Submitted Abstracts - FRSES 2018

Oral presentations     Poster presentations

Oral Presentations:

Abstracts listed alphabetically by author

Oral Presentation Abstracts





6A Bethany Avera
SOIL ORGANIC MATTER FORMATION IS DRIVEN BY BELOWGROUND C INPUTS IN BARK-BEETLE INFESTED LODGEPOLE PINE: IMPLICATIONS FOR SALVAGE LOGGING AND RESIDUE MANAGEMENT
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Charles Rhoades (USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station), Francisco Calderon (USDA Agriculture Research Service), M. Francesca Cotrufo (Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, CSU)

Continent-scale forest disturbance caused by bark beetle outbreaks and associated salvage logging has renewed concern about the implications of forest management on soil organic matter (SOM) stores. The objective of this study was to investigate how salvage logging and residue management influence SOM pools in beetle-infested lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) forests and to identify dominant sources of soil carbon (C). We quantified the C inventory of downed wood and organic and mineral soils at four sites in Colorado, each with three blocks of the following treatments: (1) uncut beetle-infested forest and, adjacent stands that were logged seven years ago with either residue (2) retention or (3) removal. Soil C inventory increased with salvage logging, but was unrelated to woody residue inputs. For example, soil C was 5.5 Mg ha-1 higher where logging residues were removed compared to where 35 Mg C ha-1 of residues were retained. Increases in soil C were in the light (<1.85 g/cm-3) and sand-sized (> 53 ?m) SOM pools. Differences in ?13C between the organic and mineral soil fractions indicate that C in the mineral soil originates from belowground plant inputs rather than from vertical transfer of C from through decomposition and transformation of soil organic layers. Salvage logging and residue management have multiple consequences for ecosystem processes and biodiversity but our study suggests in lodgepole forests these treatments can increase rather than decrease soil C and that belowground C inputs from residual and newly-established vegetation are crucial to SOM formation.

4D Theresa Barosh
TWO GALLING BIOCONTROL AGENTS: COEXISTENCE ACROSS SPATIAL SCALES
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Ode, Paul

Indirect species interactions can have a profound effect on community structure. When herbivores share a food source, they impact one another indirectly through resource competition and plant trait-mediated interactions. Distinguishing between these two types of indirect interactions is challenging in plant-based systems. Using the invasive Russian knapweed, Acroptilon repens (Asteraceae) as a study system, I explore how the plant mediates interactions between its two biological control agents: a gall midge Jaapiella ivannikovi (Cecidomyiidae) and a gall wasp Aulacidea acroptilonica. Weed management provides an opportunity to manipulate community member presence at a large scale. Russian knapweed is a noxious weed found throughout the Western United States. Experiments conducted across scales from small (within a host plant) to large (multiple populations), allow us to determine how predictive greenhouse experiments can be when applied to field results. In the greenhouse, we exposed plants to midges, wasps, or both insects, and resulting insect offspring and plant traits were measured. Greenhouse experiments indicate interspecific facilitation occurring between gall insects sharing a host plant. Additionally, we visited sites across Wyoming and Colorado to observe coexistence in knapweed populations. At three of these sites, we examined insect presence on plants and branches. Field observations suggest that the two insect species regularly co-occur on the same plants when sharing a knapweed population. Plant trait-mediated impacts may explain co-occurrence patterns. Consideration of such mechanisms could improve weed management outcomes.

5D Whitney Beck
BOTTOM-UP AND TOP-DOWN FACTORS INFLUENCING ALGAL BIOMASS AND COMMUNITY COMPOSITION ACROSS A STREAM CURRENT VELOCITY GRADIENT
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Whitney Beck (Colorado State University), N. LeRoy Poff (Colorado State University), David Markman (Colorado State University)

Stream current velocity is a master variable that can modify bottom-up and top-down factors influencing algal production and community structure. Current velocity impacts nutrient uptake and aquatic insect grazing rates, but field experiments have rarely examined these processes simultaneously. We used nutrient diffusing substrates (NDS) to add nutrients and an electric fence to exclude invertebrates across a velocity gradient of 2-30 cm/second. We measured algal biomass, organic matter, and several pigments representing algal community composition. ANOVAs showed that algal biomass responded to nutrient but not grazing treatments, with positive interactions between current velocity and the limiting nutrient (phosphorus). In contrast, organic matter decreased with grazing but did not respond to nutrient additions. Regarding algal community composition, grazing reduced diatoms and algal senescence, while phosphorus treatments increased the proportion of green algae and cyanobacteria. We did not find an interaction between grazing and current velocity, likely because aquatic insect grazers in this stream (Heptageniidae and Baetidae mayflies) were uninhibited across the velocity levels tested. These experiments measured treatment effects on early successional algal communities (up to 16 days old), but future experiments will focus on developed communities across a wider velocity range.

3D Sara Bombaci
FENCED MAMMAL-FREE SANCTUARIES INCREASE BIRD DENSITIES, BIRD DIVERSITY, AND BIRD-MEDIATED SEED DISPERSAL IN NEW ZEALAND
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Sara Bombaci (CSU), Liba Pejchar (CSU)

Island birds are under threat from invasive mammals, which may impact ecosystem processes that depend on birds, e.g. seed dispersal. The island nation of New Zealand has pioneered a unique solution - fenced mammal-free sanctuaries - which exclude invasive mammals from natural habitats and provide opportunities to restore native birds. Yet, little has been published on sanctuary project outcomes. We assessed if sanctuaries are an effective conservation tool for birds and seed dispersal in New Zealand. We hypothesized that sanctuary sites would support higher bird species richness and population densities, higher foraging rates, and higher dispersed seed densities. We tested this hypothesis using natural experiment (three fenced sanctuary sites paired with three reference sites without mammal control). We found higher bird species richness (2-6 more species/site) and higher bird densities (0.45-2.60 more birds/ha) in sanctuary sites for seven species, including five fruit-eating species and six native species. We found no significant effect for six species. Foraging rates and dispersed seed densities were also higher (0.1-0.6 more fruits consumed/observation period; 2-90 more seeds dispersed/plot) in sanctuary sites for several native plant species. By increasing bird diversity and seed dispersal potential, mammal-free sanctuaries may provide a useful conservation and restoration tool in island systems under threat from invasive mammals.

9B Clifton Bueno de Mesquita
MICROBIAL FACILITATION OF PLANT RANGE SHIFTS
University of Colorado Boulder; Graduate.
With Steven K. Schmidt, University of Colorado Boulder; Katharine N. Suding, (University of Colorado Boulder)

Species interactions can either promote or hinder the ability of a species to track climate change. Despite the well-known and ubiquitous importance of soil microbes to plant fitness, the role of plant-microbe interactions in plant range shifts has rarely been studied or included in predictive models. We grew three alpine plant species in different soil inocula from unvegetated and vegetated soils, and then transplanted the plants into currently unvegetated soils. We also manipulated the growing season in half of the plots by accelerating snowmelt by one week using black sand. In the greenhouse, plant performance was significantly affected by soil inoculum, but effects were dependent on plant species. After the first growing season in the field, growth of Deschampsia cespitosa was significantly greater when grown with microbes from vegetated soils. There was no effect of the growing season length treatment in the first season of the experiment. Preliminary results suggest that a lack of microbial mutualists may affect the rate or spatial extent of plant movement uphill into unvegetated soils as climate warms and snow melts earlier.

11D James Den Uyl
WHAT DETERMINES APHIDS POPULATIONS IN A CHANGING CLIMATE?
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Graduate.
With Emily Mooney (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs), Maria Mullins (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs)

Aphids are important insect herbivores, disease transmitters, and agricultural pests. They are responsible for significant economic damage to many food and commodity crops around the world, and yet their outbreaks remain unpredictable and increasingly common. Being able to understand why some years produce more aphids than others would be a significant step towards food security and more efficient ecosystem management practices. Preliminary research has shown a positive correlation between soil moisture and aphid population growth rates, but the mechanisms of this phenomenon have not been adequately described. The additional threat of climate change further complicates interannual population predictions, especially in mountainous ecosystems where soil moisture is unevenly distributed. During this presentation I will propose future research directions that would elucidate this connection between soil moisture and aphid populations and what a changing climate could mean for these important insect herbivores in the future. Specifically, my methods would look at the bottom-up effects of snowmelt date, host plant phenology, and host plant physiological stress on aphid populations. The results of this project will provide a more complete understanding of aphid population dynamics and can be used to inform management decisions for both natural and agricultural ecosystems.

10B Kimberly Dolphin
WHAT IN YOUR RIGHT MIND WOULD MAKE YOU DO THAT?
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Kimberly Dolphin (CSU), Kim Hoke (CSU)

Behavioral plasticity allows strategies toward conspecifics to change on an acute time scale to balance trade-offs presented in different environments and social contexts. However, decisions between strategies may be biased by the genetic and developmental history of the individual from differences within the brain, and may have strong implications for an organism's ability to adapt in novel environments and respond to cues about risk or reward. Using male Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata), we tested how evolutionary history and rearing environment affects which behavioral strategies are adopted and affects the patterns of neural activation in socially relevant brain regions across five acute social contexts. We used these fish because they originate from populations that have evolved with either high or low predation threat, and now have different behavioral strategies and morphologies. We scored behaviors of focal males in these social contexts and then measured neural activation using immunoreactivity for phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 (pS6). Ancestry and rearing conditions influence the behavioral strategies fish adopt when placed in different acute social contexts. Patterns of pS6 induction across the brain regions studied are associated with behavioral strategies adopted in each acute context. Our results show circuit level neural mechanisms underlie the behavioral plasticity and flexibility we see in males from populations with differing predation threats.

11A Courtney Duchardt
BREEDING MOUNTAIN PLOVER RELIANCE ON BLACK-TAILED PRAIRIE DOG DISTURBANCE IN THUNDER BASIN NATIONAL GRASSLAND
University of Wyoming, Graduate.
With Dr. Jeff Beck (University of Wyoming), Dr. David Augustine (USDA - Agricultural Research Service

Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are "ecosystem engineers", clipping vegetation to maintain the short, sparse habitat structure required by many wildlife species in North America. One such species is the mountain plover (Charadrius montanus), a shortgrass bird declining throughout its range. Although mountain plovers will use many different habitats if adequate bare ground is available (e.g., recent burns, early-season croplands), along the wetter eastern edge of its range it is partially restricted to prairie dog colonies. This is the case in the Thunder Basin National Grassland (TBNG), located on the ecotone between the Great Plains and sagebrush steppe. The TBNG contains some of the largest prairie dog colonies remaining, providing a unique opportunity to examine how plovers respond to the size, shape and vegetation cover within colonies. We examined densities, nest-site use and nest success of mountain plovers across a range of colony sizes in the TBNG from 2015-2017. Observations of plovers were restricted to black-tailed prairie dog colonies, confirming their reliance on prairie dogs. Abundance and distribution of plover nests varied across prairie dog colony sizes and ages, but plovers did not preferentially nest in very large colonies. This information is especially pertinent given the grassland must also provide undisturbed sagebrush for species like the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), and adequate forage for livestock grazing.

8B Andrew Felton
DISPROPORTIONATE EFFECT OF RAINFALL VARIABILITY ON ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION DURING DROUGHT
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Andrew J. Felton, Ingrid J. Slette, Melinda D. Smith and Alan K. Knapp

Atmospheric warming is predicted to increase the variability of within-year rainfall patterns, with consequent increases in the frequency and intensity of large rainfall events. Here, we quantify the ecological cost of such variability within mesic grassland. For the first time, we eliminated growing season rainfall variability within an intact ecosystem by imposing uniform patterns across a large rainfall gradient in a multi-year experiment, focusing on impacts to the rain use efficiency of ecosystem productivity (RUE). We show that relative to the long-term (32-year) ambient precipitation - productivity record, the effects of uniform rainfall patterns on RUE are minimal during wet years yet significantly increase RUE during the driest years. In the driest years, large rainfall events and their contribution to both total growing season rainfall amount and variability were linked to reduced RUE. This indicates that heightened rainfall variability reduces RUE of ecosystem productivity within this mesic grassland. Yet in particular, we show that rainfall variability disproportionately impacts RUE during severe drought (predicted 35 % reduction). As a consequence, our results indicate that more variable within-year rainfall patterns and increased high-intensity precipitation events can heighten the negative impacts of drought within this ecosystem, with dampened effects during wet years.

2D Katie Fialko
CONIFER REGENERATION AND FUELS TREATMENT LONGEVITY IN DRY MIXED-CONIFER FORESTS OF THE COLORADO FRONT RANGE
Colorado State University, Graduate.

Colorado wildfires have been increasing in size and severity, and to mitigate negative consequences, fuels reduction treatments are being applied to Front Range dry-mixed conifer forests. The goals of these treatments are to reduce ladder fuels and tree density to limit destructive crown fire. Regenerating conifer seedlings in treated areas can contribute to such fire behavior in the future, thereby reducing treatment longevity. In this study, thinning or mastication treatments ranging in age from 5 to 14 years old were selected to destructively sample roughly 1400 seedlings in 222 plots. To capture variation in conifer regeneration according to temperature and moisture conditions, these plots were spread across 1800 to 2800 meters elevation and north and south aspects in the South Platte and Boulder National Forest Ranger Districts. Seedling density did indeed vary from zero to nearly 11,000 seedlings ha-1. Douglas-fir seedlings were considerably more abundant (maximum of 10,864 seedlings ha-1) than ponderosa pine (maximum of 3703 seedlings ha-1). Just over 60% of the seedlings germinated before the time of treatment, which partly explains why treatment type does not appear to be correlated with overall seedling density. My objective is to use this data to inform forest managers responsible for scheduling maintenance of fuels treatments.

