Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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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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Filter Total Items: 715
Date published: March 18, 2016

Green-Tree Reservoir management practices within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System

Green-Tree Reservoirs are used as a management tool by National Wildlife Refuges throughout the Southeast United States, but data suggests that forest productivity has declined in these areas. USGS investigates the effects of climate and flooding on tree growth and mortality to assist refuge managers adapt management strategies. 

Contacts: Richard Day
Date published: March 18, 2016

Establishing Explicit Biological Objectives to Guide Strategic Habitat Conservation for the Gulf Coast

To inform conservation efforts for the Gulf Coast, USGS is developing a suite of decision support tools to provide explicit population and habitat objectives.

Date published: March 18, 2016

Response of a Threatened Shorebird to Severe Storms

The federally protected Atlantic Coast Piping Plover relies on habitats that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. USGS works to understand how these changes have affected nesting habitat and the reproductive success of the shorebird.

Date published: March 18, 2016
Status: Active

An Inventory and Comparative Study of Bees, A Keystone Ecological Group in the Endangered Coastal Prairie of Louisiana

Much of Louisiana's coastal prairie has been converted to rice and sugarcane cultivation. USGS is inventorying bee populations in these areas to explore how effective restoration efforts have been.

Contacts: Larry Allain
Date published: March 18, 2016
Status: Active

Population Monitoring of the Federally Threatened Okaloosa Darter at Eglin Air Force Base

USGS' and Loyola University New Orleans' innovative research techniques played a role in the decision to downlist the Okaloosa Darter, a freshwater fish endemic to northwest Florida, from Endangered to Threatened.

Contacts: Howard Jelks
Date published: March 18, 2016

Long-Term Carbon Burial in Marshes of the Mississippi River Delta

Wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico coast play an important role in the global carbon cycle, but as they  rapidly convert to open water, their potential for carbon storage is declining. USGS is working to provide accurate, long-term marsh soil carbon sequestration rates. 

Date published: March 18, 2016
Status: Active

Classifying Coastal Wetland Vegetation Communities with Unsupervised Artificial Neural Networks

Wetlands are often classified by their vegetation, which can help scientists track how these landscapes change over time. USGS turns to unsupervised artificial neural networks to help guide this classification process.

Date published: March 18, 2016

An investigation of aquatic invasive species in pristine sites in the Greater Yellowstone Area

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are aquatic organisms that move into ecosystems beyond their natural, historic range and cause severe and irreversible damage to the habitats they invade. Most AIS arrive as a direct result of human activity, such as boating and angling. The threat of AIS introduction is especially high in the Greater Yellowstone Area, as humans from all over the world come to...

Contacts: Adam Sepulveda
Date published: March 18, 2016

Potential Impact of Hydrology and Sedimentation Changes to Biodiversity, Dongting Lake, China

Dongting Lake, one of the wetlands that make up the floodplains of China's Yangtze River, is important habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. However, the re-engineering of the water way and the intensification of agricultural practices has contributed to changes in hydrology and sedimentation. USGS and partners from China are assessing the potential impact of these changes to the...

Date published: March 18, 2016

Pollinator Germplasm as a Genetic Resource for Conservation

Honey bee colony failure is primarily due to the infestation of mites and agricultural pesticides, including neonicotinoids. USGS researches the impacts these have on honey bee reproductive capabilities.

Date published: March 17, 2016

Use of a Sustained-Release Chemical Delivery Device in Assessing Effects of Systemic Insecticides

Neonicotinoid insecticides the fastest growing insecticide worldwide - and may play a role in the declines of terrestrial and aquatic vertebrate species.

Date published: March 17, 2016

Mapping Oil in Marshes and Its Implications

Remote sensing helps USGS scientists detect and map surface oil in coastal environments.

