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One of the largest bibliographies of sage grouse literature available online

Description

The greater sage-grouse, a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 has experienced population declines across its range in the sagebrush steppe ecosystems of western North America. Sage-grouse now occupy only 56% of their pre-settlement range, though they still occur in 11 western states and 2 Canadian provinces.

latest article added on August 2013

ArticleFirst AuthorPublished
Greater sage-grouse response to sagebrush management in UtahDahlgren, David K.2006

Greater sage-grouse response to sagebrush management in Utah

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianusgreater sage-grouseIdahojuvenile survivalpower-line collisionspredationseasonal movements

Abstract

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations throughout much of their range have been declining. These declines have largely been attributed to the loss or deterioration of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitat. In response government agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service are cost-sharing on management practices designed to improve habitat conditions for sage-grouse. Little is known regarding sage-grouse response to various sagebrush management techniques. We studied the effects of reducing sagebrush canopy cover using 2 mechanical (Dixie harrow and Lawson aerator) treatments and 1 chemical (Tebuthiuron) treatment on greater sage-grouse use of brood-rearing habitats on Parker Mountain, Utah, USA. To conduct this experiment, we identified 19 40.5-ha plots that exhibited > 40% mountain big sagebrush (A. tridentata vaseyana) canopy cover and randomly assigned 16 as treatment or controls (4 replicates each). Tebuthiuron and Dixie-harrow-treated plots had more forb cover than did control plots (P = 0.01 and 0.02, respectively) in post-treatment periods. Greater sage-grouse brood use was higher in Tebuthiuron than control plots (P = 0.01). We believe this was attributed to increased herbaceous cover, particularly forb cover. However, in all plots, sage-grouse use was greatest within 10 m of the edge of the treatments where adjacent sagebrush cover was still available. Although the treatments we studied resulted in the plots achieving sage-grouse brooding-rearing habitat guidelines, caution should be exercised in applying these observations at lower elevations, on sites with less annual precipitation, or on a different subspecies of big sagebrush. Prior to using these techniques to implement large-scale sagebrush treatments, the specific rationale for conducting them should be clearly identified. Large-scale projects using the techniques we studied would not be appropriate within sage-grouse wintering or nesting habitat.

Authors

Dahlgren, David K.; Chi, Renee; Messmer, Terry A.

Year Published

2006

Publication

Wildlife Society Bulletin

Locations
DOI

10.2193/0091-7648(2006)34[975:GSRTSM]2.0.CO;2

Early brood-rearing habitat use and productivity of greater sage-grouse in WyomingThompson, Kristin M.2006

Early brood-rearing habitat use and productivity of greater sage-grouse in Wyoming

Keywords

Greater Sage-Grouse, early brood rearing, Centrocercus urophasianus, habitat, productivity, sagebrush, invertebrate, forb

Abstract

Populations of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have been declining throughout their range since the 1960s. Productivity, which includes production and survival of young, is often cited as a factor in these declines. We monitored radio-equipped Greater Sage-Grouse at 3 sites in western Wyoming to assess early brood-rearing habitat use (through 14 days post-hatch) and productivity. Logistic and linear regression analyses with Akaike's Information Criterion were used to evaluate early brooding habitat use and to examine relationships between productivity and vegetation, insect size and abundance, and weather parameters. Females with broods were found in areas with greater sagebrush canopy and grass cover, and fewer invertebrates compared to random areas. The number of juveniles per female (estimated from wing barrel collections during fall harvest) was positively related to the abundance of medium-length Hymenoptera and grass cover, and the proportion of females with confirmed chicks 14 days post-hatch was positively related to abundance of medium-length Coleoptera and total herbaceous cover. Although the specific parameters varied slightly, Greater Sage-Grouse productivity in Wyoming appeared to be associated with a combination of insect and herbaceous cover elements. Managing for abundant and diverse insect communities within dense protective sagebrush stands should help ensure high-quality early brood-rearing habitat and increased Greater Sage-Grouse productivity.

Authors

Thompson, Kristin M.; Holloran, Matthew J.; Slater, Steven J.; Kuipers, Jarren L.; Anderson, Stanley H.

