Western Ecological Research Center

Filter Total Items: 157
Date published: March 20, 2018
Status: Active

WERC Fire Science

WERC scientists are defining the past, present, and future of wildfires for wildlife and human communities. Explore this webpage to learn about specific, ongoing projects across California and parts of Nevada.

Date published: February 28, 2018
Status: Completed

Have You Seen This Mosquito? Aggressive Mosquito Species Vanishes from Pacific Island

The Asian tiger mosquito can carry dread diseases like Zika, and yellow and dengue fever. After it vanished from Palmyra Atoll, an island in the tropical Pacific, USGS researchers and partners set out to find out why.

Contacts: Kevin Lafferty
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: January 10, 2018
Status: Active

Western States Cinnamon Teal Initiative

Cinnamon Teal are a relatively understudied and WERC scientists are working with agencies from seven other states collecting data on their ecology which will help inform distribution, movements and habitat use. 

Date published: November 21, 2017
Status: Active

Southern California Wildfire Risk Scenario Project

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.

Contacts: Jon Keeley, Teresa J Brennan-Kane, Alex Syphard
Date published: November 13, 2017
Status: Active

American Badgers in San Diego County

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.

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

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.

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Invasive Plants and Fire

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...

Contacts: Jon Keeley
Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Acoustic Detection of Ashy Storm-Petrels

Together with industry and Federal partners, WERC's Josh Adams and team are using acoustic monitors like the one above to study 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.

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Ecology of Infectious Diseases

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...

Contacts: Kevin Lafferty
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