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  • Thumbnail for Exploring the Impacts of Temperature on the Activity Patterns of Mongoose Lemurs (Eulemur mongoz) at the Lemur Conservation Foundation, Myakka City, Florida
    Exploring the Impacts of Temperature on the Activity Patterns of Mongoose Lemurs (Eulemur mongoz) at the Lemur Conservation Foundation, Myakka City, Florida by Twinney, Rebecca Clare

    This study focused on the activity patterns of a male-female pair of semi-free ranging mongoose lemurs (Eulemur mongoz) in Myakka City, Florida. Despite hypotheses that a change in temperature drives the seasonal shift in the species’ activity patterns, previous research has been unable to conclusively isolate this variable. Because the Lemur Conservation Foundation provided a constant food source and limited predation, it enabled this study to isolate the effect of temperature. The data illustrated no significant difference between hourly activity levels during sampling periods in the summer and fall of 2016 (P = 0.32). Despite lower temperatures in the fall (P = 0.01), the lemurs’ activity patterns did not significantly alter from those in the warmer summer months. These findings indicate that seasonal food availability, rather than temperature, drives the shifting activity patterns of wild mongoose lemurs. While Curtis et al. (1999) originally suggest that the lemurs’ higher fiber intake during the dry season drives this change in activity, more research is needed in order to fully understand this relationship.

  • Thumbnail for Conserving biodiversity : a qualitative method for analyzing federal environmental policies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
    Conserving biodiversity : a qualitative method for analyzing federal environmental policies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by Williams, Samuel Parker

    Biological diversity includes the variance in genes, organisms, and relationships found in nature. Also called biodiversity, it provides countless economic, social, and personal benefits to people in the United States and all over the world. In the U.S., this is recognized by the federal government most explicitly in the Endangered Species Act’s protections for those flora and fauna whose survival is least likely and most endangered by human action. Unfortunately, there are many anthropogenic threats to biological diversity. In order to protect this incredible natural resource, responsible management must be implemented across all levels of government. Given the amount of funding, large spatial scales, and public interest at stake, the federal government is the best suited to this task. The federal government must play a key role in the protection of biological diversity. The purpose of this paper is to provide a qualitative analysis of the federal government’s management of biological diversity in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Examining management at these scales is uncommon, yet extremely valuable. By examining management on scales that coincide with the scale of natural processes, we can better see the broad implications and interactions of our management policies. We can also determine how to sharpen management in order to more accurately address these important scales. In order to achieve this, a basic overview of modern conservation science and terms to be utilized will be provided. Building upon this overview, four categories will be describe, which, according to the science, are vital to the preservation of biological diversity. These categories are cores, connectivity, restoration, and monitoring. There will be three standards used to assess the quality of policy. Scientific foundations, the human-nature nexus, and adaptability are these three measures. The Greater Yellowstone ecosystem will then be described. Finally, in each of the four categories, examples of policy or management action will be described and analyzed via the three measures of successful policy. This analysis shall provide examples of policies with varying degrees of success. By extrapolating management from these representative case studies, an aggregate picture of management across the ecosystem will be gained. It is hoped that such analysis will uncover areas where management may be improved and facilitate the spread of successful policies and management ideas. It is also intended as a suitable framework for examining and creating biodiversity management policies in other ecosystems, regions, and countries.

  • Thumbnail for Shade intolerance and physiological responses of Tamarix ramosissima: Fountain Creek, CO
    Shade intolerance and physiological responses of Tamarix ramosissima: Fountain Creek, CO by Brown, Keirsten

    Invasive species, such as Tamarix ramosissima, pervade riparian habitats throughout the American Southwest. Tamarix ramosissima poses a threat to native plant community structure due to its fast growth rate, high water use, and stress tolerance. Therefore, it is of great importance to find long-term, viable strategies to mitigate its invasion. Here, we test the hypothesis that Tamarix ramosissima is a shade intolerant plant, as understanding the plant’s ecology is necessary to employ an effective conservation strategy. We measured several functional traits, morphological traits, and flower number of Tamarix ramosissima within open and canopy habitat types to detect physiological responses to shade. The data show significant differences in photosystem efficiency, chlorophyll content, stomatal density, stomatal aperture, and flower number between open and canopy plants; there is also evidence of a reproductive tradeoff in shade plants between increased photosystem efficiency and chlorophyll content, and decreased flower number. These data indicate shade intolerance in Tamarix ramosissima, potentially suggesting that promoting native plant canopy cover could be an effective conservation strategy to restore native community structure.

  • Thumbnail for 2013 Summer field work : Colorado College State of the Rockies Project
    2013 Summer field work : Colorado College State of the Rockies Project

    For the summer of 2013, with the focus was on large landscape conservation, the team set sights northward. With stops like Yellowstone, Bozeman, Missoula, and the Flathead River Valley, this year’s field work involved meetings with conservation experts, and individuals tied to the past, present, and future of land use and conservation here in the Rocky Mountain West. In addition to the 3,400 mile journey from Colorado Springs to the Canadian Border, the team also conducted field research in Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the Front Range of Colorado.