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Endangered Species Conservation


western pond turtle at-risk species assessment

Western Pond Turtle at-risk species assessment

The western pond turtle is California’s only native freshwater turtle. The turtle’s numbers have been declining due to urbanization, limited water availability, and competition or predation from invasive species — making it a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is performing a pre-listing...

science to safeguard species

Science to safeguard species

UC Natural Reserve System research has laid the foundation for conserving species across the state. A prime example: UCLA professor Brad Shaffer’s work on California tiger salamanders was instrumental in protecting the upland habitats this endangered amphibian needs to survive. Watch the video >  

endangered species conservation

California Tiger Salamander

Researchers at the La Kretz Center are developing a framework for protecting the genetic integrity of the endangered California tiger salamander from invasive non-natives.

desert tortoise conservation

Desert tortoise conservation

At the La Kretz Center, scientists are working toward a win-win between green energy and endangered species conservation in the Mojave Desert.


Historical museum collections and contemporary population studies implicate roads and introduced predatory bullfrogs in the decline of western pond turtles

Nicholson EG, Manzo S, Devereux Z, Morgan TP, Fisher RN, Brown C, Dagit R, Scott PA, Shaffer HB

Published Work | 2020 | PeerJ 8:e9248

Experimental removal of introduced slider turtles offers new insight into competition with a native, threatened turtle

Lambert, M. R., J. M. McKenzie, R. M. Screen, A. G. Clause, B. J. Johnson, G. G. Mount, H. B. Shaffer, and G. B. Pauly

Published Work | 2019 | PeerJ 7:e7444

Cache Pilfering in a Granivore Guild: Implications for Reintroduction Management

R. Chock, G. Grether, D. Shier

Published Work | 2019 | The Journal of Wildlife Management 83(7):1607–1616

Landscape genomic signatures indicate reduced gene flow and forest-associated adaptive divergence in an endangered neotropical turtle

Gallego-Garcia, N., G. Forero-Medina, M. Vargas-Ramirez, S. Caballero, and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2019 | Molecular Ecology 28:2757–2771

Global Conservation Status of Turtles and Tortoises (Order Testudines)

Rhodin, A. G. J. and 55 co-authors

Published Work | 2018 | Chelonian Conservation and Biology 17:135-161

Genomic data recover previously undetectable fragmentation effects in an endangered amphibian

McCartney-Melstad, E., J. K. Vu, and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2018 | Molecular Ecology 27:4430-4443

Genetic structure and environmental niche modeling confirm two evolutionary and conservation units within the western spadefoot (Spea hammondii)

Neal, K. M., B. B. Johnson, and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2018 | Conservation Genetics 19:937-946

Distribution, identification, landscape setting, and conservation of Rana kauffeldi in the northeastern U.S.

Schlesinger, M.D., J.A. Feinberg, N.H. Nazdrowicz, J.D. Kleopfer, J. Beane, J.F. Bunnell, J. Burger, E. Corey, K. Gipe, J.W. Jaycox, E. Kiviat, J. Kubel, D. Quinn, C. Raithel, S. Wenner, E.L. White, B. Zarate, and H.B. Shaffer

Progress Report | 2017

Desert tortoises in the genomic age: population genomics and the landscape

Shaffer HB, McCartney-Melstad E, Ralph P, Bradburd G, Lundgren E, Vu J, Hagerty B, Sandmeier F, Weitzman C, Tracy CR.

Published Work | 2017 |

Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (8th Ed.)

Turtle Taxonomy Working Group [A. G. J. Rhodin,, J. B. Iverson, R. Bour, U. Fritz, A. Georges, H. B. Shaffer, and P. P. van Dijk]

Published Work | 2017 | Chelonian Research Monographs 7: 292 pp.

Do ecological niche models accurately identify climatic determinants of species ranges?

C.A. Searcy and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2016 | American Naturalist 187:423-435

Ecological equivalency as a tool for endangered species management

C. A. Searcy, H. B. Rollins and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2016 | Ecological Applications 26:94-103

An Urban Reintroduction of Western Pond Turtles in Southern California

A. Whitaker, A. Lee, H. Fuong, D. Matthews, J. Cañas, N. Shahbol, R. Lou

Progress Report | 2015

Desert Tortoises in the Genomic Age: Population Genetics and the Landscape

H. B. Shaffer, E. McCartney-Melstad, P. Ralph, G. Bradburd, E. Lundgren, J. Vu, B. Hagerty, F. Sandmeier, C. Weitzman, R. Tracy

Progress Report | 2015

Determinants of size at metamorphosis in an endangered amphibian and their projected effects on population stability

C.A. Searcy, H. Snass, and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2015 | Oikos 124:724-731.

Incorporating model complexity and spatial sampling bias into ecological niche models of climate change risks faced by 90 California vertebrate species of concern

D. L. Warren, A. N. Wright, S. N. Seifert, and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2014 | Diversity and Distributions 20:334-343

Delayed life history effects, multilevel selection, and evolutionary trade-offs in the California tiger salamander

C. A. Searcy, L. N. Gray, P. C. Trenham and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2014 | Ecology 95:68-77

Effects of tail-clipping on survivorship and growth of larval salamanders

R.L. Polich, C. A. Searcy and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2013 | J. Wildlife Management 77:1420-1425

Short hydroperiod decreases fitness of nonnative salamanders in California

J. R. Johnson, M. E. Ryan, S. J. Micheletti, and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2013 | Animal Conservation 16:556-565

Lethal effects of water quality on threatened California salamanders but not on co-occurring hybrid salamanders

M. E. Ryan, J. R. Johnson, B. M. Fitzpatrick, L. J. Lowenstine, A. M. Picco and H. B. Shaffer

Published Work | 2013 | Conservation Biology 27:95-102

Microhabitat use and migration distance of an endangered grassland amphibian

C. A. Searcy, Gabbai-Saldate, E., and H. B Shaffer

Published Work | 2013 | Biological Conservation 158:80-87