Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)

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The Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) is a USGS Ecosystems Mission Area operation serving primarily California and Nevada. WERC scientists work closely with Federal, State, academic, and other collaborators to address a diverse array of high-profile topics. Topics include research on effects of wildfire, sea level rise, drought, energy development and more on federal Trust species.

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News

WERC sea otter
November 9, 2017

As part of the USGS Evening Public Lecture Series, WERC's Tim Tinker is giving a free "science talk" for the public on Thursday, 11/30/17 at 7PM PST. Watch live or online.

Hoary bat
October 30, 2017

Around Halloween, USGS celebrates bats and other "spooky" creatures by sharing some of its research on these fascinating creatures! Check out social media on Gabe Reyes' and Brian Halstead's projects with bats at Pt. Reyes National Seashore, CA.

Photo of a plane dropping flame retardant on a wildfire
October 12, 2017

NAPA, SONOMA COUNTIES — As the Tubbs, Atlas, and Nuns fires raged across northern California, WERC's Jon Keeley appeared on NPR to provide insight into fire ecology across the state.

Publications

Year Published: 2017

Behavioral response of giant gartersnakes (Thamnophis gigas) to the relative availability of aquatic habitat on the landscape

Most extant giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas) populations persist in an agro-ecosystem dominated by rice, which serves as a surrogate to the expansive marshes lost to flood control projects and development of the Great Central Valley of California. Knowledge of how giant gartersnakes use the rice agricultural landscape, including how they...

Reyes, Gabriel A.; Halstead, Brian J.; Rose, Jonathan P.; Ersan, Julia S. M.; Jordan, Anna C.; Essert, Allison M.; Fouts, Kristen J.; Fulton, Alexandria M.; Gustafson, K. Benjamin; Wack, Raymond F.; Wylie, Glenn D.; Casazza, Michael L.
Reyes, G.A., Halstead, B.J., Rose, J.P., Ersan, J.S.M., Jordan, A.C., Essert, A.M., Fouts, K.J., Fulton, A.M., Gustafson, K.B., Wack, R.F., Wylie, G.D., and Casazza, M.L., 2017, Behavioral response of giant gartersnakes (Thamnophis gigas) to the relative availability of aquatic habitat on the landscape: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017-1141, 134 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171141.

Year Published: 2017

Why were California's wine country fires so destructive?

As of late October more than a dozen wildfires north of San Francisco had killed more than 40 people, burned approximately 160,000 acres and destroyed more than 7,000 structures.This tragic loss of life and property is unprecedented in California. However, the fires are not anomalous events in terms of their size, intensity or the speed with which...

Keeley, Jon E.
Keeley, J. (2017, October 27) Why were California's wine country fires so destructive? The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/why-were-californias-wine-country-fires-so-destructive-86043

Year Published: 2017

Patterns and correlates of giant sequoia foliage dieback during California’s 2012–2016 hotter drought

Hotter droughts – droughts in which unusually high temperatures exacerbate the effects of low precipitation – are expected to increase in frequency and severity in coming decades, challenging scientists and managers to identify which parts of forested landscapes may be most vulnerable. In 2014, in the middle of California’s historically...

Stephenson, Nathan L.; Das, Adrian J.; Ampersee, Nicholas J.; Cahill, Kathleen G.; Caprio, Anthony C.; Sanders, John E.; Williams, A. Park
Stephenson, NL, AJ Das, NJ Ampersee, KG Cahill, AC Caprio, JE Sanders, AP Williams. 2017. Patterns and correlates of giant sequoia foliage dieback during California’s 2012–2016 hotter drought. Forest Ecology and Management. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2017.10.053