Registered users receive a variety of benefits including the ability to customize email alerts, create favorite journals list, and save searches.
Please note that a BioOne web account does not automatically grant access to full-text content. An institutional or society member subscription is required to view non-Open Access content.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Evaluation of success in salt-marsh restoration is often driven by subjective measures. By defining success criteria (SC), project effectiveness can be measured quantitatively. Herein, we quantify SC for an existing Spartina alterniflora (Smooth Cordgrass) restoration program. We selected stem density as an indicator of primary production and canopy structure—2 important salt-marsh functions. We established SC through use of stem densities from the literature and prior restoration projects and calculated a coefficient of variation (CV) for reference groups. By using the CV, we determined the strength of a particular reference group for SC formulation. We calculated success criteria for reference groups with CV ≤ 0.25. Three reference groups met the CV requirement. Only 1 project met the SC of the strongest reference group (CV = 0.04). Four of 5 projects met the SC of the weakest reference group (CV = 0.21). Reference sites with low variation in the target indicator should be selected for SC formulation.
The Rolling Plains ecoregion of Texas hosts the highest known prevalence and intensity of the eyeworm Oxyspirura petrowi among Colinus virginianus (Northern Bobwhite) in the US. Meleagris gallopavo (Wild Turkey) and the Northern Bobwhite have a similar diet (i.e., facultative insectivore), overlapping ranges, and phylogenetic relatedness (i.e., Galliformes); thus, we expected Wild Turkeys sympatric with an infected population of wild Northern Bobwhites to also host eyeworms. In 2014, we dissected 104 Wild Turkey and 50 Northern Bobwhite heads from a 27,530-ha area in Roberts County, TX. Only 1 turkey (female) was infected with a single eyeworm. Prevalence, mean abundance (± SE), and mean intensity (± SE) among Northern Bobwhites on the same area was 58%, 7.6 ± 1.8, and 13.1 ± 2.7, respectively. Eyeworm prevalence between Northern Bobwhite males (n = 25, 64%) and females (n = 25, 52%) was not statistically different (P = 0.57). Mean abundance (± SE) was similar between males (8.8 ± 2.6) and females (6.4 ± 2.5; P = 0.53), and mean intensity between males (13.7 ± 3.5) and females (12.4 ± 4.3) did not differ (P = 0.71). Wild Turkeys do not appear to be suitable hosts for O. petrowi.
The ability of songbirds to survive and reproduce depends on many factors, one of which is the ability to acquire enough food. We quantified foraging behavior, nestinghabitat vegetation composition, and available arthropod prey of the Vireo atricapilla (Black-capped Vireo) in Texas during 2010 and 2011. We used observational surveys of foraging behavior and vegetation time-use to quantify the Black-capped Vireos' foraging behavior and vegetative use versus availability (i.e., mean proportion of use vs. vegetative species availability). We collected descriptive data on the Black-capped Vireos' foraging use of available vegetative species and compared among vegetative species, year, and within-season sampling periods. In 2010 and 2011, we identified and mapped 49 and 63 breeding territories and repeatedly surveyed 30 and 58 territories for foraging activity, respectively. Data analysis focused on the foraging use of the 3 most commonly used and available tree species: Juniperus ashei (Ashe Juniper), Quercus sinuata (Shin Oak), and Q. fusiformis (Live Oak). Ashe Juniper, Shin Oak, and Live Oak together made up 78.8% and 83.6% of total proportion of substrate for foraging efforts in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Ashe Juniper had the highest proportion (~28–50%) of foraging effort in 2010, 2011, and all but 1 sampling period for both years. We also repeatedly collected branch clippings from within a random subset of surveyed Black-capped Vireo territories to identify potentially available arthropod foods. We evaluated by order richness, total abundance, and dry biomass to make comparisons among vegetative species, year, and within-season sampling periods. We found significant differences in the biomass of arthropod orders Acari and Thysanoptera in 2010 and between orders Acari and Hymenoptera in 2011 among the 3 focal vegetative species. Examination of additional descriptive data suggests seasonal changes in potentially available arthropod foods. Our research underscores the importance of vegetation composition to Black-capped Vireos that may help habitat managers select for potential vegetative species distributions to optimize food resources throughout the breeding season for this species.
