COSEWIC Status Appraisal Summary on the Long's Braya Braya longii in Canada

Endangered
2011

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COSEWIC status appraisal summaries are working documents used in assigning the status of wildlife species suspected of being at risk in Canada. This document may be cited as follows:

COSEWIC. 2011. COSEWIC status appraisal summary on the Long’s Braya Braya longii in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. xii pp.
(Species at Risk Status Reports)

Production note:
COSEWIC acknowledges Luise Hermanutz, Susan Squires, and Claudia Hanel for writing the status appraisal summary on the Long’s Braya
Braya longii in Canada. This status appraisal summary was overseen and edited by Erich Haber and Bruce Bennett, Co-chairs of the COSEWIC Vascular Plants Specialist Subcommittee.

For additional copies contact:

COSEWIC Secretariat
c/o Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0H3

Tel.: 819–953–3215
Fax: 819–994–3684
E-mail: COSEWIC/COSEPAC@ec.gc.ca
Website: http://www.cosewic.gc.ca

Également disponible en français sous le titre Sommaire du statut de l’espèce du COSEPAC sur le braya de Long (Braya longii) au Canada.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2011.
Catalogue No.: CW69-14/2-16-2011E-PDF
ISBN: 978-1-100-18725-9

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COSEWIC
Assessment Summary

Assessment Summary – May 2011

Common name:

Long’s Braya

Scientific name:
Braya longii

Status:
Endangered

Reason for designation:
This regionally restricted Canadian endemic is known only from five sites within the limestone barrens on the island of Newfoundland. Since it was last assessed as Endangered in 2000, this species continues to experience declines in total population size and increases in the number and severity of biotic threats, which include the non–native Diamondback Moth and two pathogens.

Occurrence:
Newfoundland and Labrador

Status history:
Designated Endangered in April 1997. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000 and May 2011.

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COSEWIC
Status Appraisal Summary

Braya longii)

Long’s Braya
Braya de Long

Jurisdictions: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; Environment Canada

Current COSEWIC Assessment:

Status Category:
Endangered

Date of last assessment:
May 2000

Reason for designation at last assessment:
Highly restricted endemic of limestone barrens with very few small populations under continued threat of habitat destruction.

Criteria applied at last assessment: B1+2c

Equivalent current criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)

New criteria: ?
B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) [Criteria revised based on current interpretation of number of populations/subpopulations and decline of ~ 23% in number of mature individuals over last 10 years]


Recommendation: Update to the status report NOT required (wildlife species’ status category remains unchanged)

Reason:
selected sufficient information to conclude there has been no change in status category
not selected not enough additional information available to warrant a re-assessment


Evidence (indicate as applicable):

Wildlife Species:
Change in eligibility, taxonomy or designatable units:
no

Explanation:

No change since previous assessment

Range:
Change in Extent of Occurrence (EO):
no
Change in Area of Occupancy (AO):
no
Change in number of known or inferred current locations:
no
Significant new survey information:
no

Explanation:

No change since previous assessment. The Anchor Point population has been added in the Appendix of the 1997 Status Report (Figure 1).

Population Information:
Change in number of mature individuals:
yes
Change in total population trend:
yes
Change in severity of population fragmentation:
no
Significant new survey information:
yes

Explanation:

Long’s Braya population sizes are based on 1998-2000 census of flowering individuals reported in the 2002 Braya Recovery Plan (Hermanutz
et al., 2002) compared with a survey of flowering individuals done in 2008 (Hermanutz et al., 2009). With one exception, all counted populations of reproductive Long’s Braya have decreased across the range from approximately 7,200 flowering individuals to 5,500 flowering individuals (Table 1; Hermanutz et al., 2009). Sandy Cove is represented by 3 subpopulations all within 1 km radius, subdivided by roads.

Table 1: A Comparison of the Total Number of Flowering Braya Longii Individuals Counted in Both Naturally (N) and Anthropogenically Disturbed (D) Habitat in 1998-2000 and 2008 in the 4 Known Populations

PopulationDisturbance1998-2000 Census2008 Census
Anchor Point EastN50Not counted
Yankee PointN102
D1 6003 224
Sandy Cove - AirstripN900411
D2 400778
Sandy Cove - Lion’s ClubN18012
D760261
Sandy Cove - CrusherN80075
D500230
Shoal CoveD35556
Total 7 2355 549

Sandy Cove population is comprised of 3 subpopulations.


Threats:
Change in nature and/or severity of threats:
yes

Explanation:

Since the previous report the major identified threat (gravel extraction and road construction) has stopped and is no longer considered to be a threat. ATV activity has been greatly reduced though continues to be a minor threat. There is one insect pest (Diamondback Moth (Plutella xylostella)) and two pathogens causing mortality in Long’s Braya populations (Squires et al., 2009; Squires 2010). The insect and one pathogen (Fusarium sp.) were identified in the last assessment, but the other pathogen (which is suspected to be viral or bacterial) is new and was first recorded in 2003 (Squires, 2010). The Diamondback Moth (Plutella xylostella) is:
- European in origin;
- A widespread agricultural pest on mustard family plants;
- Is known for its ability to disperse long distances;
- Capable of severely damaging Braya populations (and crops) by immigration of adults, even in areas where the climate is not conducive to completion of life cycles locally;
- Has shown an ability to develop rapid resistance to pesticides and biological control agents. (Capinera 2011)

Protection:
Change in effective protection:
yes

Explanation:

There is a small Ecological Reserve at the “provisional” stage that currently protects the Long’s Braya population and its critical habitat at Sandy Cove; the reserve protects 700 flowering plants. The area has interim protection and it is anticipated that it will become a full ecological reserve in the near future.