Year Published

2006

Publication

Western North American Naturalist

Locations
DOI

10.3398/1527-0904(2006)66[332:EBHUAP]2.0.CO;2

Microhabitat characteristics relative to lek abandonment by greater sage grouse in the DakotasSmith, Joe T.2006

Microhabitat characteristics relative to lek abandonment by greater sage grouse in the Dakotas

Keywords

Artemisia spp, Centrocercus urophasianus, greater sage-grouse, lek, Montana, North Dakota, sagebrush, South Dakota

Abstract

We compared peripheral microhabitat characteristics to identify possible reasons for greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) lek abandonment in North Dakota and South Dakota. Comparisons of active leks in the Dakotas were made with active leks in eastern Montana. We systematically selected 12 sample sites at equidistant points from each other within 1.5 km of the lek center. Only non-tilled areas were sampled, but tillage generally comprised < 5 percent of sample sites and was evaluated in a separate landscape-level study. We detected no differences (P > 0.10) between sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) cover or density around active leks compared to the same attributes around historically active but now inactive leks in North and South Dakota. However, big sagebrush (A. tridentata) height, forb cover, and bare ground were greater (P < 0.10) around active leks compared to inactive leks in North Dakota. The area within 1.5 km of active leks in eastern Montana had much greater (P < 0.10) cover and density of sagebrush than active leks in either North or South Dakota. Sagebrush characteristics, i.e., coverage, density, and height, peripheral to active leks in the western Dakotas appeared desirable for sage grouse nesting sites compared to nesting habitat described in other areas of more classic habitat in Montana or Idaho. The substantial forb and grass cover association with marginal sagebrush coverage in the Dakotas apparently provides adequate nesting and brood rearing habitat.

Authors

Smith, Joe T.; Flake, Lester D.; Higgins, Kenneth F.; Kobriger, Gerald D.

Year Published

2006

Publication

Intermountain Journal of Sciences

Locations
Susceptibility of greater sage-grouse to experimental infection with West Nile virusClark, L2006

Susceptibility of greater sage-grouse to experimental infection with West Nile virus

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus experimental infection greater sage-grouse vaccine West Nile virus

Abstract

Populations of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have declined 45-80% in North America since 1950. Although much of this decline has been attributed to habitat loss, recent field studies have indicated that West Nile virus (WNV) has had a significant negative impact on local populations of grouse. We confirm the susceptibility of greater sage-grouse to WNV infection in laboratory experimental studies. Grouse were challenged by subcutaneous injection of WNV (10(3.2) plaque-forming units [PFUs]). All grouse died within 6 days of infection. The Kaplan-Meier estimate for 50% survival was 4.5 days. Mean peak viremia for nonvaccinated birds was 10(6.4) PFUs/ml (+/- 10(0.2) PFUs/ml, standard error of the mean [SEM]). Virus was shed cloacally and orally. Four of the five vaccinated grouse died, but survival tune was increased (50% survival = 9.5 days), with 1 grouse surviving to the end-point of the experiment (14 days) kith no signs of illness. Mean peak viremia for the vaccinated birds was 10(2.3) PFUs/ml (+/- 10(0.6) PFUs/ml, SEM). Two birds cleared the virus from their blood before death or euthanasia. These data emphasize the high susceptibility of greater sage-grouse to infection with WNV.

Authors

Clark, L; Hall, J; McLean, R; Dunbar, M; Klenk, K; Bowen, R; Smeraski, CA

Year Published

2006

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Diseases

Locations
SUSCEPTIBILITY OF GREATER SAGE-GROUSE TO EXPERIMENTAL INFECTION WITH WEST NILE VIRUSClark, Larry2006

SUSCEPTIBILITY OF GREATER SAGE-GROUSE TO EXPERIMENTAL INFECTION WITH WEST NILE VIRUS

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus, experimental infection, greater sage-grouse, vaccine, West Nile virus, WNV

Abstract

Populations of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have declined 45– 80% in North America since 1950. Although much of this decline has been attributed to habitat loss, recent field studies have indicated that West Nile virus (WNV) has had a significant negative impact on local populations of grouse. We confirm the susceptibility of greater sage-grouse to WNV infection in laboratory experimental studies. Grouse were challenged by subcutaneous injection of WNV (103.2 plaque-forming units [PFUs]). All grouse died within 6 days of infection. The Kaplan-Meier estimate for 50% survival was 4.5 days. Mean peak viremia for nonvaccinated birds was 106.4 PFUs/ml (±100.2 PFUs/ml, standard error of the mean [SEM]). Virus was shed cloacally and orally. Four of the five vaccinated grouse died, but survival time was increased (50% survival=9.5 days), with 1 grouse surviving to the end-point of the experiment (14 days) with no signs of illness. Mean peak viremia for the vaccinated birds was 102.3 PFUs/ml (±100.6 PFUs/ml, SEM). Two birds cleared the virus from their blood before death or euthanasia. These data emphasize the high susceptibility of greater sage-grouse to infection with WNV.

