249 posts · 203,990 views
Conservation Maven reviews the latest groundbreaking research and books in the field of conservation.
What do you do when a critically endangered predator like the northern quoll has developed a taste for the highly toxic cane toad?
Aversive conditioning to modify the quoll's appetite for toads could be the answer according to a new study by Stephanie O'Donnell and fellow researchers from the University of Sydney.
This study has already received a fair bit of media attention but I think it merits being profiled again here for those who may have missed it.... Read more »
O’Donnell, S., Webb, J., & Shine, R. (2010) Conditioned taste aversion enhances the survival of an endangered predator imperilled by a toxic invader. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01802.x
A recent study published in the Public Library of Science by Eric Lind and John Parker raises doubts about a commonly accepted hypothesis explaining the success of exotic plants in their non-native ranges.
This study sought to assess the validity of the novel weapons hypothesis, which argues that native predators are unable to cope with exotic plants’ biochemical defenses because they have simply not had enough time to adapt to do so.... Read more »
Lind, E., & Parker, J. (2010) Novel Weapons Testing: Are Invasive Plants More Chemically Defended than Native Plants?. PLoS ONE, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010429
A new study in Puget Sound, Washington, suggests that building seawalls and other shoreline structures may reduce the diversity and abundance of some intertidal invertebrates and coastal insects. Because these creatures are food for salmon, shorebirds, and other wildlife, shoreline armoring might indirectly alter the broader ecosystem...... Read more »
Sobocinski, K., Cordell, J., & Simenstad, C. (2010) Effects of Shoreline Modifications on Supratidal Macroinvertebrate Fauna on Puget Sound, Washington Beaches. Estuaries and Coasts. DOI: 10.1007/s12237-009-9262-9
A new study from researchers in the Netherlands demonstrates that wetlands can be constructed in strategic locations to clean up rivers while producing enough biomass to serve as a clean energy source...... Read more »
Meerburg, B., Vereijken, P., Visser, W., Verhagen, J., Korevaar, H., Querner, E., Blaeij, A., & Werf, A. (2010) Surface water sanitation and biomass production in a large constructed wetland in the Netherlands. Wetlands Ecology and Management. DOI: 10.1007/s11273-010-9179-x
Conservation scientists and practitioners generally hold the assumption that all invasive species are bad for ecosystems and merit eradication. So, what do you do when a really bad invasive species happens to be good for the conservation of threatened birds?... Read more »
TABLADO, Z., TELLA, J., SÁNCHEZ-ZAPATA, J., & HIRALDO, F. (2010) The Paradox of the Long-Term Positive Effects of a North American Crayfish on a European Community of Predators. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01483.x
Carlos Roberto Fonseca has published an ominous forecast for the fate of specialist insect herbivores (i.e. monophages or those that feed on only one species of plant). According to his calculations, somewhere between 213,830 and 547,500 monophagous insect species are trending towards extinction in biodiversity hotspots.... Read more »
FONSECA, C. (2009) The Silent Mass Extinction of Insect Herbivores in Biodiversity Hotspots. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01327.x
For wildlife like the timber rattlesnsake, trying to cross even light-traffic country roads presents a formidable life-or-death challenge. As a new study in the journal Conservation Biology shows, these roads can also contribute to the genetic decline of the species.... Read more »
CLARK, R., BROWN, W., STECHERT, R., & ZAMUDIO, K. (2010) Roads, Interrupted Dispersal, and Genetic Diversity in Timber Rattlesnakes. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01439.x
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Eriksson, B., Ljunggren, L., Sandström, A., Johansson, G., Mattila, J., Rubach, A., Råberg, S., & Snickars, M. (2009) Declines in predatory fish promote bloom-forming macroalgae. Ecological Applications, 19(8), 1975-1988. DOI: 10.1890/08-0964.1
Scientists have long recognized marine transport as a vector for exotic species invasions. But relatively little attention has been given to the transport of semi-submersible rigs - the installations that are used for oil drilling...... Read more »
Wanless, R., Scott, S., Sauer, W., Andrew, T., Glass, J., Godfrey, B., Griffiths, C., & Yeld, E. (2009) Semi-submersible rigs: a vector transporting entire marine communities around the world. Biological Invasions. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-009-9666-2
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Western, D., Groom, R., & Worden, J. (2009) The impact of subdivision and sedentarization of pastoral lands on wildlife in an African savanna ecosystem. Biological Conservation, 142(11), 2538-2546. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.05.025
