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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
Parasites and Infectious Diseases of Greater Sage-Grouse.Christiansen, Thomas J.2011

Parasites and Infectious Diseases of Greater Sage-Grouse.

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus, disease, greater sage-grouse, parasite, pathogen

Abstract

We report the parasites, infectious diseases, and noninfectious diseases related to toxicants found in Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) across its range. Documentation of population-level effects is rare, although researchers have responded to the recent emergence of West Nile virus with rigorous efforts. West Nile virus shows greater virulence and potential population-level effects than any infectious agent detected in Greater Sage-Grouse to date. Research has demonstrated that (1) parasites and diseases can have population-level effects on grouse species; (2) new infectious diseases are emerging; and (3) habitat fragmentation is increasing the number of small, isolated populations of Greater Sage-Grouse. Natural resource management agencies need to develop additional research and systematic monitoring programs for evaluating the role of micro-and macro parasites, especially West Nile virus, infectious bronchitis and other corona viruses, avian retroviruses, Mycoplasma spp., and Eimeria spp. and associated enteric bacteria affecting sage-grouse populations.

Authors

Christiansen, Thomas J.; Tate, Cynthia M.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Studies in Avian Biology

Locations
DOI

10.1525/california/9780520267114.001.0001

Comparison of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platforms for Assessing Vegetation Cover in Sagebrush Steppe EcosystemsBreckenridge, Robert P.2011

Comparison of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platforms for Assessing Vegetation Cover in Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems

Keywords

bare ground, fixed-wing, helicopter, landscape, monitoring, remote sensing

Abstract

In this study, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a quick and safe method for monitoring biotic resources was evaluated. Vegetation cover and the amount of bare ground are important factors in understanding the sustainability of many ecosystems. Methods that improve speed and cost efficiency could greatly improve how biotic resources are monitored on western lands. Sagebrush steppe ecosystems provide important habitat for a variety of species including sage grouse and pygmy rabbit. Improved methods of monitoring these habitats are needed because not enough resource specialists or funds are available for comprehensive on-the-ground evaluations. In this project, two UAV platforms, fixed-wing and helicopter, were used to collect still-frame imagery to assess vegetation cover in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. This paper discusses the process for collecting and analyzing imagery from the UAVs to 1) estimate percentage of cover for six different vegetation types (shrub, dead shrub, grass, forb, litter, and bare ground) and 2) locate sage grouse using representative decoys. The field plots were located on the Idaho National Laboratory site west of Idaho Falls, Idaho, in areas with varying amounts and types of vegetation cover. A software program called SamplePoint was used along with visual inspection to evaluate percentage of cover for the six cover types. Results were compared against standard field measurements to assess accuracy. The comparison of fixed-wing and helicopter UAV technology against field estimates shows good agreement for the measurement of bare ground. This study shows that if a high degree of detail and data accuracy is desired, then a helicopter UAV may be a good platform to use. If the data collection objective is to assess broad-scale landscape level changes, then the collection of imagery with a fixed-wing system is probably more appropriate.

Authors

Breckenridge, Robert P.; Dakins, Maxine; Bunting, Stephen; Harbour, Jerry L.; White, Sera

Year Published

2011

Publication

Rangeland Ecology & Management

Locations
DOI

10.2111/REM-D-10-00030.1

Comparing Ecological Site Descriptions to Habitat Characteristics Influencing Greater Sage-Grouse Nest Site Occurrence and SuccessDoherty, Kevin E.2011

Comparing Ecological Site Descriptions to Habitat Characteristics Influencing Greater Sage-Grouse Nest Site Occurrence and Success

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianus, landscape-scale habitat characteristics, local-scale habitat characteristics, nesting

Abstract

We used 119 greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) nests located in the Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming during 2004-2007 to assess the ability of US Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) ecological site descriptions (ESDs) to predict nest occurrence and success. We used nesting data from a regional study in the Powder River Basin that documented effects of local and landscape scale habitat characteristics on nest occurrence and success. We compared ESD metrics to these predictive local and landscape habitat variables where NRCS ESD field surveys overlapped our regional nest data set. We specifically asked three questions: 1) Are ESDs useful in predicting sage-grouse nest site occurrence and success as a univariate explanatory variable? 2) Can ESD information refine predictions of local scale nest site occurrence and success models? 3) Can ESD information refine landscape scale nest site occurrence models by serving as a surrogate for local scale information that cannot be mapped in a geographic information system (GIS)? Our results demonstrated that all models using ESD information were within +/- 2 Akaike's Information Criterion points of a constant only model (i.e., null model) for local-scale data, or a baseline model where local- and landscape-scale habitat metrics were held constant while allowing ESD models to compete for remaining variation. No ESD metrics were statistically significant at the 95% level (P < 0.05), although some were significant at the 80-90% level (P = 0.09-0.14). Our study does not support the use of ESDs to predict habitat use or base sage-grouse management decisions in the Powder River Basin, but in some instances the refutation was weak. Local and landscape based habitat metrics showed high discrimination between null models with highly significant relationships on the subset data.

