Conservation, Research and Education Opportunities International


Identifying conservation challenges and opportunities for the endemic Olympic mudminnow

Julian Olden, University of Washington
The Olympic mudminnow (Novumbra hubbsi) is Washington State’s only endemic species, existing nowhere else in the world, yet has the distinction of also being one of the most poorly studied. If ever a fish was in need of a public relations makeover, it’s mudminnows. Everything about the name – from undesirable mud to inconsequential Read more

Tracking sea star wasting disease using trained recreational divers

Joseph K. Gaydos, The SeaDoc Society
Figure 1. Preliminary impressions from these 100 surveys suggest that leather sea stars (shown here at Hick’s Bay Wall on 9/20/16) continue to be abundant after the sea star wasting disease outbreak.
For three years, SeaDoc has been working with REEF Environmental Education Foundation to use trained recreational SCUBA divers to Read more

The Skykomish Beaver Project: Building educational opportunities for aspiring ecologists

B.J. Dittbrenner, University of Washington/Beavers Northwest
This project is a continuation of a 2015 CREOi award investigating the impacts of reintroduced beavers on ecosystem resilience. The 2016 grant supports employment of one to two interns in 2016-17, who will assist with trapping, processing, and relocating beavers. They will also participate in field monitoring, including collection of hydrologic data, beaver tracking, vegetation and Read more

Bear Smart King County

Western Wildlife Outreach
Western Wildlife Outreach (WWO) has been active in Washington and Idaho communities for the past twelve years promoting a science-based understanding of large carnivores native to the Pacific Northwest – primarily black bear, grizzly bear, gray wolf and cougar. WWO works with wildlife agencies and other NGOs to reach out to local Read more

Citizen Science Kelp Project: Mapping and monitoring the spatial distribution of local bull kelp populations

Northwest Straits Foundation
Project goal: Ensure the successful oversight of 2016 bull kelp monitoring by citizen scientists in northern Puget Sound, including educational outreach and incorporation of survey data into SoundIQ.
Of the 23 species of large brown algae native to Puget Sound, bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) is the largest. Reaching a canopy height of 60’ or more, Read more

Assessing the status of Canada lynx in the Kettle River Mountain Range

C. Vynne, Osprey Insights
Canada lynx, one of three wild cats native to Washington State, depend on large pristine tracts of boreal forest habitat with ample snowshoe hare and persistent deep snow. In Washington, lynx populations steeply declined due to trapping and habitat degradation and they were afforded Federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in Read more

Bird diversity, resource use and nesting success in restored and unrestored riparian buffers, Snoqualmie Valley, WA

Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center
Common yellowthroat in field-edge grasses. Photo courtesy of Dr. John Marzluff
In 2016, Conservation Research and Education Opportunities International provided Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center with a grant to study bird diversity and habitat use on the 240 acres of agricultural and forest land managed by Oxbow.  Data were collected from point Read more

Restoring an endemic species to native tidelands: Olympia oysters in Swinomish pocket estuaries

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (SITC) recently began a restoration project to establish, expand, and research Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) populations on Reservation tidelands. Olympia oysters are the only native oyster to the Puget Sound region and they traditionally played an important role in tribal culture. Yet, due to overfishing, pollution, and Read more

The Skykomish Beaver Project: Building educational opportunities for aspiring ecologists

B.J. Dittbrenner, University of Washington/Beavers Northwest
Beavers are both ecosystem engineers and keystone species. As ecosystem engineers, they modify their environment through dam building to create wetland systems which reduce their predation risk and increase growth of preferred food types. Their role as keystone species results from their ability to transform a stretch of single-thread stream Read more

Inventory and conservation of the vertebrate fauna of Paraje Tres Cerros (Corrientes, Argentina): Implications for creating a protected area and its integration with local populations (continuation)

R. Cajade
Paraje Tres Cerros are three rocky outcrops (maximum height 180 m above sea level) found in Corrientes Province, Argentina. The outcrops constitute true geologic “islands” immersed in the vast Corrientes plains. They also represent unique ecosystems where flora and fauna have experimented with evolution, isolated in their own singular combination of environmental conditions Read more

Predator-prey dynamics and livestock production in human-occupied savannas: Can cattle be used to conserve declining wild ungulates?

