Publications by authors named "W Sue Fairbanks"

17 Publications

Mapping and modeling the components of human tolerance for black bears in eastern Oklahoma.

J Environ Manage 2021 Jun 7;288:112378. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Oklahoma State University, 008c Ag Hall, Stillwater, OK, 74078, USA.

In North America, challenges associated with human-black bear (Ursus americanus) interactions have increased in recent decades. We used the structural equation modeling framework to understand how psychological factors such as perceived benefits, risks, social trust, salient value similarities, and locus of control interacted and described human tolerance of black bears in Oklahoma. Our results suggested that trust in the state wildlife agency's ability to manage black bears significantly affected both risk and benefits perception. The spatial hotspot analysis showed that residents of metropolitan areas had more positive attitudes toward black bears compared to rural residents, and more trust in the state wildlife management agency's ability to manage black bear populations. Trust in the state wildlife agency was low in rural areas, and specifically southeastern Oklahoma. Conversely, risk perception was higher in rural areas near one of the state's two extant black bear populations than in metropolitan areas removed from black bear ranges. We suggest that managers focus efforts on building strong relational foundations for trust between wildlife management personnel and rural residents in addition to demonstrating competence in black bear management techniques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112378DOI Listing
June 2021

Drivers of site fidelity in ungulates.

J Anim Ecol 2021 04 9;90(4):955-966. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

U.S. Geological Survey, Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, USA.

While the tendency to return to previously visited locations-termed 'site fidelity'-is common in animals, the cause of this behaviour is not well understood. One hypothesis is that site fidelity is shaped by an animal's environment, such that animals living in landscapes with predictable resources have stronger site fidelity. Site fidelity may also be conditional on the success of animals' recent visits to that location, and it may become stronger with age as the animal accumulates experience in their landscape. Finally, differences between species, such as the way memory shapes site attractiveness, may interact with environmental drivers to modulate the strength of site fidelity. We compared inter-year site fidelity in 669 individuals across eight ungulate species fitted with GPS collars and occupying a range of environmental conditions in North America and Africa. We used a distance-based index of site fidelity and tested hypothesized drivers of site fidelity using linear mixed effects models, while accounting for variation in annual range size. Mule deer Odocoileus hemionus and moose Alces alces exhibited relatively strong site fidelity, while wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus and barren-ground caribou Rangifer tarandus granti had relatively weak fidelity. Site fidelity was strongest in predictable landscapes where vegetative greening occurred at regular intervals over time (i.e. high temporal contingency). Species differed in their response to spatial heterogeneity in greenness (i.e. spatial constancy). Site fidelity varied seasonally in some species, but remained constant over time in others. Elk employed a 'win-stay, lose-switch' strategy, in which successful resource tracking in the springtime resulted in strong site fidelity the following spring. Site fidelity did not vary with age in any species tested. Our results provide support for the environmental hypothesis, particularly that regularity in vegetative phenology shapes the strength of site fidelity at the inter-annual scale. Large unexplained differences in site fidelity suggest that other factors, possibly species-specific differences in attraction to known sites, contribute to variation in the expression of this behaviour. Understanding drivers of variation in site fidelity across groups of organisms living in different environments provides important behavioural context for predicting how animals will respond to environmental change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13425DOI Listing
April 2021

Seroprevalence, DNA isolation, and genetic characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from black bear (Ursus americanus) sera collected in Eastern Oklahoma.

Parasitol Res 2020 Mar 21;119(3):1109-1115. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 74078, USA.

Black bears (Ursus americanus) are commonly exposed to Toxoplasma gondii. However, there are no reports of exposure or infection with T. gondii in black bears from Oklahoma. The purpose of our project was to determine the seroprevalence of T. gondii antibodies in black bears collected in Oklahoma. Additionally, since only serum was available from these bears, we sought to determine if DNA extraction and PCR amplification for T. gondii was possible on serum samples from bears with positive titers. Seroprevalence was determined using modified agglutination test (MAT). Serum was collected from 44 live-trapped bears in southeastern Oklahoma; 32 (73% ± 58-84%) had antibodies against T. gondii. Seroprevalence in adult bears (85% ± 67-95%) was significantly higher (p = 0.028) than yearlings (33.0% ± 56-80%). Adult bears were 3.4 times more likely to have antibodies to T. gondii than yearlings. From the bears with positive titers, T. gondii DNA was detected in 12 of the 32 seropositive samples by PCR of the B1 gene, with two of the samples showing variation in two nucleotide positions when compared with available sequences. Multilocus PCR-RFLP genotyping of these 12 samples revealed three ToxoDB genotypes, including #2 (type III, haplogroup 3), #4 (type XII, haplogroup 12), and #74 (haplogroup 12). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of T. gondii seroprevalence in black bears from Oklahoma. Our results indicate that exposure and infection with T. gondii in black bears from Oklahoma is common.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00436-019-06535-zDOI Listing
March 2020