Authors

Doherty, Kevin E.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Naugle, David E.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Rangeland Ecology & Management

Locations
DOI

10.2111/REM-D-10-00120.1

Greater Sage-Grouse Movements and Habitat use during Winter in Central OregonBruce, Jennifer R.2011

Greater Sage-Grouse Movements and Habitat use during Winter in Central Oregon

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) depend on sagebrush habitat for food and cover during winter, yet few sage-grouse winter ecology studies have been conducted. During January and February 2007, we monitored 22 radio-collared sage-grouse (7 females and 15 males) in central Oregon to characterize winter habitat use and movement patterns. We estimated distances traveled between locations on a weekly basis and quantified habitat characteristics at locations used by male and female sage-grouse. The birds we collared moved extensively across the landscape, using approximately 1480 km(2). Sagebrush canopy height in sites used by sage-grouse varied from 0.25 to 0.75 m, with females tending to be found in sites with taller sagebrush and less foliar cover than ill sites where we found males. The difference in foliar cover between sexes was related to a seasonal change in habitat use: 4 females found in little sagebrush (Artemisia arbuscula) in January and early February were no longer located nor found foraging in little sagebrush after 15 February. Also, by this date, most male sage-grouse had stopped using big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate) as they migrated to leks. Sage-grouse mortality rates were low during our study which May be attributed to the study area receiving half the long-term average amount of snow. The large area over which sage-grouse moved during winter indicates that conservation of Greater Sage-Grouse may require preservation of sagebrush at landscape scales (thousands of square kilometers).

Authors

Bruce, Jennifer R.; Robinson, W. Douglas; Petersen, Steven L.; Miller, Richard F.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Western North American Naturalist

Locations
DOI

10.3398/064.071.0310

Habitat Selection by Greater Sage-Grouse During Winter in Southeastern OregonHagen, Christian A.2011

Habitat Selection by Greater Sage-Grouse During Winter in Southeastern Oregon

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

The distribution and geographic range of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have been reduced by 56% since European settlement. Although loss and fragmentation of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitats have been cited as the primary causes for the decline of the species, degradation of existing habitat also has been considered an important factor. Guidelines for protection and management of breeding and winter habitat have been developed for land managers, but winter habitat use has not been thoroughly described throughout the species range, particularly for the western portion of its range in Oregon. We examined vegetation-type selection and use by Greater Sage-Grouse during winter (Nov-Feb) at 3 study areas in southeastern Oregon (1989-1992). Elevation gradients and vegetative communities differed among these 3 areas. Our objective was to examine the geographic variation in the selection and use of various vegetation types during winter; when sage-grouse distributions may be most restricted. We described differences in vegetation structure at the microhabitat scale among 3 areas and differences in vegetation-type selection at the macrohabitat scale. We found that the use of mixed sagebrush (basin big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata tridentata]) and other shrubby vegetation types by sage-grouse was greater than expected at all 3 study areas. At the low- and high-elevation study areas, low sagebrush (Artemisia longiloba) vegetation types were selected more often than expected at random, which was contrary to our original hypotheses. Basin big sagebrush vegetation types were used in proportion to their availability at the 2 low-elevation study areas, and big sagebrush steppe was used less than available (avoided) at the low-elevation areas; these results were contrary to our original predictions. Such differences in selection among the study areas in southeastern Oregon create additional challenges for land managers, who are charged with managing habitats for sage-grouse use during autumn and winter in this portion of the species' geographic range.

Authors

Hagen, Christian A.; Willis, Mitchell J.; Glenn, Elizabeth M.; Anthony, Robert G.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Western North American Naturalist

Locations
DOI

10.3398/064.071.0411

Collection and comparison of natural ejaculates and sperm morphometrics of greater (Centrocercus urophasianus) and gunnison sage-grouse (C. minimus).Hicks, Tyler L.2011

Collection and comparison of natural ejaculates and sperm morphometrics of greater (Centrocercus urophasianus) and gunnison sage-grouse (C. minimus).