4A Dana Flett
INFLUENCE OF HYDROLOGY, VEGETATION, AND LAND USE ON CARBON DYNAMICS IN MOUNTAIN WETLANDS
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Flett Dana (CSU, GDPE, graduate student), Cooper David (CSU, GDPE, Senior Researcher)

Fen wetlands serve as significant carbon storage reservoirs relative to their abundance on the landscape yet disturbances to these ecosystems are common. To understand the natural functioning of fens and the potential effects of cattle grazing, I measured water table dynamics, vegetation composition, CO2 dynamics and impacts from cattle trampling at four fens in the northern Sierra Nevada of California. I compared areas trammeled by cattle with intact areas and contrasted impacts from cattle trampling to the effects of water table drawdown. Four stands of vegetation were identified in each fen and validated using cluster and indicator species analyses. Net ecosystem production (NEP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) were measured bi-weekly during the growing season (June-September 2016) with an Infrared CO2 Gas Analyzer. Percent impact was measured at plots with visible hoof punching and ranged from 15-100% bare ground. Replicates were averaged across impact type, community, site and date. Cattle trampling reduced gross primary productivity (GPP) and negatively affected carbon sequestration potential. Increased disturbance was linearly correlated to greater potential for carbon losses. At low vegetation cover NEP was positive, indicating carbon loss. Carbon storage potential was 1/10th in impacted areas compared with non-impacted areas in ORAL community types (p-value < 0.0001) and 1/5th in SPSU communities (p-value = 0.0009). NEP in areas affected by water table drawdown due to gully formation was not significantly different than hydrologically intact areas suggesting that cattle trampling has a greater negative effect on carbon sequestration than water table decline.

11C Gabrielle Gurule-Small
DEVELOPMENTAL EXPERIENCE WITH ANTHROPOGENIC NOISE HINDERS ADULT MATE LOCATION
University of Denver, Graduate.
With Robin Tinghitella (PI)

Phenotypic plasticity facilitates survival and reproduction in rapidly changing and novel environments. Traffic noise spectrally overlaps with (i.e., masks) the sounds used by many acoustically signaling organisms to locate and secure mates. We reared pre-reproductive field crickets (Teleogryllus oceanicus) in one of three noise environments: masking traffic noise, traffic noise from which frequencies that spectrally overlap with the crickets' song were removed (non-masking), or silence. At reproductive maturity, we tested female mate location ability under one of the same three acoustic conditions to determine if pre-reproductive exposure to noise improves adult performance in noisy environments. We found that exposure to noise during rearing hindered female location of mates, regardless of the acoustic environment at testing. Females reared in masking noise took 80% longer than females reared in silence to locate a simulated singing male who was <1m away. Impaired mate location ability can be added to a growing list of fitness costs associated with anthropogenic noise alongside reductions in pairing success, nesting success, and offspring survival.

5A Carolina Gutierrez
INSECTS ROLE CHANGES IN STREAMS UNDER SHIFTING ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Carolina Gutierrez, Rachel Harrington, Boris Kondratieff, Colleen Webb, Cameron Ghalambor and N. LeRoy Poff (Colorado State University)

Functional diversity quantifies the value and range of organismal traits that influence species performance and contribution to ecosystem functioning. Functional diversity (rather than simply taxonomic diversity) provides a mechanistic framework to understand community productivity and resilience to perturbations or invasion. Aquatic insect functional diversity using multidimensional metrics has been examined in the past decade, but not in the context of strong environmental gradients. We applied a multifaceted framework to quantify three primary components of functional diversity of stream insects along an elevation gradient. We used Functional Richness (FRic), Functional Evenness (FEve) and Functional Divergence (FDiv) indices to test for significant differences in aquatic insect functional diversity in 24 small streams in three adjacent catchments, spanning an elevational range of ca. 2000 - 3500 m. Our results showed that only FRic differs significantly with elevation, and that the pattern of change remains constant across catchments. Our findings provide independent information concerning position and relative abundances of species in a multidimensional functional space, and they allow for inferences on elevational patterns of aquatic insect functional beta diversity in mountain streams.

10D Claudia Hallagan
CONSEQUENCES OF ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE ON OFFSPRING IMMUNOCOMPETENCY AND FITNESS
University of Denver, Graduate.
With Claudia J Hallagan (University of Denver), Robin M Tinghitella (University of Denver), Shannon M Murphy (University of Denver)

Life history theory in Evolutionary Biology predicts that older females allocate more resources and energy into reproduction than do younger females, suggesting that offspring of older females are more (or equally as) fit as offspring of younger females. However, extensive research has found the opposite pattern that offspring of older mothers tend to have lower fitness than those of younger mothers. Furthermore, aging is known to have widespread negative effects on immunocompetency; older individuals do not launch as effective immune responses as younger individuals. Invertebrates, like vertebrates, transfer antibodies from mother to offspring to bolster the offspring's immune function and the mother's immunity can be reflected in the offspring throughout all stages of the offspring's life. However, it is unknown if older mothers' decreased immune response is reflected in offspring born to mothers of advanced age. We investigated the effects of advanced maternal age on offspring immunocompetency and fitness in a natural population of the pacific field cricket (Teleogryllus oceanicus). We mated old and young mothers with males of a controlled young age and reared their offspring to adulthood. We measured immunocompetency of the mothers' full siblings to establish a baseline immune response as well as maternal fitness (body size measurements, number of eggs laid, and proportion of eggs hatched). We will present preliminary results from our ongoing experiment that show important effects of female age at mating on maternal fitness, which may have consequences on offspring immune response and fitness.

1D Daniel Hartman
PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT OF RIFT VALLEY FEVER VIRUS TRANSMISSION POTENTIAL AROUND FEEDLOTS IN COLORADO
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Daniel Hartman (CSU), Lauren Rice (CSU), Justin DeMaria (CSU), Nicholas Bergren (CSU), Rebekah Kading (CSU)

Rift Valley Fever Virus (RVFV) is an emerging arbovirus that infects ruminants and humans. As the virus threatens to invade the United States, preliminary investigations of native mosquito ecology are needed to inform control upon arrival. We sampled mosquitoes at feed lots and nearby control sites in Colorado to investigate the vulnerability of these operations to RVFV, given a successful establishment in the United States. We characterized mosquito diversities at each site with Hill numbers, and investigated differences between mosquito community assemblages by habitat type (feedlot versus non-feedlot) using ordination and model-based analysis of multivariate abundance data. We also compared West Nile Virus (WNV) infection rates in Culex tarsalis mosquitoes collected at feedlots and nearby control sites to investigate whether dispersal is limited at this interface. Diversities were generally higher on control sites than on nearby feedlots, and mosquito abundances differed significantly between habitat types. Infection rates of Cx. tarsalis mosquitoes with WNV did not differ between feedlots and respective control sites, offering evidence that mosquitoes disperse readily across this interface. While mosquito diversities and species abundances differ between feedlots and the surrounding habitats, Cx. tarsalis abundance is among the least affected, indicating potential to vector RVFV to domestic ungulates.

10A Deidre Jaeger
THE SEASONAL CANOPY: TRACKING ASH TREE PHENOLOGY AND AIR TEMPERATURE USING TRUNK-MOUNTED ACCELEROMATERS AND HOBO PENDANTS IN BOULDER University of Colorado-Boulder, Graduate.
With Mark Raleigh (CU-Boulder/CIRES), Carol Wessman (CU-Boulder/CIRES), Brian Miller (USGS/NCCSC Ft. Collins), Dr. Gabriel Senay (USGS/NCCSC Ft. Collins), Dr. Jonathan Friedman (USGS Boulder/Ft. Collins)

In urban environments, microclimates created by vegetation and the built environment can be radically diverse within a city or even a yard. In order to explore patterns or differences among heterogeneous landscapes, new ecological tools need to be developed. The main objectives of the study were to 1) determine how air temperature is related to leaf color change and leaf drop in ash trees (Fraxinus sp.), the dominant broadleaf tree in Boulder's urban forest canopy, and 2) assess the ability for accelerometer devices (which measures the constant force of gravity and dynamic trunk vibrations) to signal leaf color change and leaf drop in ash trees. Analysis of hourly logged HOBO Pendant temperature data is in-progress, but preliminary results of time-series acceleration frequency-analysis show an increasing temporal trend for several individual trees, indicating tree mass decreased with time. The decline in mass appears to be more related to leaf color change rather than the leaf drop phenophase. The accelerometer sensor offers a promising low-cost method to gather biological-transition data for tree phenology, a traditionally labor intensive endeavor. Future projects will explore time-lapse photographical validation of tree canopy activity, as well as Raspberry-Pi enabled WiFi transfer of accelereometer data. With continued development, this method offers a way to examine within-species and between-species scales tree responses to environmental variation across urban landscapes.

6B Courtland Kelly
EVALUATING THE SOIL HEALTH OUTCOMES OF DIVERSIFICATION IN WATER-LIMITED AGROECOSYSTEMS WITH COVER CROPS AND LIVESTOCK
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Courtland Kelly (Colorado State University), Meagan Schipanski (Colorado State University), Angela Moore (Colorado State University), Wilma Trujillo (Colorado State University Extension), Steven Fonte (Colorado State University)

Incorporating cover crops into crop rotations is a strategy that some farmers use to improve soil health by reducing erosion and adding organic matter to the soil. However, cover crops can deplete soil water and reduce productivity in following seasons, severely affecting the economic viability of this practice. Integrating livestock into the system to graze the cover crops is an opportunity for diversification that may mitigate the economic risk. Our study seeks to evaluate the effect of grazing cover crops on soil health to help producers weigh the potential costs and benefits of adopting this practice. We implemented on-farm field trials over the course of two summer growing seasons on ten dryland, no-till fields in eastern Colorado and western Kansas. We examined soil health parameters on the following replicated treatments: ungrazed (typical cover crop), cattle grazed (cover crop-as-forage), and bare fallow (most common management in the region). Bulk density was not fund to increase under grazing compared with bare fallow, but was higher than ungrazed. Our results confirmed reduced soil water under cover crops, which was exacerbated by grazing. Interestingly, our results show that water stable aggregation, a measure of soil structure, increased under grazing compared with bare fallow. Understanding how cover crops and their use as forage affects soil health will help producers make important decision around adoption of this new practice, which could drastically alter the diversity of the soil landscape in the Central Plains and beyond.

4B Grayson Koenemann
SURVEYOR IN THE SKY: USING VERY HIGH-RESOLUTION DRONE-COLLECTED DATA TO MONITOR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION
Colorado Mesa University, Undergraduate.

We are implementing ecological restoration monitoring using multi-spectral remote sensing on a drone platform. Lands disturbed by oil and gas operations must be restored and meet several performance-based standards, including vegetation monitoring and reporting at regular intervals. Rigorous quantitative monitoring, using conventional methods, can be expensive since it entails high-skill, labor-intensive procedure that must be deployed during a limited growing season. We estimated vegetation cover and species composition on seven reclaimed well pads and two reference sites in Rio Blanco County, Colorado, using standard line-point-intercept techniques. We compared these results to those obtained using a 5-band multi-spectral camera with sub-meter resolution flown over each of these nine sites. Pixel-based supervised classification of the resulting multi-spectral imagery allowed us to accurately estimate the herbaceous, shrub, and tree composition of these well pads compared to the LPI method (achieving R2 values of0.9). We could also reliably identify several woody species including Juniperus osteosperma, Pinus edulis, Artemisia tridentata spp. wyomingensis from the imagery. Additional species that we could distinguish, with lower accuracy, included Ericamaria nauseosa and Gutierrezia sarothrae. We will apply this classification to the regions beyond the small plots assessed using LPI to determine its capability to monitor larger restoration areas. Our results indicate that remote sensing techniques can provide land managers with an effective but more cost-efficient alternative to ground-based monitoring.

5B Christopher Kotalik
STREAM COMMUNITY RESPONSES TO DIRECT AND INDIRECT METALS STRESSORS USING STREAM MESOCOSMS
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Clements, William

The ecological effects of trace metals to streams and rivers are well documented through laboratory, field, and mesocosm approaches. While most water quality criteria (WQC) are developed using traditional laboratory toxicity tests, mesocosm experiments offer a valuable middle ground between laboratory methods and field surveys. We evaluated the direct and indirect effects of metals commonly associated with acid mine drainage impaired streams by exposing benthic communities to Cu and Zn mixtures, as well as Fe oxide for 14 d. Measured responses included the timing and abundance of emerging adult taxa, algal colonization, community metabolism, and community composition. Results indicate that aquatic insect life stage responses were taxa-dependent and differed based on the respective metals stressor. In addition, dissolved metals exposure in midges (Chironomidae) resulted in an increase in their rate of adult emergence, suggesting that these macroinvertebrates exhibit a compensatory response to exposure. Algal colonization and community metabolism displayed the greatest overall sensitivity to exposure between both metals stressors. In general, significant reductions in endpoint responses were observed at concentrations below the WQC for Fe, whereas observed effects for Cu and Zn occurred at or above their cumulative criterion value. This research demonstrates the adaptability of mesocosms to differing environmental stressors, while highlighting the need to comprehensively assess contaminant effects with ecologically meaningful endpoints.

