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Puma predation on radiocollared and uncollared bighorn sheep
Sean M Clemenza, Esther S Rubin, Christine K Johnson, Randall A Botta, Walter M Boyce
BMC Research Notes , 2009, DOI: 10.1186/1756-0500-2-230
Abstract: Three pumas killed 23 bighorn sheep over the course of the study, but they did not preferentially prey on marked (radiocollared) versus unmarked bighorn sheep. Predation occurred primarily during crepuscular and nighttime hours, and 22 kill sites were identified by the occurrence of 2 or more consecutive puma GPS locations (a cluster) within 200 m of each other at 1900, 0000, and 0600 h.We tested the "conspicuous individual hypothesis" and found that there was no difference in puma predation upon radiocollared and uncollared bighorn sheep. Pumas tended to move long distances before and after kills, but their movement patterns immediately post-kill were much more restricted. Researchers can exploit this behaviour to identify puma kill sites and investigate prey selection by designing studies that detect puma locations that are spatially clustered between dusk and dawn.Pumas (Puma concolor) are known predators of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) in North America, but puma behaviour and movements associated with these predation events are poorly understood. Ross et al. [1] found predation on Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep to be an individual behaviour in Alberta, and Logan and Sweanor [2] and Ernest et al. [3] also presented evidence for differences in the frequency that individual pumas killed desert bighorn sheep in the southwestern United States. Although these studies identified individual pumas that selectively killed bighorn sheep, they left important questions unanswered. During ongoing studies of pumas and endangered bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges of California, we radiocollared 3 pumas (1 female and her 2 offspring) who subsequently each killed multiple bighorn sheep (total ≥ 23). This gave us the opportunity to critically evaluate whether or not pumas selectively preyed on radiocollared versus uncollared bighorn sheep (because marked animals are more conspicuous), and to examine movement patterns at and around bighorn sheep kill sites.The Peninsular Rang
Local Extinction and Unintentional Rewilding of Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) on a Desert Island  [PDF]
Benjamin T. Wilder, Julio L. Betancourt, Clinton W. Epps, Rachel S. Crowhurst, Jim I. Mead, Exequiel Ezcurra
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091358
Abstract: Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) were not known to live on Tiburón Island, the largest island in the Gulf of California and Mexico, prior to the surprisingly successful introduction of 20 individuals as a conservation measure in 1975. Today, a stable island population of ~500 sheep supports limited big game hunting and restocking of depleted areas on the Mexican mainland. We discovered fossil dung morphologically similar to that of bighorn sheep in a dung mat deposit from Mojet Cave, in the mountains of Tiburón Island. To determine the origin of this cave deposit we compared pellet shape to fecal pellets of other large mammals, and extracted DNA to sequence mitochondrial DNA fragments at the 12S ribosomal RNA and control regions. The fossil dung was 14C-dated to 1476–1632 calendar years before present and was confirmed as bighorn sheep by morphological and ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis. 12S sequences closely or exactly matched known bighorn sheep sequences; control region sequences exactly matched a haplotype described in desert bighorn sheep populations in southwest Arizona and southern California and showed subtle differentiation from the extant Tiburón population. Native desert bighorn sheep previously colonized this land-bridge island, most likely during the Pleistocene, when lower sea levels connected Tiburón to the mainland. They were extirpated sometime in the last ~1500 years, probably due to inherent dynamics of isolated populations, prolonged drought, and (or) human overkill. The reintroduced population is vulnerable to similar extinction risks. The discovery presented here refutes conventional wisdom that bighorn sheep are not native to Tiburón Island, and establishes its recent introduction as an example of unintentional rewilding, defined here as the introduction of a species without knowledge that it was once native and has since gone locally extinct.
