Evan Adams

Evan Adams
Biodiversity Research Institute | BRI

PhD

About

45
Publications
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584
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Featured research
Article
Full-text available
Mercury contamination is a major threat to the global environment, and is still increasing in some regions despite international regulations. The methylated form of mercury is hazardous to biota, yet its sublethal effects are difficult to detect in wildlife. Body condition can vary in response to stressors, but previous studies have shown mixed effects of mercury on body condition in wildlife. Using birds as study organisms, we provide the first quantitative synthesis of the effect of mercury on body condition in animals. In addition, we explored the influence of intrinsic, extrinsic and methodological factors potentially explaining cross-study heterogeneity in results. We considered experimental and correlative studies carried out in adult birds and chicks, and mercury exposure inferred from blood and feathers. Most experimental investigations (90%) showed a significant relationship between mercury concentrations and body condition. Experimental exposure to mercury disrupted nutrient (fat) metabolism, metabolic rates, and food intake, resulting in either positive or negative associations with body condition. Correlative studies also showed either positive or negative associations, of which only 14% were statistically significant. Therefore, the overall effect of mercury concentrations on body condition was null in both experimental (estimate ± SE = 0.262 ± 0.309, 20 effect sizes, five species) and correlative studies (−0.011 ± 0.020, 315 effect sizes, 145 species). The single and interactive effects of age class and tissue type were accounted for in meta-analytic models of the correlative data set, since chicks and adults, as well as blood and feathers, are known to behave differently in terms of mercury accumulation and health effects. Of the 15 moderators tested, only wintering status explained cross-study heterogeneity in the correlative data set: free-ranging wintering birds were more likely to show a negative association between mercury and body condition. However, wintering effect sizes were limited to passerines, further studies should thus confirm this trend in other taxa. Collectively, our results suggest that (i) effects of mercury on body condition are weak and mostly detectable under controlled conditions, and (ii) body condition indices are unreliable indicators of mercury sublethal effects in the wild. Food availability, feeding rates and other sources of variation that are challenging to quantify likely confound the association between mercury and body condition in natura. Future studies could explore the metabolic effects of mercury further using designs that allow for the estimation and/or manipulation of food intake in both wild and captive birds, especially in under-represented life-history stages such as migration and overwintering.
Article
Full-text available
Curtailment of turbine operations during low wind conditions has become an operational minimization tactic to reduce bat mortality at terrestrial wind energy facilities. Site-specific studies have demonstrated that bat activity is higher during lower wind speeds and that operational curtailment can effectively reduce fatalities. However, the exact nature of the relationship between curtailment cut-in speed and bat fatality reduction remains unclear. To evaluate the efficacy of differing curtailment regimes in reducing bat fatalities, we examined data from turbine curtailment experiments in the United States and Canada in a meta-analysis framework. We used multiple statistical models to explore possible linear and non-linear relationships between turbine cut-in speed and bat fatality. Because the overall sample size for this meta-analysis was small (n = 36 control-treatment studies from 17 wind farms), we conducted a power analysis to assess the number of control-treatment curtailment studies needed to understand the relationship between fatality reduction and change in cut-in speed. We also identified the characteristics of individual curtailment field studies that may influence their power to detect fatality reductions, and in turn, contribute to future meta-analyses. We found strong evidence that implementing turbine curtailment reduces fatality rates of bats at wind farms; the estimated fatality ratio across all studies was 0.37 (p < 0.001), or a 63% decrease in fatalities. However, the nature of the relationship between the magnitude of treatment and reduction in fatalities was more difficult to assess. Models that represented the response ratio as a continuous variable (e.g., with a linear relationship between the change in cut-in speed and fatalities) and a categorical variable (to allow for possible non-linearity in this relationship) both had substantial support when compared using AIC c. The linear model represented the best fit, likely due to model simplicity, but the non-linear model was the most likely without accounting for parsimony and suggested fatality rates decreased when the difference in curtailment cut-in speeds was 2m/s or larger. The power analyses showed that the power to detect effects in the meta-analysis was low if fatality reductions were less than 50%, which suggests that smaller increases in cut-in speed (i.e., between different treatment categories) may not be easily detectable with the current dataset. While curtailment is an effective operational mitigation measure overall, additional well-designed curtailment studies are needed to determine precisely whether higher cut-in speeds can further reduce bat fatalities. PLOS ONE PLOS ONE | https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.