Filter Total Items: 2,931
Year Published: 2016

Optimizing surveillance for South American origin influenza A viruses along the United States Gulf Coast through genomic characterization of isolates from blue-winged teal (Anas discors)

Relative to research focused on intercontinental viral exchange between Eurasia and North America, less attention has been directed towards understanding the redistribution of influenza A viruses (IAVs) by wild birds between North America and South America. In this study, we genomically characterized 45 viruses isolated from blue-winged teal (Anas...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Walther, Patrick; Link, Paul Karl; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Wilcox, Benjamin R.; Newsome, George M.; Spackman, Erica; Brown, J.; Stallknecht, David E.
Ramey, A. M., P. Walther, P. Link, R. L. Poulson, B. R. Wilcox, G. M. Newsome, E. Spackman, J. D. Brown, and D. E. Stallknecht. 2014. Optimizing surveillance for South American origin influenza A viruses along the United States Gulf Coast through genomic characterization of isolates from Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors). Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, doi:10.1111/tbed.12244

Year Published: 2015

Activity-specific ecological niche models for planning reintroductions of California condors (Gymnogyps californianus)

Ecological niche models can be a useful tool to identify candidate reintroduction sites for endangered species but have been infrequently used for this purpose. In this paper, we (1) develop activity-specific ecological niche models (nesting, roosting, and feeding) for the critically endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) to aid in...

D'Elia, Jesse; Haig, Susan M.; Johnson, Matthew J.; Marcot, Bruce G.; Young, Richard
D'Elia, J.D., Haig, S.M., Johnson, M.J., Marcot, B.G., Young, R., 2015, Activity-specific ecological niche models for planning reintroductions of California condors (Gymnogyps californianus). DOI-10.1016/j.biocon.2015.01.002: Biological Conservation, v. 184, no. April 2015, p. 90-99.

Year Published: 2015

Management of aspen in a changing environment

Aspen communities are biologically rich and ecologically valuable, yet they face myriad threats, including changing climate, altered fire regimes, and excessive browsing by domestic and wild ungulates. Recognizing the different types of aspen communities that occur in the Great Basin, and being able to distinguish between seral and stable...

Chambers, Jeanne; Shinneman, Douglas; Halford, Anne S.; Howell, Cheri; Krasnow, Kevin D.; Strand, Eva K.

Year Published: 2015

State-space modeling to support management of brucellosis in the Yellowstone bison population

The bison (Bison bison) of the Yellowstone ecosystem, USA, exemplify the difficulty of conserving large mammals that migrate across the boundaries of conservation areas. Bison are infected with brucellosis (Brucella abortus) and their seasonal movements can expose livestock to infection. Yellowstone National Park has embarked on a program of...

Hobbs, N. Thompson; Geremia, Chris; Treanor, John; Wallen, Rick; White, P.J.; Hooten, Mevin B.; Rhyan, Jack C.

Year Published: 2015

Seasonal cues of Arctic grayling movement in a small Arctic stream: the importance of surface water connectivity

In Arctic ecosystems, freshwater fish migrate seasonally between productive shallow water habitats that freeze in winter and deep overwinter refuge in rivers and lakes. How these movements relate to seasonal hydrology is not well understood. We used passive integrated transponder tags and stream wide antennae to track 1035 Arctic grayling in Crea...

Heim, Kurt C.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Whitman, Matthew S.; Arp, Christopher D.; Adams, Jeff; Falke, Jeffrey A.

Year Published: 2015

Toward a mechanistic understanding of human-induced rapid environmental change: A case study linking energy development, avian nest predation, and predators

Demographic consequences of human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC) have been widely documented for many populations. The mechanisms underlying such patterns, however, are rarely investigated and yet are critical to understand for effective conservation and management. We investigated the mechanisms underlying reduced avian nest survival...

Hethcoat, Matthew G.; Chalfoun, Anna D.

Year Published: 2015

Incorporating microbial dormancy dynamics into soil decomposition models to improve quantification of soil carbon dynamics of northern temperate forests

Soil carbon dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. Microbial-based decomposition models have seen much growth recently for quantifying this role, yet dormancy as a common strategy used by microorganisms has not usually been represented and tested in these models against field observations. Here we...

He, Yujie; Yang, Jinyan; Zhuang, Qianlai; Harden, Jennifer W.; McGuire, A. David; Liu, Yaling; Wang, Gangsheng; Gu, Lianhong

Year Published: 2015

Depth of artificial Burrowing Owl burrows affects thermal suitability and occupancy

Many organizations have installed artificial burrows to help bolster local Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) populations. However, occupancy probability and reproductive success in artificial burrows varies within and among burrow installations. We evaluated the possibility that depth below ground might explain differences in occupancy...

