Each year the NWRC examines the publications of its scientists and recognizes those papers that are rigorous treatments of topics that addressed important program missions areas and have application to managers and basic science. Because of the nature of delays in the publication process, the awards reflect those papers published during the previous calendar year, but recognized in the current year. All NWRC publications are reviewed by an independent ad hoc committee of peers.
This study uses rapidly evolving genetic markers to understand the origins of an invasive rat population at Congo Cay. Unique to this study is the use of techniques to detect the source of rat populations based solely on post-eradication DNA samples by obtaining information on historical relationships among surrounding cays. The authors found a recent reduction of the rat population on Congo Cay and evidence of either a bottleneck or founder event on Congo Cay. This study is set apart because the authors took additional steps to determine if it was a bottleneck from a failed eradication or a founder event from immigration, a distinction many studies are unable to make. The findings suggest that the rat population on Congo Cay is at least in part a result of rat immigration from Lovango after the eradication attempts. The authors conclude with concrete recommendations for future eradication attempts that could be applied to other biological invasions.
This publication was recognized for its rigorous approach to an important management question, its publication in a high quality scientific journal, and the authors’ ability to infer their findings to more broad issues faced in eradication programs of invasive species.
In this study, the authors developed simulation tools to get insights into the efficiency gain that can be expected from a better planning of management activities in both space and time. The dataset the authors used included multi-scale location data of the double-crested cormorant, a native North American waterbird that causes damage to natural resources and aquaculture in the USA and Canada. This paper represents the first time a spatially explicit stage-structured metapopulation model has been parameterized for the cormorant. Different spatio-temporal configurations of management activities generally yielded different metapopulation trajectories; however, their modeling framework is flexible enough to allow more complex scenarios to be investigated in the future. Furthermore, this approach can be used for other ubiquitous species that are managed at large spatial scales.
This publication was recognized for its creative and rigorous approach to important management questions, its strong collaborative effort among state and federal institutions, its high technical and literary quality, and its publication in a widely respected scientific journal.
Air transportation is essential in our country and around the world, both for civilian and military purposes. Unfortunately, large bird populations near airports pose a significant hazard to aircraft. Increasing Canada geese populations are a good example of the hazards that large birds pose to aircraft. Conservation efforts and the provision of good habitats for birds in urban and suburban areas have exacerbated the hazards. There is an urgent need to identify methods to reduce bird-aircraft strikes. This study addresses the problem from a new perspective: How do birds perceive their environment and the approach of potential threats? We cannot view these situations from the human perspective, but need to understand the visual capabilities of birds. The study was well designed and conducted and used radio-controlled aircraft modified in various ways to test variables. The behavior of wing-clipped Canada geese when the aircraft approached them was documented and analyzed in an insightful and original manner. This study showed that lights in the ultraviolet/violet range of wavelengths were quickly perceived as a threat to birds. Hence, the lighting used by aircraft may be modified to reduce bird-aircraft strikes with the concurrent reduction in aircraft damage and human safety threats.
Previous Award Winners:
Atwood, T. C., and E. M. Gese. 2010. Importance of resource selection and social behavior to partitioning of hostile space by sympatric canids. Journal of Mammalogy 91:490-499.
Bradley F. Blackwell, Esteban Fernándex-Juricic, Thomas W. Seamans, and Tracy Dolan. 2009. Avian visual system configuration and behavioural response to object approach. Animal Behavious 77:673-684.
Breck, S. W., B. M. Kluever, M. Panasci, J. Oakleaf, T. Johnson, W. Ballard, L. Howery, and D. L. Bergman. 2011. Domestic calf mortality and producer detection rates in the Mexican wolf recovery area: Implications for livestock management and carnivore compensation schemes. Biological Conservation 144:930-936.
Carlson, J. C., A. B. Franklin, D. R. Hyatt, S. E. Petitit, and G. M. Linz. 2011. The role of starlings in the spread of Salmonella within concentrated animal feeding operations. Journal of Applied Ecology 48:479-486.
Da Silva, A. G., J. R. Eberhard, T. F. Wright, M. L. Avery, and M. A. Russello. 2010. Genetic evidence for high propagule pressure and long-distance dispersal in monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) invasive populations. Molecular Ecology 19:3336-3350.
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