C.C. Ng’weno
Wildlife in human-occupied landscapes can be conserved if management is based on some understanding of mechanisms by which humans and livestock influence ecological processes. One such process critical to wildlife conservation is predator-prey dynamics. Our main management objective is geared towards maintaining diverse ungulate species populations such as hartebeest (Alcephalus busephalus jacksonii) while Read more

Analysis of virulence of the honey bee entomopathogen Nosema ceranae isolated from different geographic zones of Argentina and implications for honeybee conservation

M.P. Porrini 
This project focused on the parasitism by Nosema ceranae on honeybees in Argentina, including an analysis of virulence and the physiological effects of different strains isolated from different regions of the country. Apiculturists have enthusiastically collaborated with the study, providing samples across wide-ranging biogeographic areas of the country. This was achieved through a “National Read more

Predatory impacts and variables determining the spatiotemporal occupancy of the invasive American mink (Neovison vison) on a pristine island ecosystem in Southern Chile

R.D. Crego 

Invasive species are the second most significant driver of biodiversity loss. Islands are the most vulnerable regions to invasions because the evolutionary isolation generally results in a lack of behavioral responses to predation by the local biota. The American mink (Neovison vison) is a mustelid native to North America that was recently introduced in Read more

Conserving amphibians in Icaco and Hormiga Valleys in Patillas, Puerto Rico

N. Greenhawk 
The area of Icaco Valley, Hormiga Valley and the mountain ridge separating them have never been systematically surveyed for amphibians, and have not been accessed by humans in nearly 60 years. Previous scouting confirmed the presence of Eleutherodactylus cooki (IUCN: Vulnerable; US Endangered Species List: Threatened), E. wightmanae (IUCN: Endangered), and E. richmondi (IUCN: Read more

Monitoring pregnancy impacts on Southern Resident Killer Whales

S. Wasser
Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs) frequent the Salish Sea, and their population was heavily harvested by the aquarium industry during much of the 1960’s. The harvest significantly impacted the reproductive/age structure of the population along with the ability to reproductively recover from population declines following harsh years. The population then experienced an unexplained Read more

Conservation of threatened species on the Somuncura Plateau (Patagonia, Argentina): Implications for land management and engagement of the local community

F.P. Kacoliris 
The Somuncura Plateau is a priority conservation area given its unique biology, geology and anthropology. This area is home to three species that are internationally recognized as high conservation priorities: the Somuncura frog (Pleurodema somuncurensis), the Laguna Raimunda frog (Atelognathus reverberii) and the naked characin (Gymnocharacinus bergii). The objective of this project was to Read more

Conservation of herpetofauna of Paraje Tres Cerros, Corrientes, Argentina: Implications for creation of a provincial nature reserve and engagement of the rural community

R. Cajade 
Paraje Tres Cerros is comprised of three outcrops that rise above the Corrientes plains and constitute true rocky “islands”. Until this project, the herpetofauna of the site were unknown. The primary objectives of this project were to survey the herpetofauna and use the results as a tool for educating the regional population and contributing Read more

The life history of the elegant quail in Sonora Mexico

J. Calkins
This study was a necessary component of a larger study examining the varying response of species in the quail genus Callipepla to environmental change. In particular, researchers were testing the hypothesis that elegant quail (C. douglasiiare) of Sonora, Mexico are less behaviorally flexible and therefore more susceptible to environmental change than California quail (C. Read more

Genetic conservation of Zaedyus pichiy (Mammalia, Xenarthra) in Argentina: molecular tools applied to species preservation

M. Gabrielli
The pichy (Zaedyus pichiy) or dwarf armadillo is near threatened species that ranges from central to southern Argentina and Chile. The primary objective of this project was to analyze phylogeographic patterns of dwarf armadillos along their entire distribution using molecular markers, examining the relationship between these patterns and geomorphological history. This analysis would provide Read more

Ecology of the puma in El Espinal: Analysis of the effects of habitat fragmentation and mitigation of conflicts with ranching

M. de las Mercedes Guerisoli
The advance of human activities is the primary cause of natural habitat destruction and fragmentation, which represent the largest threat to wildlife, in particular mammalian carnivores such as the puma. This alteration of the environment can cause contraction of the spatial distribution of animals, with local extinctions and a consequent decline Read more

Estimating effects of eradication of European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on native and endemic plant communities, and on breeding density of Peruvian diving-petrels on Choros Island, Coquimbo, Chile

C. Fernández Zamora
The Peruvian diving-petrel Pelecanoides garnotii (endangered) was once very common on the coastal islands off Peru and Chile. However, the extraction of guano and introduction of species on islands has decreased its populations throughout its former range. Today, the largest population of diving-petrels in Chile is located on Choros Island, which is also Read more

Using locally-managed scientific research to understand the activity patterns, home range size, and habitat use of the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) on the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea

L. Dabek
The Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Project (TKCP) has been collaborating with communities on Papua New Guinea’s Huon Peninsula since 1996. TKCP reached an important milestone in 2009 when the national government officially designated landowner-pledged plots as the Yopno-Uruwa-Som Conservation Area (YUS CA), the highest-available level of protection in PNG. With official approval Read more