Nadeau, Christopher P.; Conway, Courtney J.; Rathbun, Nathan

Year Published: 2015

Evaluation of a waistband for attaching external radiotransmitters to anurans

Radiotelemetry provides fine-scale temporal and spatial information about an individual's movements and habitat use; however, its use for monitoring amphibians has been restricted by transmitter mass and lack of suitable attachment techniques. We describe a novel waistband for attaching external radiotransmitters to anurans and evaluate the...

Groff, Luke A.; Pitt, Amber L.; Baldwin, Robert F.; Calhoun, Aram J.K.; Loftin, Cyndy

Year Published: 2015

Influence of habitat and intrinsic characteristics on survival of neonatal pronghorn

Increased understanding of the influence of habitat (e.g., composition, patch size) and intrinsic (e.g., age, birth mass) factors on survival of neonatal pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) is a prerequisite to successful management programs, particularly as they relate to population dynamics and the role of population models in adaptive species...

Jacques, Christopher N.; Jenks, Jonathan A.; Grovenburg, Troy W.; Klaver, Robert W.

Year Published: 2015

Bioelectrical impedance analysis: A new tool for assessing fish condition

Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is commonly used in human health and nutrition fields but has only recently been considered as a potential tool for assessing fish condition. Once BIA is calibrated, it estimates fat/moisture levels and energy content without the need to kill fish. Despite the promise held by BIA, published studies have been...

Hartman, Kyle J.; Margraf, F. Joseph; Hafs, Andrew W.; Cox, M. Keith

Year Published: 2015

Crocodylus acutus (American Crocodile). Long distance juvenile movement

Crocodylus acutus (American Crocodile) is the most widely distributed New World crocodilian species with its range extending from Peru in the south to the southern tip of peninsular Florida in the north. Crocodylus acutus occupies primarily coastal brackish water habitat, however it also occurs in freshwater to hypersaline habitats (Thorbjarnarson...

Crespo, Rafael; Beauchamp, Jeffrey S.; Mazzotti, Frank; Cherkiss, Michael S.
Crespo, R., Beauchamp, J., Mazzotti, F., and Cherkiss, M.S., 2015, Crocodylus acutus (American Crocodile). Long distance juvenile movement: Herpetological Review, v. 46, no. 4, p. 623-624.

Filter Total Items: 658
Image: Brewer's Sparrow Being Held for Assessment
February 26, 2006

Brewer's Sparrow Being Held for Assessment

John Warzybok records data whille Caroline Poli secures a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) for assessment, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Image: Measurement of Brewer's Sparrow
February 26, 2006

Measurement of Brewer's Sparrow

Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) being measured, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Image: Brewer's Sparrows Being Assessed
February 26, 2006

Brewer's Sparrows Being Assessed

Caroline Poli and John Warzybok assess Brewer's sparrows (Spizella breweri) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Image: Brewer's Sparrow Being Weighed
February 26, 2006

Brewer's Sparrow Being Weighed

Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) being weighed on digital scale, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Image: Brewer's Sparrow
February 26, 2006

Brewer's Sparrow

John Warzybok secures a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri), White Sands Missle Range, New Mexico.

Image: Brewer's Sparrow Being Held for Assessment
February 26, 2006

Brewer's Sparrow Being Held for Assessment

John Warzybok records data whille Caroline Poli secures a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) for assessment, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Image: Bagged Brewer's Sparrows
February 10, 2006

Bagged Brewer's Sparrows

Sampling bags holding Brewer's sparrows (Spizella breweri), White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Image: Brewer's Sparrow Being Assessed
February 10, 2006

Brewer's Sparrow Being Assessed

John Warzybok assesses a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Pitcher Plant Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
June 3, 2004

Sundew Plant Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

A Sundew plant taken at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana

Image: Brewer's sparrow in hand
May 31, 2004

Brewer's sparrow in hand

USGS' Steve Hanser holding a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri).

map of western U.S.showing sagebrush-dominated ecoregions
March 15, 2003

Sagebrush-dominated ecoregions

Sagebrush-dominated ecoregions in the western United States (sagebrush cover types shown in various shades of yellow, pink, and blue-grey).