Western Ecological Research Center


Click on the articles below to read about the latest WERC scientific discoveries.

Filter Total Items: 112
Date published: November 9, 2017

Save the Date! Sea Otters: Confessions of a Keystone Carnivore

As part of the USGS Evening Public Lecture Series, WERC's Tim Tinker is giving a free "science talk" for the public on Thursday, 11/30/17 at 7PM PST. Watch live or online.

Date published: October 30, 2017

Incoming! Learn about Bats with the USGS WERC

Around Halloween, USGS celebrates bats and other "spooky" creatures by sharing some of its research on these fascinating creatures! Check out social media on Gabe Reyes' and Brian Halstead's projects with bats at Pt. Reyes National Seashore, CA.

Date published: October 12, 2017

On Fire, Out West (NPR)

NAPA, SONOMA COUNTIES — As the Tubbs, Atlas, and Nuns fires raged across northern California, WERC's Jon Keeley appeared on NPR to provide insight into fire ecology across the state.

Date published: September 29, 2017

Annual Southern Sea Otter Survey: Despite Small Population Dip, Species Moves a Step Closer to Recovery

According to data released Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners, the three-year average of the total counts of southern sea otters was down from last year’s high, although it still exceeded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting threshold for a second straight year.

Date published: August 25, 2017

Story from the Field: Ducks of Suisun Marsh

Suisun Marsh in summer is typically heavy with fog, mosquitoes, and biting flies, but the sun casts sharp light across the water, beating back the usual unpleasantness as WERC volunteer Brock Riggs wades toward a study site on an early July morning. 

Date published: August 1, 2017

The Towering Emotional and Financial Toll of Living Among Dead Trees (89.3 KPCC)

This segment from a southern California radio station features WERC ecologist Adrian Das as he describes rates of tree mortality following the state's severe drought.

Date published: June 6, 2017

Scientists Discover New Species of Fijian Iguana

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, The National Trust of Fiji and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti have discovered a new species of banded iguana.

Date published: April 6, 2017

Audubon's Decoy Workshop Fuels USGS Seabird Studies (Audubon)

SAN FRANCISCO BAY, CA — Audubon magazine interviews USGS WERC wildlife biologist Dr. Alex Hartman on an ongoing effort to attract seabirds to newly-restored habitat in the Bay.

Date published: February 2, 2017

A Century of Habitat Loss Affects Genetics of Endangered Bird

A new study analyzes the genetic diversity and population structure of the California Ridgway’s rail, Rallus obsoletus, a state and federally-listed endangered bird. The results demonstrate that the so-called “rails” are experiencing negative genetic effects following more than a century of salt marsh habitat loss from agriculture, commercial salt production and urban development.

Date published: January 24, 2017

Current Conservation Efforts May Not Be Enough for California’s Central Valley Waterbirds

A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that current conservation planning efforts for waterbird habitat in the Central Valley can likely compensate for habitat loss through the middle of the century.

Date published: December 12, 2016

Not Just for Kissing: Mistletoe and Birds, Bees, and Other Beasts

Perhaps some of you have already experienced a sweet smooch or two under the holiday mistletoe, enjoying this fairly old kissing ritual for people. While figuring prominently in ancient lore, mistletoe is important in other vital ways: it provides essential food, cover and nesting sites for an amazing number of critters. In fact, some animals couldn’t even survive without mistletoe.