Hillary S Young

Hillary S Young
Harvard University | Harvard · Faculty of Arts and Sciences

About

98
Publications
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5,121
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Publications

Publications (98)
Article
Full-text available
Wildfire dynamics are changing around the world and understanding their effects on ecological communities and landscapes is urgent and important. We report detailed food webs for unburned, low-to-moderate and high severity burned habitats three years post-fire in the Eldorado National Forest, California. The cumulative cross-habitat food web contai...
Article
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The frequency of large, high‐severity “mega‐fires” has increased in recent decades, with numerous consequences for forest ecosystems. In particular, small mammal communities are vulnerable to post‐fire shifts in resource availability and play critical roles in forest ecosystems. Inconsistencies in previous observations of small mammal community res...
Article
Full-text available
1. Despite wide recognition of the importance of anthropogenically driven changes in large herbivore communities – including both declines in wildlife and increases in livestock – there remain large gaps in our knowledge about the impacts of these changes on plant communities, particularly when combined with concurrent changes in climate. Consideri...
Article
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Predator–prey interactions shape ecosystems and can help maintain biodiversity. However, for many of the earth's most biodiverse and abundant organisms, including terrestrial arthropods, these interactions are difficult or impossible to observe directly with traditional approaches. Based on previous theory, it is likely that predator–prey interacti...
Article
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Shifts in landscape heterogeneity and climate can influence animal movement in ways that profoundly alter disease transmission. Water sources that are foci of animal activity have great potential to promote disease transmission, but it is unknown how this varies across a range of hosts and climatic contexts. For fecal-oral parasites, water resource...
Article
The perpetuation of tree populations is dependent on successful seedling establishment, which is in turn controlled by biotic and climatic factors. California's endemic oak species face limited recruitment and shrinking ranges due to anthropogenic climate change and land use, both of which can negatively impact germination and seedling survival. In...
Article
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• DNA metabarcoding is an emerging tool used to quantify diet in environments and consumer groups where traditional approaches are unviable, including small-bodied invertebrate taxa. However, metabarcoding of small taxa often requires DNA extraction from full body parts (without dissection), and it is unclear whether surface contamination from body...
Article
Water sources in arid and semi-arid ecosystems support humans, wildlife, and domestic animals, forming nodes of activity that sculpt surrounding plant communities and impact critical grazing and soil systems. However, global aridification and changing surface water supply threaten to disrupt these water resources, with strong implications for conse...
Preprint
Full-text available
Shifts in landscape heterogeneity and climate can influence animal behavior and movement in ways that profoundly alter disease transmission. Amid accelerating climate and land use changes, it is increasingly important to identify and monitor hotspots of increased animal activity and overlap where disease transmission is likely to occur. Water sourc...
Article
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Invasive rodent eradications are frequently undertaken to curb island biodiversity loss. However, the breadth of rodents' ecological impact, even after eradication, is not always fully recognized. For example, the most widespread invasive rodent, the black rat (Rattus rattus), while omnivorous, eats predominantly seeds and fruit. Yet, the effects o...
Article
A large part of ecosystem function in woodland systems depends on soil fungal communities. However, global climate change has the potential to fundamentally alter these communities as fungal species are filtered with changing environmental conditions. In this study, we examined the potential effects of climate on host-associated (i.e. tree-associat...
Article
Infectious diseases have indelibly altered human history and, in doing so, have shaped the ecology and conservation of the natural world. Attempts to control diseases often result in adverse environmental impacts, including habitat degradation and unintended outcomes such as effects on non‐target species. However, in instances where the most effect...
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In order to understand how the effects of land‐use change vary among taxa and environmental contexts, we investigate how three types of land‐use change have influenced phylogenetic diversity (PD) and species composition of three functionally distinct communities: plants, small mammals, and large mammals. We found large mammal communities were by fa...
Article
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Wild large herbivores are declining worldwide. Despite extensive use of exclosure experiments to investigate herbivore impacts, there is little consensus on the effects of wild large herbivores on ecosystem function. Of the ecosystem functions likely impacted, we reviewed the five most‐studied in exclosure experiments: ecosystem resilience/resistan...
Article
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Bolbometopon muricatum are ecologically unique mega-consumers in coral reef ecosystems. They primarily divide their dietary intake between living scleractinian corals and coral rock, a substrate richly colonized by non-coral biota. Here we examine how the chemical, structural, and energetic content of these two main classes of forage material may i...
Article
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Rising rates of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) demand creative, efficient, and integrative investigations to understand their transmission, ecological contingencies, and dynamics at wildlife-human interfaces. High-throughput sequencing (HTS) methodologies provide enormous potential to unravel these contingencies to improve our understanding, b...