7D Vincent Landau
COMBINING PRESENCE-ONLY AND OCCUPANCY DATA IN A BAYESIAN FRAMEWORK TO MODEL HABITAT SELECTION FOR JAGUARS
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Barry R. Noon (CSU), David M. Theobald (Conservation Science Partners, Inc; CSU), Clayton K. Nielsen (Southern Illinois University)

Presence-only data are arguably the most information-poor data type used in ecological modeling, but they are also one of the most common. Presence-only data are often used in resource selection function modeling using logistic regression, but because logistic regression requires both 1 and 0 data, researchers conventionally supplement the presence-only data with background points sampled randomly throughout the study area and define them as zeros (absences). Given enough data, this method has been proven to approximate the relationship between environmental covariates and habitat use; However, there is a paucity of data for jaguars (Panthera onca). This is true especially in northwestern Mexico and the southwest US, the areas of interest for this research. To maximize inference and reduce uncertainty, two datasets, one presence-only dataset and one site-occupancy dataset in a subset of the study area, are modeled jointly in a hierarchical Bayesian context at a fine spatial resolution. Prior to this research, a parametric model of habitat suitability for jaguars has not been done at this scale or resolution to the author(s)' knowledge. Preliminary results suggest that Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and terrain ruggedness are important predictors of habitat suitability for this species. Understanding these relationships will provide important additional insight into the habitat requirements of jaguars as conservation efforts for this endangered species continue.

7C Theresa Laverty
BAT DIVERSITY AND WATER QUALITY IN THE WORLD'S OLDEST DESERT
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Theresa Laverty (Colorado State University), Joel Berger (Colorado State University; Wildlife Conservation Society)

Desert life concentrates around rare bodies of open water. While traditionally these habitats were restricted to natural springs, artificial pools now play important roles in structuring wildlife, livestock, and human distributions in arid landscapes. Water bodies differ not only in physical dimensions, but also in chemistry, of which the latter can have profound influences on wildlife and human health. Our research tests whether the activity and species richness of insectivorous bats can be used as indicators of water quality in the northern Namib Desert, Namibia. We measured 24 variables of water chemistry and quality at each site at the conclusion of the dry and wet seasons. Through the use of mist netting and acoustic monitoring, we determined bat activity and species richness above both natural and artificial bodies of water. While bat activity of certain species appears to differ between natural and artificial sites, water chemistry does not appear to differ between them. This indicates that physical features like water surface area and volume may be more important than water quality for some species. For instance, capture rates of free-tailed bats like Sauromys petrophilus are higher at larger water bodies and at artificial pools unobstructed by vegetation. If bats, or particular species of bats, can serve as indicator species, they could provide a cost- and time-efficient way to monitor wetland health in desert ecosystems. In the face of even greater rainfall variation associated with climate change and overall water table declines, understanding the role that desert water plays in structuring mammal communities alike is essential to their conservation.

3B Clint Leach
THE EFFECT OF CONTACT STRUCTURE OF THE SPREAD OF WILDLIFE DISEASE
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Erin Gorsich (CSU), Colleen Webb (CSU)

Networks provide an intuitive framework to characterize the drivers of animal social behavior or predict its ecological and evolutionary consequences. The spread of infectious disease represents one important and well-studied consequence of network structure. However, network properties may vary among wildlife social systems, and there has been little general quantification of variation among wildlife networks or evaluation of the consequences of this variation for disease dynamics. We review 67 empirical networks from 45 studies to characterize the properties of wildlife networks. Our results show that most wildlife contact networks are relatively small, highly connected, and have low variation among animals in numbers of contacts. Simulating disease spread on similar networks, we find that higher order network properties (i.e., transitivity) have relatively little effect on disease dynamics for many combinations of network density and contact heterogeneity. Further, we also find that in many cases, incorporating data on individual-level contacts did not make substantial changes to the timing and spread of disease compared to models assuming random mixing. Though efforts to collect detailed data on contact patterns are often informative for understanding animal social behavior, such efforts are often not informative for predicting population-level disease processes.

3A Casey Lee
AN INTRODUCTION TO ACOUSTIC ECOLOGY AND THE EFFECTS OF TRAFFIC NOISE ON THE BEHAVIOR OF BLACK-TAILED PRAIRIE DOGS: EMPLOYING A DOSE-RESPONSE FRAME TO INVESTIGATE LINEAR VS. THRESHOLD MODELS OF RESPONSE AND ACOUSTIC MASKING
Colorado State University, Graduate.

Anthropogenic noise has grown dramatically in recent decades, becoming both more widespread and increasingly severe. Still, noise has received relatively little scientific attention until recently despite demonstration of significant physiological, psychological, and cognitive risks. Now, there is rapidly growing concern over the impacts of anthropogenic noise on natural systems. In addition to the physical damage which may be experienced by wildlife subjected to high-intensity sound, noise has complex effects on behaviors including mating, vigilance, and communication through the mechanisms of distraction, changes to perceived risk, and masking of acoustic cues. Emerging evidence indicates these responses scale up to effect wildlife at the population and community levels. Much of acoustic ecology remains unexplored. Questions include how noise effects taxa other than marine mammals and birds, how noise impacts behaviors other than movement and vocalization, and how qualities of noise such as duration, loudness, and type (e.g. anthropogenic vs. natural) effect behavioral responses. Following a dose-response framework, I will broadcast traffic noise at different volumes to investigate how loudness effects the behavior of black-tailed prairie dogs, a keystone species in widespread decline across its historic range. In addition, I will broadcast alarm calls during playbacks to investigate potential acoustic masking. Previous studies have established experimental methods on prairie dog colonies, confirmed that they respond to traffic noise, and documented substantial behavioral shifts with the potential to impact fitness and energy budgets.

2A Andrew Mann
TRADEOFFS BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL TOLERANCE AND PATHOGENICITY IN AN ENTOMOPATHOGENIC FUNGUS IN THE SPRUCE BEETLE STUDY SYSTEM
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Thomas Seth Davis (CSU)

Effective application of fungi as biological control agents of insects relies on matching fungal traits to ecological conditions. Both environmental and insect behavioral factors can strongly impact entomopathogenicity and understanding interactions between fungal traits and virulence is necessary for optimizing isolate selection. Beauveria bassiana is a complex of closely related cryptic species with a worldwide distribution; accordingly, considerable phenotypic variability exists among isolates. In this study, fourteen isolates of Beauveria bassiana were tested for their ability to grow, persist, and sporulate under a suite of environmental conditions including temperature, exposure to ultraviolet light, interactions with other microbial species, and exposure to tree defenses. Additionally, isolates were screened for their ability to reduce survival and reproduction of spruce beetle, Dendroctonus rufipennis, under laboratory and field conditions. An increased understanding of environmental factors that influence Beauveria bassiana growth, reproduction, and the potential tradeoffs between environmental tolerance and pathogenicity can help practitioners match fungal traits to environmental conditions for the purposes of maximizing efficacy in field application.

1A Alexander Mauro
THE ROLE OF PLASTICITY IN ADAPTATION TO AN INTRODUCED ENVIRONMENT
Colorado State University, Graduate
With Alex Mauro, Justin Havird, Cameron Ghalambor (Colorado State University)

While plasticity as long been recognized as an ubiquitous feature of organisms, plasticity's role in influencing adaptive adaptation is debated. Investigating how plasticity influences evolution is challenging in natural populations because of the difficulty of measuring populations during the early stages of population divergence. We overcome these challenges by studying the plasticity of gene expression in wild populations of Trinidad guppies that were experimentally introduced to predator free streams (a novel predatory state). We used RNASeq to measure the evolution of gene expression in the introduced populations, source population, and an already established low predation (target) population reared under common garden conditions. To test for changes in plasticity, fish were reared under ancestral conditions of predation and the novel no predation condition. Gene expression was measured over the course of 3 years. After 3-4 generations, we observed rapid evolutionary change in expression counter to the direction of ancestral plasticity and toward the target population. However, over time evolutionary divergence slowed. This slow in evolution co-occurred with plastic changes that brought the introduced populations closer to the new local optimum level of gene expression. Overall, our results suggest that an organism's plasticity has the potential to interact with the strength of directional selection acting on an organism and ultimately the course of its evolution.

1C Clifton McKee
TIMING THE DIVERSIFICATION OF A MAMMAL PARASITE, BARTONELLA
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Colleen Webb (CSU), Michael Kosoy (CDC)

The majority of human infections originate from animals. By determining the timing of parasites' evolutionary diversification, we can predict how fast a parasite might adapt to new hosts, including humans. Bartonella spp. are bacteria that infect humans and other mammals worldwide and are transmitted between hosts by blood-feeding arthropods (e.g., fleas, flies, and lice). Early Bartonella species and ancestors were symbionts of arthropods, including ants, bees, and mites, and later evolved to parasitize mammals. This study seeks to determine when this transition from symbiont to parasite occurred and whether the timing of Bartonella diversification corresponds to the diversification of mammals in the Cretaceous Period (66-103 million years ago, MYA). We compiled molecular data from multiple genetic loci from known Bartonella species and additional cultures from bats to build a phylogenetic tree. Using a molecular clock parameterized using mutation rates of the 16S rRNA gene in bacterial symbionts of arthropods, we projected the age of the most recent common ancestor of all Bartonella species known to infect mammals. The results show that Bartonella diversified with mammals between 89-119 MYA. Overall, this study shows that Bartonella evolves slowly but can become highly host-specific over time and with sufficient phylogenetic and geographic isolation of hosts.

6C Samantha Mosier
SOIL ORGANIC MATTER FROM SOUTHERN PINE BIOFUEL FEEDSTOCKS UNDER DIFFERENT SOIL TYPES AND MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Francesca Cotrufo, Keith Paustian, Christian Davies

Biofuels have the potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and lower CO2 emissions. The use of loblolly pine plantations to produce biofuels can potentially deliver sustainable biofuels. However, the removal of additional biomass from these plantations could reduce carbon (C) inputs belowground and therefore decrease overall ecosystem C storage. This study analyzes soil C stocks as a function of soil type and different pine plantation management systems. We hypothesized that plantations with heavier pre-commercial thinning and a more intensive silvicultural regime would have lower soil C stocks than plantations with less intensive overall management. We specifically expected to see these differences in soil organic matter (OM) fractions that are not mineral-associated and therefore less persistent. We found no significant differences in bulk soil C stocks across management intensities or soil types. The pre-commercial thinning treatment had no effect on the %C found in each soil organic matter fraction. However, proportionally more C was found in mineral-associated OM and less in particulate OM in the more intensive silvicultural regime treatment, possibly due to higher below ground inputs and microbial activities. Contrary to our hypothesis, our results suggest that management intensification to support biofuel production from loblolly pine plantations will not affect soil carbon stocks, but possibly increase their persistence.

9F Maria Mullins
APHIDS ON OSHA: HOW APHIDS CHOOSE THEIR HOST-PLANTS
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Graduate.

Host-plant selection is a critical process for the successful establishment of aphid colonies. Migrating aphids need to choose plants of high nutritional quality and avoid natural enemies. In our system near Crested Butte, CO, years with early snowmelt result in diminished aphid populations on our study plant, Ligusticum porteri. During these years, migrating aphids are faced with plants already colonized by a natural enemy, Lygus bugs, as well as plants of advanced phenology. This scenario provides an ideal system to study multi-trophic species interactions between plants, aphids, and their natural enemies. My questions are (1) how does plant phenology affect aphid host-plant choice and (2) is that choice mediated by the presence of natural enemies? We will perform behavioral choice assays to determine whether aphids prefer Ligusticum plants of early or late phenology, and whether they make the decision to avoid plants colonized by a natural enemy. We will also make host-plant quality assessments to investigate possible mechanisms behind these decisions. As the trend for earlier spring continues, aphids will likely be faced with this tradeoff more often in the future. The results will allow us to determine how bottom-up effects of plant phenology and top-down effects of predators influence aphid herbivory in our system.

7B Julianne Nikirk
A CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF ANTHROPOGENIC LIGHTING
Colorado State University,; Undergraduate.
With Brett Seymoure, Jeremy White, Carlos Linares, Lisa Angeloni, George Wittemyer, Kevin Crooks (Colorado State University)

Since the first man-made lighting of the early 1800's, humans have greatly altered the nocturnal environment with many different light sources. This anthropogenic lighting not only alters the behavior of humans, but also numerous organisms ranging from mammals to insects. Furthermore, understanding the effects of anthropogenic lighting on human health and ecological systems has been a burgeoning area of research for the last decade. Unfortunately, the research efforts have been conducted in different disciplines with little interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. It is our aim here to pull research from the physical and astronomical sciences, life and health sciences, and social and historical sciences, to conceptually map the effects of anthropogenic lighting on life. We use illustrations and graphics to represent what anthropogenic lighting is, what variation exists in lighting, and the myriad known consequences of anthropogenic lighting. Our goal is to make a reference for the lay-person to understand the effects of anthropogenic lighting that can be distributed at natural areas and educational venues to reduce the negative consequences of anthropogenic lighting. Lastly, we conclude with specific steps that citizens can take to reduce unnecessary lighting at night, which will save energy and reduce ecological consequences.

