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NMHU Research Posters

NMHU student research posters
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.
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.
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.
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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