Authors

Klenk, Kaci, Bowen, Richard, Clark, Larry, Hall, Jeffrey, McLean, Robert, Dunbar, Michael and Smeraski, Cynthia A.

Year Published

2006

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Diseases

Locations
DOI

10.7589/0090-3558-42.1.14

Additional Information:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16699144

Determinants of threatened sage grouse in northeastern Nevada.van Kooten, G. Cornelis2007

Determinants of threatened sage grouse in northeastern Nevada.

Keywords

population viability analysis, endangered species, sage grouse

Abstract

We examined potential human determinants of observed declines in greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations in Elko County, Nevada. Although monitoring of sage grouse has occurred for decades, monitoring levels have not been consistent. This article contributes to the literature by normalizing grouse counts by the annual effort to count them, performing regression analyses to explain the resulting normalized data, and correcting for sample selectivity bias that arises from years when counts were not taken. Our findings provide some evidence that cattle-grazing contributes to a reduction in sage grouse populations, but this result should be interpreted with caution because our data do not include indications about the timing and precise nature of grazing practices. Annual variations in weather appear to be a major determinant after statistically controlling for human interactions with the landscape, suggesting that climate change is a key potential long-run threat to this species.

Authors

van Kooten, G. Cornelis; Eagle, Alison J.; Eiswerth, Mark E.

Year Published

2007

Publication

Human Dimensions of Wildlife

Locations
DOI

10.1080/10871200601107908

Linking occurrence and fitness to persistence: Habitat-based approach for endangered Greater Sage-GrouseAldridge, Cameron L.2007

Linking occurrence and fitness to persistence: Habitat-based approach for endangered Greater Sage-Grouse

Keywords

Alberta, Canada; Centrocercus urophasianus; Cox proportional hazard; fitness; GreaterSage-Grouse; habitat; logistic regression; occurrence; persistence; population viability; sagebrush

Abstract

Detailed empirical models predicting both species occurrence and fitness across a landscape are necessary to understand processes related to population persistence. Failure to consider both occurrence and fitness may result in incorrect assessments of habitat importance leading to inappropriate management strategies. We took a two-stage approach to identifying critical nesting and brood-rearing habitat for the endangered Greater Sage-Grouse ( Centrocercus urophasianus) in Alberta at a landscape scale. First, we used logistic regression to develop spatial models predicting the relative probability of use ( occurrence) for Sage-Grouse nests and broods. Secondly, we used Cox proportional hazards survival models to identify the most risky habitats across the landscape. We combined these two approaches to identify Sage- Grouse habitats that pose minimal risk of failure ( source habitats) and attractive sink habitats that pose increased risk ( ecological traps). Our models showed that Sage- Grouse select for heterogeneous patches of moderate sagebrush cover ( quadratic relationship) and avoid anthropogenic edge habitat for nesting. Nests were more successful in heterogeneous habitats, but nest success was independent of anthropogenic features. Similarly, broods selected heterogeneous high- productivity habitats with sagebrush while avoiding human developments, cultivated cropland, and high densities of oil wells. Chick mortalities tended to occur in proximity to oil and gas developments and along riparian habitats. For nests and broods, respectively, approximately 10% and 5% of the study area was considered source habitat, whereas 19% and 15% of habitat was attractive sink habitat. Limited source habitats appear to be the main reason for poor nest success ( 39%) and low chick survival ( 12%). Our habitat models identify areas of protection priority and areas that require immediate management attention to enhance recruitment to secure the viability of this population. This novel approach to habitat- based population viability modeling has merit for many species of concern.

Authors

Aldridge, Cameron L.; Boyce, Mark S.

