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SFS Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 6, 2024
15:30 - 17:00

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C12 Conservation Ecology

15:30 - 15:45 | Salon 5/6 | ECOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES OF TWO DECADES OF LAND USE CHANGE ON STREAM ECOSYSTEMS IN SOUTHCENTRAL ALASKA

6/06/2024  |   15:30 - 15:45   |  Salon 5/6

Ecological consequences of two decades of land use change on stream ecosystems in Southcentral Alaska Climate change and development simultaneously impact freshwater systems. The Cook Inlet watershed is located in Southcentral Alaska, which is one of the fastest growing areas in the state in terms of human population. This region offers an opportunity to understand the impacts of stream temperature warming and development on boreal stream systems, along both temporal and spatial gradients. Thirty streams were each sampled over multiple years in the late 1990s and early 2000s for macroinvertebrate community composition and were resampled every year from 2020-2022 following the same protocols used in prior years to assess how land use change and wetland loss in the region shaped community composition. A subset of sites were also sampled in 2022 for macroinvertebrate body stoichiometry. The streams selected spanned a range of land use types and land use change over the study period, including an increase in impervious surface extent and wetland loss in the watershed. A total of 320 unique taxa were identified across the sampling period, with most taxa identified to the genus or species level. Sites ranged in taxonomic richness from 12 to 44 taxa over the study period. The majority of sites experienced an increase in taxonomic richness over the past two decades, with some sites gaining taxonomically and stoichiometrically unique taxonomic groups, such as annelids, nematodes, and arachnids. High year-to-year variability in species present at each site highlights the importance of sampling across multiple consecutive years to establish community composition baselines.

Erin Larson (Primary Presenter/Author), Alaska Center for Conservation Science, University of Alaska Anchorage, elarson15@alaska.edu;

Rebecca Shaftel (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Alaska Center for Conservation Science at University of Alaska Anchorage, rsshaftel@alaska.edu;

Daniel Bogan (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Alaska Center for Conservation Science at University of Alaska Anchorage, dlbogan@alaska.edu;

Dustin Merrigan (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Alaska Center for Conservation Science, University of Alaska Anchorage, dwmerrigan@alaska.edu;

Molly Legg (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Alaska Pacific University, mlegg@alaskapacific.edu;

Halvor Halvorson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Central Arkansas, hhalvorson@uca.edu;

Eric Moody (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Middlebury College, erickmoody@gmail.com;

Audrey Huff (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Alaska Anchorage, aehuff2@alaska.edu;

Jessica Corman (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, jcorman3@unl.edu;

15:45 - 16:00 | Salon 5/6 | OVERLOOKED ODONATES: IDENTIFYING CLIMATE-SENSITIVE SPECIES IN NORTH AMERICA MISSED BY OTHER CONSERVATION METRICS

6/06/2024  |   15:45 - 16:00   |  Salon 5/6

OVERLOOKED ODONATES: IDENTIFYING CLIMATE-SENSITIVE SPECIES IN NORTH AMERICA MISSED BY OTHER CONSERVATION METRICS An overarching challenge in protecting species from extinction is that many remain overlooked by current metrics. Species can be overlooked for conservation due to lack of knowledge and data on life-history, habitat preference, dispersal, and other characteristics. The recently developed Rarity and Climate Sensitivity Index (RCS) incorporates point occurrences and climate data into a standardized estimate of a species' intrinsic risk of extinction. As freshwater invertebrates are disproportionately affected by climate change, we estimated the intrinsic sensitivity for over 600 Odonate species in North America using over 400,000 occurrence records and WorldClim data. We compared intrinsic sensitivities between lotic and lentic breeding species and mapped sensitivity ranks across hydrologic units to identify spatial trends. We also compared our sensitivity ranks to state, federal, and international conservation statuses to identify species that may benefit from listing but remain overlooked. Results indicate that lotic species are more sensitive than lentic species. Many species with high intrinsic sensitivities are not listed for conservation at any level, particularly lotic-breeding damselflies. Hydrologic units in the Southeast U.S. contain more intrinsically sensitive lentic-breeding species of both damselflies and dragonflies, while sensitive lotic-breeding damselflies are clustered in the Southwest and dragonflies clustered in the North-Central region. The RCS approach can screen large numbers of freshwater species, helping direct conservation efforts more effectively and limiting missed opportunities for biodiversity protection. Future work will investigate a link between RCS ranks and extinction rates to disentangle human-mediated drivers of extinction risk from macroevolutionary patterns.

Wade Boys (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Arkansas, wadeboys@uark.edu;

Jason Bried (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Arkansas, bried@illinois.edu;

Michelle Evans-White (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Arkansas, mevanswh@uark.edu;

16:00 - 16:15 | Salon 5/6 | LISTENING TO THE AMAZONIAN FRESHWATER GIANT: USING AIR-BREATHING SOUNDS TO UNDERSTAND PIRARUCU (ARAPAIMA GIGAS) DYNAMICS IN REMOTE FLOODPLAIN LAKES

6/06/2024  |   16:00 - 16:15   |  Salon 5/6

Listening to the Amazonian freshwater giant: using air-breathing sounds to understand pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) dynamics in remote floodplain lakes Although understudied in terms of their acoustic diversity, tropical freshwater habitats are home to a variety of underwater sound-producing organisms, including amphibians, aquatic insects and fishes. Freshwater soundscapes, which comprise the biological (biophony), geophysical (geophony) and anthropogenic (anthrophony) sounds from a given area, provide a novel way of addressing ecological questions in these systems. A distinct sound in Amazonian freshwaters is the one produced by the boiada or air-breathing movement of pirarucu (Arapaima gigas, Osteoglossidae), one of the largest freshwater fishes in the world and of great importance to fisheries and people in the Amazon River basin. Pirarucu are obligate air-breathers, and thus move to the surface to breath air every 5 to 20 minutes. In this study, we use air-breathing sounds to investigate pirarucu activity during the day and throughout the seasons in three floodplain lakes in the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve (MSDR) in the Brazilian Amazon, by using a combination of Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) and automated detection of sounds. We found that air-breathing sounds tend to be more abundant during dawn and dusk, suggesting higher fish activity. Furthermore, the number of pirarucu air-breathing sounds was higher during the dry-season versus the high-water season, coinciding with their seasonal lateral migration patterns in floodplain habitats. One of the methods to monitor pirarucu populations employed by experienced fishers involves counting pirarucu air-breathing sounds. Our findings suggest that PAM could become a useful tool to expand coverage (both in time and space) of present monitoring efforts for this tremendously important species.

