Program Abstracts

FRSES 2021 Abstracts


Landscape & Movement Ecology Session – Oral Session 1, March 3, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM MST

Estimating climate vulnerability in yellow warblers (Setophaga petechia) on their wintering range – Marina Rodriguez

Human-caused environmental changes are inducing rapid shifts in temperatures and extreme fluctuations in precipitation. These changes force organisms to move, adapt, or go extinct. Migratory species face greater challenges than non-migratory species when adapting to environmental change because they spend portions of the year in different areas, making them more sensitive to climate change.

Estimating Population Connectivity of Black Bears (Ursus americanus) in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem with Spatial Capture-Recapture Models – Sarah Carroll

Landscape connectivity and corridor science is increasingly applied in conservation and land management decisions, highlighting the need to evaluate, refine, and advance methods used to estimate connectivity. Typical connectivity estimation methods often do not incorporate local population abundance (density) information, though density influences dispersal processes and thus the spatial structure and connectivity of populations. We applied recently developed spatial capture-recapture models to estimate density-weighted connectivity of black bears (Ursus americanus) in the northern Crown of the Continent ecosystem in northwest Montana. Using genetic capture-recapture data with detections of 598 individuals, we estimated landscape resistance to individual movement and subsequently density-weighted population connectivity. Female and male bears differed in their movement response to landscape variables that influence connectivity. This study contributes to methods development in the growing field of landscape connectivity research. The resulting connectivity maps can be applied to support landscape management and prioritize potential future highway mitigation efforts in Glacier National Park and the greater Crown of the Continent ecosystem.

Drivers of population-specific timing of migration: a genomic approach in the Common Yellowthroat – Taylor Bobowski

Migration, the seasonal movement of animals, allows organisms to exploit seasonally favorable conditions across a large geographic area. Despite this common purpose, distinct populations of the same species can exhibit dramatically different patterns of movement. Large, population-specific differences in timing of migration in migratory birds have been shown, but the underlying causes of these patterns are still unclear. Here, we test the hypothesis that breeding ground ecology drives population-specific differences in timing, as populations have adapted to the onset of spring on their respective breeding grounds. We use the Common Yellowthroat as a study species, due to their large breeding range, clear population differentiation, and a library of over 2000 samples collected over an eleven year period during the spring migration. We assess key sites along the migratory corridor and demonstrate that population specific differences in migratory timing are consistent over large timespans. Utilizing genomic data, we then predict the breeding destinations of migrants and link their timing to spring onset.

The Effect of Landscape on Population Connectivity of a Keystone Species – Sean Streich

Fragmentation of habitat and populations is an ongoing issue in wildlife conservation. Persistence of occupied areas is important to maintaining stable populations but ongoing persistence without gene flow can lead to genetic bottlenecks and decreased population fitness. In order to evaluate conservation needs and create informed management strategies for species of conservation concern it is important to understand how species move across the landscape and between populations. Methods used in landscape genetics can allow the evaluation of how certain landscape features explain genetic differentiation between populations. The program Circuitscape is a powerful tool which models gene flow between populations across a resistant landscape as electric current moving across a circuit with resistors and conductors. The Gunnison’s prairie dogs have experienced population declines and have lost much of the historic habitat and population connectivity. To evaluate how landscape affects population structure, I used Circuitscape to test which landscape features resist gene flow. A final landscape model was then selected to predict the relative levels of gene flow that exist between currently occupied populations.

Landscape Ecology & Global Change – Oral Session 2, March 3, 1:00 – 2:00 PM MST

Dynamics of Salix spp regrowth following Tamarix spp removal – Alexander Goetz

Removal of invasive Tamarix in the American Southwest reduces habitat availability for the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax extimus trailii, abbr. SWFL), which nests in Tamarix in the absence of native Salix canopy; restoration must balance SWFL conservation with promoting native plants. Using a large dataset of Tamarix removal sites, we asked the following questions: (1) Does removal of Tamarix lead to Salix growth? (2) Which Tamarix removal methods promote Salix growth? (3) What environmental conditions are associated with more Salix cover? We used mixed models to predict response of Salix cover to multiple environmental and restoration factors. Finally, we compared Salix cover change over time with Tamarix cover change over time, both overall and by removal method. We found that (1) while decreased Tamarix cover was associated with an increase in Salix, there was still a net loss of canopy cover. (2) We did not find a significant difference in Salix cover by Tamarix removal method, but herbicide sites had higher Salix cover. (3) We found that soil and climate characteristics could partially predict Salix cover. This suggests that Tamarix removal may not lead to favorable outcomes for SWFL conservation but that environmental characteristics make some sites better restoration candidates than others.

