array of sources, including published scientific literature, gray literature, and unpublished works, making it challenging for researchers to harness the full potential of cameras for ecology, conservation, and management. In response, we collated and standardized observations from 239 camera trap studies conducted in tropical Asia. There were 278,260 independent records of 371 distinct species, comprising 232 mammals, 132 birds, and seven reptiles. The total trapping effort accumulated in this data paper consisted of 876,606 trap nights, distributed among Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Bhutan, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, and far eastern India. The relatively standardized deployment methods in the region provide a consistent, reliable, and rich count data set relative to other large-scale pressence-only data sets, such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) or citizen science repositories (e.g., iNaturalist), and is thus most similar to eBird. To facilitate the use of these data, we also provide mammalian species trait information and 13 environmental covariates calculated at three spatial scales around the camera survey centroids (within 10-, 20-, and 30-km buffers). We will update the dataset to include broader coverage of temperate Asia and add newer surveys and covariates as they become available. This dataset unlocks immense opportunities for single-species ecological or conservation studies as well as applied ecology, community ecology, and macroecology investigations. The data are fully available to the public for utilization and research. Please cite this data paper when utilizing the data.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 5

Scrafford, M. A., J. L. Seguin, L. K. McCaw, M. S. Boyce and J. C. Ray (Early View). "Wolverine density, survival, and population trends in the Canadian boreal forest." The Journal of Wildlife Management, e22587. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.22587

Abstract: There is limited information available on wolverine (Gulo gulo) population density and trends in the boreal forest of North America. We estimated wolverine density using spatial capture-recapture methods across 2 boreal forest study areas in Red Lake, Ontario (26,568 km2) and Rainbow Lake, Alberta (19,084 km2), Canada. We also used radio-telemetry data to estimate annual survival of adult and sub-adult wolverines and evaluated population trends with a stage-based matrix model. We used an array of run poles and live traps to detect wolverines. In Red Lake over 3 winter field seasons (2019–2022), we detected 56 individual wolverines (17 females, 32 males, and 7 unknown sex), and in Rainbow Lake over 2 field seasons (2014–2016), we detected 48 individuals (19 females, 18 males, and 11 of unknown sex). Average densities in Red Lake and Rainbow Lake were 3.64 and 6.74 wolverines/1,000 km2, respectively. Adults and sub-adults occurred at equal abundance. Spring snow cover, roads, and industrial developments were not associated with spatial patterns of wolverine density. Most deaths occurred near roads; wolverines were killed in fur traps set along roads, by wolves using roads to travel, and by vehicles. The largest source of death was from incidental (n = 6 in Red Lake) or licensed fur trapping (n = 8 in Rainbow Lake) and we report 8 injuries from fur trapping sets. Red Lake survival estimates for adults (0.87) and sub-adults (0.86) contributed to a stable population trend. Rainbow Lake survival estimates for adults (0.66) and sub-adults (0.50) contributed to a declining population trend based on a relatively low sample of radio-days. Red Lake and Rainbow Lake combined survival estimates for adults (0.77) and sub-adults (0.73) also contributed to a declining population trend. Our survival and population modeling suggests that human-caused mortality is a significant risk to these populations. Our results can be applied to wolverine status assessments and used as benchmarks for future monitoring. Wolverine population stability or growth might be achieved by reducing incidental trapping deaths or injury and hindering human access to wolverine habitats through decommissioning or limiting development of industrial roads or other anthropogenic linear features.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 5

Wagner, E. L., G. A. Rebstock and P. D. Boersma (2024). "A fearful scourge to the penguin colonies: Southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus) predation on living Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) may be more common than assumed." Ecology and Evolution 14(4), e11258. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.11258

