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Molecular detection and characterization of highly pathogenic H5N1 clade avian influenza viruses among hunter-harvested wild birds provides evidence for three independent introductions into Alaska

We detected and characterized highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses among hunter-harvested wild waterfowl inhabiting western Alaska during September–October 2022 using a molecular sequencing pipeline applied to RNA extracts derived directly from original swab samples. Genomic characterization of 10 H5 clade avian influenza viruses detected with high confidence provided evidence for th
Andrew M. Ramey, Laura Celeste Scott, Christina Ahlstrom, Evan James Buck, Alison Williams, Mia Kim Torchetti, David E. Stallknecht, Rebecca L. Poulson

The DDT-induced decline influenced genetic diversity in naturally-recovered peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) nesting within the Alaska Arctic and eastern Interior

We assessed the influence of the severe mid-20th century population decline on genetic diversity in non-augmented peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) populations nesting within Alaska Arctic and eastern Interior. Microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data were analyzed for peregrine falcons sampled from three periods: pre-decline, decline, and post-decline. The influence of the decline on g
Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Ted Swem, Skip Ambrose, Melanie J. Flamme, Clayton M White, George K Sage, Sandra L Talbot

Dynamic landscapes in northwestern North America structured populations of wolverines (Gulo gulo)

Cyclic climatic and glacial fluctuations of the Late Quaternary produced a dynamic biogeographic history for high latitudes. To refine our understanding of this history in northwestern North America, we explored geographic structure in a wide-ranging carnivore, the wolverine (Gulo gulo). We examined genetic variation in populations across mainland Alaska, coastal Southeast Alaska, and mainland wes
Dianna M Krejsa, Sandra L. Talbot, George K. Sage, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Thomas S Jung, Audrey J Magoun, Joseph A. Cook

Using next generation sequencing of alpine plants to improve fecal metabarcoding diet analysis for Dall’s sheep

ObjectivesDall’s sheep (Ovis dalli dalli) are important herbivores in the mountainous ecosystems of northwestern North America, and recent declines in some populations have sparked concern. Our aim was to improve capabilities for fecal metabarcoding diet analysis of Dall’s sheep and other herbivores by contributing new sequence data for arctic and alpine plants. This expanded reference library wil
Kelly E. Williams, Damian M. Menning, Eric J. Wald, Sandra L. Talbot, Kumi L. Rattenbury, Laura R. Prugh

Metabarcoding of environmental samples suggest wide distribution of eelgrass (Zostera marina) pathogens in the north Pacific

Seagrass meadows provide important ecological services to the marine environment but are declining worldwide. Although eelgrass meadows in the north Pacific are thought to be relatively healthy, few studies have assessed the presence of known disease pathogens in these meadows. In a pilot study to test the efficacy of the methods and to provide foundational disease biodiversity data in the north P
Damian M. Menning, Hunter A Gravley, Melissa N. Cady, Daniel J Pepin, Sandy Wyllie-Echeverria, David H. Ward, Sandra L. Talbot

Whole‐genome resequencing reveals persistence of forest‐associated mammals in Late Pleistocene refugia along North America’s North Pacific Coast

AimNumerous glacial refugia have been hypothesized along North America's North Pacific Coast that may have increased divergence of refugial taxa, leading to elevated endemism and subsequently clustered hybrid zones following deglaciation. The locations and community composition of these ice‐free areas remains controversial, but whole‐genome sequences now enable detailed analysis of the demographic
Jocelyn P. Colella, Tianying Lan, Sandra L. Talbot, Charlotte Lindqvist, Joseph A. Cook

Extrinsically reinforced hybrid speciation within Holarctic ermine (Mustela spp.) produces an insular endemic

AimRefugial isolation during glaciation is an established driver of speciation; however, the opposing role of interglacial population expansion, secondary contact, and gene flow on the diversification process remains less understood. The consequences of glacial cycling on diversity are complex and especially so for archipelago species, which experience dramatic fluctuations in connectivity in resp
Jocelyn P. Colella, Lindsey Frederick, Sandra L. Talbot, Joe Cook

Record fledging count from a seven-egg clutch in the Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) typically lay 3–5 eggs per clutch, rarely 6 eggs, and there are 2 accounts of 7-egg clutches and 1 record of a maximum 8-egg clutch for the species. Brood sizes of 3–5 young are common and the previous maximum brood count is 6 young. However, in 2019, we found an urban nest in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, with 7 eggs that resulted in a record high of 7 fledglings.
Robert N. Rosenfield, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Ann Elizabeth Riddle-Berntsen, Evan Kuhel

Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci in merlins (Falco columbarius) and cross-species amplification in gyrfalcons (F. rusticolus) and peregrine falcons (F. peregrinus)

I. Background: Merlins, Falco columbarius, breed throughout temperate and high latitude habitats in Asia, Europe, and North America. Like peregrine falcons, F. peregrinus, merlins underwent population declines during the mid-to-late 20th century, due to organochlorine-based contamination, and have subsequently recovered, at least in North American populations. II. Methods and Results: To bett
Joshua M. Hull, George K. Sage, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Megan C. Gravley, Breanna L. Martinico, Travis L. Booms, Ted Swem, Sandra L. Talbot

High site fidelity does not equate to population genetic structure for common goldeneye and Barrow's goldeneye in North America

Delineation of population structure provides valuable information for conservation and management of species, as levels of demographic and genetic connectivity not only affect population dynamics but also have important implications for adaptability and resiliency of populations and species. Here, we measure population genetic structure and connectivity across the ranges of two sister species of s
Joshua I. Brown, Philip Lavretsky, Robert E. Wilson, Christy Haughey, W. Sean Boyd, Daniel Esler, Sandra L. Talbot, Sarah A. Sonsthagen

Microbiomes from biorepositories? 16S rRNA bacterial amplicon sequencing of archived and contemporary intestinal samples of wild mammals (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae)

Interest in gut microbial community composition has exploded recently as a result of the increasing ability to characterize these organisms and a growing understanding of their role in host fitness. New technologies, such as next generation amplicon (16S rRNA) sequencing, have enabled identification of bacterial communities from samples of diverse origin (e.g., fecal, skin, genital, environmental,
Stephen E. Greiman, Joseph A. Cook, Timothy Odem, Katelyn Cranmer, Schuyler W Liphardt, Damian M. Menning, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Sandra L. Talbot

Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears

Animal structural body size and condition are often measured to evaluate individual health, identify responses to environmental change and food availability, and relate food availability to effects on reproduction and survival. A variety of condition metrics have been developed but relationships between these metrics and vital rates are rarely validated. Identifying an optimal approach to estimate
Karyn D. Rode, Todd C. Atwood, Gregory Thiemann, Michelle St. Martin, Ryan H. Wilson, George M. Durner, Eric V. Regehr, Sandra L. Talbot, Kevin Sage, Anthony M. Pagano, Kristin S. Simac