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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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Snake River fall Chinook salmon were listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 1992. At that time, little was known about the spawning, rearing, migration, and life history of this species. This long-term research and monitoring project has produced much of the contemporary knowledge on fall Chinook salmon that has been used by fish managers to implement recovery measures. The...
USGS research on wildlife behavior, abundance, and sources of mortality are improving our understanding of the specific effects of renewable energy on wildlife and habitats. This knowledge is guiding the development of effective strategies to minimize the impact of renewable energy development on wildlife. USGS is improving and developing software models and statistical tools that can be used...
USGS scientists are studying how biofuel crops may be affecting pollinators, especially in the Northern Great Plains. Changes in land use from bee-friendly crops to biofuel crops likely impact pollinators.
Grazing resources for integrated conservation of bison and native prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park (BADL) contains one of the largest protected expanses of mixed-grass prairie in the United States, much of which supports a herd of nearly wild bison. The park nevertheless is too small to accommodate bison’s natural nomadic behavior, which in the past resulted in their ephemeral but intense influence on Great Plains grasslands. This research is assessing the spatial...
Residual toxicity testing and chemical characterization of ballast water following treatment with NaOH, sparging with scrubbed marine diesel engine exhaust, and aeration
Title of Study Plan: Residual toxicity testing and chemical characterization of ballast water following treatment with NaOH, sparging with scrubbed marine diesel engine exhaust, and aeration
Accurate and timely scientific information is critical to ensure appropriate management response to wildfires and effective investments in stabilization, rehabilitation, and restoration of landscapes immediately after wildfires occur. Currently, fire management organizations lack adequate scientific information to prioritize burned regions for suppression and restoration activities.
Grazing can have different impacts on an ecosystem including as a fire suppresant. USGS scientists are examining the effects of grazing in different environments to provide land resource managers with data they can use when determining grazing plans and actions.
WARC's Advanced Applications Team is responsible for data management and application development to support the biological monitoring components of coastal restoration projects in the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority portfolio.
Welcome to the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) information resource for the United States Geological Survey. Located at Gainesville, Florida, this site has been established as a central repository for spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of introduced aquatic species.
The NAS provides spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of aquatic species introduced into the United States. The NAS allows for real-time queries, has regional contact information, species accounts and general information. Sign up for species-specific email alerts. Special maps available for zebra and quagga mussels, Asian carp and lionfish.
The central organizing framework for documentation, inventory, monitoring, and study of vegetation in the United States from broad scale formations like forests to fine-scale plant communities. The Classification allows users to produce uniform statistics about vegetation resources across the nation at local, regional, or national levels.
Nature’s Notebook is an online phenological monitoring program that currently supports data collection, storage and use for almost 250 animal species (including fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals) and 650 plant species (including trees, shrubs, forbs, grasses and cacti). Available to anyone from scientists to nature enthusiast.
This web resource provides decision makers with the information needed to maintain the Upper Mississippi River System as a viable multiple-use large river ecosystem.
The Spring Indices are a suite of models developed to simulate the timing of the onset of spring in native and cultivated plants, as well as other physical and ecological processes, that are primarily sensitive to temperature. The SI can be calculated for any weather station that collects daily minimum and maximum temperatures.
The database houses contemporary and historical data on organismal phenology across the nation. These data are being used in a number of applications for science, conservation and resource management. Customizable data downloads using specific dates, regions, species and phenophases, are freely available.
The ARMI database provides occupancy and abundance estimates at the project level. Data can be accessed in tabular format or plotted directly via an interactive map browser. The trend data is updated annually and is useful for tracking the status of some of our nation’s amphibian populations.
Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC, Corvallis) — The Raptor Information System (RIS) is a computerized literature retrieval system that focuses on raptor management, human impacts on raptors, the mitigation of adverse impacts, and basic raptor biology (with an emphasis on population dynamics and predation).
Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a project monitored by the USGS and the Canadian Wildlife Service on the status and trends of North American bird populations. The data can be used to estimate population trends and relative abundances at various scales.
Assessing the effectiveness of riparian restoration projects using Landsat and precipitation data from the cloud-computing application ClimateEngine.org
Riparian vegetation along streams provides a suite of ecosystem services in rangelands and thus is the target of restoration when degraded by over-grazing, erosion, incision, or other disturbances. Assessments of restoration effectiveness depend on defensible monitoring data, which can be both expensive and difficult to collect. We present a...Hausner, Mark B.; Huntington, Justin L.; Nash, Caroline; Morton, Charles; McEvoy, Daniel J.; Pilliod, David S.; Hegewisch, Katherine C.; Daudert, Britta; Abatzoglou, John T.; Grant, Gordon E.
