Research Publications

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


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




Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 11

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 11

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 11

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 11

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 11

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 11

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 11

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 11

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 9 of 11

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 10 of 11

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 11 of 11

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

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


Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 1 of 2

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

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

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 2 of 2

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

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 5

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 5

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 5

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 5

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 5

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

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

Prepublication Citations

Prepublication Citation 1 of 2

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

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

Prepublication Citation 2 of 2

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

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

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  29 January-4 February 2024


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 2

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 2

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

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

Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 1

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

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

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 6

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 6

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 6

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 6

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 6

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 6

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

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

Prepublication Citations

Prepublication Citation 1 of 1

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

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

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 7

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 7

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 7

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 7

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 7

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 7

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 7

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

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


Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 1 of 4

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

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 2 of 4

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

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 3 of 4

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

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 4 of 4

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

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 4

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 4

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 4

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 4

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

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

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 4

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 4

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 4

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

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

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 4

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

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

Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 1

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

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