Cooperative Research Units

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Established in 1935, our mission is our hallmark: meet the actionable science needs of our cooperators, provide technical assistance, and develop the future workforce through graduate education/mentoring. The Coop Units are located on 40 universities in 38 states. They are called Coop Units because each cooperator plays a role in the staffing, funding and directing the units. 

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Active Projects

 Active Projects

Active projects may be of local, regional, national, or international interest. The research programs conducted by units are approved as directed by the Coordinating Committee overseeing each Unit.

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A Model Partnership Program

A Model Partnership Program

Our program is a unique partnership among the USGS, other U.S. Department of the Interior and Federal agencies, universities, State fish and wildlife agencies, and the Wildlife Management Institute.

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Where's Our Science?

Where

USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units are located on 40 universities campuses in 38 states.

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News

Date published: September 27, 2017

Research to Recover Threatened Waterfowl: USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Supervisor Receives Prestigious U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion Award

USGS scientist James “Barry” Grand, Ph.D., has been named a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion (Region 7) for his exemplary long-term research on two formerly threatened species, the spectacled eider and Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders.

Date published: May 3, 2017

Migrating mule deer track “green waves” of spring forage: study highlights importance of habitat corridors for migrating game and other species

Migratory mule deer in Wyoming closely time their movements to track the spring green-up, providing evidence of an underappreciated foraging benefit of migration, according to a study by University of Wyoming and U.S. Geological Survey scientists at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

Date published: December 22, 2016

A Grand Slam for Students, Schools and Science

"It’s a grand slam for all involved,” said Dawn Childs, USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units.  “Recent high school graduates with special needs get real-world experience while helping USGS scientists on projects ranging from grizzly bears and energy to historic documents and bird migration. And a school system gets to successfully train students to enter the workforce."

The Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (CRU) Program had a productive year in 2016. Despite vacancies in our scientist ranks exceeding 20 percent, our research, training, and teaching portfolio was full and we graduated 93 students and published 398 manuscripts primarily focused on addressing the real conservation challenges of our cooperators. 

CRU Science
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Date published: February 26, 2016

Restoring Whooping Cranes to Southwest Louisiana: A Cooperative Venture

Researchers from the Louisiana Cooperative Research Unit evaluated habitat suitability at White Lake, Louisiana, for the possible reintroduction of endangered whooping cranes. The information collected led to the 2011-2012 release of 40 cranes. Researchers are continuing to monitor the reintroduced cranes and more releases are planned.

Date published: February 26, 2016

Metapopulation Dynamics of the Adélie Penguin

The Oregon Cooperative Unit, graduate students, and a group of U.S. and international collaborators are conducting long-term research on the Adélie penguin on Ross Island, Antarctica. This species depends on sea ice (obligate) and in some regions of Antarctica is being affected by climate change’s influence on sea ice patterns.

Unit scientists develop programs and applications to be used by State and Federal managers to conduct data analyses to inform decision making. The Colorado Unit co-authored the textbook “Bayesian Models: A Statistical Primer for Ecologists.” The Arizona Unit developed a simple, web-based tool to compare freshwater fish data collected using American Fisheries Society standard methods.

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Date published: February 15, 2017

Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes

The Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit developed a simple, web-based tool to compare freshwater fish data collected using American Fisheries Society standard methods. With widespread use, the tool could become an important resource for fisheries biologists. Check out the video by Scott Bonar, Unit Leader, Arizona Unit...

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Date published: April 19, 2018

USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units: 2017 Year In Review

In September 1960, the 86th Congress passed Public Law 86-686 to facilitate cooperation between the Federal government, colleges and universities, the States, and private organizations for Cooperative Unit Programs of research and education relating to fish and wildlife, and for other purposes. The Cooperative Research Units originated in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the mid 1930s

Date published: February 15, 2017

2016 Cooperative Research Unit Story Map

In this Year in Review report, you will find details on staffing, vacancies, research funding, and other pertinent information. You will also see snapshots of Unit projects with information on how results have been or are being applied by cooperators. That is the essence of what we do: science that matter.