Investigating causes of extirpation and projecting range losses due to climate change for the Wyoming ground squirrel, Urocitellus elegans – Austin Nash

Predicting how wildlife species will respond to future environmental change is a Grand Challenge in ecology and this information allows wildlife managers to enact proactive conservation measures instead of reactively protecting declining species. Correlative species distribution models are a promising technique to rapidly generate spatially explicit predictions of habitat suitability but often rely on assumptions of niche conservatism, environmental variables that are biologically meaningful, and are limited by presence data availability. In this study I use museum specimen data, citizen science data, and field surveys to generate occupancy and MaxEnt species distribution models for the Wyoming ground squirrel, Urocitellus elegans to understand how the species has responded to change in the past and how they might respond future environmental change. The project is currently ongoing with the final season of fieldwork to be completed summer 2021. Occupancy models were generated with this presence/absence data to identify important environmental variables that predict site persistence and SDM’s will be used to predict range shifts. By creating predictive models informed from ecological theory, ecologists can better understand how wildlife will respond to environmental change and provide this information to land managers.

ENSO drives a dipole of masting in dry forests of the western US – Andreas Wion

Masting, or the synchronous and episodic production of seed crops across large distances, is likely driven by synchrony in climate, but we don’t fully understand how patterns of synchronous seed production decay over space, or how these patterns change from year to year. In this study, we explore the synchrony and asynchrony of masting in two masting conifer species at opposing ends of a precipitation dipole. We quantified 1174 site-years of cone production in two widely distributed conifer species (Pinus edulis and Pinus ponderosa) across a large portion of their overlapping distribution in the western United States. We decomposed the variability of cone production using empirical orthogonal function analyses, and related the dominant interannual trends to warm-season precipitation and ENSO dynamics during our study period. The results describe a primary, synchronous mode of masting that is shared across species and positively associated with growing-season precipitation across our study region. We also describe a north-south dipole in masting, in which cone production is asynchronous between northern and southern regions of our study area and tracks winter ENSO dynamics.

Climate Change, Precipitation Seasonality, and Unexpected Consequences of Shifting Patterns of Water Availability in Ecosystems – Olivia Hajek

Seasonal timing of rainfall is an important driver of grassland ecosystem function and structure. In temperate grasslands, timing of water availability is a primary control over grassland production and phenology, and whether or not rainfall is occurring in the spring or summer can have significant consequences. There are three primary mechanisms by which seasonal patterns of water availability can shift: directional changes in precipitation inputs, extreme precipitation years, and changes to potential evapotranspiration (PET) outputs. Using a N-S transect across the central US Great Plains, we looked at weather stations with over 100 years of climate data to evaluate these three mechanisms. There is evidence for a slight increase in annual precipitation, but we did not find any directional shifts in precipitation patterns over time at any of the sites. Instead, we found that extreme drought and increases in PET with rising temperature shift seasonality of the water balance with the southern half of the US Great Plains experiencing significant impacts. These findings have important implications for grassland structure (C3 vs. C4 abundances) and function, particularly as it relates to carbon cycling, since the timing water availability exerts significant control.

Soil Ecology & Agriculture Biology – Oral Session 3, March 3, 2:30 – 3:30 PM MST

Regenerative agriculture adoption and carbon sequestration potential in the Northern Great Plains – Ellie Ellis

The Northern Great Plains ecoregion of the US encompasses 24% of all US cropland and is the leading agricultural region for a number of major commodities. Many of the soils in the region have been degraded and depleted of organic matter as a consequence of conventional practices such as annual crop-summer fallow rotations and intensive tillage. Regenerative agriculture practices, including high diversity cover cropping, no-till, agroforestry, rotation with perennial forage crops, and integrative livestock management, have the capacity to increase soil organic matter content, improve water infiltration and retention, and improve nutrient retention and recycling – all of which should increase system resilience to projected climate changes and contribute to carbon sequestration. The proposed study will evaluate factors affecting the rate of adoption of regenerative agriculture practices in the NGP, along with the estimated potential of these practices to contribute to soil carbon sequestration in this region. The study will utilize open access modeling tools and data, such as the Soils Revealed Mapping Tool and Ag Evidence platform.