Shared Bacterial and Viral Respiratory Agents in Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis), Domestic Sheep (Ovis aries), and Goats (Capra hircus) in Montana  [PDF]
David S. Miller,Glen C. Weiser,Keith Aune,Brent Roeder,Mark Atkinson,Neil Anderson,Thomas J. Roffe,Kim A. Keating,Phillip L. Chapman,Cleon Kimberling,Jack Rhyan,P. Ryan Clarke
Veterinary Medicine International , 2011, DOI: 10.4061/2011/162520
Abstract: Transmission of infectious agents from livestock reservoirs has been hypothesized to cause respiratory disease outbreaks in bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), and land management policies intended to limit this transmission have proven controversial. This cross-sectional study compares the infectious agents present in multiple populations of bighorn sheep near to and distant from their interface with domestic sheep (O. aries) and domestic goat (Capra hircus) and provides critical baseline information needed for interpretations of cross-species transmission risks. Bighorn sheep and livestock shared exposure to Pasteurellaceae, viral, and endoparasite agents. In contrast, although the impact is uncertain, Mycoplasma sp. was isolated from livestock but not bighorn sheep. These results may be the result of historic cross-species transmission of agents that has resulted in a mosaic of endemic and exotic agents. Future work using longitudinal and multiple population comparisons is needed to rigorously establish the risk of outbreaks from cross-species transmission of infectious agents. 1. Introduction Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) experienced substantial decreases in population numbers and range in the 19th and the early 20th centuries, and subsequent recovery efforts have often been limited by large-scale die-offs [1–3]. These initial population declines were associated with settlement of western North America and were attributed to unregulated hunting, competition for forage with domestic sheep (O. aries) and other livestock, and disruption of historic bighorn sheep migration patterns due to development. Clinical disease was apparently unimportant or was underreported in these early declines, though die-offs of bighorn sheep associated with sheep scab (Psoroptes sp.) were reported following settlement [4, 5]. Bighorn sheep die-offs associated with pneumonia were reported in the 1920s and 1930s [6–10]. These early reports and subsequent work largely focused on lungworm (Protostrongylus sp.) as the primary infectious agent, although the involvement of Pasteurella sp., Corynebacterium pyogenes (currently Arcanobacterium pyogenes), and other host and environmental determinants were also noted as potential causes of respiratory disease. Subsequently, inconsistent association of lungworm with respiratory disease in bighorn sheep, as well as further evidence for Pasteurella sp. as the cause of pneumonia, led to a focus on pasteurellosis as a cause of respiratory disease outbreaks [11–14]. This research included evidence that Pasteurella sp. strains from clinically
Use of Exposure History to Identify Patterns of Immunity to Pneumonia in Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis)  [PDF]
Raina K. Plowright, Kezia Manlove, E. Frances Cassirer, Paul C. Cross, Thomas E. Besser, Peter J. Hudson
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061919
Abstract: Individual host immune responses to infectious agents drive epidemic behavior and are therefore central to understanding and controlling infectious diseases. However, important features of individual immune responses, such as the strength and longevity of immunity, can be challenging to characterize, particularly if they cannot be replicated or controlled in captive environments. Our research on bighorn sheep pneumonia elucidates how individual bighorn sheep respond to infection with pneumonia pathogens by examining the relationship between exposure history and survival in situ. Pneumonia is a poorly understood disease that has impeded the recovery of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) following their widespread extirpation in the 1900s. We analyzed the effects of pneumonia-exposure history on survival of 388 radio-collared adults and 753 ewe-lamb pairs. Results from Cox proportional hazards models suggested that surviving ewes develop protective immunity after exposure, but previous exposure in ewes does not protect their lambs during pneumonia outbreaks. Paradoxically, multiple exposures of ewes to pneumonia were associated with diminished survival of their offspring during pneumonia outbreaks. Although there was support for waning and boosting immunity in ewes, models with consistent immunizing exposure were similarly supported. Translocated animals that had not previously been exposed were more likely to die of pneumonia than residents. These results suggest that pneumonia in bighorn sheep can lead to aging populations of immune adults with limited recruitment. Recovery is unlikely to be enhanced by translocating na?ve healthy animals into or near populations infected with pneumonia pathogens.
