Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region

Region 6 Peer Review Agenda


Title:  Determination Regarding the Listing Status of the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse (Preble’s) (Zapus hudsonius preblei)

Estimated Dissemination Date:  August 2006

Type of review:  Influential


Peer-review of Ramey et al: 

On December 19, 2003, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science released the results of a mitochondrial (mt) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and morphometric study indicating the Preble's was not a discrete taxonomic entity (Ramey et al. 2003).  This report suggested that Z. h. preblei should be synonymized with Z. h. campestris (the Bear Lodge meadow jumping mouse), a subspecies of meadow jumping mouse to the north.  On March 12, 2004, we received a revised version of this report (Ramey et al. 2004a).  On April 23, 2004, the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) transmitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) nine peer-reviews of Ramey et al. (2004a) (David Armstrong, University of Colorado at Boulder, in litt., 2004; Mary Conner, Utah State University, in litt., 2004; Keith Crandall, Brigham Young University, in litt., 2004; Marlis Douglas, Colorado State University, in litt., 2004; David Hafner, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, in litt., 2004; Carron Meaney, University of Colorado Museum, in litt., 2004; Jeffrey Mitton, University of Colorado at Boulder, in litt., 2004; Sara Oyler-McCance, University of Denver, in litt., 2004; Gary White, Colorado State University, in litt., 2004).  During the summer of 2004, the Service solicited seven additional peer reviews.  These reviewers were selected for expertise on genetics and systematics.  Reviewers were targeted from a wide variety of areas to geographically balance the CDOW review.  Five of these reviewers provided comments (Mary Ashley, University of Illinois at Chicago, in litt., 2004; Robert Bradley, Texas Tech University, in litt., 2004; Brett Riddle, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in litt., 2004; Jack Sites, Brigham Young University, in litt., 2004; Lisette Waits, University of Idaho, in litt., 2004). 

On December 20, 2004, the Service received a supplement to Ramey et al. (2004a), including additional genetic and morphological data, which suggested Z. h. preblei and Z. h. intermedius should be synonymized with Z. h. campestris (Ramey et al. 2004b).  In the spring of 2005, the Service contacted the same 16 experts requesting peer reviews of Ramey et al. (2004b).  Eleven of these experts provided comments (Ashley, in litt., 2005; Robert Baker and Peter Larson, Texas Tech University, in litt., 2005; Bradley, in litt., 2005; Crandall, in litt., 2005; Douglas, in litt., 2005; Hafner, in litt., 2005; Jesus Maldonado, Smithsonian Institute, in litt., 2005; Mitton, in litt., 2005; Oyler-McCance, in litt., 2005; Waits, in litt., 2005; White, in litt., 2005).

In August 2005, this work, including additional microsatellite nuclear DNA results, was published in the journal Animal Conservation (Ramey et al. 2005).

Peer-review of King et al: 

On January 25, 2006, the Service received a peer reviewed report from the U.S. Geological Survey which performed an independent genetic analysis of several meadow jumping mouse subspecies (King et al. 2006).  Prior to release, King et al. (2006) had undergone an internal peer review as per the U.S. Geological Survey, Leetown Science Center Research Documentation Manual (U.S. Geological Survey 2003).  A full list of peer reviewers is provided in the acknowledgements portion of the above report.  The Service has not been privy to these reviews.  In an effort to provide consistent, comparable reviews, the Service solicited peer reviews from the same 16 reviewers who were asked to review Ramey et al. (2004a, 2004b).  Nine of these experts provided comments (Armstrong, in litt., 2006; Ashley, in litt., 2006; Bradley, in litt., 2006; Crandall, in litt., 2006; Douglas, in litt., 2006; Hafner, in litt., 2006; Maldonado, in litt., 2006; Oyler-McCance, in litt., 2006; Riddle, in litt., 2006).

Scientific panel review of Ramey et al and King et al: 

Given the apparent inconsistencies between these reports (Ramey et al. 2003, 2004a, 2004b, 2005; King et al. 2006), the Service has contracted with Sustainable Ecosystems Institute (SEI) to organize an independent scientific review panel to analyze, assess, and weigh the reasons why the data, findings, and conclusions of King et al. (2006) differ from the data, findings, and conclusions of Ramey et al. (2003, 2004a, 2004b, 2005).  The contracted expert panel met in Fort Collins, Colorado on July 6-7, 2006 (Transcripts:  Part 1Part 2).  On July 21, 2006, SEI delivered to the Service an Evaluation of the Scientific Information Regarding the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse(SEI 2006).  As always, the final decision on the taxonomic interpretation of the available information will be made by the Service.

Peer review of our proposed rule to delist Z. h. preblei

On February 2, 2005, the Service issued a 12-month finding on a petition to delist the Preble’s and proposed to remove the mouse from the Federal list of threatened and endangered species (70 FR 5404).  The delisting proposal was based on the results and conclusions of Ramey et al. (2004a).  In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we solicited five expert peer reviews of our delisting proposal.  Experts were selected for expertise in genetics, systematics and small mammals.  Previous peer reviewers of Ramey et al. (2004a, 2004b) were excluded from this search.  Three of these reviewers provided comments (Hopi Hoekstra, University of California, San Diego, in litt., 2005; Douglas Kelt, University of California, Davis, in litt., 2005; Wayne Spencer, Conservation Biology Institute, in litt., 2005).  All three of these experts reviewed and critiqued Ramey et al. (2004a).  Kelt (in litt., 2005) also noted having read the in-press version of the Animal Conservation publication (Ramey et al. 2005).

After re-opening the public comment period on February 17, 2006 (71 FR 8556), we contacted the same experts and invited them to provide any additional comments that they felt would be appropriate given the information now available.  Two of these reviewers provided comments (Kelt, in litt., 2006; Spencer, in litt., 2006). 

Peer-review of background and threats information: 

Although our proposal to delist Z. h. preblei (70 FR 5404, February 2, 2005) was based on the taxonomic revision suggested by Ramey et al. (2004a), the Service intends to evaluate threats to the listable entity to which Preble’s belongs.  This is consistent with the commitments put forth in the proposed rule (70 FR 5404, February 2, 2005) and the requirements of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.  In order to ensure use of the best scientific and commercial information available and to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the information upon which any such action is based, the Service will peer review our use of any such information.  Additional details on this portion of the process will be forthcoming.


The public may comment on this peer review process until June 30th.  Comments may be sent to:  Field Supervisor, Colorado Field Office, Ecological Services, P.O. Box 25486, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225.  Comments on this plan may also be submitted by electronic mail to r6espeerreview@fws.gov.  The subject line should read "Determination Regarding the Listing Status of the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse."

Previous opportunities to comment on this process included: 

  1. 90-days, beginning March 31, 2004, to comment on our finding that the petitioned action may be warranted. (69 FR 16944)
  2. 90-days, beginning February 2, 2005, to comment on our 12-month status review and proposal to remove the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse from the Federal list of threatened and endangered species. (70 FR 5404)
  3. 90-days, beginning February 17, 2006, to comment on our proposed delisting of the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse in light of new information (i.e., King et al. 2006) (71 FR 8556) and recently released morphometric and genetics data supporting Ramey et al. (2005) and King et al. (2006). (71 FR 16090)

Comments and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in the preparation of this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the Colorado Fish and Wildlife Service Office at the above address.


For more information, contact Susan Linner, Colorado Field Office Supervisor, at 303-236-4773.

Last updated: September 9, 2010