Water deficit stress and crop species impact microbiome selection preferences in corn and sugar beet – Kate Bazany

Crop microbiomes influence the fitness and yield of the host plant by altering everything from nutrient and water acquisition, to biotic and abiotic stress resistance. However, development of rational microbiome‐based approaches for improving crop yield and productivity is currently hindered by a lack of understanding of the major biotic and abiotic factors shaping the crop microbiome under relevant field conditions. To examine the impact of crop species and irrigation conditions on microbiome selection, we profiled bacterial and fungal communities associated with both above and below ground compartments of corn and sugar beet crops grown in irrigated and non-irrigated conditions in Colorado, Nebraska, and Montana. By examining bulk and rhizosphere soils, we found that corn and sugar beet select unique microbiomes, and that selection preferences vary with irrigation treatment. We are now employing machine learning and network-based approaches to determine complex interactions among microorganisms, their plant host and the environment. Insights into these complex interactions will help advance our understanding on the ecological processes that govern microbiome assembly and will be crucial in the development of targeted and effective microbial amendments that can improve crop fitness and productivity in novel environments.

Identifying the characteristic scope and scale of wolf-livestock conflicts: Drivers of wolf depredation reporting and compensation use by livestock producers – Rae Nickerson

For agricultural producers in Colorado and across the West, livestock depredation due to wolves is a major concern and education focused on the impact of wolves is needed. However, understanding the impact of wolves is complex and depredation data used to inform policy suffer from scaling and scoping challenges that misrepresent the lived experiences of landowners. In collaboration with Western Landowners Alliance, this research will 1. Analyze the drivers influencing landowner reporting rates and use of depredation compensation for wolf depredations, 2. Gauge landowner interest in alternatives to their current depredation compensation programs, and 3. Analyze depredation data to identify the scale of influence of wolves on livestock. Methods will include collecting and analyzing depredation data, surveys, and interviews in collaboration with landowners and producers operating on public, private, and tribal lands in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, and New Mexico. Our findings will address a fundamental concern of the livestock community that the impacts of wolves on livestock are underestimated, while providing findings to policy makers in Colorado developing wolf depredation and conservation policy.

Spatial variation in the direct and indirect contact rates at the wildlife-livestock interface for informing disease management – Anni Yang

The transmission dynamics of shared pathogens are influenced by both intra- and inter-species interactions, which makes the characterization of multi-species contact networks essential for disease management. Yet, little is known about the factors shaping rates of different contacts at the wildlife-livestock interface, especially the role of indirect contact via shared resources and the effects of livestock management. Our objective was to quantify direct and indirect contact rates among wild pigs and cattle on a commercial cow-calf operation in Florida. Using GPS data from 20 wild pigs and 11 cattle, we employed a probabilistic framework to estimate rates of three types of contacts, including direct contact, indirect contact via pastoral environment, and indirect contact via cattle supplements. Our results suggested daily direct contact rates among wild pigs was about twenty times higher than pig-cattle direct contact rates. Indirect contact rates among and between wild pigs and cattle via naturally occurring resources were widespread and spatially heterogeneous. More indirect contacts occurred at liquid molasses tubs than other cattle resources. Our results can inform risk assessment and control strategies for controlling transmission of shared diseases.

Behavioral Ecology – Oral Session 4, March 4, 9:00 – 10:00 AM MST

Effects of Individual-level Differences in Metabolic Rate on Honeybee Colony Resource Acquisition – Julian Cassano

Metabolic rate (MR) is the fundamental biological rate at which organisms consume, process and expend energy and is considered by many to be a fundamental driver for structure and function throughout all levels of biological organization. One of the basic mechanisms by which MR directly impacts life history traits – such as survival and reproduction – is through its influence on foraging behavior which drives the acquisition of energy, including the energy needed to forage. This suggests that individuals with different MR likely vary in their foraging strategies and such diversity adds a further level of complexity in groups such as social insects, where energy acquisition and fitness of the colony is a collective and emergent outcome of such individual differences. Previous studies have shown European Honeybee (Apis mellifera) foragers follow energetic currency models and maximize their energetic efficiency while foraging. Using artificially selected genetic lines with different MR phenotypes, my project investigates whether individuals from these genetic lines maximize foraging currencies differently, and thereby differ in their lifetime contribution to colony performance. This provides insight into the emergence of group phenotypes based on individual MR in a social insect with large agro-ecological implications.