Abstract: Southern giant petrels (Macronectes giganteus) are important consumers that range across the oceans throughout the southern hemisphere. In Argentina, previous studies have shown they eat primarily pinnipeds and penguins, which they are assumed to scavenge, although there are occasional anecdotes of them attacking living penguins. Here we describe a predation attempt by a trio of southern giant petrels on a molting adult Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) at the large colony at Punta Tombo, Argentina. We relate giant petrel attendance patterns at the colony to the penguins' phenology, showing how giant petrel numbers rise with the increasing prevalence of vulnerable penguins. We suggest that living penguins—both fledglings and adults—may constitute a more seasonally significant proportion of the giant petrel diet than previously assumed, and their capture may represent a specialized predation technique.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  15-21 April 2024

 

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 7

Arévalo-González, G. K., L. Cabrias-Contreras, A. Venturotti N. Carneiro, ..., C. A. Saavedra-Rodríguez and et al. (Early View). "Stranding reports of the Antillean manatee in the middle Magdalena Basin, Colombia 2011 to 2023." Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals. https://doi.org/10.5597/lajam00330

Abstract: The aim of this study was to conduct an analysis of reported events concerning Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) strandings in the middle Magdalena Basin region of Colombia from January 2011 to December 2023. To achieve this, a literature search was conducted in newspapers, news broadcasts, as well as gray and published reports, complemented by interviews and workshops with various governmental and non-governmental organizations. This search resulted in reliable information regarding past experiences involving stranded manatees over the years. Cases attended to by the environmental authority and its partners were also considered. Forty-four stranding events were recorded, with 34 deaths and 10 live manatees. Of the cases discovered, 79.5% of the reported cases were addressed. This effort highlighted the current lack of an official database that would provide firsthand knowledge of Antillean manatee stranding events in Colombia, thereby hindering timely and appropriate territorial management during response to the challenges faced by this species in the region. Furthermore, it underscores the need to implement a standardized response pathway for manatee cases, following appropriate protocols, and promoting the coordination of stakeholders within the regional stranding network in the middle Magdalena Basin. This approach, in addition to supporting the capacity building of communities, institutions, and organizations for improving response knowledge, conservation, and manatee recovery, is of paramount importance for the long-term sustainability of manatee populations in the region.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 7

Buuveibaatar, B., S. Strindberg, B. Ariunbaatar, ..., E. Shiilegdamba, J. Tsolmon, ... and K. A. Olson (First View). "Assessment of the global population size of the Mongolian gazelle Procapra gutturosa." Oryx. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605323001515

Abstract: The Mongolian gazelle Procapra gutturosa is a wild ungulate ubiquitous across the largest remaining temperate grasslands of Mongolia, Russia and China. The species is nomadic and ranges over long distances, resulting in widely fluctuating abundance in any given location. Therefore, a comprehensive and range-wide survey is required to accurately estimate its global population size, but challenges are posed by the expansive geographical distribution and the political boundaries across the species’ vast range. To obtain an estimate of the total population, we compiled data from recent range-wide surveys. During 2019–2020, we estimated the population size in Mongolia by conducting line transect distance surveys and total counts, and by deriving numerical predictions for unsurveyed areas through data analysis. The gazelle's population in Russia was surveyed in 2020 across its summer range using simultaneous counts, transect surveys and expert knowledge. The distance sampling surveys in Mongolia revealed that slightly more than half of the gazelles along the transects were detected. Our assessment of the gazelle population, although probably an underestimate, suggests there are c. 2.14 million individuals in Mongolia and c. 30,000 in Russia. These results confirm that the Mongolian gazelle is the most abundant nomadic ungulate in the open plains across its range. However, to obtain more accurate estimates across all range states and effectively monitor the gazelle's population status, it is essential to implement standardized survey protocols that correct for imperfect detection. At present, the management of the Mongolian gazelle is inadequate, as there is a lack of regular monitoring to identify any adverse population changes that could necessitate conservation interventions.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 7

Harmsen, B. J., S. Williams, M. Abarca, ..., E. Payán and et al. (Early View). "Estimating species distribution from camera trap by-catch data, using jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) as an example." Diversity and Distributions, e13831. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13831

