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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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Alabama is host to a variety of freshwater species, many of which are critically imperiled. USGS and partners focus conservation activities in high priority watersheds throughout the state.
Using Environmental DNA for Burmese Python Detection Probabilities and Range-Delimitation in Southern Florida
Current tools for detection of Burmese pythons in South Florida have resulted in low detection rates. Environmental DNA - eDNA - has shown to be effective at detecting these invasive snakes, and can help to determine range limits for the species, information that is critical for management and control efforts.
To better understand coastal response to sea-level rise, USGS is monitoring coastal wetland sediment elevations along Florida's east coast.
Researchers at NOROCK and their partners used thermal cameras at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in Montana to assess the amount of heat lost under a range of environmental conditions with and without hair. These methods help scientists better understand how mange operates in wild wolves throughout the Greater...
Translocation of imperiled fishes: Conservation introduction of threatened bull trout in Glacier National Park
There is an urgent need to consider more aggressive and direct interventions for conservation of freshwater fishes threatened by invasive species, habitat loss, and climate change. Conservation introduction - moving species to areas outside their previous range, where conditions are predicted to be more suitable - is one type of translocation strategy that fisheries managers can use to...
Contaminants Assessments in the Coral Reefs of the Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument
Coral reefs around the world are exposed to a number of environmental contaminants. USGS researchers investigate the issue of contamination on the reefs around the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Prevalence Rates of Snake Fungal Disease and its Population-Level Impacts in a Snake Assemblage in Southwest Louisiana
In the last twenty years, an extraordinary number of fungal and fungal-like diseases have caused some of the most severe die-offs and extinctions ever observed in wild species.
We fund complex, often multi-year, research efforts on priority topics (themes) identified by the National Park Service (NPS) Inventory and Monitoring Program. Our efforts complement the Natural Resources Preservation Project (NRPP), which focuses on funding short-term, tactical research to meet natural resource management needs identified by NPS.
Researchers sample water, soil or air to look for presence of Environmental DNA (eDNA), genetic material shed from living or once live organisms whose presence is difficult to detect under traditional sampling methods.
Assessing gull abundance and food availability in urban parking lots
Feeding birds is a common activity throughout the world; yet, little is known about the extent of feeding gulls in urban areas. We monitored 8 parking lots in central Massachusetts, USA, during the fall and winter of 2011 to 2013 in 4 monitoring sessions to document the number of gulls present, the frequency of human–gull feeding...Clark, Daniel E.; Whitney, Jillian J.; MacKenzie, Kenneth G.; Koenen, Kiana K. G.; DeStefano, Stephen
First satellite tracks of the Endangered black-capped petrel
The black-capped petrel Pterodroma hasitata is an endangered seabird with fewer than 2000 breeding pairs restricted to a few breeding sites in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. To date, use areas at sea have been determined entirely from vessel-based surveys and opportunistic sightings and, as such, spatial and temporal gaps in our...Jodice, Patrick G.R.; Ronconi, Robert A.; Rupp, Ernst; Wallace, George E.; Satgé, Yvan
Science information to support Missouri River Scaphirhynchus albus (pallid sturgeon) effects analysis
The Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon Effects Analysis (EA) was commissioned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a foundation of understanding of how pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) population dynamics are linked to management actions in the Missouri River. The EA consists of several steps: (1) development of comprehensive,...Jacobson, Robert B.; Parsley, Michael J.; Annis, Mandy L.; Colvin, Michael E.; Welker, Timothy L.; James, Daniel A.
Effects of drought and fire on bird communities of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Executive Summary The U.S. Government created the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (Kofa NWR) in 1939 in response to a citizen campaign to improve desert bighorn sheep populations in Arizona. The Kofa NWR is mountainous and remote, and its management by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) keeps anthropogenic disturbance levels low. As such,...McCreedy, Chris; van Riper, Charles; Esque, Todd C.; Darrah, Abigail J.
Water quality trends in the Blackwater River watershed, West Virginia
An understanding of historic and current water quality is needed to manage and improve aquatic communities within the Blackwater River watershed, WV. The Blackwater River, which historically offered an excellent Salvelinus fontinalis (Brook Trout) fishery, has been affected by logging, coal mining, use of off-road vehicles, and land...Smith, Jessica; Welsh, Stuart A.; Anderson, James T.; Fortney, Ronald H.
