Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)

Biology of Species of Concern

Filter Total Items: 34
Date published: April 3, 2018
Status: Active

Assessing heat stress in migrating Yukon River Chinook Salmon

We will examine evidence of heat stress in Yukon River Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) using heat shock proteins and gene expression.

Date published: February 22, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Ecology and Multi-Species Habitat Use in Pacific Coast Estuaries

Waterbirds such as shorebirds, waders, and ducks depend on healthy and productive estuaries to “fuel up” for long distance migrations along the Pacific Flyway.   Estuarine ecosystems include a mosaic of managed, natural, and restoring wetlands...

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Health and Disease Diagnostics

In 2012, scientists noticed that nearly a third of polar bears sampled in a study in Alaska were suffering from hair loss and poor health. Drs. Lizabeth Bowen and A. Keith Miles of WERC used new technology to track down and identify the factors responsible for driving disease in Alaskan polar bears.

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Ashy Storm-Petrel Range and Colony Attendance Behavior

Together with Federal and non-profit partners, WERC's Josh Adams and team are using cutting-edge technology to study the range and colony attendance patterns of the Ashy Storm-Petrel, an elusive seabird native to  offshore rocks and islands along the California coast. Their research  informs management and conservation for this threatened seabird species.

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Ecology and Conservation of Reptiles

This project improves our understanding of the ecology of reptiles in California and evaluates methods of managing landscapes and these imperiled species. In particular, Dr. Brian Halstead examines the distribution and demography of reptiles to understand factors that affect where they are found and how populations change. He further explores the relationships of reptiles with their abiotic...

Contacts: Brian Halstead
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Wildland Fire Science in Forests and Deserts

Fuel conditions and fire regimes in western forests and deserts have been altered due to past land management, biological invasions, and recent extreme weather events and climate shifts. These changes have created extreme fire risk to local and regional communities, threatening their economic health related to wildland recreation, forest production, livestock operations, and other uses of...

Contacts: Matthew Brooks
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Waterbird Breeding Ecology and Management

The San Francisco Bay is designated as a site of hemispheric importance to shorebirds and annually supports over one million waterbirds. Within the USGS WERC waterbird breeding ecology program, Dr. Josh Ackerman and partners are studying habitat selection, movements, and factors influencing waterbird nest success and chick growth and survival. 

Contacts: Josh T Ackerman
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Southwestern Desert Ecology of At-risk Species and their Habitats

The southwestern desert region is home to many sensitive species. Species are at-risk due to past, present, and future changes to the landscape. WERC’s Dr. Todd Esque, field researchers, and collaborators are using models, monitoring plans, and decision-support tools to provide land managers with the resources they need to answer questions about how environmental change influences plants,...

Contacts: Todd Esque
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Seabird Health and Adaptive Management

Dr. Josh Adams and his science team at WERC study seabird health and support adaptive management by quantifying abundance patterns and behaviors associated with habitats at sea, where seabirds spend the overwhelming majority of their lives. Adams’s team also employs conservation science to support resource managers on land, where seabirds are obligated to nest. His group provides scientific...

Contacts: Josh Adams
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Reptile Biodiversity in the Pacific Basin Islands

Dr. Robert Fisher and his colleagues have teamed up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy and multiple universities to conduct several types of studies that will address high priority issues related to reptiles in the Pacific Basin Islands. These studies will provide new information about species diversity, endemicity, biology and demography of reptile fauna and will lay the...

Contacts: Robert N Fisher
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Process-based Approaches for Ecological Restoration of Degraded Drylands

Surface disturbances ranging from military training, recreation, energy exploration and development, and wildfires impact a large majority of federal lands in the western US, but the ecological and economic impacts are poorly understood. Explore this webpage to learn how Dr. Lesley DeFalco and her research team are currently evaluating and refining conventional approaches for post-fire...

Contacts: Lesley DeFalco
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Population Structure and Demography of the Least Bell’s Vireo and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and Use of Restored Riparian Habitat

Riparian woodlands are highly productive ecosystems that support a disproportionately high fraction of regional biodiversity. They are also one of the most endangered terrestrial systems in temperate North America, and have been reduced to just 5% of their former extent in California and throughout the American southwest. These losses have been accompanied by steep declines in numerous plant...

Contacts: Barbara Kus