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The Ecosystems Mission Area provides impartial science information and tools to the Nation’s natural resource managers, with particular focus on the science needs of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and DOI bureaus to manage species, lands and priority ecosystems; fulfill treaty obligations; respond to and reduce threats to natural resources; and manage mineral and energy resources.
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The field of digital soil mapping has bridged the classic theories of soil science into the modern computing age to produce high resolution maps. This body of work utilizes classic soil factorial theory (soil = f[climate, organisms, relief (topography), parent material, time] + ɛ, or ‘clorpt’). The clorpt framework has been approximated using various environmental spatial data layers to...
Integrated Ecohydrological Science in the Northern Rocky Mountains — the variability of water availability and the effects on ecosystems
Our primary goal is to better understand and characterize how stream environments and the ecosystems they support are influenced by climate change and drought in the Northern Rocky Mountains.
Wind erosion of soils and dust emissions are a significant resource management challenge on the Colorado Plateau. Loss of topsoil and associated aeolian sediment (wind-driven sediment) movement can lead to reduced soil fertility as well as abrasion and burial of vegetation. Dust in the atmosphere poses a threat to human health, visual resources, and regional water supplies (due to interactions...
Measuring Suspended-Sediment Concentrations, Grain Sizes, and Bedload using Multiple Single-Frequency Acoustic Doppler Profilers and Echologgers in the Lower Chippewa River, Wisconsin.
The Upper Mississippi River (UMR) provides critical habitat for hundreds of aquatic species and provides Minnesota with a transportation link to the rest of the world. Reliable measurements of sediment are important for making decisions as part of maintaining the channel. In 2014, sediment deposition in the navigation channel caused channel closures of the UMR delaying commercial navigation...
The Sparrow Helper tool allows for the evaluation of water management scenarios by generating, plotting, and mapping hydrologic metrics across a range of time scales to predict impacts of proposed water depth changes to sparrow subpopulations.
WADEM (Wader Distribution Evaluation Modeling) is a JEM model that estimates species-specific habitat suitability across the landscape for Great Egret (Ardea alba), White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), and Wood Stork (Mycteria americana).
Drylands comprise ~35% of Earth’s terrestrial biomes, with over 1 billion people depending on these landscapes for their livelihoods. In the U.S., drylands comprise ~40% of the landmass and 83% of Department of Interior (DOI)-managed lands (excluding Alaska). Due to their vast extent nationally and globally, changes to these landscapes have the potential to affect global climate regulation. A...
This research project will reconstruct Holocene climatic conditions to better understand human adaptation and response to past environmental variability.
Protocols for the Detection of Renibacterium salmoninarum in salmon
Specially constructed passages that allow fish to go around dams or other barriers are key to migratory fish accessing spawning areas, nurseries and other crucial habitats. USGS helps identify the best location for these passages and is involved in designing and testing these state-of-the-art structures. The research helps key species navigate waterways and complete instinctual migratory...
Solar and wind power development is increasing exponentially in the United States. However, these energy sources may affect wildlife, either directly from collisions with the turbine blades or photovoltaic arrays or indirectly from loss of habitat and migration routes. An important component to understanding the effects of these renewable energy projects on wildlife is accurate and precise...
This guide to the vascular plants of Louisiana includes a database of plant characters, a search engine and plant images. Photographs include images of leaves, fruit, flower, stem, bark and other key identification features. Information about plants can be accessed by searching plant lists either by scientific name or common name.
Suisun Marsh is a critical habitat for wintering and breeding waterbirds in California. USGS is working with the California DWR to examine the trends in bird decline and to assess the habitat factors driving long-term survival of waterfowl, rails, and other birds in this important area.
These data consist of species relative cover; percent cover of dead plant material, soil and rock; and a variety of broad- and local- scale environmental variables. These data relate to sample sites along the Colorado River through Grand Canyon between Lees Ferry and river mile 245. Sample sites were distributed among three geomorphic features: channel margins, debris fans, and sandbars.
The data archive contains the aerial photographs and channel delineations used in our analysis. The images have been geo-referenced to the 1995 digital orthophoto quarter quadrangles as described by Miller and Friedman (2009). The channel delineations for all photo years (including 2003) and the delineation of the outer flood-plain boundary are stored as shapefiles.
Atypical Feeding Behavior of Long-tailed Ducks in the Wake of a Commercial Fishing Boat while Clamming
Data represents analyses of gizzard and gullet (esophagus and proventriculus) of nine ducks using traditional techniques
The Molecular Epidemiology of Aquatic Pathogens (MEAP)-IHNV Database
The MEAP-IHNV database provides access to detailed data for anyone interested in IHNV molecular epidemiology, such as fish health professionals, fish culture facility managers, and academic researchers.
This dataset is comprised of eight files related to salt marsh monitoring data or measures of of human disturbance (i.e. human impacts in terms of physical, chemical, and land-use stressors) collected at 33 marsh study units (MSUs) in five National Parks within the NPS Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN) along the NE coast of the US.
Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012
Germaine, S.S., Carter, S.K., Ignizio, D.A., and Freeman, A.T., 2017, Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7BR8QDD. DOI: 10.5066/F7BR8QDD
Life history attributes data for Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) in Arizona 2013
The Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) occurs in the desert and plains grasslands of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Sonora, Mexico. This data was produced as part of the first intensive study of its life history and breeding ecology, providing baseline data and facilitating comparisons with other North American Grasshopper Sparrow...
Standardization and Application of an Index of Community Integrity for Waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay
This data set is comprised of five files related to the modification and scoring of Index of Waterbird Community Integrity (IWCI) scores for all waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay. One Excel file (A) contains a list of 100+ Chesapeake waterbird species and their species attribute and IWCI scores.
These data were developed to provide land managers and researchers with early-season, near-real-time predictions of spatially explicit percent cover predictions of herbaceous annual vegetation in the study area. Appropriate use of the data should be defined by the user; however, this data comes with several caveats.
The 1966-2016 North American Breeding Bird Survey dataset contains avian point count data for more than 700 North American bird taxa (species, races, and unidentified species groupings). These data are collected annually during the breeding season, primarily June, along thousands of randomly established roadside survey routes in the United States and Canada.
The risk of rodent introductions from shipwrecks to seabirds on Aleutian and Bering Sea islands
Accidental introductions of rodents present one of the greatest threats to indigenous island biota, especially seabirds. On uninhabited remote islands, such introductions are likely to come from shipwrecks. Here we use a comprehensive database of shipwrecks in Western Alaska to model the frequency of shipwrecks per Aleutian and Bering Sea island,...Renner, Martin; Nelson, Eric; Watson, Jordan; Haynie, Alan; Poe, Aaron; Robards, Martin D.; Hess, Steve C.
Molecular systematics of swifts of the genus Chaetura (Aves: Apodiformes: Apodidae)
Phylogenetic relationships among swifts of the morphologically conservative genus Chaetura were studied using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences. Taxon sampling included all species and 21 of 30 taxa (species and subspecies) within Chaetura. Our results indicate that Chaetura is monophyletic and...Chesser, Terry; Vaseghi, Haley; Hosner, Peter A.; Bergner, Laura M.; Cortes-Rodriguez, M. Nandadevi; Welch, Andreanna J.; Collins, Charles T.
Juvenile Chinook salmon and forage fish use of eelgrass habitats in a diked and channelized Puget Sound River Delta
Eelgrass Zostera marina can form extensive meadows on Puget Sound river deltas. The extent to which these meadows provide critical rearing habitat for local estuarine fishes, especially out‐migrating juvenile salmon, is not well understood. Further, delta eelgrass has been impacted by diking and river channelization with unknown...Rubin, Stephen P.; Hayes, Michael C.; Grossman, Eric E.
Hierarchical patch delineation in fragmented landscapes
PurposeWe developed a tool, FragPatch (FP), to delineate habitat patches for highly fragmented landscapes from a user-defined suitability map and two landscape perception values for a species of interest.MethodsWe wrote a Python script in ArcGIS to delineate habitat patch networks using the user inputs and ArcGIS tools such as Euclidean distance,...Kilheffer, Chellby R.; Underwood, H. Brian
Science alive and well in North American wildlife management
Artelle et al. (1) entitled a recent article with the provocative claim: “Hallmarks of science missing from North American wildlife management”. Although we agree with some of the concerns and recommendations of Artelle et al. (1), we believe that the article is misleading about the distinction between science and management, the role of science...Nichols, James; Johnson, Fred A.; Williams, Byron K.; Boomer, G. Scott
Insight into infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) in Chinese rainbow trout aquaculture from virus isolated from 7 provinces in 2010–2014
The aquatic rhabdovirus infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) currently causes substantial fish losses in Chinese coldwater aquaculture. While IHNV was first reported in China in 1985 and has since undergone considerable spread, little is known about the underlying epidemiological patterns like introduction sources and...Jia, Peng; Breyta, Rachel B.; Li, Qing; Qian, Xu; Wu, Bing; Zheng, Wei; Wen, Zhiqing; Liu, Ying; Kurath, Gael; Hua, Qunyi; Jin, Ningyi; Liu, Hong
Responses of hatchery‐ and natural‐origin adult spring Chinook Salmon to a trap‐and‐haul reintroduction program
The construction of impassable dams severely affected many Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. populations, resulting in reintroduction efforts that are now focused on returning anadromous fish to areas located upstream of these dams. A primary strategy for moving adult salmon and steelhead O. mykiss around a dam or multiple dams...Kock, Tobias J.; Perry, Russell W.; Pope, Adam C.; Serl, John D.; Kohn, Mike; Liedtke, Theresa L.
