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Declines of Trillium wildflower populations have been attributed to white-tailed deer browsing without exploring the role of soil fertility. To explore relationships among Trillium species, soil fertility, and deer, samples were collected for analysis from thirty-seven randomly selected forested sites in Pennsylvania and West Virginia (in spring 2003) containing one of the following Trillium species: T. erectum, T. grandiflorum, or T. undulatum. Data were collected from 1-m radius plots centered on the first Trillium shoot observed at each site. Soil chemistry, foliar chemistry, and shoot height data were collected from the plots. Deer pellet groups were counted along four, 2 × 100-m transects in the four cardinal directions from the plot center. Pearson correlation and principal component analysis were used to examine relationships between soil chemistry and deer pellet groups, and shoot density and heights of Trillium. Trillium erectum and T. grandiflorum were found on sites rich in calcium and their foliage refected this. Trillium undulatum was found on sites with much lower calcium supplies. Strong correlations between numbers of pellet groups and Trillium heights were only obtained for T. undulatum. Results suggested that deer presence may not be the only factor adversely affecting Trillium populations and that soil calcium status also may play a role. This information should assist current discussions about the use of Trillium as indicators of deer numbers.
New England lands have a complex land-use history. The objective of this research was to determine how past agricultural practices and management history have affected soil properties in three forested areas in southeast New Hampshire. Four transects were established on each site, and moisture content, pH, microbial biomass, O horizon thickness, and A horizon organic matter content were measured. O and A horizon pH values increased with increasing intensity of past management, possibly due to past burning and liming associated with agriculture. A horizons were thicker and contained more soil organic matter at the sites that had been used for agriculture and O horizons were thickest at the least disturbed site, indicating that O and A horizons have different responses to past disturbance intensity. These results suggest that soil properties at these three sites still reflect their agricultural history, even more than 100 years after agricultural abandonment and reforestation.
Although visibility of nest boxes may be important in nest-box selection for birds, there has been little investigation of this topic. Sixteen wooden nest boxes designed for passerines were placed on each of three islands (Middle, Buckley, and Muskingum) of the Ohio River in 2000, eight on the back channel side and eight on the navigational side. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of nest-box placement and surrounding habitat characteristics on nest-box use. During the 2001 breeding season, birds used 74% of the nest boxes. Wren species had the highest use of nest boxes at 47.8%. Nests located in the least visible nest boxes were total moss nests (the combination of Parus carolinensis [Carolina Chickadee] nests and unidentified moss nests), whereas nests located in the most visible nest boxes were Troglodytes aedon (House Wren) nests and total wren nests. Nest boxes with southeastward orientations positively affected the placement of total moss nests and Carolina Chickadee nests. Visibility influenced nest-box selection of birds on islands in the Ohio River, particularly House Wrens.
Bonasa umbellus (Ruffed Grouse) are one of many wildlife species that require early successional forest and whose populations have declined as New England forests have matured. We studied habitat selection and home range size of Ruffed Grouse in oak-hickory forests in Rhode Island to determine the importance of different habitat types for grouse. Home range size did not significantly differ by age or gender (mean = 103 ± 24.91 ha). Habitat selection was assessed at two spatial scales: home range and study area scale. At the study area scale, grouse selected early successional forest, mixed deciduous-conifer stands, deciduous forest, and forested roads, whereas grouse avoided evergreen forests and developed areas. Given that grouse selected early successional forests at a relatively large spatial scale, we suggest that the conservation and restoration of early successional forested habitats will benefit Ruffed Grouse and many other associated wildlife.
We investigated the division of parental care to nestlings in Melospiza melodia melodia (an eastern subspecies of Song Sparrow) by examining parental provisioning rates (number of trips/nestling/h) over two consecutive broods. Song Sparrows are a territorial, socially monogamous passerine with pairs raising up to three broods together over the breeding season. We obtained provisioning rate data for nine pairs over a total of 12 broods (7 first broods, 5 second broods) on at least some of days (stages) 2–3, 5–6, and 8–9 of the nestling period. Of these, we obtained provisioning data over all three nestling stages for six different pairs (five first broods, one second brood). Males and females provisioned young at similar rates throughout the nestling period. Provisioning rates did not differ significantly between first and second broods, but increased significantly as the nestlings aged, reflecting the increased offspring feeding demands. Offspring provisioning does appear to be truly biparental in this eastern subspecies of Song Sparrow.
