David S Pilliod

David S Pilliod
United States Geological Survey | USGS · Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

PhD

About

173
Publications
53,092
Reads
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Introduction
I work at the crossroads of species conservation, restoration ecology, and natural resource management. I lead a research team that investigates ecological consequences of past disturbances, predicts future environmental change, and develops solutions to natural resource management problems. We combine molecular methods, remote sensing, field studies, and statistical modeling with decision support systems to facilitate scientific advancement and adaptive management on public lands.
Additional affiliations
January 2008 - present
Boise State University
Position
  • Research Graduate Faculty
December 2006 - present
United States Geological Survey
Position
  • Supervisory Research Ecologist
January 2005 - December 2006
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
August 1995 - May 2001
Idaho State University
Field of study
  • Ecology
September 1987 - June 1991

Publications

Publications (173)
Article
Full-text available
The U.S. federal government has recently committed to the difficult task of slowing and managing the invasive grass‐fire cycle in sagebrush steppe, where property, livelihoods, and entire ecosystems are at risk. To safely manage this crisis, the government recently proposed to construct about 17,700 km of fuel breaks and millions of hectares of fue...
Article
Full-text available
On the Ground •Available rangeland data, from field-measured plots to remotely sensed landscapes provide much needed information for mapping and modeling wildlife habitats. •Better integration of wildlife habitat characteristics into rangeland monitoring schemes is needed for most rangeland wildlife species at varying spatial and temporal scales....
Article
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Although bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) and tailed frogs (Ascaphus montanus) have co-existed in forested Pacific Northwest streams for millennia, these iconic cold-water specialists are experiencing rapid environmental change caused by a warming climate and enhanced wildfire activity. Our goal was to inform future conservation by examining the...
Article
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Improving post‐wildfire restoration of foundational plant species is crucial for conserving imperiled ecosystems. We sought to better understand the initial establishment of sagebrush (Artemisia sp.), a foundational shrubland species over a vast area of western North America, in the first 1–2 years post‐wildfire, a critical time period for populati...
Article
Full-text available
Delineating conservation units (CUs, e.g., evolutionarily significant units, ESUs, and management units, MUs) is critical to the recovery of declining species because CUs inform both listing status and management actions. Genomic data have strengths and limitations in informing CU delineation and related management questions in natural systems. We...
Article
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Comparative studies of mortality in the wild are necessary to understand the evolution of aging; yet, ectothermic tetrapods are underrepresented in this comparative landscape, despite their suitability for testing evolutionary hypotheses. We present a study of aging rates and longevity across wild tetrapod ectotherms, using data from 107 population...
Article
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Increasing threats to amphibian and reptile species raise the urgency of their conservation. However, relative to other vertebrate groups at risk, amphibians and reptiles have low and more variable social capital; they are not generally high‐priority natural goods and services valued by people. Consequently, relative to other groups such as birds,...
Article
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Amphibian populations are sensitive to environmental temperatures and moisture, which vary with local weather conditions and may reach new norms and extremes as contemporary climate change progresses. Using long-term (11–16 years) mark-recapture data from 10 populations of the Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris) from across its U.S. range, we...
Article
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Sex-related differences in mortality are widespread in the animal kingdom. Although studies have shown that sex determination systems might drive lifespan evolution, sex chromosome influences on aging rates have not been investigated so far, likely due to an apparent lack of demographic data from clades including both XY (with heterogametic males)...
Article
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Significance Using long-term demographic studies, we showed that warmer temperatures are associated with increased senescence rates and decreased lifespans in four amphibian species that are widely distributed across two continents (North America and Europe). Our study highlights the role of changing climatic conditions in the aging of ectotherms i...
Article
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On the Ground •Monitoring supports iterative learning about the effectiveness of management actions, information that can help managers plan future actions, facilitate decision-making, and improve outcomes. •Adaptive monitoring is the evolution of a monitoring program in response to new management questions, new or changing environmental or socioe...
Article
The conservation of native insect pollinators is hampered by a lack of information about environmental factors influencing pollinator communities. We investigated how insect pollinator communities, composed of bees (Hymenoptera), butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), and flies (Diptera), are influenced by spatial and temporal aspects of the environm...
Article
Full-text available
1. Temperature is a critical driver of ectotherm life history strategies, whereby a warmer environment is associated with increased growth, reduced longevity, and accelerated senescence. Increasing evidence indicates that thermal adaptation may underly such life history shifts in wild populations. Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and Copy Num...
Article
The potential to provide inferences about fish abundance from environmental (e)DNA samples has generated great interest. However, the accuracy of these abundance estimates is often low and variable across species and space. A plausible refinement is the use of common aquatic habitat monitoring data to account for attributes that influence eDNA dyna...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Management emphasis for sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) has largely shifted to conservation of sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) as State and Federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and landowners have joined in formal and informal partnerships to keep greater sage-grouse (C. urophasianus) from being listed under the Endangered Species Act of 197...