Preprint
Full-text available
Blanket curtailment of turbine operations during low wind conditions has become an accepted operational minimization tactic to reduce bat mortality at terrestrial wind facilities. Site-specific studies have demonstrated that operational curtailment effectively reduces impacts, but the exact nature of the relationship between increased cut-in speed and fatality reduction in bats remains unclear. To evaluate the efficacy of differing blanket curtailment regimes in reducing bat fatality, we examined data from turbine curtailment experiments in the United States and Canada in a meta-analysis framework. We tested multiple statistical models to explore possible linear and non-linear relationships between turbine cut-in speed and bat fatality reduction. Because the overall sample size for this meta-analysis was small (n = 35 control-treatment studies from 16 field sites), we conducted a power analysis to assess the number of control-impact curtailment studies that would be needed to understand the relationship between fatality rate and change in cut-in speed under different fatality reduction scenarios. We also identified the characteristics of individual field studies that may influence their power to detect fatality reduction due to curtailment. Using a response ratio approach, we found a 56% reduction in fatality rates when using any blanket curtailment strategy that changes the cut-in speed from 0.5 to 3.5 m/s above the control (p < 0.001). However, we did not find strong evidence for linear (p =0 0.07) or non-linear (p > 0.11) associations between increasing cut-in speeds and fatality reduction. The power analyses showed that the power to detect effects in the meta-analysis was low if fatality reductions were less than 50%. Synthesizing across all analyses, we need more well-designed curtailment studies to determine the effect of increasing curtailment speed and the effect size is likely of a magnitude that we had limited power to detect.
Article
Full-text available
The recognized gap between research and implementation in avian conservation can be overcome with translational ecology, an intentional approach in which science producers and users from multiple disciplines work collaboratively to co-develop and deliver ecological research that addresses management and conservation issues. Avian conservation naturally lends itself to translational ecology because birds are well studied, typically widespread, often exhibit migratory behaviors transcending geopolitical boundaries, and necessitate coordinated conservation efforts to accommodate resource and habitat needs across the full annual cycle. In this perspective, we highlight several case studies from bird conservation practitioners and the ornithological and conservation social sciences exemplifying the 6 core translational ecology principles introduced in previous studies: collaboration, engagement, commitment, communication, process, and decision-framing. We demonstrate that following translational approaches can lead to improved conservation decision making and delivery of outcomes via co-development of research and products that are accessible to broader audiences and applicable to specific management decisions (e.g., policy briefs and decision-support tools). We also identify key challenges faced during scientific producer-user engagement, potential tactics for overcoming these challenges, and lessons learned for overcoming the research-implementation gap. Finally, we recommend strategies for building a stronger translational ecology culture to further improve the integration of these principles into avian conservation decisions. By embracing translational ecology, avian conservationists and ornithologists can be well positioned to ensure that future management decisions are scientifically informed and that scientific research is sufficiently relevant to managers. Ultimately, such teamwork can help close the research-implementation gap in the conservation sciences during a time when environmental issues are threatening avian communities and their habitats at exceptional rates and at broadening spatial scales worldwide. Reduciendo la brecha entre investigación e implementación en la conservación de las aves con la ecología traslacional RESUMEN La brecha existente entre investigación e implementación en la conservación de las aves puede ser superada con la ecología traslacional, un enfoque guiado en el cual los hacedores y los usuarios de ciencia de múltiples disciplinas trabajan de manera colaborativa para desarrollar en conjunto y ofrecer investigación ecológica que aborde temas de gestión y conservación. La conservación de las aves se presta naturalmente a la ecología traslacional debido a que las aves están bien estudiadas, típicamente están ampliamente distribuidas, usualmente muestran comportamientos migratorios que trascienden las barreras geopolíticas, y necesitan esfuerzos de conservación coordinados para integrar los recursos y las necesidades de hábitat a través de todo el ciclo anual. Desde esta perspectiva, destacamos varios estudios de caso provenientes de gestores de la conservación de las aves y de las ciencias sociales ornitológicas y de la conservación que ejemplifican los seis principios fundamentales de la ecología traslacional introducidos en estudios previos: colaboración, compromiso, entrega, comunicación, proceso y encuadre de decisiones. Demostramos que el seguimiento de los enfoques traslacionales puede llevar a mejorar el proceso de toma de decisiones en conservación y la entrega de resultados a través del desarrollo conjunto de la investigación y de los productos que son accesibles a audiencias más amplias y aplicables a decisiones de manejo especificas (e.g., resúmenes de políticas, herramientas de apoyo a la toma de decisiones). También identificamos los desafíos claves que se enfrentan durante la vinculación entre los hacedores y los usuarios de ciencia, las tácticas potenciales para superar estos desafíos, y las lecciones aprendidas para superar la brecha entre investigación e implementación. Finalmente, recomendamos estrategias para construir una cultura de ecología traslacional más fuerte que mejore aún más la integración de estos principios en las decisiones de conservación de las aves. Adoptando la ecología traslacional, los conservacionistas de aves y los ornitólogos pueden estar mejor preparados para asegurar que las futuras decisiones de manejo estén basadas en información científica y que las investigaciones científicas sean relevantes para los gestores. En definitiva, este trabajo en equipo puede ayudar a cerrar la brecha entre investigación e implementación en el ámbito de las ciencias de la conservación durante un período en el que los temas ambientales están amenazando las comunidades de aves y sus hábitats a tasas excepcionales y a escalas espaciales cada vez mayores en todo el mundo.
