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Ecosystems

Powell Center working groups rarely are just one USGS Mission Area and are sorted into these areas by the groups themselves. Projects may be relevant to additional areas.

Filter Total Items: 46

Synthesis of the new North American tree-ring fire-scar network: using past and present fire-climate relationships to improve projections of future wildfire

Increasing wildfire activity in much of North America is having severe impacts on society and ecosystems. Climate change is a key driver of changing fire regimes across North America, with varying expressions across the continent. Modern fire records, while useful, are too short to fully characterize the complex patterns and non-linear dynamics of fire-climate relationships that are required to un
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Synthesis of the new North American tree-ring fire-scar network: using past and present fire-climate relationships to improve projections of future wildfire

Increasing wildfire activity in much of North America is having severe impacts on society and ecosystems. Climate change is a key driver of changing fire regimes across North America, with varying expressions across the continent. Modern fire records, while useful, are too short to fully characterize the complex patterns and non-linear dynamics of fire-climate relationships that are required to un
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Translational science for renewable energy and its wildlife concerns: a synthesis of wind energy buildout, bat population ecology, and habitat constraints

Wind energy is poised for rapid growth over the next 2-3 decades yet fatalities to birds and bats is a leading concern that may constrain wind energy development in the US. This working group will integrate wind energy forecasting models with bat ecological models and management policy considerations to transform our ability to understand and manage renewable energy development while minimizing un
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Translational science for renewable energy and its wildlife concerns: a synthesis of wind energy buildout, bat population ecology, and habitat constraints

Wind energy is poised for rapid growth over the next 2-3 decades yet fatalities to birds and bats is a leading concern that may constrain wind energy development in the US. This working group will integrate wind energy forecasting models with bat ecological models and management policy considerations to transform our ability to understand and manage renewable energy development while minimizing un
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Standardizing, aggregating, analyzing and disseminating global wildlife genetic and genomic data for improved management and advancement of community best practices

Global biodiversity is rapidly declining, threatening humans, ecosystems, and the services that society relies upon. Monitoring and understanding the extent of biodiversity declines can support policy decisions. Genetic diversity is the foundation of biodiversity, determining the capacity of populations to adapt to environmental changes and to sustain function and structure in all ecosystems. Whil
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Standardizing, aggregating, analyzing and disseminating global wildlife genetic and genomic data for improved management and advancement of community best practices

Global biodiversity is rapidly declining, threatening humans, ecosystems, and the services that society relies upon. Monitoring and understanding the extent of biodiversity declines can support policy decisions. Genetic diversity is the foundation of biodiversity, determining the capacity of populations to adapt to environmental changes and to sustain function and structure in all ecosystems. Whil
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Developing a macroecological understanding of invasive plant impacts based on abundance and trait data

Understanding invasive plant impacts can provide insight into community assembly and inform the development of successful management strategies. The impacts of invasive species depend on how they alter patterns of abundance within recipient communities and on the characteristics of the invaders and the affected species. Research has suggested that common species may be more impacted by invasions,
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Developing a macroecological understanding of invasive plant impacts based on abundance and trait data

Understanding invasive plant impacts can provide insight into community assembly and inform the development of successful management strategies. The impacts of invasive species depend on how they alter patterns of abundance within recipient communities and on the characteristics of the invaders and the affected species. Research has suggested that common species may be more impacted by invasions,
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Status of butterflies in the United States

The pervasive nature of insect species’ declines has led to the specter of an “Insect Armageddon” in the popular press. Insect-derived ecosystem services are valued at > $57 billion in the U.S. and thus the loss of insects has the potential to fundamentally disrupt natural and economic systems.The causes of insect declines have been linked to changes in climate, land use and pesticide use, but the...
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Status of butterflies in the United States

The pervasive nature of insect species’ declines has led to the specter of an “Insect Armageddon” in the popular press. Insect-derived ecosystem services are valued at > $57 billion in the U.S. and thus the loss of insects has the potential to fundamentally disrupt natural and economic systems.The causes of insect declines have been linked to changes in climate, land use and pesticide use, but the...
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A global synthesis of multi-year drought effects on terrestrial ecosystems

Drought impacts on terrestrial ecosystems have increased globally in the 21st century, and droughts are expected to become more frequent, extreme, and spatially extensive in the future. Historical site-based observations are inadequate to predict how future extreme water deficits will affect the global terrestrial surface, because future droughts and their impacts may be more extreme than they hav
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A global synthesis of multi-year drought effects on terrestrial ecosystems

Drought impacts on terrestrial ecosystems have increased globally in the 21st century, and droughts are expected to become more frequent, extreme, and spatially extensive in the future. Historical site-based observations are inadequate to predict how future extreme water deficits will affect the global terrestrial surface, because future droughts and their impacts may be more extreme than they hav
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Forecasting Mosquito Phenology in a Shifting Climate: Synthesizing Continental-scale Monitoring Data