Chapter
Full-text available
Adaptive management and monitoring efforts focused on vegetation, habitat, and wildlife in the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) biome help inform management of species and habitats, predict ecological responses to conservation practices, and adapt management to improve conservation outcomes. This chapter emphasizes the adaptive resource management framew...
Chapter
Full-text available
Amphibians and reptiles are vertebrates that are often overlooked in assessments of the importance of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems for wildlife. Given their dependence on water, few amphibians are strongly associated with sagebrush habitats, although several use these uplands for foraging, shelter, or dispersal. Of the 60 amphibian species...
Article
Increasing frequency and severity of droughts have motivated natural resource managers to mitigate harmful ecological and hydrological effects of drought, but drought mitigation is an emerging science and evaluating its effectiveness is difficult. We examined ecohydrological responses of drought mitigation actions aimed at conserving populations of...
Article
Full-text available
Beaver-related restoration is a process-based strategy that seeks to address wide-ranging ecological objectives by reestablishing dam building in degraded stream systems. Although the beaver-related restoration has broad appeal, especially in water-limited systems, its effectiveness is not yet well documented. In this article, we present a process-...
Article
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A lack of information regarding which ecological factors influence restoration success or failure has hindered scientifically based restoration decision-making. We focus on one headwater site to examine factors influencing divergent ecological outcomes of two post-mining stream restoration projects designed to improve instream conditions following...
Article
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Conservation of wide-ranging species is aided by population genetic information that provides insights into adaptive potential, population size, interpopulation connectivity, and even extinction risk in portions of a species range. The Striped Whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus) occurs across 11 western U.S. states and into Mexico but has experienced...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract A better understanding of seed movement in plant community dynamics is needed, especially in light of disturbance‐driven changes and investments into restoring degraded plant communities. A primary agent of change within the sagebrush‐steppe is wildfire and invasion by non‐native forbs and grasses, primarily cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum). O...
Article
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Illegal killing of nongame wildlife is a global yet poorly documented problem. The prevalence and ecological consequences of illegal killing are often underestimated or completely unknown. We review the practice of legal recreational shooting and present data gathered from telemetry, surveys, and observations on its association with illegal killing...
Article
Full-text available
Wildfires change plant community structure and impact wildlife habitat and population dynamics. Recent wildfire‐induced losses of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ) in North American shrublands are outpacing natural recovery and leading to substantial losses in habitat for sagebrush‐obligate species such as Greater Sage‐grouse. Managers are cons...
Article
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We conducted a national-scale assessment of mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation in aquatic ecosystems, using dragonfly larvae as biosentinels, by developing a citizen-science network to facilitate biological sampling. Implementing a carefully designed sampling methodology for citizen scientists, we developed an effective framework for a landscape-level in...
Article
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Understanding the demographic consequences of interactions among pathogens, hosts, and weather conditions is critical in determining how amphibian populations respond to disease and in identifying site-specific conservation actions that can be developed to bolster persistence of amphibian populations. We investigated population dynamics in Boreal T...
Article
The effects of extreme concentrations of toxic metalloids, such as arsenic (As) and antimony (Sb), on larval amphibians are not well understood. We sampled Western Toad tadpoles (Anaxyrus boreas) living in As- and Sb-contaminated wetlands throughout their development. Although the tadpoles completed metamorphosis, they accumulated among the highest...
Article
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Ecological droughts are deficits in soil-water availability that induce threshold-like ecosystem responses, such as causing altered or degraded plant-community conditions, which can be exceedingly difficult to reverse. However, 'ecological drought' can be difficult to define, let alone to quantify, especially at spatial and temporal scales relevant...
Article
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Landscape science relies on foundational concepts of landscape ecology and seeks to understand the physical, biological, and human components of ecosystems to support land management decision-making. Incorporating landscape science into land management decisions, however, remains challenging. Many lands in the western United States are federally ow...
Article
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Landscape science relies on foundational concepts of landscape ecology and seeks to understand the physical, biological, and human components of ecosystems to support land management decision-making. Incorporating landscape science into land management decisions, however, remains challenging. Many lands in the western United States are federally ow...
Article
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In conservation paradigms, management actions for umbrella species also benefit co‐occurring species because of overlapping ranges and similar habitat associations. The greater sage‐grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is an umbrella species because it occurs across vast sagebrush ecosystems of western North America and is the recipient of extensive...
Article
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Abstract Resource managers may be hesitant to make decisions based on environmental (e)DNA results alone since eDNA is an indirect method of species detection. One way to reduce the uncertainty of eDNA is to identify laboratory‐based protocols that ensure repeatable and reproducible results. We conducted a double‐blind round‐robin analysis of probe...
