Science Center Objects

Information about the status and trends of natural resources is required at a variety of spatial and temporal scales to detect changes that may signal degradation or improvement of natural systems, such as habitat, or to identify new or emerging conditions that signal the need for management action or further investigative research.

More information about Status and Trends program habitat research is available from  the "Related Science" tab on the top navigation or from the links below.


landscape forest
USGS scientists are studying how aspen distribution might shift in response to climate change and wildfire across its distribution in the western United States. (Credit: Doug Shinneman, USGS. Public domain.)

Modeling Disturbance and Ecosystem Change at Landscape Scales

Science Center: Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

Models can be used to investigate changes in ecosystems and disturbance regimes across large landscapes and over long periods of time, i.e., at spatial and temporal scales that are typically not possible or practical using field-based observational or experimental methods. 

► Learn more about modeling ecosystem change


Image: Huron-Erie Corridor Lake Sturgeon
Lake sturgeon collected on restored spawning grounds in the lower St. Clair River.(Credit: Andrea Miehls, USGS. Public domain.)

Assess the Socio-Economic Impacts of Huron-Erie Corridor (HEC) Habitat Remediation

Science Center: Great Lakes Science Center

Social and economic impacts of fish spawning habitat remediation in the HEC are important but poorly quantified. The value of walleye, lake whitefish, and lake sturgeon populations, and the people who fish for and study them, to remediation of fish habitat in the HEC could be large but is poorly documented.

► Learn more about HEC habitat remediation


Monitoring and Assessing Effects of the Picayune Strand Restoration Project (PSRP) on the Florida Manatee

Science Center: Wetland and Aquatic Research Center

Southwestern Willow Flycatcher habitat along the Upper Gila River, Arizona. 
Southwestern Willow Flycatcher habitat along the Upper Gila River, Arizona. (Credit: James Hatten, USGS. Public domain.)

Critical information predicting condition changes in manatee habitat resulting from the alteration of freshwater flows to estuaries is needed to develop the PSRP Detailed Design and PSRP Operations Plan components and complete consultation under the Endangered Species Act.

► Learn more about the PSRP


Ecology and Biology of Desert Tortoises

Science Center: Western Ecological Research Center

This project is based on both short- and long-term studies (1 to 34 years) of status and trends in desert tortoise populations living in the Mojave and western Sonoran deserts. Research involves analysis of changes in densities, sex ratios, size-age class structure, death rates, causes of death, and condition of habitat. 

► Learn more about the ecology of desert tortoises

California Gnatcatcher (Public domain.)


Population Structure and Demography of the Least Bell’s Vireo and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and Use of Restored Riparian Habitat

Science Center: Western Ecological Research Center

Riparian habitat supports more species of birds, as well as other wildlife, than any other habitat type in the southwest. Riparian habitat is also one of the State’s most endangered habitats, with less than five percent of the woodlands remaining that were present at the time of statehood. It was inevitable that losses of this scope and magnitude lead to declines in many riparian species, bringing some, including the Least Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) and the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus), to the brink of extinction.

► Learn more about restored riparian habitat


Distribution, Occupancy and Population Genetic Structure of California Gnatcatchers in Southern California

Science Center: Western Ecological Research Center

Many conservation activities in southern California are linked directly to the California Gnatcatcher or the scrub vegetation it inhabits, with the goal of establishing persistent populations within an interconnected reserve system. Efforts have concentrated on tracking direct loss of habitat, establishing regional population trends of gnatcatchers, and identifying areas for conservation. 

► Learn more about the California Gnatcatcher


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