Additional affiliations
December 2014 - April 2019
Biodiversity Research Institute
Position
  • Quantitative Ecologist
June 2010 - November 2015
Biodiversity Research Institute
Position
  • Ecological Modeler

Publications

Publications (45)
Article
Full-text available
Mercury contamination is a major threat to the global environment, and is still increasing in some regions despite international regulations. The methylated form of mercury is hazardous to biota, yet its sublethal effects are difficult to detect in wildlife. Body condition can vary in response to stressors, but previous studies have shown mixed eff...
Article
Full-text available
Curtailment of turbine operations during low wind conditions has become an operational minimization tactic to reduce bat mortality at terrestrial wind energy facilities. Site-specific studies have demonstrated that bat activity is higher during lower wind speeds and that operational curtailment can effectively reduce fatalities. However, the exact...
Preprint
Full-text available
Blanket curtailment of turbine operations during low wind conditions has become an accepted operational minimization tactic to reduce bat mortality at terrestrial wind facilities. Site-specific studies have demonstrated that operational curtailment effectively reduces impacts, but the exact nature of the relationship between increased cut-in speed...
Article
Full-text available
The recognized gap between research and implementation in avian conservation can be overcome with translational ecology, an intentional approach in which science producers and users from multiple disciplines work collaboratively to co-develop and deliver ecological research that addresses management and conservation issues. Avian conservation natur...
Article
The recognized gap between research and implementation in avian conservation can be overcome with translational ecology, an intentional approach in which science producers and users from multiple disciplines work collaboratively to co-develop and deliver ecological research that addresses management and conservation issues. Avian conservation natur...
Article
Full-text available
States in the Northeast United States have the ambitious goal of producing more than 22 GW of offshore wind energy in the coming decades. The infrastructure associated with offshore wind energy development is expected to modify marine habitats and potentially alter the ecosystem services. Species distribution models were constructed for a group of...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) is a global pollutant that affects songbird populations across a variety of ecosystems following conversion to methylmercury (MeHg)-a form of Hg with high potential for bioaccumulation and bioavailability. The amount of bioavailable MeHg in an ecosystem is a function of the amount of total Hg present as well as Hg methylation rates, wh...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) is a potent neurotoxin that biomagnifies within both aquatic and terrestrial food webs resulting in adverse physiological and reproductive effects on impacted wildlife populations, including songbird communities. Due to reducing conditions, wetland ecosystems promote the formation of methylmercury. Regional studies have documented elev...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) is a potent neurotoxin that biomagnifies within food webs. Adverse effects have been documented for avian species related to exposure of elevated Hg levels. High elevation, boreal forests generally receive higher atmospheric Hg deposition and regional studies have subsequently identified elevated blood Hg concentrations in songbird spe...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) pollution is an environmental problem that adversely affects human and ecosystem health at local, regional, and global scales-including within New York State. More than two-thirds of the Hg currently released to the environment originates, either directly or indirectly, from human activities. Since the early 1800s, global atmospheric H...
Article
Full-text available
While large-scale oil spills can cause acute mortality events in birds, there is increasing evidence that sublethal oil exposure can trigger physiological changes that have implications for individual performance and survival. Therefore, improved methods for identifying small amounts of oil on birds are needed. Because ultraviolet (UV) light can be...
Article
Full-text available
Methylmercury (MeHg) is a global environmental contaminant that poses significant risks to the health of humans, wildlife, and ecosystems. Assessing MeHg exposure in biota across the landscape and over time is vital for monitoring MeHg pollution and gauging the effectiveness of regulations intended to reduce new mercury (Hg) releases. We used MeHg...
Article
Full-text available
Passerines appear to have a greater sensitivity to mercury than other avian orders, and little data exists for mercury exposure in songbirds breeding at high latitudes. In this preliminary study, we examined mercury exposure in 12 migratory songbird species breeding in Denali National Park & Preserve, in subarctic interior Alaska. Overall, we analy...
