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.

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Date published: October 13, 2021

Wildfire Smoke Disrupts Bird Migration in the West

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Early fall wildfires in the western states and the smoke they generate pose a risk to birds migrating in the Pacific Flyway, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. GPS data from the 2020 wildfire season indicate that at least some migratory birds may take longer and use more energy to avoid wildfire smoke.

Date published: October 5, 2021

Research Spotlight: High Salinity and Limited Wetlands Reduce Duckling Habitat for Waterfowl

A new publication by USGS scientists examines wetland availability and salinity in Suisun Marsh, with particular focus on the implications for young ducklings with low salinity tolerance. The results indicated that a majority of wetland area in Suisun Marsh has salinity concentrations high enough to have detrimental effects on duckling growth and survival.

Date published: September 19, 2021

Sea Otter Surveys Get a High-Tech, COVID-Safe Update for 2021

After a 2020 cancellation of the annual sea otter census, the count was back on for 2021.


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Year Published: 2021

Schistosome infection in Senegal is associated with different spatial extents of risk and ecological drivers for Schistosoma haematobium and S. mansoni

Schistosome parasites infect more than 200 million people annually, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, where people may be co-infected with more than one species of the parasite. Infection risk for any single species is determined, in part, by the distribution of its obligate intermediate host snail. As the World Health Organization reprioritizes snail...

Jones, Isabel J.; Sokolow, Susanne H.; Chamberlin, Andrew J; Lund, Andrea J; Jouanard, Nicolas; Bandagny, Lydie; Ndione, Raphaël; Senghor, Simon; Schacht, Anne-Marie; Riveau, Gilles; Hopkins, Skylar R.; Rohr, Jason R.; Remais, Justin V.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand M.; Wood, Chelsea L.; De Leo, Giulio A.

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Year Published: 2021

Migration stopover ecology of Cinnamon Teal in western North America

Identifying migration routes and fall stopover sites of Cinnamon Teal (Spatula cyanoptera septentrionalium) can provide a spatial guide to management and conservation efforts, and address vulnerabilities in wetland networks that support migratory waterbirds. Using high spatiotemporal resolution GPS-GSM transmitters, we analyzed 61 fall...

Mackell, Desmond Alexander; Casazza, Michael L.; Overton, Cory T.; Donnelly, J. Patrick; Olson, David; McDuie, Fiona; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Eadie, John M.

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Year Published: 2021

Kelp forest monitoring at Naval Base Ventura County, San Nicolas Island, California—Fall 2019, sixth annual repor

The U.S. Geological Survey conducts ecological monitoring of rocky subtidal communities at four permanent sites around San Nicolas Island. The sites—Nav Fac 100, West End, Dutch Harbor, and Daytona 100—were based on ones that had been monitored since 1980 by the U.S. Geological Survey and, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, were combined or...

Kenner, Michael C.; Tomoleoni, Joseph
Kenner, M.C., and Tomoleoni, J., 2021, Kelp forest monitoring at Naval Base Ventura County, San Nicolas Island, California—Fall 2019, sixth annual report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1081, 97 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211081.