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

Wind erosion and dust from US drylands: a review of causes, consequences, and solutions in a changing world

Erosion by wind is one of the principal processes associated with land degradation in drylands and is a significant concern to land managers and policymakers globally. In the drylands of North America, millions of tons of soil are lost to wind erosion annually. Of the 60 million ha in the United States identified as most vulnerable to wind erosion (...

Duniway, Michael C.; Pfennigwerth, Alix A.; Fick, Stephen E.; Nauman, Travis W.; Belnap, Jayne; Barger, Nichole N.

Year Published: 2019

Long‐term plant community trajectories suggest divergent responses of native and non‐native perennials and annuals to vegetation removal and seeding treatments

Land managers frequently apply vegetation removal and seeding treatments to restore ecosystem function following woody plant encroachment, invasive species spread, and wildfire. However, the long‐term outcome of these treatments is unclear due to a lack of widespread monitoring. We quantified how vegetation removal (via wildfire or management)...

Copeland, Stella M.; Munson, Seth M.; Bradford, John B.; Butterfield, Bradley J.; Gunnell, Kevin L.

Year Published: 2019

An introduced breeding population of Chrysemys picta marginata in the Kaibab National Forest, northern Arizona

The painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) is widely distributed from coast to coast in North America with each of four subspecies generally occupying different regions. In the southwestern USA and northern Mexico, where C. p. bellii is the expected native race, populations are small and widelyscattered. Introduced populations of other painted...

Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Christman, Bruce L.; Norris, Jenna; Cummings, Kristy L.; Puffer, Shellie R.; Jones, Christina