The life histories, abundance, biomass, and production of two species of net-spinning caddisflies, Cheumatopsyche analis and Hydropsyche betteni Ross (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae), were determined from a 3rd-order stream in Virginia. These are the only two species of hydropsychid caddisflies occurring in Upham Brook, which flows through a highly urbanized watershed and which is hydrologically altered by a small (4.85-ha) impoundment. Sampling was conducted at least monthly over one year at sites above, immediately below, and 1 km below the impoundment. Both species produced clear winter and spring–early summer generations as well as one or more additional, partial generations later in the summer. The annual mean density and biomass of C. analis were significantly greater (p < 0.05) immediately below the impoundment (2490 individuals/m2; 972 mg/m2) than above (1315 individuals/m2; 360 mg/m2) and 1 km downstream from the impoundment (1466 individuals/m2; 467 mg/m2). Annual production of C. analis was 18.2 g m−2 yr−1 immediately below the impoundment and 7.2–9.5 g m−2 yr−1 at the other sites. Mean density and biomass of H. betteni were significantly greater 1 km downstream from the impoundment (156 individuals/m2; 236 mg/m2) compared to above and immediately below the impoundment (28–44 individuals/m2; 13–38 mg/m2). Annual production of H. betteni was highest at 2.5 g m−2 yr−1 1 km downstream from the impoundment and 0.3–0.7 g m−2 yr−1 at the other two sites. The production of both species thus was greatest below the impoundment, but peak production of the two species varied depending on the distance below the dam.
Nine species of bat are known to occur across the six New England states, but most aspects of their natural history, such as foraging habitat use, are poorly understood. Recent published research has documented the importance of still-water habitats as foci of bat flight activity. To better understand and document habitat use in southern New England, we used the AnaBat II acoustical monitoring system to assess species composition and relative levels of summer flight activity. Active acoustic surveys were conducted in six habitat types on the Quabbin Reservation in central Massachusetts in 2003 and 2004. Bat flight activity, as measured by numbers of echolocation call sequences, was high, with an average of 24 search-phase and 4 feeding-buzz calls per 20-minute survey period. Myotis lucifugus (little brown bat) was the most commonly recorded species. Bat flight activity was high over all still-water habitats, but greatest over large ponds. Large-bodied bats, such as Eptesicus fuscus (big brown bat), were recorded more often in open, structurally uncluttered habitats. Of the small-bodied bats, little brown bats were ubiquitous, whereas Myotis septentrionalis (northern myotis) was most common in structurally cluttered habitats of seasonal forest (vernal) pools and along forest streams. Generalized habitat associations among the bat species we recorded are similar to those reported for other New England forest sites. The Quabbin Reservation is an excellent site to continue examining bat-habitat relationships because of the abundance and diversity of aquatic habitats, in both cluttered closed-canopy and uncluttered open-canopy settings.
Acorns comprise an important part of the diet of Tamias striatus Linnaeus (eastern chipmunks) and Sciurus spp. (squirrels) in eastern deciduous forests. These species prefer acorns from white oaks (section Quercus) for immediate consumption in the fall, but prefer acorns from red oaks (section Lobatae) for caching for winter use. In the fall, red oak acorns contain higher levels of lipids and tannins than white oak acorns. I tested for changes in lipid and tannin levels of acorns in simulated larderhoards and scatterhoards. Neither lipids nor tannins consistently increased or decreased during storage. Throughout the study, red oak acorns had lipid levels five to ten times greater than those of white oak acorns and tannin levels two to four times greater than those of white oak acorns.