Abstract: Aim: Planning conservation action requires accurate estimates of abundance and distribution of the target species. For many mammals, particularly those inhabiting tropical forests, there are insufficient data to assess their conservation status. We present a framework for predicting species distribution using jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), a poorly known felid for which basic information on abundance and distribution is lacking. Location: Mesoamerica and South America. Time Period: From 2003 to 2021. Taxa: Herpailurus yagouaroundi. Methods: We combined camera-trap data from multiple sites and used an occupancy modelling framework accounting for imperfect detection to identify habitat associations and predict the range-wide distribution of jaguarundis. Results: Our model predicted that the probability of jaguarundi occupancy is positively associated with rugged terrain, herbaceous cover, and human night-time light intensity. Jaguarundi occupancy was predicted to be higher where precipitation was less seasonal, and at intermediate levels of diurnal temperature range. Our camera data also revealed additional detections of jaguarundis beyond the current International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) range distribution, including the Andean foothills of Colombia and Bolivia. Main Conclusion: Occupancy was predicted to be low throughout much of Amazonian lowlands, a vast area at the centre of jaguarundi known range. Further work is required to investigate whether this area represents sub-optimal conditions for the species. Overall, we estimate a crude global jaguarundi population of 35,000 to 230,000 individuals, covering 4,453,406?km2 of Meso- and South America at the 0.5 probability level of occupancy. Our current framework allows for an initially detailed, well-informed species distribution that should be challenged and refined with improved habitat layers and additional records of jaguarundi detection. We encourage similar studies of lesser-known mammals, pooling existing by-catch data from the growing bank of camera-trap surveys around the world.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 7

Heniff, A. C., D. McAloose, E. Crook and T. M. Harrison (In Press). "SARS-CoV-2 morbidity, treatment interventions, and vaccination practices in tigers (Panthera tigris ssp) in North American zoos." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.24.01.0030

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Evaluate SARS-CoV-2 morbidity, mortality, clinical signs, treatment interventions, and vaccination practices in tigers under professional care. ANIMALS: Amur (Panthera tigris altaica), Sumatran (Panthera tigris sumatrae), and Malayan (Panthera tigris jacksoni) tigers managed under the Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP). METHODS: A retrospective, voluntary online survey was sent to all North American zoos holding SSP tigers between January 2020 and June 2023. RESULTS: Responses were received from 55 of 108 institutions (51%) housing 162 tigers in total, and SARS-CoV-2 infection was diagnosed in 39 tigers from 15 institutions (20 Amur, 8 Sumatran, and 11 Malayan [1 to 18 years old; 17 males and 22 females]). This corresponds to a minimum study group infection incidence of 24% over 42 months. Clinical signs included dry cough (82%), inappetence (64%), lethargy (62%), nasal discharge (46%), wheezing (31%), wet cough (18%), and ocular discharge (15%). Most cases were characterized as mild (n = 22) or moderate (14). A single case was characterized as severe. Two cases were asymptomatic. Seventeen positive tigers had been vaccinated once (n = 8) or twice (9) for SARS-CoV-2 prior to infection. No deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 were reported in the study group. Treatment interventions included antibiotics (49%), NSAIDs (18%), antiemetics (15%), and fluids (13%). No treatments were administered in 19 of 39 cases (49%). Amongst participating institutions, 69% reported fully vaccinating tigers for SARS-CoV-2 (≥ 2 doses). CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Most SARS-CoV-2–infected tigers presented with mild to moderate clinical signs and recovered with limited to no treatment interventions. Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections can occur in tigers and may be underreported. Tigers vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2 remain susceptible to infection.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 7

Kasinsky, T., N. Rosciano, J. A. Vianna, P. Yorio and L. Campagna (2024). "Population structure and connectivity among coastal and freshwater Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) populations from Patagonia." PLoS ONE 19(4), e0301004. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0301004