9E Isabella Oleksy
A WARMER AND GREENER WORLD – EVIDENCE OF ALGAL COMMUNITY SHIFTS FROM LAKE SEDIMENT RECORDS IN ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Isabella Oleksy (GDPE, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory - NREL), Jill Baron (USGS, NREL)

Mats of green algae have been observed in the subalpine Loch and alpine Sky Pond in the Colorado Front Range. These algal mats were not observed prior to 2010. Zygnema spp. are common green algae in nutrient-rich waters, and Loch Vale watershed has been nitrogen (N) rich but phosphorus-poor since the mid-20th century. The fact that the algal mats are only recently observed suggests N alone is not the cause of increased productivity; some other forcing factor may facilitate attached algal growth. Summer lake water temperatures have increased steadily by more than 2 degrees Celsius since the 1980s. Phosphorus concentrations may also have increased from either dust inputs or increased weathering rates. We present data from two sediment cores obtained from The Loch in March 2016 and Sky Pond in May 2017. Analyses are ongoing and include 210Pb, C:N ratios, del13C, del15N, total organic matter content, and major algal pigments to assess changes in primary production through time. Percent organic carbon has increased in recent time while C:N has decreased, consistent with results from other lakes affected by N deposition. These results are part of a larger study involving experiments and monitoring that addresses the hypothesis is that lakes that were heretofore oligotrophic and characterized by very low nutrient waters may be transitioning to a different trophic state induced by changing climatic drivers.

9D Hailey Olsen
WHICH PROTOZOA ARE THE PLAYERS AND WHICH ARE THE POSERS IN THE MCMURDO DRY VALLEYS OF ANTARCTICA?
Brigham Young University, Undergraduate.

In order to understand decomposition and production processes within the soil, the composition and activity of the soil food web needs to be understood. Soil ecosystems are the largest repository for biodiversity on Earth. One of most important but least understood groups of organisms in the soil are the Protozoa. Due to a lack of study on protozoa, the question still remains unanswered: with regard to ecosystem functioning, which protozoans are the players and which are the posers? The soil is so diverse that in order to most successfully study it, it needs to be studied in a model ecosystem. Antarctica is the most extreme continent when it comes to climate; however, when it comes to soil, Antarctic soil is the simplest of them all. Due to the extreme dry climate in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, only microscopic organisms live there. No plants, no insects, no mammals. The top members of the food chain are simple eukaryotic organisms - protozoa and microinvertebrates.In 2014, the soil that I will be using was gathered in Antarctica from five different locations, both wet and dry soil. With the 40 samples now in hand, I have started extracting environmental DNA. The process takes place by extracting the DNA from the soil and then ultra centrifuging and separating heavy and light DNA. To sequence the DNA I will use earth microbiome primers to sequence the V4 region of the 18s gene on the BYU DNA Sequencing Center's Illumina HiSeq 2500. The 18s gene is the optimal genetic marker for identifying protists. Mothur, a sequencing cleanup program, will then be used to filter, organize, and identify species.

11F Stephanie Pitt
DOES SIGNAL DIVERSITY MEAN ANYTHING? USING PLAYBACK EXPERIMENTS TO TEST THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BIRD SONG REPERTOIRE SIZE.
University of Northern Colorado, Graduate.
With Lauryn Benedict (UNC)

Song repertoire size has long been studied in regards to the selective pressures driving the evolution of bird song complexity. In this study, I tested whether large song repertoires confer benefits to male Rock Wrens in territory defense and/or mate acquisition. I assessed the responses of 27 male Rock Wrens to small and large song repertoire experimental playback tracks. Playback experiment results showed that males sang more songs in response to playback of a large repertoire than they did to a small repertoire, and that unmated males sang more than mated males did. This supports the hypothesis that male Rock Wrens discriminate between repertoire sizes and that song repertoire size is relevant to males in a territory defense context. I also acquired information on the nesting ecology and breeding success of mated males using focal bird observations and motion-detection field cameras placed near nests. Observations and camera data show that both males and females care for chicks by bringing food to the nest, and future analyses will test whether males that have larger repertoires acquire mates and initiate breeding sooner.


10C Stephanie Polutchko
EVALUATING THE LINK BETWEEN PHOTOSYNTHETIC CAPACITY AND LEAF VASCULAR ORGANIZATION WITH PRINCIPAL COMPONENT ANALYSIS
University of Colorado; Graduate.
With Jared J. Stewart (University of Colorado), Barbara Demmig-Adams (University of Colorado), William W. Adams III (University of Colorado)

Principal component analysis was used to investigate variation in the physical features of the functional cell types of leaf minor veins among multiple summer annual crop species and three Arabidopsis ecotypes of grown under various combinations of light intensities, photoperiod lengths, and air temperatures. The relationship between photosynthetic capacity and the first two principal components emerging from each analysis was then evaluated to identify the primary minor vein features underpinning photosynthetic capacity for summer annual symplastic loaders, summer annual apoplastic loaders, and the winter annual apoplastic loader A. thaliana. Significant relationships between photosynthetic capacity and principal components loaded by phloem cells and tracheary elements per minor vein as well as the latter two normalized for vein density (proxy for apoplastic phloem loading capacity) were revealed for all apoplastic loaders. In addition, significant relationships between photosynthetic capacity and a principal component loaded by tracheary element cross-sectional areas and volumes per leaf area (proxy for water flux capacity) was present for symplastic and apoplastic loaders. Lastly, a significant linear relationship between photosynthetic capacity and a principal component loaded by phloem cell cross-sectional areas and volumes leaf area (proxy for symplastic loading and sugar export capacity) was revealed for summer annual symplastic loaders as well as for A. thaliana.

2C Arianna Porter
CAN WILDFIRE SAVE THE DAY? THE ROLE OF WILDFIRE AND TOPOGRAPHY IN SHAPING ASPEN’S FUTURE IN A WARMER WORLD
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Arianna Porter (Anthropology, GDPE), Dr. Jason Sibold (Anthropology, GDPE), Dr. N. Thompson Hobbs (NREL, GDPE)

Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) is a keystone species in forest ecosystems across North America. Projected decline in aspen extent due to climate change suggests that aspen will be lost from much of its current range this century. Whereas warming climate might mean loss of aspen in its current range, topographic influences (elevation and aspect) on moisture and growing season length could open opportunities for aspen expansion in new areas of the landscape. Furthermore, by clearing established vegetation and creating conditions for regeneration by aspen, wildfire may be a catalyst for this expansion. The goal of this project was to investigate if a high-severity wildfire in 2002 created opportunities for aspen expansion. To address these questions, we counted aspen stem densities in plots randomly stratified by pre-fire dominant life form, heat load index, and elevation. Our preliminary results indicate that the 2002 wildfire did create an opportunity for aspen to move into high-elevation, wet sites that it did not occupy prior to the fire. Consequently, ecosystem management may be better focused on threats (i.e. ungulate herbivory) to aspen in areas of expansion instead of focusing on aspen restoration in areas where it may not be able to persist.

8A Alison Post
WHEN SHOULD RAIN FALL? HOW THE TIMING OF LARGE STORMS IMPACTS ARID GRASSLANDS
Colorado State University, Graduate

For the Southwestern US, climate change models forecast longer periods of drought broken by fewer, but larger and more intense rainfall events. While drought has been well-studied in semi-arid grasslands, there have been few studies focused on the impact of large rainstorms. Previous research suggests that the shortgrass prairie is most responsive to spring moisture. However, late-season rains are infrequent, so the question remains whether late-season precipitation can stimulate growth when it does occur, especially with the predicted increase of such events. Therefore, I designed a field experiment to test how the timing of a single large rain event (deluge) influences plant production and carbon cycling of the shortgrass prairie. I added 70 mm of rain over a three-day period to plots in either early, mid, or late summer. I then measured soil moisture, soil respiration, and plant biomass, as well as leaf height and flowering of the dominant shortgrass species, Bouteloua gracilis (Blue Grama). There was no difference in average soil respiration between the treatments, but the mid-summer deluge appears to be most beneficial to plant growth, causing the greatest increase in leaf height and flowering of B. gracilis. These results demonstrate that a single large rain event significantly increases plant production in the shortgrass prairie, but the magnitude of response depends on and when it occurs within the growing season.

1E E Schlatter
ARE DISPERSAL-RELATED LARVAL TRAITS HERITABLE? A FIELD STUDY IN A CORAL REEF FISH
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Peter Buston (Boston University), Romain Chaput (U Miami), Matt Foretich (U Miami), Robin Francis (BU), John Majoris (BU), Claire Paris (U Miami), Colleen Webb (CSU)

In many marine organisms, population connectivity occurs via a dispersive larval phase. Research in the past decade has led to a paradigm shift: rather than functioning simply as passive particles, larvae of most fish species have behavioral traits that affect their dispersal capabilities. The role of dispersal-related traits in shaping individual trajectories and population connectivity suggests that changing seascapes could drive evolution of these traits, affecting the capacity of populations to survive shifting environmental conditions. However, although an increasing amount of work is being done to measure dispersal-related traits and understand their effects, little is known about their genetic basis. We investigated this question in a coral-reef fish, the neon goby Elacatinus lori. We conducted field-based measurements of larval swimming traits and used parentage assignment to determine sibling relationships among larvae. We then used the animal model framework to estimate quantitative genetic parameters from these data and determine whether variability in traits was associated with underlying genetic variability.

9C Emily Stuchiner
USING STABLE ISOTOPOMERS OF N2O TO STUDY SOIL MICROBIAL PATTERNS AND PROCESSES: A PILOT STUDY IN ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Emily Stuchiner (CSU), Joe von Fischer (CSU)

Measuring stable isotopomers of microbially-emitted nitrous oxide (N2O) from soils is a novel analytical technique that could allow researchers to discern between microbial nitrogen (N) transformations in situ. It is important to be able to partition microbial N2O sources to enhance our understanding of controls on emissions of this potent greenhouse gas. It is also important to understanding when particular microbial processes dominate ecosystems, as that information can provide mechanistic insights into the biotic and abiotic factors that control biogeochemical N cycling. Using this novel analytical technique, we conducted a pilot study in Rocky Mountain National Park to see how soil microbial activity and soil N2O emissions differed among ecosystems impacted by chronic atmospheric N deposition. Not only do our results illustrate the technical feasibility of using this analytical tool in situ, but our results also show there are marked differences in N2O emission rates and isotopic composition among ecosystems. This suggests that in different ecosystems microbial communities are responding to excess N inputs differently, and these differential responses could be indicators of N stress or saturation. These results also have implications for greenhouse gas emissions from the park, as some ecosystems might be producing disproportionately more N2O than others. Taken together, these preliminary results seem to warrant further study of how microbial processes and greenhouse gas emissions vary within Rocky Mountain National Park.

5C Jeremy Sueltenfuss
ECOLOGICALLY RELEVANT HYDROLOGIC PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR WETLAND MITIGATION
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With David Cooper, CSU

Little scientific agreement exists on the definition of success for ecosystem restoration, though it often leads to ecosystems with low ecological integrity. The use of ecological performance standards has been advocated by the scientific community as well as U.S. federal regulatory agencies to increase the ecological outcomes of wetland restoration. Because the water levels are widely acknowledged as a primary control over wetland form and function, the creation of hydrologic performance standards may be an effective way to improve the outcomes of wetland restoration. Hydrologic performance standards should ideally incorporate the need for different monitoring time frames for different wetland types, site specific evaluation rather than regional averages, and metrics that are ecologically relevant. Here we provide a framework for quantitative hydrologic performance standards created using concurrent hydrologic data from mitigation wetlands and project specific reference sites across three different wetland types distributed across the United States. We identify appropriate monitoring timeframes for the three types by evaluating the time required for hydrologic conditions in restored wetlands to match those in reference wetlands. We then identify how vegetation in the restored wetland has developed in response to hydrologic similarity between restored and reference sites to test the ecological relevance of site specific hydrologic performance standards.

1B Catherine Tait
INTERINDIVIDUAL VARIATION IN LEARNING ABILITY AND ITS INFLUENCE ON PERFORMANCE AND LIFESPAN IN THE HONEYBEE
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Dhruba Naug

In honeybees, visual and olfactory learning are assumed to make a positive contribution to the foraging ability of an individual. However, there is also a significant cost associated with these learning abilities that can translate to a higher energetic demand and consequently a reduced survival in individuals that are proficient learners. The veracity of a commonly assumed positive relationship between learning and fitness is surprisingly not well established and little is known regarding how interindividual variation in cognitive capacity translates to measures of performance. Using honeybees selected for high or low olfactory learning capacity, we tested if high learners show a higher foraging performance. Using a diversity of learning assays such as associative conditioning with the Proboscis Extension Response and maze learning, we also measured if the energetic cost associated with learning imposes a tradeoff between different cognitive domains such as olfactory and visual learning, thereby leading to interindividual specialization in different learning abilities in a social setting such as the honeybee colony. We then used wing damage as a measure of how learning ability might translate to differences in survival and longevity. Our results reveal how learning ability influences individual and group performance in the honeybee.

