INTEGRATING NEST SITE SELECTION AND SURVIVAL CONSEQUENCES FOR GREATER SAGE-GROUSE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE.
Shawn T. O'Neil; Western Ecological Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey; 800 Business Park Dr. Suite D, Dixon, CA, 95620; (701) 741-4361; soneil@usgs.gov; Peter S. Coates, Brianne E. Brussee, Mark A. Ricca, Shawn P. Espinosa, David J. Delehanty
Mass decline, extirpation, and extinction of species brought on by the degradation of global ecosystem function and services are hallmark traits of the contemporary Anthropocene. In the southwestern U.S., species such as the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) are threatened by continued habitat loss resulting from direct and indirect anthropogenic disturbances, including energy development, increased extent and severity of wildfire, cheatgrass invasion, and increased predator densities. Under these conditions, sage-grouse may exhibit maladaptive habitat selection patterns, brought on by strong breeding site fidelity in areas undergoing rapid environmental change. Understanding these patterns is critical for species conservation, in part because habitat mapping efforts typically fail to account for this decoupling between habitat selection and reproductive success. We demonstrate a two-stage modeling approach that integrates nest site selection by sage-grouse and the probability of nest success at the population level. Importantly, this approach can be used to infer the relative probability that a habitat is selected while also contributing positively to breeding productivity, thereby identifying high probability source habitats. We apply this technique to local nesting sage-grouse populations and discuss implications for managing habitat and populations of sensitive species in the Anthropocene. Findings are preliminary and provided for best timely science.
Ecology and Conservation of Birds I