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

the largest population of black-footed ferrets (about 250) resides. More than 300,000 individual prairie dog burrows in Conata Basin were dusted with pesticides to kill fleas, but pesticide application is a labor-intensive and costly solution and difficult to sustain for a long period of time. Some ferrets were also vaccinated against plague to prevent infection, but protection from the disease won't prevent the loss of their prey base. Tonie E. Rocke, Session 32, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 10:30-10:50 a.m.

Food of surf scoter duck possibly linked to abundance of oyster bars in Chesapeake Bay:

Reports of the Atlantic coast surf scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) populations have indicated steady declines in recent decades, which have necessitated further research on their populations. One of the primary wintering areas for surf scoters is the Chesapeake Bay. While wintering on the Bay the ducks primarily prey on bivalves, such as clams and mussels. Over the last 50 years, the habitat quality for these prey items has undergone drastic changes. The decline in oyster bars and the resultant decline in availability of mussels may be causing the surf scoters to switch to more prolific food items or to move to different coastal areas. USGS Researcher David Kidwell determined a direct correlation in the availability of prey and the density of seaducks in his study sites in the Bay. As winter progressed there was a steady decline in mussel densities in scoter feeding areas, indicating that scoters were depleting their primary food source. If large-scale oyster restoration efforts take place in the next ten years, providing more habitat for mussels, then there could be a recovery seen in the scoter populations that winter on the Chesapeake Bay. David M. Kidwell and Matthew Perry, Session 9, Sunday, Sept. 24, 4:10-4:30 p.m.

Frogs as sentinels of mercury contamination:

Extensive areas of northern California have been mined for mercur

Contact: Catherine Puckett
United States Geological Survey

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