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

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

News

Date published: October 17, 2017

Future Temperature and Soil Moisture May Alter Location of Agricultural Regions

Future high temperature extremes and soil moisture conditions may cause some regions to become more suitable for rainfed, or non-irrigated, agriculture, while causing other areas to lose suitable farmland, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.  

Date published: September 7, 2017

Increases in Wildfire-Caused Erosion Could Impact Water Supply and Quality in the West

A growing number of wildfire-burned areas throughout the western United States are expected to increase soil erosion rates within watersheds, causing more sediment to be present in downstream rivers and reservoirs, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: September 6, 2017

Wildfire and Invasive Species Drives Increasing Size and Cost of Public Land Restoration Efforts

An examination of long-term data for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management finds that land treatments in the southwestern United States are increasingly large, expensive and related to fire and invasive species control.

Publications

Year Published: 2018

Mapping and measuring aeolian sand dunes with photogrammetry and LiDAR from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and multispectral satellite imagery on the Paria Plateau, AZ, USA

The Paria Plateau is a potentially important but relatively unstudied aeolian sand source area in the Grand Canyon region of Arizona, USA. This study used unmanned aerial vehicle(UAV) - based LiDAR and structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry to produce high-resolution topographic models of aeolian dunes on the plateau. We...

Solazzo, Daniel; Sankey, Joel B.; Sankey, Temuulen T.; Munson, Seth M.
Solazzo, D., Sankey, J.B., Sankey, T.T., and Munson, S.M., 2018, Mapping and measuring aeolian sand dunes with photogrammetry and LiDAR from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and multispectral satellite imagery on the Paria Plateau, AZ, USA: Geomorphology, v. 319, p. 174-185, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.07.023.

Year Published: 2018

Geomorphology and vegetation change at Colorado River campsites, Marble and Grand Canyons, Arizona

Sandbars along the Colorado River are used as campsites by river runners and hikers and are an important recreational resource within Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Regulation of the flow of river water through Glen Canyon Dam has reduced the amount of sediment available to be deposited as sandbars, has reduced the magnitude and frequency of...

Hadley, Daniel R.; Grams, Paul E.; Kaplinski, Matthew A.; Hazel, Joseph E.; Parnell, Roderic A.
Hadley, D.R., Grams, P.E., Kaplinski, M.A., Hazel, J.E., Jr., and Parnell, R.A., 2018, Geomorphology and vegetation change at Colorado River campsites, Marble and Grand Canyons, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Report 2017–5096, 64 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175096.

Year Published: 2018

Landscape-scale wildlife species richness metrics to inform wind and solar energy facility siting: An Arizona case study

The juxtaposition of wildlife and wind or solar energy facility infrastructure can present problems for developers, planners, policy makers, and management agencies. Guidance on siting of these renewable energy facilities may help identify potential wildlife-facility conflicts with species of regulatory or economic concern. However, existing...

Thomas, Kathryn A.; Jarchow, Christopher; Arundel, Terry; Jamwal, Pankaj; Borens, Amanda; Drost, Charles A.
Thomas, K.A., Jarchow, C.J., Arundel, T.R., Jamwal, P., Borens, A., and Drost, C.A., 2018, Landscape-scale wildlife species richness metrics to inform wind and solar energy facility siting--an Arizona case study: Energy Policy, v. 116, p. 145-152, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2018.01.052.