John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis

All Working Groups

Filter Total Items: 65
Date published: October 21, 2013
Status: Active

Mercury cycling, bioaccumulation, and risk across western North America: a landscape scale synthesis linking long-term datasets

Mercury (Hg) is a serious environmental problem that is impacting ecological and human health on a global scale. However, local and regional processes are largely responsible for producing methylmercury, which drives ecological risk. This is particularly true in western North America where the combination of diverse landscapes, habitat types, climates, and Hg sources may disproportionally...

Date published: October 18, 2013
Status: Active

Evidence for shifts in plant species diversity along N deposition gradients: a first synthesis for the United States

The impacts of nitrogen (N) deposition on plant diversity loss have been well documented across N deposition gradients in Europe, but much less so in the U.S. Published N fertilizer studies suggest losses will occur in the US, but many of these were done at levels of N input that were higher than modeled and measured N deposition, and higher than presumed N critical loads. The recent...

Contacts: Matthew Brooks
Date published: September 24, 2013
Status: Active

Understanding and managing for resilience in the face of global change

Resilience science provides a conceptual framework and methodology for quantitatively assessing the ability of a system to remain in a particular state. Probable non-linear ecological responses to global change, including climate change, require a clear framework for understanding and managing resilience. However, much of the resilience research to date has been qualitative in nature, and...

Date published: September 23, 2013
Status: Active

PlioMIP (Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project) Strategy, Communications and Synthesis for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5)

USGS PRISM (Pliocene Research, Interpretation and Synoptic Mapping) Project global data sets of Pliocene conditions, which form the most comprehensive global reconstruction for any warm period prior to the recent past, are used to drive numerical climate model simulations designed to explore the impact of climate forcings and feedbacks during the Pliocene. The Pliocene world provides an...

Date published: September 20, 2013
Status: Active

Animal Migration and Spatial Subsidies: Establishing a Framework for Conservation Markets

Migratory species may provide more ecosystem goods and services to humans in certain parts of their range than others. These areas may or may not coincide with the locations of habitat on which the species is most dependent for its continued population viability. This situation can present significant policy challenges, as locations that most support a given species may be in effect...

Date published: September 20, 2013
Status: Active

Developing the next generation of USGS resource assessments

Resource assessments constitute a key part of the USGS mission, and represent a crucial contribution toward Department of the Interior (DOI) and broader Federal objectives. Current USGS energy and mineral assessment methods evaluate total technically recoverable resources (energy) or economically exploitable materials (minerals); the fiscal year 2010 budget for this work is $82M. To help...

Date published: September 19, 2013
Status: Active

Characterizing a link in the terrestrial carbon cycle: a global overview of individual tree mass growth

Forests sequester the majority of the terrestrial biosphere’s carbon and are key components of the global carbon cycle, potentially contributing substantial feedbacks to ongoing climatic changes. It is therefore remarkable that no consensus yet exists about the fundamental nature of tree mass growth (and thus carbon sequestration rate). Specifically, does tree mass growth rate increase,...

Date published: February 4, 2013
Status: Active

Understanding Fluid Injection Induced Seismicity

Fluid injection induced seismicity has been reported since the 1960s. There are currently more than 150,000 injection wells associated with oil and gas production in 34 states in the conterminous US. Pore pressure disturbance caused by injection is generally considered the culprit for injection induced seismicity, but, not all injection causes seismicity. It is not well understood what...

Date published: October 1, 2012
Status: Active

A digital crust to advance continental‐scale modeling of subsurface fluid flow in climate, crustal process, and Earth system models

Fluid circulation in the Earth’s crust plays an essential role in surface, near surface, and crustal dynamics. Near the surface, soil water and groundwater interact with each other and with rivers, lakes and wetlands, affecting weathering, soil formation, ecosystem evolution and biogeochemical cycles. Further down (1km), fluid flow affects diagenesis, hydrocarbon maturation and migration, ore...

Date published: August 6, 2012
Status: Active

Next Generation of Ecological Indicators: Defining Which Microbial Properties Matter Most to Ecosystem Function and How to Measure Them

While it is widely recognized that microorganisms are intimately linked with every biogeochemical cycle in all ecosystems, it is not clear how and when microbial dynamics constrain ecosystem processes. As a result, it is know clear how to apply the value of increasingly detailed characterization of microbial properties to our understanding of ecosystem ecology. Several recent papers have...

Date published: June 7, 2012
Status: Active

Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources: An Assessment of the Potential Effects of Shale Gas Development on Water Resources in the United States

Shale gas is a key source of onshore domestic energy for the United States and production of this resource is increasing rapidly. Development and extraction of shale gas requires hydraulic fracturing, which entails horizontal drilling, perforation of steel casing and cement grout using explosive charges, and expansion of fractures using fluids under high pressure. Concern over potential...

Date published: June 7, 2012
Status: Active

Climate change and ecohydrology in temperate dryland ecosystems: a global assessment

Water cycling and availability exert dominant control over ecological processes and the sustainability of ecosystem services in water - limited ecosystems. Consequently, dryland ecosystems have the potential to be dramatically impacted by hydrologic alterations emerging from global change, notably increasing temperature and altered precipitation patterns. In addition, the possibility of...