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Ecological research is largely concerned with the system levels beyond that of the organism. An ecological community is all the animal and plant populations occupying a given area. Research to understand ecosystem use by humans has led to the development of sub-disciplines such as sustainable development, resilience theory, restoration ecology, and ecosystem services.

Ecosystems Research
Filter Total Items: 57
Date published: December 1, 2016

Riparian Ecology

Riparian ecologists in the AS Branch study interactions among flow, channel change, and vegetation along rivers across the western United States and worldwide. Our work focuses on issues relevant to the management of water and public lands, including dam operation, climate change, invasive species, and ecological restoration. Investigations take place on a range of scales. For example,...

Date published: November 29, 2016

Riparian Vegetation Response to Dam Removal

Dam removal is an approach to river restoration that is becoming increasingly common. In most cases, dam removal is driven by considerations other than river restoration like dam safety, but how dam removal affects aquatic and riparian systems is of great interest in many dam removals. My work in this area has had two areas of focus thus far: 1) studies of vegetation and geomorphic change...

Date published: November 29, 2016

Science to Inform Riparian Ecosystem Restoration and Management

Throughout the world, riparian habitats have been dramatically modified from their natural condition. Dams, non-native species and climate change are often principal drivers of these changes, via their alteration of water and sediment regimes that determine key resources for riparian plants.

Date published: November 29, 2016

Large-scale streamflow experiments

Because the underlying cause of riparian system alteration is often attributed to the effects of dams on flow regime, managing flow releases, particularly high flows, from dams is an often-advocated approach to river and riparian restoration. Our work has focused on understanding effects of managed high flow releases (a.k.a., pulse flows, controlled floods) from dams along rivers in the lower...

Date published: November 28, 2016

Biological Invasions of Riparian Ecosystems

Beginning in the early twentieth century, non-native trees and shrubs, including tamarisk (also commonly known as saltcedar) and Russian-olive, were introduced to the United States for use as ornamental plants and in erosion-control plantings. These plants spread extensively, becoming the third and fourth most frequently occurring woody riparian plants in the American West.

 

Date published: November 28, 2016

Streamflow-fluvial Geomorphology-riparian Vegetation Interactions

The foundation for applying science to river and riparian restoration contexts lies in a basic understanding of the factors that drive riparian vegetation dynamics. Much of our research is focused on clarifying relationships between streamflow, fluvial geomorphology, and riparian vegetation, including various feedbacks.

Date published: October 26, 2016
Status: Active

Economics and Ecosystem Services

Federal policymakers and land managers are accountable to the public for how they use public resources and for the outcomes of policy and management decisions. Through a variety of economic analyses and custom modeling, SEA economists evaluate how investments and management decisions affect individuals, local communities, and society as a whole.

Date published: October 19, 2016
Status: Active

Box Springs Field Station

Deserts in the southwestern United States are experiencing rapid changes due to human activities. The growth of human populations and development of cities and towns affect adjacent rare, threatened, and endangered species and their associated ecosystems in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, and western Arizona. 

Contacts: Kristin Berry
Date published: September 20, 2016

Post-fire Recovery Patterns in Southwestern Forests

High-severity crown fires in Southwestern dry-conifer forests — resulting from fire suppression, fuel buildups, and drought — are creating large treeless areas that are historically unprecedented in size. These recent stand-replacing fires have reset extensive portions of Southwest forest landscapes, fostering post-fire successional vegetation that can alter ecological recovery trajectories...

Contacts: Collin Haffey
Date published: August 29, 2016

Ecological Responses to Fish Reclamation Treatments

Piscicides have been used in Rocky Mountain stream and lakes to restore native fish populations. In the last two decades concerns over piscicide effects to non-target organisms, primarily aquatic invertebrates, has increased. Although piscicides have been used for more than 70 years the impact to invertebrate assemblages has not been well studied and is largely unknown. Given the importance a...

Date published: July 26, 2016
Status: Active

Sustaining Environmental Capital Initiative (SECI)

The mission of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Sustaining Environmental Capital Initiative (SECI) is to develop and enhance science and research on ecosystem services in support of improving natural resource management. This effort is in response to the fourth recommendation of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report: "Federal agencies with responsibilities...

Date published: July 1, 2016

Assessing Impacts to Ecosystems from Uranium Mining in the Grand Canyon Region

The use of uranium is an alternative energy source to petroleum products and some of the United States’ highest quality ore is located on the Colorado Plateau. However, some regions where suitable mining efforts are conducted include areas that are near important environmental resources such as National Parks that provide viewscapes and habitat for wildlife.