Do elephants have names? Vocal labeling in African elephants. – Mickey Prado

Using learned vocal labels to refer to individuals or objects is a central feature of human language, yet the evolutionary origins of this ability are poorly understood. Elephants are among the few mammals capable of learning to produce new sounds, but it is unknown how they use this ability in the wild. To test the hypothesis that elephants vocally label, or name, individual conspecifics, we recorded calls from individually identified wild elephants that were directed towards known individual receivers and measured both source- and filter-related acoustic features of these calls. We used a conditional inference random forest model to classify calls according to the identity of the receiver and to derive proximity scores for each possible pair of calls. Calls from the same caller directed to the same receiver were more similar than calls from the same caller directed to different receivers, suggesting that individual callers modify their calls according to the identity of the receiver. Moreover, calls from different callers directed to the same receiver were more similar than calls from different callers directed to different receivers, suggesting that different callers use similar acoustic features to address the same receiver.

Novel sexual signals and implications for reproductive isolation in T. oceanicus – Sophia Anner

Populations of the Pacific field cricket have recently demonstrated rapid evolutionary change with the emergence of a novel sexual signal (purring). At least three distinct male morphs, silent, typical, and now purring, exist concurrently in several Hawaiian populations. To establish current rates of reproductive isolation between the described three morphs, we paired males and females from populations that contain typical, purring, and silent males in a 3 x 3 fully factorial experimental design, generating nine total types of within-morph (homotypic) and between-morph (heterotypic) mating trials. Mounting rates differed significantly among the nine possible pairings. Females from all populations were over twice as likely to mount typical males and did so in the shortest duration of time, implying a strong preference for the typical call. However, homotypic and heterotypic pairings were equally likely to end in mounting and took equivalent amounts of time, suggesting there is no current reproductive isolation. Finally, females from the silent population were equally likely to mount both typical and silent males suggesting that female preference for homotypic males has increased over time. The implications of future increased reproductive isolation and potential speciation justifies the need to describe current mating patterns.

Personality traits mediate the effect of anthropogenic noise pollution in eastern bluebirds – Heather Kenney 

We asked whether anthropogenic noise and animal personality interact to influence the settlement patterns and parental behaviors of individual eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) in a suburban landscape. We collected repeated measures of neophobia, aggression, and nestling feeding rate in adult bluebirds while manipulating the sound environment at nest boxes. First, we added a recording of traffic noise during the nestling stage. We found that when exposed to experimental noise, there was a weak pattern for high-aggression birds to feed more than low-aggression birds. In a second experiment, we manipulated the noise environment during territory establishment, nest-building, and egg-laying. We found that low aggression females tended to settle in noise-treated nests, and these females delayed egg-laying by an average of four days, although this was not statistically different from controls. These results suggest that female aggression level is important for mediating the effects of anthropogenic noise pollution on this population bluebirds. By identifying the role of personality in mediating human impacts on animal populations, we can implement more finely tuned conservation and management programs.

Human Dimensions – Oral Session 5, March 4, 1:30 – 2:30 PM MST

Lived experiences of Lakota, Navajo, Hispana y Chicana women ranchers in the Western US: successes, challenges, and motivations – Ariana Gloria-Martinez

Contextualized, intersectional qualitative research is needed in rangeland social science to understand how the racialized, gendered, classed, and politicized lived experiences of women ranchers of color influence their goals, decision-making processes, and the challenges they face. To address this gap, we conducted 18 semi-structured life history interviews with Lakota, Navajo, Hispana y Chicana women ranchers across five states. Successes important to interviewees included taking care of the land, producing healthy animals and high quality meat, and keeping the ranch in the family. Interviewees faced challenges including prolonged drought and climate change, financial strains from Covid-19 and volatile livestock markets, holding onto their land, navigating discrimination in assistance programs/agencies. Interviewees were motivated to continue ranching by strong ties to their ancestral homelands, a reciprocal ethic of caring for the land as Mother Earth cares for them, and passing their way of life on to future generations. With this study we center the voices, contributions and herstories of women of color ranchers. A more deep and nuanced understanding of the experiences of ranchers that this field has historically invisibilized can support more meaningful and equitable outreach and policy.