Dispersion and frequency of incubation turns in Torrent duck (Merganetta armata armata) pairs in Northwestern Patagonia, Argentina

G.A. Cerón
This project studies the dispersive capacity and aspects of population dynamics of the Torrent duck, a threatened species. The specific objectives include:

Determine the dispersive capacity, the incubation switching rate between mates and, long term, the longevity and population genetics of the Torrent duck, along mountainous rapids in northeastern Patagonia, Argentina.
Individually identify breeding pairs, as well Read more

Inventory and conservation of the vertebrate fauna of Paraje Tres Cerros (Corrientes, Argentina): Implications for creating a protected area and its integration with local populations

R. Cajade
This project is a continuation of a previous CREOi award to assess natural resources in the Paraje Tres Cerros region. Our results will provide information on new biological attributes necessary to advance the justification and scientific resolve to create a conservation area at this site. We will generate a baseline of information for a Read more

The energetics of survival: Feeding competition among the fruit-eating monkeys of Kibale National Park, Uganda

M. Brown
This project uses a novel technique to investigate the effect of interspecific feeding competition on primate population growth; the lessons learned from this study will improve primate population assessments worldwide. Specific objectives include:

Determining whether interspecific feeding competition is the primary constraint on the growth of the blue monkey population at the Ngogo research station Read more

Algal wrack textiles: Using the invasive seaweed Undaria pinnatifida (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae) in a functional textile product

M.E. Becherucci
The general objective of this proposal is to advance the experimental production of a textile material with nutritive and moisturizing properties for human skin, using the invasive algae U. pinnatifida present in the coastal zone of Mar del Plata, Argentina. The project includes the following specific objectives:
1. Develop experimental bilaminate textiles that contain the algae U. pinnatifida.
2. Read more

The importance of natural grasslands and social perception for the conservation of wild guanacos on public and private lands: An exercise in participatory research

A. Bay Gavuzzo
In grazing areas, guanacos are seen as competitors with livestock for forage. Many factors can affect the presence and habitat use of guanacos in Northern Patagonia: some pressures are environmental (e.g., forage supply, water) and others are human (e.g., hunting, disturbance, fencing). The goal of this project is to develop a participatory research Read more

Conservation of amphibians in agroecosystems of the Argentine Pampean region

Agostini, M.G.
As a foundation for amphibian conservation actions in the Pampean region of Argentina, we propose to widen surveys of amphibian assemblages that inhabit agroecosystems beyond those conducted in 2009 to include extensive coverage of Buenos Aires Province, engaging agricultural workers from rural towns through an outreach and extension program. We propose the following specific Read more

Puma-guanaco interactions: Evaluating the impact of predation on newborn guanacos

M. Ruiz Blanco 
It is widely recognized that predatory interactions involving large carnivores play significant ecological roles on terrestrial communities. However, in the neotropics, these interactions have scarcely been studied. Particularly, there is a lack of information regarding ungulate neonatal predation and its consequence on prey population dynamics. Guanacos were the main puma prey in South Read more

Importance of Punta Rasa Natural Reserve (Argentina) for the conservation of migratory marine birds: trophic resources that sustain overwintering common terns (Sterna hirundo) and the role of supplemental feeding from fishing activity

R. Mariano-Jelicich
Diet studies of migratory birds have been a necessary tool for analyzing processes associated with overwintering site selection, interactions with primary prey species, detection of potential conflicts with anthropogenic activities and evaluation of habitat quality. The common tern (Sterna hirundo) is a neotropical migratory marine bird that breeds in North America and migrates to Read more

Setting up non-traditional monitoring protocols for shellfish resources: Application to an artisanal diving fishery in northern Patagonia

P. Fiorta 
For many years, stocks of sedentary invertebrates were assessed and managed using a finfish-oriented framework. However, most of these sedentary stocks are small-scale, spatially structured and data poor, yielding inappropriate management approaches when finfish models are applied. This project aims to develop non-traditional monitoring protocols for artisanal diving fisheries that target scallops, which are Read more

Factors that affect population viability of hooded grebes

C.I. Roesler
The hooded grebe (Podiceps gallardoi) is a globally listed critically endangered bird species that inhabits the plateaus of western Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The conservation threats affecting the species have been recently identified and management actions have been considered a priority for their conservation. Since 2009, a team from universities and conservation NGOs has Read more

Effects of anthropogenic activities on the distribution, abundance and behavior of southern right whales in Golfo Nuevo, Chubut

M.B. Argüelles 
The southern right whale is a protected species, one of four to be declared a National Natural Monument in Argentina. It is a cultural icon and an opportunity for sustainable ecotourism economies. Understanding the effects of human activities on these whale populations is therefore a priority for their conservation and management. This project compared Read more

Facultative ant-plant associations: which ants provide protection?

