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Title: Aggregated occurrence records of the federally endangered Poweshiek skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek)
Primary biodiversity data records that are open access and available in a standardised format are essential for conservation planning and research on policy-relevant time-scales. We created a dataset to document all known occurrence data for the Federally Endangered Poweshiek skipperling butterfly [ Oarismapoweshiek (Parker, 1870; Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae)]. The Poweshiek skipperling was a historically common species in prairie systems across the upper Midwest, United States and Manitoba, Canada. Rapid declines have reduced the number of verified extant sites to six. Aggregating and curating Poweshiek skipperling occurrence records documents and preserves all known distributional data, which can be used to address questions related to Poweshiek skipperling conservation, ecology and biogeography. Over 3500 occurrence records were aggregated over a temporal coverage from 1872 to present. Occurrence records were obtained from 37 data providers in the conservation and natural history collection community using both “HumanObservation” and “PreservedSpecimen” as an acceptable basisOfRecord. Data were obtained in different formats and with differing degrees of quality control. During the data aggregation and cleaning process, we transcribed specimen label data, georeferenced occurrences, adopted a controlled vocabulary, removed duplicates and standardised formatting. We examined the dataset for inconsistencies with known Poweshiek skipperling biogeography and phenology and we verified or removed inconsistencies by working with the original data providers. In total, 12 occurrence records were removed because we identified them to be the western congener Oarismagarita (Reakirt, 1866). This resulting dataset enhances the permanency of Poweshiek skipperling occurrence data in a standardised format. This is a validated and comprehensive dataset of occurrence records for the Poweshiek skipperling ( Oarismapoweshiek ) utilising both observation and specimen-based records. Occurrence data are preserved and available for continued research and conservation projects using standardised Darwin Core formatting where possible. Prior to this project, much of these occurrence records were not mobilised and were being stored in individual institutional databases, researcher datasets and personal records. This dataset aggregates presence data from state conservation agencies, natural heritage programmes, natural history collections, citizen scientists, researchers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The data include opportunistic observations and collections, research vouchers, observations collected for population monitoring and observations collected using standardised research methodologies. The aggregated occurrence records underwent cleaning efforts that improved data interoperablitity, removed transcription errors and verified or removed uncertain data. This dataset enhances available information on the spatiotemporal distribution of this Federally Endangered species. As part of this aggregation process, we discovered and verified Poweshiek skipperling occurrence records from two previously unknown states, Nebraska and Ohio.  more » « less
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Biodiversity Data Journal
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    1. The Poweshiek skipperling [Oarisma poweshiek(Parker, 1870; Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae)] is a federally endangered butterfly that was historically common in prairies of the upper Midwestern United States and Southern Manitoba, Canada. Rapid declines over the last 20 years have reduced the population numbers to four verified extant sites. The causes of Poweshiek skipperling decline are unknown. 2. We aggregated all known Poweshiek skipperling occurrence records to examine the spatiotemporal patterns of Poweshiek skipperling decline. Ecological niche models were developed for five time frames (1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005) and three spatial extents (eastern occupied range, western occupied range and total occupied range). We used a backward elimination method to investigate the effects of climate and land use on the ecological niche of Poweshiek skipperling. 3. Predictors of occurrence changed over time and across the geographical extent of Poweshiek skipperling. Land use covariates were retained in east models. In the west and total extent, climate variables contributed the most to model predictive power for the 1985, 1990 and 1995 models; land use variables contributed the most to model predictive power in the 2000 and 2005 models. 4. During the rapid decline in Poweshiek skipperling population numbers occurring at the turn of the century, probability of Poweshiek skipperling presence was being driven by proportion of natural land cover and distance to nearest grassland/wetland. Our results suggest that these land use variables are important landscape‐level variables to consider when developing risk assessments of extant populations and potential reintroduction sites.

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  3. Abstract

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