Filter Total Items: 64
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Year Published: 2014

Storm-surge flooding on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

Coastal regions of Alaska are regularly affected by intense storms of ocean origin, the frequency and intensity of which are expected to increase as a result of global climate change. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD), situated in western Alaska on the eastern edge of the Bering Sea, is one of the largest deltaic systems in North America. Its low...

Terenzi, John; Ely, Craig R.; Jorgenson, M. Torre
Terenzi, J., M. T. Jorgenson, and C. R. Ely. 2014. Storm-surge flooding on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. Arctic 67(3). doi:dx.doi.org/10.14430/arctic4403

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Year Published: 2014

Integrating land cover modeling and adaptive management to conserve endangered species and reduce catastrophic fire risk

Land cover modeling is used to inform land management, but most often via a two-step process, where science informs how management alternatives can influence resources, and then, decision makers can use this information to make decisions. A more efficient process is to directly integrate science and decision-making, where science allows us to...

Breininger, David; Duncan, Brean; Eaton, Mitchell J.; Johnson, Fred; Nichols, James
Integrating land cover modeling and adaptive management to conserve endangered species and reduce catastrophic fire risk; 2014; Article; Journal; Land; Breininger, David; Duncan, Brean; Eaton, Mitchell; Johnson, Fred; Nichols, James

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Year Published: 2014

Historical and contemporary imagery to assess ecosystem change on the Arctic coastal plain of northern Alaska

The Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska is a complex landscape of lakes, streams, and wetlands scattered across low-relief tundra that is underlain by permafrost. This region of the Arctic has experienced a warming trend over the past three decades leading to thawing of on-shore permafrost and the disappearance of sea ice at unprecedented...

Tape, Ken D.; Pearce, John M.; Walworth, Dennis H.; Meixell, Brandt W.; Fondell, Tom F.; Gustine, David D.; Flint, Paul L.; Hupp, Jerry W.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Ward, David H.
Historical and contemporary imagery to assess ecosystem change on the Arctic coastal plain of northern Alaska; 2014; OFR; 2014-1140; Tape, Ken D.; Pearce, John M.; Walworth, Dennis; Meixell, Brandt W.; Fondell, Tom F.; Gustine, David D.; Flint, Paul L.; Hupp, Jerry W.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Ward, David H.

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Year Published: 2014

Delineation of marsh types of the Texas coast from Corpus Christi Bay to the Sabine River in 2010

Coastal zone managers and researchers often require detailed information regarding emergent marsh vegetation types for modeling habitat capacities and needs of marsh-reliant wildlife (such as waterfowl and alligator). Detailed information on the extent and distribution of marsh vegetation zones throughout the Texas coast has been historically...

Enwright, Nicholas M.; Hartley, Stephen B.; Brasher, Michael G.; Visser, Jenneke M.; Mitchell, Michael K.; Ballard, Bart M.; Parr, Mark W.; Couvillion, Brady R.; Wilson, Barry C.
Delineation of marsh types of the Texas coast from Corpus Christi Bay to the Sabine River in 2010; 2014; SIR; 2014-5110; Enwright, Nicholas M.; Hartley, Stephen B.; Brasher, Michael G.; Visser, Jenneke M.; Mitchell, Michael K; Ballard, Bart M.; Parr, Mark W.; Couvillion, Brady R.; Wilson, Barry C.

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Year Published: 2014

Movement-based estimation and visualization of space use in 3D for wildlife ecology and conservation

Advances in digital biotelemetry technologies are enabling the collection of bigger and more accurate data on the movements of free-ranging wildlife in space and time. Although many biotelemetry devices record 3D location data with x, y, and z coordinates from tracked animals, the third z coordinate is typically not integrated into studies of...

Tracey, Jeff A.; Sheppard, James; Zhu, Jun; Wei, Fu-Wen; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Fisher, Robert N.
Movement-based estimation and visualization of space use in 3D for wildlife ecology and conservation; 2014; Article; Journal; PLoS ONE; Tracey, Jeff A.; Sheppard, James; Zhu, Jun; Wei, Fuwen; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Fisher, Robert N.

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Year Published: 2014

Low-altitude photographic transects of the Arctic Network of National Park Units and Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, July 2013

During July 16–18, 2013, low-level photography flights were conducted (with a Cessna 185 with floats and a Cessna 206 with tundra tires) over the five administrative units of the National Park Service Arctic Network (Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Kobuk...