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

In spring 2008, we collected four natural ejaculates from strutting male Greater (Galliformes: Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison Sage-Grouse (C. minimus) in Colorado, USA by placing freeze-dried female Greater Sage-Grouse on leks in the soliciting pre-copulatory position and fitting them with false cloacas. We compared between species the sperm concentrations, the percentage of viable sperm, the types and predominance of normal and abnormal sperm in ejaculate samples, and sperm morphometric traits. In addition, we compared sperm concentration and morphometry of both species with other species of Galliformes. Notwithstanding our small sample size, ejaculate characteristics were similar among individuals and between the two grouse species. Total length did not differ substantially between the two species. However, we found that Greater Sage-Grouse possess sperm heads that averaged 10% longer than those of Gunnison Sage-Grouse and Gunnison Sage-Grouse possess sperm tails that averaged 10% longer than those of Greater Sage-Grouse. Total sperm length in both species is among the smallest known for Galliformes. Compared to other Galliformes, sperm concentration was low for Gunnison Sage-Grouse and average for Greater Sage-Grouse.

Authors

Hicks, Tyler L.; Magee, Patrick A.

Year Published

2011

Publication

Colorado Birds

Locations
Greater Sage-Grouse: General Use and Roost Site Occurrence with Pellet Counts as a Measure of Relative AbundanceHanser, S.E.2011

Greater Sage-Grouse: General Use and Roost Site Occurrence with Pellet Counts as a Measure of Relative Abundance

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have been declining both spatially and numerically throughout their range because of anthropogenic disturbance and loss and fragmentation of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitats. Understanding how sage-grouse respond to these habitat alterations and disturbances, particularly the types of disturbances and extent at which they respond, is critical to designing management actions and prioritizing areas of conservation. To address these needs, we developed statistical models of the relationships between occurrence and abundance of greater sage-grouse and multi-scaled measures of vegetation, abiotic, and disturbance in the Wyoming Basins Ecoregional Assessment (WBEA) area. Sage-grouse occurrence was strongly related to the amount of sagebrush within 1 km for both roost site and general use locations. Roost sites were identified by presence of sage-grouse fecal pellet groups whereas general use locations had single pellets. Proximity to anthropogenic disturbance including energy development, power lines, and major roads was negatively associated with sagegrouse occurrence. Models of sage-grouse occurrence correctly predicted active lek locations with >75% accuracy. Our spatially explicit models identified areas of high occurrence probability in the WBEA area that can be used to delineate areas for conservation and refine existing conservation plans. These models can also facilitate identification of pathways and corridors important for maintenance of sage-grouse population connectivity.

Authors

Hanser, S. E., C. L. Aldridge, M. Leu, M. M. Rowland, S. E. Nielsen, and S. T. Knick

Year Published

2011

Publication

Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation and Management

Locations
Additional Information:

http://sagemap.wr.usgs.gov/Docs/WBEA/wbea_chap_5_sagegrouse_2mb.pdf

Crucial nesting habitat for gunnison sage-grouse: A spatially explicit hierarchical approachAldridge, Cameron L.2012

Crucial nesting habitat for gunnison sage-grouse: A spatially explicit hierarchical approach

Keywords

Centrocercus minimus; Colorado; extrapolation; Gunnison sage-grouse; habitat; hierarchical model; nesting; resource selection; sagebrush

Abstract

Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) is a species of special concern and is currently considered a candidate species under Endangered Species Act. Careful management is therefore required to ensure that suitable habitat is maintained, particularly because much of the species' current distribution is faced with exurban development pressures. We assessed hierarchical nest site selection patterns of Gunnison sage-grouse inhabiting the western portion of the Gunnison Basin, Colorado, USA, at multiple spatial scales, using logistic regression-based resource selection functions. Models were selected using Akaike Information Criterion corrected for small sample sizes (AICc) and predictive surfaces were generated using model averaged relative probabilities. Landscape-scale factors that had the most influence on nest site selection included the proportion of sagebrush cover >5%, mean productivity, and density of 2 wheel-drive roads. The landscape-scale predictive surface captured 97% of known Gunnison sage-grouse nests within the top 5 of 10 prediction bins, implicating 57% of the basin as crucial nesting habitat. Crucial habitat identified by the landscape model was used to define the extent for patch-scale modeling efforts. Patch-scale variables that had the greatest influence on nest site selection were the proportion of big sagebrush cover >10%, distance to residential development, distance to high volume paved roads, and mean productivity. This model accurately predicted independent nest locations. The unique hierarchical structure of our models more accurately captures the nested nature of habitat selection, and allowed for increased discrimination within larger landscapes of suitable habitat. We extrapolated the landscape-scale model to the entire Gunnison Basin because of conservation concerns for this species. We believe this predictive surface is a valuable tool which can be incorporated into land use and conservation planning as well the assessment of future land-use scenarios. (C) 2011 The Wildlife Society.

