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 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: 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.

Publications

Year Published: 2018

Quantifying climate sensitivity and climate-driven change in North American amphibian communities

Changing climate will impact species’ ranges only when environmental variability directly impacts the demography of local populations. However, measurement of demographic responses to climate change has largely been limited to single species and locations. Here we show that amphibian communities are responsive to climatic variability, using >...

Miller, David A.W.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Muths, Erin L.; Amburgey, Staci M.; Adams, Michael J.; Joseph, Maxwell B.; Waddle, J. Hardin; Johnson, Pieter T.J.; Ryan, Maureen E.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Calhoun, Daniel L.; Davis, Courtney L.; Fisher, Robert N.; Green, David M.; Hossack, Blake R.; Rittenhouse, Tracy A.G.; Walls, Susan C.; Bailey, Larissa L.; Cruickshank, Sam S.; Fellers, Gary M.; Gorman, Thomas A.; Haas, Carola A.; Hughson, Ward; Pilliod, David S.; Price, Steven J.; Ray, Andrew M.; Sadinski, Walter; Saenz, Daniel; Barichivich, William J.; Brand, Adrianne B,; Brehme, Cheryl S.; Dagit, Rosi; Delaney, Katy S.; Glorioso, Brad M.; Kats, Lee B.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Pearl, Christopher; Rochester, Carlton J.; Riley, Seth P. D.; Roth, Mark F.; Sigafus, Brent
Miller, D. A. W., Grant, E. H. C., Muths, E., Amburgey, S. M., Adams, M. J., Joseph, M. B., Waddle, J. H., Johnson, P. J. T., Ryan, M. E., Schmid, B. R., Calhoun, D. L., Davis, C. L., Fisher, R. N., Green, D. M., Hossack, B. R., Rittenhouse, T. A. G., Walls, S. C., Bailey, L. L., Cruickshank, S. S., Fellers, G. M., Gorman, T. A., Haas, C. A., Hughson, W., Pilliod, D. S., Price, S. J., Ray, A. M., Sadinski, W., Saenz, D., Barichivich, W. J., Brand, A. B., Brehme, C. S., Dagit, R., Delaney, K. S., Glorioso, B. M., Kats, L. B., Kleeman, P. M., Pearl, C. A., Rochester, C. J., Riley, S. P. D., Roth, M., and Sigafus, B. H., 2018, Quantifying climate sensitivity and climate-driven change in North American amphibian communities: Nature Communications, v. 9, no. Article number: 3926, p. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06157-6

Year Published: 2018

Plant production responses to precipitation differ along an elevation gradient and are enhanced under extremes

The sensitivity of plant production to precipitation underlies the functioning of ecosystems. Studies that relate long-term mean annual precipitation and production across multiple sites(spatial relationship) or examine interannual linkages within a site (temporal relationship) can reveal biophysical controls over ecosystem function...

Munson, Seth M.; Bunting, Erin L.; Bradford, John B.; Butterfield, Bradley J.; Gremer, Jennifer R.
Munson, S.M., Bunting, E.L., Bradford, J.B., Butterfield, B.J., and Gremer, J.R., 2018, Plant production responses to precipitation differ along an elevation gradient and are enhanced under extremes: Ecosystems, online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-018-0296-3.

Year Published: 2018

Genetic analyses of Astragalus sect. Humillimi (Fabaceae) resolve taxonomy and enable effective conservation

Premise of the StudyAstragalus sect. Humillimi is distributed across the southwestern United States and contains two endangered taxa, A. cremnophylax var. cremnophylax and A. humillimus. The former was originally described from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Analysis of individuals discovered on the...

Massatti, Robert; Belus, Matthew; Dowlatshahi, Shahed; Allan, Gerard J.
Massatti, R.T., Belus, M.T., Dowlatshahi, S., and Allan, G.J., 2018, Genetic analyses of Astragalus sect. Humillimi (Fabaceae) resolve taxonomy and enable effective conservation: American Journal of Botany, v. 105, no. 10, https://doi.org/10.1002/ajb2.1157.