Southwest Biological Science Center


The Southwest Biological Science Center (SBSC) conducts quality, objective research on the lands and aquatic systems of the Southwest. This research can assist those who manage, conserve, and rehabilitate the arid regions of the nation. Click on SCIENCE in the sidebar to the left to explore SBSC science in more detail.

Terrestrial Dryland Ecology Branch

Terrestrial Dryland Ecology Branch

The Terrestrial Dryland Ecology (TDE) Branch of the SBSC studies the biology, ecology,and processes of semi-arid and arid lands (known as drylands). TDE researchers study plant-soil-water relationships and the wildlife found in drylands.

TDE Science

River Ecosystem Science Branch & GCMRC

River Ecosystem Science Branch & GCMRC

The River Ecosystem Science (RES) Branch of the SBSC, which includes the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC), studies the biology, ecology, and processes of rivers in the western United States, with an emphasis on the Southwest.

GCMRC & RES Science


Date published: July 25, 2019

USGS Press Release: Plant age drives mortality, reproductive success and population dynamics

A USGS press release was published today highlighting a paper describing possible limitations of big sagebrush restoration in the American West after wildfires.   

Date published: June 27, 2019

Why Sagebrush Re-establishment After Fire is so Difficult

Big sagebrush ecosystems are particularly sensitive to wildfires and life history information on big sagebrush is scarce and vital for restoration success.

Date published: June 21, 2019

SBSC Research on Barred and Spotted Owls Covered by Ecological Society of America

The Ecological Society of America put out a press release on a paper that investigated the relative importance of barred owl competition and habitat on northern spotted owls in an effort to assist managers. The lead author of the paper is Charles Yackulic of the USGS Southwest Biological Science Center.


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Year Published: 2019

Effects of water temperature, turbidity, and rainbow trout on humpback chub population dynamics

Humpback chub (Gila cypha Miller 1946), found only in the Colorado River Basin, was one of the first species to be given full protection under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Habitat alterations, such as changes in flow and water temperature caused by dams, and the introduction of nonnative fish have contributed to population declines in...

Frederick, Phil; Yackulic, Charles; Hull, Julia B.
Yackulic, C.B., and Hull, J.B., 2019, Effects of water temperature, turbidity, and rainbow trout on humpback chub population dynamics: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019–3049, 4 p.,

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Year Published: 2019

An evaluation of sedatives for use in transport of juvenile endangered fishes in plastic bags

Trucks and aircraft typically transport rare or endangered fishes in large unsealed tanks containing large volumes of water (typically hundreds of liters) during conservation efforts. Ornamental fishes, however, are commonly sent by mail in small sealed plastic bags filled with oxygen, minimal water, and a small amount of sedative to reduce weight...

Tennant, Laura A.; Vaage, Ben M.; Ward, David L.

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Year Published: 2019

Local, temporal trajectories explain population-level responses to climate change in saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)

Population demography is typically assumed to be strongly influenced by climatic factors, particularly with succulent plants and cacti. The saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) is a long‐lived columnar cactus of the Sonoran Desert that experiences episodic recruitment and mortality. Previous studies have attributed long‐term changes in saguaro...

Rodríguez-Buriticá, Susana; Winkler, Daniel E.; Webb, Robert H.; Venable, Lawrence