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John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis Newsletter, volume 7, issue 1

The John Wesley Powell Center for Synthesis & Analysis is a USGS initiative that aims to foster innovative thinking in Earth system science through collaborative analysis and synthesis of existing data and information. The Powell Center supports working groups that address some of the most pressing and complex questions facing society, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, nat
Jill Baron, Demi Jasmine Bingham

Possibility for reverse zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to free-ranging wildlife: A case study of bats

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the substantial public health, economic, and societal consequences of virus spillover from a wildlife reservoir. Widespread human transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) also presents a new set of challenges when considering viral spillover from people to naïve wildlife and other animal populations. The establishment of new wild
Kevin J. Olival, Paul M. Cryan, Brian R. Amman, Ralph S. Baric, David S. Blehert, Cara E. Brook, Charles H. Calisher, Kevin T. Castle, Jeremy T. H. Coleman, Peter Daszak, Jonathan H. Epstein, Hume Field, Winifred F. Frick, Amy T. Gilbert, David T. S. Hayman, Hon S. Ip, William B Karesh, Christine K. Johnson, Rebekah C. Kading, Tigga Kingston, Jeffrey M. Lorch, Ian H. Mendenhall, Alison J. Peel, Kendra L. Phelps, Raina K. Plowright, DeeAnn M. Reeder, Jonathan D. Reichard, Jonathan M. Sleeman, Daniel G. Streicker, Jonathan S. Towner, Lin-Fa Wang

The pervasive and multifaceted influence of biocrusts on water in the world’s drylands

The capture and use of water are critically important in drylands, which collectively constitute Earth's largest biome. Drylands will likely experience lower and more unreliable rainfall as climatic conditions change over the next century. Dryland soils support a rich community of microphytic organisms (biocrusts), which are critically important because they regulate the delivery and retention of
David J. Eldridge, Sasha C. Reed, Samantha K. Travers, Matthew A. Bowker, Fernando T. Maestre, Jingyi Ding, Caroline Ann Havrilla, Emilio Rodriguez-Caballero, Nichole N. Barger, Bettina Weber, Anita Antoninka, Jayne Belnap, Bala V. Chaudhary, Akasha M. Faist, Scott Ferrenberg, Elisabeth Huber-Sannwald, Oumarou M Issa, Y. Zhao

A not so sudden impact—Historical relations between conifers and insects can help predict damage by nonnative insects

The arrival and establishment of nonnative insects in North America is increasingly problematic. International trade has created opportunities to move wood products and nursery stock worldwide, which has increased the risk of insect introduction to regions or countries where they are not native. One group of researchers, the High-impact Insect Invasions Working Group (HIIWG), has developed a predi
Lekeah A. Durden, Ashley N. Schulz, Angela M. Mech, Kathryn A. Thomas

Increased drought severity tracks warming in the United States’ largest river basin

Across the Upper Missouri River Basin, the recent drought of 2000 to 2010, known as the “turn-of-the-century drought,” was likely more severe than any in the instrumental record including the Dust Bowl drought. However, until now, adequate proxy records needed to better understand this event with regard to long-term variability have been lacking. Here we examine 1,200 y of streamflow from a networ
Justin Martin, Gregory T. Pederson, Connie A. Woodhouse, Edward R. Cook, Gregory J. McCabe, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Erika K. Wise, Patrick Erger, Larry S. Dolan, Marketa McGuire, Subhrendu Gangopadhyay, Katherine J. Chase, Jeremy Littell, Stephen Gray, Scott St. George, Jonathan M. Friedman, David J. Sauchyn, Jeannine-Marie St. Jacques, John C. King

Forecasting, detecting, and tracking volcanic eruptions from space

Satellite monitoring of volcanic activity typically includes four primary observations: (1) deformation and surface change, (2) gas emissions, (3) thermal anomalies, and (4) ash plumes. These phenomena are imaged by remote sensing data that span the electromagnetic spectrum, from microwave to ultraviolet energy and including visible and infrared wavelengths. The primary uses of satellite data in v
Michael P. Poland, Taryn Lopez, Robert Wright, Michael J. Pavolonis

Biological soil crusts in ecological restoration: Emerging research and perspectives

Drylands encompass over 40% of terrestrial ecosystems and face significant anthropogenic degradation causing a loss of ecosystem integrity, services, and deterioration of social‐ecological systems. To combat this degradation, some dryland restoration efforts have focused on the use of biological soil crusts (biocrusts): complex communities of cyanobacteria, algae, lichens, bryophytes, and other or
Anita Antoninka, Akasha M. Faist, Emilio Rodriguez-Caballero, Kristina E Young, V Bala Chaudhary, Lea A. Condon, David A. Pyke

Disturbances drive changes in coral community assemblages and coral calcification capacity

Anthropogenic environmental change has increased coral reef disturbance regimes in recent decades, altering the structure and function of many coral reefs globally. In this study, we used coral community survey data collected from 1996 to 2015 to evaluate coral calcification capacity (CCC) dynamics with respect to recorded pulse disturbances for 121 reef sites in the Main Hawaiian Islands and Mo'o
Travis A. Courtney, Brian B. Barnes, Iliana Chollett, Robin Elahi, Kevin Gross, James R. Guest, Ilsa B. Kuffner, Elizabeth A. Lenz, Hanna R Nelson, Caroline Rogers, Lauren Toth, Andreas J Andersson

HESS opinions: Beyond the long-term water balance: Evolving Budyko's supply–demand framework for the Anthropocene towards a global synthesis of land-surface fluxes under natural and human-altered watersheds

Global hydroclimatic conditions have been substantially altered over the past century by anthropogenic influences that arise from the warming global climate and from local/regional anthropogenic disturbances. Traditionally, studies have used coupling of multiple models to understand how land-surface water fluxes vary due to changes in global climatic patterns and local land-use changes. We argue t
A. Sankarasubramanian, Dingbao Wang, Stacey A. Archfield, Meredith Reitz, Richard M Vogel, Amirhossein Mazrooei, Sudarshana Mukhopadhyaya

Testing ecosystem accounting in the United States: A case study for the Southeast

Ecosystem accounts, as formalized by the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Experimental Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA EEA), have been compiled in a number of countries, yet there have been few attempts to develop them for the U.S. We explore the potential for U.S. ecosystem accounting by compiling ecosystem extent, condition, and ecosystem services supply and use accounts for a ten-state reg
Katie Warnell, Marc J. Russell, Charles Rhodes, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Lydia P Olander, David J. Nowak, Rajendra Poudel, Pierre D. Glynn, Julie L. Hass, Satoshi Hiribayashi, Jane Carter Ingram, John Matuszak, Kirsten L. L. Oleson, Stephen M. Posner, Ferdinando Villa

Low threshold for nitrogen concentration saturation in headwaters increases regional and coastal delivery

River corridors store, convey, and process nutrients from terrestrial and upstream sources, regulating delivery from headwaters to estuaries. A consequence of chronic excess nitrogen loading, as supported by theory and field studies in specific areas, is saturation of the biogeochemically-mediated nitrogen removal processes that weakens the capacity of the river corridor to remove nitrogen. Region
Noah Schmadel, Judson Harvey, Richard Alexander, Elizabeth W. Boyer, Gregory E. Schwarz, Jesus D. Gomez-Velez, Durelle Scott, Christopher Konrad