9A Christa Torrens
SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL ANALYSIS OF CARBON FLUXES IN GLACIAL MELTWATER STREAMS, ANTARCTICA
INSTAAR - University of Colorado, Boulder; Graduate.
With Torrens, Christa (1), W. Berry Lyons (2), Diane McKnight (1), Kathleen Welch (1), Gooseff, Michael ( 1: Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder CO; 2: Byrd Polar Research Center, University of Ohio, Columbus OH)

In the McMurdo Dry Valleys [MDV], Antarctica, glacial meltwater streams are key biogeochemical connectors linking glaciers, soils and lakes. These streams control the supply of nutrients and carbon to their terminal lakes, yet little is known about the magnitude, timing or distribution of these fluxes. The McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research project [MCM LTER] has collected over 20 years of sample data on dissolved organic and inorganic carbon in Taylor Valley streamwater; this is an initial spatial and temporal analysis of this data. MDV streams are characterized by strong diel pulses in streamflow, electrical conductance and temperature. MDV streams have no terrestrial vegetation, lateral overland flow or deep groundwater connection. The organic carbon is autochthonous, originating from stream microbial mats. Inorganic carbon is primarily bicarbonate; its source is hyporheic zone weathering. The carbonate system is in atmospheric equilibrium, reflecting the wide and shallow stream channels. Preliminary data show that the DOC flux varies with streamflow; this pattern is more distinct in longer streams. DIC data does not show the same pattern, although the response may be blurred by a lag in hyporheic response to flood pulses and the lack of time-series data for alkalinity. Stream flood pulse dynamics control carbon loading to MDV lakes. A changing climate will alter the timing and magnitude of these pulses, changing the ecosystem carbon cycle. This study increases our understanding of past and current patterns of carbon fluxes from streams to lakes; understanding past patterns will improve predictions of future changes. Preliminary data show that the DOC flux varies with streamflow; this pattern is more distinct in longer streams. DIC data does not show the same pattern, although the response may be blurred by a lag in hyporheic response to flood pulses and the lack of time-series data for alkalinity. Stream flood pulse dynamics control carbon loading to MDV lakes. A changing climate will alter the timing and magnitude of these pulses, changing the ecosystem carbon cycle. This study increases our understanding of past and current patterns of carbon fluxes from streams to lakes; understanding past patterns will improve predictions of future changes.

8A Chris Vennum
SWAINSONS HAWK RECRUITMENT: ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS AND TRENDS ACROSS THREE DECADES
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Chris Briggs (Hamilton College), Michael Collopy (UNR), Brian Woodbridge (USFWS), and David Koons (CSU)

Studies of younger age classes are underrepresented compared to those on breeding birds, particularly for species with delayed maturation. For species such as Swainson's Hawks (Buteo swainsoni) this problem is further compounded by the inability to observe individuals before they begin breeding. Here we apply multi-state models in Program Mark to model pre-breeder dynamics. Specifically, we estimate annual cohort breeding recruitment probabilities (range 0.01-0.20) and first-year survival probabilities (range 0.07-0.31) from 1985-2014, a time period with significant population changes for Swainson's Hawks. For example, breeding surveys across the state of California estimated a 91% decline in the number of breeding pairs in 1979, prompting a state listing-status of "threatened" in 1983. While multiple factors probably contributed to population declines, pesticide induced mass mortality events in the mid-1990s were documented across northern Argentina. Models that accounted for the permanent ban of pesticides responsible for mortality events in Argentina received the most support, suggesting that the disuse of this pesticide in 2000 was particularly important for this species. In addition, annual cohort recruitment rates notably increased after 2000. This result emphasizes the necessity and value of long-term monitoring and conservation work.

8D Leena Vilonen
GRASSLAND MICROBIAL FUNCTIONAL RESILIENCE TO DROUGHT
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Vilonen, Leena; Smith, Melinda; Zeglin, Lydia

Global drivers, such as altered precipitation regimes due to climate change, are extensively altering different types of grassland communities (e.g., microbial, plant, herbivore, etc.,), with implications for ecosystem functioning and services at regional to global scales. Climatic extreme events, such as drought, are predicted to become more intense and frequent in the future. Drought has been shown to have varied responses, making understanding these responses highly important. This study aimed to understand microbial functional recovery (i.e. resilience) to drought. We studied the two-year post-drought recovery of a mesic grassland in the flint hills of Kansas. We conducted extracellular enzyme assays for carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus limitation; inorganic nitrogen concentrations and mineralization; and microbial carbon mineralization. Carbon enzymatic activity returned to pre-drought rates, while nitrogen enzyme activity still showed increased levels of activity, indicating nitrogen limitation. Phosphorus enzymatic activity showed decreased levels of enzymatic activity, indicating a decrease in microbial phosphorus limitation. Inorganic nitrogen increased during post-drought recovery, while nitrogen mineralization decreased. Carbon mineralization increased throughout post-recovery drought, although carbon extra-cellular enzyme activity remained unchanged. Overall, microbial community function was unable to fully recover after drought. Future research on microbial community composition and plant composition and function would give a more holistic view on grassland recovery and resilience to drought.

3C Rekha Warrier
LINKS BETWEEN HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICTS AND COMMUNITY ATTITUDES TOWARDS TIGER (Panthera tigris) CONSERVATION IN NORTHERN INDIA
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Rekha Warrier, Barry R Noon

Understanding community attitudes towards species and their conservation is vital to designing landscape scale species conservation programs. Attitudes often reflect deeply held beliefs; However, these beliefs often may not have a factual basis. To help inform conservation programs, it is important not only to explore the links between human attitudes towards conservation and underlying beliefs but also to examine the factual basis of these beliefs. We conducted a study in the Central Terai Landscape in northern India to examine the correspondence between actual and reported human wildlife conflicts and community attitudes towards multiple endangered mammalian species including Tigers (Panthera tigris). We interviewed over 300 participants selected from within 50 randomly selected 2.6 sq.km grids where the probabilities of occurrence of various species were known based on a simultaneously conducted occupancy study. These occurrence probabilities were used as a surrogate measure of true conflict. The interview survey assessed the scale and nature of conflicts perceived by the participants and their attitudes towards conservation. Preliminary data summaries suggest a significant mismatch between the levels of actual and perceived conflicts and a positive association between perceived conflicts and attitudes towards conservation. A more complete analysis using generalized linear mixed models is underway to estimate the strength and direction of these relationships.

4C Kelly Watson
ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF ACID MINE DRAINAGE IN THE SNAKE RIVER, COLORADO
University of Colorado Boulder, Graduate.

Acid mine drainage (AMD) is one of the most significant and widespread environmental problems facing the mining industry. AMD is a chemical weathering process that results in acidic, metal-rich waters draining from mine workings. The impacts of AMD on aquatic ecosystems have been somewhat well-documented, but less well-known is how AMD impacts nearby terrestrial ecosystems. For example, once heavy metals enter the aquatic food web, they can work their way up the food chain to terrestrial wildlife. This study uses occupancy models to determine whether water quality variables are significant predictors of avian presence or absence in the Snake River watershed in Summit County, Colorado. The Snake River watershed contains streams impacted by AMD, as well as un-impacted streams. Results show that most species are present at most sites, indicating that habitat variables other than water quality determine bird presence/absence in the study area.

2B Andreas Wion
IT’S A MATTER OF A PINYON: THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF SEED PULSES IN PINYON-JUNIPER WOODLANDS OF THE SOUTHWEST
Colorado State University, Graduate.
With Andreas Wion, Miranda Redmond, Peter Weisberg.

Numerous tree species forego an annual seed crop to invest in synchronous, episodic pulses of seed production in a process called mast seeding. As global temperatures continue to rise, the climatic conditions that initiate mast seed events may become increasingly rare, and the resources necessary to produce large cone crops may become increasingly scarce- particularly in semi-arid environments where trees more frequently experience chronic water stress. Colorado pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) is a widely distributed conifer species whose edible nut constitutes an important food resource for numerous species of birds and mammals across the southwestern US. Previous research has found late summer temperatures to be negatively correlated with seed production in P. edulis, suggesting that predicted increases in temperatures will adversely affect seed production. Yet the effects of changing climate on seed production are unlikely to be uniform across a region: the direction and magnitude of seed production responses to climate may vary due to local climatic and physiographic conditions. This research uses the cone scar abscission methodology to examine patterns of historical mast seed events in pinyon pine in western Colorado and New Mexico. We sampled 187 reproductively mature pinyon trees at 29 sites that span the latitudinal distribution of pinyon in the southwestern US. Seed production is modeled as a function of local weather conditions, stand structures, and 30 year averaged climatic water deficit. Preliminary results suggest that landscape level patterns of climate and physiography exert notable controls over mast seed production in pinyon pine, and these patterns are likely to influence and mediate the ongoing effects of climate change in this species across the southwestern US.

11E Scott Yanco
NON-INFERENTIAL APPROACHES TO AGENT-BASED MODELING
University of Colorado Denver, Graduate.
With Andrew L. McDevitt (UCD), Laurel Hertley (UCD), Michael B. Wunder (UCD)

The use of agent-based modeling (ABM) has historically posed a problem for inferential frameworks since the calculation of a likelihood was computationally intractable. While modern methods enable the calculation of a likelihood, we suggest that ABM can also provide value as a hypothesis generation tool. Using ABM for hypothesis generation offers researchers the ability to explore and quantify potential relationships between predictor and response variables. This approach is particularly advantageous when researchers may not be able to accurately specify a testable hypothesis from first principles because, though the candidate variable(s) may be known, quantification of the nature of the relationship between those variables is not possible. Without specifying a quantifiable hypothesis a priori a researcher cannot know if the hypothesis is, in fact, testable as such. For example, a proposed but unquantifiable relationship between variables may not be reliably distinguishable from other parameterizations or combinations of predictor variables. In such cases, the use of a simulation model as a hypothesis generation technique may help to identify quantitatively untestable hypotheses and/or refine hypotheses such that they may be tested. We present a framework for conducting and interpreting hypothesis generation using ABM and demonstrate situations where the use of such techniques can help to clarify the interpretation of collected data once researchers move on to the experimental/observational stage of research.

 

 


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Poster Presentations:

Abstracts listed alphabetically by author

Poster Presentation Abstracts


Melissa Booher
PLANTING CAREX SCOPULORUM FOR SUBALPINE MEADOW RESTORATION
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Lydia Baldwin (Colorado State University), David J. Cooper (Colorado State University), Evan Wolf (University of California, Davis)

Wet meadows are critically altered and at risk ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada. Disturbance related deficiencies in vegetative cover are a restoration priority due to the importance of organic-rich soils for future plant establishment. This research focuses on biomass accumulation, both above and below ground, associated with planted Carex scopulorum seedlings in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, USA. We are testing the suitability of this species for use in future restoration work and assessing the growth strategy of Carex scopulorum to determine: 1) how does cumulative Carex scopulorum biomass production within a growing season compare to that of other dominant species in the community; 2) does the rate at which Carex scopulorum allocates biomass below ground differ from other dominant species in the community. Carex scopulorum productivity and below/above ground biomass allocation ratio were measured at peak standing biomass using corers in planted, unplanted, and reference areas. Samples were washed to remove all loose soil, biomass was separated by species, then above and below ground biomass was separated. After one year of growth, analyses show that seedlings contribute significantly higher amounts of biomass to study plots than other dominant species in our site. These seedlings allocated a greater proportion of their biomass below ground than most other present species. Our results indicate that after one year of growth, Carex scopulorum appears to be an appropriate species for use in restoring biomass inputs, and could be a valuable tool for restoration of other degraded meadows in the Sierra Nevada.

Dale Broder
ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: CAN GUPPIES LEARN TO SURVIVE THE THREAT?
Bella Romero Academy, High School
with 2022 Science Club (Bella Romero), Katie Guilbert (Bella Romero), E. Dale Broder (University of Denver)

In order to survive, animals must protect themselves from predators. In changing environments, animals may need to learn to recognize new threats in their surroundings. This ability to learn could differ between sexes and populations. We tested learning ability in the guppy, a freshwater fish from Trinidad and Tobago. Some guppies have been taken from the wild and domesticated. Domestic guppies have been selectively bred to be colorful and have no experience with predators. We wondered if guppies were capable of learning how to be afraid of a novel object, zombies! We expected wild guppies to be better at learning than domesticated guppies because they evolved with predators. We measured anti-predator behavior of individuals before and after two training sessions. We used a distress cue made from guppies to train them to associate the novel object (a zombie) with danger. We compared the behavior of wild vs. domestic and males vs. females. After the training, all guppies significantly increased their distance from the zombie and decreased their exploratory behavior. There was no difference in learning between groups, but domestic guppies spent more time at the top of the aquarium than wild guppies, and males explored more than females. It turns out that wild and domestic guppies can learn to fear zombies.

Samantha Chase
EXPOSURE TO BRACKISH WATER INCREASES MUSCULAR METACERCARIAL LOADS IN THE TRINIDADIAN GUPPY (POECILIA RETICULATA)
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Cameron, Ghalambor (CSU), Porsche Robison (CSU), Paula Schaffer (CSU Diagnostic Lab)

Parasites are known to impose many physiological costs on their hosts, such as decreased fecundity, locomotor ability, and osmoregulatory function. On an ecological level, these costs may limit geographic distributions of guppy populations. The Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is a euryhaline fish from the Caribbean, and while capable of living and thriving in brackish water, P. reticulata actively avoids these environments in nature. Because the guppy acts as the host for a number of parasites, we hypothesized that a higher parasite load in brackish environments may act as a barrier to dispersal. In the laboratory, we assessed the internal load of metacercariae within wild-caught guppies acclimated to both brackish and fresh water treatments, and subsequently exposed to brackish and fresh water from natural streams. The total visceral parasite load was not significantly higher in the brackish treatment (average=1.71, STD=4.41) than in the freshwater treatment (average=1.41, STD=3.49). However, the parasite load within the muscle was significantly higher (p-value <0.001) in the brackish water treatment (average=2.15 and STD=3.59) compared to the freshwater treatment (average=0.5 and STD=1.04). These results indicate that P. reticulata could face an increased parasite load within skeletal muscle, which may limit its distribution into brackish water environments.
Eliza Clark
ECO-EVOLUTIONARY DYNAMICS OF AN EXPANDING BIOCONTROL AGENT
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Ellyn Bitume (USDA-ARS), Ruth Hufbauer (CSU)

Diorhabda carinulata, the tamarisk leaf beetle, was released in the United States for biological control of the invasive weed tamarisk. Since its release, the beetle has expanded its range and has rapidly adapted its phenology to better match the latitude and host plant seasonality in the introduced range. Evolutionary theory predicts that D. carinulata may also be evolving in other ways as it expands, but this has not previously been explored. Here, we test populations on the southern edge of the expansion and populations in the core of the range for evolved between-population differences in three traits important for establishment and movement of D. carinulata: dispersal, fitness, and critical day length for diapause induction. We predict that beetles from edge populations will have increased dispersal capacity (as measured in a flight mill system) compared to beetles from core populations, due to spatial selection. We also predict that fitness (total egg count) will be lower in the edge populations compared to the core due to genetic bottlenecks and drift, or a trade-off between dispersal and fecundity. We will also examine the time it takes for females to switch from a reproductive state into diapause, which we predict will be longer at more southern latitudes. Exploration of these three traits will not only test evolutionary theory of range expansions, but can be used to predict the future expansion of D. carinulata and its success as biocontrol for tamarisk.

