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.

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.

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Outreach

Outreach

Connecting science and the public.

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News

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.

American mistletoe fruit and flowers
December 12, 2016

Perhaps some of you have already experienced a sweet smooch or two under the holiday mistletoe, enjoying this fairly old kissing ritual for people. While figuring prominently in ancient lore, mistletoe is important in other vital ways: it provides essential food, cover and nesting sites for an amazing number of critters. In fact, some animals couldn’t even survive without mistletoe.

Publications

Monitoring breeding and migration of neotropical migratory birds at Point Loma, San Diego County, California, 5-year summary, 2011–15
Year Published: 2017

Monitoring breeding and migration of neotropical migratory birds at Point Loma, San Diego County, California, 5-year summary, 2011–15

Executive SummaryWe operated a bird banding station on the Point Loma peninsula in western San Diego County, California, during spring and summer from 2011 to 2015.

Are coastal managers ready for climate change? A case study from estuaries along the Pacific coast of the United States
Year Published: 2017

Are coastal managers ready for climate change? A case study from estuaries along the Pacific coast of the United States

A key challenge for coastal resource managers is to plan and implement climate change adaptation strategies inlight of uncertainties and competing management priorities. In 2014, we held six workshops across estuaries along the Pacific coast of North America with over 150 participants to evaluate resource managers' perceived level of understanding of climate change science, where they obtain...

Asynchrony in craniomandibular development and growth in Enhydra lutris nereis (Carnivora: Mustelidae): are southern sea otters born to bite?
Year Published: 2017

Asynchrony in craniomandibular development and growth in Enhydra lutris nereis (Carnivora: Mustelidae): are southern sea otters born to bite?

Weaning represents a major ontogenetic dietary shift in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis), as juveniles must transition from depending on mother’s milk to independently processing hard-shelled invertebrates. When the skulls of juveniles have reached sufficient maturity to transition to a durophagous diet remains to be investigated. Here, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of skull...