Article
Full-text available
Here we report on the results of a long-term study of mercury exposure in a songbird species, the saltmarsh sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus). We measured total mercury concentrations in blood (n = 840) and feathers (n = 560) of adult saltmarsh sparrows at six locations between 2000 and 2017: Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (RCNWR) in Wells, M...
Article
Full-text available
Many migratory songbirds are at high risk of methylmercury (MeHg) exposure due to their trophic position and foraging in and around wetland habitats. Methylmercury has the potential to alter migratory behaviors and physiology via neurological impairment or reduced flight performance and can be remobilized from songbird muscle tissue during migratio...
Article
Full-text available
The Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Trustees for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill assessed the external oiling of migratory bird species dependent on open water in the Gulf of Mexico following the aforementioned spill. The assessment was designed to evaluate birds that use open water during the winter within 40 km of the Gulf shor...
Chapter
Full-text available
Recommendations for study design, data gathering, data use, and data sharing that promote collaboration and learning about birds in the northern Gulf of Mexico
Article
Timber harvest has many effects on aquatic ecosystems, including changes in hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological processes that can influence mercury (Hg) cycling. Although timber harvest's influence on aqueous Hg transformation and transport are well studied, the effects on Hg bioaccumulation are not. We evaluated Hg bioaccumulation, bioma...
Article
Full-text available
Hotspot analysis is a commonly used method in ecology and conservation to identify areas of high biodiversity or conservation concern. However, delineating and mapping hotspots is subjective and various approaches can lead to different conclusions with regard to the classification of particular areas as hotspots, complicating long‐term conservation...
Article
Mercury is a potent contaminant that can disrupt an organism's behavior and physiology, ultimately affecting reproductive success. Over the last 100 years, environmental deposition of anthropogenic sourced mercury has increased globally, particularly in the U.S. Northeast region. Marine birds are considered effective bioindicators of ecosystem heal...
Article
Full-text available
Avian mortality events are common following large-scale oil spills. However, the sublethal effects of oil on birds exposed to light external oiling are not clearly understood. We found that American oystercatchers (area of potential impact n = 42, reference n = 21), black skimmers (area of potential impact n = 121, reference n = 88), brown pelicans...
Article
Mercury (Hg) stable isotope analysis is an emerging technique that has contributed to a better understanding of many aspects of the biogeochemical cycling of Hg in the environment. However, no study has yet evaluated its usefulness in elucidating the sources of methylmercury (MeHg) to songbird species, a common organism for biomonitoring of Hg in f...
Article
We captured 93 wintering adult and subadult Common Loons (Gavia immer) in coastal Louisiana from 2011 to 2015 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. We tested blood samples for exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and measured physiological variables including hematocrit, hemoglobin and total blood protein. PAH concentrations in...
Article
Full-text available
In many avian species, breeding site fidelity has been more thoroughly investigated than winter site fidelity, yet the latter may have a greater impact on survivorship. The Common Loon (Gavia immer) is an example of a species whose breeding site fidelity has been well established, but whether it exhibits winter site fidelity remains unknown. Becaus...
Chapter
Full-text available
Climate change can alter the timing of biological events differently across members of an ecosystem, changing the nature of ecological interactions and the efficacy of evolutionary strategies. Mismatches in phenology have been reported between breeding songbirds and their food resources in north temperate ecosystems, especially for long-distance mi...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) is a globally distributed environmental contaminant with a variety of deleterious effects in fish, wildlife, and humans. Breeding songbirds may be useful sentinels for Hg across diverse habitats because they can be effectively sampled, have well-defined and small territories, and can integrate pollutant exposure over time and space. We...
Article
Full-text available
Across the world, researchers use migration banding stations to document bird migration and study the phenomenon. In this dissertation, I focus on ways of analyzing bird migration banding data and the utility migrating birds as indicators of ecosystem health that make these monitoring efforts more useful to answering ecological questions and managi...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines mercury exposure in bats across the northeast U.S. from 2005 to 2009. We collected 1,481 fur and 681 blood samples from 8 states and analyzed them for total Hg. A subset (n = 20) are also analyzed for methylmercury (MeHg). Ten species of bats from the northeast U.S. are represented in this study of which two are protected by the...
Article
Methylmercury (MeHg) is a globally distributed neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, and teratogen, and its effects on birds are poorly understood, especially within an environmentally relevant exposure range. In an effort to understand the potential causal relationship between MeHg exposure and endocrine development, we established four dietary exposur...
