Many ethnobotanical studies have investigated selection criteria for medicinal and non-medicinal plants. In this paper we test several statistical methods using different ethnobotanical datasets in order to 1) define to which extent the nature of the datasets can affect the interpretation of results; 2) determine if the selection for different plant uses is based on phylogeny, or other selection criteria.
We considered three different ethnobotanical datasets: two datasets of medicinal plants and a dataset of non-medicinal plants (handicraft production, domestic and agro-pastoral practices) and two floras of the Amalfi Coast. We performed residual analysis from linear regression, the binomial test and the Bayesian approach for calculating under-used and over-used plant families within ethnobotanical datasets. Percentages of agreement were calculated to compare the results of the analyses. We also analyzed the relationship between plant selection and phylogeny, chorology, life form and habitat using the chi-square test. Pearson’s residuals for each of the significant chi-square analyses were examined for investigating alternative hypotheses of plant selection criteria.
The three statistical analysis methods differed within the same dataset, and between different datasets and floras, but with some similarities. In the two medicinal datasets, only Lamiaceae was identified in both floras as an over-used family by all three statistical methods. All statistical methods in one flora agreed that Malvaceae was over-used and Poaceae under-used, but this was not found to be consistent with results of the second flora in which one statistical result was non-significant. All other families had some discrepancy in significance across methods, or floras. Significant over- or under-use was observed in only a minority of cases. The chi-square analyses were significant for phylogeny, life form and habitat. Pearson’s residuals indicated a non-random selection of woody species for non-medicinal uses and an under-use of plants of temperate forests for medicinal uses.
Our study showed that selection criteria for plant uses (including medicinal) are not always based on phylogeny. The comparison of different statistical methods (regression, binomial and Bayesian) under different conditions led to the conclusion that the most conservative results are obtained using regression analysis.
An improved understanding of bycatch mortality can be achieved by complementing field studies with laboratory experiments that use physiological assessments. This study examined the effects of water temperature and the duration of net entanglement on physiological disturbance and recovery in coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) after release from a simulated beach seine capture. Heart rate was monitored using implanted electrocardiogram biologgers that allowed fish to swim freely before and after release. A subset of fish was recovered in respirometers to monitor metabolic recovery, and separate groups of fish were sacrificed at different times to assess blood and white muscle biochemistry. One hour after release, fish had elevated lactate in muscle and blood plasma, depleted tissue energy stores, and altered osmoregulatory status, particularly in warmer (15 vs. 10°C) and longer (15 vs. 2 min) capture treatments. A significant effect of entanglement duration on blood and muscle metabolites remained after 4 h. Oxygen consumption rate recovered to baseline within 7–10 h. However, recovery of heart rate to routine levels was longer and more variable, with most fish taking over 10 h, and 33% of fish failing to recover within 24 h. There were no significant treatment effects on either oxygen consumption or heart rate recovery. Our results indicate that fishers should minimize handling time for bycatch and maximize oxygen supply during crowding, especially when temperatures are elevated. Physiological data, such as those presented here, can be used to understand mechanisms that underlie bycatch impairment and mortality, and thus inform best practices that ensure the welfare and conservation of affected species.
In hydroelectric dominated systems, the value and benefits of energy are higher during extended dry periods and lower during extended or extreme wet periods. By accounting for regional and temporal differences in the relationship between wind speed and reservoir inflow behavior during wind farm site selection, the benefits of energy diversification can be maximized. The goal of this work was to help maximize the value of wind power by quantifying the long-term (30-year) relationships between wind speed and streamflow behavior, using British Columbia (BC) and the Pacific Northwest (PNW) as a case study. Clean energy and self-sufficiency policies in British BC make the benefits of increased generation during low streamflow periods particularly large. Wind density (WD) estimates from a height of 10m (North American Regional Reanalysis, NARR) were correlated with cumulative usable inflows (CUI) for BC (collected from BC Hydro) for 1979–2010. The strongest WD-CUI correlations were found along the US coast (r ~0.55), whereas generally weaker correlations were found in northern regions, with negative correlations (r ~ -0.25) along BC’s North Coast. Furthermore, during the lowest inflow years, WD anomalies increased by up to 40% above average values for the North Coast. Seasonally, high flows during the spring freshet were coincident with widespread negative WD anomalies, with a similar but opposite pattern for low inflow winter months. These poorly or negatively correlated sites could have a moderating influence on climate related variability in provincial electricity supply, by producing greater than average generation in low inflow years and reduced generation in wet years. Wind speed and WD trends were also analyzed for all NARR grid locations, which showed statistically significant positive trends for most of the PNW and the largest increases along the Pacific Coast.