Post-spring migration colony-site prospecting by Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii)
We recorded banded Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) and unbanded individuals mated to banded individuals in May and the first third of June in 2001 and 2002 to quantify post spring migration prospecting by this species at Falkner Island, Connecticut, USA. In 2001, more than one quarter: 34/125 (27.2%) of those observed by 19 May and 38/150 (25.3...Spendelow, Jeffrey A.; Eichenwald, Adam J.
Bat community response to silvicultural treatments in bottomland hardwood forests managed for wildlife in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley
Silvicultural treatments (e.g., selective timber harvests) that are prescribed to promote wildlife habitat are intended to alter the physical structure of forests to achieve conditions deemed beneficial for wildlife. Such treatments have been advocated for management of bottomland hardwood forests on public conservation lands in the Mississippi...Ketzler, Loraine P.; Comer, Christopher E.; Twedt, Daniel J.
Juvenile salmonid monitoring following removal of Condit Dam in the White Salmon River Watershed, Washington, 2017
Condit Dam, at river kilometer 5.3 on the White Salmon River, Washington, was breached in 2011, and removed completely in 2012, providing anadromous salmonids with the opportunity to recolonize habitat blocked for nearly 100 years. Prior to dam removal, a multi-agency workgroup concluded that the preferred salmonid restoration alternative was to...Jezorek, Ian G.; Hardiman, Jill M.
On the reliability of N‐mixture models for count data
N‐mixture models describe count data replicated in time and across sites in terms of abundance N and detectability p. They are popular because they allow inference about N while controlling for factors that influence p without the need for marking animals. Using a capture–recapture perspective, we show that the loss of information that results...Barker, Richard J.; Schofield, Matthew J.; Link, William A.; Sauer, John R.
Variation in inbreeding rates across the range of Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina): Insights from over 30 years of monitoring data
Inbreeding has been difficult to quantify in wild populations because of incomplete parentage information. We applied and extended a recently developed framework for addressing this problem to infer inbreeding rates in Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) across the Pacific Northwest, USA. Using pedigrees from 14,187 Northern Spotted...Miller, Mark P.; Haig, Susan M.; Forsman, Eric D.; Anthony, Robert G.; Diller, Lowell; Dugger, Katie M.; Franklin, Alan B.; Fleming, Tracy L.; Gremel, Scott; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Higley, Mark; Herter, Dale R.; Sovern, Stan G
On the robustness of N‐mixture models
N‐mixture models provide an appealing alternative to mark–recapture models, in that they allow for estimation of detection probability and population size from count data, without requiring that individual animals be identified. There is, however, a cost to using the N‐mixture models: inference is very sensitive to the model's assumptions. We...Link, William A.; Schofield, Matthew R.; Barker, Richard J.; Sauer, John R.
Landbird population trends in mountain and historical parks of the North Coast and Cascades Network: 2005–2016 synthesis
Long-term monitoring of landbird populations within the National Park Service (NPS) North Coast and Cascades Inventory and Monitoring Network (NCCN) began in 2005, with the goal of detecting trends to inform the conservation and management of landbirds and their habitats. Here we use 2005–2016 data from over 3500 point-count stations to report...Ray, Chris; Saracco, James F.; Holmgren, Mandy; Wilkerson, Robert L.; Siegel, Rodney B.; Jenkins, Kurt J.; Ransom, Jason I.; Happe, Patricia J.; Boetsch, John R.; Huff, Mark H.
Decision making for mitigating wildlife diseases: From theory to practice for an emerging fungal pathogen of amphibians
Conservation science can be most effective in its decision‐support role when seeking answers to clearly formulated questions of direct management relevance. Emerging wildlife diseases, a driver of global biodiversity loss, illustrate the challenges of performing this role: in spite of considerable research, successful disease mitigation is...Canessa, Stefano; Bozzutto, Claudio; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Cruickshank, Sam S.; Fisher, Matthew C.; Koella, Jacob C.; Lotters, Stefan; Martel, An; Pasmans, Frank; Scheele, Ben C.; Spitzen-van der Sluijs, Annemarieke; Steinfartz, Sebastian; Schmidt, Benedikt R.