Authors

Aldridge, Cameron L.; Saher, D. Joanne; Childers, Theresa M.; Stahlnecker, Kenneth E.; Bowen, Zachary H.

Year Published

2012

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.1002/jwmg.268

Using gas chromatography to determine winter diets of greater sage-grouse in UtahThacker, Eric T.2012

Using gas chromatography to determine winter diets of greater sage-grouse in Utah

Keywords

Artemisia; black sagebrush; Centrocercus urophasianus; gas chromatography; Utah; winter diet; Wyoming sagebrush

Abstract

Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) constitutes the majority (>99%) of sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) winter diets. Thus, identification and protection of important winter habitats is a conservation priority. However, not all sagebrush may be alike. More information is needed regarding sage-grouse sagebrush winter dietary preferences for application to management. The objective of our research was to determine if chemical analysis of fecal pellets could be used to characterize winter sage-grouse diets as a substitute for more invasive methods. We collected and analyzed fecal pellets and sagebrush samples from 29 different sage-grouse flock locations in northwestern and southcentral Utah. Using gas chromatography, we were able to identify crude terpene profiles that were unique to Wyoming sagebrush (A. tridentata wyomingensis) and black sagebrush (A. nova). We subsequently used the profiles to determine sagebrush composition of sage-grouse fecal pellets, thus reflecting sage-grouse winter diets. This technique provides managers with a tool to determine which species or subspecies of sagebrush may be important in the winter diets of sage-grouse populations. (c) 2011 The Wildlife Society.

Authors

Thacker, Eric T.; Gardner, Dale R.; Messmer, Terry A.; Guttery, Michael R.; Dahlgren, Dave K.

Year Published

2012

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.1002/jwmg.273

Interseasonal Movements of Greater Sage-Grouse, Migratory Behavior, and an Assessment of the Core Regions Concept in WyomingFedy, Bradley C.2012

Interseasonal Movements of Greater Sage-Grouse, Migratory Behavior, and an Assessment of the Core Regions Concept in Wyoming

Keywords

Centrocercus urophasianuscore regionsgreater sage-grousemigrationmigratoryradio-telemetryseasonal movementsWyoming

Abstract

Animals can require different habitat types throughout their annual cycles. When considering habitat prioritization, we need to explicitly consider habitat requirements throughout the annual cycle, particularly for species of conservation concern. Understanding annual habitat requirements begins with quantifying how far individuals move across landscapes between key life stages to access required habitats. We quantified individual interseasonal movements for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter sage-grouse) using radio-telemetry spanning the majority of the species distribution in Wyoming. Sage-grouse are currently a candidate for listing under the United States Endangered Species Act and Wyoming is predicted to remain a stronghold for the species. Sage-grouse use distinct seasonal habitats throughout their annual cycle for breeding, brood rearing, and wintering. Average movement distances in Wyoming from nest sites to summer-late brood-rearing locations were 8.1 km (SE = 0.3 km; n = 828 individuals) and the average subsequent distances moved from summer sites to winter locations were 17.3 km (SE = 0.5 km; n = 607 individuals). Average nest-to-winter movements were 14.4 km (SE = 0.6 km; n = 434 individuals). We documented remarkable variation in the extent of movement distances both within and among sites across Wyoming, with some individuals remaining year-round in the same vicinity and others moving over 50 km between life stages. Our results suggest defining any of our populations as migratory or non-migratory is innappropriate as individual strategies vary widely. We compared movement distances of birds marked using Global Positioning System (GPS) and very high frequency (VHF) radio marking techniques and found no evidence that the heavier GPS radios limited movement. Furthermore, we examined the capacity of the sage-grouse core regions concept to capture seasonal locations. As expected, we found the core regions approach, which was developed based on lek data, was generally better at capturing the nesting locations than summer or winter locations. However, across Wyoming the sage-grouse breeding core regions still contained a relatively high percentage of summer and winter locations and seem to be a reasonable surrogate for non-breeding habitat when no other information exists. We suggest that conservation efforts for greater sage-grouse implicitly incorporate seasonal habitat needs because of high variation in the amount of overlap among breeding core regions and non-breeding habitat. (C) 2012 The Wildlife Society.

Authors

Fedy, Bradley C.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Doherty, Kevin E.; O'Donnell, Micheal; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Bedrosian, Bryan; Holloran, Matthew J.; Johnson, Gregory D.; Kaczor, Nicholas W.; Kirol, Christopher P.; Mandich, Cheryl A.; Marshall, David; McKee, Gwyn; Olson, Chad; Swanson, Christopher C.; Walker, Brett L.

Year Published

2012

Publication

Journal of Wildlife Management

Locations
DOI

10.1002/jwmg.337

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