Marisol Valverde (Primary Presenter/Author), Cornell University, mpv34@cornell.edu;

Ayan Fleischmann (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development, Tefé, Brazil, ayan.fleischmann@gmail.com;

Alexandre Pucci Hercos (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Mamiraua Institute of Sustainable Development, alexandre.hercos@mamiraua.org.br;

Debora Hymans (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Mamiraua Institute of Sustainable Development, debora.hymans@gmail.com;

Fernanda Silva (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Mamiraua Institute for Sustainable Development, fernandacachara@gmail.com ;

Aaron Rice (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Cornell University, arice@cornell.edu ;

Holger Klinck (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Cornell University, holger.klinck@cornell.edu;

Alexander Flecker (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA, asf3@cornell.edu;

16:15 - 16:30 | Salon 5/6 | SHOULD WE BE USING MEASURES OF BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATE FUNCTION INSTEAD OF STRUCTURAL METRICS TO REPRESENT STREAM RESPONSES TO MULTIPLE STRESSORS?

6/06/2024  |   16:15 - 16:30   |  Salon 5/6

SHOULD WE BE USING MEASURES OF BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATE FUNCTION INSTEAD OF STRUCTURAL METRICS TO REPRESENT STREAM RESPONSES TO MULTIPLE STRESSORS? Land-use changes significantly impact freshwater ecosystems, affecting their physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. Implementing conservation practices, like riparian buffers, may mitigate these impacts, but historical land-use can complicate the detection of their effects. highlighting the need for a nuanced evaluation of conservation practices. This complexity underscores the need for a multi-stressor analytical framework that considers intricate spatial and temporal impacts of land-use on aquatic communities. Benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs), essential indicators of health, reflect both localized and watershed-scale responses to agriculture and conservation practices. However, traditional bioassessments that use structural metrics, like the abundance of sensitive taxa (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera), frequently provide mixed results, complicating the assessment of conservation effectiveness and stream recovery. Functional metrics provide insights into resource availability, ecosystem successional trajectories, and potentially offer a more accurate assessment of ecological integrity and a more nuanced evaluation of conservation efforts. We seek to elucidate the efficacy of common conservation practices by examining both structural (density) and functional (biomass) responses of BMIs across streams with varying degrees of agricultural land-use and conservation activities in two Chesapeake Bay Watershed regions (Ridge and Mountain, Coastal Plain) using water quality, geomorphology, physical habitat, flow, and temperature in a multiple-stressor analysis. We expect biomass to be a more detailed and ecologically relevant measure of BMI responses than density in capturing ecological responses to conservation practices. Through this ongoing comparative analysis, our research aims to contribute to more informed environmental management and policy-making, enhancing the sustainability and resilience of freshwater ecosystems in human-altered landscapes.

Sergio Sabat-Bonilla (Primary Presenter/Author), Virginia Tech, ssabatbonilla@vt.edu;

Marlaina Marvin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Virginia Tech, marvinma@vt.edu;

Kelly Maloney (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Geological Survey, kmaloney@usgs.gov;

Gregory Noe (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Geological Survey, gnoe@usgs.gov;

Sally Entrekin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Virginia Tech, sallye@vt.edu;

16:30 - 16:45 | Salon 5/6 | NORTHEASTERN USA STATUS ASSESSMENT OF STONEFLY REGIONAL SPECIES IN GREATEST CONSERVATION NEED

6/06/2024  |   16:30 - 16:45   |  Salon 5/6

Northeastern USA Status Assessment of Stonefly Regional Species in Greatest Conservation Need Stoneflies are the most environmentally sensitive of aquatic insects with documented range loss, regional extirpations, and extinctions reported for the USA, Europe, and anecdotally across much of the globe. The authors developed a list of 33 stonefly Regional Species in Greatest Conservation Need (RSGCN) for the USA Northeast states (CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, PA, NJ, NH, NY, RI, VA, VT, WV). Many of these species are known only from type localities, several are endemic to the region, and one is possibly extinct (Neoperla mainensis). Climate change and continued development in the Northeast may extirpate species from the region or lead to extinction of endemics. The US Fish and Wildlife Service funded a 4-yr project, beginning September, 2024 to assess historical and new locations, to model species distributions, to assess threats, and to conduct standardized subnational, national, and global conservation status assessments for each species. This information is critical for their protection and the habitat on which they depend. In addition, a broader examination of all stonefly species in the NE will be conducted to determine state and regional responsibilities, to identify endemic species, and to suggest future additions to state and regional SGCN lists. We present at this venue to notify regional aquatic biologists of our efforts and to ask for your help in locating species and habitats that may contain them.

R Edward DeWalt (Primary Presenter/Author), Illinois Natural History Survey, dewalt@illinois.edu;

Scott Grubbs (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Western Kentucky University, scott.grubbs@wku.edu;

Luke Myers (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Lake Champlain Research Institute, myerslw@plattsburgh.edu;