Year Published

2007

Publication

Ecological Applications

Locations
DOI

10.1890/05-1871

This article contributed by:

Ecological Society of America

West Nile Virus and Greater Sage-Grouse: Estimating Infection Rate in a Wild Bird PopulationWalker, Brett L.2007

West Nile Virus and Greater Sage-Grouse: Estimating Infection Rate in a Wild Bird Population

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus, coal-bed natural gas, energy development, flavivirus, greater sage-grouse, infection rate, sagebrush-steppe, West Nile virus

Abstract

Understanding impacts of disease on wild bird populations requires knowing not only mortality rate following infection, but also the proportion of the population that is infected. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in western North America are known to have a high mortality rate following infection with West Nile virus (WNv), but actual infection rates in wild populations remain unknown. We used rates of WNv-related mortality and seroprevalence from radiomarked females to estimate infection rates in a wild greater sage-grouse population in the Powder River basin (PRB) of Montana and Wyoming from 2003 to 2005. Minimum WNv-related mortality rates ranged from 2.4% to 13.3% among years and maximum possible rates ranged from 8.2% to 28.9%. All live-captured birds in 2003 and 2004 tested seronegative. In spring 2005 and spring 2006, 10.3% and 1.8% respectively, of newly captured females tested seropositive for neutralizing antibodies to WNv. These are the first documented cases of sage-grouse surviving infection with WNv. Low to moderate WNv-related mortality in summer followed by low seroprevalence the following spring in all years indicates that annual infection rates were between 4% and 29%. This suggests that most sage-grouse in the PRB have not yet been exposed and remain susceptible. Impacts of WNv in the PRB in the near future will likely depend more on annual variation in temperature and changes in vector distribution than on the spread of resistance. Until the epizootiology of WNv in sagebrush-steppe ecosystems is better understood, we suggest that management to reduce impacts of WNv focus on eliminating man-made water sources that support breeding mosquitoes known to vector the virus. Our findings also underscore problems with using seroprevalence as a surrogate for infection rate and for identifying competent hosts in highly susceptible species.

Authors

Walker, Brett L.; Naugle, David E.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Cornish, Todd E.

Year Published

2007

Publication

Avian Diseases

Locations
DOI

10.1637/0005-2086(2007)51[691:WNVAGS]2.0.CO;2

The influence of gap size on sagebrush cover estimates with the use of line intercept techniqueBoyd, Chad S.2007

The influence of gap size on sagebrush cover estimates with the use of line intercept technique

Keywords

Vegetation inventory, wildlife habitat, sage-grouse, sagebrush obligate

Abstract

Sagebrush cover is often estimated with the use of the line intercept method. However, a lack of standardized protocols may lead to variable estimates of sagebrush canopy cover. Our objectives were to determine the influence of gap size on 1) sagebrush canopy cover estimates, 2) time needed to read a transect, and 3) among-observer variability in sagebrush canopy cover estimates. We utilized 5-, 10-, and 15-cm gaps, and defined a gap as a lack of continuous live or dead shrub canopy. In instances where a segment of dead cover was less than the gap size and adjoined live cover, the dead cover was measured as live. We evaluated canopy cover at 6 Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. Wyomingensis Beetle & A. Young) sites in southeast Oregon. At each site, four 2-person teams measured sagebrush canopy intercept along 50-m transects. Each transect was read by multiple teams to allow for assessment of among-observer variability. Intercept values were converted to percent canopy cover and we used analysis of variance to determine the influence of site and gap size on measurement time and cover estimates. Observer variability was highest at the intermediate gap size (i.e., 10 cm). Transect measurement time was longest with the use of a 5-cm gap (P < 0.001). Total cover estimates were not related to gap size (P = 0.270). Live canopy cover estimates increased (P < 0.001) from 12.1% to 14.5% with increasing gap size, and cover of dead material decreased (P = 0.015) from 4.4% to 3.2%. These differences are small in magnitude and would not likely change a gross assessment of vegetation status. However, use of a standardized gap size will enhance comparability of canopy cover estimates among studies and will decrease between-year sampling error for repeat monitoring.

Authors

Boyd, Chad S.; Bates, Jon D.; Miller, Rick F.