Shuyan Cui
MANURE APPLICATION INCREASES THE STORAGE OF 13C-LABELED RESIDUE IN THE SOIL MICRO-FOOD WEB
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Graduate
with Shuyan Cui ( University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China);Wenju Liang (Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China); Qi Li ( Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China)

Crop residue decomposition is a major component of carbon (C) cycling and provides energy and nutrients to the soil micro-food web. To examine how exogenous organic C is incorporated into the soil micro-food web and how this is influenced by fertilization, 13C-enriched maize residue was applied in-situ in a long-term fertilization experiment with four different fertilization treatments: organic manure (M), chemical fertilizer (N), the combined application of organic and chemical fertilizer (MN) and unfertilized control. After a 180-day decomposition period, soil bacterial and fungal PLFAs incorporated the least 13C-labeled crop residues in the N treatment, 99.61 and 13.56 ng g-1 soil, respectively. The fertilization type influences the incorporation of residue into microbial community. Both the nematode bacterial and the fungal pathways accumulated more crop residues in the M treatment than in other treatments suggesting nutrient availability and C sequestration will increase after incorporation of crop residues. This in-situ labeling study shows how decomposable organic C is incorporated in arable soil food webs under long-term fertilization. Given the ecological services provided by the soil organisms, our results suggest that long-term manure application which increases soil C directly, also leads to incorporation of more C from crop residues into the soil food web, which in turn, can benefit crop growth or C accumulation in agroecosystems.

Haley Dallas
LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF ANTHROPOGENIC DISTURBANCE IN THE CHIHUAHUAN DESERT
Colorado State University, Undergraduate
with Jeff Herrick (Primary Investigator), Nicole Pietrasiak (Lab Manager/Mentor)

Anthropogenic disturbance can have a tremendous impact on desert ecosystems. Throughout the southwestern United States large swaths of land have been degraded by military and non-military uses including infantry training, off road vehicle use, and grazing. Although previous studies have shown the importance of biocrust in soil stabilization and fertility, little is known about how disturbances impact biocrust communities, or the time needed for reestablishment. This study explores the long term resistance and resilience of different soil types and vegetation communities, adding to a data set spanning 20 years. Preliminary results support the notion that interactions between soil and disturbance type dramatically impact ecosystem function, and the possibility for disturbed areas to return to their original state given a long enough period of time. The results of this study provide valuable information for land managers overseeing recreation, grazing, or military training in desert ecosystems.

Ryan DeAngelis
EFFECTS OF SPATIAL HETEROGENEITY ON UNDERSTORY SOLAR RADIATION IN A MIXED-CONIFER FOREST
Colorado State University, Undergraduate
with Jeffery B. Cannon (Dept. of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, CSU), Wade T Tinkham (Dept. of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, CSU), Seth A Ex (Dept. of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, CSU)

In the western US, land management activities have altered dry conifer forests from historical conditions and contributed to the current risk of large and severe wildfires which may result in substantial changes in forest dynamics. Collaborative restoration treatments are aiming to reduce the risk of large and severe wildfire by means of fuel reduction treatments that intentionally create heterogeneous landscapes to increase resilience to future disturbance. Total solar radiation is an important measurement, as it has been shown to be a predictor of future biotic and abiotic conditions and can be greatly altered by changes in spatial patterns throughout the forest. The goal of this study is to understand how changes in fine-scale spatial arrangement following different restoration treatments may effect understory solar radiation levels by first characterizing the current light environment in a ponderosa pine-dominated mixed-conifer forest across a gradient of stand density. Second, the results were used to predict solar radiation levels following simulated restoration treatments of an aggregated treatment, thin from below, random thinning, and an untreated control to represent a gradient of spatial patterns. By characterizing the light environment, our results showed that solar radiation levels decreased as forest stand density increased. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the spatial patterns of restoration treatments significantly affect variability of understory solar radiation levels. We found that the aggregated treatment had 25% increase in stand density index variability and a 17% increase solar radiation variability relative to the thin from below treatment.

Spencer Elliott
CHANGES IN SPATIAL PATTERN OUTCOMES OF COLLABORATIVE RESTORATION IN PONDEROSA PINE DOMINATED FORESTS
Colorado State University, Undergraduate
with Jeffery B. Cannon (Colorado Forest Restoration Institute), Jenny Briggs (UC Boulder)

Before the arrival of Euro-American settlers, ponderosa pine forests of the southwestern U.S. were shaped by stochastic and deterministic processes including episodic regeneration, insect outbreaks, drought and fire. Since Euro-American settlement, management actions such as livestock grazing, and fire suppression have homogenized many of these forests, leading to much higher densities seen today. Understanding of the importance of spatial heterogeneity has created a broad scientific, social and political consensus that restoration of ecological sustainability in Southwestern ponderosa pine forests is necessary and urgent. Forest management in many western dry conifer forests seeks to restore ecological integrity by increasing forest complexity, resilience and functionality. Because spatial patterns are crucial component of ponderosa pine forests and are difficult to implement, it is important to understand how these spatial objectives are being met by large-scale restoration programs such as the CFLRP. In this study we use remote sensing techniques like Maximum likelihood supervised classification and Grey level thresholding to 1) characterize the impacts that CFLRP treatments in the Colorado Front Range have on spatial patterns; and 2) evaluate the extent to which outcomes of treatments are changing over time. Our Data detected little evidence of treatment outcomes changing overtime. However, by comparing spatial metrics from pre-treatment forest conditions to post-treatment forest conditions, we found that by decreasing residual canopy cover, increasing gap cover and gap size variability, CFLRP restoration treatments have increased forest complexity and heterogeneity.

Joy Enyinnaya
A CASE STUDY OF THE ECONOMICS OF CRIOLLO CATTLE PRODUCTION IN THE DESERTS OF SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Allen Torell

One of the desirable characteristics of Raramuri Criollo (RC) cattle is their unique foraging behavior and their willingness to travel long distances from water. As a result, they have the potential for improving livestock grazing distribution and decreasing grazing pressure on over-used areas. Using data from a herd of Criollo cattle maintained on the Jornada Experimental Range since 2005, the economics of producing Criollo cattle in the deserts of New Mexico was explored, and compared to production with English breeds typically found on New Mexico desert ranches. The economics of direct marketing of Criollo cattle at farmer's markets and other Arizona outlets by the 47 Ranch near Bisbee, AZ was also evaluated as a case study. Research indicates that the expanded grazing distribution of RC cattle could pastures. RC cattle were found to yield equivalent net returns to Angus Hereford cross (A x H) cattle if this 50% forage harvest increase was realized. RC cattle are being successfully marketed in the Southwest grass-fed meat market by the 47 Ranch and others with positive consumer acceptance of meat quality and flavor. The processing, slaughter and marketing effort is substantial, costing about $2,300/head. However, sale prices are increased about 2-3 times above conventional grocery store retail prices, yielding a net return of over $650/head for the direct marketing efforts. Because of the heavier weights and established markets, higher beef prices were found to favor A x H Production.

Richard Evans
THE INFLUENCE OF GUPPIES ON THE HABITAT USE OF TRINIDADIAN KILLIFISH
Florida State University, Undergraduate
with Joshua F. Goldberg (Florida State University, Tallahassee FL)

In intraguild predation (IGP), two species compete for shared resources and one species also acts as a predator of the other. IGP requires a fine balance of competition and predation for both species to persist. One way to strike this balance could be to alter habitat use when in the presence of the other species. Trinidadian killifish, Rivulus hartii, occurs across the streams of the Northern Range Mountains of Trinidad. In the headwaters, killifish occur alone (killifish only: KO) without competitors or predators. In nearby reaches, downstream of barrier waterfalls, killifish coexist with guppies, Poecilia reticulata, (killifish-guppy: KG) which prey upon neonate killifish and compete with juvenile killifish. In response to guppies, killifish alter their behavior and life histories. We investigated how guppies affected killifish habitat use and egg laying behavior and how this response depends upon killifish community type. We introduced killifish from KO and KG communities into flow-through mesocosms with and without guppies. Mesocosms mimicked the natural stream habitat structure. We made habitat use observations twice daily and counted eggs weekly over 2 week trials. KO killifish favored side pools for laying eggs in the presence of guppies. This result suggests that changes in habitat use and behavior may facilitate coexistence in this IGP.

Kallie Feldhaus
WINGING IT: THE EVOLUTION OF A NEW MATING SIGNAL
University of Denver, Undergraduate
with E Dale Broder (DU), Whitley R Lehto (DU), Claudia J Halligan (DU), Gabby A Gurule-Small (DU), Jacob D Wilson (DU), Robin M Tinghitella (DU)

Sexual selection plays an important part in speciation. The coevolution of signals and preferences between the sexes facilitates divergence, and it is critical that we observe this phenomenon at the early stages. We recently discovered a new signal in a Hawaiian cricket. Male Teleogryllus oceanicus produce songs to attract females by rubbing their wings together, and Tinghitella previously discovered a silent wing mutation in this species. We asked how the new male signal, specifically signal production, differs from ancestral calling and derived silent populations on neighboring islands. We expected to find distinct differences in wing morphology among populations. We photographed, landmarked, and performed morphometric analysis on 30 male wings per population. There were clear differences among all three groups, which we will describe. This work addresses the mechanism underlying this novel signal.

Kirsten Fetrow
EFFECTS SUMMER CAMPS ON PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS OF CAREERS IN STEM
University of Denver, Undergraduate
with E. Dale Broder (University of Denver), Shannon Murphy (University of Denver), Robin M. Tinghitella (University of Denver), Jennifer L. Hoffman (University of Denver) & Quyen N. Hart (Regis University).

There are gender disparities in fields related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Although females can perform as well as their male peers on STEM tests and in courses, they are less likely to pursue higher education and careers in STEM. Our study examined the effectiveness of STEM summer camps at increasing career aspirations in STEM and self-confidence to inquire about scientific topics. The participants (N=32) consisted of females ages 10 to 13 years old from underrepresented groups. During the weeklong camp, the participants interacted with insects and completed inquiry activities. We hypothesized that before attending the camp, students would have limited knowledge about entomology and that they would associate science with well represented fields such as medicine. We will present our findings on how participants' knowledge of STEM careers changes, for example to include entomology and ecology, as well as self-confidence in their ability to conduct and pursue science.

Alison Foster
EFFECT OF SEED AVAILABILITY AND MICROSITE ON REGENERATION OF COMMON COLORADO FRONT RANGE TREE SPECIES
Colorado State University, Graduate

Models and field studies have projected changes in future forest distributions in the Colorado Front Range as a result of changing climate conditions. However, these predicted range shifts have yet to account for site-specific effects and the availability of viable seed. We established a long-term study site at the upper montane and lower subalpine interface on the eastern slope of Colorado to map seed dispersal and investigate relationships between recruitment and microsite conditions of Pinus ponderosa, Psuedotusga menziesii, Pinus contorta, Abies lasiocarpa, Picea engelmannii, Populus tremuloides, and Pinus flexilis. Microsite conditions studied were available light, understory canopy, soil nutrients, soil moisture, seedbed substrate, and time of snowmelt in relation to seedling survival and growth. Additionally, seed rain was collected to determine the availability of viable seed and create a spatial model of species seed distribution. Results will provide site-specific information for the creation of models and future projections as well as further identifying limitations to early survival.

James Garlant
ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT IN LARGE-SCALE FOREST SERVICE RESTORATION PROJECTS: CONDUCTING LANDSCAPE-SCALE RESTORATION WITHIN THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK OF THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Courtney Schultz, Colorado State University

Over the past several decades, National Forest management has been characterized by rapid change in both ecological conditions and governance approaches. To build upon social agreement and address large-scale disturbances, including insect and disease outbreaks and fire, the United States Forest Service has focused on management approaches at larger scales, addressing complex and dynamic social and environmental issues through collaboration with non-state actors, and by using adaptive management. A key question is how the Forest Service can pursue these approaches within its legal structure. While the Forest Service has substantial discretion to interpret statutes, an ongoing challenge is matching the original intent of laws passed in the 1960s and 70s, which typically focus on determining outcomes at the onset of an action, with modern management needs defined by uncertainty. This talk will cover research on three landscape-level restoration projects utilizing an adaptive implementation approach to meet long-term goals and objectives in the presence of uncertainty, while addressing elements identified by the courts, legislative law, and the Forest Service's internal guidance as essential to a robust and legally sound adaptive management plan. Findings to date demonstrate a spectrum of robustness in application, but that managers and collaborators are developing ways to meet the law and develop adaptive approaches at large scales to address forest management Issues.

