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Species Management Research Program

WERC scientists study the ecology of sensitive species, including threatened and endangered animals and plants. Their research supports the recovery and conservation of iconic species like the Greater Sage-grouse, Giant garter snake, Southern sea otter, and Desert tortoise, and inform critical decision-making by Department of the Interior (DOI) as well as other resource managers. WERC’s projects detect environmental threats that could affect the health of vulnerable species. Habitat loss, invasive species, and contaminants are some of the stressors that can change the way ecosystems function and affect the species that depend on them. Explore the projects below to learn more about how WERC scientists meet the needs of land and resource managers across California and Nevada, as well as international and indigenous lands.

Filter Total Items: 43

Marbled Murrelet Surveys off the Central California Coast

Since 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center has continued long-term at-sea surveys of federally threatened Marbled Murrelets in central California.
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Marbled Murrelet Surveys off the Central California Coast

Since 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center has continued long-term at-sea surveys of federally threatened Marbled Murrelets in central California.
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Seabird Vulnerability Assessment for Renewable Energy Projects

The WERC seabird studies team has developed a new framework for quantifying seabird species vulnerability to wind infrastructure in the California Current region of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf. This tool supports marine resource-use planning by identifying sites where seabirds are most vulnerable and predicts how different species may be affected by wind-energy infrastructure.
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Seabird Vulnerability Assessment for Renewable Energy Projects

The WERC seabird studies team has developed a new framework for quantifying seabird species vulnerability to wind infrastructure in the California Current region of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf. This tool supports marine resource-use planning by identifying sites where seabirds are most vulnerable and predicts how different species may be affected by wind-energy infrastructure.
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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.
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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.
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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, and provide critical stop-over and wintering areas for federally protected migratory bird species. USGS WERC’s Dr. Susan De La Cruz works with federal, state...
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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, and provide critical stop-over and wintering areas for federally protected migratory bird species. USGS WERC’s Dr. Susan De La Cruz works with federal, state...
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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.
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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.
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Developing Physiological Diagnostics for the Desert Tortoise

The Mojave desert tortoise is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act and faces threats from habitat loss, predators, and disease. Drs. Lizabeth Bowen and A. Keith Miles with WERC are designing new methods to determine the type and influence of stressors present in the environment for the tortoise and other wildlife.
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Developing Physiological Diagnostics for the Desert Tortoise

The Mojave desert tortoise is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act and faces threats from habitat loss, predators, and disease. Drs. Lizabeth Bowen and A. Keith Miles with WERC are designing new methods to determine the type and influence of stressors present in the environment for the tortoise and other wildlife.
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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.
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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.
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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 and...
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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 and...
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Ecology and Conservation of Amphibians in Northern California

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

This project improves our understanding of the ecology of amphibians in northern California and evaluates methods of managing landscapes and these imperiled species. In particular, Dr. Brian Halstead examines the distribution and demography of amphibians to understand factors that affect where amphibians are found and how populations change. He further explores the relationships of amphibians with...
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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 public...
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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 public...
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Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS)

Dr. Barbara Kus is a partner in an international bird-monitoring program to provide long-term data throughout North America. MAPS or “Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship”, uses capture and banding data to compile basic demographic parameters of migratory species, many of which are imperiled regionally and even globally. Age- and sex-specific data on annual survival, reproduction, and...
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Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS)

Dr. Barbara Kus is a partner in an international bird-monitoring program to provide long-term data throughout North America. MAPS or “Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship”, uses capture and banding data to compile basic demographic parameters of migratory species, many of which are imperiled regionally and even globally. Age- and sex-specific data on annual survival, reproduction, and...
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Distribution, Population Genetic Structure and Demography of Coastal Cactus Wrens in Southern California

Dr. Barbara Kus studies the demography and genetic structure of remaining populations of the coastal Cactus Wren to help managers develop strategies to increase the stability of wren populations.
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Distribution, Population Genetic Structure and Demography of Coastal Cactus Wrens in Southern California

Dr. Barbara Kus studies the demography and genetic structure of remaining populations of the coastal Cactus Wren to help managers develop strategies to increase the stability of wren populations.
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