Preprint
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Understanding the factors that influence vegetation responses to disturbance is important because vegetation is the foundation of food resources, wildlife habitat, and ecosystem properties and processes. We integrated vegetation cover data derived from field plots and remotely sensed Landsat images in two focal areas over a 37-yr period (1979-2016)...
Data
These data were collected between 1996 and 2018 to represent the on the ground burn severity as estimated by the Composite Burn Index (CBI). These data can be regressed against satellite estimates of burn severity (e.g. Landsat Normalized Burn Ratio) to develop regression equations.
Raw Data
These data provide on the ground estimates of burn severity as estimated by the Composite Burn Index (CBI). Data were collected between 1996 and 2018 for fires that burned during this time period. Landsat imagery was used to develop regression relationships between the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) and differenced NBR (dNBR). https://www.sciencebase....
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the feasibility and utility of integrating environmental DNA (eDNA) assessments of species occurrences into the United States (U.S.) Geological Survey’s national streamgage network. We used an existing network of five gages in southwest Idaho to explore the type of information that could be gained as well as the associated costs...
Article
Full-text available
The apparent failure of ecosystems to recover from increasingly widespread disturbance is a global concern. Despite growing focus on factors inhibiting resilience and restoration, we still know very little about how demographic and population processes influence recovery. Using inverse and forward demographic modelling of 531 post‐fire sagebrush po...
Article
Full-text available
The costs of invasive species in the United States alone are estimated to exceed US$100 billion per year, so a critical tactic in minimizing the costs of invasive species is the development of effective, early‐detection systems. To this end, we evaluated the efficacy of adding environmental (e)DNA surveillance to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) s...
Presentation
These are the Abstracts of the 2019 annual meeting of SNVB, WA TWS, and NW PARC. I have two abstracts in this compilation: Olson et al., Density Management and Riparian Buffer Study update, pp 154-155; Weil and Olson, NW PARC update, pp 162-163.
Article
Full-text available
Reestablishing shrub canopy cover after disturbance in semi‐arid ecosystems, such as sagebrush steppe, is essential to provide wildlife habitat and restore ecosystem functioning. While several studies have explored the effects of landscape and climate factors on the success or failure of sagebrush seeding, the influence of soil properties on gradie...
Article
Fuel breaks are increasingly being implemented at broad scales (100s to 10,000s of square kilometers) in fire‐prone landscapes globally, yet there is little scientific information available regarding their ecological effects (eg habitat fragmentation). Fuel breaks are designed to reduce flammable vegetation (ie fuels), increase the safety and effec...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat loss and fragmentation are among the biggest threats to amphibian populations and anthropogenic climate change may exacerbate these. The response of Iran's amphibians to climate change is uncertain and yet making an accurate prediction of how the species will respond is critical for conservation. We assessed how expected future climate scen...
Article
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Improving predictions of restoration outcomes is increasingly important to resource managers for accountability and adaptive management, yet there is limited guidance for selecting a predictive model from the multitude available. The goal of this paper was to identify an optimal predictive framework for restoration ecology using eleven modeling fra...
Article
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Changing climate will impact species' ranges only when environmental variability directly impacts the demography of local populations. However, measurement of demographic responses to climate change has largely been limited to single species and locations. Here we show that amphibian communities are responsive to climatic variability, using >500,00...
Research
Full-text available
Land managers make decisions regarding restoration and rehabilitation actions that influence landscapes and ecosystems. Many of these decisions involve soil and vegetation manipulations, often known as land treatments. Historically, treatments were planned on a case by case basis with decisions derived from personal experience of past successes or...
Article
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Long-term vegetation dynamics across public rangelands in the western United States are not well understood because of the lack of large-scale, readily available historic datasets. The Bureau of Land Management's Soil-Vegetation Inventory Method (SVIM) program was implemented between 1977 and 1983 across 14 western states, but the data have not bee...
Article
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Comparative landscape genetics has uncovered high levels of variability in which landscape factors affect connectivity among species and regions. However, the relative importance of species traits vs. environmental variation for predicting landscape patterns of connectivity is unresolved. We provide evidence from a landscape genetics study of two s...
Article
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Riparian vegetation along streams provides a suite of ecosystem services in rangelands and thus is the target of restoration when degraded by over-grazing, erosion, incision, or other disturbances. Assessments of restoration effectiveness depend on defensible monitoring data, which can be both expensive and difficult to collect. We present a method...
Article
Full-text available
Context Reestablishing foundational plant species through aerial seeding is an essential yet challenging step for restoring the vast semiarid landscapes impacted by plant invasions and wildfire-regime shifts. A key component of the challenge stems from landscape variability and its effects on plant recovery. Objectives We assessed landscape correl...
Article
Full-text available
Restoration and rehabilitation of native vegetation in dryland ecosystems, which encompass over 40% of terrestrial ecosystems, is a common challenge that continues to grow as wildfire and biological invasions transform dryland plant communities. The difficulty in part stems from low and variable precipitation, combined with limited understanding ab...