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: November 24, 2020

Friday's Findings - December 4 2020

The Smart Energy Webtool: Providing Relevant and Accessible Information to Support Energy Development and Management

Date: December 4, 2020 from 2-2:30 p.m. eastern time

Speaker: Mike Duniway, Research Ecologist/Soil Scientist, USGS Southwest Biological Science Center


Date published: October 28, 2020

New Outstanding in the Field Podcast

The USGS Ecosystems Mission Area brings you Outstanding in the Field, an original podcast series that tells stories about our science, our adventures, and our efforts to better understand fish and wildlife and the ecosystems that support them.  In this episode we are talking about beaches in a place that most...

Date published: September 25, 2020

Unfamiliar Territory: Emerging Themes for Ecological Drought Research and Management

Novel forms of drought are emerging globally, due to climate change, shifting teleconnection patterns, expanding human water use, and a history of human influence on the environment that increases the probability of transformational ecological impacts. 


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Year Published: 2021

Muted responses to chronic experimental nitrogen deposition on the Colorado Plateau

Anthropogenic nitrogen (N) deposition is significantly altering both community structure and ecosystem processes in terrestrial ecosystems across the globe. However, our understanding of the consequences of N deposition in dryland systems remains relatively poor, despite evidence that drylands may be particularly vulnerable to increasing N inputs...

Phillips, Michala Lee; Winkler, Daniel E.; Reibold, Robin H.; Osborne, Brooke Bossert; Reed, Sasha

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Year Published: 2021

Testing which axes of species differentiation underlie covariance of phylogeographic similarity among montane sedge species

Co‐distributed species may exhibit similar phylogeographic patterns due to shared environmental factors or discordant patterns attributed to the influence of species‐specific traits. Although either concordant or discordant patterns could occur due to chance, stark differences in key traits (e.g., dispersal ability) may readily explain differences...

Hodel, Richard G.J.; Massatti, Robert; Bishop, Sasha G.D.; Knowles, L. Lacey

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Year Published: 2021

Movement ecology

(Yackulic) At first glance, the decision to study movement in Galapagos tortoises seems curious. Given the slow speed of tortoises and tendency to forage and rest as they move, it seems implausible that tortoises would string their slow bursts of activity together to accomplish large-scale movements. Nonetheless, as early as 1815 (Porter 1815),...

Blake, Stephen; Yackulic, Charles B.; Cabrera, Freddy; Deem, Sharon L.; Ellis-Soto, Diego; Gibbs, James P.; Kummeth, Franz; Wikelski, Martin; Bastille-Rousseau, Guillaume
Blake, S., Yackulic, C.B., Cabrera, F., Deem, S.L., Ellis-Soto, D., Gibbs, J.P., Kummeth, F., Wikelski, M., and Bastille‐Rousseau, G., 2021, Movement ecology, in Gibbs, J.P., Cayot, L.J., and Aguilera, W.T., eds., Galapagos giant tortoises—Biodiversity of world—Conservation from genes to landscapes: Academic Press, Elsevier Inc., Section III, Chapter 13, p. 261-279,