Mission Areas

Ecosystems

The USGS Ecosystems Mission Area, the biological research arm of the Department of the Interior (DOI), provides science to help America achieve sustainable management and conservation of its biological resources. This work is done within the broader mission of the USGS to serve the Nation with science that advances understanding of our natural resources and inform land and water stewardship.

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Newsletter - EcoNews

Newsletter - EcoNews

This quarterly newsletter highlights ecosystems science and activities coming out of our Science Centers and Cooperative Research Units across the Nation. 

EcoNews Issues

Webinar - Friday's Findings

Webinar - Friday

A public webinar series meant to offer our audience an opportunity to discover the Ecosystems science capacity within the USGS.

Upcoming Webinars

Where's our Science?

Where

Find out where Ecosystems Science Centers, Field Stations, and Cooperative Research Units are located.

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News

Date published: September 18, 2020

Use of Robotic DNA Samplers That Can Rapidly Detect Invasive Aquatic Species

USGS researchers and their collaborators demonstrated the efficacy of using robotic environmental DNA samplers for bio surveillance in freshwater systems, showing that samples collected, processed, and preserved by robotic sampler detect organism DNA in the environment at rates comparable to those collected traditionally by human technicians.

Date published: September 11, 2020

Research Spotlight: Human Enterprise Brings More Ravens to the Great Basin, Threatening Greater Sage-Grouse

A new publication from the US Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center (USGS WERC) and partners finds that ravens present a major risk to greater sage-grouse, a vulnerable species and prey for the ravens.

Date published: September 11, 2020

Emeritus & Distinguished Alumni Profile: Jan van Wagtendonk

Jan van Wagtendonk’s nearly 40-year career as a federal scientist has shaped fire and recreation management in the iconic Yosemite National Park.

Publications

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Year Published: 2020

Impacts of periodic dredging on macroinvertebrate prey availability for benthic foraging fishes in central San Francisco Bay, California

BackgroundBecause of its importance for species covered under Federal Fishery Management Plans (FMPs), the San Francisco Bay (SFB) estuary has been designated as Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA; 16 United States Code §18559b). Within this estuary, benthic macroinvertebrate...

De La Cruz, Susan E. W.; Woo, Isa; Hall, Laurie; Flanagan, Alison; Mittelstaedt, Hannah
De La Cruz, S.E.W., Woo, I., Hall, L., Flanagan, A., and Mittelstaedt, H., 2020, Impacts of periodic dredging on macroinvertebrate prey availability for benthic foraging fishes in central San Francisco Bay, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1086, 96 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201086.

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Year Published: 2020

U.S. Geological Survey sagebrush ecosystem research annual report for 2020

The sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem extends across 251,473 square miles over portions of 13 western States. Affected by multiple stressors, including interactions among fire, invasive plants, and human land uses, this ecosystem has experienced significant loss, fragmentation, and degradation of landscapes once dominated by sagebrush. In turn...

Hanser, Steven E.; Wiechman, Lief A.
Hanser, S.E., and Wiechman, L.A., eds., 2020, U.S. Geological Survey sagebrush ecosystem research annual report for 2020: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1470, 94 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1470.

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Year Published: 2020

The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)

Keys to Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) management include providing tall, dense grasslands with moderate forb coverage and minimizing disturbances during the breeding season. Sedge Wrens have been reported to use habitats with 30–166 centimeters (cm) average vegetation height, 8–80 cm visual obstruction reading, 15–75 percent grass cover, 3–78...

Shaffer, Jill A.; Igl, Lawrence D.; Johnson, Douglas H.; Sondreal, Marriah L.; Goldade, Christopher M.; Parkin, Barry D.; Wooten, Travis L.; Euliss, Betty R.
Shaffer, J.A., Igl, L.D., Johnson, D.H., Sondreal, M.L., Goldade, C.M., Parkin, B.D., Wooten, T.L., and Euliss, B.R., 2020, The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis), chap. V of Johnson, D.H., Igl, L.D., Shaffer, J.A., and DeLong, J.P., eds., The effects of management practices on grassland birds: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1842, 21 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1842V.