Perna viridis (Asian Green Mussel) and Mytella charruana (Charru Mussel) have been found within the estuaries of Florida, including the St. Johns River, for the past 30 y. This study verified the continuing presence of these 2 invasive mussels as well as the native Ischadium recurvum (Hooked Mussel) within the St. Johns River estuary. We found Hooked Mussels and Charru Mussels at all sampling locations, whereas we documented the Green Mussel at 2 sites. The overall densities and sizes of the Hooked Mussels and Charru Mussels varied by location. We observed higher densities of Charru Mussels at sites with lower salinities; none were observed at sites with salinity greater than 30‰. We noted the greatest Hooked Mussel density at moderate salinities, and those mussels had greater mean shell length compared to other mussel species at sites upriver. Our study highlighted the coexistence of native and non-native mussels within the estuary, and stressed the importance of continued monitoring of introduced mussel species in the southeastern US.
Peromyscus leucopus (White-footed Mouse) is a common host for Cuterebra fontinella (Bot Fly), but few studies of this interaction in the southeastern US exist. We assessed the movement of White-footed Mice infested with Bot Flies at 9 riparian woodland sites in Spartanburg County, SC. Our objectives were to determine the prevalence of bot warbles, lumps under the skin containing Bot Fly larva, on White-footed Mice and if the warbles reduced mouse movement. We found that 17.4% of mice had bot warbles during the August trapping period, with a mean intensity of 1.21 ± 0.09 (SE) per mouse. Male and female mice did not differ in the prevalence of bot infestation. Bot-infested mice did not differ from uninfested mice in their mean squared distance from center of activity (MSD). During May, mice that later became infested with a bot warble in August, did not differ in MSD from mice that did not become infested, suggesting that greater movement does not heighten the risk of infestation. Our data show that bot warbles do not reduce the movement of White-footed Mice and our findings add to the growing consensus that Bot Flies do not have a strong negative effect on the ecology of White-footed Mice.
Bridges provide roost structures for bats in temperate regions of the US, including Texas, where Tadarida brasiliensis (Mexican Free-tailed Bats) are common occupants. In March 2018, we documented 1 Mexican Free-tailed Bat with Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungal causative agent of white-nose syndrome (WNS), in an artificial structure in Texas, thus making the ability to quantify their movements and occupancy critical for understanding WNS ecology. To determine which attributes influenced day-roosting activity by Mexican-Free-tailed Bats, we surveyed for roosting bats 70 box-beam bridges in 21 Texas counties and collected structural, weather, and landscape-characteristic data. We analyzed the data with a stepwise multiple logistic regression model to isolate variables significantly correlated with presence of day-roosting Mexican Freetailed Bats. Of 70 bridges sampled, 14 (20%) contained day-roosting Mexican Free-tailed Bats and 17 (24%) bridges had signs indicating bat use. In the best-fitting logistic regression model, bridge width, number of spans, and elevation had a positive influence on bat occupancy, whereas average temperature for the month of July 2016 negatively influenced bat occupancy. Bridge age also had a positive influence on bat occupancy, but the effect lessens in older bridges. These data show that structural and environmental characteristics are significant predictors of bridge use by Mexican Free-tailed Bats.
