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: August 3, 2020

National Seed Strategy Report

Federal input requested on accomplishments using locally adapted plants in habitat restoration in the USA. Add your projects to a comprehensive federal activities report for the National Seed Strategy and get recognized for your efforts!

Date published: July 22, 2020

RESEARCH BRIEF: RestoreNet Report Card

RestoreNet is a networked ecological experiment testing restoration treatments across the arid Southwest. Seven experimental sites were installed in the Summer of 2018 on the rangelands of Northern Arizona. The experiments tested seed mixes with various treatments to increase revegetation success (see photos above). These are the results after the first year.

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Date published: July 8, 2020

Food Web Dynamics Influence Mercury Movement in Colorado River, Grand Canyon

A new study describes how food web dynamics influence the movement of mercury throughout the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. This new research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners represents one of the first times that the movement and fate of mercury has been traced through an entire food web.


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Year Published: 2020

A not so sudden impact—Historical relations between conifers and insects can help predict damage by nonnative insects

The arrival and establishment of nonnative insects in North America is increasingly problematic. International trade has created opportunities to move wood products and nursery stock worldwide, which has increased the risk of insect introduction to regions or countries where they are not native. One group of researchers,...

Durden, Lekeah A.; Schulz, Ashley N.; Mech, Angela M.; Thomas, Kathryn A.
Durden, L.A., Schulz, A.N., Mech, A., and Thomas, K.A., 2020, A not so sudden impact—Historical relations between conifers and insects can help predict damage by nonnative insects: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020-3039, 4 p.,

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Year Published: 2020

RestoreNet: An emerging restoration network reveals controls on seeding success across dryland ecosystems

1. Drylands are Earth’s largest terrestrial biome and support one third of the global population. However, they are also highly vulnerable to land degradation. Despite widespread demand for dryland restoration and rehabilitation, little information is available to help land managers effectively reestablish native perennial vegetation across...

Havrilla, Caroline Ann; Munson, Seth M.; Mccormick, Molly; Laushman, Katherine Mary; Balazs, Kathleen R.; Butterfield, Bradley J.

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Year Published: 2020

Brackish tidal marsh management and the ecology of a declining freshwater turtle

Water management practices in tidal marshes of the San Francisco Bay Estuary, California are often aimed at increasing suitable habitat for threatened fish species and sport fishes. However, little is known about how best to manage habitat for other sensitive status species like the semiaquatic freshwater Western Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata)...

Agha, Mickey; Yackulic, Charles; Riley, Melissa K.; Peterson, Blair; Todd, Brian D