The many hats of a citizen science project leader: Perspectives from current citizen science leaders – Dani Lin-Hunter

Citizen science involves public participation in science and is common in ecology. It is often touted as being beneficial to science and volunteers. Science outcomes include answering questions at large scales and collecting cost-effective data. Volunteer outcomes include job experience and learning. However, citizen science is not a panacea of public engagement, as achieving these outcomes requires hard work by project leaders. I conducted phenomenological interviews with project leaders (n=65). I asked about their experiences working with volunteers, how they set and evaluated goals, what challenges they faced, and how they addressed them. I found that project leaders play diverse roles in projects as data managers, science communicators, business managers, IT support, volunteer trainers, and more, With these different roles comes the need to balance different people’s interests in the project (e.g., meeting volunteers’ motives vs. scientists’ data need). Thus, project leaders have to navigate complex social networks for which training in the biophysical sciences alone often fails to prepare them. Research on the under-studied perspective of project leaders can inform resources and professional development to future citizen science practitioners to better achieve both scientific and volunteer outcomes.

Altering socio – ecological structure through community – based coastal conservation in Sri Lanka: A ray of hope for the Lankan coasts – Ahalya Arulnayagam

Located in the mid of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka harbors a wide array of coastal ecosystems ranging from coral reefs mangroves, seagrasses, sandy beaches, salt marshes, sand dunes, and other coastal wetlands; which delivers rich biodiversity as well as higher livelihood prospects. With its 1620-kilometer long coastal line, the coastal ecosystems serve as a focal point of economic activities that contributes to 40% of the country’s GDP. Fisheries (80%), tourism (80%), and agriculture (15%) predominantly found to be pivotal livelihood activities strengthening the country’s economy. With the increase in population (~22M in 2018) and urbanization, resource overexploitation resulted in the depletion and degradation of coastal ecosystems; consequently ending up in coastal erosion, altered water quality, and loss of biodiversity stock. Hundreds of aimlessly implemented conservatory actions have failed throughout the last decade. This has put a question on the country’s biological richness and economic viability.

Urban natural gas leaks: An environmental justice concern? – Seongwon Im

Natural gas leaking from local distribution systems emits the greenhouse gas methane (CH4) and occasionally develops into explosion hazards, making them both a climate and safety burden. These leaks are potentially non-randomly distributed in a city, thus exposing some populations to disproportionate risk. “Environmental Justice” (EJ) broadly refers to the idea that the benefits of environmental amenities be distributed equitably across various sociodemographic groups, and that environmental burdens be eliminated, or their burdens similarly shared. We leverage the results of mobile methane surveys in 12 cities to examine patterns in the frequency of natural gas leaks and analyze revealing vastly different rates of natural gas leaks both among and within cities. Within cities, we utilize spatial conditional autoregressive (CAR) models to explore the relationship between leak frequency and census tract EJ predictors like percent people of color. Our findings indicate that the age of a city’s infrastructure is associated with the rate of leaks, and even after accounting for infrastructure age, disparities in leak rates continue to exist as a function of sociodemographic characteristics. Our analysis provides a framework for utility companies to evaluate the integrity and equity of their distribution systems.

Evolutionary Biology – Oral Session 6, March 5, 9:00 – 10:00 AM MST

Evolutionary rescue in source-sink environments: When does dispersal best facilitate recovery in declining sink populations? – Lily Durkee

A critical goal of modern evolutionary ecology is to establish how to effectively manage populations in human-altered habitats. Source-sink dynamics can arise when a population with a high fitness (source) exists that is able to support a declining population (sink) through immigration. Dispersal can prolong extinction and provide novel genetic material that can allow the sink population to adapt and recover. However, dispersal among habitats that differ in quality can also create a homogenization effect that prevents adaptation to local conditions. Source-sink dispersal, therefore, can promote adaptation and evolutionary rescue, or it can prevent adaptation, limiting population fitness. This study evaluated source-sink dispersal using the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Three dispersal strategies were chosen that were guided by current conservation recommendations: 1 migrant per generation, 5 migrants per generation, and a single large dispersal event. The impacts of one-way source to sink dispersal were assessed by tracking population size and fitness over multiple generations. By investigating these management recommendations, this work seeks to determine the effectiveness of each strategy for both recovering long-term fitness and promoting adaptation to a novel environment.

