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: February 4, 2021

RAMPS NEWSLETTER - Winter 2021 Edition

Restoration Assessment and Monitoring Program for the Southwest (RAMPS)

A Program of the Southwest Biological Science Center & Ecosystems Mission Area

To subscribe to our newsletter, please visit:


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...


Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2021

Future regulated flows of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon foretell decreased areal extent of sediment and increases in riparian vegetation

Sediment transfer, or connectivity, by aeolian processes between channel-proximal and upland deposits in river valleys is important for the maintenance of river corridor biophysical characteristics. In regulated river systems, dams control the magnitude and duration of discharge. Alterations to the flow regime driven by dams that increase the...

Kasprak, Alan; Sankey, Joel B.; Butterfield, Bradley J.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2021

Field evaluation of a compact, polarizing topo‐bathymetric lidar across a range of river conditions

This paper summarizes field trials to evaluate the performance of a prototype compact topo‐bathymetric lidar sensor for surveying rivers. The sensor uses a novel polarization technique to distinguish between laser returns from the water surface and streambed and its size and weight permit deployment from a small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) or a...

Kinzel, Paul J.; Legleiter, Carl J.; Grams, Paul

Publication Thumbnail
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