Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • Austin, United States
Recent publications
Freshwater mussels are particularly sensitive to hydrologic changes, including streamflow and temperature, resulting in global decline. The Devils River in south-central Texas harbors the endangered freshwater mussel Popenaias popeii (Unionidae; Texas hornshell). There is concern that water withdrawals from the underlying aquifer may be negatively impacting this species. To assess this risk, we evaluated upper thermal tolerances (LT05 and LT50) of larvae (glochidia) and juveniles from two sites. After being acclimated to 27 °C, glochidia were subjected to five experimental temperatures (30, 32, 34, 36, and 38 °C) and non-acclimated control (20 °C) for 12-h and 24-h while juveniles were subjected to three experimental temperatures (30, 32, and 36 °C) and non-acclimated control (20 °C) for 96-h. We overlaid tolerance estimates against in situ water temperature and discharge data to evaluate thermal exceedances. Additionally, we reviewed upper thermal tolerances of P. popeii’s presumed host fish (Carpiodes carpio, Cyprinellas lutrensis, and Moxostoma congestum) and their congeners. Stream temperatures only occasionally exceeded mussel LT05/50 and fish CLMax/LTMax, likely due to the Devils River’s large spring input, highlighting the importance of protecting spring flows. We provide a practical framework for assessing hydrological needs of aquatic ectotherms, including the parasite-host relationship, which can be used to optimize environmental management.
The Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus; LEPC) is an iconic North American prairie grouse, renowned for ornate and spectacular breeding season displays. Unfortunately, the species has disappeared across much of its historical range, with corresponding precipitous declines in contemporary population abundance, largely due to climactic and anthropogenic factors. These declines led to a 2022U.S. Fish and Wildlife decision to identify and list two Distinct Population Segments (i.e., Northern and Southern DPSs) as threatened or endangered under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Herein, we describe an annotated reference genome that was generated from a LEPC sample collected from Southern DPS. We chose a representative from the Southern DPS because of the potential for introgression in the Northern DPS, where some populations hybridize with the Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido). This new LEPC reference assembly consists of 206 scaffolds, a N50 of 45 Mb, and 15,563 predicted protein-coding genes. We demonstrate the utility of this new genome assembly by estimating genome-wide heterozygosity in a representative LEPC and in related species. Heterozygosity in a LEPC sample was 0.0024, near the middle of the range (0.0003-0.0050) of related species. Overall, this new assembly provides a valuable resource that will enhance evolutionary and conservation genetic research in prairie grouse.
Agroforestry has been practiced in the Mid-hills for generations as the main source of the supplement of timber, firewood, and fodder. However, its adoption is influenced by different site-specific factors necessitating site-specific studies. In this regard, this study was conducted in the Mid-hill section of Western Nepal to identify major agroforestry practices and analyze determinants of adoption decisions. This was accomplished through direct observation, focus group discussions (n = 3), key informant interviews (n = 9), and household surveys (n = 200), and collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and ordinal logistic regression. Altogether five different agroforestry practices were found viz. Silvopasture, Commercial crop under tree shade, Home Garden, Trees in and around farmland, and Fruit Tree Orchard. Among them, 50.5% were adopting only one practice, 39.5% were adopting two practices, 10% were adopting more than two practices as per their needs and resources. The households with a male as household head, larger household size, greater landholding and livestock units, higher cash income, support for integrating crops, and at a farther distance from community forest were significantly more likely to get higher ratings for the adoption of agroforestry practices. Whereas, variables like caste, occupation, education, age, access to the forest, and membership in community-based organizations weren’t statistically significant. Findings from this study can provide guidelines to stakeholders working to develop effective agricultural management strategies along with promoting the integration of trees into farming systems that meet farmers’ needs and preferences. However, more research on socially acceptable, ecologically sound, and economically beneficial agroforestry practices as well as specific species combinations suitable to the study area is needed to maximize products and benefits from limited available arable land.
Bird-window collisions (BWCs) are a major threat to avian populations, annually causing up to one billion bird deaths in the US alone and untold numbers of fatalities worldwide. Until recently, there has been limited institutional and governmental recognition of this issue and few coordinated, national-level efforts to address it. To fill this need, citizen-science campaigns have stepped in to generate scientific information about BWCs, raise public awareness, and advocate for policy and actions to reduce collisions. We review the BWC issue and showcase how citizen-science programs in multiple countries have achieved these outcomes. Additional citizen-driven successes in addressing BWCs are possible if key constraints are overcome, including funding limitations and challenges of proactively engaging stakeholders who can reduce BWCs at scale. Addressing this global conservation issue will also require building upon the recent increase in attention to BWCs by government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, commercial entities, and professional scientists.