Rescue Effect:
Evidence of rescue effect:
no

Explanation:

No change since previous assessment and none possible as species is endemic to the island of Newfoundland.

Quantitative Analysis:
Change in estimated probability of extirpation:
yes

Details:

Population viability analysis of Long’s Braya populations suggests that there will be a continued decline in the size of populations on undisturbed habitat over the next 10 years unless the threat of insect herbivory is mitigated (Squires, 2010). Modelling suggests that Long’s Braya populations on anthropogenically disturbed habitat will remain stable or increase over the next 10 years (Squires 2010). However, population-specific models need to be completed to determine if this is true for all populations as the last census recorded declines in some populations and increases in others (Hermanutz et al., 2009; Squires, 2010).

Summary and Additional Considerations:

Declines in total population size of Long’s Braya and an increase in the number and severity of biotic threats indicates that Long’s Braya still requires the protection and recovery efforts afforded a species listed as endangered.

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Consultations

None required.

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Sources of Information

Capinera, J.L. 2011. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Department of Entomology and Nematology: Featured Creatures - Diamondback Moth - Plutella xylostella (Linnaeus). Web site: http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/leaf/diamondback_moth.htm [Accessed May, 2011]

Hermanutz, L., H. Mann, M.F.E. Anions, D. Ballam, T. Bell, J. Brazil, N. Djan-Chékar, G. Gibbons, J. Maunder, S.J. Meades, W. Nicholls, N. Smith and G. Yetman. 2002. National Recovery Plan for Long’s braya (Braya longii Fernald) and Fernald’s braya (Braya fernaldii Abbe). National Recovery Plan No. 23. Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife (RENEW) Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Hermanutz L., S. Squires and D. Pelley. 2009. Limestone Barrens Research Report. Report to the Wildlife Division, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador,Corner Brook, NL, Canada.

Squires, S.E., L. Hermanutz and P.L. Dixon. 2009. Agricultural insect pest compromises survival of two endemic Braya (Brassicaceae). Biological Conservation 142: 203 211.

Squires, S.E. 2010. Insect pests and pathogens compromise the persistence of two endemic and rare Braya (Brassicaceae). Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Author of Status Appraisal Summary

Luise Hermanutz, Department of Biology, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL

Susan Squires, Wildlife Division, Dept of Environment & Conservation, Corner Brook, NL

Claudia Hanel, Wildlife Division, Dept of Environment & Conservation, Corner Brook, NL

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Technical Summary

Braya longii)

Long’s Braya

Braya de Long

Range of occurrence in Canada: Newfoundland

Demographic Information

Generation timeDecades
Is there an observed continuing decline in number of mature individuals?yes
Estimated percent of continuing decline in total number of mature individuals within 5 years or 2 generations23% decline over the last 10 years
Observed percent reduction or increase in total number of mature individuals over the last 10 years, or 3 generations.23% decline over the last 10 years
Projected percent increase in total number of mature individuals over the next 10 years.none
Inferred percent increase in total number of mature individuals over any 10 years, or 3 generations period, over a time period including both the past and the future.none
Are the causes of the decline clearly reversible and understood and ceased?some reversible and understood, not ceased
Are there extreme fluctuations in number of mature individuals?No


Extent and Occupancy Information

Estimated extent of occurrence
Actual EO = 14 km2 based on minimum convex polygon around observations. Due to COSEWIC convention the IAO cannot exceed the EO.
20 km2
Index of area of occupancy (IAO)
(2x2 km grid) based on four populations: Anchor Point, Yankee Point, Sandy Cove [Airstrip, Lion's Club, Gravel Crusher], and Shoal Cove: 5 grids (Figure 1).
20 km2
Is the total population severely fragmented?no
Number of locations*
Based on the threats of insects and pathogens could rapidly affect all individuals in all populations in a single season.
1
Is there an observed continuing decline in extent of occurrence?no
Is there an observed and projected continuing decline in index of area of occupancy?no
Is there an observed continuing decline in number of populations?no
Is there an observed continuing decline in number of locations?no
Is there an observed continuing decline in quality of habitat?no
Are there extreme fluctuations in number of populations?no
Are there extreme fluctuations in number of locations*?no
Are there extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence?no
Are there extreme fluctuations in index of area of occupancy?no

* See definition of location.


