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The objective of this project was to consolidate all previous work on water rights in the park into a single geodatabase that could be updated and built on in the future. Priority areas specifically for this project were Cottonwood and Spread Creeks, with the goal being to identify all water rights and associated ditches being diverted off of these creeks.
Charismatic “flagship” species are used in many parts of the world to raise public awareness or financial support for conservation, both among local people living in the area and among potential donors living far away. Flagship species can serve as symbols to stimulate conservation awareness and action and have been particularly valuable because of their potential to change citizen behavior, including involvement in conservation and support of fundraising. For a flagship to be successful, however, the target audience and conservation objectives must be established and understood before implementing the concept. Researchers have suggested that a successful flagship should possess traits that endear it to the public, should not be feared or disliked, nor have been used to convey conflicting messages of conservation. Therefore, critical to the flagship approach is understanding attitudes, species preferences, level of wildlife knowledge of people living near and living far away for which support is sought. To determine if the river otter (Lontra canadensis) could be a successful flagship for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), we conducted social science surveys with visitors to Grand Teton National Park who participated in guided-raft trips on the Snake River (n = 768), visitors of Oxbow Bend (n = 254), a popular turn-out for viewing aquatic wildlife, and visitors to Trout Lake in Yellowstone National Park (n = 298). Preliminary results showed that familiarity with the river otters is area dependent (e.g., Trout Lake visitors were more familiar with the species than those visiting Oxbow Bend or rafting the Snake River), river otters are not controversial, but education is needed to better inform the public about river otters’ occurrence and ecosystem function in GYE.
In August and September, 2014, two eight- day archaeological surveys were conducted by the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum in Caribou-Targhee National Forest and Grand Teton National Park. This project, the inaugural season of the Teton Archaeological Project, investigated high-altitude passes, basins, and ice patches for prehistoric archaeological sites. In total, during the 2014 season 28 archaeological sites were recorded ranging from Paleoindian (9,000 BP) to Late-Prehistoric (1,000 BP) in age. The results of this field season investigation provide an enlightened understanding of prehistoric life in the high Tetons and will offer a solid foundation for future archaeological surveys and research questions.
Painter Cave (48PA3288) is a dry rockshelter in the foothills of the Absaroka Mountains of northwestern Wyoming that has deeply stratified deposits. Archaeological materials were disturbed several decades ago by looters, who reportedly took a number of perishable Native American artifacts including moccasins and a cradle board, as well as numerous other unidentified objects. Preliminary assessment by Shoshone National Forest Service personnel in 2011 suggested that the site might still be partially intact. Indiana University’s Bighorn Archaeology project conducted a pilot study at Painter Cave and the surrounding area in 2014 in an effort to identify and recover any additional cultural deposits. Artifact recovery addressed local landscape use, cultural chronology of the area, subsistence strategies, and environmental conditions. The looter activity unfortunately proved to be extensive. Although team members identified numerous archaeological signatures at different sites in the study area, primary deposits in the shelter itself were disturbed in such a way that investigation into the use of Painter Cave by past peoples was challenging.
North American moose (Alces alces) populations are declining across much of their southern distribution from the Canadian Maritimes to the Rocky Mountain range of the Shiras moose subspecies (Alces alces shirasi). Shiras moose population declines have been documented in Montana and Wyoming with reduced productivity reported from Utah and Colorado. These declines are due to a combination of factors including the natural succession, loss, and degradation of habitat; predation by wolves and bears; disease caused by infection from artery worm; and parasitism by moose ticks. The effects of heat stress may also contribute to chronic malnutrition and a reduction in female fertility. Significant reductions in Montana and Wyoming moose populations adjacent to Yellowstone National Park (YNP) are indicative of regional moose population declines and suggest that moose numbers may be decreasing in YNP as well. In the northern portion of YNP, also known as the Northern Range (NR), significant loss of riparian willow browse due to overgrazing by elk for decades and by bison more recently, the reduction of mature and old-growth conifer forests from the fires of 1988 and from disease more recently have reduced both winter habitat quality and quantity for moose. Several moose with cropped ears, an external sign of the disease Elaeophorosis, or artery worm, have been observed over the past few years on the NR suggesting that the disease may also be present in YNP. Northern Range estimates of moose have decreased from almost 400 in 1970 to possibly fewer than 100 today. Despite evidence suggesting moose decline in YNP, no current population data exists. Knowledge of population demographics serves as a critical baseline for evaluating and understanding factors leading to population declines. However, because moose are solitary, prefer densely vegetated habitats, and are present at low densities, collecting population data is challenging. Traditional methods of studying moose that require capture, radio-collaring, and aerial surveys are costly, sometimes produce unreliable results, can be harmful to the study animal, and are discouraged in some jurisdictions such as national parks. Non-invasive sampling, the collection of data without having to capture, handle, or in any manner physically restrain study animals, has proven to be a valuable tool for acquiring accurate population data from free-ranging ungulates when using traditional methods is neither feasible nor practical. In December 2013, we initiated a three-year non-invasive moose population study in YNP with the main objective to estimate population demographics of NR moose. For three consecutive winters we will be systematically collecting fecal pellets from the extent of NR moose wintering habitat. We are extracting DNA from epithelial cells on the pellet surface and through genetic testing will be able to identify individual moose and their genders. Female pellet samples will be analyzed for pregnancy hormone concentrations to make inferences on pregnancy rates. Because fecal pellet size is directly related to moose size, and therefore to moose age, we will use various pellet measurements to differentiate between age classes. These data will be used in capture-recapture modeling to estimate population abundance and vital rates.
