Western Ecological Research Center

Filter Total Items: 123
Image: A Fire Tornado Swirls Near a Home in Southern California
Date Published: November 21, 2017
Status: Active

Every year, wildfires devastate the landscapes of Southern California from Los Angeles to San Diego. How has a higher number of human-caused fires affected fire hazards and threats to resources? WERC’s Dr. Jon Keeley and collaborators are analyzing fire patterns across the state to help cities balance their management of fire hazards and natural resources.

Ashy storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa) with metal identification band being held by a USGS researcher
Date Published: November 20, 2017
Status: Active

Together with industry and Federal partners, WERC's Josh Adams and team are studying the range and population size of the Ashy Storm-petrel, an elusive seabird found in the California Coastal National Monument. Their research will inform management and conservation of this species and other seabirds.

badger
Date Published: November 13, 2017
Status: Active

Citizen scientists can now help dig into San Diego's urban wildlife mysteries. Join WERC ecologists as they track wild badgers and explore the connectivity of Southern California's natural landscapes.

A polar bear walks across rubble ice in the Alaska portion of the southern Beaufort Sea
Date Published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

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.

Close-up of an Agassiz's desert tortoise with tortoise looking towards camera. Tortoise is on a rocky, arid hill slope.
Date Published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

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.

Photo of WERC scientist Jon Keeley in southern California chaparral habitat
Date Published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Fire has had a very different influence on the forests and shrublands of California. Unlike the case in many forests where fires have been excluded for over a century, shrublands throughout the state have experienced the opposite impact. Invasive grasses that burn more readily than native plants have increased the frequency of wildfires in southern California shrublands. As fire clears swathes...

A photo of the Diama Dam on the Senegal River, West Africa
Date Published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

The public is most familiar with parasites' role in spreading infectious diseases to people and domestic animals. In tropical developing countries, malaria, schistosomiasis, and other infectious diseases cause significant human suffering. While most related studies focus on treating patients, Dr. Kevin Lafferty is studying how ecology of the local environment affects transmission of infectious...

SFGS
Date Published: October 30, 2017

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...

WERC American Avocet on nest with eggs
Date Published: October 30, 2017

California’s Central Valley and San Francisco Bay Estuary have a long history of mercury contamination from past mercury mining and gold extraction. Waterbirds are particularly susceptible to mercury because of their use of wetland habitats where methylmercury (the most toxic and biologically available form) is produced and relatively low methylmercury exposure can reduce reproductive success...

two bald eagles perched on a snag in a restored marsh
Date Published: October 30, 2017

Wetlands and estuaries provide habitat for a diversity of fish and wildlife. Both the Nisqually estuary and the San Francisco Bay estuary are important estuarine ecosystems that support a diverse array of wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. WERC’s Dr. Susan De La Cruz and her team investigate approaches to monitor the success of wetland rehabilitation and restoration projects, develop methods...

Desert bighorn sheep ram on a large rock along the banks of the Colorado River
Date Published: October 30, 2017

Dr. Kathleen Longshore’s goal is to understand how predator/prey relationships, disease and human-caused disturbance work separately and synergistically to impact bighorn sheep populations under variable ecological stress. Information from this project will provide managers with an understanding of specific and regional impacting factors that contribute to impact variation in population trends...

WERC Arrowhead study area
Date Published: October 30, 2017

Arrowhead Marsh is located in central San Francisco Bay and covers 17 hectares. We surveyed 274 elevation points and 50 vegetation plots to determine baseline conditions of the marsh. Water level loggers deployed in 2010 were used to characterize the tidal inundation patterns throughout the year. Sediment accretion rates from soil cores at China Camp State Park were extrapolated to Arrowhead...