Benjamin Golas
WHAT IS ONE HEALTH? INVESTIGATING FACTORS OF SUCCESS IN A GROWING PARADIGM
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Colleen Webb (GDPE), Ryan Miller (USDA)

"One Health" is a label attached to efforts to address issues of human, animal, and environmental health simultaneously in an interdisciplinary collaboration. Despite its increasing popularity, the variables defining a One Health approach are nebulous, and consensus on the application and success of One Health approaches is lacking. To better understand the true value of One Health efforts, we are holding a weekly seminar to examine different aspects of One Health, such as zoonoses, biodiversity, sociology, ecology, and land management. The class, which comprises a diverse array of students of veterinarian, public health, microbiology, and ecology backgrounds, is compiling a database of One Health studies to conduct a meta-analysis of the factors that can make different approaches successful in a One Health context. In quantifying and analyzing these factors we hope to generate a conceptual framework that better defines the One Health approach. We expect that factors such as diversity of collaborator backgrounds, modeling approaches, extent of spatial and temporal scales, and allocation of monetary resources will be potentially important in guiding a successful study. Our ultimate goal is to use the framework to predict systems and collaborations that are likely to succeed, guiding ideal allocation of resources and efforts in the study and management of One Health issues.

Jesse (Jess) Gray
DIFFERENTIAL POPULATION-LEVEL RESPONSES OF CODOMINANT PERENNIAL GRASSES TO TIMING OF WATER LIMITATION
Colorado State University, Graduate

Two grass species, Andropogon gerardii and Sorghastrum nutans, together account for the majority of individuals, biomass, and canopy cover in plant communities of the tallgrass prairies of the Great Plains, US. As competitors with similar functional traits and overlapping niches, it is not clear what mechanisms facilitate their codominance, but the stability of their coexistence at high abundances may partly rely on differences in tiller recruitment strategies and their responses to the highly variable environmental conditions that characterize grassland ecosystems. While A. gerardii determinately recruits annual tillers in the early growing season, followed by self-thinning, S. nutans indeterminately recruits biennial tillers throughout the season, leading to intra-annually asynchronous population dynamics in the field. Using a greenhouse experiment that varies the timing of water availability, we sought to determine the extent to which these dynamics are determined by environmental variability, and whether the timing of precipitation can influence interannual population stabilities. In the first season, we found that while the timing of precipitation affected tiller recruitment and thinning patterns, it did not alter season-end tiller densities. The second season will clarify whether this effect influences interannual population stabilities.

Carolina Gutierrez
INSECTS ROLE CHANGES IN STREAMS UNDER SHIFTING ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Rachel Harrington, Boris Kondratieff, Colleen Webb, Cameron Ghalambor and N. LeRoy Poff (Colorado State University)

Functional diversity quantifies the value and range of organismal traits that influence species performance and contribution to ecosystem functioning. Functional diversity (rather than simply taxonomic diversity) provides a mechanistic framework to understand community productivity and resilience to perturbations or invasion. Aquatic insect functional diversity using multidimensional metrics has been examined in the past decade, but not in the context of strong environmental gradients. We applied a multifaceted framework to quantify three primary components of functional diversity of stream insects along an elevation gradient. We used Functional Richness (FRic), Functional Evenness (FEve) and Functional Divergence (FDiv) indices to test for significant differences in aquatic insect functional diversity in 24 small streams in three adjacent catchments, spanning an elevational range of ca. 2000 - 3500 m. Our results showed that only FRic differs significantly with elevation, and that the pattern of change remains constant across catchments. Our findings provide independent information concerning position and relative abundances of species in a multidimensional functional space, and they allow for inferences on elevational patterns of aquatic insect functional beta diversity in mountain streams.

Alyssa Herrin
EXPERT JUDGEMENT ACCURATELY ESTIMATES HABITAT FOR THE HUDSONIAN EMERALD IN BOULDER COUNTY
Regis University, Graduate

Although widely distributed at higher latitudes, the Hudsonian emerald (Somatochlora hudsonica, Hagen) is a rare wetland dragonfly species in Colorado, the southernmost edge of its range. Consequently, S. hudsonica is listed by the US Forest Service as a sensitive species whose local distribution and specific habitat requirements are poorly understood. In this study, we estimated likely habitat for S. hudsonica as part of an ongoing project with Boulder County Parks and Open Space. To do so, we scored a suite of environmental variables in ArcGIS according to literature-based estimates of likely habitat for S. hudsonica, including elevation, forest type, and distance to water, roads, or human development. Individual scores for each variable were then averaged, resulting in a map projecting the likelihood of S. hudsonica presence. Our habitat suitability maps indicated a strong elevational pattern showing S. hudsonica would primarily be found above 2500 m in western Boulder County. Our literature-based habitat suitability index proved to be significantly higher (p = 0.002) within BCPOS parcels where we found S. hudsonica compared to those where we did not observe the species. In addition, our scores correlated positively with those from an approach using species distribution models. Together, these results suggest that this method of habitat suitability analysis is viable, and could be applied in many circumstances where very basic information about a species may not be known.

Miguel Jimenez
ASSESSING THE ROLE OF URBAN CONSERVATION PROGRAMS IN ENHANCING WILDLIFE HABITAT AND ENGAGING CITIZENS
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Pejchar, Liba (CSU), Reed, Sarah (CSU, Wildlife Conservation Society)

Rapid human population growth has led to urbanization globally. Because this driver of land-use change is recognized as a major threat to biodiversity, identifying promising pathways to enhance habitat quality for urban wildlife and increase access to nature for people has become a conservation priority. In response, many urban conservation programs have emerged to engage the public in addressing these objectives. Urban habitat enhancement programs (UHEPs) often focus on privately-owned land and aim to protect biodiversity by maintaining and restoring urban habitats. However, because many of these programs are relatively new and lack resources for evaluation, the degree to which they achieve their intended goals remains unclear. Here, I evaluate whether one UHEP, The City of Fort Collins' Certified Natural Areas (CNA) program, successfully enhances local bird and butterfly biodiversity. I also address possible limitations of this program by analyzing other factors that influence the habitat use of urban-sensitive wildlife.

Eric Knutson
ARBOREAL SPIDER COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO HABITAT COMPOSITION IN NATIVE GRASSLAND-SHRUB SYSTEM IN COLORADO
Colorado State University, Graduate

Plant communities often determine the physical structure of the environment and therefore have a considerable influence on distributional patterns animal species. Native grasslands are among the most imperiled ecosystems and we require greater understanding of the species being impacted. In grasslands, much of the arboreal habitat is in the form of shrubs. Clearly, without including shrub habitat and its occupants into current ecological models, we cannot determine what biotic and abiotic features of a landscape are crucial to their persistence. Spiders (Araneae) are a diverse taxonomic group that exploits important microhabitats in grassland ecosystems. Most spiders that have been sampled in grasslands have been ground dwelling taxa. Thus, limited data exists for arboreal spiders across grassland shrub species. The objective was to determine the response of arboreal spider communities to structural complexity of plant communities and landscape attributes in explaining site occupancy. Spiders were collected within canyons of Comanche National Grasslands, of southeastern Colorado. This research explored species composition of this multispecies group with multivariate analysis techniques to assess how native shrubs influence spider community structure. Results from Multilevel Pattern Analysis indicate that these native shrubs offer unique structural and temporal factors to spider communities regarding niche breadth and habitat specialists. This research provides insight to arboreal spider distribution across different grassland shrub species in the Great Plains.

Clint Leach
THE EFFECT OF CONTACT STRUCTURE ON THE SPREAD OF WILDLIFE DISEASE
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Erin Gorsich (CSU), Colleen Webb (CSU)

Networks provide an intuitive framework to characterize the drivers of animal social behavior or predict its ecological and evolutionary consequences. The spread of infectious disease represents one important and well-studied consequence of network structure. However, network properties may vary among wildlife social systems, and there has been little general quantification of variation among wildlife networks or evaluation of the consequences of this variation for disease dynamics. We review 67 empirical networks from 45 studies to characterize the properties of wildlife networks. Our results show that most wildlife contact networks are relatively small, highly connected, and have low variation among animals in numbers of contacts. Simulating disease spread on similar networks, we find that higher order network properties (i.e., transitivity) have relatively little effect on disease dynamics for many combinations of network density and contact heterogeneity. Further, we also find that in many cases, incorporating data on individual-level contacts did not make substantial changes to the timing and spread of disease compared to models assuming random mixing. Though efforts to collect detailed data on contact patterns are often informative for understanding animal social behavior, such efforts are often not informative for predicting population-level disease processes.

Sarah Leichty
THE EFFECT OF RESIDUE PLACEMENT ON SOURCES OF SOIL RESPIRATION IN A SPRINKLER-IRRIGATED CORN SYSTEM
Colorado State University, Graduate
with M. Francesca Cotrufo (CSU), Catherine Stewart (USDA-ARS)

No-till (NT), which reduces soil disturbance and leaves residue on the soil surface, can increase soil organic carbon (SOC) storage. However, in some cases, NT paradoxically results in a decrease in SOC storage over time, suggesting that losses through soil respiration and residue decomposition are quite high. To determine the relative importance of residue addition and disturbance on residue-C loss, we established 5 treatments with either no residue or 13C labelled residue applied to either the surface or incorporated into the soil and soils that were either disturbed or undisturbed. Respiration fluxes were measured for the following 40 days and partitioned into residue- or soil-derived respiration to determine priming. Residue addition increased total carbon dioxide (CO2) flux compared to no residue addition and disturbance did not affect total CO2 flux. There were no treatment effects on soil-derived CO2, indicating no priming effect. Incorporated residue-derived respiration was roughly twice that of the surface-applied residue. These results suggest preferential microbial usage of residue-C particularly when residue is incorporated. Without priming, fall tillage might not be oxidizing native SOC, but there is still a risk of losing a high proportion of residue-C in interaggregate C pools. Overall, less residue-C was lost from the surface-applied residue treatments, indicating NT initially decomposes less residue than residue incorporation and could increase soil health.

Carlos Garcia Linares
BIRDS UNDER HUMAN LIGHT: EFFECTS OF VISUAL SIGNALS AND CONSPICUOUSNESS FOR SONGBIRDS UNDER ANTHROPOGENIC LIGHTING.
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Brett Seymoure, Department of Biology, Colorado State University. Jeremy White, Department of Biology, Colorado State University. Lisa Angeloni, Department of Biology, Colorado State University. Kevin Crooks, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, CSU. George Wittemyer, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, CSU.

Anthropogenic lighting (e.g. street lighting) illuminates natural areas where organisms depend on night and day cycles. Current research shows anthropogenic lights have severe consequences for humans and other organisms. It can change migration patterns, disrupt sleep cycles, increase stress levels, and even predation as it alters the environment in which organisms have evolved for millenia. In addition, different light technologies have characteristic spectral signatures, which changes the way animal visuals systems perceive light. Few studies have investigated how spectral composition of light can modify the way predators and potential mates perceive color of their prey under different light sources. We measured coloration of Passeriformes that inhabit the Front Range of Colorado, which are vulnerable to predation during dawn and dusk, and that varied in color signals (e.g. robins and blue-jays). Then we modelled visual detection of these songbirds by their mates and predators under different street lighting found in Fort Collins. Conspicuousness of songbirds changed dependent upon, species, the viewer and light source. Thus, we conclude that anthropogenic lighting will have species specific consequences dependent upon the coloration of the avian prey as well as the visual system of the viewer (i.e. predator vs. mate).

Kyle Mabie
TREE FERN UPSLOPE MIGRATION IN THE PERUVIAN EASTERN ANDES
Colorado State University, Undergraduate
with Adrian Tejedor (School for Field Studies), Sam Parks (Metropolitan State Univ. of Denver)

In response to a warming planet, arboreal vegetation tends to migrate upslope seeking the environmental conditions to which they are best suited. This phenomenon puts many species at risk of losing suitable habitat as their home ranges creep closer to tree line. Because tree ferns (Cyatheles) reproduce and develop more quickly than most tree species, they are a suitable model for upslope migration research. In this study, a census was taken of juvenile tree ferns along a 3000m gradient from tropical montane forests (500m) to the Andean foothills (3400m) in eastern Peru. After compiling this data with data from a similar census of adult tree ferns conducted at the same time in the same study site, a comparison of juvenile and adult mean elevations by species was conducted, and showed that at least six of the 36 species of tree ferns observed are moving upslope at a significant rate. This study also revealed that species with naturally higher home ranges tend to migrate upslope at a higher rate than middle and lowland tree fern species.

Shelby McClelland
NITROGEN AND HERBIVORE-INDUCED EFFECTS ON SOIL C SEQUESTRATION IN THE COLORADO SHORTGRASS STEPPE
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Meagan Schipanski (CSU, Dept. of Soil and Crop Sciences), Keith Paustian (CSU, Dept. of Soil and Crop Sciences)

Climate and land use change in the western U.S. threaten the ability of grassland ecosystems to remain productive and provide climate, water, and provisioning ecosystem services. A promising strategy to enhance system productivity, and thereby stimulate soil carbon (C) storage in grazed ecosystems is the addition of organic matter in the form of compost. Preliminary research in California annual grasslands found that compost applications increased net primary production (NPP) and soil C. However, the quality of the organic amendment and the intensity and duration of grazing can significantly influence soil C dynamics through changes in root biomass, soil structure, nutrient dynamics, and plant and microbial community composition, and these effects vary. We will evaluate the potential of compost additions coupled with grazing to impact productivity and soil C dynamics in the Colorado shortgrass steppe. Specifically, our research aims to achieve a better mechanistic understanding of the interactive effects of nutrient availability and grazing management on C stabilization and turnover. Through soil and plant sampling at two sites in Colorado, we will 1) quantify the effects of nitrogen (N) amendments and grazing management on above and belowground NPP; 2) examine treatment effects on the soil microbial community and processes; and, 3) quantify the relationships between N amendments, grazing management, and plant and microbial communities on soil C and N stocks.

