Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)

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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: August 6, 2018

Invasive Crayfish Increase Number of Mosquitoes in Southern California Mountains

A new study published in Conservation Biology ties the presence of invasive crayfish to higher numbers of mosquito larvae within the Santa Monica Mountains, CA. The area is only about an hour away from the heart of Los Angeles, and is home to diverse wildlife, which already face threats...

Date published: July 13, 2018

Reducing Mercury Loads in The Cosumnes River

The Cosumnes River watershed has seasonal, non-point source hotspots for total mercury and methylmercury production, which discharge to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in north-central California. To reduce mercury loads to the Delta, researchers created open-water deep cells at the downstream end of wetlands.

Date published: July 3, 2018

At This Military Base, A Haven for the Endangered Least Bell’s Vireo

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – It may not be the most intuitive place for an endangered species to recover, but the staff of the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton have worked hard to protect habitat for the least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus).

Publications

Year Published: 2018

Sea‐level rise, habitat loss, and potential extirpation of a salt marsh specialist bird in urbanized landscapes

Sea‐level rise (SLR) impacts on intertidal habitat depend on coastal topology, accretion, and constraints from surrounding development. Such habitat changes might affect species like Belding's savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi; BSSP), which live in high‐elevation salt marsh in the Southern California Bight. To predict how BSSP...

Rosencranz, Jordan; Thorne, Karen M.; Buffington, Kevin J.; Takekawa, John Y.; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Stewart, Tara E.; Ambrose, Richard F.; MacDonald, Glen M.; Holmgren, Mark A.; Crooks, Jeff A.; Patton, Robert T.; Lafferty, Kevin D.
Rosencranz JA, Thorne KM, Buffington KJ, et al. Sea-level rise, habitat loss, and potential extirpation of a salt marsh specialist bird in urbanized landscapes.Ecol Evol. 2018;00:1–11. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4196

Year Published: 2018

Selective occupancy of a persistent yet variable coastal river plume by two seabird species

Advances in telemetry and modeling of physical processes expand opportunities to assess relationships between marine predators and their dynamic habitat. The Columbia River plume (CRP) attracts sooty shearwaters Ardenna grisea and common murres Uria aalge, but how seabirds respond to variability in plume waters is unknown. We...

Phillips, Elizabeth M.; Horne, John K.; Adams, Josh; Zamon, Jeannette E.
Phillips EM, Horne JK, Adams J, Zamon JE (2018) Selective occupancy of a persistent yet variable coastal river plume by two seabird species. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 594:245-261. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12534

Year Published: 2018

Broad‐scale occurrence of a subsidized avian predator: reducing impacts of ravens on sage‐grouse and other sensitive prey

Expanding human enterprise across remote environments impacts numerous wildlife species. Anthropogenic resources provide subsidies for generalist predators that can lead to cascading effects on prey species at lower trophic levels. A fundamental challenge for applied ecologists is to disentangle natural and anthropogenic influences on species...

O'Neil, Shawn T.; Coates, Peter S.; Brussee, Brianne E.; Jackson, Pat J.; Howe, Kristy B.; Moser, Ann M.; Foster, Lee J.; Delehanty, David J.
O'Neil, S. T., Coates, P. S., Brussee, B. E., Jackson, P. J., Howe, K. B., Moser, A. M., Foster, L. J. and Delehanty, D. J. (2018), Broad‐scale occurrence of a subsidized avian predator: reducing impacts of ravens on sage‐grouse and other sensitive prey. J Appl Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. . doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13249