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

River Ecosystem Science Branch

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 the rivers in the Southwest.

RES (GCMRC) Science


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.

Date published: September 28, 2018

Large-scale Review of Amphibian Species and Community Response to Climate Change

Amphibian species and community richness has been declining in North America and climate change may play a role in these declines. Global climate change has led to a range shift of many wildlife species and thus understanding how these changes in species distribution can be used to predict amphibian community responses that may improve conservation efforts.


Year Published: 2019

Modelling gully-erosion susceptibility in a semi-arid region, Iran: Investigation of applicability of certainty factor and maximum entropy models

Gully erosion susceptibility mapping is a fundamental tool for land-use planning aimed at mitigating land degradation. However, the capabilities of some state-of-the-art data-mining models for developing accurate maps of gully erosion susceptibility have not yet been fully investigated. This study assessed and...

Azareh, Ali; Rahmati, Omid; Rafiei-Sardooi, Elham; Sankey, Joel B.; Lee, Saro; Shahabi, Himan; Bin Ahmad, Baharin

Year Published: 2019

On the development of a magnetic susceptibility‐based tracer for aeolian sediment transport research

Aeolian processes — the erosion, transport, and deposition of sediment by wind — play important geomorphological and ecological roles in drylands. These processes are known to impact the spatial patterns of soil, nutrients, plant‐available water, and vegetation in many dryland ecosystems. Tracers, such as rare earth elements and stable isotopes...

Ravi, Sujith; Gonzales, Howell B.; Buynevich, Ilya V.; Li, Junran; Sankey, Joel B.; Dukes, David; Wang, Guan
Ravi, S., Gonzales, H.B., Buynevich, I.V., Li, J., Sankey, J.B., Dukes, D., and Wang, G., 2018, On the development of a magnetic susceptibility-based tracer for aeolian sediment transport research: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, online,

Year Published: 2019

Landscape pivot points and responses to water balance in national parks of the southwest US

A recent drying trend that is expected to continue in the southwestern US underscores the need for site‐specific and near real‐time understanding of vegetation vulnerability so that land management actions can be implemented at the right time and place.We related the annual integrated normalized difference vegetation index (iNDVI), a proxy for...

Thoma, David P.; Munson, Seth M.; Witwicki, Dana L.