Natural methane (CH4) emissions from aquatic ecosystems may rise because of human-induced climate warming, although the magnitude of increase is highly uncertain. Using an exceptionally large CH4 flux dataset (~19,000 chamber measurements) and remotely sensed information, we modeled plot- and landscape-scale wetland CH4 emissions from the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR), North America's largest wetland complex. Plot-scale CH4 emissions were driven by hydrology, temperature, vegetation, and wetland size. Historically, landscape-scale PPR wetland CH4 emissions were largely dependent on total wetland extent. However, regardless of future wetland extent, PPR CH4 emissions are predicted to increase by two- or threefold by 2100 under moderate or severe warming scenarios, respectively. Our findings suggest that international efforts to decrease atmospheric CH4 concentrations should jointly account for anthropogenic and natural emissions to maintain climate mitigation targets to the end of the century.
Habitat fragmentation and loss reduce population size and connectivity, which imperils populations. Functional connectivity is key for species persistence in human-modified landscapes. To inform species conservation management, we investigated spatial genetic structure, gene flow and inferred dispersal between twelve breeding sites of the Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita); regionally Red-Listed as Endangered in Ireland. Spatial genetic structure was determined using both Bayesian and non-Bayesian clustering analysis of 13 polymorphic microsatellite loci genotyping 247 individuals. We tested the influence of geographic distance, climate, habitat, geographical features, and anthropogenic pressure on pairwise genetic distances between breeding sites using Isolation-by-distance and Isolation-by-resistance based on least-cost path and circuit theory models of functional connectivity. There was clear spatial structuring with genetic distances increasing with geographic distance. Gene flow was best explained by Isolation-by-resistance models with coniferous forestry plantations, bog, marsh, moor and heath, scrub, anthropogenic presence (Human Influence Index) and rivers (riparian density) identified as habitats with high resistance to gene flow while metapopulation connectivity was enhanced by coastal habitats (beaches, sand dunes and salt marshes) and coastal grassland. Despite substantial declines in census numbers over the past 15 years and its regional status as Endangered, the Natterjack toad population in Ireland retains high genetic diversity. If declines continue, maintaining habitat connectivity to prevent genetic erosion by management of coastal grasslands, pond construction and assisted migration through translocation will be increasingly important.
Quantifying relationships between animal behavior and habitat use is essential to understanding animal decision-making. High-resolution location and acceleration data allows unprecedented insights into animal movement and behavior. These data types allow researchers to study the complex linkages between behavioral plasticity and habitat distribution. We used a novel Markov model in a Bayesian framework to quantify the influence of behavioral state frequencies and environmental variables on transitions among landcover types through joint use of location and tri-axial accelerometer data. Data were collected from 56 greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons frontalis) across seven ecologically distinct winter regions over two years in midcontinent North America. We showed that goose decision-making varied across landcover types, ecoregions, and abiotic conditions, and was influenced by behavior. We found that time spent in specific behaviors explained variation in the probability of transitioning among habitats, revealing unique behavioral responses from geese among different habitats. Combining GPS and acceleration data allowed unique study of potential influences of an ongoing large-scale range shift in the wintering distribution of a migratory bird across midcontinent North America. We anticipate that behavioral adaptations among variable landscapes is a likely mechanism explaining goose use of highly variable ecosystems during winter in ways which optimize their persistence.