Number of Mature Individuals (in each population)

PopulationNumber of Mature Individuals
Anchor Point East (1998-2000 census 50)not counted
Yankee Point natural (1998-2000 census 10)2
Anthro (1998-2000 census 1600)3224
Sandy Cove 
Airstrip natural (1998-2000 census 900)411
Anthro (1998-2000 census 2400)778
Lion’s Club natural (1998-2000 census 180)12
Anthro (1998-2000 census 760)261
Crusher natural (1998-2000 census 800)75
Anthro (1998-2000 census 500)230
Shoal Cove Anthro (1998-2000 census 35)556
Total 72355549


Quantitative Analysis

Probability of extinction in the wild

Population viability analysis of Long’s Braya populations suggests that there will be a continued decline in the size of populations on undisturbed habitat over the next 10 years unless the threat of insect herbivory is mitigated (Squires, 2010). Modelling suggests that Long’s Braya populations on anthropogenically disturbed habitat will remain stable or increase over the next 10 years (Squires 2010). However, population-specific models need to be completed to determine if this is true for all populations as the last census recorded declines in some populations and increases in others (Hermanutz et al., 2009; Squires, 2010). It has been calculated the B. longii (on undisturbed substrate only) could go extinct within the next 150 years.


Threats (actual or imminent, to populations or habitats)

Insect pest and two pathogens


Rescue Effect (immigration from outside Canada)

Status of outside population(s)?Endemic to Newfoundland
Is immigration known or possible?impossible
Would immigrants be adapted to survive in Canada?n/a
Is there sufficient habitat for immigrants in Canada?n/a
Is rescue from outside populations likely?no


Current Status

COSEWIC: Endangered (May 2011)


Status and Reasons for Designation

Status:
Endangered
Alpha–numeric code:
B1ab(v)+2ab(v)
Reasons for designation:
This regionally restricted Canadian endemic is known only from five sites within the limestone barrens on the island of Newfoundland. Since it was last assessed as Endangered in 2000, this species continues to experience declines in total population size and increases in the number and severity of biotic threats, which include the non-native Diamondback Moth and two pathogens.


Applicability of Criteria

Criterion A (Decline in Total Number of Mature Individuals):
Not applicable. Though there has been a decline in number of mature individuals, the decline is not >30%.
Criterion B (Small Distribution Range and Decline or Fluctuation):
Meets Endangered B1ab(v)+B2ab(v).
Criterion C (Small and Declining Number of Mature Individuals):
Not applicable. The number of mature individuals exceeds thresholds for Endangered. Meets Threatened C1.
Criterion D (Very Small or Restricted Total Population):
Not applicable. Number of mature individuals exceeds thresholds for D1; however, may meet Threatened D2 due to the biological threats.
Criterion E (Quantitative Analysis):
Not applicable. Population viability analysis indicates that the natural populations will continue to decline but the anthropogenically disturbed habitat will remain stable.

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Figure 1: Long’s Braya Distribution

Map of the distribution of the Long’s Braya in Canada.

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COSEWIC History

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) was created in 1977 as a result of a recommendation at the Federal–Provincial Wildlife Conference held in 1976. It arose from the need for a single, official, scientifically sound, national listing of wildlife species at risk. In 1978, COSEWIC designated its first species and produced its first list of Canadian species at risk. Species designated at meetings of the full committee are added to the list. On June 5, 2003, the Species at Risk Act (SARA) was proclaimed. SARA establishes COSEWIC as an advisory body ensuring that species will continue to be assessed under a rigorous and independent scientific process.

COSEWIC Mandate

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assesses the national status of wild species, subspecies, varieties, or other designatable units that are considered to be at risk in Canada. Designations are made on native species for the following taxonomic groups: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, arthropods, molluscs, vascular plants, mosses, and lichens.

COSEWIC Membership

COSEWIC comprises members from each provincial and territorial government wildlife agency, four federal entities (Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada Agency, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Federal Biodiversity Information Partnership, chaired by the Canadian Museum of Nature), three non–government science members and the co–chairs of the species specialist subcommittees and the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge subcommittee. The Committee meets to consider status reports on candidate species.

Definitions
(2011)

Wildlife Species
A species, subspecies, variety, or geographically or genetically distinct population of animal, plant or other organism, other than a bacterium or virus, that is wild by nature and is either native to Canada or has extended its range into Canada without human intervention and has been present in Canada for at least 50 years.

Extinct (X)
A wildlife species that no longer exists.

Extirpated (XT)
A wildlife species no longer existing in the wild in Canada, but occurring elsewhere.

Endangered (E)
A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.

Threatened (T)
A wildlife species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.

Special Concern (SC)*
A wildlife species that may become a threatened or an endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

Not at Risk (NAR)**
A wildlife species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances.

Data Deficient (DD)***
A category that applies when the available information is insufficient (a) to resolve a species’ eligibility for assessment or (b) to permit an assessment of the species’ risk of extinction.

*
Formerly described as “Vulnerable” from 1990 to 1999, or “Rare” prior to 1990.

**
Formerly described as “Not In Any Category”, or “No Designation Required.”

***
Formerly described as “Indeterminate” from 1994 to 1999 or “ISIBD” (insufficient scientific information on which to base a designation) prior to 1994. Definition of the (DD) category revised in 2006.

The Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, provides full administrative and financial support to the COSEWIC Secretariat.