Abstract: The genetic identification of evolutionary significant units and information on their connectivity can be used to design effective management and conservation plans for species of concern. Despite having high dispersal capacity, several seabird species show population structure due to both abiotic and biotic barriers to gene flow. The Kelp Gull is the most abundant species of gull in the southern hemisphere. In Argentina it reproduces in both marine and freshwater environments, with more than 100,000 breeding pairs following a metapopulation dynamic across 140 colonies in the Atlantic coast of Patagonia. However, little is known about the demography and connectivity of inland populations. We aim to provide information on the connectivity of the largest freshwater colonies (those from Nahuel Huapi Lake) with the closest Pacific and Atlantic populations to evaluate if these freshwater colonies are receiving immigrants from the larger coastal populations. We sampled three geographic regions (Nahuel Huapi Lake and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts) and employed a reduced-representation genomic approach to genotype individuals for single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Using clustering and phylogenetic analyses we found three genetic groups, each corresponding to one of our sampled regions. Individuals from marine environments are more closely related to each other than to those from Nahuel Huapi Lake, indicating that the latter population constitutes the first freshwater Kelp Gull colony to be identified as an evolutionary significant unit in Patagonia.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 7

Orbell, C., K. A. Abernethy, E. F. Akomo-Okoue, ..., F. Ebouta, ..., W. M. Tsongue and et al. (2024). "Updated distribution of spotted hyaenas in Gabon reveals resident populations." African Journal of Ecology 62(2), e13272. https://doi.org/10.1111/aje.13272

Abstract: Spotted hyaena distribution currently widely encompasses sub-Saharan Africa, apart from the Congo Basin. Formerly described as residents of Gabon but considered extinct, vagrant individuals have been recorded since 2003, but no systematic species presence assessment has been made. Based on records of killed individuals, tracks and camera-trap sightings, we show that not only vagrant individuals are roaming in Gabon, but a small resident population occurs in the North-East of the country. The records collated here formed the basis for spotted hyaenas to be listed as protected in Gabon, were included in the IUCN Red List species' range map update and showcased the importance of large-scale by-catch data analysis in updating species distributions.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 7

Wen, D., J. Qi, W. Cheng, ..., E. Yang and G. Jiang (2024). "Spatial population distribution dynamics of big cats and ungulates with seasonal and disturbance changes in temperate natural forest." Global Ecology and Conservation 51, e02881. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2024.e02881

Abstract: Wildlife conservation and management in human-dominated landscapes are major concerns for wildlife ecologists and managers. The dynamics of human disturbance, combined with seasonal limitations in the availability of nutritious foods, may restrict wildlife population growth and recovery. However, understanding how large mammal species adjust their population distribution in forest habitats with seasonal changes in food and disturbances requires a deeper and more extensive analysis. In this study, we found that three ungulate species, roe deer (Capreolus pygargus), sika deer (Cervus nippon), and wild boar (Sus scrofa), employ robust, conservative, and flexible distribution strategies, respectively, to adapt to the effects of seasonal changes and human disturbances. Moreover, croplands, villages, and grazing have some negative effects on the distribution of roe deer and sika deer, while wild boar can be highly abundant near human land use. Additionally, roe deer, sika deer, and wild boar are also affected by the abundance of shrub species they consume. During the cold season, the populations of the Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) and Amur leopard (P. pardus orientalis) were primarily located near roads and dense forests, respectively. In the warm season, the distribution of both big cats was influenced by prey abundance, and Amur tigers also avoided grazing livestock. Nevertheless, the negative effects of human land use on Amur tigers and wild boars increased during the warm season, which was attributed to more frequent human activities during that time. Consequently, it is crucial to implement season-specific habitat management, particularly by regulating human disturbances during the warm season, in order to promote the recovery and expansion of populations of big cats and ungulates.