Understanding how live and dead forest fuel moisture content (FMC) varies with seasonal weather and stand structure will improve researchers’ and forest managers’ ability to predict the cumulative effects of weather on fuel drying during the fire season and help identify acute conditions that foster wildfire ignition and high rates of fire spread. No studies have investigated the efficacy of predicting FMC using mechanistic water budget models at daily time scales through the fire season nor have they investigated how FMC may vary across space. This study addresses these gaps by (1) validating a novel mechanistic live FMC model and (2) applying this model with an existing dead FMC model at three forest sites using five climate change scenarios to characterize how FMC changes through time and across space. Sites include post-fire 24-year old forest, mature forest with high canopy cover, and mature forest affected by the mountain pine beetle with moderate canopy cover. Climate scenarios include central tendency, warm/dry, warm/wet, hot/dry, and hot/wet.
One of the keystone tree species in subalpine forests of the western United States – whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis, hereafter whitebark pine) – is experiencing a significant mortality event (Millar et al. 2012). Whitebark pine occupies a relatively restricted range in the high-elevation ecosystems in the northern Rockies and its future is uncertain. The current decline of whitebark pine populations has been attributed to pine beetle infestations, blister rust infections, anthropogenic fire suppression, and climate change (Millar et al. 2012). Despite the knowledge that whitebark pine is severely threatened by multiple stressors, little is known about the historic capacity of this species to handle these stressors. More specifically, it is unknown how whitebark pine has dealt with past climatic variability, particularly variation in the type of precipitation (rain vs. snow) available for soil moisture, and how differences in quantity of precipitation have influenced the establishment and growth of modern stands. We propose to study the past responses of whitebark pine to paleoclimatic conditions, which would be useful to park ecologists in developing new conservation and regeneration plans to prevent the extinction of this already severely threatened high-elevation resource. The purpose of this study is to determine in great temporal and spatial detail the demographics of the current stand of whitebark pine trees in the watershed surrounding an unnamed, high-altitude pond (known informally as Whitebark Pine Moraine Pond) located approximately 3.06 miles NW of Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP). The main objectives of this study were: 1.) To obtain the precise GPS locations of the current stand of whitebark pine trees in the watershed to generate a GIS map detailing their locations. 2.) To obtain increment cores of a subset of the trees in the watershed to estimate age and date of establishment for the current stand of whitebark pines, with particular attention to fire history. 3.) To analyze ring widths from core samples to identify climatic indicators that may influence the regeneration and survival of whitebark pine.
