James E. Lyons

James E. Lyons
United States Geological Survey | USGS · Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

PhD

About

62
Publications
13,468
Reads
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1,684
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2016 - present
U.S. Geological Survey
Position
  • Research Ecologist
November 2006 - January 2016
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Position
  • Wildlife Biologist
March 2001 - August 2002
North Carolina State University
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (62)
Article
The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 4401-4412) provided funding and administration for wetland management and conservation projects. The North American Wetland Conservation Fund, enabled in 1989 with the Act, provides financial resources. Resource allocation decisions are based, in part, on regional experts, particularly migrato...
Article
Full-text available
Natural resource management decisions are often made in the face of uncertainty. The question for the decision maker is whether the uncertainty is an impediment to the decision and, if so, whether it is worth reducing uncertainty before or while implementing actions. Value of information (VoI) methods are decision analytical tools to evaluate the b...
Article
Resource allocation for land acquisition is a common multi‐objective problem that involves complex trade‐offs. The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently uses the Targeted Resource Acquisition Comparison Tool (TRACT) to allocate funds from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (MBCF; established throug...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the effects of migratory stopover site conditions on both demographic rates and migratory behaviors is critical for interpreting changes in passage population sizes at stopover sites and predicting responses to future changes and conservation actions. We used a Bayesian formulation of the open robust design model to analyze mark‐resig...
Article
Full-text available
Many shorebirds rely on small numbers of staging sites during long annual migrations. Numerous shorebird species are declining and understanding the importance of these staging sites is important for successful conservation. We surveyed endangered rufa red knots (Calidris canutus rufa) staging in James Bay, Ontario, Canada, during southbound migrat...
Article
Full-text available
Western Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) are federally listed under the US Endangered Species Act as Threatened. They occur along the US Pacific coastline and are threatened by habitat loss and destruction and excessive levels of predation and human disturbance. Populations have been monitored since the 1970s for distribution, reproductio...
Book
When faced with complicated, potentially controversial decisions that affect our environment, many resource management agencies have come to realize the value of structured decision making (SDM)—the systematic use of principles and tools of decision analysis. Few professionals, however, have extensive experience implementing SDM. Structured Decisio...
Chapter
Horseshoe crab harvest in the Delaware Bay on the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States was unregulated and increased substantially through the 1990s. Subsequently, shorebirds that rely on spawned horseshoe crab (HSC) eggs during spring migration, especially red knots, exhibited steep population declines, and conservationists attributed the decli...
Article
In response to global habitat loss, many governmental and non‐governmental organizations have implemented land acquisition programs to protect critical habitats permanently for priority species. The ability of these protected areas to meet future management objectives may be compromised if the effects of climate change are not considered in acquisi...
Article
The Black Oystercatcher is a large shorebird found along the west coast of North America. Because of its small global population size, low reproductive rate, and dependence on rocky intertidal habitats, it is considered a “species of high conservation concern” and may act as an indicator of intertidal ecosystem health. In 2015, Portland Audubon ini...
Article
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All ecological measurements are subject to error; the effects of missed detection (false negatives) are well known, but the effects of mistaken detection (false positives) are less understood. Long-term capture–recapture datasets provide valuable ecological insights and baselines for conservation and management, but where such studies rely on nonin...
Article
Ecological restoration has traditionally been evaluated by monitoring the recovery of ecological conditions, such as species abundance and diversity, physical form, and water quality; monitoring the social benefits of restoration is uncommon. Current monitoring frameworks do not track who benefits from restoration or by how much. We investigate how...
Article
en Migration distance and sex are integral to avian migration strategies, yet these intrinsic factors are understudied with respect to their effects on stopover ecology and behavior. We investigated how individual variation in migration distance and sex affected body condition, refueling performance, and stopover durations of Wilson's Warblers (Car...
Article
Full-text available
Populations of migratory birds present unique conservation challenges given the often vast distances separating critical resources throughout the annual cycle. Migration areas close to the breeding grounds represent a link between two key stages of the annual cycle, and understanding migration ecology as birds exit the breeding grounds may be parti...
Article
Full-text available
Red knots (Calidris canutus rufa) have 3 distinct nonbreeding regions: 1 in the southeastern United States and Caribbean, another on the northeast coast of Brazil in the Maranhão region, and a third along the Patagonian coasts of Chile and Argentina. Effective conservation and recovery of this threatened long-distance migrant will require knowledge...
Article
Full-text available
Evaluating the role public lands play in meeting conservation goals is an essential step in good governance. We present a tool for comparing the regional contribution of each of a suite of wildlife management units to conservation goals. We use weighted summation (simple additive weighting) to compute a Unit Contribution Index (UCI) based on specie...
