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Weekly Highlights for 6-16-2017

Upcoming

Invasive Plant Control Field Presentation

On June 28, USGS ecologist Matthew Germino will give a field presentation near Marsing, Idaho to the National Cooperative Soil Survey during their 2017 National Conference. Germino will discuss an ongoing weed-suppressive bacteria experiment on Idaho state land in the Wildcat area of the Soda Fire. He will also mention the types of treatments that were applied to the Soda Fire area for invasive plant control.

Contact: Matthew Germino, FRESC, 208-426-3353, Profile

Current

Using eDNA in Redd Surveys to Identify Salmon Species

Annual redd, or spawning nest, counts are used to monitor fish populations, but observer bias or species assignment errors can confound information about which fish species created the observed redd, potentially leading to incorrect assessments of species’ status and trends. Researchers from the Portland Water Bureau and the USGS explored whether environmental DNA, or eDNA, collected from water within redds could be used to assess uncertainty in redd counts. They compared the amount of eDNA in the redds to water outside of redds in the Sandy River Basin, Oregon during the fall of 2015. Results suggest that high eDNA concentrations in the redds could be useful for determining which species used a specific redd. This technique could potentially be used for correcting bias associated with visual redd counts.

Strobel, B., Laramie, M.B., Pilliod, D.S., 2017, Exploring the use of environmental DNA to determine the species of salmon redds: North American Journal of Fisheries Management, v. 37, no. 5, p. 943-950, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02755947.2017.1335254[Details]

Contact: David Pilliod, FRESC, 208-426-5202, Profile

Bird Response to Piñon-Juniper Disturbance

Conifer woodlands have been expanding their range into landscapes dominated by sagebrush shrublands. Prescribed fire and mechanical cutting can reduce woodland cover and control expansion, providing an opportunity to understand how treatments influence the bird community. USGS researchers surveyed birds and measured vegetation before and after treatment in Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. They then tested how the bird community structure changed and how current and surrounding habitat conditions and regional bird communities influence community structure. Treatments reduced the amount of tree cover by more than 5 percent at a quarter of the survey sites, but amount of change varied widely. The overall influence of woodland changes from treatment was relatively small and regional bird dynamics did not significantly influence the structure of local bird communities. Results indicate that bird communities in conifer woodlands can be highly stable when management treatments are conducted in high-density woodlands and at the level of treatment conducted at these study sites.

Knick, S.T., Hanser, S.E., Grace, J.B., Hollenbeck, J.P., Leu, M., 2017, Responses of bird community structure to habitat management in piñon-juniper woodland-sagebrush ecotones: Forest Ecology and Management, v. 400, p. 256-268, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2017.06.017[Details]

Contact: Susan Phillips, FRESC, 541-750-1033, Profile

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