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We investigated the potential role of urban parks and other urban forest remnants in conservation of biodiversity by examining woodpecker occurrence in 6 urban parks in Hartford, CT, and at a more rural site. As primary cavity excavators, woodpeckers are indicators of a much broader suite of species that use cavities and deadwood resources for nesting, feeding, and roosting. The number of woodpecker species present in each park was correlated with total park area but not total wooded area, suggesting that some patches of wooded area in parks may be too small to support some species. Park area, basal area, and the number of trees ≥ 50% dead accounted for over 90% of the variation in woodpecker densities in the parks.
From observations made on Manawagonish Island, NB in 2002 and 2004, we provide first documentation of the Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis Ord) nesting in the Bay of Fundy. These observations counter suggestions that this species is no longer expanding its breeding range in the Maritimes. We also place this event in a broader context in which other coastal marine bird species have been recorded expanding or reclaiming breeding ranges in the region in recent decades.
Corema conradii (broom-crowberry, Ericaceae) is a rare dioecious shrub that reaches the southern extent of its range in New Jersey. A hot fire burned through one of the most extensive New Jersey populations of this state-endangered species during the summer of 2001, resulting in mortality of nearly all plants in the burned areas. Significant seedling recruitment occurred in the fall of 2002, followed by an even greater seedling emergence the following year. Fire is known to be an important stimulus for seed germination in this species, and fire events are an important component of the life cycle. We report data on seedling emergence as well as present ecological and biological observations of Corema conradii in the unusual coremal habitat of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and suggest a life cycle model for this understudied species.
During the summer of 2003, we studied a series of potential indicators of biological integrity on various sites in an intensively managed forest landscape in northwestern New Brunswick, Canada, to provide empirical testing of ecological requirements described by earlier researchers. Pitfall traps were used and each individual was identified to the species. Of the 54 ground beetle species identified, seven species were either new records for the province (n = 3: Harpalus solitaris, Patrobus foveocollis, and Trechus crassiscapus) or rarely reported (n = 4: Agonum superioris, Pseudamara arenaria, Scaphinotus bilobus, and Sphaeroderus nitidicollis brevoorti).
Oryzomys palustris (marsh rice rat) and Microtus pennsylvanicus (meadow vole) cohabit coastal marshes in the mid-Atlantic US. Both were live-trapped for 23 months at two tidal marsh sites in Virginia to assess their demography near the margins of their distributions. In the presence of dense vegetation, population dynamics of the two species were seasonal and positively correlated, with densities declining through the winter. At the more sparsely vegetated site, densities of both species were lower, and densities of M. pennsylvanicus were negatively correlated with those of O. palustris. Patterns of reproduction differed between the species. O. palustris was reproductively most active in summer and least so in winter, whereas female M. pennsylvanicus decreased reproductive activity during summer.
To assist land managers responsible for park management, we conducted a pilot study to examine small mammal assemblages at 7 riparian parks in suburban/ urban landscapes and at 1 riparian site in mature forest, all located in central Pennsylvania. Species richness and diversity were lowest in parks containing manicured habitats and surrounded by human-modified landscapes. However, parks managed for passive recreation supported mammalian assemblages that were similar in richness and diversity to our mature riparian forest site. The mature riparian forest site contained four species of small mammals (eastern chipmunks [Tamias striatus], white-footed mice [Peromyscus leucopus], deer mice [P. maniculatus], and woodland jumping mice [Napeozapus insignis]), and Spring Creek Nature Park, a park managed to promote natural and native habitats, contained five species (short-tailed shrews [Blarina brevicauda], eastern chipmunks, white-footed mice, meadow voles [Microtus pennsylvanicus], and meadow jumping mice [Zapus hudsonius]). In contrast, parks located in more urban settings and consisting primarily of mowed habitat contained only 1 or 2 species of small mammals. We did not capture non-native species in our study. Based upon this study, we recommend locating parks along streams or other natural corridors, leaving unmowed 10–15-m buffers along streams, and planting native trees along stream corridors in order to encourage diversity of small mammals in suburban and urban parks.
To assess the impact of clam digging on benthic macroinvertebrate community structure, field and laboratory experiments were performed for a mudflat in midcoast Maine. After a five-month period, a significant difference was observed in abundance of the amphipod Corophium volutator among undisturbed plots and plots subjected to different digging disturbance frequencies. In the laboratory, a significantly greater number of individuals of C. volutator established in undisturbed, stable sediment than in disturbed sediment over a five-day period.
We document the discovery of the mimic shiner, Notropis volucellus (Cope), in the Connecticut portion of the Connecticut River drainage. Mimic shiner can be distinguished from similar northeastern minnows in the field by the combination of a uniform silvery color, large eye, nearly terminal mouth, and a distinctive line of black pigment beginning at the anus and extending posteriorly almost to the base of the caudal fin. Further distinguishing features can be seen in the laboratory including elevated anterior lateral line scales and densely packed neuromasts on the top of the head. We suspect that mimic shiner is more widely distributed in the northeast than has been reported.
Twelve hatchling Wood Turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) were tracked successfully with fluorescent powders during their migration from nest to water in New Hampshire in August and September 1993. Most frequently, hatchlings selected habitat in herbaceous vegetative cover and hayfield banks bordering sandpit nesting areas, as well as in dense woody and herbaceous ecotones along dirt roads. Mean distance traveled per movement was 23.4 ± 9.5 (0.5–109.0) m (n = 84 movements). Total distance traveled to a brook averaged 131.7 ± 119.7 (27–445) m (geometric mean distance = 96.75 ± 0.35) (n = 12). Mean time taken to reach a brook was 6.2 ± 6.3 (range 1–24) days (n = 12). Hatchlings' trails often overlapped one another precisely, suggesting that the turtles may have followed conspecific cues. We suggest that cues such as olfaction, vision, positive geotaxis, and auditory cues may be employed as orientation mechanisms in hatchling G. insculpta.
Lizard behavior can be influenced by ultimate forces such as adaptation and phylogeny, and proximate forces such as temperature and rainfall. Italian wall lizards (Podarcis sicula campestris) were successfully introduced into two locations in the USA, both at latitudes similar to their probable sources in Italy. Behavioral differences between native and introduced populations are likely due to proximate forces. From 1999–2000, we documented the seasonal and diel behavior of wall lizards in New York. We observed a bimodal activity pattern during the summer and a unimodal activity pattern in spring and fall, which has been reported for native populations in Italy. Unlike Italian populations, New York lizards were completely inactive during winter months, which is probably due to the much lower minimum winter temperatures in New York.
The section Stellulatae of the genus Carex includes several taxa that have created persistent challenges for floristic treatments and conservation efforts in the eastern United States. The cryptic aspects of their morphologies and confusing historical circumscriptions have obscured the identities of these taxa resulting in erroneous assessments of ecology, distribution, and conservation status. Utilizing previous treatments, analysis of herbarium specimens, and de novo fieldwork, we treat the Stellulatae as a reduction from ten species listed by authors of various floras for Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, and the District of Columbia to seven taxa comprising six species: Carex atlantica ssp. atlantica, C. atlantica ssp. capillacea, C. echinata ssp. echinata, C. interior, C. exilis, C. sterilis, and C. seorsa.
We examine the morphological characters used to identify taxa and outline the problems with earlier circumscriptions. We determined statistical significance of the means of four character states (infructescence length, length of lowest perigynium, maximum leaf width, and minimum leaf width) to identify infraspecific taxa within Carex atlantica Bailey. Finally, we report new records of taxa, update distributions in a county-based atlas for the region, and present a dichotomous key for the section.