Western Ecological Research Center


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

Filter Total Items: 103
Date published: August 9, 2011

Seabirds Recolonize Channel Islands, 100 Years Later

The California common murre (Uria aalge californica) is a football-sized seabird with the tuxedo colors of penguins — except it can both fly in the air and dive down to 500 feet underwater. This summer, seabird ecologists from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center and Channel Islands National Park are reporting that ...

Date published: August 5, 2011

Photos From the Field: Mojave Desert Reptiles

Are deserts lifeless? Far from it, of course. Incredible species of wondrous reptiles, resplendent flowers and other organisms can be found in America's deserts. Just check out these great photos from field tech Zachary Cava, who is working for lead scientist Ken Nussear of the ...

Date published: August 1, 2011

Biologists Draw Blood in Forks, WA

Marine biologists are setting up camp in Forks, Washington, this week to capture some fanged predators. They are definitely cute and they have great hair, but their seafood-breath should cut short any romantic fantasies.

Date published: July 26, 2011

Common Parasite a Risk Factor for Brain Cancer?

The common parasite Toxoplasma gondii may be worth investigating as a risk factor for brain cancers, according to a new analysis led by the French infectious disease institute MIVGEC and the USGS Western Ecological Research Center.

Date published: July 21, 2011

Tiny Parasites Help Revise Major Ecological Theory

An old theory in ecology is that in any ecosystem, a small-sized animal species will be more populous than a large species. All you need is a summer picnic to prove the point: your barbecue might end up attracting thousands of tiny ants — but only a few rotund squirrels.

Date published: July 11, 2011

When Are Bird Chicks at Highest Risk of Mercury Toxicity?

Laboratory studies have shown that methylmercury exposure can impair bird chick behavior, health, growth and survival. For researchers studying the health of San Francisco Bay wetlands -- some of which still contains mercury contamination resulting from historic mining activities -- it is important to learn how wild...

Date published: June 28, 2011

New Species of Desert Tortoise, Genetic Study Says

The desert tortoise -- that slow-footed shelled sentinel of America's desert southwest -- is actually comprised of two distinct species, according to a new study coauthored by USGS. The newly recognized species has been...