The cod stock in the Baltic Sea collapsed in the 1990s because of overfishing and climate change, and this once-valuable fishery has not yet recovered. Could intensified harvesting of sprat—a small fish that eats cod eggs and competes with young cod for planktonic food—be the solution to restore cod, as some people suggest? ... Read more »
Lindegren, M., Möllmann, C., & Hansson, L. (2010) Biomanipulation - a tool in Marine Ecosystem Management and Restoration?. Ecological Applications, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/09-0754
"A common problem in conservation is that the wealth of experience and knowledge that practitioners gain over time is not well aggregated and shared." This is the sentiment that motivated Helen Rowe from Purdue University to interview 38 experienced tallgrass prairie managers about what they have learned from conducting ecosystem restoration on their preserves...... Read more »
Helen I. Rowe. (2010) Tricks of the Trade: Techniques and Opinions from 38 Experts in Tallgrass Prairie Restoration. Restoration Ecology. info:/10.1111/j.1526-100X.2010.00663.x
A new study in the journal Biological Invasions shows that land managers may be able to contain highly invasive annual plants like by establishing barriers of perennial bunchgrasses to block the spread...... Read more »
Davies, K., Nafus, A., & Sheley, R. (2010) Non-native competitive perennial grass impedes the spread of an invasive annual grass. Biological Invasions. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-010-9710-2
A new study illustrates the importance of understanding the minimum patch size that an at-risk bird needs to reproduce. Jerrod Butcher and fellow researchers looked at the effect of habitat patch size on two songbirds in north-central Texas.... Read more »
Butcher, J., Morrison, M., Ransom, D., Slack, R., & Wilkins, R. (2010) Evidence of a Minimum Patch Size Threshold of Reproductive Success in an Endangered Songbird. Journal of Wildlife Management, 74(1), 133-139. DOI: 10.2193/2008-533
Organizations working to protect land have largely similar missions – to conserve natural resources, broadly defined, and provide public benefits. However when numerous organizations are working across the same geographic area on their own land protection projects, the question arises whether their cumulative efforts are achieving a successful outcome for conservation...... Read more »
Cronan, C., Lilieholm, R., Tremblay, J., & Glidden, T. (2010) An Assessment of Land Conservation Patterns in Maine Based on Spatial Analysis of Ecological and Socioeconomic Indicators. Environmental Management. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-010-9481-7
The idea of eradicating a weed - i.e. killing every individual versus just controlling the spread - has an obvious appeal to a land manager. However, as Mark Gardner and fellow researchers found from a case study in the Galapagos Islands, eradication is very difficult and finding success requires that numerous ecological, financial, and social factors all line up....... Read more »
Gardener, M., Atkinson, R., & RenterÃa, J. (2009) Eradications and People: Lessons from the Plant Eradication Program in Galapagos. Restoration Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2009.00614.x
Can you change the behavior of a bear that raids campgrounds, nuzzles through trash, or knocks side view mirrors off cars? A new study finds evidence that a method called aversive conditioning can be successful in modifying the behavior of some bears but fully averting conflicts with humans will require changing how people act as well...... Read more »
Mazur, R. (2010) Does Aversive Conditioning Reduce Human–Black Bear Conflict?. Journal of Wildlife Management, 74(1), 48-54. DOI: 10.2193/2008-163
When it comes to habitat destruction, startling events like oil spills and deforestation are certain to grab the headlines.
Yet as a new study in the journal Animal Conservation shows, sometimes habitat destruction can be so subtle that it passes under the eyes of all but the most astute scientists.... Read more »
Pike, D., Croak, B., Webb, J., & Shine, R. (2010) Subtle - but easily reversible - anthropogenic disturbance seriously degrades habitat quality for rock-dwelling reptiles. Animal Conservation. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2010.00356.x
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Marks, J., Haden, G., O’Neill, M., & Pace, C. (2009) Effects of Flow Restoration and Exotic Species Removal on Recovery of Native Fish: Lessons from a Dam Decommissioning. Restoration Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2009.00574.x
A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois has looked at wetland restoration projects across the state and found that successional trends vary substantially from one site to another. The study findings have implications for the Clean Water Act and its ability to meet its mandate of enforcing no net-loss of wetland area or function in the United States...... Read more »
Matthews, J., & Endress, A. (2010) Rate of succession in restored wetlands and the role of site context. Applied Vegetation Science. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-109X.2010.01076.x
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