Article
Full-text available
We propose the use of finite mixtures of continuous distributions in modelling the process by which new individuals, that arrive in groups, become part of a wildlife population. We demonstrate this approach using a data set of migrating semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pussila) for which we extend existing stopover models to allow for individuals...
Article
Full-text available
Wetland managers benefit from monitoring data of sufficient precision and accuracy to assess wildlife habitat conditions and to evaluate and learn from past management decisions. For large-scale monitoring programs focused on waterbirds (waterfowl, wading birds, secretive marsh birds, and shorebirds), precision and accuracy of habitat measurements...
Article
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Managed wetlands provide critical foraging and roosting habitats for shorebirds during migration; therefore, ensuring their availability is a priority action in shorebird conservation plans. Contemporary shorebird conservation plans rely on a number of assumptions about shorebird prey resources and migratory behavior to determine stopover habitat r...
Article
Full-text available
Conserving migratory birds is made especially difficult because of movement among spatially disparate locations across the annual cycle. In light of challenges presented by the scale and ecology of migratory birds, successful conservation requires integrating objectives, management, and monitoring across scales, from local management units to ecore...
Article
Full-text available
We present a novel formulation of a mark-recapture-resight model that allows estimation of population size, stopover duration, and arrival and departure schedules at migration areas. Estimation is based on encounter histories of uniquely marked individuals and relative counts of marked and unmarked animals. We use a Bayesian analysis of a state-spa...
Article
Full-text available
We propose the use of finite mixtures of continuous distributions in modelling the process by which new individuals, that arrive in groups, become part of a wildlife population. We demonstrate this approach using a data set of migrating semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pussila) for which we extend existing stopover models to allow for individuals...
Article
Full-text available
Decision analytic approaches have been widely recommended as well suited to solving disputed and ecologically complex natural resource management problems with multiple objectives and high uncertainty. However, the difference between theory and practice is substantial, as there are very few actual resource management programs that represent formal...
Article
Full-text available
Conserving migratory birds is made especially difficult because of movement among spatially disparate locations across the annual cycle. In light of challenges presented by the scale and ecology of migratory birds, successful conservation requires integrating objectives, management, and monitoring across scales, from local management units to ecore...
Article
Full-text available
The development of robust modelling techniques to derive inferences from largescale migratory bird monitoring data at appropriate scales has direct relevance to their management. The Integrated Waterbird Management and Monitoring programme (IWMM) represents one of the few attempts to monitor migrating waterbirds across entire flyways using targeted...
Article
Full-text available
Structured decision making (SDM) is an increasingly utilized approach and set of tools for addressing complex decisions in environmental management. SDM is a value-focused thinking approach that places paramount importance on first establishing clear management objectives that reflect core values of stakeholders. To be useful for management, object...
Article
Full-text available
Most salt marshes in the USA have been degraded by human activities, and coastal managers are faced with complex choices among possible actions to restore or enhance ecosystem integrity. We applied structured decision making (SDM) to guide selection of monitoring variables and man-agement priorities for salt marshes within the National Wild-life Re...
Article
Application of adaptive management to complex natural resource systems requires careful evaluation to ensure that the process leads to improved decision-making. As part of that evaluation, adaptive policies can be compared with alternative nonadaptive management scenarios. Also, the value of reducing structural (ecological) uncertainty to achieving...
Article
Full-text available
Red Knots Calidris canutus roselaari occur along the Pacific coast of the Americas and may use as few as four stopover or staging sites during spring migration. There are key information gaps regarding this population’s status and non-breeding distribution because of its localized distribution during migration, relatively small population size (est...
Article
Full-text available
The models presented in this paper are motivated by a stop-over study of semipalmated sandpipers, Calidris pusilla. Two sets of data were collected at the stop-over site: a capture–recapture–resighting data set and a vector of counts of unmarked birds. The two data sets are analyzed simultaneously by combining a new model for the capture–recapture–...
Article
Full-text available
Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) use coastal wetlands in the southeastern United States during spring migration, some engaging in short-distance movements and brief refueling stops. Knowledge about the scale and factors that influence these movements could guide conservation planning, but often this information is not available. The influ...
Article
Full-text available
Large-scale monitoring of bird populations is often based on count data collected across spatial scales that may include multiple physiographic regions and habitat types. Monitoring at large spatial scales may require multiple survey platforms (e.g., from boats and land when monitoring coastal species) and multiple survey methods. It becomes especi...
Article
Full-text available