 

Date published: February 1, 2016

2015 Cooperative Research Units Story Map

The Cooperative Research Unit mission is our hallmark: meeting the actionable science needs of our cooperators, providing them technical guidance and assistance in interpreting and applying new advances in science, and developing the future workforce through graduate education and mentoring. 

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Year Published: 2018

An Individual-Based Model for Predicting Dynamics of a Newly Established Mexican Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) Population—Final Report

Project SummaryThe Mexican wolf recovery team proposed to establish other populations of Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) in the Southwest (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1982). We were tasked to conduct an extensive simulation modeling exercise to determine release strategies (in conjunction with management actions) that best predict...

Jay V. Gedir; Cain, James W.
Gedir, J.V., and Cain, J.W., III, 2018, An individual-based model for predicting dynamics of a newly established Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) population—Final report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1126, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181126.

Year Published: 2018

Piscivore diet shifts and trophic level change after Alewife establishment in Lake Champlain

Invasions and deliberate introductions of new prey species are likely to affect prey choice and trophic level of resident predators. Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax) and Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) are common prey fish species in lakes throughout North America either as native or non‐native species. The establishment of Alewife in the 2000s in a...

Simonin, Paul W.; Rudstam, Lars G.; Parrish, Donna; Pientka, Bernard; Sullivan, Patrick J.

Year Published: 2018

The influence of angler values, involvement, catch orientation, satisfaction, agency trust, and demographics on support for habitat protection and restoration versus stocking in publicly managed waters

Resource managers benefit from knowledge of angler support for fisheries management strategies. Factors including angler values (protection, utilitarian, and dominance), involvement (attraction, centrality, social, identity affirmation, and expression), catch-related motivations (catching some, many, and big fish, and keeping fish), satisfaction,...

Schroeder, Susan A.; Fulton, David C.; Altena, Eric; Baird, Heather; Dieterman, Douglas J.; Jennings, Martin

Year Published: 2018

Effects of temperature and precipitation on grassland bird nesting success as mediated by patch size

Grassland birds are declining faster than any other bird guild across North America. Shrinking ranges and population declines are attributed to widespread habitat loss and increasingly fragmented landscapes of agriculture and other land uses that are misaligned with grassland bird conservation. Concurrent with habitat loss and degradation,...

Zuckerberg, Benjamin; Ribic, Christine; McCauley, Lisa A.

Year Published: 2018

Extinction risk and conservation options for Maui Parrotbill, an endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper

Extinction rates for island birds around the world have been historically high. For forest passerines, the Hawaiian archipelago has suffered some of the highest extinction rates and reintroduction is a conservation tool that can be used to prevent the extinction of some of the remaining endangered species. Population viability analyses can be used...

Mounce, Hanna L.; Warren, Christopher C.; McGowan, Conor P.; Paxton, Eben H.; Groombridge, J.J.

Year Published: 2018

Riparian defoliation by the invasive green alder sawfly influences terrestrial prey subsidies to salmon streams

Invasive species in riparian forests are unique as their effects can transcend ecosystem boundaries via stream‐riparian linkages. The green alder sawfly (Monsoma pulveratum) is an invasive wasp whose larvae are defoliating riparian thin‐leaf alder (Alnus tenuifolia) stands across southcentral Alaska. To test the hypothesis that riparian...

Roon, David A.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Kruse, James J.

Year Published: 2018

The influence of nutrients from carcasses of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) on larval growth and spawner abundance

Migrations of anadromous sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) from marine ecosystems serve as vectors of nutrients into freshwater food webs. Larval sea lamprey reside in streams for 6–8 years as deposit feeders before metamorphosing into juveniles and migrating to the ocean. Previous work has shown that carcass nutrients, which result from the death...

Weaver, Daniel M.; Coghlan, Stephen M.; Zydlewski, Joseph D.