Fish tag recovery from Anaho Island nesting colony, Pyramid Lake, Nevada
In 2001, tags applied to the federally endangered species cui-ui (Chasmistes cujus) to study their population dynamics were discovered strewn throughout the American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) nesting colony on Anaho Island, Pyramid Lake, Nevada. Cui-ui are endemic to Pyramid Lake, and Anaho Island harbors one of North America’s...Scoppettone, G. Gary; Fabes, Mark C.; Rissler, Peter H.; Withers, Donna
Detection probabilities of electrofishing, hoop nets, and benthic trawls for fishes in two western North American rivers
Research comparing different sampling techniques helps improve the efficiency and efficacy of sampling efforts. We compared the effectiveness of three sampling techniques (small-mesh hoop nets, benthic trawls, boat-mounted electrofishing) for 30 species in the Green (WY, USA) and Kootenai (ID, USA) rivers by estimating conditional detection...Smith, Christopher D.; Quist, Michael C.; Hardy, Ryan S.
Avian disease and mosquito vectors in the Kahuku unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and Ka`u Forest Reserve
While avian disease has been well-studied in windward forests of Hawai‘i Island, there have been few studies in leeward Ka‘u. We surveyed four altitudinal sites ranging from 1,200 to 2,200 m asl in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (Kahuku) and three altitudinal sites ranging from 1,200 to 1,500 m asl in the Ka...Gaudioso, Jacqueline; Lapointe, Dennis; Atkinson, Carter T.; Egan, Ariel N.
Taxonomic characterization of honey bee (Apis mellifera) pollen foraging based on non-overlapping paired-end sequencing of nuclear ribosomal loci
Identifying plant taxa that honey bees (Apis mellifera) forage upon is of great apicultural interest, but traditional methods are labor intensive and may lack resolution. Here we evaluate a high-throughput genetic barcoding approach to characterize trap-collected pollen from multiple North Dakota apiaries across multiple years. We used the...Cornman, Robert S.; Otto, Clint R. V.; Iwanowicz, Deborah D.; Pettis, Jeffery S
Functional response of ungulate browsers in disturbed eastern hemlock forests
Ungulate browsing in predator depleted North American landscapes is believed to be causing widespread tree recruitment failures. However, canopy disturbances and variations in ungulate densities are sources of heterogeneity that can buffer ecosystems against herbivory. Relatively little is known about the functional response (the rate of...DeStefano, Stephen
Infecting Pacific Herring with Ichthyophonus sp. in the laboratory
The protistan parasite Ichthyophonus sp. occurs in coastal populations of Pacific Herring Clupea pallasii throughout the northeast Pacific region, but the route(s) by which these planktivorous fish become infected is unknown. Several methods for establishing Ichthyophonus infections in laboratory challenges were examined. Infections were most...Hershberger, Paul; Hart, Lucas; Mackenzie, Ashley; Yanney, M.L.; Conway, Carla M.; Elliott, Diane G.
Estimating mercury exposure of piscivorous birds and sport fish using prey fish monitoring
Methylmercury is a global pollutant of aquatic ecosystems, and monitoring programs need tools to predict mercury exposure of wildlife. We developed equations to estimate methylmercury exposure of piscivorous birds and sport fish using mercury concentrations in prey fish. We collected original data on western grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis) and...Ackerman, Joshua T.; Hartman, C. Alex; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Herzog, Mark P.; Davis, Jay; Ichikawa, Gary; Bonnema, Autumn
Conducing Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) surveys in sagebrush habitat, Owyhee Moutains, SW Idaho.
Top view of Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) nest in sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), Owyhee Mountains, SW Idaho.
Unhatched eggs in Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) nest.
The Varied Thrush is a year-round native of Pacific Northwest forests. Its diet consists of mostly insects in the summer and berries and wild fruit in the winter.
Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) held by field technician.
John Warzybok records data whille Caroline Poli secures a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) for assessment, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) being measured, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Caroline Poli and John Warzybok assess Brewer's sparrows (Spizella breweri) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.