Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

Species Biology

Research into life history, successful conservation, and recovery of threatened and endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act; trust species that are protected by law; sensitive species that are declining, rare, or uncommon and are identified as candidates for future listing consideration; and species of management concern that warrant management or conservation attention as identified by a natural resource management agency

Filter Total Items: 44
Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Can wetland water-management influence mercury bioaccumulation in songbirds and ducks at National Wildlife Refuges with mercury problems?

During summer 2017, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) initiated a collaborative research study focused on understanding if water-level management of wetlands at refuges can influence mercury bioaccumulation in wetland-dependent migratory birds.  Birds are susceptible to the effects of mercury and can serve as indicators of contamination in ecosystems. We examined mercury...

Contacts: Michael Anteau
Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Quantifying the effects of land-use change and bioenergy crop production on ecosystem services in the Northern Great Plains

Rising commodity crop prices, increased federal subsidies for biofuels, such as corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel, and reduction in U.S. Farm Bill conservation programs have facilitated rapid land-use changes in the Northern Great Plains (NGP).  Although renewable biofuels are touted as a mechanism for increasing energy security and potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions,...

Contacts: Clint Otto
Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Spatiotemporal dynamics of grassland songbird populations in response to energy development in an agricultural landscape

The recent expansion of unconventional oil and gas development in the Williston Basin of North America has raised concerns among managers about potential negative effects of such development on grassland birds. Others, however, have argued that agricultural land use in the region has had a much larger impact and that energy development may be a comparatively small stressor for grassland birds...

Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Integrated conservation of bison and native prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park contains the largest contiguous bison range in the core of the species’ historic range on the northern Great Plains. The park nevertheless is too small to accommodate natural movements of free-ranging bison. As a result, continual grazing by resident bison has supplanted intense-but-ephemeral grazing by nomadic bison. The herd also is currently too small to prevent...

Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Ellesmere wolf movements

Wolves on Ellesmere Island, just south of the North Pole, survive in extreme cold during 24 hours of darkness per day from November through January, and survive in much higher temperatures during 24 hours of light per day from April through September. Partnering with other agencies, we use GPS radio collars applied to wolves during summer to examine wolf-pack movements on Ellesmere Island...

Contacts: L. David Mech
Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Yellowstone wolf restoration

The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and 1996. This study helps assess that population’s recovery and determine factors that affect the population, including diseases, intraspecific strife, and interactions with prey. The restoration has been very successful, and the population has persisted for more than 20...

Contacts: L. David Mech
Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Superior National Forest wolf population trajectory

When the wolf was listed as endangered, the last remaining mainland wolf population in the lower 48 states was in the Superior National Forest (SNF) of northeastern Minnesota. Since then, using radiocollaring and aerial tracking, we have studied the wolf population trend, factors influencing it, and prey species, white-tailed deer, moose, and beavers, affected by wolves.  During winter 2018-...

Contacts: L. David Mech
Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Completed

Developing a sampling and modeling framework to support Dakota skipper management decisions

The presence or absence of an endangered species on the landscape can have significant policy implications for public land managers and private landowners. The Dakota Skipper, a grassland dependent butterfly, was recently listed as a threatened species under The Endangered Species Act in 2014. This listing has created controversy in the states of North and South Dakota because of the potential...

Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

The pollinator library: a decision-support tool for improving national pollinator conservation efforts

Pollinator declines have emphasized the need for a greater understanding of plant-pollinator networks and land management activities that improve pollinator habitat.  At the request of USDA and FWS partners, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center created the Pollinator Library (https://...

Contacts: Clint Otto
Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

To control or not to control: response of pollinator communities to invasive plant management

If invasive plants are producing pollen and nectar used by native pollinators, what happens when a manager decides to control the invasive plant?  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center is addressing this question and has found that pollinators are adept at changing their resource acquisition strategies as abundantly flowering invasive species decline.  In addition, it appears that the...

Contacts: Diane Larson
Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Long-term changes in pollinator resources (alfalfa, sweetclover, milkweed) and monarch butterfly populations in CRP grasslands

Federal cropland retirement programs are increasingly being used to provide resources for pollinators (e.g., nectar, pollen, host plants).  Pollinator-friendly plant species (e.g., alfalfa, sweetclover) were readily included in seed mixes in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands since its inception in the 1985 Farm Bill.  Through time, some native plant species (e.g., milkweeds) also...

Contacts: Lawrence Igl
Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Improving forage for honey bees and native pollinators on Federal conservation lands

Since its inception in 1933, the U.S. Farm Bill has been one of the most influential federal policies for agriculture and food production.  Provisions within the Farm Bill have profound influence on global trade, nutrition programs, commodity crop programs, rural communities, and land conservation.  Northern Prairie’s research quantifies the impact on pollinator forage and health of USDA...

Contacts: Clint Otto