Many shorebirds exhibit within- and among-year site fidelity during their annual cycle. Little is known, however, about the migration ecology of Red Knots (Calidris canutus) that migrate along the Pacific Flyway and occur in Washington in numbers that exceed counts elsewhere on the flyway. At two large estuaries in coastal Washington, Grays Harbor...
Article
Full-text available
Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus) may be one of the rarest shorebirds in North America yet a comprehensive assessment of their abundance and distribution has not been completed. During 2007 and 2008, 557 discrete wetlands were surveyed and nine additional large wetland complexes sampled in México and the USA. From these surveys, a population of 23...
Conference Paper
The Atlantic horseshoe crab fishery is managed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. A traditional single-species assessment is not sufficient for managing harvest of the Delaware Bay horseshoe crab population given their ecological connection with migratory shorebirds which feed on horseshoe crab eggs. In response, a multi-species ma...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how events during one period of the annual cycle carry over to affect survival and other fitness components in other periods is essential to understanding migratory bird demography and conservation needs. Previous research has suggested that western Atlantic red knot (Calidris canutus rufa) populations are greatly affected by horsesho...
Article
Natural resource management is plagued with uncertainty of many kinds, but not all uncertainties are equally important to resolve. The promise of adaptive management is that learning in the short-term will improve management in the long-term; that promise is best kept if the focus of learning is on those uncertainties that most impede achievement o...
Article
Full-text available
P>Adaptive management requires that predictive models be explicit and transparent to improve decisions by comparing management actions, directing further research and monitoring, and facilitating learning. The rufa subspecies of red knots (Calidris canutus rufa), which has recently exhibited steep population declines, relies on horseshoe crab (Limu...
Article
Climate change and its associated uncertainties are of concern to natural resource managers. Although aspects of climate change may be novel (e.g., system change and nonstationarity), natural resource managers have long dealt with uncertainties and have developed corresponding approaches to decision-making. Adaptive resource management is an applic...
Conference Paper
Each spring millions of horseshoe crabs spawn on the beaches of Delaware Bay, which is the epicenter of the American horseshoe crab distribution. Density-dependent quantities of eggs are brought to the beach surface and consumed by migrating shorebirds. Until recently management of Delaware Bay horseshoe crabs and migrant shorebirds had followed tr...
Chapter
Full-text available
In stopover duration analysis for migratory birds, models with the probability of departure dependent upon time since arrival are useful if the birds are stopping over to replenish body fat. In capture–recapture studies, the exact time of arrival is not generally known, as a bird may not be captured soon after arrival, or it may not be captured at...
Article
Full-text available
In a natural resource management setting, monitoring is a crucial component of an informed process for making decisions, and monitoring design should be driven by the decision context and associated uncertainties. Monitoring itself can play ≥3 roles. First, it is important for state-dependent decision-making, as when managers need to know the syste...
Article
Full-text available
Long-distance bird migration is fueled by energy gathered at stopover sites along the migration route. The refueling rate at stopover sites is a determinant of time spent at stopovers and impacts the overall speed of migration. Refueling rate during spring migration may influence the fitness of individuals via changes in the probability of successf...
Article
Full-text available
Foraging behavior often reflects food availability in predictable ways. For example, in habitats where food availability is high, predators should attack prey more often and move more slowly than in habitats where food availability is low. To assess relative food availability and habitat quality, I studied the foraging behavior of breeding Prothono...
Article
Foraging behavior often reflects food availability in predictable ways. For example, in habitats where food availability is high, predators should attack prey more often and move more slowly than in habitats where food availability is low. To assess relative food availability and habitat quality, I studied the foraging behavior of breeding Prothono...
Article
Full-text available
The nonbreeding distribution of Western Sandpipers (Calidris mauri) was documented using 19 data sets from 13 sites along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the Americas. Western Sandpipers showed latitudinal segregation with regard to sex and age. Females wintered farther south than males. A “U” shaped pattern was found with respect to age, with j...
Article
Full-text available
The nonbreeding distribution ofWestern Sandpipers (Calidris mauri)was documented using 19 data sets from 13 sites along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the Americas. Western Sandpipers showed latitudinal segregation with regard to sex and age. Females wintered farther south than males. A ‘‘U’’ shaped pattern was found with respect to age, with j...
Article
Full-text available
Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) stop at staging areas during migration to replenish fat reserves that fuel long distance flights. We hypothesize that if sandpipers are minimizing time spent en route between wintering areas and breeding grounds, a negative correlation should exist between fat content upon arrival at a staging area and len...
Article
Full-text available
Total-body electrical conductivity (TOBEC) is a.noninvasive technique to estimate body composition in live birds. A comparison of regression models was conducted to identify a useful equation for predicting lean and lipid mass from TOBEC and other variables in three shorebird species (Calidris pusilla, C. alpina and Limnodromus griseus). Models con...

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