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Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument Cave Biology

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Jut Wynne
added 2 research items
Jut Wynne
added a research item
This is the first study to specifically sample for cave-adapted arthropods in one of the most promising caves to yield cave-adapted insects on Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. For this study, we: (a) deployed baits within four areas of the cave to further inventory troglomorphic arthropods, (b) searched for and collect additional samples of the presumed facultative troglobitic Polydesmid millipede, and (c) collected data to gain further insights regarding the distributions of cave-dwelling arthropods. Additionally, we collected arthropod specimens from the surface near the cave entrance to identify species that may one day colonize caves due to global climate change.
Jut Wynne
added 2 research items
White-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by the fungal pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans, is responsible for the population decline of at least 10 subterranean hibernating bat species in eastern North America and has recently been confirmed in the northwestern United States. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in concert with other federal and state agencies and university personnel, has developed, and periodically updates, a WNS Decontamination Protocol (e.g., USFWS 2016) for working in the subterranean realm. The protocol is a combination of scientifically tested and untested steps that provide a foundational framework for protecting hibernating bats from inadvertent human-assisted transmission of WNS to uninfected hibernacula. However, it does not specifically address extended backcountry research needs. During four research trips to Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument, Arizona, from 2011 through 2012, colleagues and I tested and refined backcountry WNS decontamination procedures. The procedures presented here are developed to complement the WNS Decontamination Protocol; provide a stepwise method for disinfecting equipment, clothing, and personnel; and proactively address WNS containment concerns in the backcountry.
Four new species of presumed troglobitic polydesmidan millipeds in two new genera are described from caves in the states of Arizona, Nevada and California. Pratherodesmus, n. gen., is comprised of the type species, P. voylesi, n. sp., P. ecclesia, n. sp., and P. despaini, n. sp. The genus is found in Arizona and California. Nevadesmus ophimontis, n. gen., n. sp., is from White Pine Co., Nevada; the new genus also includes N. hubbsi (Chamberlin) 1943, new combination. All four species were collected in or near United States National Parks, Bureau of Land Management lands, and in a private preserve. All new taxa are authored by W. A. Shear only.
Jut Wynne
added 7 research items
I provide a summary of field activities conducted at three caves on 02 February 2013 (0700-1900hr), Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona, USA.
Caves in northern Arizona and western New Mexico are being researched and inventoried by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and cooperating agencies. Southwestern caves have been little studied, and scientists are now finding that these lightless and nutrient-poor natural systems are home to life forms found nowhere else on Earth. This research has identified unique communities of arthropods (insects, arachnids, and crustaceans) that include 3 new genera, or groups of species, and at least 15 new species— some only known to exist in a single cave. This exciting research is yielding information that will be used by resource managers to better understand and protect fragile and important Southwestern cave ecosystems.
Ptomaphagus parashant Peck and Wynne, new species, is described from a cave in northwestern Arizona. This is the most cave-modified (troglomorphic) cholevine species known in western North America. Presently, the type locality is the only known location for this new species. We offer management recommendations including annual monitoring to document unauthorized human visitation to this cave and other suggestions to help protect the species from future human disturbance.