Habitat use by desert bighorn sheep in sonora, México
Tarango, L. A.,Krausman, R.,Valdez, R.
Pirineos : Revista de Ecología de Monta?a , 2002,
Abstract: The use of habitat components by desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) was examined to explain sexual segregation of sheep in Sierra el Viejo, Sonora, Mexico. We evaluated 265 plots used by bighorns and 278 random plots from April 1997 to December 1998. Groups of segregated males and females preferred the elephant tree (Bursera microphylla)-salvia (Salvia mellifera)-limber bush (Jatropha cuneata) association (ESL) and avoided the foothill palo verde (Cercidium microphyllum)-desert ironwood (Olneya tesota) association (FDD. Segregated females selected the ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)-desert agave (Agave spp.yhop bush (Dodonoea viscosa) (OAH) vegetation association, formed larger groups, were closer to escape terrain, and occupied more rugged areas during autumn and spring than males. Segregated females selected areas that provided more opportunities to evade predation than did males. [fr] Nous avons étudié les différents composants de l'utilisation de l'habitat par le mouflon américain (Ovis canadensis) afin d'expliquer sa ségrégation sexuelle dans la Sierra el Viejo, à Sonora, Mexique. D'avril 1997 à Décembre 1998, on a évalué 265 parcelles utilisées par les mouflons et 278 parcelles au hasard. Différents groupes séparés de males et femelles préféraient l'association (ESL) formée par l'arbre Bursera microphylla, la sauge (Salvia mellifera) et l'arbuste Jatropa cuneata et ils évitaient l'association (FDD composée du Cercidium microphyllum et /'Olneya tesota. Les groupes de femelles sélectionaient l'association végétale (OAH) de Fouquieria splendens. Agave spp. et l'arbuste Dodonoea viscosa; et par rapport aux males, elles formaient de plus grands groupes, étaient plus proches de la zone de fuite et elles occupaient des terrains plus accidentés en automne et au printemps. Les groupes de femelles, plus que les males, cherchaient des zones avec moins de risque de prédation. [es] Se examinó el uso del hábitat del muflón americano Ovis canadensis para explicar su segregación sexual en Sierra el Viejo, Sonora, Méjico. Se establecieron 265 parcelas usadas por el muflón y 278 tomadas al azar, desde abril de 1997 hasta diciembre de 1998. Los grupos segregados de machos y hembras prefirieron la asociación (ESL) torote blanco (Bursera microphyllaj-sn/z^m (Salvia mellifera)- sangreado (Jatropha cuneata) y evitaron la asociación (FDI) palo verde (Cercidium microphyllum)-palo fierro (Olneya tesota). Los grupos de hembras seleccionaron la asociación ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)-ágave (Agave spp.)- chirca (Dodonaea viscosa) (OAH); formaron grandes grupos, estando
A Review of Hypothesized Determinants Associated with Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) Die-Offs  [PDF]
David S. Miller,Eric Hoberg,Glen Weiser,Keith Aune,Mark Atkinson,Cleon Kimberling
Veterinary Medicine International , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/796527
Abstract: Multiple determinants have been hypothesized to cause or favor disease outbreaks among free-ranging bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) populations. This paper considered direct and indirect causes of mortality, as well as potential interactions among proposed environmental, host, and agent determinants of disease. A clear, invariant relationship between a single agent and field outbreaks has not yet been documented, in part due to methodological limitations and practical challenges associated with developing rigorous study designs. Therefore, although there is a need to develop predictive models for outbreaks and validated mitigation strategies, uncertainty remains as to whether outbreaks are due to endemic or recently introduced agents. Consequently, absence of established and universal explanations for outbreaks contributes to conflict among wildlife and livestock stakeholders over land use and management practices. This example illustrates the challenge of developing comprehensive models for understanding and managing wildlife diseases in complex biological and sociological environments. 