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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.
Hurricanes are large-scale disturbances of such force and size that their influence on landscape pattern and processes of coastal systems is evident, though still poorly understood. The regularity and severity of tropical storms are major factors controlling ecosystem structure and succession for coastal ecosystems. Hurricane landfall rates vary greatly for given coastal stretches of the...
USGS scientists develop techniques for restoration and rehabilitation, provide tools that can be used to restore impaired ecosystems into healthy, resilient landscapes and watersheds that sustain plants and animals, and identify adaptation strategies for managers to plan and implement for ecosystem adaptation to natural and human-caused drivers of ecosystem change.
USGS science helps Interior land managers predict wildfire risk and behavior by understanding fuel loads and treatments, assess the risk for landslides, air and water quality impacts post-fire, and determine the most cost-effective and/or least impactful land and water management and restoration alternatives.
Protecting endangered species while managing economically important species is an ongoing natural
resource management challenge. USGS research will provide managers the information they need to manage endangered native species and economically important nonnative species using economically efficient approaches. The USGS biological/economic framework is also applicable to different natural...
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).
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
Rapid departure of Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) following large-scale nest failure
Nest failure of most pairs of Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) at Falkner Island, Connecticut, in 2002-2003 (due mainly to predation by Black-crowned Night-herons [Nycticorax nycticorax]) was followed by the rapid departure of many of the failed individuals in both years. Nine failed pairs (16.7%) stayed while 40 (74.1%) of 54 unsuccessful pairs...Spendelow, Jeffrey A.; Eichenwald, Adam J.
Use of Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) burrows as shelter by Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) chicks
The availability of shelter to avoid predation and ameliorate physiologically stressful conditions is often important to the survival of avian hatchlings. However, as changes in habitat availability force birds to nest in nontraditional locations, young must quickly adapt to using novel sources of shelter. Two Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) colonies...McGowan, Peter C.; Reintsma, Kaitlyn; Sullivan, Jeffery D.; DeVoss, Katie P.; Wall, Jennifer L.; Zimnik, Mia D.; Callahan, Carl R.; Schultz, Bill; Prosser, Diann J.
Regeneration of Salicaceae riparian forests in the Northern Hemisphere: A new framework and management tool
Human activities on floodplains have severely disrupted the regeneration of foundation riparian shrub and tree species of the Salicaceae family (Populus and Salix spp.) throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Restoration ecologists initially tackled this problem from a terrestrial perspective that emphasized planting....Gonzalez, Eduardo; Martinez-Fernandez, Vanesa; Shafroth, Patrick B.; Sher, Anna A.; Henry, Annie L.; Garofano-Gomez, Virginia; Corenblit, Dov
Integrating animal movement with habitat suitability for estimating dynamic landscape connectivity
Context High-resolution animal movement data are becoming increasingly available, yet having a multitude of empirical trajectories alone does not allow us to easily predict animal movement. To answer ecological and evolutionary questions at a population level, quantitative estimates of a species’ potential to link patches or populations are of...van Toor, Mariëlle L.; Kranstauber, Bart; Newman, Scott H.; Prosser, Diann J.; Takekawa, John Y.; Technitis, Georgios; Weibel, Robert; Wikelski, Martin; Safi, Kamran
Ask not what nature can do for you: A critique of ecosystem services as a communication strategy
Given the urgent need to raise public awareness on biodiversity issues, we review the effectiveness of “ecosystem services” as a frame for promoting biodiversity conservation. Since its inception as a communications tool in the 1970s, the concept of ecosystem services has become pervasive in biodiversity policy. While the goal of securing...Bekessy, Sarah A.; Runge, Michael C.; Kusmanoff, Alex; Keith, David A.; Wintle, Brendan A.