Two-species occupancy modeling accounting for species misidentification and nondetection
In occupancy studies, species misidentification can lead to false‐positive detections, which can cause severe estimator biases. Currently, all models that account for false‐positive errors only consider omnibus sources of false detections and are limited to single‐species occupancy.However, false detections for a given species often occur because...Chambert, Thierry; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Miller, David A. W.; Nichols, James; Mulder, Kevin P.; Brand, Adrianne B,
Research and management priorities for Hawaiian forest birds
Hawai‘i's forest birds face a number of conservation challenges that, if unaddressed, will likely lead to the extinction of multiple species in the coming decades. Threats include habitat loss, invasive plants, non-native predators, and introduced diseases. Climate change is predicted to increase the geographic extent and intensity of these...Paxton, Eben H.; Laut, Megan; Vetter, John P.; Kendall, Steve J.
Mercury on a landscape scale—Balancing regional export with wildlife health
The Cosumnes River watershed requires a 57–64 percent reduction in loads to meet the new Delta methylmercury (MeHg) total maximum daily load allocation, established by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Because there are no large point sources of MeHg in the watershed, the focus of MeHg load reductions will fall upon non-...Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark C.; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Fleck, Jacob A.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; McQuillen, Harry
The arrows in this image point to mouths of individual corallimorphs, which are a type of invasive anemone that typically thrives in coral reefs that have been degraded by environmental or man-made disturbances. Each corallimorph mouth is surrounded by a corona of tentacles.
Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to...
This image shows sea lampreys in their larvae phase.
Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes....
A little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) with white-nose syndrome hibernating in a Virginia cave during late spring of 2016. Patches of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome can be seen growing out of the skin (white areas) near the nose and across the folded wing skin of this bat. Spherical drops of water condensation coat the bat's outer fur, a...
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...
Image from a remote camera placed in a golden eagle nest in the Mojave Desert. The parent is feed the chick a snake.
- Sea otters are perhaps the best-known example of a "keystone predator".
- Sea otter behavior -- in particular diet specialization and limited mobility -- can mediate their effects on ecosystem dynamics.
- Other predators, especially large sea stars, can complement and reinforce the keystone role of sea otters: this became apparent with the loss of all
Non-native Cuban treefrogs have established a breeding population in New Orleans, Louisiana, the first such population on the U.S. mainland outside Florida. The treefrogs were discovered at the Audubon Zoo shortly after a shipment of palm trees from Florida were planted in the zoo's elephant enclosure in 2016. USGS scientist Brad Glorioso confirmed the presence of a...
The iconic Sonoran Desert is home to many species of cactus, vascular plants, and wildlife, including the giant saguaro, cholla, and prickley pear cacti seen here. Plants and animals have adapted to living in such a harsh dry environment. For example, the plants in this photo have grown up in the shade of one another, and survived due to protection from the hot sun. The...
Out with the old, in with the new! A state-of-the-art aquatic science laboratory is being built on the shores of Lake Huron at the USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station (HBBS), one of seven field stations of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center, operated in partnership with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. To make way for the new laboratory, four old buildings on the HBBS...
Thanks to a quarter-century of research and monitoring, scientists now know how different wildlife species were injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and how long it took for populations to recover.
Ducks in North America can be carriers of avian influenza viruses similar to those found in a 2016 outbreak in Indiana that led to the losses of hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys, according to a recent study.
As many as 1.8 billion additional stems of milkweed plants may be needed in North America to return imperiled monarch butterflies to a sustainable population size, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.
If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Michigan, there would be enough food available for these particular species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
A new tool, which predicted the recent, rapid growth and continued spread of chronic wasting disease in deer, can help forecast and manage other costly biological threats to humans, animals and the environment, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.
Florida’s iconic manatee population is highly likely to endure for the next 100 years, so long as wildlife managers continue to protect the marine mammals and their habitat, a new study by the US Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has found.
Long distance flights in search of flowering trees threatens the Hawaiian Iiwi as climate change increases the distribution of avian diseases
We appreciate your interest in USGS' Sirenia Project. To help inform members of the media and public, we have provided relevant publications, reports, and websites.
Almost all of the turtles living in a southern California lake died following a large fire and years of drought, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report published in the journal Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems.
Understanding the Effects of Temperature on Diseases in Fish
Hybridization, or the interbreeding of species, is increasing between native and invasive trout across the northern Rocky Mountains, according to a study released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners.
Early Detection Monitoring May Not Be Sufficient for Invasive Mussels in the Columbia River Basin