Year Published: 2018

Survival and cause-specific mortality of translocated female mule deer in southern New Mexico, USA

Context: Many mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations in New Mexico have failed to recover from previous population declines, while some populations near urban areas have increased, resulting in more frequent human–wildlife conflicts. Translocations were used in an effort to simultaneously reduce an urban mule deer population and augment...

Cain, James W.; Ashling, Jana B.; Liley, Stewart

Year Published: 2018

Wildlife management is science based: Myth or reality?

In the January/February issue of The Wildlife Professional, a group of wildlife leaders discussed what they considered "myths" in wildlife management and invited other wildlife professionals to contribute their favorites. Here, five wildlife professionals take up that theme with their discussions of the scientific basis of wildlife management.

Decker, Daniel J.; Organ, John F.; Forstchen, Ann; Schiavone, Michael V.; Fuller, Angela K.
Decker, D.J., J.F. Organ, A.B. Forstchen, M.V. Schiavone, and A.K. Fuller. 2018. Wildlife management is science based: myth or reality? The Wildlife Professional 12(4): 30-32.

Year Published: 2018

Comparison of a prepositioned areal electrofishing device and fixed underwater videography for sampling riverine fishes

Prepositioned areal electrofishing devices (PAEDs) are used to evaluate microhabitat use by fishes because they minimize fright biases associated with traditional electrofishing techniques (e.g., boat electrofishing). Similarly, fixed underwater videography (FUV) is commonly used to minimize the effect of observers on fish behavior. The specific...

Branigan, Philip R.; Quist, Michael C.; Shepard, Bradley B.; Ireland, Susan C.
Western North American Naturalist 78(1):65-75. 2018

Year Published: 2018

Historical sediment mercury deposition trends for South Dakota lakes

PurposeSelect South Dakota, USA water bodies, including both natural lakes and man-made impoundments, were sampled and analyzed to assess mercury (Hg) dynamics and historical patterns of total Hg deposition.Materials and methodsSediment cores were collected from seven South Dakota lakes. Mercury concentrations and flux profiles were determined...

Squillace, Maria K.; Sieverding, Heidi L.; Betemariam, Hailemelekot H.; Urban, Noel R.; Penn, Michael R.; DeSutter, Thomas M.; Chipps, Steven R.; Stone, James J.

Year Published: 2018

Nonbreeding duck use at Central Flyway National Wildlife Refuges

Within the U.S. portion of the Central Flyway, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages waterfowl on numerous individual units (i.e., Refuges) within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Presently, the extent of waterfowl use that Refuges receive and the contribution of Refuges to waterfowl populations (i.e., the proportion of the Central Flyway...

Andersson, Kent; Davis, Craig A.; Harris, Grant; Haukos, David A.

Unit scientists routinely develop programs and applications to be used by State and Federal natural resource managers to conduct data analyses to inform decision making.

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Date published: May 2, 2016

Wildlife Software and Models

A suite of software tools and models developed by Colorado State University and the USGS Colorado Cooperative Fish And Wildlife Research Unit.

Date published: May 2, 2016

monitoR: Acoustic template detection in R

Tools for automated acoustic monitoring of nature.

Date published: May 2, 2016

Fishery Information and Technology Software

Software from the American Fisheries Society

Date published: May 2, 2016

R for Fisheries and Wildlife Applications

FW599: An introduction to data management and R for Fisheries and Wildlife applications--- a lighthearted look

Date published: May 2, 2016

InVEST: 18 different models for ecosystem services

The InVEST tool allows researchers to evaluate relationships between land management actions and wild bee populations.

Under the guidelines of the Cooperative Research Agreement, CRU is required to communicate with funders, cooperators, stakeholders, and the public. CRU maintains outreach pathways and participation among state, federal, university, and private researchers.