The role of inbreeding in population differentiation of an alpine specialist – Matt DeSaix

The Brown-capped Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte australis) is a nearly endemic avian species to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and is experiencing steep declines in abundance. Populations experiencing rapid declines are at a higher risk of inbreeding and decreased genetic diversity. Alpine specialists are particularly susceptible to habitat loss due to climate change but highly mobile species, such as birds, may mitigate the effects of habitat fragmentation by retaining connectivity among disjunct populations. Here, we evaluate the population genetic structure of L. australis and highlight potential genetic consequences from recent declines. We performed whole-genome sequencing with 116 individuals (10 sites) across the breeding range. Population structure analyses revealed high range-wide connectivity with the main differentiation between Pike’s Peak and the other sites (Fst: 0–0.019). Nucleotide diversity was similar among sites (pi: 0.099-0.117) but the inbreeding statistic varied considerably (F: 0.160–0.402). The two sites (Pike’s Peak and Devil’s Causeway) with the greatest population differentiation had high proportions of long runs of homozygosity (ROH; > 2 Mbp), suggesting recent inbreeding. Additional work is needed to determine if population differences in ROH may precipitate losses of genetic diversity due to inbreeding.

Improving the Efficiency of DNA extractions for Avian Climate Change Research – Noelle Mason

Because birds are ubiquitous throughout the world, tracking population trends has become a critical indicator of biodiversity loss across species. Genetic tools can be used to assess which populations are most threatened by climate change but rely on the efficient extraction of DNA from avian blood, samples are often limited. Manufacturer extraction kits offer a standardized approach to DNA extraction from blood, but need modification for optimal yield. I anticipate that modifying the recommended protocol to include enzymatic enhancement buffer ATL and increasing the incubation time will yield higher quantities of DNA extract. In preliminary results from 4 replicates of 6 total individuals of 2 species , the addition of Buffer ATL roughly doubled the DNA extraction yield when incubated for ten minutes. When incubated with Buffer ATL for 24 hours, the yield nearly quadrupled. Based on a mixed-effects model created in JMP, I found statistical significance in mean DNA yield per trial. Improving the quality and quantity of DNA extractions will increase the accuracy of studies understanding the evolutionary responses of birds to climate pressures, helping to inform conservation policies in a changing world.

Patterns of change in bird song characteristics across space and time. – Karina Sanchez

Animal vocalizations adapt to local habitats to improve transmission of signals to receivers. However, environments are continuously changing due to urbanization and wildlife are responding to these changes. Studies show birds alter their frequency (pitch) and amplitude (volume) of their songs to avoid being masked by noise. Other birds shift the dawn chorus in areas with anthropogenic light. Some songbirds learn these songs from other individuals and songs heard more often or associated with reproductive success, are more likely to be passed on to the next generation. This cultural transmission of song can result in change over time in certain song forms and could set urban populations up for the success of a specific song type. Therefore, urban and non-urban populations may face very different trajectories in song evolution. In this study, we use historic and recent song recordings from the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley to investigate changes of Spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus) songs over 45 years and across an urban to rural gradient in California. Preliminary data suggests that birds in 2015 sing songs that may be better adapted for anthropogenic noise pollution and that cultural evolution can act on independent song elements over time based on their function.

Disturbance & Community Ecology – Oral Session 7, March 5, 10:30 – 11:30 AM MST

Repeat short-interval fires drive changes in forest structure, composition and carbon in Interior Alaska – Kate Hayes

Fire is the primary driver of forest structure, composition and carbon in boreal regions across both temporal and spatial scales. Warming temperatures are linked with an increase in fire frequency across boreal Interior Alaska, leading to an acceleration of repeat short-interval reburning (fires occurring within 50 years or less of one another). Questions remain regarding how increased short-interval fires will drive shifts in forest structure and composition. We quantified forest structure and composition in boreal black spruce forests that have burned once, twice or three times across the last 70 years, well outside historic norms. Our results show that reburning drives shifts in regeneration from conifer stands to deciduous-dominated landscapes. We also report initial results on the resulting shift in forest biomass. This work expands our understanding of the impact of short-interval fires in Alaska, and contributes to our knowledge of carbon cycle shifts driven by warming temperatures and increasing fires in the boreal system.


FRSES 2020 Abstracts

Download a complete list of abstracts here: FRSES_Abstracts_2020