USGS at The Wildlife Society: From sea-ice change to contaminants to predators and prey

sion 20, Monday, Sept. 25, 11:10-11:30 a.m.

Dall's Sheep responses to military overflights in interior Alaska:

High-speed low-level military training flights have the potential to affect the behavior, habitat use and population characteristics of wildlife. USGS, National Park Service, and University of Alaska (Fairbanks) researchers investigated the effects of military flying operations on Dall's sheep in interior Alaska over a four-year period. Low-level, high-speed overflights near sheep were rare even during major flying events. The scientists found that daily flights over Dall's sheep did not significantly influence their activity patterns. Further, they observed no significant effects of the increased number of military aircraft sorties associated with major flying events on total distance moved; home range size; or habitat use of sheep. However, because the studied sheep had been exposed to military overflights for about 20 years, they may have acclimated to the military activity. If the nature, intensity, or frequency of military flights in interior Alaska changes substantially compared to the conditions observed in this study, then sheep may respond differently. Brad Griffith, Session 35, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2006, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (poster)

What's been learned from nearly 40 years of studying sea otters, sea urchins, and kelp (keynote)?

The trophic interaction among sea otters, sea urchins, and kelp is one of the earliest and best-known examples of a "trophic" cascade, thanks to the large-scale ecosystem disturbance of the near extinction and subsequent recovery of sea otters from the Pacific maritime fur trade. Throughout much of the coastal northeast Pacific Ocean, otter-dominated ecosystems are characterized by kelp forests whereas otter-free systems are characterized by deforested sea urchin barrens. Adding sea otters to the otter-free systems or removing them from the otter-dominated systems, results in

Contact: Catherine Puckett
United States Geological Survey

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