Fires are an important and increasingly common driver of habitat structure in the intermountain West. Through an ongoing study of burned and adjacent unburned areas along the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, we examine the long-term effects of the 1988 fire season on community assembly, succession, and ecological processes. We collected mark/recapture data on rodents, removal data for insectivorous mammals and invertebrates, and habitat measurements on four grids in 2014 and combined these results with previous survey data. In 2014, 4,800 trap nights yielded 13 species of small mammals, comprising 618 individuals. Macroarthropod abundance was higher on burned grids, but diversity was higher on unburned grids. In contrast, springtail (Collembola) diversity was higher on burned grids, but abundance was highest in unburned grids. Since the beginning of this long-term study, the total number of mammal species has increased across all sites, and relative abundance in burned areas has shifted from early successional species (Peromyscus maniculatus) to those more associated with old growth forests (such as Myodes gapperi). Other than in 1991, the burned grids have harbored more diverse small mammal communities than the unburned control grids. Significant, long-term differences in vegetation based upon burn history were observed, including different ground cover, less canopy cover, and more coarse woody debris in burned sites. This work provides a unique long-term picture of the interrelationships of small mammal and invertebrate communities and correlated habitat variables as these ecosystems undergo post-fire succession.
Beavers are a keystone species in Grand Teton National Park and are critical to the aquatic and terrestrial landscape. Modifications to their habitat by climate change impact multiple species. This study is designed to examine the current distribution and habitat of beavers in Grand Teton National Park and analyze the alterations to this distribution and habitat based on climate change. Field and aerial surveys were completed to determine the distribution of beaver colonies in Grand Teton National Park. Beaver habitat was constructed by integrating field surveys of vegetation, soils and hydrologic characteristics with satellite imagery classification. A model of climate change was utilized in an effort to distinguish potentially different rates of temperature and precipitation change into the 21st century. The results of the climate model were then integrated into a watershed assessment model to determine stream flow in the Snake River basin. The decreasing flow rates are critical to beaver habitat for cottonwoods and willow species and beaver settlement and movement and will limit their movement. In addition, the Snake River below Jackson Lake Dam is regulated for irrigation into Idaho and the decreasing flows on the Snake River below the Jackson Lake Dam will also impact water availability for beaver habitats. Decreases in precipitation availability will increase irrigation demand causing changes in the Snake River flow patterns. Management conflicts exist between preserving and maintaining beaver habitat in the national park and meeting the irrigation
Ecological effects of climate change can include advancement of spring events, shifts in species distribution patterns, and phenological changes. Studying these responses under field conditions can require decades of research. In 2010, we established an experimental field study designed to mimic the effects of predicted climate change using snow removal and passive heating in montane meadows. Here, we use this same experimental set-up to examine nectar production relative to pollinator emergence in two important nectar sources: Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagitatta) and Wild Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum). Preliminary results indicate that there was lower nectar volume for Balsamorhiza sagitatta in the heating compared to either the control or snow removal. The heating + snow removal was also lower in nectar volume than snow removal only. Preliminary results for Eriogonum umbellatum showed a lower sugar content in the control as compared to the heating + snow removal.
Kelly Warm Springs is a unique geological feature located within Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. The Kelly Warm Springs area is used extensively by park wildlife, for recreation by park visitors, and is a place of educational interest. It has also been the site of historic non-native fish releases. The current work was initiated to gather historical information and to begin systematic documentation of temperatures in and around Kelly Warm Springs. Historic information that was not published but considered valid was included. Non-native fish presence was first documented in the 1960s. Concerns about non-native fish and habitat loss for native species were discussed by researchers in the 1980s. The temperature ranges recorded at several sites October – December 2014 approached 0oC at the lower section of the outflow channel, but remained above 20oC in the spring pond. While these range below the preferred temperature range for goldfish, research has documented survival in near zero temperatures. All sites located below Mormon Row where temperature loggers were initially deployed were either dewatered or frozen by mid-November.
The Snake River is a prominent, central feature of Grand Teton National Park, and this dynamic fluvial system maintains diverse habitats while actively shaping the landscape. Although the riparian corridor is relatively pristine, the Snake River is by no means free from anthropogenic influences: streamflows have been regulated since 1907 by Jackson Lake Dam. Among dam-controlled rivers in the western U.S., the Snake River is unique in that tributaries entering below the dam supply sufficient coarse bed material to produce a braided morphology. As a result of tributary inputs, sediment flux along the Snake River has been relatively unaffected by Jackson Lake Dam, but flow regulation has reduced the magnitude and altered the timing of streamflows. In this study we are coupling an annual image time series with extensive field surveys to document channel changes occurring on the Snake River. Our objective is to quantify how snowmelt runoff events and flow management strategies influence patterns of sediment transfer and storage throughout the river system, with a particular focus on tributary junctions. More specifically, we are using the image sequence to identify areas of erosion and deposition and hence infer the sediment flux associated with the observed changes in channel morphology. This analysis will improve our understanding of the river’s response to flow management and enable us to generate hypotheses as to how the system might adapt to future anthropogenic and/or climate-driven alterations in streamflow and sediment supply. In addition, our research on the Snake River involves an ongoing assessment of the potential to measure the morphology and dynamics of large, complex rivers via remote sensing. A new aspect of this investigation involves estimating flow velocities from hyperspectral images that capture the texture of the water surface. Extensive field measurements of velocity and water surface roughness are being used to develop this innovative approach and thus increase the amount of river information that can be inferred via remote sensing.