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) are a grassland specialist that have experienced a >60% reduction in their historical range due to habitat fragmentation and encroachment of woody vegetation. Pronghorn populations are increasing in the Texas Panhandle despite conversion of grassland to cropland (27–43% of the regional landscape) and associated fragmentation. We hypothesized that pronghorn avoid cropland when selecting seasonal home ranges and avoid cropland within their home ranges. We captured 64 adult pronghorn of equal sex ratios in both the High Plains (n = 32) and Rolling Plains (n = 32) ecoregions of Texas, USA, during February 2017 and fitted them with iridium satellite global positioning system (GPS) collars. We collared 27 additional pronghorn in 2018 to account for mortalities and collar failures. We estimated resource selection functions for the High Plains and Rolling Plains populations using mixed‐effects logistic regression at the home range (second order) and within home range (third order) scales separately for each ecoregion and season (fawning, summer, rut, and winter). Our hypothesis that pronghorn avoid cropland was supported in the Rolling Plains ecoregion at the home range scale; otherwise, cropland was inconsistently and seasonally important in resource selection. Furthermore, pronghorn often avoided paved roads more strongly than cropland. At the home range scale during 2017–2019, female pronghorn in the High Plains selected cropland during rut and winter. Males exhibited weak selection for cropland during rut. Within home ranges in the High Plains, female pronghorn avoided cropland during fawning in 2017, during rut in 2017 and 2018, and during winter 2019 but selected areas closer to cropland in winter 2017 and fawning 2018. Males selected areas farther from cropland during all sampling dates in 2017 and winter 2019. Avoidance and selection of cropland within home ranges also varied among seasons and years in the Rolling Plains. Overall, pronghorn avoided cropland when selecting home ranges in the Rolling Plains and cropland was otherwise inconsistently and only seasonally important in resource selection at the home range and within home range scales. We speculate that loss of pronghorn habitat to cropland in the High Plains and Rolling Plains of Texas may outweigh temporary nutritional benefits from seasonal use of crops. Pronghorns avoided cropland in the Rolling Plains but not in the High Plains of Texas. Loss of habitat to cropland may outweigh temporary nutritional benefits of crops to pronghorn.
Yellow rails (Coturnicops noveboracensis) are secretive, nocturnal marsh birds that are challenging to survey. During the breeding season, males will respond to click‐click vocalization call playbacks and can also be detected using autonomous recording units (ARUs). Yellow rails will occasionally vocalize click‐click during spring migration but seldom, if ever, use this vocalization during autumn and winter. Consequently, detections of yellow rails have relied on effort‐intensive approaches such as draglines or serendipitous encounters. On 28 January 2022, we documented yellow rails vocalizing an unfamiliar call at a coastal marsh in Texas, USA. The vocalization was vaguely reminiscent of a sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis) call, and thus we called this vocalization a bugle. The bugle vocalization appears to be undocumented in the literature. To explore the frequency of vocalizations, we set out 4 ARUs at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, Texas from 30 January through 5 February 2022. We were also able to incorporate this vocalization into call‐playback surveys for multiple rail species at 5 sites along the Texas Gulf Coast from 14 February through 7 May 2022. Bugle vocalizations captured using ARUs appear to be most frequent from 1600–1800, and we tallied 327 of these vocalizations on ARUs during 1 week. Additionally, 31 individuals were detected during call‐playback surveys. The majority (21 of 31 individuals) came in response to playing the bugle vocalizations, while the remaining vocalizations were approximately evenly split between unsolicited vocalizing prior to the start of call playback, vocalizing in response to the click‐click call, and responding to other rail species playbacks. All vocalization responses during call playback were the bugle call. We suggest that future non‐breeding surveys for yellow rails use ARUs and call‐playback approaches that incorporate the bugle vocalization to document the presence of this species more efficiently. Yellow rails were recently recorded producing a previously undocumented vocalization in a coastal Texas salt marsh in January 2022. We found that this vocalization can be used to elicit the same vocalization in response during call‐playback surveys, and autonomous recording unit recordings demonstrate that yellow rails will also give this call unprompted. We suggest that this call may provide an alternative method for documenting the presence of yellow rails during the non‐breeding season.
Human-fortified ship channel inlets can represent the only connection between estuarine and coastal waters for tens of kilometers in some areas of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, making them bottlenecks for fish movement. A variety of fishes associate with the jetties that fortify ship channel inlets, and the deep depths of channel inlets relative to surrounding waters may provide a unique type of habitat. To understand variability in fish biomass in these vital areas, 49 hydroacoustic surveys of the Aransas Channel Inlet, Texas were conducted and paired with environmental (e.g., temperature) and meteorological (e.g., barometric pressure) data between January 2018 and February 2020. Fishery-independent and fishery-dependent data from the surrounding area were employed to provide context to variability in fish backscatter (i.e., volume backscattering strength, sv, a proxy for fish biomass). Generalized additive models indicated that variation in fish backscatter was best explained by variation in temperature, change in barometric pressure, and salinity (adj.-R2 = 0.71). There were two dimensions to these effects. In the first, variation in temperature tracked seasonal shifts in the relative abundance of pelagic fishes, which were well sampled by acoustic technologies relative to demersal fishes. In the second, episodic cold fronts (i.e., high pressure systems) were associated with high values of fish backscatter — likely because the Aransas Channel Inlet is far deeper than surrounding areas and protected by jetties, making it less affected by physical disturbances and rapidly changing air temperatures or precipitation. Thus, disturbances in the Aransas Channel Inlet (e.g., dredging and construction, shipping traffic) are likely to be most impactful to non-demersal fishes when temperature and salinity are low (< c.a. 15 °C and < c.a. 28 psu) and frontal systems are likely to affect the area (barometric pressure increase > c.a. 3 mb or decrease > 7 mb over 24 h).