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Canada lynx
June 21, 2018

Canada Lynx

– Scientists at the USGS Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and
Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in
collaboration with The Rockefeller University’s Vertebrate Genome Laboratory,
New York, are releasing to a public repository at the vertebrate lab, for use by
geneticists, conservationists and other researchers around the

...
Brown bears (Ursus arctos) and Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus)
December 31, 2017

Bear predation on salmon can be high in many Alaskan rivers.

Bear predation on salmon can be high in many Alaskan rivers.  Brown bears Ursus arctos and Chum Salmon Oncorhynchus keta are managed concurrently in McNeil River State Game Sanctuary by Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game to benefit the salmon, bears, commercial fishers, and provide unparalleled close-up bear viewing and photography opportunities for the public.

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) and Chum (Salmon Oncorhynchus)
December 31, 2017

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) and Chum (Salmon Oncorhynchus)

Bear predation on salmon can be high in many Alaskan rivers.  Brown bears Ursus arctos and Chum Salmon Oncorhynchus keta are managed concurrently in McNeil River State Game Sanctuary by Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game to benefit the salmon, bears, commercial fishers, and provide unparalleled close-up bear viewing and photography opportunities for the public. 

...
Alligator Hatchlings
December 31, 2017

Alligator Hatchlings

Crocodilians are one of the few reptile taxa that exhibit parental care. In alligators, following nest construction, females stay nearby in a guard hole, and are known to defend their nests against predators or other intruders. At the end of the 60-day incubation period, alligator hatchlings will vocalize from within the egg, to signal to the mother that they are ready to

...
Canada lynx
February 1, 2017

Canada lynx

Bear predation on salmon can be high in many Alaskan rivers.  Brown bears Ursus arctos and Chum Salmon Oncorhynchus keta are managed concurrently in McNeil River State Game Sanctuary by Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game to benefit the salmon, bears, commercial fishers, and provide unparalleled close-up bear viewing and photography opportunities for the public.

Alligator movement ecology
December 31, 2016

Alligator Movement Ecology

This movement ecology study evaluates home range, daily movement rate, and habitat use patterns of adult male alligators. 

American Alligator
December 31, 2016

American Alligator

USGS and other scientists have studied in-depth alligator populations in Florida and Louisiana, but basic ecological knowledge is lacking for populations at the northern edge of their range. For example, differences in climate and habitat between the southern and northern portions of the range limit the applicability of findings from other studies to South Carolina

...
American Alligator
December 31, 2016

Largest American Alligator Satellite Telemetry-Tracking Study

South Carolina alligators occupy a patchwork of diverse habitats, including rivers, lakes, wooded swamps, tidal marshes, and impounded freshwater wetlands. As a mobile, opportunistic predator, alligators seasonally adjust their habitat use for feeding. For example, some Florida alligators venture into brackish water habitats to feed on nutrient-rich blue crabs during the

...
Golden Eagle
December 31, 2016

Golden eagle fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) backpack

Reports of golden eagle mortality linked to wind energy facilities are cause for concern especially when coupled with the knowledge that golden eagles move great distances between breeding and wintering areas. Mortalities at a particular wind energy facility can consequently affect breeding populations of golden eagles at local and continent-wide scales. Information is

...
WorldCat holdings, OCLC, USGS Pubs Warehouse, Public Domain, Biodiversity Heritage Library
December 6, 2016

A student volunteer scans historic USGS library material

Student volunteers are trained to scan historic library materials. The materials can be complex, consisting of multiple parts.

The USGS Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit teams are capturing and marking black bears
May 6, 2016

Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Student with Black Bear Cub

The USGS Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit teams are capturing and marking black bears in the Ozark and Ouachita regions of Oklahoma.

Baby American Alligators Hatching
May 6, 2016

Baby American Allligators, Hatching

American alligator hatchlings. Courtesy USGS

The USGS provides 2-5 PhD level research scientists that sit on the graduate faculty at their host university; the host university provides office and lab space and administrative support; and the state natural resource agency(s) provide base operating funds to their unit. In addition the state and university cooperators have direct involvement in the staffing of and research conducted by the Unit

Upcoming Events
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Date published: September 27, 2017

Research to Recover Threatened Waterfowl: USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Supervisor Receives Prestigious U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion Award

USGS scientist James “Barry” Grand, Ph.D., has been named a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion (Region 7) for his exemplary long-term research on two formerly threatened species, the spectacled eider and Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders.

