Western Ecological Research Center

Publications

Below is a list of WERC's peer-reviewed publications. If you are searching for a specific publication and cannot find it in this list, please contact werc_web@usgs.gov

Filter Total Items: 3,061
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Year Published: 2019

Wildfires as an ecosystem service

Wildfires are often viewed as destructive disturbances. We propose that when including both evolutionary and socioecological scales, most ecosystem fires can be understood as natural processes that provide a variety of benefits to humankind. Wildfires provide open habitats that enable the evolution of a diversity of shade-intolerant plants and...

Pausas, Juli G.; Keeley, Jon

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Year Published: 2019

The ecological uncertainty of wildfire fuel breaks: examples from the sagebrush steppe

Fuel breaks are increasingly being implemented at broad scales (100s to 10,000s of square kilometers) in fire‐prone landscapes globally, yet there is little scientific information available regarding their ecological effects (eg habitat fragmentation). Fuel breaks are designed to reduce flammable vegetation (ie fuels), increase the safety and...

Shinneman, Douglas; Germino, Matthew J.; Pilliod, David S.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Vaillant, Nicole; Coates, Peter S.

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Year Published: 2019

Drift and beaching patterns of sea otter carcasses and car tire dummies

Enumerating and examining marine animal carcasses is important for quantifying mortality rates and determining causes of mortality. Drifter experiments are one tool for estimating at‐sea mortality and determining factors affecting carcass drift, but they require validation to confirm drifters accurately replicate the drift characteristics of the...

Young, Colleen C.; Eguchi, Tomoharu; Ames, Jack A.; Staedler, Michelle M.; Hatfield, Brian; Harris, Mike; Golson-Fisch, Emily A

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Year Published: 2019

Feather mercury concentrations in North American raptors sampled at migration monitoring stations

We assessed total mercury (THg) concentrations in breast feathers of diurnal North American raptors collected at migration monitoring stations. For 9 species in the Pacific Flyway, we found species and age influenced feather THg concentrations whereas sex did not. Feather THg concentrations µg/g dry weight (dw) averaged (least-squared mean±...

Baurbour, Ryan; Martinico, Breanna L.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Herzog, Mark P.; Hull, Angus C.; Fish, Allen M.; Hull, Joshua M.

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Year Published: 2019

Distinguishing disturbance from perturbations in fire-prone ecosystems

Fire is a necessary ecosystem process in many biomes and is best viewed as a natural disturbance that is beneficial to ecosystem functioning. However, increasingly we are seeing human interference in fire regimes that alter the historical range of variability for most fire parameters and result in vegetation shifts. Such perturbations can affect...

Keeley, Jon; Pausas, Juli G.

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Year Published: 2019

Sitting ducklings: Timing of hatch, nest departure, and predation risk for dabbling duck broods

For ground‐nesting waterfowl, the timing of egg hatch and duckling departure from the nest may be influenced by the risk of predation at the nest and en route to wetlands and constrained by the time required for ducklings to imprint on the hen and be physically able to leave the nest. We determined the timing of hatch, nest departure, and...

Peterson, Sarah H.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Herzog, Mark P.; Hartman, Christopher; Croston, Rebecca; Feldheim, Cliff L.; Casazza, Michael L.

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Year Published: 2019

Topographic drivers of flight altitude over large spatial and temporal scales

Bird movements vary spatially and temporally, but the primary drivers that explain such variation can be difficult to identify. For example, it is well known that the availability of updraft influences soaring flight and that topography interacts with weather to produce these updrafts. However, the influences of topography on flight are not well...

Duerr, Adam E.; Miller, Tricia A.; Dunn, Leah; Bell, Douglas A.; Bloom, Peter H.; Fisher, Robert N.; Tracey, Jeff A.; Katzner, Todd E.
Duerr, A.E., Miller, T.A., Dunn, L., Bell, D.A., Bloom, P.H., Fisher, R.N., Tracey, J.A., Katzner, T.E., 2019, Topographic drivers of flight altitude over large spatial and temporal scales: The Auk: Ornithological Advances, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1093/auk/ukz002.

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Year Published: 2019

Which trees die during drought? The key role of insect host-tree selection

1. During drought, the tree subpopulations (such as size or vigor classes) that suffer disproportionate mortality can be conceptually arrayed along a continuum defined by the actions of biotic agents, particularly insects. At one extreme, stress dominates: insects are absent or simply kill the most physiologically stressed trees. At the...

Stephenson, Nathan L.; Das, Adrian J.; Ampersee, Nicholas J.; Bulaon, Beverly M; Yee, Julie L.

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Year Published: 2019

Changes in breeding population sizes of double-crested Cormorants Phalacrocorax auritus in the Humboldt Bay area, California, 1924–2017

To better understand recent population growth of the Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus along the Pacific coast of North America, we assessed long-term breeding population trends in the Humboldt Bay area, California, using aerial photographic survey data collected since 1989 as well as available prior data. The earliest...

Capitolo, Phillip J.; Carter, Harry R; Yee, Julie L.; McChesney, Gerard J; Parker, Michael W; Young, Richard J; Golightly, Richard T.; Tyler, W Breck

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury concentrations vary within and among individual bird feathers: A critical evaluation and guidelines for feather use in mercury monitoring programs

Feathers are widely used to represent mercury contamination in birds. Yet, few recommendations exist that provide guidance for using bird feathers in mercury monitoring programs. We conducted a literature review and 5 experiments to show that mercury concentrations vary substantially within (vane >100% higher than calamus) and among (>1000...

Peterson, Sarah H.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Toney, Matthew; Herzog, Mark P.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury exposure and altered parental nesting behavior in a wild songbird

Methylmercury is a neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor and may impair avian reproduction directly through embryotoxicity or by altering parental care behaviors. We studied mercury exposure and incubation behavior of free-living tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting in artificial nest boxes. Using small temperature dataloggers, we measured...

Hartman, C. Alex; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Herzog, Mark P.

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Year Published: 2019

Parasitic copepods (Crustacea, Hexanauplia) on fishes from the lagoon flats of Palmyra Atoll, Central Pacific

We surveyed copepods parasitic on the fishes at Palmyra, a remote atoll in the Central Indo-Pacific faunal region. In total, we collected 849 individual fish, representing 44 species, from the intertidal lagoon flats at Palmyra and recovered 17 parasitic copepod species. The parasitic copepods were: Orbitacolax williamsi on Mulloidichthys...

Soler-Jiménez, Lilia Catherinne; Morales-Serna, F. Neptali; Aguirre-Macedo, Ma. Leopoldina; McLaughlin, John P.; Jaramillo, Alejandra G.; Shaw, Jenny C.; James, Anna K; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Kuris, Armand M.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Vidal-Martinez, Victor M.