Presentation Title

NON-INVASIVE MONITORING OF THE ENDANGERED SAN JOAQUIN KIT FOX (VULPES MACROTIS MUTICA) ON THE TOPAZ SOLAR FARM

Faculty Mentor

Jesús Maldonado

Start Date

23-11-2019 10:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 10:45 AM

Location

119

Session

poster 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

Large-scale solar facilities represent new habitats that endangered species are encountering in the arid regions of Southwestern United States. We previously documented a population of approximately 33 endangered San Joaquin kit foxes (SJKF) living on the Topaz Solar Farm during pre-construction baseline surveys conducted from 2009-2011. We have also established that they are functionally connected to surrounding properties and genetically similar to other SJKF in the Carrizo Plain. Solar arrays were constructed in multiple sections of the farm during a three-year period from December 2011 – November 2014. Conservation detection dog-handler teams surveyed the study area in November 2017, after four years of construction was completed. We screened scat samples using the same non-invasive methods that were used in all of the previous annual surveys starting in 2009 and that have proven reliable for genetic analysis of the host DNA in scat samples. Here, we present the results of our genetic analysis that were derived from non-invasive sampling to determine presence, number, sex, and distribution of SJKF on the Topaz Solar Farm during the November 2017 surveys. These results are being utilized to monitor kit foxes on the Topaz Solar Farm before, during, and after a dramatic landscape alteration with the aim to provide information to improve management of this endangered species on Topaz Solar Farm.

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Nov 23rd, 10:00 AM Nov 23rd, 10:45 AM

NON-INVASIVE MONITORING OF THE ENDANGERED SAN JOAQUIN KIT FOX (VULPES MACROTIS MUTICA) ON THE TOPAZ SOLAR FARM

119

Large-scale solar facilities represent new habitats that endangered species are encountering in the arid regions of Southwestern United States. We previously documented a population of approximately 33 endangered San Joaquin kit foxes (SJKF) living on the Topaz Solar Farm during pre-construction baseline surveys conducted from 2009-2011. We have also established that they are functionally connected to surrounding properties and genetically similar to other SJKF in the Carrizo Plain. Solar arrays were constructed in multiple sections of the farm during a three-year period from December 2011 – November 2014. Conservation detection dog-handler teams surveyed the study area in November 2017, after four years of construction was completed. We screened scat samples using the same non-invasive methods that were used in all of the previous annual surveys starting in 2009 and that have proven reliable for genetic analysis of the host DNA in scat samples. Here, we present the results of our genetic analysis that were derived from non-invasive sampling to determine presence, number, sex, and distribution of SJKF on the Topaz Solar Farm during the November 2017 surveys. These results are being utilized to monitor kit foxes on the Topaz Solar Farm before, during, and after a dramatic landscape alteration with the aim to provide information to improve management of this endangered species on Topaz Solar Farm.