Southwest Biological Science Center

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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

News

Date published: July 8, 2020

Food Web Dynamics Influence Mercury Movement in Colorado River, Grand Canyon

A new study describes how food web dynamics influence the movement of mercury throughout the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. This new research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners represents one of the first times that the movement and fate of mercury has been traced through an entire food web.

Date published: June 11, 2020

Plant Genetics Informing Restoration in the West

Three recently published papers by the Southwest Biological Science Center illustrate how genetics can aid in plant restoration efforts in the arid American West. Collectively, the papers reveal genetic variation of a bunchgrass species used in restoration efforts, evidence for hybridization between two species of grass used in restoration, and a discussion of seed transfer zones

Date published: May 26, 2020

Secret, Pristine Grassland Provide Scientists Precious Insight Into How Undisturbed Ecosystems Function

Southwest Biological Science Center and National Park Service personnel were featured in a KSL TV story about a hidden, pristine grassland in Canyonlands National Park that is used for scientific study.

Publications

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Year Published: 2020

Refining genetic boundaries for Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in the western Sonoran Desert: The influence of the Coachella Valley on gene flow among populations in southern California

(Lovich) Understanding the influence of geographic features on the evolutionary history and population structure of a species can assist wildlife managers in delimiting genetic units (GUs) for conservation and management. Landscape features including mountains, low elevation depressions, and even roads can influence connectivity and gene flow...

Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Edwards, Taylor; Berry, Kristin H.; Puffer, Shellie R.; Cummings, Kristy L.; Ennen Joshua R.; Agha, Mickey; Woodard, Rachel; Brundige, Kathleen D.; Murphy, Robert W.
Attribution: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, California Water Science Center, Water Resources, Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, South Atlantic Water Science Center (SAWSC), Water Resources, Region 2: South Atlantic-Gulf (Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Earthquake Science Center, Natural Hazards, Earthquake Hazards Program, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Western Fisheries Research Center, Ecosystems, Fisheries Program, Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center, Region 2: South Atlantic-Gulf (Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Central Energy Resources Science Center, Energy Resources Program, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Fort Collins Science Center, Ecosystems, Fort Collins Science Center, Ecosystems, United States of America, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, National Wildlife Health Center, Ecosystems, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Water Resources, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Climate Adaptation Science Centers, Land Resources, Climate Adaptation Science Centers, California Water Science Center, Water Resources, Core Science Systems, National Geospatial Program, National Geospatial Technical Operations Center, Core Science Systems, National Geospatial Program, National Geospatial Technical Operations Center, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Community for Data Integration (CDI), Science Analytics and Synthesis (SAS), United States of America, Utah Water Science Center, Water Resources, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Alaska Science Center, Ecosystems, Region 11: Alaska, Southwest Biological Science Center, Ecosystems

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Year Published: 2020

Wind, sun, and wildlife: Do wind and solar energy development “short-circuit” conservation in the western United States?

Despite the trade-offs between renewable energy development, land use, humans, and wildlife, wind and solar development continues to transform the southwestern US into a green energy landscape. While renewable energy reduces carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, many studies have emerged on the associated ecological and social impacts of...

Agha, Mickey; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Ennen Joshua R.; Todd, Brian D
Attribution: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, California Water Science Center, Water Resources, Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, South Atlantic Water Science Center (SAWSC), Water Resources, Region 2: South Atlantic-Gulf (Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Earthquake Science Center, Natural Hazards, Earthquake Hazards Program, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Western Fisheries Research Center, Ecosystems, Fisheries Program, Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center, Region 2: South Atlantic-Gulf (Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Central Energy Resources Science Center, Energy Resources Program, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Fort Collins Science Center, Ecosystems, Fort Collins Science Center, Ecosystems, United States of America, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, National Wildlife Health Center, Ecosystems, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Water Resources, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Climate Adaptation Science Centers, Land Resources, Climate Adaptation Science Centers, California Water Science Center, Water Resources, Core Science Systems, National Geospatial Program, National Geospatial Technical Operations Center, Core Science Systems, National Geospatial Program, National Geospatial Technical Operations Center, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Community for Data Integration (CDI), Science Analytics and Synthesis (SAS), United States of America, Utah Water Science Center, Water Resources, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Alaska Science Center, Ecosystems, Region 11: Alaska, Southwest Biological Science Center, Ecosystems, Western Ecological Research Center, Ecosystems, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Washington Water Science Center, Water Resources, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Central Energy Resources Science Center, Energy Resources Program, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Southwest Biological Science Center, Ecosystems

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Year Published: 2020

Climate-induced abrupt shifts in structural states trigger delayed transitions in functional states

Theoretical models suggest that ecosystems can be found in one of several possible alternative stable states, and a shift in structural stable state (SSS) can trigger a change in functional stable state (FSS). But we still lack the empirical evidence to confirm these states and transitions, and to inform the rates of change. Here, a 30-yr dataset...