Julianne Nikirk
A CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF ANTHROPOGENIC LIGHTING
Colorado State University, Undergraduate
With Brett Seymoure (Biology at CSU), Jeremy White (Biology at CSU), Carlos Linares (Biology at CSU), Lisa Angeloni (Biology at CSU), George Wittemyer (FWCB at CSU), Kevin Crooks (FWCB at CSU)

Since the first man-made lighting of the early 1800's, humans have greatly altered the nocturnal environment with many different light sources. This anthropogenic lighting not only alters the behavior of humans, but also numerous organisms ranging from mammals to insects. Furthermore, understanding the effects of anthropogenic lighting on human health and ecological systems has been a burgeoning area of research for the last decade. Unfortunately, the research efforts have been conducted in different disciplines with little interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. It is our aim here to pull research from the physical and astronomical sciences, life and health sciences, and social and historical sciences, to conceptually map the effects of anthropogenic lighting on life. We use illustrations and graphics to represent what anthropogenic lighting is, what variation exists in lighting, and the myriad known consequences of anthropogenic lighting. Our goal is to make a reference for the lay-person to understand the effects of anthropogenic lighting that can be distributed at natural areas and educational venues to reduce the negative consequences of anthropogenic lighting. Lastly, we conclude with specific steps that citizens can take to reduce unnecessary lighting at night, which will save energy and reduce ecological consequences.

Kelsey Navarre
TEMPORAL COVARIATION OF DEMOGRAPHIC RATES IN LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis) AND MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS
Colorado State University, Graduate

The continental population of scaup remains well below population objectives. Previous analyses of long term demographic data have revealed recruitment (a combination of multiple vital rates including nest success, female survival), as the likely driver of the decline. Vital rates are often assumed to be independent; this is a costly assumption as covariation in vital rates can have a greater influence on population dynamics than variation in any vital rate on its own. To study covariation, vital rates must be in a measured over long periods of time. We are using the long-term data set at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Montana and the creation of demographic models to explore the implications of environmental variability on lesser scaup population dynamics. Specifically, we will estimate demographic rates of lesser scaup and examine the relative contribution of habitat and climate factors on variation and covariation of demographic rates, using population models. We will also explore the implications of environmental variation on vital rates by examining life-history responses to variation and the consequent impacts on population dynamics. Results from this study will inform which vital rates are most important to population growth rate as well as the best management actions for increasingly variable environmental conditions due to climate change.

Laura van der Pol
WHAT DETERMINES MICROBIAL COMMUNITIES’ ABILITY TO FORM STABLE SOIL ORGANIC MATTER AND INTERACT WITH PLANTS?
Prospective Student for Colorado State University, Graduate
with Dr. Michael Strickland (University of Idaho)

Soil organic matter (SOM) is essential to soil health, as it impacts plant productivity, water infiltration, and nutrient recycling. Moreover, sequestering carbon (C) in soil as stable SOM could help mitigate climate change considering 50% of the terrestrial surface is cultivated. SOM has traditionally been studied from a plant-perspective, though there is increasing evidence that stable SOM formation is created largely by the microbial community. We also know that many agricultural practices (e.g. tillage, fallow) alter the microbial community and SOM. Despite intense disturbances, do agricultural soils retain the ability to form SOM? Or are there certain taxa of microbes largely responsible for creating SOM that may not survive in an agricultural environment? This study will explore questions around these topics with two objectives: 1) Quantify how diversity vs. dominant microbial taxa impact stable SOM formation and plant productivity and, 2) Identify how land-use alters microbial derived stable SOM and plant productivity. Using constructed soils and microbial communities across a land-use gradient, we'll be able to identify the extent that certain microbial taxa (low diversity) are important for SOM formation and plant growth, and use stable isotopes to figure out mechanisms of these interactions. Findings could influence theory of how community structure influences function; it will also uncover how land use practices affect soil's innate capacity to sequester carbon.

Arianna Punzalan
PREDICTING CALIFORNIA CONDOR RANGE EXPANSION TO REDUCE DEVELOPMENT THREATS
Colorado State University, Graduate

California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) have been listed as critically endangered since the first endangered species list was created in 1967. As the population's growth continues to face challenges, it is imperative that managers reduce all potential threats to the species and foster conditions that promote condor recovery. This study will predict condor range expansion into their historic range to identify habitat necessary to protect from development that can negatively impact condors. For over a decade, there have been two seemingly distinct flocks in California separated by thousands of square miles of unoccupied areas in their historical range. As the condor population grows and individuals gain experience and confidence, home ranges are expected to expand. These predictions are supported by long-range movements that were detected in 2015 and 2016, which emphasized the need to understand how condors will be using the landscape as their populations and home ranges expand back into historical habitat and beyond. However, energy development in currently unoccupied habitat may proceed without considering potential impacts to condors, despite the significant threat it poses to these rare birds. This research seeks to identify biological, social, and external factors that influence long-range movements of condors. This project will produce a GIS modeling tool to predict California condor range expansion to aid managers and developers when considering impacts to condors and identifying alternate sites during compliance processes.

Katherine Rocci
EFFECT OF BIOCHAR AMENDMENT AND PLANT PRESENCE ON SOIL NITROGEN ALLOCATION IN A GREENHOUSE EXPERIMENT
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Steven Fonte (CSU), M. Francesca Cotrufo (CSU)

Efficient use of nitrogen (N) in agroecosystems is crucial to ensuring economic use of resources, preventing deleterious N losses, and increasing crop yield. One potential way to increase N retention in agricultural systems is by applying biochar, a carbon-rich soil amendment created by heating biomass to 350-1000˚C with limited or no oxygen (pyrolysis). However, biochars often present inconsistent properties, making it difficult to assess their potential benefits. We test both raw biochar, a traditional biochar product, and engineered biochar, a product treated following pyrolysis to provide specific chemicophysical properties. To assess the potential of soil amended with biochar to retain N, we will perform a greenhouse experiment growing lettuce with four biochar treatments (raw, engineered 1, engineered 2, control - no biochar) each with and without plants for eight total treatments. We will use isotopically labelled fertilizer to trace fertilizer and soil N into plants, soil leachate and N2O emissions. We expect to see higher N retention in pots with both plants and biochar which may translate to higher N use efficiency and aboveground allocation (yield) in those treatments. We expect this to be more pronounced in the engineered biochar treatments as there are likely to be fewer toxins affecting the microbes and it should be a more consistent product. Better understanding N interactions between biochar and plants will allow for more effective use of biochar and fertilizer.

Karina Sanchez
THE EFFECTS OF URBAN NOISE AND LIGHT ON SONGBIRD ABUNDANCE, RICHNESS, AND SONG IN A RAPIDLY URBANIZING AREA
University of Northern Colorado, Graduate
with Lauryn Benedict (UNCO)

Bird songs and calls serve numerous functions including resource defense, species identification, and attracting and retaining mates. As ecosystems are altered due to the rapid growth of human populations, avian species have been observed to alter song behaviors, which are critical to individual fitness. For organisms that rely heavily on acoustic communication, it is important to understand the effects of anthropogenic environmental changes on signaling behavior and outcomes. Studies have shown that birds alter the temporal timing, frequency, amplitude, and duration of their songs to avoid being masked by anthropogenic noise and light. Several species have been studied regarding the effects of these anthropogenic changes, but there are few multi-species studies in areas currently undergoing rapid urbanization. With over a quarter million residents, the city of Greeley is the most populated area in Weld County, and this number is expected to double to nearly half a million by 2030. With these expected changes in urbanization, this serves as a unique site to study the effects of increased urban noise and light on bird species diversity and song. I propose a study to investigate the effects of anthropogenic noise and light on avian species abundance, richness, and song characteristics along an urban to non-urban gradient in Weld County, Colorado.

Ryan Schroeder
SOIL SEED BANK DYNAMICS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR RESTORATION MANAGEMENT IN DISTURBED COLORADO SEMI-ARID SHRUBLANDS
Colorado State University, Graduate
with March Paschke (CSU), Chuck Rhoades (USDA Forest Service), Nikki Grant-Hoffman (DOI Bureau of Land Management)

Ecological restoration of disturbed semi-arid shrubland ecosystems in the western United States has recently received increased attention by researchers, federal agencies, and conservation organizations. Currently, both the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seek to understand how to maximize the use of their limited resources for ecological restoration of disturbed shrubland ecosystems in Forest Service Special Interest Areas (SIA) and BLM National Conservation Areas (NCA). The soil seed bank is a variable that has the potential to significantly add to, or detract from ecosystem restoration efforts, by being a source of native or invasive plant seeds. Soil seed banks and their implications for ecological restoration in western U.S. shrubland ecosystems have received little to no attention in peer reviewed literature. Our research into soil seed bank dynamics of these ecosystems aims to answer the questions: what are the factors that are limiting plant diversity - both aboveground and in the soil seed bank - in shrub-dominated ecosystems of northern and western Colorado, U.S.A.? And how can soil seed bank data inform restoration management decisions?

Brittany (Britt) Smith
THE RELATIONSHIP OF FLORAL VOLATILES ON PLANT-INSECT INTERACTIONS IN HERACLEUM MAXIMUM: A RESEARCH PROPOSAL
Colorado State University, Graduate
with Peter Leipzig-Scott, Paul Ode

This investigation will focus on cow parsnip Heracleum maximum Bartram (Apiaceae) plant-pollinator-herbivore interactions. As entire communities are affected by environmental stress and biological competition, I propose to look at how 10 discrete Colorado H. maximum communities are responding to herbivore presence or absence. Specifically, these communities that occur across an elevation (2160m-3060m) and hence temperature gradient will be monitored for plant phenological traits: height (cm), developmental flowering stage, number of flowering stalks (umbels and umblets) and umbel width. Here we treat elevation as a proxy for climate change as differences in latitude will exhibit clines in temperature and weather patterns. This system is characterized by a high degree of synchronization between flowering time, florivory, and pollination. Parsnip webworm caterpillars Depressaria pastinacella Duponchel (Lepidoptera: Depressariidae) feed on H. maximum flowers from June through mid-July where feeding is thought to elicit changes in plant chemical cues. Floral volatiles will be collected and analyzed to determine if plants exhibit different chemical compositions in response to D. pastinacella herbivory. These volatiles will then be correlated to pollinator visits and H. maximum fitness success related to seed count and seed weight. We hope to determine if there are any differences between plant-pollinator-herbivore interactions amongst our 10 communities.

Sarah Whipple
“SNAKING” OUR WAY THROUGH ODONATA DISCOVERY: UNDERGRADUATE CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT UNCOVERS POTENTIALLY NEW DRAGONFLY SPECIES
Colorado State University, Undergraduate
with Isheka Orr (Claflin University), Nicole Wagner (Northern Illinois University), Benny Bonet (University of Puerto Rico), Obi Sayee (Adams State University)

In the summer of 2017, five undergraduate students from across the country participated in a NSF-funded research collaboration network for undergraduate biological education (RCN-UBE) focused on citizen science-based pollinator studies in the United States National Parks (NPs). Students spent eight weeks hiking, photographing, and analyzing a diverse group of species using iNaturalist, a citizen science mobile application, to assist in long-term data collection and identification for the NP database. As a result of tireless sweep netting efforts and careful macro photography skills, students may have discovered a new species of Snaketail dragonflies (Ophiogomphus sp.) within Yellowstone NP through their citizen science project. While dragonflies are not directly considered pollinators, these students' efforts showcase the direct benefits of citizen science to biodiversity discoveries within public lands, regardless of the project's original focus. In addition, these students were considered untrained entomologists, showcasing the ease of finding new species when least expected. This presentation will highlight how students were able to successfully implement citizen science projects so that it allowed for such discovery, as well as present the many unknowns that will occur, for both the project, identifiers, and Yellowstone NP, moving forward.

Jacob Wilson
TRANSGENERATIONAL EFFECTS OF MATERNAL AGE IN THE PACIFIC FIELD CRICKET
University of Denver, Graduate
with Hallagan, Claudia (student); Murphy, Shannon (coadvisor); Tinghitella, Robin (coadvisor)

Life history theory predicts older mothers will invest more heavily than younger mothers in their offspring. However, other research suggests advanced maternal age is negatively correlated with offspring fitness, which is consistent with the theory of aging. Research on aging has primarily studied maternal age effects in vertebrates, and few if any studies in invertebrates have thus far examined the transgenerational effects of maternal age, nor how those effects materialize in males. My study will use offspring from 10 maternal lines. From those 10 maternal lines, female offspring were mated at either a young (7 days post eclosion) or old (24 days post eclosion) age. Preliminary data from the F2 generation shows significant difference in both the number of eggs laid and the hatchability of those eggs from old versus young mothers. I will measure fitness in the third generation as body size, development time, and immunocompetency. I will measure male fitness as sperm viability. Hypotheses: Advanced maternal age will H1: have a positive or null effect on offspring fitness, supporting life history theory or H2: have a negative effect on offspring fitness, supporting the theory of aging. Beyond elucidating the link between maternal age and offspring fitness, my experiment will have important implications for the link between more traditional measures of fitness, such as body size and development time, and less traditional measures, such as immunocompetency and sperm viability.