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 26, 2018

A Unified Research Strategy for Disease Management

As wildlife diseases increase globally, an understanding of host-pathogen relationships can elucidate avenues for management and improve conservation efficacy. Amphibians are among the most threatened groups of wildlife, and disease is a major factor in global amphibian declines.

Date published: September 28, 2018

Large-scale Review of Amphibian Species and Community Response to Climate Change

Amphibian species and community richness has been declining in North America and climate change may play a role in these declines. Global climate change has led to a range shift of many wildlife species and thus understanding how these changes in species distribution can be used to predict amphibian community responses that may improve conservation efforts.

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.


Year Published: 2018

Multi-scale effects of land cover and urbanization on the habitat suitability of an endangered toad

Habitat degradation, entwined with land cover change, is a major driver of biodiversity loss. Effects of land cover change on species can be direct (when habitat is converted to alternative land cover types) or indirect (when land outside of the species habitat is altered). Hydrologic and ecological connections between terrestrial and...

Treglia, Michael L.; Landon, Adam C; Fisher, Robert N.; Kyle, Gerard; Fitzgerald, Lee A.
Treglia, M. L., Landon, A. C., Fisher, R. N., Kyle, G., & Fitzgerald, L. A. (2018). Multi-scale effects of land cover and urbanization on the habitat suitability of an endangered toad. Biological Conservation, 228, 310-318.

Year Published: 2018

California mallards: a review

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are the most abundant breeding waterfowl species in California and are important to waterfowl hunters in the state. California is unique among major North American wintering waterfowl areas, in that most mallards harvested in California are also produced in California, meaning that California must provide both high...

Feldheim, Cliff L.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Oldenburger, Shaun L.; Eadie, John M.; Fleskes, Joseph P.; Yarris, Gregory S.
Feldheim, C. L., Ackerman, J. T., Oldenburger, S. L., Eadie, J. M., Fleskes, J. P., & Yarris, G. S. (2018). California mallards: a review. California Fish and Game, 104(2), 49-66.

Year Published: 2018

Effects of prescribed fire on San Francisco gartersnake survival and movement

The application of fire is prescribed for management of habitats for many plant and animal communities, but its effects on herpetofauna are diverse and remain poorly understood. To date no studies have examined the effects of prescribed fire on endangered San Francisco gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) populations, despite a call for...

Halstead, Brian J.; Thompson, Michelle E.; Amarello, Melissa; Smith, Jeffrey J.; Wylie, Glenn D.; Routman, Eric J.; Casazza, Michael L.
Halstead, B. J., Thompson, M. E., Amarello, M. , Smith, J. J., Wylie, G. D., Routman, E. J. and Casazza, M. L. (2018), Effects of prescribed fire on San Francisco gartersnake survival and movement. Jour. Wild. Mgmt.. . doi:10.1002/jwmg.21585