1. Introduction Effective management and conservation of wildlife populations can be undermined by multiple causes. These include decreased and altered habitat and other direct anthropogenic effects, climate change, competition and predation from nonnative wildlife and domestic species, demographic challenges associated with small populations, multiple, incompatible management objectives for sympatric species or their habitat, and exposure to native and exotic infectious agents [1–4]. The consequences and interactions of these variables are difficult to understand and predict, and may vary by circumstances. This uncertainty, particularly when it occurs in complex sociological environments where stakeholders have differing values and objectives, presents substantial challenges for decision makers. In such uncertain environments, the absence of data and differing values can result in polarized debate among stakeholders. It can also serve as an impediment to the acquisition of data that would contribute to effective management. Respiratory disease outbreaks in bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) illustrate the challenge of identifying and managing disease in valued wildlife populations, where stakeholder perceptions and values clash [5]. Bighorn sheep are highly valued for recreational, ecological, philosophical, spiritual, and other reasons [6]. Bighorns have experienced a population decline of two orders of magnitude subsequent to 19th century settlement of western North
Effective Population Size, Genetic Variation, and Their Relevance for Conservation: The Bighorn Sheep in Tiburon Island and Comparisons with Managed Artiodactyls  [PDF]
Jaime Gasca-Pineda, Ivonne Cassaigne, Rogelio A. Alonso, Luis E. Eguiarte
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078120
Abstract: The amount of genetic diversity in a finite biological population mostly depends on the interactions among evolutionary forces and the effective population size (Ne) as well as the time since population establishment. Because the Ne estimation helps to explore population demographic history, and allows one to predict the behavior of genetic diversity through time, Ne is a key parameter for the genetic management of small and isolated populations. Here, we explored an Ne-based approach using a bighorn sheep population on Tiburon Island, Mexico (TI) as a model. We estimated the current (Ncrnt) and ancestral stable (Nstbl) inbreeding effective population sizes as well as summary statistics to assess genetic diversity and the demographic scenarios that could explain such diversity. Then, we evaluated the feasibility of using TI as a source population for reintroduction programs. We also included data from other bighorn sheep and artiodactyl populations in the analysis to compare their inbreeding effective size estimates. The TI population showed high levels of genetic diversity with respect to other managed populations. However, our analysis suggested that TI has been under a genetic bottleneck, indicating that using individuals from this population as the only source for reintroduction could lead to a severe genetic diversity reduction. Analyses of the published data did not show a strict correlation between HE and Ncrnt estimates. Moreover, we detected that ancient anthropogenic and climatic pressures affected all studied populations. We conclude that the estimation of Ncrnt and Nstbl are informative genetic diversity estimators and should be used in addition to summary statistics for conservation and population management planning.
Disease and Predation: Sorting out Causes of a Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) Decline  [PDF]
Joshua B. Smith, Jonathan A. Jenks, Troy W. Grovenburg, Robert W. Klaver
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088271
Abstract: Estimating survival and documenting causes and timing of mortality events in neonate bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) improves understanding of population ecology and factors influencing recruitment. During 2010–2012, we captured and radiocollared 74 neonates in the Black Hills, South Dakota, of which 95% (70) died before 52 weeks of age. Pneumonia (36%) was the leading cause of mortality followed by predation (30%). We used known fate analysis in Program MARK to estimate weekly survival rates and investigate the influence of intrinsic variables on 52-week survival. Model {S1 wk, 2–8 wks, >8 wks} had the lowest AICc (Akaike’s Information Criterion corrected for small sample size) value, indicating that age (3-stage age-interval: 1 week, 2–8 weeks, and >8 weeks) best explained survival. Weekly survival estimates for 1 week, 2–8 weeks, and >8 weeks were 0.81 (95% CI = 0.70–0.88), 0.86 (95% CI = 0.81–0.90), and 0.94 (95% CI = 0.91–0.96), respectively. Overall probability of surviving 52 weeks was 0.02 (95% CI = 0.01–0.07). Of 70 documented mortalities, 21% occurred during the first week, 55% during weeks 2–8, and 23% occurred >8 weeks of age. We found pneumonia and predation were temporally heterogeneous with lambs most susceptible to predation during the first 2–3 weeks of life, while the greatest risk from pneumonia occurred from weeks 4–8. Our results indicated pneumonia was the major factor limiting recruitment followed by predation. Mortality from predation may have been partly compensatory to pneumonia and its effects were less pronounced as alternative prey became available. Given the high rates of pneumonia-caused mortality we observed, and the apparent lack of pneumonia-causing pathogens in bighorn populations in the western Black Hills, management activities should be geared towards eliminating contact between diseased and healthy populations.