Fall is an important time of year for fish recruitment in the Gulf of Mexico, with many commercially and recreationally important species spawning during this period. Changes in temperature and salinity regimes through seasonally abnormal freshwater input may change spawning patterns and displace larvae. Such an event occurred off the coast of Galveston Bay, Texas, when a freshwater flood plume formed from unprecedented rainfall related to Hurricane Harvey at the end of August 2017. This study investigated the effects of a large‐scale flood plume on larval fish assemblages, collected at nearshore and shelf zones 1 and 2 months after Hurricane Harvey. Samples from 2017 were compared to historical datasets collected by NOAA Fisheries in September (2000–2004 and 2006–2016) and October (2000–2012). Evidence of lowered water temperature and salinity was found in both September and October 2017. Larval community composition changed along cross‐shelf gradients and with increasing distance from shore. We also found evidence of 2017 assemblages differing from historical data, with the September 2017 assemblage more closely resembling those from October historical samples. Observed differences in 2017 assemblages were most likely explained by an earlier onset in fall sciaenid spawning, suggesting that decreases in water temperature occurring during hurricanes have the potential to alter fish spawning patterns.
1. Researchers generally ascribe demographic drivers in a single or few sub-populations and presume they are representative. With this information, practitioners implement blanket conservation measures across metapopulations to reverse declines. However, such approaches may not be appropriate in circumstances where sub-populations are spatiotemporally segregated and exposed to different environmental variation. 2. The Greenland White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons flavirostris is an Arctic-nesting migrant that largely comprises two sub-populations (delineated by northerly and southerly breeding areas in west Greenland). The metapopulation has declined since 1999 but this trend is only mirrored in one sub-population and the causes of this disparity are unclear. Here we compare the drivers and trends of productivity in both sub-populations using population- and individual-level analysis. 3. We examined how temperature and precipitation influenced population-level reproductive success and whether there was a change in the relationship when metapopulation decline commenced. In addition we used biologging devices to reconstruct incubation events and modelled how phenology and environmental conditions influenced individual-level nest survival. 4. Correlations between reproductive success and temperature/precipitation on the breeding grounds have weakened for both sub-populations. This has resulted in lower reproductive success for the northerly, but not southerly breeding sub-population, which at the individual-level appears to be driven by lower in nest survival. Earlier breeding ground arrival and less precipitation during incubation increased nest survival in the northerly breeding population, while no factors examined were important for the southerly breeding sub-population. This suggests reproductive success is now driven by different factor(s) in the two sub-populations. 5. Demographic rates and their environmental drivers differ between the sub-populations examined here and consequently we encourage further decomposition of demography within metapopulations. This is important for conservation practitioners to consider as bespoke conservation strategies, targeting different limiting factors, may be required for different sub-population.
Streamflow is a primary determinant of fish assemblage structure in riverine systems, but alteration of natural flow regimes can result in fish assemblage shifts through the process of environmental filtering. Because natural drought conditions reduce and homogenize streamflow in a manner comparable to projections for climate change in some regions, drought could serve as a proxy for expected future flow conditions. We investigated the effects of drought as a temporally dynamic environmental filter of the occurrence of two guilds of fishes, benthic‐spawners (BS) that deposit adhesive ova along the benthic zone of rivers and pelagic‐spawners (PS) that release semi‐buoyant, non‐adhesive ova into the pelagic zone of rivers. We developed species‐specific random forest models to estimate annual probability of occurrence for three BS and four PS minnow species at three sites in the upper Brazos River, Texas for the period 1950‐2018. We then used a generalized additive mixed effects model to assess the relationship between drought intensity and likelihood of occurrence to test (H1) whether reproductive modes differed in response to drought, and whether response to drought was (H2) spatially or (H3) temporally variable. We found support for (H1) as two of four PS species (Shoal Chub Macrhybopsis hyostoma; Smalleye Shiner Notropis buccula) declined and two of three BS species increased as drought intensified, support for (H2) as responses to drought varied by gage location, and no support for (H3) as drought response was consistent for periods 1950‐1979 and 1980‐2018. These findings offer insight into the future of riverine fish assemblages as climate change is expected to exacerbate regional drought conditions. Management of PS fishes during extreme drought in the southern Great Plains may require strategies such as (1) rescues of fish from drying reaches, (2) captive holding and propagation, and (3) assisted recolonization following subsidence of drought conditions.
