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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

Assessing population genomic structure and polyploidy: A crucial step for native plant restoration

Establishing an effective restoration program requires baseline genetic information to make sound decisions for seed increase and transfer. For many plants this information is lacking, especially among native forbs that are critical for pollinator health. Erigeron speciosus is a widespread, perennial forb occupying montane environments in the western United States and Canada. This species is impor

Understory plant communities show resistance to drought, hurricanes, and experimental warming in a wet tropical forest

Global climate change has led to rising temperatures and to more frequent and intense climatic events, such as storms and droughts. Changes in climate and disturbance regimes can have non-additive effects on plant communities and result in complicated legacies we have yet to understand. This is especially true for tropical forests, which play a significant role in regulating global climate. We use

Dryland mechanisms could widely control ecosystem functioning in a drier and warmer world

Responses of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change have been explored in many regions worldwide. While continued drying and warming may alter process rates and deteriorate the state and performance of ecosystems, it could also lead to more fundamental changes in the mechanisms governing ecosystem functioning. Here we argue that climate change will induce unprecedented shifts in these mechanisms

Science

Repeat Photography Archives at the Southwest Biological Science Center

The USGS Southwest Repeat Photography Collection contains repeat imagery taken for a variety of research purposes over the last 100+ years. Repeat photographs are taken at precisely the same location at later times in order to document landscape and other change. To view the location of images shown in the slideshows below, click on the Study Area map on the right-hand side of this page. A link to...
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Repeat Photography Archives at the Southwest Biological Science Center

The USGS Southwest Repeat Photography Collection contains repeat imagery taken for a variety of research purposes over the last 100+ years. Repeat photographs are taken at precisely the same location at later times in order to document landscape and other change. To view the location of images shown in the slideshows below, click on the Study Area map on the right-hand side of this page. A link to...
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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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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...
Learn More

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