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: 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

Date published: April 23, 2019

Salamander surveys by WERC scientists help monitor fungal threat (US Fish and Wildlife Pacific Southwest Highlights)

SAN DIEGO – WERC scientists find salamanders, test for deadly chytrid disease

Date published: April 11, 2019

WERC Scientists Combine Bird Calls and Artificial Intelligence to Keep Tabs on the Elusive Ashy-Storm Petrel (Audubon magazine)

CALIFORNIA COAST – Artificial intelligence and acoustic sensors help scientists monitor seabirds


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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

Operationalizing resilience and resistance concepts to address invasive grass-fire cycles

Plant invasions can affect fuel characteristics, fire behavior, and fire regimes resulting in invasive plant-fire cycles and alternative, self-perpetuating states that can be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse. Concepts related to general resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive plants provide the basis for managing landscapes to...

Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Germino, Matthew J.; Maestas, Jeremy D; Board, David I; Jones, Matthew O.; Allred, Brady W

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Year Published: 2019

Effect of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) on apparent survival of frogs and toads in the western USA

Despite increasing interest in determining the population-level effects of emerging infectious diseases on wildlife, estimating effects of disease on survival rates remains difficult. Even for a well-studied disease such as amphibian chytridiomycosis (caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]), there are few estimates of...

Russell, Robin E.; Halstead, Brian J.; Mosher, Brittany; Muths, Erin L.; Adams, Michael J.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Fisher, Robert N.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Backlin, Adam R.; Pearl, Christopher; Honeycutt, R. Ken; Hossack, Blake R.