Southwest Biological Science Center

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October 7, 2013

Animal Interactions at Wind Energy Facilities – Gray Fox

There were two documented gray fox visits at the burrows, making them the third most documented predator. Gray foxes are implicated predators of various life stages of desert tortoises, but it is difficult to catch them in the act. In this case, a gray fox approaches a burrow, and thoroughly investigates the burrow mouth. The fox develops an arch in its tail (slight

October 5, 2013

Animal Interactions at Wind Energy Facilities – Western Spotted Skunk

There was one documented skunk event captured on camera - the least documented predator. Here, a western spotted skunk is thoroughly investigating the burrow of one of the marked female tortoises in the study population. Western spotted skunks are known predators of turtle eggs. The skunk investigated the area within the burrow for a full minute before it appears outside

June 30, 2013

Animal Interactions at Wind Energy Facilities – Bobcat

In this video, a bobcat approached a desert tortoise (a marked female in the study population) that was sleeping on the apron of her burrow. Bobcats are known predators of various life stages of the desert tortoise. In this case, the bobcat bent down to sniff the tortoise, and then touched its paw to the top of the tortoise's shell. The tortoise then moved into an "all-

June 22, 2013

Animal Interactions at Wind Energy Facilities – American Black Bear

This American black bear and cub duo was seen simply investigating a tortoise burrow, and although it is surprising to see a black bear so low in elevation, it isn't impossible. The study site, Mesa, sits at the intersection of multiple ecosystems (Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, montane, and coastal sage scrub). Therefore, the bears could have come down from the montane

June 22, 2013

Animal Interactions at Wind Energy Facilities – Coyotes

Coyotes were the second most frequently observed mammalian predator on the trail cameras. Coyotes are considered one of the primary predators of desert tortoises. In this instance, a coyote is passing by a burrow when it suddenly has a change in attention as it is passing by. It then approaches the burrow and sniffs all around the burrow entrance (including the apron and

USGS and US Forest Service staff installing dust monitoring equipment at a uranium mine near Grand Canyon National Park.
May 31, 2013

USGS and US Forest Service staff installing dust monitoring equipment

USGS and US Forest Service staff installing dust monitoring equipment at a uranium mine near Grand Canyon National Park.

Climate change combined with overlapping high-intensity land uses are likely to create conditions detrimental to the recreation economy, wildlife habitat, water availability and other resources in hyper-arid landscapes, or drylands, in the future

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Grand Canyon sunset from South Rim
April 12, 2013

Grand Canyon sunset from South Rim

Grand Canyon sunset from South Rim taken during USGS field work, April 2013.

Bureau of Land Management truck sprays herbicide in southwestern Idaho as part of a restoration effort. 
December 31, 2012

Truck sprays herbicide in Idaho as part of a restoration effort.

Bureau of Land Management truck sprays herbicide in southwestern Idaho as part of a restoration effort. 

An examination of long-term data for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management finds that land treatments in the southwestern United States are increasingly large, expensive and related to fire and invasive species control.

Humpback Chub near Little Colorado River confluence
July 1, 2012

Humpback Chub near Little Colorado River confluence

A school of Humpback Chub swimming near Little Colorado River confluence

Researcher with Humpback Chub individual
June 26, 2012

Researcher with Humpback Chub individual

Researcher with Humpback Chub during fish seining efforts

People pulling fishing nets from the shoreline onto land.
June 1, 2012

Juvenile Surf Smelt Surveys in Central Puget Sound, Washington

USGS Western Fisheries Research Center scientists haul a beach seine over an eelgrass bed while conducting a survey for juvenile surf smelt on Bainbridge Island, WA.

Washington's Puget Sound is a complex ecosystem directly adjacent to a robust metropolitan area that scientists from the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center study. Recent surveys have looked at

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Image:  Helmet Crab in Puget Sound
June 1, 2012

Helmet Crab in Puget Sound

A Helment Crab (Telmessus_cheiragonus) captured in a beach seine during a 2012 Bainbridge Island larval forage fish survey. This survey focused on the abundance, habitat use, and food habits of larval forage fish (surf smelt and sand lance) and was conducted by scientists from the Columbia River Research Laboratory -Western Fisheries Research Center.