Extreme drought alters frequency and reproductive success of floaters in Willow Flycatchers
Changes in habitat quality, including those caused by extreme events like droughts and floods, could alter costs and benefits of territoriality and thereby the prevalence and reproductive consequences for individuals capable of breeding that do not do so (floaters). We studied floating behavior in a population of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (...Theimer, Tad; Sogge, Mark K.; Cardinal, Suzanne N.; Durst, Scott L.; Paxton, Eben H.
This single-celled freshwater algae wasa collected as part of the first-ever study of the green algae family called desmids in Florida’s Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, in the northern Everglades. USGS biologist Barry H. Rosen, an expert on freshwater algae who leads the study, used a technique called differential interference microscopy to highlight the relief of...
The San Rafael grasslands are a diverse ecosystem in southern Arizona along the U.S./Mexico border region, a part of the Madrean Archipelago ecoregion. The USGS RAMPS program conducts collaborative...
Permanent Control Site: GP1 East Transect; Depth: 6.7 m (22.1 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.11852521,-123.31538047; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding...
Permanent Control Site: GP1 West Transect; Depth: 8.0 m (26.2 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.11852521,-123.31605203; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding...
Permanent Site: F1 East Transect; Depth: 6.6 Meters (21.5 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.3 Kilometers (0.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15292999, -123.55011402; Site Description: This is a shallow site. Substrate remains predominantly sand, but patches of gravel were present (0:39 seconds) as well as cobble onto which large...
Permanent Site: F1 West Transect; Depth: 6.7 Meters (22.0 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.3 Kilometers (0.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15292999, -123.55078602; Site Description: This is a shallow site. Substrate remains predominantly sand. Larger brown seaweeds were present. These species are usually attached to gravel-...
Permanent Site: F2 East Transect; Depth: 11.2 Meters (36.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.5 Kilometers (0.9 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15672004,-123.54969397; Site Description: Substrate is mainly a gravel/cobble mixture with an occasional boulder. Seven species of brown seaweed were present. Seaweed was abundant but not...
Permanent Site: J1 East Transect; Depth: 9.1 Meters (29.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 6.7 Kilometers (4.1 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13607725,-123.47935008; Site Description: This site is medium depth. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand mixture. Visibility was poor this day. Both red (0:51 seconds) and brown seaweed...
Permanent Site: J1 West Transect; Depth: 9.2 Meters (30.2 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 6.6 Kilometers (4.1 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13607725,-123.48002186; Site Description: This site is medium depth. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand mixture. Visibility was poor this day. Both red (0:48, 1:25 seconds) and brown seaweed...
The Fish Slam event discovered two nonnative fish species never seen before in Big Cypress National Preserve.
Unlike most animals, sea lampreys, an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes, could become male or female depending on how quickly they grow, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today.
U.S. Geological Survey scientist emeritus Chandler S. Robbins, whose heartfelt love of birds, quicksilver mind, boundless energy and sunny demeanor made him a major force in bird conservation in the U.S. and worldwide, died Monday, March 20 at the age of 98.
Livestock grazing effects on sage-grouse: study identifies options to sustain ranching and help wildlife
Effects of livestock grazing on greater sage-grouse populations can be positive or negative depending on the amount of grazing and when grazing occurs, according to research published today in Ecological Applications. The research was conducted by scientists from the United States Geological Survey, Colorado State University and Utah State University.
Approximately 500 Puaiohi exist in the wild, all on Kauai
Wild ducks and shorebirds do not appear to carry Newcastle disease viruses that sicken or kill poultry, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.
A new report by the USGS finds that although snow geese are increasing rapidly in northern Alaska, they are not having a negative effect on black brant. Brant are a goose species that shares its nesting habitat with snow geese.
Scientists can now predict which avian species are most sensitive to the increasingly dominant shrub habitat spreading across Alaska, a capability that will be useful for natural resource agencies in Alaska charged with managing these resources.
In Memoriam — William Toshio Yasutake, 1922–2016
Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C. This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, bringing relatively early ‘signs of spring’ to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.
Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C. This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, already bringing surprising signs of spring to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.