Preliminary results from seismic data collected at two sites on the Teton fault reveal shallow sub-surface fault structure and a basis for evaluating the post-glacial faulting record in greater detail. These new data include high-resolution shallow 2D seismic refraction and Interferometric Multi-Channel Analysis of Surface Waves (IMASW) (O’Connell and Turner 2010) depth-averaged shear wave velocity (Vs). The Teton fault, a down-to-the east normal fault, is expressed as a distinct topographic escarpment along the base of the eastern front of the Teton Range in Wyoming. The average fault scarp height cut into deglacial surfaces in several similar valleys and an assumed 14,000 yr BP deglaciation indicates an average postglacial offset rate of 0.82 m/ka (Thackray and Staley, in review). Because the fault is located almost entirely within Grand Teton National Park (GTNP), and in terrain that is remote and difficult to access, very few subsurface studies have been used to evaluate the fault. As a result, many uncertainties exist in the present characterization of along-strike slip rate, down-dip geometry, and rupture history, among other parameters. Additionally, questions remain about the fault dip at depth. Shallow seismic data were collected at two locations on the Teton fault scarp to (1) use a non-destructive, highly portable and cost-effective data collection system to image and characterize the Teton fault, (2) use the data to estimate vertical offsets of faulted bedrock and sediment, and (3) estimate fault dip in the shallow subsurface. Vs data were also collected at three GTNP facility structures to provide measured 30 m depth-averaged Vs (Vs30) for each site. Seismic data were collected using highly portable equipment packed into each site on foot. The system utilizes a sensor line 92 m long that includes 24 geophones (channels) at 4 m intervals. At both the Taggart Lake and String Lake sites, P-wave refraction data were collected spanning the fault scarp and perpendicular to local fault strike, as well as IMASW Vs seismic lines positioned on the hanging wall to provide Vs vs. Depth profiles crossing and perpendicular to the refraction survey lines. The Taggart Lake and String Lake 2D P-wave refraction profile and IMASW Vs plots reveal buried velocity structure that is vertically offset by the Teton fault. At Taggart Lake, we interpret the velocity horizon to be the top of dense glacial sediment (possibly compacted till), which is overlain by younger, slower, sediments. This surface is offset ~13 m (down-to-the-east) across the Teton fault. The vertical offset is in agreement with the measured height of the corresponding topographic scarp (~12 - 15 m). Geomorphic analysis of EarthScope (2008) LiDAR reveals small terraces, slope inflections and an abandoned channel on the footwall side of the scarp. At String Lake, the shallow buried velocity structure is inferred as unconsolidated alluvium (till, colluvium, alluvium); this relatively low velocity zone (<1000m/s) is spatially coincident with the center of a gully, and appears to be vertically offset 10 – 14 m across the Teton fault. Scarp heights adjacent to the gully to the north and south are ~35 m. Final interpretations are forthcoming pending additional data processing and analysis. This project was funded by a grant awarded by the University of Wyoming-National Park Service Research Center.
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An n × n permutative matrix is a matrix in which every row is a permutation of the first row. In this paper, the result given by Paparella in [P. Paparella. Realizing Suleimanova spectra via permutative matrices. Electron. J. Linear Algebra, 31:306–312, 2016.] is extended to a more general lists of real and complex numbers, and a negative partial answer to a question posed by him is given.
A connected graph is called Q-controllable if its signless Laplacian eigenvalues are mutually distinct and main. Two graphs G and H are said to be Q-cospectral if they share the same signless Laplacian spectrum. In this paper, infinite families of Q-controllable graphs are constructed, by using the operator of rooted product introduced by Godsil and McKay. In the process, innitely many non-isomorphic Q-cospectral graphs are also constructed, especially, including those graphs whose signless Laplacian eigenvalues are mutually distinct.