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Species Biology

Research into life history, successful conservation, and recovery of threatened and endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act; trust species that are protected by law; sensitive species that are declining, rare, or uncommon and are identified as candidates for future listing consideration; and species of management concern that warrant management or conservation attention as identified by a natural resource management agency

Filter Total Items: 45

Post-fledging movement and habitat selection by mallards in the fall and their effect on spring recruitment

Considerable scientific research has been conducted in North America on nearly all aspects of the annual cycle of mallards, primarily focused on the breeding season. However, the period between when juveniles are capable of flight to their first southward migration remains a vastly understudied time for all waterfowl species. Beginning in 2018, a graduate student from South Dakota State University...
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Post-fledging movement and habitat selection by mallards in the fall and their effect on spring recruitment

Considerable scientific research has been conducted in North America on nearly all aspects of the annual cycle of mallards, primarily focused on the breeding season. However, the period between when juveniles are capable of flight to their first southward migration remains a vastly understudied time for all waterfowl species. Beginning in 2018, a graduate student from South Dakota State University...
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Determining the dietary preferences and population genetics of an endangered bumble bee, Bombus affinis, by maximizing the use of museum specimens

Bombus affinis, the rusty patched bumble bee, was federally listed as an endangered species in 2017 and has been identified as one of the top priority species for recovery nationally. Shortly after listing the species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and other partners prioritized the research needed to prevent the extinction of B. affinis. Some of the top research needs that were identified...
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Determining the dietary preferences and population genetics of an endangered bumble bee, Bombus affinis, by maximizing the use of museum specimens

Bombus affinis, the rusty patched bumble bee, was federally listed as an endangered species in 2017 and has been identified as one of the top priority species for recovery nationally. Shortly after listing the species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and other partners prioritized the research needed to prevent the extinction of B. affinis. Some of the top research needs that were identified...
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Support the Development of a National Park Service Midwest Region bison stewardship strategy

Bison have played a key role in shaping the grasslands of the Great Plains for millennia. National Parks are a major last bastion for wild herds of the national mammal and symbol of the Department of the Interior. However, even as the National Park Service aims to maintain as natural as possible ecosystem conditions within its parks’ boundaries, managers regularly make decisions affecting their...
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Support the Development of a National Park Service Midwest Region bison stewardship strategy

Bison have played a key role in shaping the grasslands of the Great Plains for millennia. National Parks are a major last bastion for wild herds of the national mammal and symbol of the Department of the Interior. However, even as the National Park Service aims to maintain as natural as possible ecosystem conditions within its parks’ boundaries, managers regularly make decisions affecting their...
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Estimating offsets for avian displacement effects of anthropogenic impacts

The avian-impact offset method (AIOM) quantifies the amount of habitat needed to provide equivalent biological value for birds displaced by energy and transportation infrastructure. The AIOM can be applied in situations where avian displacement (i.e., behavioral avoidance) requires compensatory mitigation. The AIOM is based on the ability to define five metrics: impact distance, impact area, pre...
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Estimating offsets for avian displacement effects of anthropogenic impacts

The avian-impact offset method (AIOM) quantifies the amount of habitat needed to provide equivalent biological value for birds displaced by energy and transportation infrastructure. The AIOM can be applied in situations where avian displacement (i.e., behavioral avoidance) requires compensatory mitigation. The AIOM is based on the ability to define five metrics: impact distance, impact area, pre...
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Grazing resources for integrated conservation of bison and native prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park (BADL) contains one of the largest protected expanses of mixed-grass prairie in the United States, much of which supports a herd of nearly wild bison. The park nevertheless is too small to accommodate bison’s natural nomadic behavior, which in the past resulted in their ephemeral but intense influence on Great Plains grasslands. This research is assessing the spatial...
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Grazing resources for integrated conservation of bison and native prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park (BADL) contains one of the largest protected expanses of mixed-grass prairie in the United States, much of which supports a herd of nearly wild bison. The park nevertheless is too small to accommodate bison’s natural nomadic behavior, which in the past resulted in their ephemeral but intense influence on Great Plains grasslands. This research is assessing the spatial...
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Effects of population density on prevalence of chronic wasting disease, physical condition, and vital rates of elk at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

CWD is a degenerative neurological disease caused by infectious proteins called prions. Although documented cases are invariably fatal, infected elk commonly survive for several months or longer, passing prions directly to other individuals and into the environment, where they bind to surfaces or soils and can persist for years. CWD reached Wind Cave National Park about 1997 and rapidly became the...
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Effects of population density on prevalence of chronic wasting disease, physical condition, and vital rates of elk at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