Linkage disequilibrium compared between five populations of domestic sheep
Jennifer RS Meadows, Eva KF Chan, James W Kijas
BMC Genetics , 2008, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2156-9-61
Abstract: Short range LD (0 – 5 cM) was observed in all five populations, however the persistence with increasing distance and magnitude of LD varied considerably between populations. Average LD (x2') for markers spaced up to 20 cM exceeded the non-syntenic average within the White Faced Suffolk, Poll Dorset and Macarthur Merino. LD decayed faster within the Merino and Merino × Border Leicester, with LD below or consistent with observed background levels. Using marker-marker LD as a guide to the behaviour of marker-QTL LD, estimates of minimum marker spacing were made. For a 95% probability of detecting QTL, a microsatellite marker would be required every 0.1 – 2.5 centimorgans, depending on the population used.Sheep populations were selected which were inbred (Macarthur Merino), highly heterogeneous (Merino) or intermediate between these two extremes. This facilitated analysis and comparison of LD (x2') between populations. The strength and magnitude of LD was found to differ markedly between breeds and aligned closely with both observed levels of genetic diversity and expectations based on breed history. This confirmed that breed specific information is likely to be important for genome wide selection and during the design of successful genome scans where tens of thousands of markers will be required.Mapping genes of interest within animal genomes has been a lengthy and expensive task. In the past, the technique of choice has been within family linkage analysis, requiring the construction of large multigenerational pedigrees. A faster and more economical way to narrow the genetic interval surrounding a gene of interest is through whole genome scans and linkage disequilibrium (LD) mapping. The power of LD mapping lies in its ability to exploit historical recombination within populations of unrelated animals to track the sequence variations which contribute to phenotypic variation. Linkage disequilibrium refers to the ability of an allele from one marker to predict the alleli
Partitioning, duality, and linkage disequilibria in the Moran model with recombination  [PDF]
Mareike Esser,Sebastian Probst,Ellen Baake
Quantitative Biology , 2015,
Abstract: The Moran model with recombination is considered, which describes the evolution of the genetic composition of a population under recombination and resampling. There are $n$ sites (or loci), a finite number of letters (or alleles) at every site, and we do not make any scaling assumptions. In particular, we do not assume a diffusion limit. We consider the following marginal ancestral recombination process. Let $S = \{1,...c,n\}$ and $\mathcal A=\{A_1, ...c, A_m\}$ be a partition of $S$. We concentrate on the joint probability of the letters at the sites in $A_1$ in individual $1$, $...c$, at the sites in $A_m$ in individual $m$, where the individuals are sampled from the current population without replacement. Following the ancestry of these sites backwards in time yields a process on the set of partitions of $S$, which, in the diffusion limit, turns into a marginalised version of the $n$-locus ancestral recombination graph. With the help of an inclusion-exclusion principle, we show that the type distribution corresponding to a given partition may be represented in a systematic way, with the help of so-called recombinators and sampling functions. The same is true of correlation functions (known as linkage disequilibria in genetics) of all orders. We prove that the partitioning process (backward in time) is dual to the Moran population process (forward in time), where the sampling function plays the role of the duality function. This sheds new light on the work of Bobrowski, Wojdyla, and Kimmel (2010). The result also leads to a closed system of ordinary differential equations for the expectations of the sampling functions, which can be translated into expected type distributions and expected linkage disequilibria.
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