Year Published

2007

Publication

Rangeland Ecology & Management

Locations
DOI

10.2111/05-226R2.1

Factors affecting nest survival of greater sage-grouse in northcentral MontanaMoynahan, Brendan J.2007

Factors affecting nest survival of greater sage-grouse in northcentral Montana

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus; greater sage-grouse; Montana; nesting success; nest survival; population dynamics; program MARK

Abstract

We studied greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in northcentral Montana, USA, to examine the relationship between nest success and habitat conditions, environmental variables, and female sage-grouse characteristics. During 2001-2003, we radiomarked 243 female greater sage-grouse, monitored 287 nests, and measured 426 vegetation plots at 4 sites in a 3,200-km(2) landscape. Nest survival varied with year, grass canopy cover, daily precipitation with a 1-day lag effect, and nesting attempt. In all years, daily survival rate increased on the day of a rain event and decreased the next day. There was temporal variation in nest success both within and among years: success of early (first 28 d of nesting season) nests ranged from 0.238 (SE = 0.080) in 2001 to 0.316 (SE = 0.055) in 2003, whereas survival of late (last 28 d of nesting season) nests ranged from 0.276 (SE = 0.090) in 2001 to 0.418 (SE = 0.055) in 2003. Renests experienced higher survival than first nests. Grass cover was the only important model term that could be managed, but direction and magnitude of the grass effect varied. Site, shrub and forb canopy cover, and Robel pole reading were less useful predictors of nest success; however, temporal and spatial variation in these habitat covariates was low during our study. We note a marked difference between both values and interpretations of apparent nest success, which have been used almost exclusively in the past, and maximum-likelihood estimates used in our study. Annual apparent nest success (0.46) was, on average, 53% higher than maximum-likelihood estimates that incorporate individual, environmental, and habitat covariates. The difference between estimates was variable (range +8% to +91%). Management of habitats for nesting sage-grouse should focus on increasing grass cover to increase survival of first nests and contribute to favorable conditions for renesting, which should be less likely if survival of first nests increases.

Authors

Moynahan, Brendan J.; Lindberg, Mark S.; Rotella, Jay J.; Thomas, Jack Ward

Year Published

2007

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.2193/2005-386

Recent Articles

The Secret Sex Lives of Sage-Grouse: Multiple Paternity and Intraspecific Nest Parasitism Revealed Through Genetic Analysis

by Bird, Krista, Aldridge, Cameron, Carpenter, Jennifer, Paszkowski, Cynthia, Boyce, Mark and Coltman, David

In lek-based mating systems only a few males are expected to obtain the majority of matings in a single breeding season and multiple mating is believed to be rare. We used 13 microsatellites to genotype greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) samples from 604 adults and 1206 offspring from 191 clutches (1999-2006) from Alberta, Canada, to determine paternity and polygamy (males and fema...

published 2013 in Behavioral Ecology

Seasonal Reproductive Costs Contribute to Reduced Survival of Female Greater Sage-grouse

by Blomberg, Erik, Sedinger, James, Nonne, Daniel and Atamian, Michael

Tradeoffs among demographic traits are a central component of life history theory. We investigated tradeoffs between reproductive effort and survival in female greater sage-grouse breeding in the American Great Basin, while also considering reproductive heterogeneity by examining covariance among current and future reproductive success. We analyzed survival and reproductive histories from 328 i...

published 2013 in Journal of Avian Biology


Greater Sage-Grouse and Severe Winter Conditions: Identifying Habitat for Conservation

by Dzialak, Matthew, Webb, Stephen, Harju, Seth, Olson, Chad, Winstead, Jeffrey and Hayden Wing, Larry

d Developing sustainable rangeland management strategies requires solution-driven research that addresses ecological issues within the context of regionally important socioeconomic concerns. A key sustainability issue in many regions of the world is conserving habitat that buffers animal populations from climatic variability, including seasonal deviation from long-term precipitation or temperat...

published 2013 in Rangeland Ecology & Management

Using Spatial Statistics and Point-Pattern Simulations to Assess the Spatial Dependency Between Greater Sage-Grouse and Anthropogenic Features

by Gillan, Jeffrey K., Strand, Eva K., Karl, Jason W., Reese, Kerry P. and Laninga, Tamara

The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter, sage-grouse), a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act, has experienced population declines across its range in the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe ecosystems of western North America. One factor contributing to the loss of habitat is the expanding human population with associated development and infrast...

published 2013 in Wildlife Society Bulletin