 

Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 1

Wildlife Conservation Society, Bolivia, Grupo de Trabajo para los Llanos Moxos, Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Medio Ambiente and Dirección de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales del Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Trinidad (2024). Reto Ciudad Naturaleza 2023: Una Experiencia de Ciencia Ciudadana en Trinidad. Informe de Resultados. Trinidad, Bolivia: Grupo de Trabajo para los Llanos Moxos. https://library.wcs.org/en-us/Scientific-Research/Research-Publications/Publications-Library/ctl/view/mid/40093/pubid/DMX5015200000.aspx

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  8-14 April 2024

 

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. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.4298

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. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0011671

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00360-024-01546-4

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2024.126577

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. https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2023-0149

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-024-07257-8

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.14221

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06820-z

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-024-02490-z

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. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01311  

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-024-02364-1

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. https://doi.org/10.22201/ib.20078706e.2024.95.5108

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.13125

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.14256

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. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.882

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. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14531

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110525

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. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605323001631

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. https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.50.2.2024.65

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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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  18-24 March 2024

 

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-023-02832-6

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.13007

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/btp.13317

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110448

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. https://doi.org/10.19121/2023.Report.50097

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. https://doi.org/10.19121/2023.Report.50048

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. https://library.wcs.org/en-us/Scientific-Research/Research-Publications/Publications-Library/ctl/view/mid/40093/pubid/DMX5009400000.aspx

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. https://library.wcs.org/en-us/Scientific-Research/Research-Publications/Publications-Library/ctl/view/mid/40093/pubid/DMX5010000000.aspx

 

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  11-17 March 2024

 

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-024-02799-9

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-54671-z

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2024.109420

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14816

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.13010

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. https://doi.org/10.1017/S003060532300145X

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. https://doi.org/10.13057/biodiv/d250247

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. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-4027117/v1

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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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  4-10 March 2024

 

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. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.ade9121

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2024.109420

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. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0299220

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2024.102799

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. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14538   

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. https://dx.doi.org/10.56510/slr.v2.12799

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-50531-7_11

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. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pstr.0000094

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. https://doi.org/10.1638/2023-0043

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. https://doi.org/10.19121/2023.Report.49922

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. https://doi.org/10.19121/2023.Report.49923

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. https://www.izw-berlin.de/en/wrc-conference-proceedings.html

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. https://doi.org/10.4060/cc9856en

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. https://doi.org/10.19121/2023.Report.49349

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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. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2313205121

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. https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.8755.16.2.24760-24768

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.14240

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. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-3891149/v1

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 https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14050697

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-024-01795-2

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. https://doi.org/10.5091/plecevo.111539

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. https://doi.org/10.1647/23-00020

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2024.106055

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crsust.2024.100244

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06723-z

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 https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14040620

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.13086

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2023.108431

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 https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030460

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. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-3931553/v1

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. https://library.wcs.org/en-us/Scientific-Research/Research-Publications/Publications-Library/ctl/view/mid/40093/pubid/DMX5000300000.aspx

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  5-11 February 2024

 

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-52228-8

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. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2024.1340522

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. https://doi.org/10.1080/00288330.2024.2305891

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. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0287893

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. https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.2716

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 https://doi.org/10.1101/2024.02.05.579011

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. https://doi.org/10.22541/au.170666485.55894926/v1

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-43071-8_9

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.169298

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. https://doi.org/10.61782/fa.2023.1245

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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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  22-28 January 2024

 

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.13030

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11160-023-09827-x

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42991-023-00391-2

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. https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10590

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-023-02315-2

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110271

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. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/ezyr7

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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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  15-21 January 2024

 

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hal.2024.102581

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.07037

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-023-02280-w

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polar.2023.100972

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. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.ade2541 [Prepublication here: https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/203912/]

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2023.12.007

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. https://doi.org/10.25923/pc94-bm94

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. https://doi.org/10.25923/pc94-bm94

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. https://doi.org/10.25923/pc94-bm94

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. https://doi.org/10.25923/pc94-bm94

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  8-14 January 2024

 

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. https://www.biotaxa.org/hn/article/view/81355

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06440-7

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. https://doi.org/10.1638/2023-0024

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-47675-8

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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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  1-7 January 2024

 

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.13101

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2023.107011

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. https://dx.doi.org/10.4314/vulnew.v84i1.6

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. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2912.231123

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. https://doi.org/10.7944/P99K4BF5

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