Due to a lapse in appropriations, the majority of USGS websites may not be up to date and may not reflect current conditions. Websites displaying real-time data, such as Earthquake and Water and information needed for public health and safety will be updated with limited support. Additionally, USGS will not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted. For more information, please see www.doi.gov/shutdown
Michelle Reynolds, Ph.D.
Ph.D. 2004 Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
M.S. Ecology, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
B.S. Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
Specialty: Population biology, avian ecology
Research Interests: Reintroduction biology; behavioral ecology; island biology
Personal Interests: Surfing and birding
Science and Products
Avian botulism causes waterbird mortality in Hawai‘i's wetlands and elsewhere. We will evaluate using trained scent-detection canines (sniffer dogs) as a new tool to survey for the presence of avian botulism. Biologists will compare variables influencing detection probability and detection rates with traditional search methods. The pilot study will test the feasibility of this approach as a...
Sea-Level Rise and Tsunami Vulnerability of Habitat and Wildlife of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Low-elevation Pacific islands are vulnerable to inundation from sea-level rise and sudden flooding events. The largely low-lying islands of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), that extend 1,930 km beyond the main Hawaiian Islands, are a World Heritage Site and part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The NWHI support the largest tropical seabird rookery in the world, provide ...
USGS and Oregon State University (OSU) have joined forces to support USFWS with research needed help manage and recover the endangered Hawaiian duck, locally known as koloa maoli. Hybridization of koloa with feral Mallards on O‘ahu and Maui is believed to have resulted in complete introgression in those populations (Engilis et al. 2002), and Kaua‘i is the only island that likely supports a...
The Laysan teal has the most restricted range of any duck species and is especially vulnerable to extinction because of its small population size and vulnerability to climate change. The species was believed to be endemic to one island until new sub-fossil evidence and ancient DNA-testing revealed Laysan teal were widespread across the Hawaiian archipelago. Despite its previously wide...
How many Laysan Teal Anas laysanensis are on Midway Atoll? Methods for monitoring abundance after reintroduction
Wildlife managers often request a simple approach to monitor the status of species of concern. In response to that need, we used eight years of monitoring data to estimate population size and test the validity of an index for monitoring accurately the abundance of reintroduced, endangered Laysan Teal Anas laysanensis. The population was...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Courtot, Karen; Hatfield, Jeffrey
Lessons from the Tōhoku tsunami: A model for island avifauna conservation prioritization
Earthquake-generated tsunamis threaten coastal areas and low-lying islands with sudden flooding. Although human hazards and infrastructure damage have been well documented for tsunamis in recent decades, the effects on wildlife communities rarely have been quantified. We describe a tsunami that hit the world's largest remaining tropical seabird...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Berkowitz, Paul; Klavitter, John; Courtot, Karen
Will the effects of sea-level rise create ecological traps for Pacific Island seabirds?
More than 18 million seabirds nest on 58 Pacific islands protected within vast U.S. Marine National Monuments (1.9 million km2). However, most of these seabird colonies are on low-elevation islands and sea-level rise (SLR) and accompanying high-water perturbations are predicted to escalate with climate change. To understand how SLR may impact...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Courtot, Karen; Berkowitz, Paul; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Moore, Janet; Flint, Elizabeth
Long-term monitoring of endangered Laysan ducks: Index validation and population estimates 1998–2012
Monitoring endangered wildlife is essential to assessing management or recovery objectives and learning about population status. We tested assumptions of a population index for endangered Laysan duck (or teal; Anas laysanensis) monitored using mark–resight methods on Laysan Island, Hawai’i. We marked 723 Laysan ducks between 1998 and...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Courtot, Karen; Brinck, Kevin W.; Rehkemper, Cynthia; Hatfield, Jeffrey
Peregrine falcon predation of endangered Laysan teal and Laysan Finches on remote Hawaiian atolls
We report the first records of Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) predation on endangered Laysan teal (or duck; Anas laysanensis) and predation on endangered Laysan finches (Telespiza cantans). At Midway Atoll, vagrant Peregrine falcons killed ≥4% of a newly translocated Laysan teal population in 2006 and ≥2% in 2008. On Laysan Island...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Nash, Sarah A.B.; Courtot, Karen
Microsatellite variation and rare alleles in a bottlenecked Hawaiian Islands endemic: implications for reintroductions
Conservation of genetic biodiversity in endangered wildlife populations is an important challenge to address since the loss of alleles and genetic drift may influence future adaptability. Reintroduction aims to re-establish species to restored or protected ecosystems; however, moving a subset of individuals may result in loss of gene variants...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Pearce, John M.; Lavretsky, Philip; Seixas, Pedro P.; Courtot, Karen
Evidence of low genetic variation and rare alleles in a bottlenecked endangered island endemic, the Lasan Teal (Anas laysanensis)
Genetic diversity is assumed to reflect the evolutionary potential and adaptability of populations, and thus quantifying the genetic diversity of endangered species is useful for recovery programs. In particular, if conservation strategies include reintroductions, periodic genetic assessments are useful to evaluate whether management efforts have...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Pearce, John M.; Lavretsky, Philip; Peters Jeffrey L; Courtot, Karen; Seixas, Pedro P.