PREVALENCE OF BABESIA SPP., EHRLICHIA SPP., AND TICK INFESTATIONS IN OKLAHOMA BLACK BEARS (URSUS AMERICANUS).

J Wildl Dis 2017 10 28;53(4):781-787. Epub 2017 Jun 28.

1   Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 250 McElroy Hall, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078, USA.

American black bears (Ursus americanus) are commonly infested with ticks throughout their range, but there are few surveys for tick-borne disease agents in bears. To characterize tick infestations and determine the prevalence of current infection with Babesia spp. and past or current infection with Ehrlichia spp. in newly re-established populations of black bears in east central and southeastern Oklahoma, US, we identified adult (n=1,048) and immature (n=107) ticks recovered from bears (n=62). We evaluated serum and whole blood samples from a subset (n=49) for antibodies reactive to, and characteristic DNA fragments of, Ehrlichia spp., as well as characteristic DNA fragments of Babesia spp. Amblyomma americanum, the most common tick identified, was found on a majority (56/62; 90%) of bears and accounted for 697/1,048 (66.5%) of all ticks recovered. Other ticks included Dermacentor variabilis (338/1,048; 32.3%) from 36 bears, Amblyomma maculatum (9/1,048; 0.9%) from three bears, and Ixodes scapularis (4/1,048; 0.4%) from three bears. Antibodies reactive to Ehrlichia spp. were detected in every bear tested (49/49; 100%); maximum inverse titers to Ehrlichia chaffeensis ranged from 64-4,096 (geometric mean titer 1,525). However, PCR failed to identify active infection with E. chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii, or an Ehrlichia ruminantium-like agent. Infection with Babesia spp. was detected by PCR in 3/49 (6%) bears. Together these data confirm that tick infestations and infection with tick-borne disease agents are common in bears in the southern US. The significance of these infestations and infections to the health of bears, if any, and the identity of the Ehrlichia spp. responsible for the antibody reactivity seen, warrant further evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/2017-02-029DOI Listing
October 2017

Analytical methods for chemical and sensory characterization of scent-markings in large wild mammals: a review.

Sensors (Basel) 2014 Mar 5;14(3):4428-65. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA.

In conjoining the disciplines of "ethology" and "chemistry" the field of "Ethochemistry" has been instituted. Ethochemistry is an effective tool in conservation efforts of endangered species and the understanding of behavioral patterns across all species. Chemical constituents of scent-markings have an important, yet poorly understood function in territoriality, reproduction, dominance, and impact on evolutionary biology, especially in large mammals. Particular attention has recently been focused on scent-marking analysis of great cats (Kalahari leopards (Panthera pardus), puma (Puma concolor) snow leopard (Panthera uncia), African lions (Panthera leo), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and tigers (Panthera tigris)) for the purpose of conservation. Sensory analyses of scent-markings could address knowledge gaps in ethochemistry. The objective of this review is to summarize the current state-of-the art of both the chemical and sensory analyses of scent-markings in wild mammals. Specific focus is placed on sampling and sample preparation, chemical analysis, sensory analysis, and simultaneous chemical and sensory analyses. Constituents of exocrine and endocrine secretions have been most commonly studied with chromatography-based analytical separations. Odor analysis of scent-markings provides an insight into the animal's sensory perception. A limited number of articles have been published in the area of sensory characterization of scent marks. Simultaneous chemical and sensory analyses with chromatography-olfactometry hyphenation could potentially aid conservation efforts by linking perceived odor, compounds responsible for odor, and resulting behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s140304428DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003951PMC
March 2014