Grasslands are among the most widely distributed, but most imperiled, biomes on Earth. North American grasslands once covered ~162 million ha prior to European colonization, but only ~30 % of this landcover currently remains due to continued human-modified landscape changes. Strategic conservation of remaining grassland landcover, which considers species-specific habitat requirements, is critical for the persistence of grassland species and has become a global priority. Intact grassland landcover is critical for swift fox (Vulpes velox), a facultative prairie carnivore, and we sought to strategically identify areas where grassland conservation would most impact population persistence in an agro-prairie ecosystem. We modeled site (n = 381) occupancy by swift foxes using three years of camera-trap data (2018-2020) from western Kansas, USA, and integrated known-fate survival information to identify priority native grassland conservation areas. Additionally, we evaluated ownership of our identified priority conservation lands to determine strategies for conservation delivery. Our grassland assessment of two thresholds of predicted swift fox occupancy (≥0.09 [priority] and ≥0.18 [high priority]) identified 2,377,193 ha and 84,420 ha for conservation in Kansas, respectively. Identified conservation areas were overwhelmingly located on privately owned working lands (98 % [priority and high priority]), rather than federal, state, or non-governmental organization owned lands (2 % [priority and high priority]), and highlight the need for using conservation easements and incentive-based programs to promote grassland conservation to private landowners.
Reintroductions are powerful tools for tackling biodiversity loss, but the resulting populations can be intrinsically small and vulnerable. It is therefore critical to maximise the number of individuals that are available to contribute to recovery efforts. To address this, we investigated how demographic parameters from a reintroduced population can reveal threats to long-term persistence, inform thresholds for management interventions, and create targets for removing an endangered species from the IUCN Red List. We calculated capture-mark-recapture population estimates for eastern quolls ( Dasyurus viverrinus ) which had been reintroduced to a fenced reserve in the Australian Capital Territory. We then incorporated the resulting demographic parameters into population viability analyses (PVAs) to estimate probabilities of persistence under several scenarios, including supplementations and harvests (removal of individuals for translocation to other locations). After determining sustainable harvest rates, we then ‘back-cast’ the population size and occupancy area required to remove the species from the IUCN Red List within 10 years. Our demographic results indicated high mean apparent survival (90% ± 5), and PVAs revealed the probability of persistence over a 50-year time horizon was 50.5% with no interventions, 0% when the population was harvested of > 6 individuals, and 100% if harvests ≤ 54 juveniles were combined with an annual supplementation of ten maternal females (with ≤ 6 young each). Based on this model, a total harvest area of 413 km ² and an occupancy area of 437 km ² would be needed to recover the species within 10 years (i.e., 90 similar fenced reserves, not accounting for edge effects). Due to the inherent difficulty in securing large areas for species recovery, we see these ambitious targets as a call to create coordinated and collaborative sanctuary networks where species can be managed as a metapopulation across multiple sites. By taking advantage of a rapid life history and harvesting the ‘doomed surplus’, managers can achieve their stretch goals for species recovery in the long term.
The behaviors and activity season of Deirochelys reticularia miaria (Western Chicken Turtle) are poorly understood in Texas. Though distribution of D. r. miaria in the eastern portion of the state is widespread, turtle assemblage studies conducted within the range of the species in Texas have seldom documented its presence. There is a lack of formal protection for this subspecies and their habitat, and past research suggests that remaining habitat within the state is under threat from increasing urbanization. Therefore, the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a 90-day finding that states listing the subspecies as threatened or endangered may be warranted. To provide survey recommendations for the western subspecies, we review species-wide capture techniques from the literature, recommend a survey season for D. r. miaria in Texas, and evaluate the efficacy and potential demographic biases of capture protocols implemented during field studies in the state in 2018 and 2019. We compared road surveys, dipnet surveys, seine surveys, night wading surveys, and two types of unbaited fyke net trap. Fyke nets were effective in every study that deployed them and captured D. r. miaria in this study at a rate of 0.25 captures per trap night. Dipnet surveys had the highest capture rate among active survey methods, but body size biases between methods were apparent. In Texas, road surveys yielded significantly lower capture rates than all other survey types. The best survey method selection will vary depending on research questions, budget, and time constraints. Utilizing proper survey protocols and understanding the activity season are crucial for performing effective studies on this species.