Article
Full-text available
During a time of food stress, we observed sex-biased mortality during the nestling stage in a sexually size dimorphic species of wading bird, the White Ibis (Eudocimus albus). Over four days spread out over a week, we captured a total of 180 25–32 d old White Ibis nestlings from a colony of several thousand breeding pairs. On sequential capture dat...
Article
Full-text available
Methylmercury is a globally distributed neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, and teratogen, the effects of which on wildlife at environmentally relevant levels are largely unknown. In birds, foraging efficiency and learning may be sensitive endpoints for sublethal methylmercury toxicity, and these endpoints also may be biologically relevant at the popu...
Article
The structural and electronic properties of Gd <sub>2</sub>( Ti <sub>1-y</sub> Zr <sub>y</sub>)<sub>2</sub> O <sub>7</sub> (y=0–1) pyrochlores following a 2.0- MeV Au <sup>2+</sup> ion-beam irradiation (∼5.0×10<sup>14</sup> Au <sup>2+</sup>/ cm <sup>2</sup>) have been investigated by Ti 2p and O 1s near-edge x-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS)...
Article
Disorder in Gd2(Ti(1-y)Zry)2O7 pyrochlores, for y = 0.0-1.0, is investigated by Ti 2p and O 1s near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy. Ti(4+) ions are found to occupy octahedral sites in Gd2Ti2O7 with a tetragonal distortion induced by vacant oxygen sites. As Zr substitutes for Ti, the tetragonal distortion decreases, and Zr coordin...
Article
Full-text available
Disorder in Gd 2 Ti 2 O 7 is investigated by near-edge x-ray-absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). NEXAFS shows Ti 4+ ions occupy octahedral sites with a tetragonal distor-tion induced by vacant oxygen sites. O 1s XPS spectra obtained with a charge neutralization system from Gd 2 Ti 2 O 7 100 and the Gd 2 Ti...
Article
Silicon carbide has been proposed as a coating material in nuclear fuel, and silicon carbide composites have been proposed as cladding material in advanced gas-cooled and light water reactors. As such, the effects of irradiation and fission gases on the performance of SiC in the reactor environment are critical in several ways. Since He serves as a...
Article
We describe a new capability that consists of a combination of proton induced X-ray emission (PIXE), proton elastic scattering analysis (PESA) and transmission ion microscopy (all performed at the same location on the sample) techniques to address some of the research needs associated with time series and size-dependent composition of atmospheric a...
Article
The stability of epitaxially grown single crystal SrTiO3(001) thin films on Si(100) substrates was studied as a function of temperature under vacuum and oxygen-rich environments using Rutherford backscattering spectrometry in channeling geometry, nuclear reaction analysis, and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. During vacuum annealing, it was found...
Article
Full-text available
As part of understanding the processes leading to sodium release and ion exchange, the surface and near surface reaction regions on several specimens of a Na2O–Al2O3–SiO2 glass have been examined after exposures to isotopically labeled aqueous solutions. The majority of the analyses described here have been carried out using energetic ion beam anal...
Article
A series of dissolution experiments using isotopic labeled (D2 18O) aqueous solution were carried out to investigate the ion exchange mechanism in Na2O-Al2O3-SiO2 glasses with fixed Na2O and variable Al2O3 concentrations. The sodium removal and the deuterium and oxygen uptake in the glass coupons were measured using ion beam methods such as Rutherf...
Article
We have investigated the disordering at the buried interface of alpha-Fe2O3(0001)/alpha-Al2O3(0001) interface using Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) and channeling techniques. Although expitaxially-grown alpha-Fe2O3(0001)/alpha-Al2O3(0001) thin films exhibit about 1.5-2.5% of minimum yield, disordering at the interface is visible due to...
Article
Synthesis of model oxides as thin films on various oxide and metal substrates to obtain high quality surfaces is a growing interest in the scientific community. High quality surfaces are important for the investigation of physical and chemical properties of these film surfaces. In most cases the single crystal oxides purchased form the commercial v...

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Project
By creating an inclusive and equitable data-sharing platform that brings together an international network of tropical ornithologists, the TRACE Initiative seeks to not only standardize sampling methods among monitoring efforts, but also to compile the world’s largest database of ecotoxicant samples for tropical bird species. We hope to better understand the prevalence, variation, persistence, and distribution of anthropogenic mercury in tropical biomes — with artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) as a focal point — and to learn how this ecotoxicant impacts both resident and migratory bird populations. For more information, visit https://briwildlife.org/TRACE