Experimental reintroduction reveals novel life-history variation in Laysan Ducks (Anas laysanensis)
Subfossil remains indicate that the Laysan Duck (Anas laysanensis) formerly occurred throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, but for more than 150 years it has been confined to a single, small atoll in the northwestern chain, Laysan Island. In 2004–2005, 42 ducks were reintroduced from Laysan to Midway Atoll, where they exhibited variation in life...Walters, Jeffrey R.; Reynolds, Michelle H.
Demographic variation, reintroduction, and persistence of an island duck (Anas laysanensis)
Population variation in life history can be important for predicting successful establishment and persistence of reintroduced populations of endangered species. The Laysan duck (Anas laysanensis) is an endangered bird native to the Hawaiian Archipelago that was extirpated from most islands after the introduction of mammalian predators. Laysan...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Weiser, Emily; Jamieson, Ian; Hatfield, Jeffrey S.
Forecasting the impact of storm waves and sea-level rise on Midway Atoll and Laysan Island within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument—a comparison of passive versus dynamic inundation models
Two inundation events in 2011 underscored the potential for elevated water levels to damage infrastructure and affect terrestrial ecosystems on the low-lying Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The goal of this study was to compare passive "bathtub" inundation models based on geographic information...Storlazzi, Curt D.; Berkowitz, Paul; Reynolds, Michelle H.; Logan, Joshua B.
Dynamics of seabird colonies vulnerable to sea-level rise at French Frigate Shoals, Hawai`i
Globally, seabirds are vulnerable to anthropogenic threats both at sea and on land. Seabirds typically nest colonially and show strong site fidelity; therefore, conservation strategies could benefit from an understanding of the population dynamics and vulnerability of breeding colonies to climate change. More than 350 atolls exist across the...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Courtot, Karen N.; Krause, Crystal M.; Seavy, Nathaniel E.; Hartzell, Paula; Hatfield, Jeff S.
Predicting sea-level rise vulnerability of terrestrial habitat and wildlife of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
If current climate change trends continue, rising sea levels may inundate low-lying islands across the globe, placing island biodiversity at risk. Recent models predict a rise of approximately one meter (1 m) in global sea level by 2100, with larger increases possible in areas of the Pacific Ocean. Pacific Islands are unique ecosystems home to...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Berkowitz, Paul; Courtot, Karen N.; Krause, Crystal M.; Reynolds, Michelle H.; Berkowitz, Paul; Courtot, Karen N.; Krause, Crystal M.
Dogs have great olfactory abilities and wildlife biologists think they can help endangered waterbirds in Hawai‘i. Dogs are being trained to sniff out the endangered ducks (koloa maoli (Anas wyvilliana) and Laysan ducks (A. laysanensis)) that die of avian botulism.
Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning
Islands used by tropical seabirds are highly vulnerable to sea level rise according to a new study released today.