- Program Areas
- Energy and Water
- Environmental Restoration
- Munitions Response
- Resource Conservation and Climate Change
- Natural Resources
- Cultural Resources
- Climate Change
- Air Quality
- Weapons Systems and Platforms
Monitoring Species of Concern Using Noninvasive Genetic Sampling and Capture-Recapture Methods
The objective of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of a promising new species monitoring approach that combines noninvasive genetic sampling and capture-recapture methods (NGS-CR). To facilitate the use of this technology at Department of Defense (DoD) installations and demonstrate its transferability, monitoring programs based on NGS-CR will be implemented for the kit fox (Vulpes macrotis) on Dugway Proving Ground in Utah and the Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis) on the Barry M. Goldwater Range and Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. For each species, the project team will develop a spatio-temporal sampling design for acquiring noninvasive genetic data (via fecal scats), collect genotype samples for individual identification, analyze genotypes with capture-recapture methods to obtain estimates of key population parameters, and develop a protocol for future long-term monitoring. The reliability of estimates obtained from implementing NGS-CR will be assessed by evaluating the precision of each parameter estimated (e.g., abundance, survival, reproduction), temporal resolution of these estimates (e.g., biannual), and spatial extent to which the estimates apply against tolerance levels set by biologists and managers responsible for each species. The efficacy of NGS-CR as a viable, long-term inventory and monitoring approach for species of concern on DoD installations will be determined by comparing the cost-benefit with alternative approaches.
Traditional capture-recapture modeling requires physical capture and direct observation of animals. NGS-CR is an attractive and innovative alternative because collecting hair, feces, or feathers provides DNA material of free-ranging animals that can be used to identify unique individuals within the population without having to catch, handle, or even observe them. NGS-CR also can be more cost-effective than traditional methods that require trapping animals or direct observation. Another benefit of NGS-CR monitoring approaches is that the genetic data generated can be used to estimate other important indicators of population health including genetic diversity, population connectivity, and effective population size. Reliable monitoring is needed to demonstrate that federally listed species have been recovered and can be considered for downlisting and to evaluate recovery actions for at-risk species to prevent federal listing. To facilitate these efforts, DoD needs accurate and cost-effective methods for estimating population distribution, abundance, survival, reproduction, movements, and genetic diversity.
Lands owned by DoD support greater densities of species of conservation concern (i.e., endangered, threatened, or otherwise at-risk) than any of the federal land management agencies. Under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act and the Sikes Act, DoD is challenged to conserve these species while simultaneously adhering to the military mission. This project will demonstrate a monitoring approach that can be implemented at large spatial scales and maintained for extended time periods. Information gained will be critical to evaluate the status of populations, conduct rigorous population viability analyses, and assess the impact of future management and training actions. In addition to directly benefiting the focal species and installations of this project, results of this project will enable many other federal land managers to evaluate the cost-benefit aspects of this approach for species of concern on their lands and utilize the monitoring protocol to implement similar programs. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2015)
Symposium & Workshop
FY 2013 New Start Project Selections
Points of Contact
Dr. Lisette Waits
University of Idaho
Resource Conservation and Climate Change
SERDP and ESTCP
- Fact Sheet - Brief project summary with links to related documents and points of contact.
- Final Report - Comprehensive report for every completed SERDP and ESTCP project that contains all technical results.
- Cost & Performance Report - Overview of ESTCP demonstration activities, results, and conclusions, standardized to facilitate implementation decisions.
- Technical Report - Additional interim reports, laboratory reports, demonstration reports, and technology survey reports.
- Guidance - Instructional information on technical topics such as protocols and user’s guides.
- Workshop Report - Summary of workshop discussion and findings.
- Multimedia - On demand videos, animations, and webcasts highlighting featured initiatives or technologies.
- Model/Software - Computer programs and applications available for download.
- Database - Digitally organized collection of data available to search and access.
Tools and Training
Put innovative research and technologies to work.