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NMHU Research Posters

NMHU student research posters
A Multi-Scale Visualization and Exploration of the Mora Watershed, New Mexico
Lessons and lab exercises were developed that illustrate techniques for delineating watersheds and drainages using topographic maps and digital elevation models. These exercises include techniques for visualizing and summarizing properties of watersheds such as longitudinal profiles, cross section, and land cover. Additional exercises covering the basics of geographic information systems and the use of online and webapps are being developed.
Assessing Habitat Quality in Restored Arroyos at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge
Arroyo restoration at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge provides a case study where these degraded systems are restored into viable habitat.
Assessing, Quatifying and Monitoring Arroyo Restoration at Rio Mora NWR
Quantifying the restoration of hydrologic processes in rehabilitated arroyos, as well as quantifying the conditions created by restoration efforts for native flora and fauna.
Bison Conservation Genetics Study at Wind River Ranch, New Mexico
Bison face a variety of threats to their long-term survival as a species, including the spread of new diseases, low genetic diversity, and the introgression of domestic cattle genes. At Wind River Ranch (WRR), NM, we are studying the genetic diversity and cattle hybrid status of the resident wild bison herd to ensure its conservation significance. Three WRR bison were identified cattle hybrids using a mitochondrial marker. WRR has two distinct bison mitochondrial lineages, one unique to WRR, and one shared by bison at Yellowstone, the National Bison Range, the Texas State Bison Herd, and the Fort Niobrara NWR.
Bull Frog Diet of The Mora River
Invasive species are the single most important conservation problem at the species level. When a new species colonizes a new habitat, it finds good conditions since the local organisms do not have an evolutionary history exposure to the invaders. Potential prey has not evolved defenses against the newcomer and predators do not recognize it as prey. American bullfrog (Lithobates castebiana) was introduced in Northern New Mexico more than 50 years ago. Its impact on the local fauna has been quite important driving to extinction many local populations of native species. In this Study we set out to assess the impact that the bullfrog predation on the local wildlife. We studied the diet of 268 via analyzing their stomach content. Surprisingly we did not find any of the native amphibians in the diet of the bullfrogs. In fact, an invasive species of crayfish seems to be the dominant prey item in their diet. We hypothesize that local populations of leopard frogs might have evolved behavioral avoidance of bullfrog predation. The potential use of this population to restock places where leopard frogs have gone extinct is an appealing, and seemingly possible, alternative.
Can Crayfish and Creek Chub Sustain Otters in the Mora River
River otters have been successfully reintroduced to other NM rivers. If the Mora River is similar to these systems, then the biomass & production rate of fish and crayfish will sustain the min. river otter dietary requirements.
Conservation Genetics In A Bison-Cattle Hybrid Herd At Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge
• American Bison (Bison bison) are a keystone species in prairie grassland ecosystems. • Bison experienced a severe genetic bottleneck in the late 1800s and their numbers declined drastically. • The species recovered from the bottleneck and now there are more than 500,000 bison today. • Hybridization with cattle has threatened bison fitness and genetic adaptations necessary for survival in North American grassland habitats. • Bison are found in both Federal and private herds around North America. Objectives: • Identify bison individuals located at Rio Mora NWR that have genetic evidence of cattle introgression in mitochondrial DNA. • Identify lineages in the bison herd at the Rio Mora NWR.
Demography Response of Lithobates pipens to agriculture, climate change, channelization, and an invasive species
The combined effects of agriculture, climate change, and river channelization have left native Northern New Mexico species vulnerable to predation and competition from invasive species. This study examines the demographic changes of the native Northern leopard frogs after the removal of the invasive species the American Bullfrog. A section of the Mora River was divided in 2000- meter long section. One control region where no bullfrogs were eliminated and an experimental region where we eradicated Bullfrogs. Fifty one Leopard frogs were captured, pit tagged, and processed for demographic data. Control and experimental regions did not differ in the relative abundance of leopard frogs. We did not find significant difference in the mass of frogs from the two regions either. The preliminary data does show lower average mass and greater abundance in the experimental region suggesting an increase in recruitment of metamorphosis frog into the population. A change in demography within a year of bullfrog removal shows how fast a species can react to environmental changes.
Do Pinon and Juniper Shrubs Out-Compete Herbaceous Vegetation?
With an open landscape and semiarid climate, short grass prairies support unique biodiversity, including bison, songbirds and a variety of grass species.
Evaluated Soil Texture to Determine Water Retention Sites on the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge
At Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge there has been considerable decrease in water storage within the soil, a lower water table, and the loss of critical riparian and ephemeral wetlands due to extensive alterations to the river which accomodated agricultural needs of the past.
Gunnison's Prairie Dog Reintroduction at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge
Plan to reintroduce Gunnison's Prairie Dog reintroduction at the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge.
