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

Earlier plant growth helps compensate for reduced carbon fixation after 13 years of warming

1. Drylands play a dominant role in global carbon cycling and are particularly vulnerable to increasing temperatures, but our understanding of how dryland ecosystems will respond to climatic change remains notably poor. Considering that the area of drylands is projected to increase 11–23% by 2100, understanding the impacts of warming on the...

Winkler, Daniel E.; Grossiord, Charlotte; Belnap, Jayne; Howell, Armin J.; Ferrenberg, Scott; Smith, Hilda J.; Reed, Sasha C.

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Year Published: 2019

Supporting the development and use of native plant materials for restoration on the Colorado Plateau (Fiscal Year 18 Report)

Introduction A primary focus of the Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program (CPNPP) is to identify and develop appropriate native plant materials (NPMs) for current and future restoration projects. Multiple efforts have characterized the myriad challenges inherent in providing appropriate seed resources to enable effective, widespread restoration...

Massatti, Robert; Winkler, Daniel; Reed, Sasha; Duniway, Michael; Munson, Seth; Bradford, John
Massatti, R.T., Winkler, D.E., Reed, S.C., Duniway, M.D., Munson, S.M., and Bradford, J.B., 2019, Supporting the development and use of native plant materials for restoration on the Colorado Plateau (Fiscal Year 18 Report): Fiscal Year 2018 Report deliverable to the Bureau of Land Management. Do not process through USGS Pubs Warehouse (product will be made available on the cooperator’s website at

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Year Published: 2019

Biocrust science and global change

Global environmental changes such as climate and land‐use change affect ecosystems worldwide, and this New Phytologist Virtual Issue brings together fundamental research questions and novel approaches associated with the study of biological soil crusts in the context of such shifts. In a changing world, organisms can display a limited set of...

Reed, Sasha C.; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Ferrenberg, Scott