CWD is a degenerative neurological disease caused by infectious proteins called prions. Although documented cases are invariably fatal, infected elk commonly survive for several months or longer, passing prions directly to other individuals and into the environment, where they bind to surfaces or soils and can persist for years. CWD reached Wind Cave National Park about 1997 and rapidly became the...
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Improving wildlife habitat through management and restoration of native prairies on lands under Fish and Wildlife Service ownership

The extent of native prairie throughout the north-central United States has sharply declined since European settlement, and much that remains has been invaded by introduced cool-season grasses, reducing floristic diversity and quality. On lands under its ownership, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to restore native prairie integrity by reducing occurrence of introduced species under...
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Improving wildlife habitat through management and restoration of native prairies on lands under Fish and Wildlife Service ownership

The extent of native prairie throughout the north-central United States has sharply declined since European settlement, and much that remains has been invaded by introduced cool-season grasses, reducing floristic diversity and quality. On lands under its ownership, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to restore native prairie integrity by reducing occurrence of introduced species under...
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Decision support for restoration and management of Service-owned native prairies: Implications for grassland bird communities

More than 100,000 ha of native tallgrass and mixed-grass prairies are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the northern Great Plains. Although prairies in this region evolved with grazing, fire, and climatic variability, management of FWS grasslands often has been passive and involved extended periods of rest. In 2008, the USGS and the FWS initiated a collaborative effort, the...
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Decision support for restoration and management of Service-owned native prairies: Implications for grassland bird communities

More than 100,000 ha of native tallgrass and mixed-grass prairies are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the northern Great Plains. Although prairies in this region evolved with grazing, fire, and climatic variability, management of FWS grasslands often has been passive and involved extended periods of rest. In 2008, the USGS and the FWS initiated a collaborative effort, the...
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Evaluation of conservation grazing versus prescribed fire to manage tallgrass prairie remnants for plant and pollinator species diversity

With scarcely 2% of native tallgrass prairie remaining today, it is imperative that we wisely manage what little remains to conserve prairie-dependent plants, pollinators, other animals and ecosystem processes. Two commonly used methods of prairie management are prescribed fire and conservation grazing. Either method may present trade-offs with respect to conservation of vulnerable plant, bee or...
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Evaluation of conservation grazing versus prescribed fire to manage tallgrass prairie remnants for plant and pollinator species diversity

With scarcely 2% of native tallgrass prairie remaining today, it is imperative that we wisely manage what little remains to conserve prairie-dependent plants, pollinators, other animals and ecosystem processes. Two commonly used methods of prairie management are prescribed fire and conservation grazing. Either method may present trade-offs with respect to conservation of vulnerable plant, bee or...
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Understanding consequences of management strategies for farmed wetlands to ecosystem services in the Prairie Pothole Region

NPWRC is leading a partnership with North Dakota State University to examine ecological, social, and financial considerations of farming practices within temporarily-ponded wetlands. There has been a long history of cropping prairie pothole wetlands which are embedded within farm fields. Often wet conditions during spring or summer prevent farmers from getting a harvestable yield from these areas...
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Understanding consequences of management strategies for farmed wetlands to ecosystem services in the Prairie Pothole Region

NPWRC is leading a partnership with North Dakota State University to examine ecological, social, and financial considerations of farming practices within temporarily-ponded wetlands. There has been a long history of cropping prairie pothole wetlands which are embedded within farm fields. Often wet conditions during spring or summer prevent farmers from getting a harvestable yield from these areas...
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Importance of wetlands in intensively farmed landscapes to duck production

The Prairie Pothole Region of the northern Great Plains annually hosts 50–80% of North America’s ducks during the breeding season. Accordingly, there are significant government and private funds that go to conservation for the purposes of improving duck production in the region. The Prairie Pothole Region ecosystem has a number of stressors, intensive agriculture being chief among them. The...
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Importance of wetlands in intensively farmed landscapes to duck production

The Prairie Pothole Region of the northern Great Plains annually hosts 50–80% of North America’s ducks during the breeding season. Accordingly, there are significant government and private funds that go to conservation for the purposes of improving duck production in the region. The Prairie Pothole Region ecosystem has a number of stressors, intensive agriculture being chief among them. The...
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Evaluating wetland ecosystem health using real-time nutrient dynamics of ducks

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) leads a collaborative effort, spanning several studies, with the objective of improving techniques to assess the quality of spring migration habitat for ducks. Spring is a critical time in in the life cycle of migratory ducks because during migration they experience peak energetic needs at a time when food resources are often at their scarcest...
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Evaluating wetland ecosystem health using real-time nutrient dynamics of ducks

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) leads a collaborative effort, spanning several studies, with the objective of improving techniques to assess the quality of spring migration habitat for ducks. Spring is a critical time in in the life cycle of migratory ducks because during migration they experience peak energetic needs at a time when food resources are often at their scarcest...
Learn More