Article
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Rat eradication has become a common conservation intervention in island ecosystems and its effectiveness in protecting native vertebrates is increasingly well documented. Yet, the impacts of rat eradication on plant communities remain poorly understood. Here we compare native and non-native tree and palm seedling abundance before and after eradicat...
Data
Fifteen years of precipitation on Palmyra Atoll. Rainfall on Palmyra Atoll from 2002 to 2017. Survey month and two months prior to the survey period are highlighted (red dots = pre-eradication and blue dots = post-eradication). Horizontal lines indicate average rainfall and one standard deviation. (TIF)
Data
Count of locally rare tree seedling plots. (DOCX)
Article
Recent increases in human disturbance pose significant threats to migratory species using collective movement strategies. Key threats to migrants may differ depending on behavioural traits (e.g. collective navigation), taxonomy and the environmental system (i.e. freshwater, marine or terrestrial) associated with migration. We quantitatively assess...
Article
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On rangelands worldwide, cattle interact with many forms of biodiversity, most obviously with vegetation and other large herbivores. Since 1995, we have been manipulating the presence of cattle, mesoherbivores, and megaherbivores (elephants and giraffes) in a series of eighteen 4-ha (10-acre) plots at the Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment. We re...
Article
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The Asian tiger mosquito,Aedes albopictus,appears to have been extirpated from Palmyra Atoll following rat eradication. Anecdotal biting reports, collection records, and regular captures in black-light traps showed the species was present before rat eradication. Since then, there have been no biting reports and no captures over 2 years of extensive...
Data
Sampling locations, types, and effort for mosquitoes before and after rat eradication
Article
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African savannas support an iconic fauna, but they are undergoing large-scale population declines and extinctions of large (>5 kg) mammals. Long-term, controlled, replicated experiments that explore the consequences of this defaunation (and its replacement with livestock) are rare. The Mpala Research Centre in Laikipia County, Kenya, hosts three su...
Article
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Both large-wildlife loss and climatic changes can independently influence the prevalence and distribution of zoonotic disease. Given growing evidence that wildlife loss often has stronger community-level effects in low-productivity areas, we hypothesized that these perturbations would have interactive effects on disease risk. We experimentally test...
Article
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Infectious disease burdens vary from country to country and year to year due to ecological and economic drivers. Recently, Murray et al. (Murray CJ et al. 2012 Lancet 380, 2197–2223. (doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61689-4)) estimated country-level morbidity and mortality associated with a variety of factors, including infectious diseases, for the years...
Article
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Understanding the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on zoonotic disease risk is both a critical conservation objective and a public health priority. Here, we evaluate the effects of multiple forms of anthropogenic disturbance across a precipitation gradient on the abundance of pathogen-infected small mammal hosts in a multi-host, multi-pathogen...
Article
Invasive rats have colonized most of the islands of the world, resulting in strong negative impacts on native biodiversity and on ecosystem functions. As prolific omnivores, invasive rats can cause local extirpation of a wide range of native species, with cascading consequences that can reshape communities and ecosystems. Eradication of rats on isl...
Article
Biological invasions are a pervasive and dominant form of anthropogenic disturbance. However, we seldom have the opportunity to evaluate the long-term, indirect, and often slow-moving cascading effects of invasions at the community and ecosystem scale. Here we synthesize the collective knowledge from 10 years of study on the influence of the deep h...
Article
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Anthropocene defaunation, the global extinction of faunal species and populations and the decline in abundance of individuals within populations, has been predominantly documented in terrestrial ecosystems, but indicators suggest defaunation has been more severe in freshwater ecosystems. Marine defaunation is in a more incipient stage, yet pronounc...
Article
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Terrestrial mammals are experiencing a massive collapse in their population sizes and geographical ranges around the world, but many of the drivers, patterns and consequences of this decline remain poorly understood. Here we provide an analysis showing that bushmeat hunting for mostly food and medicinal products is driving a global crisis whereby 3...
Article
Species introductions are a dominant component of biodiversity change but are not explicitly included in most discussions of biodiversity-disease relationships. This is a major oversight given the multitude of effects that introduced species have on both parasitism and native hosts. Drawing on both animal and plant systems, we review the competing...
Article
De-extinction, or the process of resurrecting extinct species, has been advanced as a promising new tool in conservation biology. Most scientific discussion of de-extinction has thus far focused on the methodology and ethics of bringing once-extinct species back to life. We ask: how can de-extinction be strategically shaped into a service that maxi...