Hao, Yanbin; Liu, Wenjun; Xu, Xingliang; Munson, Seth M.; Cui, Xiaoyong; Kang, Xiaoming; He, Nianpeng; Wang, Yanfen
Attribution: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, California Water Science Center, Water Resources, Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, South Atlantic Water Science Center (SAWSC), Water Resources, Region 2: South Atlantic-Gulf (Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Earthquake Science Center, Natural Hazards, Earthquake Hazards Program, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Western Fisheries Research Center, Ecosystems, Fisheries Program, Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center, Region 2: South Atlantic-Gulf (Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Central Energy Resources Science Center, Energy Resources Program, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Fort Collins Science Center, Ecosystems, Fort Collins Science Center, Ecosystems, United States of America, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, National Wildlife Health Center, Ecosystems, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Water Resources, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Climate Adaptation Science Centers, Land Resources, Climate Adaptation Science Centers, California Water Science Center, Water Resources, Core Science Systems, National Geospatial Program, National Geospatial Technical Operations Center, Core Science Systems, National Geospatial Program, National Geospatial Technical Operations Center, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Community for Data Integration (CDI), Science Analytics and Synthesis (SAS), United States of America, Utah Water Science Center, Water Resources, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Alaska Science Center, Ecosystems, Region 11: Alaska, Southwest Biological Science Center, Ecosystems, Western Ecological Research Center, Ecosystems, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Washington Water Science Center, Water Resources, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Central Energy Resources Science Center, Energy Resources Program, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Southwest Biological Science Center, Ecosystems, Science and Decisions Center, Alaska Science Center, Ecosystems, Region 11: Alaska, Utah Water Science Center, Water Resources, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, Water, New Jersey Water Science Center, Water Resources, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, New Jersey, United States of America, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, Region 2: South Atlantic-Gulf (Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Upper Midwest Water Science Center, Water Resources, Washington Water Science Center, Water Resources, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Fort Collins Science Center, Ecosystems, Earthquake Science Center, Natural Hazards, Earthquake Hazards Program, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, National Geospatial Program, Upper Midwest Water Science Center, Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center, Natural Hazards, Earthquake Hazards Program, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Central Energy Resources Science Center, Energy Resources Program, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Alaska Science Center, Ecosystems, Region 11: Alaska, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center, Water Resources, Florence Bascom Geoscience Center, Western Fisheries Research Center, Ecosystems, Fisheries Program, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, New York, United States of America, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Ecosystems, Utah Water Science Center, Water Resources, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, New England Water Science Center, Water Resources, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Colorado Water Science Center, Water Resources, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, Ecosystems, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, Ecosystems, Region 11: Alaska, California Water Science Center, Water Resources, Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center, Water Resources, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Alaska Science Center, Region 11: Alaska, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK), Ecosystems, Upper Midwest Water Science Center, Ecosystems, Colorado Water Science Center, Water Resources, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, Ecosystems, Western Ecological Research Center, Ecosystems, National Wildlife Health Center, Ecosystems, Western Fisheries Research Center, Ecosystems, Fisheries Program, Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, National Wildlife Health Center, Ecosystems, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Western Fisheries Research Center, Ecosystems, Fisheries Program, Volcano Hazards Program Office, Earthquake Science Center, Natural Hazards, Earthquake Hazards Program, Water Resources, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK), Ecosystems, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC), Ecosystems, Alaska Science Center, Ecosystems, Region 11: Alaska, National Wildlife Health Center, Ecosystems, Natural Hazards, Geologic Hazards Science Center, Natural Hazards, Landslide Hazards Program, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, United States of America, Alaska Science Center, Ecosystems, Region 11: Alaska, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Ecosystems, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Southwest Biological Science Center, Ecosystems