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: September 24, 2018

USGS Scientists Find Success in New "Real Estate" for Waterbirds

There’s hot new real estate for wildlife in south San Francisco Bay, and a report from USGS biologists shows that the waterbirds are flocking in.

Date published: September 13, 2018

Secrets of Suisun Marsh's Birds of Prey

Did you know that the USGS is studying raptors in California? Biologists with the USGS Western Ecological Research Center are hard at work in the field, learning more about the ecology of Northern Harriers and their interactions with migratory waterfowl of concern to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Date published: August 28, 2018

Toad Crossing Ahead: New Study Tests Elevated Roads as Underpasses for Rare Toad

Many amphibians are either too small or too slow to avoid an oncoming car. For some populations of the Federally threatened Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus canorus), this has meant increased mortality from vehicle strikes in addition to other threats from disease, drought, and habitat loss.


Year Published: 2018

Identifying management-relevant research priorities for responding to disease-associated amphibian declines

A research priority can be defined as a knowledge gap that, if resolved, identifies the optimal course of conservation action. We (a group of geographically distributed and multidisciplinary research scientists) used tools from nominal group theory and decision analysis to collaboratively identify and prioritize information...

Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Adams, Michael J.; Fisher, Robert N.; Grear, Daniel A.; Halstead, Brian J.; Hossack, Blake R.; Muths, Erin L.; Richgels, Katherine L. D.; Russell, Robin E.; Smalling, Kelly; Waddle, J. Hardin; Walls, Susan C.; White, C. LeAnn
Grant, E. H. C., Adams, M. J., Fisher, R. N., Grear, D. A., Halstead, B. J., Hossack, B. R., Muths, E., Richgels, K. L. D., Russell, R. E., Smalling, K. L., Waddle, J. H., Walls, S. C., and White, C. L., 2018, Identifying management-relevant research priorities for responding to disease-associated amphibian declines: Global Ecology and Conservation, v. 16, article e00441, 9 p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2018.e00441

Year Published: 2018

Assessing effects of nonnative crayfish on mosquito survival

Introductions of nonnative predators often reduce biodiversity and affect natural predator–prey relationships and may increase the abundance of potential disease vectors (e.g., mosquitoes) indirectly through competition or predation cascades. The Santa Monica Mountains (California, U.S.A.), situated in a global biodiversity hotspot, is an area of...

Bucciarelli, Gary M.; Suh, Daniel; Davis Lamb, Avery; Roberts, Dave; Sharpton, Debra; Shaffer, H. Bradley; Fisher, Robert N.; Kats, Lee B.
Bucciarelli, G. M., Suh, D. , Davis, A. , Roberts, D. , Sharpton, D. , Shaffer, H. B., Fisher, R. N. and Kats, L. B. (2018), Assessing effects of non‐native crayfish on mosquito survival. Conservation Biology. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/cobi.13198

Year Published: 2018

Modeling resource selection of bobcats (Lynx rufus) and vertebrate species distributions in Orange County, southern California

For nature reserves in urban settings, wildlife and wildlife habitats may be affected by recreational activities and intensive, adjacent development. Sustaining biodiversity in such reserves is a challenge for land and natural resource managers, but identification of core areas and key resources for wildlife species may help in planning for...

Boydston, Erin E.; Tracey, Jeff A.
Boydston, E.E., and Tracey, J.A., 2018, Modeling resource selection of bobcats (Lynx rufus) and vertebrate species distributions in Orange County, southern California, with a section on Modeling for reptile, amphibian, and bird distributions by Tracey, J.A., Preston, K.L., Rochester, C.J., Boydston, E.E., and Fisher, R.N.: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1095, 65 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181095.