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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WERC science is driven forward by our scientists and staff.

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News

WERC scientists heading out onto the Petaluma River
February 21, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO BAY, Calif. — A new study published Wednesday in Science Advances introduces an innovative tool to help resource managers preserve Pacific coastal wetlands from rising sea levels.

Screenshot from the USGS video, "Living With Fire."
November 30, 2017

Visit our new USGS fire webpage to learn how USGS fire science is making a difference

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.

Publications

Year Published: 2018

Foraging and fasting can influence contaminant concentrations in animals: an example with mercury contamination in a free-ranging marine mammal

Large fluctuations in animal body mass in relation to life-history events can influence contaminant concentrations and toxicological risk. We quantified mercury concentrations in adult northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) before and after lengthy at sea foraging trips (n = 89) or fasting periods on land (n = 27), and showed that...

Peterson, Sarah; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Crocker, Daniel E.; Costa, Daniel P.
Peterson, SH, JT Ackerman, DE Crocker, DP Costa. 2018. Foraging and fasting can influence contaminant concentrations in animals: an example with mercury contamination in a free-ranging marine mammal. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285: 20172782. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.2782

Year Published: 2018

To reduce the global burden of human schistosomiasis, use ‘old fashioned’ snail control

Control strategies to reduce human schistosomiasis have evolved from ‘snail picking’ campaigns, a century ago, to modern wide-scale human treatment campaigns, or preventive chemotherapy. Unfortunately, despite the rise in preventive chemotherapy campaigns, just as many people suffer from schistosomiasis today as they did 50 years ago. Snail...

Sokolow, Susanne H.; Wood, Chelsea L.; Jones, Isabel J.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand; Hsieh, Michael H.; De Leo, Giulio A.
Sokolow, SH, CL Wood, IJ Jones, KD Lafferty, AM Kuris, MH Hsieh, GA De Leo. 2017. To Reduce the Global Burden of Human Schistosomiasis, Use ‘Old Fashioned’ Snail Control. Trends in Parasitology. doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2017.10.002

Year Published: 2018

MHC class II DRB diversity predicts antigen recognition and is associated with disease severity in California sea lions naturally infected with Leptospira interrogans

We examined the associations between California sea lion MHC class II DRB (Zaca-DRB) configuration and diversity, and leptospirosis. As Zaca-DRB gene sequences are involved with antigen presentation of bacteria and other extracellular pathogens, we predicted that they would play a role in determining responses to these pathogenic spirochaetes....

Acevedo-Whitehouse, Karina; Gulland, Frances; Bowen, Lizabeth
Acevedo-Whitehouse, K, FMD Gulland, L Bowen. 2018. MHC class II DRB diversity predicts antigen recognition and is associated with disease severity in California sea lions naturally infected with Leptospira interrogans. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 57: 158-165. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2017.11.023