Leetown Science Center

Imperiled Species

Human activities such as habitat destruction, overexploitation, pollution, and the spread of invasive species and disease have led to dramatic declines in the world’s plant and animal species.  Imperiled species are those whose populations have decreased so dramatically that they are at risk of extinction.  In the United States, over 1500 species are listed as “endangered” and “threatened” and are protected under the Endangered Species Act.  However, many additional species are not afforded this same protection due to lack of information on their distribution, abundance, and primary threats to the species.   Our Center supports a diverse and multi-disciplinary approach to studying a wide variety of imperiled species, addressing questions related to distribution and abundance, conservation genetics, critical habitat designation, disease susceptibility, and tolerance to stress.  Our many Federal and state partners rely on this important science to make information decisions on approaches for conservation and restoration of our country’s many imperiled species. 

Filter Total Items: 9
Date published: April 15, 2019
Status: Active

Fish locomotion and biomechanics as limiting and optimizing factors in fish passage

Swimming ability determines how well fish are able to access habitat, and is a fundamental design consideration for passing fish at dams, road crossings, etc.  The purpose of this study plan is to improve understanding of how fish are able to negotiate zones of high velocity and turbulent flow, such as are found in fishways, culverts, as well as in natural areas.   Swimming performance is...

Date published: April 3, 2019
Status: Active

Development of Next Generation Techniques of fecal samples collected from nestling cactus wren

Coastal cactus wren populations have declined in southern California over the last three decades. In San Diego County, this decline has been especially noticeable in the Otay area, which in 2014 supported 14 territories on conserved lands. In the past, there were 25-53 active territories reported for this same area, with the highest estimate in 1992. There is also concern the number of active...

Date published: April 1, 2019
Status: Active

Ecological flow needs of freshwater mussels

Streamflow characteristics are rapidly changing in response to climate variability, water management practices, and a variety of other human water demands.  Alterations in water quantity can have direct impacts on aquatic organisms (e.g., stranding, displacement, disruption of spawning), and can be especially detrimental to organisms with limited mobility.  Freshwater mussels are one such...

Date published: March 29, 2019
Status: Active

Improving ecological flow science in the mainstem Delaware through WaterSMART

Demand for freshwater is increasing with human population growth and is exacerbated by water management practices, climate variability, and land use alternation.  Ecological flow science attempts to understand flows necessary to support aquatic organisms so that managers can balance these with diverse human water demands.  A primary focus of the USGS Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory (...

Date published: March 29, 2019
Status: Active

Assessing the effects of chloride exposure on aquatic organisms

Increased salinization of freshwater systems is a growing concern, and can be attributed to a variety of factors including climate change, land-use change, agricultural practices, road de-icing, and brines released from fossil fuel extraction.  Effects of increased salinization on aquatic organisms is little understood and may be vastly different among species and among different life stages...

Date published: December 12, 2018
Status: Active

Life History and Migration of Sturgeons in New England Waters

Sturgeons appear in the fossil record as early as the Triassic, 200 million years ago.  Although most populations could once tolerate harvesting pressures, most populations have collapsed and nearly all of the 28 species alive today are listed as threatened or endangered.  In New England, dams and water regulation challenge population recoveries of the two resident species, the shortnose and...

Contacts: Micah Kieffer
Date published: November 8, 2018
Status: Active

Dwarf Wedgemussel Propagation and Restoration in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US

Dwarf Wedgemussel Propagation and Restoration in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US

Date published: March 7, 2018
Status: Active

Imperiled Species Detection and Monitoring

It is difficult to evaluate the presence or abundance of many imperiled species. Low numbers, cryptic behaviors or habitats that are difficult to search can combine to make it difficult for a researcher to detect and monitor species and population changes.  Wildlife and Fisheries researchers are applying research tools from molecular science to attempt to better understand and evaluate these...

Date published: February 28, 2018
Status: Active

Freshwater Mussel Physiology

Freshwater mussels are considered ecosystems engineers benefiting the streams and rivers they inhabit through filtration, biodeposition, and nutrient cycling, thereby influencing water quality.  However, many of these species are rapidly declining due to shifting environmental conditions and habitat loss.  Researchers at Leetown Science Center are evaluating how different species of mussels...