The enhancement of salmon populations has long been used to increase the abundance of salmon returning to spawn and/or to be captured in fisheries. However, in some instances enhancement can have adverse impacts on adjacent non-enhanced populations. In Canada's Skeena watershed, smolt-to-adult survival of Babine Lake sockeye from 1962–2002 was inversely related to the abundance of sockeye smolts leaving Babine Lake. This relationship has led to the concern that Babine Lake smolt production, which is primarily enhanced by spawning channels, may depress wild Skeena (Babine and non-Babine) sockeye populations as a result of increased competition between wild and enhanced sockeye smolts as they leave their natal lakes and co-migrate to sea. To test this hypothesis we used data on Skeena sockeye populations and oceanographic conditions to statistically examine the relationship between Skeena sockeye productivity (adult salmon produced per spawner) and an index of Babine Lake enhanced smolt abundance while accounting for the potential influence of early marine conditions. While we had relatively high power to detect large effects, we did not find support for the hypothesis that the productivity of wild Skeena sockeye is inversely related to the abundance of enhanced sockeye smolts leaving Babine Lake in a given year. Importantly, life-time productivity of Skeena sockeye is only partially explained by marine survival, and likely is an unreliable measure of the influence of smolt abundance. Limitations to our analyses, which include: (1) the reliance upon adult salmon produced per spawner (rather than per smolt) as an index of marine survival, and (2) incomplete age structure for most of the populations considered, highlight uncertainties that should be addressed if understanding relationships between wild and enhanced sockeye is a priority in the Skeena.
Maintaining food production while sustaining productive ecosystems is among the central challenges of our time, yet, it has been for millennia. Ancient clam gardens, intertidal rock-walled terraces constructed by humans during the late Holocene, are thought to have improved the growing conditions for clams. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the beach slope, intertidal height, and biomass and density of bivalves at replicate clam garden and non-walled clam beaches in British Columbia, Canada. We also quantified the variation in growth and survival rates of littleneck clams (Leukoma staminea) we experimentally transplanted across these two beach types. We found that clam gardens had significantly shallower slopes than non-walled beaches and greater densities of L. staminea and Saxidomus giganteus, particularly at smaller size classes. Overall, clam gardens contained 4 times as many butter clams and over twice as many littleneck clams relative to non-walled beaches. As predicted, this relationship varied as a function of intertidal height, whereby clam density and biomass tended to be greater in clam gardens compared to non-walled beaches at relatively higher intertidal heights. Transplanted juvenile L. staminea grew 1.7 times faster and smaller size classes were more likely to survive in clam gardens than non-walled beaches, specifically at the top and bottom of beaches. Consequently, we provide strong evidence that ancient clam gardens likely increased clam productivity by altering the slope of soft-sediment beaches, expanding optimal intertidal clam habitat, thereby enhancing growing conditions for clams. These results reveal how ancient shellfish aquaculture practices may have supported food security strategies in the past and provide insight into tools for the conservation, management, and governance of intertidal seascapes today.
Fish entrainment through turbine intakes is one of the major issues for operators of hydropower facilities because it causes injury and/or mortality and adversely affects population abundance. Entrainment reduction strategies have been developed based on the behavior of downstream migrating fishes, particularly diadromous species. However, knowledge of the behavior of migratory fishes has very limited application for reducing the entrainment of resident fishes, including several species that represent important recreational and aboriginal fishery resources in reservoirs. In this study, we used fine-scale acoustic telemetry and state-space modeling to investigate behavioral attributes associated with entrainment risk of resident adult bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in a large hydropower reservoir in British Columbia, Canada.
We found that adult bull trout resided longer in the vicinity of the powerhouse and moved closer to the turbine intakes in the fall and particularly in the winter. Bull trout were more likely to engage in exploratory behavior (characteristic of foraging or reduced activity) during periods when their body temperature was lower or higher than 6°C. We also detected diel changes in behavioral attributes, with bull trout distance to intakes and probability of exploratory behavior slightly increasing at night.
We hypothesize that the exploratory behavior in the forebay is associated with foraging for kokanee (nonanadromous form of Oncorhynchus nerka), which have been shown to congregate near the dams of hydropower reservoirs in the winter. Our study findings should be applicable to bull trout populations residing in other reservoirs and indicate that entrainment mitigation (for example, use of deterrent devices) should be focused on the fall and winter. This work also provides a framework for combining acoustic telemetry and state-space models to understand and categorize movement behavior of fish in reservoirs and, more generally, in any environment with fluctuating water levels.