Habitat preference of the American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) in the lower watershed of the Mora River in Northern New Mexico
The means to control and manage against the effects of invasive species has not been well explored. We believe that an understanding of the habitat preference by an invasive species provides a theoretical background on which to base habitat management decisions. In this study we utilize temperature sensitive radio telemetry transmitters attached to four adult bullfrogs to document the habitat preference of post-metamorphic bullfrogs on the Mora River located at Wind River ranch in northern New Mexico. Preliminary data for the month of July, suggests a strong correlation between time spent in daytime hours and banks consisting of heavy or thick vegetation. This study provides a foundation on which to develop effective strategies to better manage and control invasive American bullfrogs in the lower watershed riparian ecosystem of the Mora River in northern New Mexico.
Monitoring the Effects of Restoration and Management On Water Cycles and Nutrients
This study focused on three main concepts, 1) the impacts of juniper encroachment on hydrologic systems in western grasslands and woodlands, 2) the effects of management and restoration on water budgets, and 3) the distribution, fate, and impact of aquatic pollutants.
Native Seed Restoration Project
This service learning partnership with RMNWR provides information about native plant species germination percentages and conditions that plants encounter. Rio Mora can use this information begin their restoration with a seed mix that is successful and resilient in the local habitat.
Pinon and Juniper Encroachment Impacts on Shortgrass Prairie Ecosystems
How does woody shrub encroachment influence plant diversity, vegetation cover and community service?
Plan to Increase American Beaver Populations at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Plan to Increase American Beaver Populations at Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge, NM Goals: Grow beaver population in Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge to 20; Improve and expand habitat; Deter bison from beaver habitat
Quantifying a Novel Method of Grassland Restoration Using the Plug and Spread Treatment in a Shortgrass Prairie System in Northern New Mexico
North American shortgrass prairie decline may be exacerbated by drought, monsoons, and intense brief storms caused by climate change. The Plug and Spread treatment is a novel approach to restore grasslands by utilizing seasonal runoff that increases surface hydrologic connectivity disrupted by human activies on the landscape.
Removal of Invasive Bullfrogs and Their Impact on Ecosystem Trophic Levels
Comparing locations where invasive Bullfrogs have been eradicated with locations where populations density was unaltered, invasive Crayfish population abundance and structure is analyzed due to the great deal of predation pressure from Bullfrogs.
Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge habitat suitability status for the reintroduction of the North American river otter (Lontra canadensis)
An exploration of the hypothesis that because river otters have been successfully reintroduced in other New Mexican rivers, the Mora River will also likely be a suitable ecosystem for their reintroduction.
Southwestern Willow Flycatcher: A Species Conservation Plan for Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge
A Conservation plan for the endangered species Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, including background, ecological significance, objectives and goals, and outreach opportunities.
Stream Classification of the Mora River in The Wind River Ranch near Watrous, New Mexico
During the third week of April 2010, the New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) Surface Hydrology and Watershed Management students, as supervised by, Dr. Craig Conely and Dr. Edward Martinez, studied the Mora River watershed by measuring flows and stream morphology characteristics. Largely, the Mora River watershed is located on the eastern slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the northeastern, New Mexico and is approximately 1,476-mi². The Mora River flows eastward into the plains of New Mexico and drains into the Canadian and Arkansas rivers. Recharge to the Mora River watershed occurs by means of surface waters. Agricultural activities such as livestock watering and irrigation are primary uses for the waters and drinking water is typically gained via groundwater. During the 2-day study, present-day conditional status evaluation of the river took place. The Mora River reach, after analysis, appeared to be recovering from disturbance. Natural ecologic recovery of the river determination involved measuring cross sectional profiles, longitudinal profiles, and recording parameters such as natural meanders and point bar development along the stream reach.
The Response of the Native aquatic fauna to the eradication of bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeiana) in a section of the Mora River, at Wind River Ranch
This poster summarizes the body of research on the vertebrate community of the Mora River being carried out by faculty and students of New Mexico Highlands University. This anchor posters presents the context in which many of the projects are taking place with reference to the general methods used and common study site and techniques. The core of the project consists of evaluating the impact of Bullfrog eradication in the community of aquatic vertebrates. For this purpose, a section of the Mora River was divided in two regions. One experimental where the bullfrogs were eradicated using different methods and another one, control, where bullfrog population is not affected. Most of the project associated in this site look at the impact of the presence or absence of bull frogs on different aspects of the ecosystem.
Variation in Diet Composition of North American Bullfrog between Evening and Morning Capture
American Bullfrogs are considered an invasive species in 11 of the Western United States. As any invasive, they can have a large ecological impact on the ecosystems they inhabit. This study includes the eradication of bullfrogs from the experimental site in order to compare population densities of the native amphibians between the control and experimental regions. The captured bullfrogs from the experimental site are euthanized and the contents of their stomachs evaluated in order to get a comprehensive representation of their diet to gauge the possible affects they are having on the declining native populations.
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