Date published: May 3, 2017

Migrating mule deer track “green waves” of spring forage: study highlights importance of habitat corridors for migrating game and other species

Migratory mule deer in Wyoming closely time their movements to track the spring green-up, providing evidence of an underappreciated foraging benefit of migration, according to a study by University of Wyoming and U.S. Geological Survey scientists at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

Date published: December 22, 2016

A Grand Slam for Students, Schools and Science

"It’s a grand slam for all involved,” said Dawn Childs, USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units.  “Recent high school graduates with special needs get real-world experience while helping USGS scientists on projects ranging from grizzly bears and energy to historic documents and bird migration. And a school system gets to successfully train students to enter the workforce."

Date published: November 17, 2016

Wild Turkey Talk

A group of turkeys is referred to as either a rafter or a gang.  So this Thanksgiving, when celebrating with your own gang, remember the turkey as more than just the main course, but, as Benjamin Franklin said so many years ago, as a noble fowl of American tradition.

Date published: July 31, 2016

Hot off the Press! Great Balls of Fire!

The USGS Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in partnership with the Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems Lab (NIMBUS) and the Applied Complex Adaptive Systems Lab have designed a drone prototype that drops balls filled with combustible material that ignites fire as part of prescribed fire management.

Date published: May 6, 2016

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms of All Species

USGS wishes to honor all mothers, of all species. Many of our research findings have and are shedding light on the lives of non-human moms.  

Date published: March 16, 2016

Shorebirds Ignore Aircraft, But Pay Attention to People, Off-road Vehicles

The American oystercatchers studied on Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina were disturbed more by pedestrians and off-road vehicles passing their nests than the U.S. military aircraft flying overhead.

Date published: December 10, 2015

Continued Decline of the Northern Spotted Owl Associated with the Invasive Barred Owl, Habitat Loss, and Climate Variation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Northern spotted owl populations are declining in all parts of their range in the Pacific Northwest, according to research published in The Condor. Based on data from 11 study areas across Washington, Oregon and northern California, a rangewide decline of nearly 4 percent per year was estimated from 1985 to 2013.

Date published: March 10, 2015

Endangered Flying Squirrel Relegated to Living on Sky-Islands

Habitat loss has fragmented the population of the Carolina northern flying squirrel, an endangered species now living on “sky-islands” on nine isolated mountain peaks in the southern Appalachians.

Date published: March 2, 2015

Wildlife Researchers to Give Public Close-Up, Real-Time View of Big Game Fieldwork

LARAMIE, WY — Seeking insights to help moose, elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep populations, researchers from the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the U.S. Geological Survey and other partners will spend much of March capturing animals on their winter ranges in western and southern Wyoming.

Date published: January 23, 2015

Culprit Identified in Decline of Endangered Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon

BOZEMAN – Pallid sturgeon come from a genetic line that has lived on this planet for tens of millions of years; yet it has been decades since anyone has documented any of the enormous fish successfully producing young that survive to adulthood in the upper Missouri River basin.

Date published: December 8, 2014

USGS and University of Wyoming Researchers to Share Deer Capture Field Work Via Social Media

Wyoming's struggling mule deer populations are receiving significant attention from University of Wyoming researchers, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the U.S. Geological Survey and others, with at least five studies underway that could assist efforts to enhance deer numbers and their habitats.

The cooperative nature of the CRU Program provides the workforce with a familiarity with the needs and policies of State and Federal science and management agencies. The success of this approach is evident in that CRU students have gone on to hold important leadership positions in nearly every State and Federal conservation agency.

CRU Partners
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