Western Ecological Research Center


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

Filter Total Items: 108
Date published: January 15, 2014

Large Old Trees Grow Fastest, Storing More Carbon

Trees do not slow in their growth rate as they get older and larger — instead, their growth keeps accelerating, according to a study published today in the journal Nature.

Date published: July 26, 2013

Fire Impacts in U.S. West: Droughts Lead to More Tree Deaths from Fire

Warming temperatures are likely causing many indirect effects and complex interactions. These nuanced and layered effects can be difficult for scientists to unravel and explore -- especially when environmental changes are affecting multiple environmental processes at the same time.

Date published: July 15, 2013

Bird and Fish Numbers Up: South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Offers Updates

Swaths of salt ponds once spanned the horizon beyond the levees of Alviso. But as part of a major project restoring wetland habitat to Silicon Valley’s waterfront, these ponds are now open to tidal waters and have become a vibrant nursery for the Bay’s fish species, from longfin smelt to leopard sharks.

Date published: July 9, 2013

Paved Roadways Can Disrupt Movement of Small Wildlife

When does the pocket mouse cross the road? If the road is paved, it may not. As evidenced by many a roadkill carcass, high traffic roads pose an obvious barrier to large wildlife species. Yet few studies to date have examined how different types of roadways impact smaller wildlife species like rodents and lizards. 

Date published: June 26, 2013

On California's Beaches, Mallard Ducks Have Learned to Surf for Food

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) — that familiar duck species ubiquitous to park ponds with males parading their emerald-green heads — have picked up a new feeding habit along the beaches of Santa Barbara. These ducks have learned to surf. For sand crabs.

Date published: June 14, 2013

Endangered Froglets with Radio Belts Released Into California Mountains

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, USGS Western Ecological Research Center scientists joined research partners in releasing 100 juveniles of the mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa) into the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve near Idyllwild, Calif.

Date published: May 31, 2013

Renowned Point Reyes Natural Historian Gary Fellers Retires from USGS

One of the founding biologists of the USGS National Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) and a renowned expert on California amphibians and bats, USGS Western Ecological Research Center scientist and principal investigator Gary Fellers has retired from the agency.

Date published: May 23, 2013

More Silent Springs: New Study Confirms Amphibian Decline Trends in U.S.

Frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians are less commonly found today in the United States than they were nine years ago, according to a new study from the USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI).

Date published: February 8, 2013

Biologist Roger Hothem Retires from USGS

A wildlife biologist and environmental contaminants expert with the Department of Interior for more than 30 years, USGS Western Ecological Research Center scientist and principal investigator Roger Hothem was given a fond farewell this January in Dixon, California.

Date published: December 19, 2012

VIDEO: Puma 22 of Los Angeles

Remember P-22, the Hollywood cougar? Now the Griffith Park cat has its own mini-documentary.

Date published: October 9, 2012

New Study: Mallard Migrations Bring Bird Flu Strains to California

Migrating ducks play an important part in the transmission and mixing of new avian influenza strains in their northern California wintering grounds, according to a new study by researchers from the USGS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California-Davis, Canadian Department of the Environment and University of Minnesota.

Date published: October 5, 2012

Sac State Ecology Colloquium Connects Students with USGS Researchers

The U.S. Geological Survey has teamed up with California State University, Sacramento to provide students and faculty with an Ecology Colloquium lecture series for the Fall 2012 semester. WERC scientist Pete Coates recently spoke to students about the ecology of the Greater Sage-grouse across California and Nevada.