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: April 25, 2019

GCMRC Updates

The Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center currently has 11 active science projects as a part of its Triennial Work Plan (FY2018-2020) for work conducted as the science provider to the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program.  New developments, recent publications and other current activities will be listed here.  Check here to find out the latest information from the Center.

Date published: February 12, 2019

Vegetation Recovery on Abandoned Oil and Gas Well Sites is Variable on Colorado Plateau

Recovery of vegetation on plugged and abandoned oil and gas well sites on the Colorado Plateau is influenced by time, moisture, nonnative plants and the type of plant community that was originally in place before well sites were constructed, according to a recently published study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: October 18, 2018

Where Have All the Turtles Gone, and Why Should We Care?

A recently published paper on the global status of turtles and their ecological roles generated quite a bit of media interest.


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Year Published: 2019

Connectivity of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations in southern California: A genetic survey of a mobile ungulate in a highly fragmented urban landscape

Urbanization is a substantial force shaping the genetic and demographic structure of natural populations. Urban development and major highways can limit animal movements, and thus gene flow, even in highly mobile species. Characterizing varying species responses to human activity and fragmentation is important for maintaining genetic continuity in...

Fraser, Devaughn; Ironside, Kirsten E.; Wayne, Robert K.; Boydston, Erin E.

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Year Published: 2019

Establishment of Salsola tragus on aeolian sands: A Southern Colorado Plateau case study

Russian-thistle (Salsola tragus L.), is a nonnative, C4 photosynthesizing, annual plant that infests disturbed and natural areas in the arid U.S. Southwest. Land managers of natural areas may need to decide whether a S. tragus infestation is potentially harmful and whether it should be actively managed. One factor informing that decision is an...

Thomas, Kathryn A.; Hiza, Margaret

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Year Published: 2019

Reducing sampling uncertainty in aeolian research to improve change detection

Measurements of aeolian sediment transport support our understanding of mineral dust impacts on Earth and human systems and assessments of aeolian process sensitivities to global environmental change. However, sample design principles are often overlooked in aeolian research. Here, we use high‐density field measurements of sediment mass flux...

Webb, Nicholas P.; Chappell, Adrian; Edwards, Brandon L.; McCord, Sarah E.; Van Zee, Justin W.; Cooper, Bradley F.; Courtright, Ericha M.; Duniway, Michael C.; Sharratt, Brenton; Tedela, Negussie H; Toledo, David