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Gordon Rodda; Kristen Hart
Key Largo is home to two endemic ESA-listed small mammals (Key Largo woodrat and Key Largo cotton mouse) that are potentially vulnerable to invasion by pythons, and several pythons containing Key Largo woodrats have been found on Key Largo thus far. By initiating control efforts on Key Largo as well as conducting trap efficacy trials and control efforts in mainland habitats with higher densities of pythons, this study will result in a more robust sample size of captured snakes, facilitating more rigorous data analysis and prescriptions for python control with respect to trapping.
U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Department of the Interior - U.S. Geological Survey Department of Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Smithsonian Institution - National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)
2150 Centre Avenue, Building C
Rodda, G. H.
1. Developing specifications and schematics for traps 2. Identification of preferred contractors for trap fabrication, and contracting for production of prototype traps 3. Locating suitable mainland locations for trap deployment in areas with existing Burmese Python populations 4. Fabricating and deploying traps, including replicated arrays of traps with various configurations for increasing trap success for Burmese Pythons but reducing bycatch of non-target species 5. Fieldwork to detect and control an incipient population of pythons on Key Largo using multiple detection methods (trapping, visual surveys, etc.) 6. Collecting demographic, diet, and ecological data on all Burmese Pythons captured in traps and during other field activities (all pythons will be humanely euthanized after capture)
In FY08 we also provided technical assistance to cooperators on construction and deployment of python traps in mainland areas
We plan to use to construct, deploy, and test additional mainland traps in FY09 and in out-years so as to demonstrate our commitment to amassing a trap-success dataset in occupied habitat.
Finally, NPS and University of Florida (UFL) personnel have recently constructed a 1-ha enclosure at ENP to hold a number of pythons, and this enclosure is intended as a semi-natural habitat for additional trap trials and other aspects of python biology and control. We intend to actively participate in the design of these trials.
Our project on Key Largo allowed significant progress in the following areas:
1. Development of specifications and schematics for traps 2. Fabrication and deployment of traps (N=59) and 50 m drift fences (N=4) 3. Identification of suitable mainland locations for trap deployment in areas with existing Burmese Python populations, especially along the US-1 corridor and other obvious invasion pathways to Key Largo. 4. Initiation of intensive fieldwork to detect and control an incipient population of pythons on Key Largo using alternative detection methods (visual surveys, road surveys, etc.) 5. Collection of data on non-target captures, and devising means to reduce bycatch of non-targets via escape hatches for small species, alternative trap entrance designs, etc.
1. Construction and deployment of 60 python traps for use in mainland trap testing
2. Initiatiation of a mainland trap trial (~6,000 trap-days) for invasive pythons in the Frog Pond area, focusing on assessing efficacy of several trap designs
3. Field-tested two variations on box traps and one type of collapsible trap to assess relative efficacy
4. Offered technical assistance and invasive snake expertise to efforts involving the trap-testing shed and 1-ha enclosure (to the extent possible given labor considerations - the field trap trial above will take precedence over other activities).
5. Interacted regularly with Kristen Hart to integrate USGS efforts on invasive species in South Florida and present a USGS consensus on research priorities to cooperators, clients, and policy makers
6. Pursued more detailed and more frequent communication with cooperators from NPS and UFL so as to result in quality science products, including institution of regular conference calls and formal proposals for projects with input from all cooperators
7. Worked with cooperators to increase the rate of publication of science products relating to invasive pythons and their impacts on South Florida ecosystems
8. Be available to cooperators for consultation, proposal preparation, manuscript review, and other needs related to maintaining high quality scientific guidance for python research and control
9. Spend 32 PI-days in Florida
1. Analyze data from first mainland trap trial (see above), complete a full report to funding agencies, submit for journal publication
2. Provide material support for, and participate in, organized search efforts for Northern African Pythons (P. sebae) in west Miami, with the goal of eradicating this possibly-established species before it spreads
3.Apply trap improvements resulting from FY09 trap design developments and controlled testing to deployed traps on mainland and on Key Largo
4. Initiate at least one additional mainland trap trial/trap deployment with collaborators (~8,000 trap-days), sites TBD, with experimental design guided by results of first trap trial
5. Field-test at least two new variations on trap designs to assess relative efficacy, including evaluation of drift fences as a means of increasing capture rates
6. Collaborate with cooperators to produce at least two manuscripts on pythons for submission to peer-reviewed outlets
7.Be available to cooperators for consultation, proposal preparation, manuscript review, and other needs related to maintaining high quality scientific guidance for python research and control
8. Spend at least 30 PI-days in Florida
1. Complete second mainland trap trial, analysis and publication of results
2. Apply trap improvements resulting from FY09-10 field trials to deployed traps anywhere in the range or suspected range of introduced giant constrictors
3. Deploy and check at least 25 traps in one or more areas of high conservation value (e.g., wood stork rookeries, hardwood hammocks, etc); areas TBD with input from resource protection and management agencies
4. Produce a report summarizing the state of knowledge of available means of detecting, capturing, and reducing populations of introduced giant constrictors in the U.S, including relative efficacy of traps vs. alternative control techniques, implications for management of Burmese Pythons as well as other invasive giant constrictors and ESA-listed species, and directions for future development of control tools
5. Be available to cooperators for consultation, proposal preparation, manuscript review, and other needs related to maintaining high quality scientific guidance for python research and control
6. Collaborate with cooperators to produce at least two manuscripts on pythons for submission to a peer-reviewed journal
7. Spend at least 30 PI-days in Florida
2150 Centre Avenue, Building C
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