Lindera melissifolia (Pondberry) is a federally endangered shrub that reproduces primarily by ramets from rhizomes and occurs in scattered clonal populations in bottomland forests of the southeastern US. Like other members of the Lauraceae indigenous to the US, Pondberry is susceptible to laurel wilt, a lethal disease caused by the fungal pathogen, Raffaelea lauricola. We conducted studies to determine the impact of laurel wilt on Pondberry colonies. We grew Pondberry in pots and in raised beds for 2–5 y; during this time, multiple ramets developed around the original plants. We subsequently inoculated single Pondberry stems in colonies with R. lauricola, or mock-inoculated stems with sterile deionized water. Stems inoculated with R. lauricola began to show symptoms within 2 weeks and completely wilted in ∼4 weeks. In pot studies, R. lauricola spread through rhizomes and caused wilt in an average of 77% of ramets in one experiment and 59% in another. The wilt also spread rapidly through connecting rhizomes in field experiments, killing as many as 59 ramets at distances of up to 4 m from the inoculated stems. Although laurel wilt has been rarely documented in Pondberry, our study demonstrates that when infections by R. lauricola occur, they can have detrimental effects to Pondberry colonies.
We documented a changing diversity in mosquito species between 2 collection periods— 1994–1996 and 2013–2015—in a small (68-ha) ecological preserve in the piedmont of North Carolina. A short (22-y) ecological succession from abandoned farmland to developing forested wetland, and changes in precipitation clearly influenced differences in presence and abundance of species in the preserve. Thirty species were reported from the first period and 32 species in the second period. Of the 30 species found in 1994–1996, 3 species were not collected in the 2013–2015 period. Conversely, 6 species not reported previously were present in the 2013–2015 collections. From both periods, a total of 7172 mosquito specimens of 36 species were collected, representing 95% of species found in Rowan County, an area 2000 times larger than the Fred Stanback Jr. Ecological Preserve (FSJEP), and 54% of species recognized in North Carolina. These results demonstrate the advantages of studying mosquito diversity and abundance over time in small preserves, the impact of short-period environmental fluctuations and ecological succession on mosquito habitats, and the value of small wetland preserves for rare or uncommon species affected by habitat loss.
Although insects have been identified as valuable bioindicator species, insect diversity in coastal sand dunes is understudied. Our study presents the first survey focused on Georgia's barrier island ant assemblage. We surveyed the primary and secondary dunes of Cumberland, Little St. Simons, and Sapelo islands in the summers of 2016 and 2017 using protein baits to recruit scavenging ants that forage on dunes and beaches. We placed 4863 baits over the 2 sampling seasons; 2458 recruited ants. We documented 29 ant species, including 3 new records for the state: Dorymyrmex reginicula, Pheidole navigans, and Solenopsis globularia. Our survey provides a baseline for future projects to evaluate disturbance and ecosystem health on Georgia's barrier islands.
Although prescribed fires and pre-treatments (e.g., roller chopping and mowing) are used by public and private landowners to manage natural habitats in Florida, they can influence the invasion and spread of non-native plants in natural areas. Firelanes and roads used to access habitat for management practices create corridors for invasive grasses. Melinis repens (Natalgrass) is an invasive plant found throughout Florida. Fire regimes and roads acting as corridors may affect invasion and persistence of Natalgrass, but these topics have not been well-studied. Following up on distribution data originally collected in 2002 at Archbold Biological Station, we explored how fire regimes, distance to road, habitat type, and microhabitat factors influenced Natalgrass persistence through 2016, and current Natalgrass occupancy. Persistence from 2002–2016 was not influenced by distance to road. However, Natalgrass was currently more likely to occupy habitat closest to roads and was more likely to persist in areas burned within 16 y. Although Natalgrass was most likely to persist in human modified habitat, it still persisted in and occupied interior scrub habitat. Natalgrass was more likely to occupy areas with lower litter, shrub, and palmetto cover, which are characteristics of many habitats, including sandy roadsides and recently burned scrub habitat. These results suggest Natalgrass is able to persist in habitats other than roads, and distance to road did not influence its persistence; thus, land managers should treat interior habitat where Natalgrass is persisting. At the same time, searches for new populations of Natalgrass should be focused largely in areas close to corridors, such as in roads and firelanes.
