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: July 18, 2019

What’s it like to be a tree in California today? WERC forest ecologist weighs in (Mashable)

Dr. Nate Stephenson says the rules are changing for Sierra Nevada trees

Date published: July 18, 2019

WERC scientist unites research, restoration, and education on the California Channel Islands (Inside Science)

For Dr. Kathryn McEachern, research and outreach go hand in hand

Date published: June 24, 2019

WERC scientists find that threatened snakes depend on agriculture (TWS Wildlife News)

SACRAMENTO – A new study shows how giant gartersnakes use Central Valley rice fields


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Year Published: 2019

Monitoring protocol development and assessment for narrowly endemic toads in Nevada, 2018

Several species and subspecies of toads are endemic to small spring systems in the Great Basin, and their restricted ranges and habitat extent make them vulnerable to environmental perturbations. Very little is known about several of these toad populations, so a group of stakeholders including the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife...

Halstead, Brian J.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Duarte, Adam; Rose, Jonathan P.; Urquhart, Kris; Mellison, Chad; Guadalupe, Kevin; Cota, Melanie; Van Horne, Rachel; Killion, Alexa; Ruehling, Kelsey
Halstead, B.J., Kleeman, P.M., Duarte, A., Rose, J.P., Urquhart, K., Mellison, C., Guadalupe, K., Cota, M., Van Horne, R., Killion, A., and Ruehling, K., 2019, Monitoring protocol development and assessment for narrowly endemic toads in Nevada, 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1067, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191067.

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Year Published: 2019

Negative impacts of summer heat on Sierra Nevada tree seedlings

Understanding the response of forests to climate change is important for predicting changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services, including carbon storage. Seedlings represent a key demographic stage in these responses, because seedling establishment is necessary for population persistence and spread, and because the conditions allowing...

Moran, Emily V; Das, Adrian J.; Keeley, Jon; Stephenson, Nathan L.

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Year Published: 2019

Spatially consistent high-resolution land surface temperature mosaics for thermophysical mapping of the Mojave Desert

Daytime and nighttime thermal infrared observations acquired by the ASTER and MODIS instruments onboard the NASA Terra spacecraft have produced a dataset that can be used to map thermophysical properties across large regions, which have implications on surface processes, thermal environments and habitat suitability for desert species. ASTER scenes...

Nowicki, Scott A; Inman, Rich; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Edwards, Christopher S.