Weekly Highlights for 2-10-2017
USGS Ecologist to Present New Method to Measure River Temperatures
From March 1 to 3, the Interagency Ecological Program will host their annual workshop in Folsom, California. USGS ecologist Francine Mejia was invited to present in the new technology session. Her presentation is titled “Using Conventional Temperature Measurements and Thermal Infrared Technologies to Understand Riverscapes.”
Ground Squirrel Shooting and Potential Lead Exposure in Breeding Avian Scavengers
Recreational ground squirrel shooting is often used as a tool for managing ground squirrels, a common pest in agricultural regions. Shot squirrel carcasses may contain lead fragments from bullets. To assess the risk of lead exposure to avian scavengers consuming squirrel carcasses, researchers studied shot squirrels in agricultural areas in California and Oregon during 2014 and 2015. They developed a model to more accurately estimate both the number and mass of lead fragments from ammunition using x-rays, which generally under report the number of fragments in carcasses. Eighty percent of carcasses contained detectable lead fragments and seven percent contained a lethal amount of lead if consumed in a single meal by nestling raptors. Ground squirrels shot with .17 Super Mag bullets contained over 28 and 17 times more lead than those shot with .22 solid and .22 hollow point bullets, respectively. Shot ground squirrels consumed by nestling raptors could result in a reduction in blood enzymes that protect against anemia.
Herring, G., Eagles-Smith, C.A., Wagner, M.T., 2016, Ground squirrel shooting and potential lead exposure in breeding avian scavengers: PLOS ONE, v. 11, no. 12, p. e0167926, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167926. [Details]
USGS Research to be Included in Drought Workshops
During the week of February 6, USGS ecologists Jason Dunham, Matthew Germino, and Doug Shinneman will give presentations as a part of a DOI Northwest Climate Science Center series of workshops in Boise, Idaho and Portland, Oregon on ecological drought in the Northwest. The USGS researchers will focus on drought in sagebrush steppe, drought and fire, and drought in aquatic systems.
USGS Researchers Participate in Refugia Working Group
USGS scientists Jason Dunham, Christian Torgersen, and Francine Mejia were invited to participate in the Refugia Research Coalition Working Group organized by the DOI Northwest Climate Center. The goal of the Refugia Research Coalition is to build a synthesis of refugia science to use as a management tool in the Northwest region. This collaboration will take place through in-person and remotely-attended meetings over the next 18 months.
OPB Article Includes USGS Researchers Expertise on Lead and Scavenging Birds
USGS ecologist Collin Eagles-Smith was quoted in an Oregon Public Broadcasting article that appeared online on February 3. The article focused on the possible reintroduction of the California condor to parts of the Pacific Northwest and the potential risk for lead-poisoning related illness to condors.