We critically evaluated a published historic account purported to be a new size record for A. mississippiensis (American Alligator). According to a newspaper article published in 1885, this large alligator was killed in Natchitoches, LA, and reportedly measured 823 cm (27 ft) in length and weighed 355.3 kg (783.5 lbs). We compared the reported values for total length (TL) and body mass (BM) with those predicted by a growth model describing the allometric relationship between these 2 variables. According to this model, an American Alligator with a TL of 823 cm would have a BM of 2534 kg; alternatively, an American Alligator weighing 355.3 kg would measure only 432 cm in length. Given these morphometric discrepancies, we are unable to accept this record. The largest credible size record for an American Alligator remains an individual measuring 450 cm in length and weighing 458 kg, harvested in Wilcox County, AL, in 2014.
Sinkholes are common in karst terrain, and their impacts on wildlife are not well documented. At the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in southwestern Georgia, we observed 3 separate incidents of wildlife being negatively impacted by entrapment within a single sinkhole.
Woodpeckers typically excavate and nest in cavities high above the ground, avoiding predators or potential disturbances like fire or floods. I report the exceptionally low nesting attempt of a Melanerpes carolinus (Red-bellied Woodpecker) pair, 40 cm above the ground, in a small Cocosnucifera (Coconut Palm) snag in Everglades National Park, FL. I monitored the nesting progression and eventual failure with a nest camera. The placement of this nest seemed particularly disadvantageous, and I describe the setting of the nest and discuss the circumstances surrounding the nest failure.
The current documented Reithrodontomys fulvescens (Fulvous Harvest Mouse) distribution includes western Mississippi. Here, we report new geographic distribution records in east-central Mississippi. We conducted live-trapping in Kemper County, MS, during the summers of 2011–2015, and captured both Fulvous Harvest Mice and Reithrodontomys humulis (Eastern Harvest Mouse). We compared measurements from captured Fulvous and Eastern Harvest Mice to verify presence of both species. Our results showed 2 separate clusters of measurements, independent of our species assignment in the field, and the clusters were significantly different (P < 0.01). It is unclear whether these new records represent a range expansion or new information about the species' historical distribution.
Sigmodon hispidus (Hispid Cotton Rat) is the most wide-spread species of Sigmodon in North America. In recent years, this species has expanded northward and westward in the western part of its range due to changes in habitat and climate. Evidence suggests northward expansion is also occurring in Kentucky. Since the 1980s, extensive coal mining via surface mining and mountain-top removal has transformed more than 2300 km2 of hardwood forests on the Cumberland Plateau of eastern Kentucky. Mining has transformed the landscape, once characterized by forests with deep valleys, steep slopes, and narrow, winding ridgetops into reclaimed sites with a relatively flat landscape dominated by grasses and forbs suitable for run-making rodents. Hispid Cotton Rat is thus poised to expand into the reclaimed mines of eastern Kentucky. We report the first record of Hispid Cotton Rat from a reclaimed-mine site and predict this species will expand its range north and east through this new habitat.
Several anecdotes exist of wading birds depredating invasive Monopterus albus (Asian Swamp Eel) in waterways of the conterminous US. We present photographic evidence of 4 different wading bird species depredating adult Asian Swamp Eels in Georgia and Florida herein. Photographs taken by wildlife enthusiasts could provide a means for early detection of the Asian Swamp Eel and other aquatic species that are challenging to detect in waterways.
Philobdella floridana, a species of leech in the family Macrobdellidae, occupies a broad, yet seemingly patchy, distribution in the Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain regions of the southeastern US. A recent collection of an adult P. floridana from North Carolina gave us a unique opportunity to observe several poorly understood, and previously mischaracterized, aspects of the ecology of the species, including cocoon deposition, emergence of young from cocoons, and feeding behavior. In addition, we provide new records of P. floridana, extending its known distribution northward in both the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. Our observations provide important insight into the reproduction, diet, and habitat of a widespread yet little understood leech species.