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: December 21, 2018

It Takes Collaboration!

Cloud Forest restoration gallery exhibit on display at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center.

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.


Year Published: 2019

Complex immune responses and molecular reactions to pathogens and disease in a desert reptile (Gopherus agassizii)

Immune function plays an important role in an animal's defense against infectious disease. In reptiles, immune responses may be complex and counterintuitive, and diagnostic tools used to identify infection, such as induced antibody responses are limited. Recent studies using gene transcription profiling in tortoises have proven useful in...

Drake, K. Kristina; Aiello, Christina M.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lewison, Rebecca L.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Waters, Shannon C.; Hudson, Peter J.

Year Published: 2019

Distinguishing recent dispersal from historical genetic connectivity in the coastal California gnatcatcher

Habitat loss and fragmentation are primary threats to biodiversity worldwide. We studied the impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation on genetic connectivity and diversity among local aggregations of the California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) across its U.S. range. With a dataset of 268 individuals genotyped at 19...

Vandergast, Amy G.; Kus, Barbara E.; Preston, Kristine L.; Barr, Kelly R.

Year Published: 2019

Freshwater tidal forests and estuarine wetlands may confer early life growth advantages for delta-reared Chinook Salmon

Large river deltas are complex ecosystems that are believed to play a pivotal role in promoting the early marine growth and survival of threatened Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. We used a fish bioenergetics model to assess the functional role of multiple delta habitats across a gradient of salinities and vegetation types, where...

Davis, Melanie J.; Woo, Isa; Ellings, Christopher S.; Hodgson, Sayre; Beauchamp, David A.; Nakai, Glynnis; De La Cruz, Susan E. W.