Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)
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.
WERC science is driven forward by our scientists and staff.Research Scientists
Stories from the Field
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A new study published in Conservation Biology ties the presence of invasive crayfish to higher numbers of mosquito larvae within the Santa Monica Mountains, CA. The area is only about an hour away from the heart of Los Angeles, and is home to diverse wildlife, which already face threats...
The Cosumnes River watershed has seasonal, non-point source hotspots for total mercury and methylmercury production, which discharge to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in north-central California. To reduce mercury loads to the Delta, researchers created open-water deep cells at the downstream end of wetlands.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – It may not be the most intuitive place for an endangered species to recover, but the staff of the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton have worked hard to protect habitat for the least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus).
Sea‐level rise, habitat loss, and potential extirpation of a salt marsh specialist bird in urbanized landscapes
Sea‐level rise (SLR) impacts on intertidal habitat depend on coastal topology, accretion, and constraints from surrounding development. Such habitat changes might affect species like Belding's savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi; BSSP), which live in high‐elevation salt marsh in the Southern California Bight. To predict how BSSP...Rosencranz, Jordan; Thorne, Karen M.; Buffington, Kevin J.; Takekawa, John Y.; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Stewart, Tara E.; Ambrose, Richard F.; MacDonald, Glen M.; Holmgren, Mark A.; Crooks, Jeff A.; Patton, Robert T.; Lafferty, Kevin D.
Selective occupancy of a persistent yet variable coastal river plume by two seabird species
Advances in telemetry and modeling of physical processes expand opportunities to assess relationships between marine predators and their dynamic habitat. The Columbia River plume (CRP) attracts sooty shearwaters Ardenna grisea and common murres Uria aalge, but how seabirds respond to variability in plume waters is unknown. We...Phillips, Elizabeth M.; Horne, John K.; Adams, Josh; Zamon, Jeannette E.
Broad‐scale occurrence of a subsidized avian predator: reducing impacts of ravens on sage‐grouse and other sensitive prey
Expanding human enterprise across remote environments impacts numerous wildlife species. Anthropogenic resources provide subsidies for generalist predators that can lead to cascading effects on prey species at lower trophic levels. A fundamental challenge for applied ecologists is to disentangle natural and anthropogenic influences on species...O'Neil, Shawn T.; Coates, Peter S.; Brussee, Brianne E.; Jackson, Pat J.; Howe, Kristy B.; Moser, Ann M.; Foster, Lee J.; Delehanty, David J.