Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)

Home

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.

Research Scientists

Research Scientists

WERC science is driven forward by our scientists and staff.

Research Scientists

Stories from the Field

Stories from the Field

Find out fun and interesting information uncovered from the field.

Learn More

Outreach

Outreach

Connecting science and the public.

Outreach Page

News

Illustration of Fijian Gau iguanas.
June 6, 2017

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, The National Trust of Fiji and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti have discovered a new species of banded iguana.

Map of California Ridgway’s rails habitat
February 2, 2017

A new study analyzes the genetic diversity and population structure of the California Ridgway’s rail, Rallus obsoletus, a state and federally-listed endangered bird. The results demonstrate that the so-called “rails” are experiencing negative genetic effects following more than a century of salt marsh habitat loss from agriculture, commercial salt production and urban development.

Clark's Grebe at Thermalito Afterbay, CA
January 24, 2017

A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that current conservation planning efforts for waterbird habitat in the Central Valley can likely compensate for habitat loss through the middle of the century.

Publications

Year Published: 2017

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) nesting and brood-rearing microhabitat in Nevada and California—Spatial variation in selection and survival patterns

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereinafter, "sage-grouse") are highly dependent on sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) dominated vegetation communities for food and cover from predators. Although this species requires the presence of sagebrush shrubs in the overstory, it also inhabits a broad geographic distribution with significant...

Coates, Peter S.; Brussee, Brianne E.; Ricca, Mark A.; Dudko, Jonathan E.; Prochazka, Brian G.; Espinosa, Shawn P.; Casazza, Michael L.; Delehanty, David J.
Coates, P.S., Brussee, B.E., Ricca, M.A., Dudko, J.E., Prochazka, B.G., Espinosa, S.P., Casazza, M.L., and Delehanty, D.J., 2017, Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) nesting and brood-rearing microhabitat in Nevada and California—Spatial variation in selection and survival patterns: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017-1087, 79 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171087.

Year Published: 2017

Hierarchical population monitoring of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Nevada and California—Identifying populations for management at the appropriate spatial scale

Population ecologists have long recognized the importance of ecological scale in understanding processes that guide observed demographic patterns for wildlife species. However, directly incorporating spatial and temporal scale into monitoring strategies that detect whether trajectories are driven by local or regional factors is challenging and...

Coates, Peter S.; Prochazka, Brian G.; Ricca, Mark A.; Wann, Gregory T.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Hanser, Steven E.; Doherty, Kevin E; O'Donnell, Michael S.; Edmunds, David R.; Espinosa, Shawn P.
Coates, P.S., Prochazka, B.G., Ricca, M.A., Wann, G.T., Aldridge, C.L., Hanser, S.E., Doherty, K.E., O’Donnell, M.S., Edmunds, D.R., and, Espinosa, S.P., 2017, Hierarchical population monitoring of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Nevada and California—Identifying populations for management at the appropriate spatial scale: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017-1089, 49 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171089.

Year Published: 2017

Using object-based image analysis to conduct high-resolution conifer extraction at regional spatial scales

The distribution and abundance of pinyon (Pinus monophylla) and juniper (Juniperus osteosperma, J. occidentalis) trees (hereinafter, "pinyon-juniper") in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems of the Great Basin in the Western United States has increased substantially since the late 1800s. Distributional expansion and infill of pinyon-juniper into...

Coates, Peter S.; Gustafson, K. Benjamin; Roth, Cali L.; Chenaille, Michael P.; Ricca, Mark A.; Mauch, Kimberly; Sanchez-Chopitea, Erika; Kroger, Travis J.; Perry, William M.; Casazza, Michael L.
Coates, P.S., Gustafson, K.B., Roth, C.L., Chenaille, M.P., Ricca, M.A., Mauch, Kimberly, Sanchez-Chopitea, Erika, Kroger, T.J., Perry, W.M., and Casazza, M.L., 2017, Using object-based image analysis to conduct high-resolution conifer extraction at regional spatial scales: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017-1093, 40 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171093.