Climate change is expected to have significant effects on the phenology of vectors of arthropod-borne diseases, particularly mosquitoes. However, forecasting the direction and magnitude of future phenological shifts requires a more detailed understanding of the climate drivers of mosquito phenology. Addressing this knowledge gap is particularly salient for mosquitoes, as they have the potential to
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Forecasting Mosquito Phenology in a Shifting Climate: Synthesizing Continental-scale Monitoring Data

Climate change is expected to have significant effects on the phenology of vectors of arthropod-borne diseases, particularly mosquitoes. However, forecasting the direction and magnitude of future phenological shifts requires a more detailed understanding of the climate drivers of mosquito phenology. Addressing this knowledge gap is particularly salient for mosquitoes, as they have the potential to
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Improving representation of groundwater in foundational Great Lakes hydrologic and hydrodynamic models and data sets

Groundwater plays a critical role in the water balance, however the groundwater component of the hydrologic cycle is frequently overlooked at basin scales because it is difficult to observe and quantify. We address this problem through a novel framework that combines existing hydrological models and data sets with groundwater flux estimates across Earth's largest system of lakes; the Laurentian G
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Improving representation of groundwater in foundational Great Lakes hydrologic and hydrodynamic models and data sets

Groundwater plays a critical role in the water balance, however the groundwater component of the hydrologic cycle is frequently overlooked at basin scales because it is difficult to observe and quantify. We address this problem through a novel framework that combines existing hydrological models and data sets with groundwater flux estimates across Earth's largest system of lakes; the Laurentian G
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Markov decision processes in non-autonomous socio-ecological systems

Our ability to effectively manage natural resources is founded in an understanding of how our actions and the environment influence populations, communities, and ecosystems. Current practices use monitoring data from the past to determine key ecological relationships and make predictions about the future with the assumption that those relationships will remain constant. However, many natural syste
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Markov decision processes in non-autonomous socio-ecological systems

Our ability to effectively manage natural resources is founded in an understanding of how our actions and the environment influence populations, communities, and ecosystems. Current practices use monitoring data from the past to determine key ecological relationships and make predictions about the future with the assumption that those relationships will remain constant. However, many natural syste
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Using a multi-scale approach to synthesize measurements and models of C4 photosynthesis

Plants convert carbon dioxide into sugars for food during photosynthesis, and this provides food for all animal life. However, photosynthesis is inhibited when a plant’s enzymes use oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. To avoid this use of oxygen, some plants developed a photosynthetic adaptation – called C4 photosynthesis – to concentrate carbon dioxide around the enzymes. While less than 5% of plan...
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Using a multi-scale approach to synthesize measurements and models of C4 photosynthesis

Plants convert carbon dioxide into sugars for food during photosynthesis, and this provides food for all animal life. However, photosynthesis is inhibited when a plant’s enzymes use oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. To avoid this use of oxygen, some plants developed a photosynthetic adaptation – called C4 photosynthesis – to concentrate carbon dioxide around the enzymes. While less than 5% of plan...
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Ecological Forecasting Workshop

Natural resource managers are coping with rapid changes in both environmental conditions and ecosystems. Enabled by recent advances in data collection and assimilation, short-term ecological forecasting may be a powerful tool to help resource managers anticipate impending changes in ecosystem dynamics (that is, the approaching near-term changes in ecosystems). Managers may use the information in f
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Ecological Forecasting Workshop

Natural resource managers are coping with rapid changes in both environmental conditions and ecosystems. Enabled by recent advances in data collection and assimilation, short-term ecological forecasting may be a powerful tool to help resource managers anticipate impending changes in ecosystem dynamics (that is, the approaching near-term changes in ecosystems). Managers may use the information in f
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Analyses of contaminant effects in freshwater systems: synthesizing abiotic and biotic stream datasets for long-term ecological research

Fresh water is arguably the most valuable resource on the planet, but human activities threaten freshwater ecosystems. For example, use of synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides, road salts, and nutrients, has led to the ubiquitous contamination of aquatic systems, jeopardizing the integrity of ecological communities. Given the importance biodiversity plays in maintaining ecosystem health and fun
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Analyses of contaminant effects in freshwater systems: synthesizing abiotic and biotic stream datasets for long-term ecological research

Fresh water is arguably the most valuable resource on the planet, but human activities threaten freshwater ecosystems. For example, use of synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides, road salts, and nutrients, has led to the ubiquitous contamination of aquatic systems, jeopardizing the integrity of ecological communities. Given the importance biodiversity plays in maintaining ecosystem health and fun
Learn More