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Southwest Biological Science Center

Welcome to the Southwest Biological Science Center (SBSC). We conduct quality, objective research on the lands and aquatic systems of the Southwest. This research can assist those who manage, conserve, and rehabilitate arid regions of the nation. Click the links below for our work on the Colorado Plateau, Colorado River in Grand Canyon, and terrestrial drylands in Arizona, California, and Utah.

News

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Incorporating Genetic Diversity into Restoration and Conservation Decision-making

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JOB ALERT! Chief, SBSC's Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center

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Twenty-four Years of Data Show Desert Soils Struggle for Survival

Publications

Experimental reductions in sub-daily flow fluctuations increased gross primary productivity for 425 river kilometers downstream

Aquatic primary production is the foundation of many river food webs. Dams change the physical template of rivers, often driving food webs toward greater reliance on aquatic primary production. Nonetheless, the effects of regulated flow regimes on primary production are poorly understood. Load following is a common dam flow management strategy that involves sub-daily changes in water releases prop

Parks look for ways to alleviate Glen Canyon Dam’s dramatic downstream impacts

Introduction Regardless of the location, time of day, or season, the grandeur of Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area inspires awe. Visitors can reflect on the sunlit colors of the towering canyon walls or witness the vibrant, golden display of Fremont cottonwood leaves each fall. For millions of years, the Colorado River has sculpted canyon country; for thousands of

Effects of flow regulation and drought on geomorphology and floodplain habitat along the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Streamflow regulation compounded by regional drought has resulted in up to 22% reduction in channel width, changes in channel planform, expansion of riparian vegetation, and alterations to floodplain habitat on the Colorado River in Meander Canyon, Utah. Although some changes in channel width occurred between the 1940s and 1980s, coinciding with major phases of upstream water development, larger d

Science

Lake Powell Research

Lake Powell is a large arid reservoir that represents about 70% of the water storage capacity for the Upper Colorado River Basin. It is the second largest reservoir in the United States by capacity (second only to Lake Mead). Lake Powell is an oligotrophic reservoir, which means that nutrient concentrations and algal production are generally low. This often results in very clear-water conditions...
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Lake Powell Research

Lake Powell is a large arid reservoir that represents about 70% of the water storage capacity for the Upper Colorado River Basin. It is the second largest reservoir in the United States by capacity (second only to Lake Mead). Lake Powell is an oligotrophic reservoir, which means that nutrient concentrations and algal production are generally low. This often results in very clear-water conditions...
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The Gemini Solar Project

The United States is developing renewable energy resources, especially solar, at a rapid rate. Although renewable energy development is widely perceived by the public as “green technology,” construction, operation, maintenance, and eventual decommissioning of facilities all have known and potential negative impacts to natural resources, including plant communities and wildlife. This is especially...
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The Gemini Solar Project

The United States is developing renewable energy resources, especially solar, at a rapid rate. Although renewable energy development is widely perceived by the public as “green technology,” construction, operation, maintenance, and eventual decommissioning of facilities all have known and potential negative impacts to natural resources, including plant communities and wildlife. This is especially...
Learn More

Drought & Grazing Experiment: Understanding Impacts and Identifying Mitigation Strategies

Drylands (sometimes called ‘deserts’ or ‘arid and semi-arid' ecosystems) are defined by water scarcity. Understanding how land-use activities may effect dryland ecosystems and dryland ecological processes is a high priority for land conservation and management. Grazing by domestic livestock (typically cattle but also sheep and goats) is the most widespread land-use in drylands globally and a large...
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Drought & Grazing Experiment: Understanding Impacts and Identifying Mitigation Strategies

Drylands (sometimes called ‘deserts’ or ‘arid and semi-arid' ecosystems) are defined by water scarcity. Understanding how land-use activities may effect dryland ecosystems and dryland ecological processes is a high priority for land conservation and management. Grazing by domestic livestock (typically cattle but also sheep and goats) is the most widespread land-use in drylands globally and a large...
Learn More