G. Sinimbu 
One third of tropical forest plants bear extrafloral nectaries to attract ants. Ants, in turn, provide protective services for plant’s young leaves by preying on herbivores. Although these diverse and abundant ant-plant associations are classically viewed as mutualisms, the paucity of data suggest that ants may not always benefit plants. This project focused on Read more

Evaluating the importance of native prey species to the diet of Andean condors in the high Andes of northwestern Argentina

P. L. Perrig 

The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus), the largest flying bird in the New World and an emblematic animal of South America, is declining in abundance range-wide and critically endangered at the northern half of its distribution. Different human activities affect the species, but the most widespread and insidious threat faced by Andean condors involves decreasing Read more

Using locally-managed scientific research to understand the activity patterns, home range size, and habitat use of the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) on the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea

L. Dabek, Woodland Park Zoo
The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) has been collaborating with communities on PNG’s Huon Peninsula since 1996. TKCP reached an important milestone in 2009 when the National Government officially designated landowner-pledged plots as the Yopno-Uruwa-Som Conservation Area (YUS CA), the highest-available level of protection in PNG. With official approval achieved, TKCP Read more

Marine Turtle Center: Active participation by coastal communities and tourists to ensure survival of marine turtles on the Atlantic Ocean coast, Uruguay


A. Estrades 
The Marine Turtle Center (MTC/Center) in La Coronilla, Uruguay, was established to promote conservation of marine turtles and their habitats through environmental education and responsible ecotourism. The Center had been closed for the past four years due to deterioration of the facilities, and this award funded a remodel of the visitor center as well Read more

Paleoparasitological study of zoonosis in Patagonia, Argentina


M.O. Beltrame 
Paleoparasitology is focused on the parasitological examination of materials found in archeological and paleontological deposits. It has the potential to provide information about various cultural, paleoecological and evolutionary aspects. Parasitic relationships are sensitive indicators of developmental, ecological and cultural aspects of host populations – they can reveal potential exposure of humans and animals to Read more

Amphibian communities of agroecosystems in the Argentine Pampean green belt and their conservation challenges


M.G. Agostini 
This is a continuation of a previously funded project (2010).
Amphibians are important indicators of environmental health and play multiple functional roles in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Amphibian populations have declined worldwide and this trend has been attributed to a variety of causes, including chytridiomycosis – an infectious disease caused by the fungus Batrachotrytium Read more

Conservation of the Pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus) in the semi-arid pasturelands of San Luis Province, Argentina: Relationships to land use practices


M. B. Semeñiuk 
The Pampas deer is endemic to South America and has experienced a drastic reduction of its historical range. Since the 1990s, multiple techniques have been employed to improve livestock productivity in the region, leading to increased fragmentation of habitat types and the displacement of native plant species with exotics. The primary objective of Read more

Determination, comparison and calibration of relative abundance indices and monitoring programs for the conservation of native carnivores Calden Forest, La Pampa, Argentina


J. Zanón Martínez 
The Calden Forest region of central Argentina has been severely impacted by a variety of human activities. Native forests have been eliminated in favor of agricultural lands and the legal and illegal hunting of wildlife – predominantly carnivores – have presumably affected these species, but there have been no management or research efforts Read more

Strongly interacting species: does puma predation on wild South American camelids structure biological diversity in the semiarid landscapes of the Andes?


E. Donadio 
The loss of species interactions, such as predator-prey relationships, may result in negative impacts that affect not only the interacting species but also other species and the biological communities and ecosystems they inhabit. For instance, the extirpation of wolves from most of North America resulted in prey species foraging in new wolf-free areas with Read more

Olrog’s gull Larus atlanticus interacting with fisheries in Argentina


M. Beron 
Olrog’s gull is one of the six species of gulls worldwide that are considered threatened, in large part because there are only 2,300 breeding pairs restricted to10 breeding colonies concentrating in two areas along the Argentina Patagonian coast. During the non-breeding season, the gulls migrate north to areas such as the nature reserve Mar Read more

Migration patterns and population connectivity of the Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger intercedens) in South America: a continental approach


R. Mariano-Jelicich 
The South American subspecies of Black Skimmer, Rynchops niger intercedens, is an important neotropical bird, widely distributed from Venezuela to the southeastern coast of Argentina. Population information for this subspecies is scarce and restricted to local distribution sites, making their conservation status difficult to determine. In Argentina, anecdotal information on breeding grounds suggest small Read more