Development of landscape-scale, genetically based aquatic biodiversity assessments
Presenter: Dr. Michael K. Young, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forestry Sciences Lab, Missoula.
To position state and federal agencies to detect and respond to large-scale ecosystem change, we developed a spatially comprehensive, genetically driven survey methodology to inventory fish and amphibians in streams on federal lands throughout the upper Columbia and Missouri River basins in Idaho and Montana. Preliminary results demonstrate: 1) the influence of historical and contemporary events on the distribution and genetic structure of westslope cutthroat trout; 2) invasive species are more widespread than previously recognized; 3) previously undetected levels of biodiversity and endemism. These monitoring attributes are key to understanding and tracking landscape-scale changes and linkages to management activities. If broadly applied, this type of monitoring can compliment other information sources being used to understand landscape stressors and landscape-scale ecological change.