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Publications

Below is a list of available NOROCK peer reviewed and published science. If you are in search of a specific publication and cannot find it below or through a search, please contact twojtowicz@usgs.gov.

Filter Total Items: 1111

Beyond presence mapping: Predicting fractional cover of non-native vegetation in Sentinel-2 imagery using an ensemble of MaxEnt models

Non-native species maps are important tools for understanding and managing biological invasions. We demonstrate a novel approach to extend presence modeling to map fractional cover (FC) of non-native yellow sweet clover Melilotus officinalis in the Northern Great Plains, USA. We used ensembles of MaxEnt models to map FC across landscapes from satellite imagery trained from regional aerial imagery

Enhancements to population monitoring of Yellowstone grizzly bears

In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, counts of female grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) with cubs-of-the-year (females with cubs) from systematic aerial surveys and opportunistic ground sightings are combined with demographic data to derive annual population estimates. We addressed 2 limitations to the monitoring approach. As part of a rule set, a conservative distance of >30 km currently is used as a

Cryptic declines of small, cold-water specialists highlight potential vulnerabilities of headwater streams as climate refugia

Increasing temperatures and climate-driven disturbances like wildfire are a growing threat to many species, including cold-water specialists. Montane areas and cold streams are often considered climate refugia that buffer communities against change. However, climate refugia are often species-specific, and despite growing awareness that life histories and habitat requirements shape responses to cha

Genetic architecture and evolution of color variation in American black bears

Color variation is a frequent evolutionary substrate for camouflage in small mammals, but the underlying genetics and evolutionary forces that drive color variation in natural populations of large mammals are mostly unexplained. The American black bear, Ursus americanus (U. americanus), exhibits a range of colors including the cinnamon morph, which has a similar color to the brown bear, U. arctos,

Tooth wear and the apparent consumption of human foods among American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA

Stable isotope analyses of hair have been used to estimate the consumption of human foods by American black bears (Ursus americanus). Consumption of human foods influences body mass and reproductive success of bears. However, the underlying factors that cause some bears to become conflict bears and resort to consuming human foods as a portion of their diet are not fully understood. We collected ha

Assessing the seasonal evolution of snow depth spatial variability and scaling in complex mountain terrain

Dynamic natural processes govern snow distribution in mountainous environments throughout the world. Interactions between these different processes create spatially variable patterns of snow depth across a landscape. Variations in accumulation and redistribution occur at a variety of spatial scales, which are well established for moderate mountain terrain. However, spatial patterns of snow depth v

Empirical evidence for effects of invasive American Bullfrogs on occurrence of native amphibians and emerging pathogens

Invasive species and emerging infectious diseases are two of the greatest threats to biodiversity. American Bullfrogs (Rana [Lithobates] catesbeiana), which have been introduced to many parts of the world, are often linked with declines of native amphibians via predation and spreading emerging pathogens such as amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]) and ranaviruses. Althoug

Historical Structure from Motion (HSfM): Automated processing of historical aerial photographs for long-term topographic change analysis

Precisely measuring the Earth’s changing surface on decadal to centennial time scales is critical for many science and engineering applications, yet long-term records of quantitative landscape change are often temporally and geographically sparse. Archives of scanned historical aerial photographs provide an opportunity to augment these records with accurate elevation measurements that capture the

Understanding local adaptation to prepare populations for climate change

Adaptation within species to local environments is widespread in nature. Better understanding this local adaptation is critical to conserving biodiversity. However, conservation practices can rely on species’ trait averages or can broadly assume homogeneity across the range to inform management. Recent methodological advances for studying local adaptation provide the opportunity to fine-tune effor

Evaluating noninvasive methods for estimating cestode prevalence in a wild carnivore population

Helminth infections are cryptic and can be difficult to study in wildlife species. Helminth research in wildlife hosts has historically required invasive animal handling and necropsy, while results from noninvasive parasite research, like scat analysis, may not be possible at the helminth species or individual host levels. To increase the utility of noninvasive sampling, individual hosts can be id

Gaining decision-maker confidence through community consensus: Developing environmental DNA standards for data display on the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database

To advance national efforts for the detection and biosurveillance of aquatic invasive species (AIS), we employed a community consensus process to enable the incorporation of environmental DNA (eDNA) detection data into the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database (https://nas.er.usgs.gov/eDNA/). Our goal was to identify minimum standards and best practices for t

Uncertainty of ICESat-2 ATL06- and ATL08-derived snow depths for glacierized and vegetated mountain regions

Seasonal snow melt dominates the hydrologic budget across a large portion of the globe. Snow accumulation and melt vary over a broad range of spatial scales, preventing accurate extrapolation of sparse in situ observations to watershed scales. The lidar onboard the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation, Satellite (ICESat-2) was designed for precise mapping of ice sheets and sea ice, and here we assess th