Sara Oyler-McCance, Ph.D.
Dr. Sara J. Oyler-McCance is a research geneticist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at the Fort Collins Science Center (FORT). She has worked for USGS since 1999 as a conservation geneticist leading the Molecular Ecology Lab at FORT. She applies genetic and genomic technologies to address a variety of complex questions and conservation issues facing the management of the Nation's fish and wildlife resources. Current and past studies have provided information to assess taxonomic boundaries, inform listing decisions made under the Endangered Species Act, identify unique or genetically depauperate populations, estimate population size or survival rates, develop management or recovery plans, breed wildlife in captivity, relocate wildlife from one location to another, and assess the effects of environmental change.
- Ph.D. in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, 1999
- M.S. in Wildlife Biology, University of Maine, 1993
- B.S. in Biology, University of Michigan, 1991
- Affiliate Faculty, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University
- Affiliate Faculty, Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University
Science and Products
Potential demographic and genetic effects of a sterilant applied to wild horse mares
Wild horse populations on western ranges can increase rapidly, resulting in the need for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to remove animals in order to protect the habitat that horses share with numerous other species. As an alternative to removals, BLM has sought to develop a long-term, perhaps even permanent, contraceptive to aid in reducing...Roelle, James E.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.
Landscape characteristics influencing the genetic structure of greater sage-grouse within the stronghold of their range: a holistic modeling approach
Given the significance of animal dispersal to population dynamics and geographic variability, understanding how dispersal is impacted by landscape patterns has major ecological and conservation importance. Speaking to the importance of dispersal, the use of linear mixed models to compare genetic differentiation with pairwise resistance derived...Row, Jeff R; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Fike, Jennifer; O'Donnell, Michael; Doherty, Kevin E.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Bowen, Zachary H.; Fedy, Brad C.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling improves occurrence and detection estimates of invasive Burmese pythons
Environmental DNA (eDNA) methods are used to detect DNA that is shed into the aquatic environment by cryptic or low density species. Applied in eDNA studies, occupancy models can be used to estimate occurrence and detection probabilities and thereby account for imperfect detection. However, occupancy terminology has been applied inconsistently in...Hunter, Margaret E.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Dorazio, Robert M.; Fike, Jennifer A.; Smith, Brian J.; Hunter, Charles T.; Reed, Robert N.; Hart, Kristen M.
Development of 13 microsatellites for Gunnison Sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) using next-generation shotgun sequencing and their utility in Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)
Gunnison Sage-grouse are an obligate sagebrush species that has experienced significant population declines and has been proposed for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. In order to examine levels of connectivity among Gunnison Sage-grouse leks, we identified 13 novel microsatellite loci though next-generation shotgun sequencing, and...Fike, Jennifer A.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Zimmerman, Shawna J; Castoe, Todd A.
Genomic single-nucleotide polymorphisms confirm that Gunnison and Greater sage-grouse are genetically well differentiated and that the Bi-State population is distinct
Sage-grouse are iconic, declining inhabitants of sagebrush habitats in western North America, and their management depends on an understanding of genetic variation across the landscape. Two distinct species of sage-grouse have been recognized, Greater (Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison sage-grouse (C. minimus), based on morphology, behavior...Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Cornman, Robert S.; Jones, Kenneth L.; Fike, Jennifer
Blood from a turnip: tissue origin of low-coverage shotgun sequencing libraries affects recovery of mitogenome sequences
Next generation sequencing methods allow rapid, economical accumulation of data that have many applications, even at relatively low levels of genome coverage. However, the utility of shotgun sequencing data sets for specific goals may vary depending on the biological nature of the samples sequenced. We show that the ability to assemble mitogenomes...Barker, F. Keith; Oyler-McCance, Sara; Tomback, Diana F.
Two low coverage bird genomes and a comparison of reference-guided versus de novo genome assemblies
As a greater number and diversity of high-quality vertebrate reference genomes become available, it is increasingly feasible to use these references to guide new draft assemblies for related species. Reference-guided assembly approaches may substantially increase the contiguity and completeness of a new genome using only low levels of genome...Card, Daren C.; Schield, Drew R.; Reyes-Velasco, Jacobo; Fujita, Matthre K.; Andrew, Audra L.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Fike, Jennifer A.; Tomback, Diana F.; Ruggiero, Robert P.; Castoe, Todd A.
Genetic tools for wildlife management
Granted interim status in November, 2013, The Wildlife Society’s (TWS) Molecular Ecology Working Group aims to promote scientific advancement by applying molecular techniques to wildlife ecology, management, and conservation. The working group—composed of sci - entists from diverse backgrounds—met for the first time in Pittsburgh at the TWS Annual...Latch, Emily; Crowhurst, Rachel S.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Robinson, Stacie
Hierarchical spatial genetic structure in a distinct population segment of greater sage-grouse
Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) within the Bi-State Management Zone (area along the border between Nevada and California) are geographically isolated on the southwestern edge of the species’ range. Previous research demonstrated that this population is genetically unique, with a high proportion of unique mitochondrial DNA (...Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Casazza, Michael L.; Fike, Jennifer A.; Coates, Peter S.
The historical distribution of Gunnison Sage-Grouse in Colorado
The historical distribution of Gunnison Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) in Colorado is described based on published literature, observations, museum specimens, and the known distribution of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.). Historically, Gunnison Sage-Grouse were widely but patchily distributed in up to 22 counties in south-central and southwestern...Braun, Clait E.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Nehring, Jennifer A.; Commons, Michelle L.; Young, Jessica R.; Potter, Kim M.
Genetic characterization of the Pacific sheath-tailed bat (Emballonura semicaudata rotensis) using mitochondrial DNA sequence data
Emballonura semicaudata occurs in the southwestern Pacific and populations on many islands have declined or disappeared. One subspecies (E. semicaudata rotensis) occurs in the Northern Mariana Islands, where it has been extirpated from all but 1 island (Aguiguan). We assessed genetic similarity between the last population of E. s. rotensis and 2...Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Valdez, Ernest W.; O'Shea, Thomas J.; Fike, Jennifer A.
Summary of science, activities, programs, and policies that influence the rangewide conservation of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)
The Greater Sage-Grouse, has been observed, hunted, and counted for decades. The sagebrush biome, home to the Greater Sage-Grouse, includes sagebrush-steppe and Great Basin sagebrush communities, interspersed with grasslands, salt flats, badlands, mountain ranges, springs, intermittent creeks and washes, and major river systems, and is one of the...Manier, D.J.; Wood, David J.A.; Bowen, Z.H.; Donovan, R.M.; Holloran, M.J.; Juliusson, L.M.; Mayne, K.S.; Oyler-McCance, S.J.; Quamen, F.R.; Saher, D.J.; Titolo, A.J.