Pylodictis olivaris (flathead catfish) is a large, obligate carnivore native to drainages of the central United States that has been introduced widely beyond its native range. We report on the introduction of flathead catfish into the Delaware and Susquehanna River drainages, which represents the northernmost occurrences among Atlantic drainages. In the Delaware Basin, flathead catfish have been found in the Schuylkill River and the mainstem of the Delaware River. Recent sampling activities in the Schuylkill River suggest successful reproduction and establishment of a viable population there. In the Susquehanna basin, the fish has been found in the lower and central portion of the river mainstem. As in the Delaware Basin, recent sampling indicates that reproduction is occurring in the Susquehanna River. The introduction of this species has the potential to adversely affect ongoing anadromous fish restoration programs and native fish conservation efforts in the Delaware and Susquehanna basins. A cooperative effort will be required to mitigate the effects of this introduction.
Unaltered salt marsh pools in southern New Jersey were sampled during the summer over a number of years, with a variety of techniques, to compare fish species and size composition relative to sampling gear type and to enhance our understanding of marsh pool fishes. These pools were dominated by a few species (Fundulus heteroclitus, Cyprinodon variegatus, Menidia beryllina, Lucania parva, and M. menidia made up 98.3% of all fish [n = 33,731] collected). However, species composition clearly varied with sampling technique, with some species common in multiple gears, e.g., F. heteroclitus in quatrefoil traps (38.6% of total number) and wire mesh traps (35.5%), and C. variegatus collected in quatrefoil traps (47.6%) and mini-seine (30.9%). Other species were most abundant in selected gears, e.g., M. beryllina (83.8%), L. parva (72.6%), and M. menidia (99.6%) in quatrefoil traps. Size composition, which included young-of-the-year and adults for most species, varied with sampling technique and species as well. In all of the above, we cannot rule out the possibility that annual variation influenced species composition and abundance; however, given the stability of these measures in other informal observations, we are convinced that most of the variation is due to sampling technique. Continued studies are relevant because marsh pools have been eliminated by a variety of practices, but are also being created as the result of some mosquito-control techniques and for restoration purposes.
Emerged Salvelinus fontinalis (brook trout) and landlocked Salmo salar (Atlantic salmon) fry of 2–4 cm total length (TL) are morphologically similar. Size at emergence, parr marks, maxillary bone length, and fin ray numbers are highly similar until fry of these species exceed 4 cm TL. Emerged brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fry were examined for characteristics that would permit rapid and reliable field or laboratory identification. Relative pectoral fin length ratio (PECT/TL) provides the most robust measure separating the species in this study. Landlocked Atlantic salmon fry have a significantly larger PECT/TL than brook trout fry. Emergent fry with a PECT/TL ratio greater than 0.16 were classified as landlocked Atlantic salmon while fry with a PECT/TL ratio of less than or equal to 0.16 were classified as brook trout.
Ecologists, conservationists, and others increasingly ask questions that require a reliable understanding of natural conditions in the past. For example, when the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) under the Federal Endangered Species Act, there was a need to know the historical status of this species in the northeastern US. The natural history writings of Manly Hardy, a successful, nineteenth-century businessman and respected amateur naturalist from Brewer, ME, proved useful in assessing the lynx's historical status. Because of the wide array of potential uses of Hardy's writings, the objective of this paper is to make biologists and other scholars aware of Hardy, especially his 15 surviving journals, 1852–1899. Hardy left the most extensive published record of any of the naturalists who wrote about wildlife in Maine from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. His articles and essays covered a wide range of subjects about a variety of bird and mammal species. A recently published biographical sketch of Hardy contains an annotated bibliography of his publications along with the republication of 14 of his mammalian works. In contrast, this article contains an example of his unpublished journal writing with significant wildlife observations.
A complete record of the range of most species of zooplankton within river systems is rare. The calanoid copepod Eurytemora affinis has a relatively detailed description of its range in fresh waters, mostly because of its recent invasion into freshwater. Within the Ohio River, E. affinis has been documented twice, but these reports are from only a small section of the river. The objective of this paper is to describe the upstream dispersal of Eurytemora affinis in the Ohio River. Zooplankton samples were collected in four pools (Dashields, Montgomery, Racine, and Gallipolis) in the upper section of the Ohio River between September 2002 and September 2003. Eurytemora affinis was the dominant copepod in all four pools. Furthermore, copepodites and females carrying eggs were present, which suggests that E. affinis has established populations in the upper Ohio River. This extends the range to include, at minimum, the upper two-thirds of the Ohio River.