Article
Despite the established importance of rodents as reservoirs of vector-borne zoonoses in East Africa, there is relatively limited information regarding the infestation parameters and host associations of ectoparasites that vector many such pathogens among small mammals in this region. Between 2009 and 2013, small mammals were live-trapped in the sem...
Article
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Ectoparasites frequently vector pathogens from often unknown pathogen reservoirs to both human and animal populations. Simultaneous identification of the ectoparasite species, the wildlife host that provided their most recent blood meal(s), and their pathogen load would greatly facilitate the understanding of the complex transmission dynamics of ve...
Article
Competition for fresh water between native and introduced plants is one important challenge facing native forests as rainfall variability increases. Competition can be especially acute for vegetation on Pacific atolls, which depend upon consistent rainfall to replenish shallow groundwater stores. Patterns of sap flow, water use, and diameter growth...
Article
Anthropogenic disturbances involving land use change, climate disruption, pollution, and invasive species have been shown to impact immune function of wild animals. These immune changes have direct impacts on the fitness of impacted animals and, also, potentially indirect effects on other species and on ecological processes, notably involving the s...
Article
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Many species of large wildlife have declined drastically worldwide. These reductions often lead to profound shifts in the ecology of entire communities and ecosystems. However, the effects of these large-wildlife declines on other taxa likely hinge upon both underlying abiotic properties of these systems and on the types of secondary anthropogenic...
Article
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Understanding the effects of land-use change on zoonotic disease risk is a pressing global health concern. Here, we compare prevalence of Yersinia pestis, the etiologic agent of plague, in rodents across two land-use types-agricultural and conserved-in northern Tanzania. Estimated abundance of seropositive rodents nearly doubled in agricultural sit...
Article
The relative importance of both environmental factors and host factors in explaining variation in prevalence and intensity of flea parasitism in small mammal communities is poorly established. We examine these relationships in an East African savanna landscape, considering multiple host levels: across individuals within a population, across populat...
Article
Full-text available
Quantifying the ecological importance of individual habitats to highly mobile animals is challenging because patterns of habitat reliance for these taxa are complex and difficult to observe. We investigated the importance of lagoons to the manta ray, Manta alfredi, a wide-ranging and vulnerable species in a less-disturbed atoll ecosystem. Lagoons a...
Article
Species that are strong interactors play disproportionately important roles in the dynamics of natural ecosystems. It has been proposed that their presence is necessary for positively shaping the structure and functioning of ecosystems. We evaluated this hypothesis using the case of the world's largest parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum), a globall...
Article
Full-text available
We live amid a global wave of anthropogenically driven biodiversity loss: species and population extirpations and, critically, declines in local species abundance. Particularly, human impacts on animal biodiversity are an under-recognized form of global environmental change. Among terrestrial vertebrates, 322 species have become extinct since 1500,...
Article
High densities of palms are common in many tropical forests. In some cases, the dominance of palms has been associated with a depauperate understorey and high rates of native seedling mortality. A variety of different potential mechanisms has been suggested to explain the sustained palm dominance in the understorey and canopy of these forests. Work...
Article
Full-text available
Populations of large wildlife are declining on local and global scales. The impacts of this pulse of size-selective defaunation include cascading changes to smaller animals, particularly rodents, and alteration of many ecosystem processes and services, potentially involving changes to prevalence and transmission of zoonotic disease. Understanding l...
Article
Full-text available
Populations of large wildlife are declining on local and global scales. The impacts of this pulse of size-selective defaunation include cascading changes to smaller animals, particularly rodents, and alteration of many ecosystem processes and services, potentially involving changes to prevalence and transmission of zoonotic disease. Understanding l...
Article
Full-text available
1. Herbivores influence the structure and composition of terrestrial plant communities. However, responses of plant communities to herbivory are variable and depend on environmental conditions, herbivore identity and herbivore abundance. As anthropogenic impacts continue to drive large declines in wild herbivores, understanding the context dependen...
Article
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Many different drivers, including productivity, ecosystem size, and disturbance, have been considered to explain natural variation in the length of food chains. Much remains unknown about the role of these various drivers in determining food chain length, and particularly about the mechanisms by which they may operate in terrestrial ecosystems, whi...
Article
Full-text available
Large mammalian herbivores (LMH) strongly influence plant communities, and these effects can propagate indirectly throughout food webs. Most existing large-scale manipulations of LMH presence/absence consist of a single exclusion treatment, and few are replicated across environmental gradients. Thus, important questions remain about the functional...
Data
Soil profiles at the three UHURU exclosure sites: (A) low-rainfall (north); (B) intermediate-rainfall (central); (C) high-rainfall (south). Details of soil profiles are provided in the main text and Text S1. (TIF)
Data
Detailed descriptions of soil profiles at each site. (DOCX)