Small populations are vulnerable to increased genetic load and drift that can lead to reductions in fitness and adaptive potential. By analyzing 66 individual whole genomes of Montezuma Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) from multiple populations, we illustrate how genetic load is dynamic over evolutionary time. We show that Montezuma Quail are evolving like a ring species, where the terminal extant populations from Arizona and Texas have been separated for ~16,500 years. The Texas populations have remained small but stable since the separation, whereas the Arizona population is much larger today but has been contracting for thousands of years. Most deleterious mutations across the genome are young and segregating privately in each population, and a greater number of deleterious alleles are present in the larger population. Our data indicate that ancestral load is purged during strong bottlenecks, but the reduced efficiency of selection in small populations means that segregating deleterious mutations are more likely to rise in frequency over time. Forward-time simulations indicate that severe population declines in historically large populations is more detrimental to individual fitness, whereas long-term small populations are more at risk for reduced adaptive potential and population-level fitness. Our study highlights the intimate connections among evolutionary history, historical demography, genetic load, and evolutionary potential in wild populations.
Dreissenid mussels are successful aquatic invaders which have spread rapidly throughout North America following their arrival from Eurasia approximately 35 years ago. Reservoirs in central Texas have been more recently invaded by zebra mussels and these populations represent the southernmost edge of this species’ current distribution in North America. The purpose of this study was to examine the distribution and population dynamics (recruitment and mortality) of zebra mussels in Canyon Lake and the effect of high temperatures and low dissolved oxygen on mortality of zebra mussels in three different Central Texas lakes (Canyon, Belton, and Stillhouse Hollow). Recruitment, both larval densities and juvenile settlement, varied with temperature within and between years. The highest settlement rate and lower mortality were associated with lower temperatures (e.g., year or lake with lowest number of days ≥ 30 °C), whereas hypoxia likely caused high mortality at greater depths in Lake Belton. Although higher summer temperatures seem to limit zebra mussels, their population has continued to increase and expand in Canyon Lake since the initial invasion, but at considerably lower densities than higher latitude populations This study improves our understanding of factors driving and limiting zebra mussel population dynamics in low latitude lakes, which will help to inform management decisions.
Anthropogenic activities post‐European colonization of the North American Great Plains have drastically altered landscape composition and configuration, subsequently affecting native biodiversity. These contemporary human‐modified landscapes may affect mammal species’ distributions, diel activity patterns, habitat use, and interspecific interactions, though a better understanding of these effects on mammals occurring in remaining prairie landscapes is needed. To fill this gap, we surveyed 381 randomly selected sites in 2018, 2019, and 2020 using motion‐sensing camera traps across western Kansas, USA (7,160,077 ha). Sites were separated by ≥ 2 km (x̄ = 8.16 km, SD = 3.61), and cameras were secured to a metal post 40 cm above ground and randomly oriented North or South. We placed an olfactory attractant (mixture of skunk essence and petroleum jelly) on a wooden stake 3 m in front of each camera. Cameras were in place at each site for 28 consecutive days for each year. We manually identified all mammal species detected at each site collating these data into a database that includes taxonomic information for 14 families of mammals (Antilocapridae, Bovidae, Canidae, Cervidae, Cricetidae, Dasypodidae, Didelphidae, Erethizontidae, Felidae, Heteromyidae, Leporidae, Mephitidae, Mustelidae, Procyonidae, Sciuridae, and Muridae) comprising 28 total species. We recorded 31,178 mammal photographs (non‐independent events) over 27,954 camera trap nights during 2018 (n = 10,351), 2019 (n = 9,478), and 2020 (n = 8,125). Additionally, we include the time and date of each photocapture as well as the number of individuals per capture. Moreover, we provide survey‐specific data useful for modeling species‐specific detection along with site‐level habitat composition data that was measured at each site each year. These data will be useful for examining habitat use, species distributions, diel activity patterns, and spatio‐temporal interactions between species and across guilds of mammals occurring in a rapidly changing agro‐prairie ecosystem. There are no copyright restrictions, but we ask researchers cite this paper when using these data for publication. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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82 members
Paul Crump
  • Nongame and Rare Species Program
Nathan W Fuller
  • Nongame and Rare Species Program
Kevin B. Mayes
  • Inland Fisheries
Joel D Anderson
  • Coastal Fisheries
Austin, United States