Evaluating the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey for scaup
Potential bias in breeding population estimates of certain duck species from the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey (WBPHS) has been a concern for decades. The WBPHS does not differentiate between lesser (Aythya affinis) and greater (A. marila) scaup, but lesser scaup comprise 89% of the combined scaup population and their...Schummer, Michael L.; Afton, Alan D.; Badzinski, Shannon S.; Petrie, Scott A.; Olsen, Glenn H.; Mitchell, Mark A.
Flow-mediated effects on travel time, routing, and survival of juvenile Chinook salmon in a spatially complex, tidally forced river delta
We evaluated the interacting influences of river flows and tides on travel time, routing, and survival of juvenile late-fall Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) migrating through the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. To quantify these effects, we jointly modeled the travel time, survival, and migration routing in relation to individual...Perry, Russell W.; Pope, Adam C.; Romine, Jason G.; Brandes, Patricia L.; Burau, Jon R.; Blake, Aaron R.; Ammann, Arnold J.; Michel, Cyril J.
Herbicides and herbivory interact to drive plant community and crop‐tree establishment
Land management practices often directly alter vegetation structure and composition, but the degree to which ecological processes such as herbivory interact with management to influence biodiversity is less well understood. We hypothesized that large herbivores compound the effects of intensive forest management on early seral plant communities...Stokely, Thomas D.; Verschuyl, Jake; Hagar, Joan; Betts, Matthew G.
Biological and ecological science for Ohio—The Buckeye State
Ohio is home to lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, forests, prairies, and 312 miles of Lake Erie shoreline. These resources sustain Ohio’s communities by supporting vital sectors of the economy and cultural heritage such as fishing, hunting, and other outdoor recreation. Lake Erie provides drinking water for 3 million Ohioans, supports 124,000 Ohio...
Prepublication communication of research results
Publishing of scientific findings is central to the scientific process, and it is traditional to consider findings “provisional” until accepted by a peer-reviewed journal. Until publication, communication of provisional findings beyond participants in the study is typically limited. This practice helps assure scientific integrity. However, a...Adams, M.J.; Harris, Reid N.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Gray, Matthew J.; Hopkins, M. Camille ; Iverson, Samuel A.; Likens, Robert; Mandica, Mark; Olson, D.H.; Shepack, Alex; Waddle, Hardin
Jeff Cole, USGS Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory, using temperature sensors and a humminbird sonar system mounted on a kayak to map the thermal habitat of the East Branch (Fishs Eddy, New York) of the Delaware River.
Organ pipe cactus are rare in the Sonoran desert in the U.S. They can only be found in and around Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, shown here. The distribution of Organ Pipe Cactus is limited due to lack of tolerance for cold temperatures. The biota of the Sonoran desert is particularly senstive to disturbance. Soils often erode quickly once vegetation is removed. The...
In 2018, USGS and partners completed an incredible feat against a harmful aquatic invasive species when over 240,000 pounds of invasive Silver Carp and Bighead Carp were removed from Creve Coeur Lake in Maryland Heights, Missouri.
This image shows the blue version of sylvatic plague vaccine bait for prairie dogs.
Prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to succumb to a deadly disease called sylvatic plague after they ingest peanut-butter-flavored bait that contains a vaccine against the disease.
In an effort to increase populations of endangered black-footed ferrets and conserve the...
Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other organisms, typically algae. The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific is a unique case where a transition from corals to corallimorphs occurred. Corallimorphs are a type of invasive...
Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area....
Science to Support Salmon Recovery Efforts in the Puget Sound
An examination of long-term data for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management finds that land treatments in the southwestern United States are increasingly large, expensive and related to fire and invasive species control.
The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 9.
The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 16.
Suisun Marsh in summer is typically heavy with fog, mosquitoes, and biting flies, but the sun casts sharp light across the water, beating back the usual unpleasantness as WERC volunteer Brock Riggs wades toward a study site on an early July morning.
A non-native insect infestation may not be the only factor involved in the ongoing die-back of a marsh grass in the Mississippi River’s “bird foot delta,” the ecologically and economically important part of coastal Louisiana where the river meets the Gulf of Mexico.
Invasive mussels and less nutrients from tributaries have altered the Lake Michigan ecosystem making it more conducive to the stocking of lake trout and steelhead than Chinook salmon, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey and Michigan State University study.
Reporters are invited to an event near Fort Collins showcasing cooperative efforts to develop a potential breakthrough in wildlife management – an oral vaccine that may help protect prairie dogs against plague and assist in the recovery of endangered black-footed ferrets at specific locations in the West.
The cold-loving fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd) that causes white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of North American bats during hibernation, could also spread in summer months. Bats and humans visiting contaminated caves and mines can inadvertently contribute to the spread of the fungus, according to a recently published study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
In Memoriam - Dr. William "Dave" Woodson, 1956-2017
Direct encounters with humans can increase the likelihood that nesting geese will lose their eggs to predators, according to a recent study released Monday, July 17.