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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

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


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: September 28, 2018

Large-scale Review of Amphibian Species and Community Response to Climate Change

Amphibian species and community richness has been declining in North America and climate change may play a role in these declines. Global climate change has led to a range shift of many wildlife species and thus understanding how these changes in species distribution can be used to predict amphibian community responses that may improve conservation efforts.

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.  


Year Published: 2019

Modelling gully-erosion susceptibility in a semi-arid region, Iran: Investigation of applicability of certainty factor and maximum entropy models

Gully erosion susceptibility mapping is a fundamental tool for land-use planning aimed at mitigating land degradation. However, the capabilities of some state-of-the-art data-mining models for developing accurate maps of gully erosion susceptibility have not yet been fully investigated. This study assessed and...

Azareh, Ali; Rahmati, Omid; Rafiei-Sardooi, Elham; Sankey, Joel B.; Lee, Saro; Shahabi, Himan; Bin Ahmad, Baharin

Year Published: 2018

Fire changes the spatial distribution and sources of soil organic carbon in a grassland-shrubland transition zone

AimsIn many mixed grass-shrub ecosystems, increased shrub biomass tends to promote overall carbon storage, but the distribution of carbon pools may be complicated by disturbances such as wildfires. We investigated the spatial distribution of surface soil organic carbon (SOC) and its relative contribution from grasses and shrubs after fires in a...

Wang, Guan; Li, Junran; Ravi, Sujith; Theiling, Bethany P.; Sankey, Joel B.
Wang, G., Li, J., Ravi, S., Theiling, B.P., and Sankey, J.B., 2018, Fire changes the spatial distribution and sources of soil organic carbon in a grassland-shrubland transition zone: Plant and Soil, online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-018-3895-z.

Year Published: 2018

Land mollusks of the California Channel Islands: An overview of diversity, populations, and conservation status

The land snails and slugs have the highest level of endemism among all major animal groups on the California Channel Islands, with nearly 75% of the native terrestrial species confined to one or more of the 8 islands. In spite of this endemism, and in spite of the rarity of some species, the snails and slugs are one of the most poorly known groups...

Drost, Charles A.; Nekola, Jeffrey C.; Roth, Barry; Pearce, Timothy A.