Marcot, Bruce G.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; DeGange, Anthony R.
Low-altitude photographic transects of the Arctic Network of National Park Units and Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, July 2013; 2014; DS; 846; Marcot, Bruce G.; Jorgenson, M. Torre; DeGange, Anthony R.

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Year Published: 2014

Multi-trophic resilience of boreal lake ecosystems to forest fires

Fires are the major natural disturbance in the boreal forest, and their frequency and intensity will likely increase as the climate warms. Terrestrial nutrients released by fires may be transported to boreal lakes, stimulating increased primary productivity, which may radiate through multiple trophic levels. Using a before-after-control-impact (...

Lewis, Tyler L.; Lindberg, Mark S.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Bertram, M.R.
Tyler L. Lewis, Mark S. Lindberg, Joel A. Schmutz, and Mark R. Bertram 2014. Multi-trophic resilience of boreal lake ecosystems to forest fires. Ecology 95:1253–1263

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Year Published: 2014

Use of main channel and two backwater habitats by larval fishes in the Detroit River

Recent investigations in the Detroit River have revealed renewed spawning activity by several important fishes, but little is known about their early life history requirements. We surveyed two main channel and two backwater areas in the lower Detroit River weekly from May to July 2007 to assess habitat use by larval fishes. Backwater areas...

McDonald, Erik A.; McNaught, A. Scott; Roseman, Edward F.
Use of main channel and two backwater habitats by larval fishes in the Detroit River; 2014; Article; Journal; Journal of Great Lakes Research; McDonald, Erik A.; McNaught, A. Scott; Roseman, Edward F.

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Year Published: 2014

How mangrove forests adjust to rising sea level

Mangroves are among the most well described and widely studied wetland communities in the world. The greatest threats to mangrove persistence are deforestation and other anthropogenic disturbances that can compromise habitat stability and resilience to sea-level rise. To persist, mangrove ecosystems must adjust to rising sea level by building...

Krauss, Ken W.; McKee, Karen L.; Lovelock, Catherine E.; Cahoon, Donald R.; Saintilan, Neil; Reef, Ruth; Chen, Luzhen
How mangrove forests adjust to rising sea level; 2014; Article; Journal; New Phytologist; Krauss, Ken W.; McKee, Karen L.; Lovelock, Catherine E.; Cahoon, Donald R.; Saintilan, Neil; Reef, Ruth; Chen, Luzhen

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Year Published: 2014

Reconstruction of historic sea ice conditions in a sub-Arctic lagoon

Historical sea ice conditions were reconstructed for Izembek Lagoon, Bering Sea, Alaska. This lagoon is a crucial staging area during migration for numerous species of avian migrants and a major eelgrass (Zostera marina) area important to a variety of marine and terrestrial organisms, especially Pacific Flyway black brant geese (Branta bernicla...

Petrich, Chris; Tivy, Adrienne C.; Ward, David H.
Petrich, C., A. C. Tivy, and D. H. Ward. 2014. Reconstruction of historic sea ice conditions in a sub-Arctic lagoon. Cold Regions Science and Technology 98:55-62. doi:10.1016/j.coldregions.2013.10.011

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Year Published: 2013

A matter of tradeoffs: reintroduction as a multiple objective decision

Decision making in guidance of reintroduction efforts is made challenging by the substantial scientific uncertainty typically involved. However, a less recognized challenge is that the management objectives are often numerous and complex. Decision makers managing reintroduction efforts are often concerned with more than just how to maximize the...

Converse, Sarah J.; Moore, Clinton T.; Folk, Martin J.; Runge, Michael C.
A matter of tradeoffs: reintroduction as a multiple objective decision; 2013; Article; Journal; Journal of Wildlife Management; Converse, Sarah J.; Moore, Clinton T.; Folk, Martin J.; Runge, Michael C.

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Year Published: 2013

A global standard for monitoring coastal wetland vulnerability to accelerated sea-level rise

Sea-level rise threatens coastal salt-marshes and mangrove forests around the world, and a key determinant of coastal wetland vulnerability is whether its surface elevation can keep pace with rising sea level. Globally, a large data gap exists because wetland surface and shallow subsurface processes remain unaccounted for by traditional...

Webb, Edward L.; Friess, Daniel A.; Krauss, Ken W.; Cahoon, Donald R.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Phelps, Jacob
A global standard for monitoring coastal wetland vulnerability to accelerated sea-level rise; 2013; Article; Journal; Nature Climate Change; Webb, Edward L.; Friess, Daniel A.; Krauss, Ken W.; Cahoon, Donald R.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Phelps, Jacob