Available data show that future changes in global change drivers may lead to an increasing impact of fires on terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Yet, fire regime changes in highly humanised fire-prone regions are difficult to predict because fire effects may be heavily mediated by human activities We investigated the role of fire suppression strategies in synergy with climate change on the resulting fire regimes in Catalonia (north-eastern Spain). We used a spatially-explicit fire-succession model at the landscape level to test whether the use of different firefighting opportunities related to observed reductions in fire spread rates and effective fire sizes, and hence changes in the fire regime. We calibrated this model with data from a period with weak firefighting and later assess the potential for suppression strategies to modify fire regimes expected under different levels of climate change. When comparing simulations with observed fire statistics from an eleven-year period with firefighting strategies in place, our results showed that, at least in two of the three sub-regions analysed, the observed fire regime could not be reproduced unless taking into account the effects of fire suppression. Fire regime descriptors were highly dependent on climate change scenarios, with a general trend, under baseline scenarios without fire suppression, to large-scale increases in area burnt. Fire suppression strategies had a strong capacity to compensate for climate change effects. However, strong active fire suppression was necessary to accomplish such compensation, while more opportunistic fire suppression strategies derived from recent fire history only had a variable, but generally weak, potential for compensation of enhanced fire impacts under climate change. The concept of fire regime in the Mediterranean is probably better interpreted as a highly dynamic process in which the main determinants of fire are rapidly modified by changes in landscape, climate and socioeconomic factors such as fire suppression strategies.
The Gulf of Maine, NW Atlantic Ocean, is a productive, seasonal foraging ground for Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), but commercial landings of adult size classes were up to 40% below the allocated total allowable catch between 2004 to 2008 for the rod and reel, harpoon, and purse seine categories in the Gulf of Maine. Reduction in Atlantic bluefin tuna catches in the Gulf of Maine could represent a decline in spawning stock biomass, but given wide-ranging, complex migration patterns, and high energetic requirements, an alternative hypothesis is that their dispersal patterns shifted to regions with higher prey abundance or profitability, reducing availability to U.S. fishing fleets. This study fit generalized linear models to Atlantic bluefin tuna landings data collected from fishermen’s logbooks (1979-2005) as well as the distances between bluefin tuna schools and Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), a primary prey species, to test alternative hypotheses for observed shifts in Atlantic bluefin tuna availability in the Gulf of Maine. For the bluefin model, landings varied by day of year, latitude and longitude. The effect of latitude differed by day of year and the effect of longitude differed by year. The distances between Atlantic bluefin tuna schools and Atlantic herring schools were significantly smaller (p<0.05) than would be expected from a randomly distributed population. A time series of average bluefin tuna school positions was positively correlated with the average number of herring captured per tow on Georges Bank in spring and autumn surveys respectively (p<0.01, r2=0.24, p<0.01, r2=0.42). Fishermen’s logbooks contributed novel spatial and temporal information towards testing these hypotheses for the bluefin tuna fishery.
Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are keystone predators that consume a variety of benthic invertebrates, including the intertidal mussel, Mytilus californianus. By virtue of their competitive dominance, large size, and longevity, M. californianus are ecosystem engineers that form structurally complex beds that provide habitat for diverse invertebrate communities. We investigated whether otters affect mussel bed characteristics (i.e. mussel length distributions, mussel bed depth, and biomass) and associated community structure (i.e. biomass, alpha and beta diversity) by comparing four regions that varied in their histories of sea otter occupancy on the west coast of British Columbia and northern Washington. Mussel bed depth and average mussel lengths were 1.5 times lower in regions occupied by otters for >20 years than those occupied for <5 yrs. Diversity of mussel bed associated communities did not differ between regions; however, the total biomass of species associated with mussel beds was more than three-times higher where sea otters were absent. We examined alternative explanations for differences in mussel bed community structure, including among-region variation in oceanographic conditions and abundance of the predatory sea star Pisaster ochraceus. We cannot discount multiple drivers shaping mussel beds, but our findings indicate the sea otters are an important one. We conclude that, similar to their effects on subtidal benthic invertebrates, sea otters reduce the size distributions of intertidal mussels and, thereby, habitat available to support associated communities. Our study indicates that by reducing populations of habitat-providing intertidal mussels, sea otters may have substantial indirect effects on associated communities.
Scientific management of wildlife requires confronting the complexities of natural and social systems. Uncertainty poses a central problem. Whereas the importance of considering uncertainty has been widely discussed, studies of the effects of unaddressed uncertainty on real management systems have been rare. We examined the effects of outcome uncertainty and components of biological uncertainty on hunt management performance, illustrated with grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in British Columbia, Canada. We found that both forms of uncertainty can have serious impacts on management performance. Outcome uncertainty alone – discrepancy between expected and realized mortality levels – led to excess mortality in 19% of cases (population-years) examined. Accounting for uncertainty around estimated biological parameters (i.e., biological uncertainty) revealed that excess mortality might have occurred in up to 70% of cases. We offer a general method for identifying targets for exploited species that incorporates uncertainty and maintains the probability of exceeding mortality limits below specified thresholds. Setting targets in our focal system using this method at thresholds of 25% and 5% probability of overmortality would require average target mortality reductions of 47% and 81%, respectively. Application of our transparent and generalizable framework to this or other systems could improve management performance in the presence of uncertainty.