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: July 25, 2019

USGS Press Release: Plant age drives mortality, reproductive success and population dynamics

A USGS press release was published today highlighting a paper describing possible limitations of big sagebrush restoration in the American West after wildfires.   

Date published: June 27, 2019

Why Sagebrush Re-establishment After Fire is so Difficult

Big sagebrush ecosystems are particularly sensitive to wildfires and life history information on big sagebrush is scarce and vital for restoration success.

Date published: June 21, 2019

SBSC Research on Barred and Spotted Owls Covered by Ecological Society of America

The Ecological Society of America put out a press release on a paper that investigated the relative importance of barred owl competition and habitat on northern spotted owls in an effort to assist managers. The lead author of the paper is Charles Yackulic of the USGS Southwest Biological Science Center.


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Year Published: 2019

Case study: Thomas Fire

No abstract available.

Kreitler, Jason R.; East, Amy E.; Sankey, Joel B.; Tague, Christina (Naomi)
Kreitler, J., J.B. Sankey, A. East, and C. Tague. (2018)The Thomas Fire in Central Coast Regional Report. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Publication number: SUM-CCCA4-2018-006

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Year Published: 2019

The U.S. Geological Survey Southwest Biological Science Center—Sound science to serve the American Southwest

Home to Arches, Grand Canyon, and Saguaro National Parks, among others, the American Southwest’s landscapes are as fragile as they are iconic. Energy development, water security, and grassland restoration are important to the region as it experiences population growth and increased demand for resources. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Southwest...

Biological Science Center Staff, Southwest
Southwest Biological Science Center staff, 2019, The U.S. Geological Survey Southwest Biological Science Center—Sound science to serve the American Southwest: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019–3041, 4 p.,

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Year Published: 2019

Earlier plant growth helps compensate for reduced carbon fixation after 13 years of warming

1. Drylands play a dominant role in global carbon cycling and are particularly vulnerable to increasing temperatures, but our understanding of how dryland ecosystems will respond to climatic change remains notably poor. Considering that the area of drylands is projected to increase 11–23% by 2100, understanding the impacts of warming on the...

Winkler, Daniel E.; Grossiord, Charlotte; Belnap, Jayne; Howell, Armin J.; Ferrenberg, Scott; Smith, Hilda J.; Reed, Sasha C.