- ItemPopulation ecology of vervet monkeys in a high latitude, semi-arid riparian woodland(South African National Parks, Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Parke, 2013) Pasternak, Graham M.; Brown, Leslie R.; Kienzle, Stefan W.; Fuller, Andrea; Barrett, Louise; Henzi, PeterNarrow riparian woodlands along non-perennial streams have made it possible for vervet monkeys to penetrate the semi-arid karoo ecosystem of South Africa, whilst artificial water points have more recently allowed these populations to colonize much more marginal habitat away from natural water sources. In order to better understand the sequelae of life in these narrow, linear woodlands for historically ‘natural’ populations and to test the prediction that they are ecologically stressed, we determined the size of troops in relation to their reliance on natural and artificial water sources and collected detailed data from two river-centred troops on activity, diet and ranging behaviour over an annual cycle. In comparison to other populations, our data indicate that river-centred troops in the karoo were distinctive primarily both for their large group sizes and, consequently, their large adult cohorts, and in the extent of home range overlap in what is regarded as a territorial species. Whilst large group size carried the corollary of increased day journey length and longer estimated interbirth intervals, there was little other indication of the effects of ecological stress on factors such as body weight and foraging effort. We argue that this was a consequence of the high density of Acacia karroo, which accounted for a third of annual foraging effort in what was a relatively depauperate floristic habitat. We ascribed the large group size and home range overlap to constraints on group fission. Conservation implications: The distribution of group sizes, sampled appropriately across habitats within a conservation area, will be of more relevance to management than average values, which may be nothing more than a statistical artefact, especially when troop sizes are bimodally distributed.
- ItemWhere's the risk? : Landscape epidemiology of gastrointestinal parasitism in Alberta beef cattle(Biomed Central Ltd, 2015) Beck, Melissa A.; Colwell, Douglas D.; Goater, Cameron P.; Kienzle, Stefan W.Background: Gastrointenstinal nematodes (GIN) present a serious challenge to the health and productivity of grazing stock around the globe. However, the epidemiology of GIN transmission remains poorly understood in northern climates. Combining use of serological diagnostics, GIS mapping technology, and geospatial statistics, we evaluated ecological covariates of spatial and temporal variability in GIN transmission among bovine calves pastured in Alberta, Canada. Methods: Sera were collected from 1000 beef calves across Alberta, Canada over three consecutive years (2008–2010) and analyzed for presence of anti-GIN antibodies using the SVANOVIR Ostertagia osteragi-Ab ELISA kit. Using a GIS and Bayesian multivariate spatial statistics, we evaluated the degree to which variation in specific environmental covariates (e.g. moisture, humidity, temperature) was associated with variation in spatial and temporal heterogeneity in exposure to GIN (Nematodirus and other trichostrongyles, primarily Ostertagia and Cooperia). Results: Variation in growing degree days above a base temperature of 5 °C, humidity, air temperature, and accumulated precipitation were found to be significant predictors of broad–scale spatial and temporal variation in serum antibody concentrations. Risk model projections identified that while transmission in cattle from southeastern and northwestern Alberta was relatively low in all years, rate of GIN transmission was generally higher in the central region of Alberta. Conclusions: The spatial variability in risk is attributed to higher average humidity, precipitation and moderate temperatures in the central region of Alberta in comparison with the hot, dry southeastern corner of the province and the cool, dry northwestern corner. Although more targeted sampling is needed to improve model accuracy, our projections represent an important step towards tying treatment recommendations to actual risk of infection.
- ItemImpacts of forest fires and climate variability on the hydrology of an alpine medium sized catchment in the Canadian Rocky Mountains(M D P I A G, 2015) Springer, Johanna; Ludwig, Ralf; Kienzle, Stefan W.This study investigates the hydrology of Castle River in the southern Canadian Rocky Mountains. Temperature and precipitation data are analyzed regarding a climate trend between 1960 and 2010 and a general warming is identified. Observed streamflow has been declining in reaction to a decreasing snow cover and increasing evapotranspiration. To simulate the hydrological processes in the watershed, the physically based hydrological model WaSiM (Water Balance Simulation Model) is applied. Calibration and validation provide very accurate results and also the observed declining runoff trend can be reproduced with a slightly differing inclination. Besides climate change induced runoff variations, the impact of a vast wildfire in 2003 is analyzed. To determine burned areas a remote sensing method of differenced burn ratios is applied using Landsat data. The results show good agreement compared to observed fire perimeter areas. The impacts of the wildfires are evident in observed runoff data. They also result in a distinct decrease in model efficiency if not considered via an adapted model parameterization, taking into account the modified land cover characteristics for the burned area. Results in this study reveal (i) the necessity to establish specific land cover classes for burned areas; (ii) the relevance of climate and land cover change on the hydrological response of the Castle River watershed; and (iii) the sensitivity of the hydrological model to accurately simulate the hydrological behavior under varying boundary conditions. By these means, the presented methodological approach is considered robust to implement a scenario simulations framework for projecting the impacts of future climate and land cover change in the vulnerable region of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.