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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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USGS scientists work with decision makers and stakeholders to develop decision analytic frameworks to deliberately reduce the uncertainty that negatively affects the quality of decisions whether made once (i.e., Structured Decision Making) or repeatedly (i.e., Adaptive Management).
Informed forecasting of landscape structure, function, composition, and condition requires an understanding of the factors that control, constrain, and regulate ecosystem dynamics. USGS science is focused on understanding these driving factors using ecological research, long-term field studies and ecosystem modeling. Additionally, the USGS works with partners to provide alternative strategies...
The Environments Program responds to the needs and requirements of resource management bureaus within the Interior and other science and resource management organizations by designing, developing and conducting research required for the resource management and policy decisions made by a variety of stakeholders.
Since the winter of 2006-07, millions of North American bats have died from white-nose syndrome (WNS). As of September 2015, bats with WNS were confirmed in 26 states and five Canadian provinces.
White-nose syndrome gets its name from the white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which infects the skin on the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats and was ...
Avian malaria is a mosquito-borne disease of birds caused by a protozoan parasite (Plasmodium relictum). P. relictum reproduces in avian red blood cells. If the parasite load is sufficiently high, the bird loses red blood cells (anemia). Because red blood cells are critical for moving oxygen about the body, loss of these cells can lead to progressive weakness and, eventually...
USGS has been involved in the response to Rapid Ohi’a Death since its detection in 2015, and is part of the multi-organizational Rapid Ohi’a Death Working Group which was formed to share information and coordinate research, resource management and outreach activities.
USGS research focuses on developing and enhancing capabilities to forecast and predict invasive species establishment and spread. Early detection helps resource managers identify and report new invasive species, especially for cryptic species and those in very low abundance, to better assess risks to natural areas. Tracking the establishment and spread of existing and new invasive species is...
USGS researchers monitor native populations for threats of invading species to improving understanding of the ecology of invaders and factors in resistance of habitats to invasion.
Best management practices (BMPs) can be used to help prevent the spread of invasive species and help mitigate the consequences of invasive species once they have become established. BMPs provide a framework for natural resource managers to follow to effectively deal with, and prevent the spread of, invasive species.
The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native species and habitats affected by invasive species. This is critical because control without restoration can leave the ecosystem vulnerable to subsequent reinvasion by the same or additional invasive species.
The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native species and habitats affected by invasive species. This is critical because control without restoration can leave the ecosystem vulnerable to subsequent reinvasion by the same or additional invasive species.The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native...
A focus of USGS research is to integrate control strategies where applicable to empower land and water
managers to respond rapidly to a wide variety of new invasions across the United States.
Across Trophic Level System Simulation for the Freshwater Wetlands of the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp
Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS) is a project to develop a set of models for the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp of South Florida. The models will support studies "to compare the future effects of alternative hydrologic scenarios on the biotic components of the system."
The North American Bird Monitoring Projects Database site is dedicated to bird monitoring in North America. It provides easy access to descriptions of all major bird monitoring projects in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
The North American Bird Phenology Program was a network of volunteer observers who recorded information on first arrival dates, maximum abundance, and departure dates of migratory birds across North America. Active between 1880 and 1970, the program exists now as a historic collection of six million migration card observations.
This site provides data and tools to help answer the question of how well we are protecting common plants and animals (GAP Analysis). Choose a state or the entire United States. Download data for land cover, species, protected areas and more or view online, using the interactive GAP Data Viewers.
This tool produces and provides information on the characteristics, extent, and status of the Nation's wetlands and deepwater habitats and other wildlife habitats.
At this website, one can view lists of native freshwater snails by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of snails by political boundaries. Lists can be downloaded for use in reports or analyses. Data file last updated 12/17/2013.
The 2008 AFS Endangered Species Committee list of imperiled freshwater and diadromous fishes of North America
At this website, one can view lists of imperiled fishes by freshwater ecoregion, by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of imperiled fishes by ecoregions or political boundaries. Data file last updated 4/25/2013.
The 2007 AFS Endangered Species Committee list of common and imperiled freshwater crayfishes of the United States and Canada
At this website, one can view lists of crayfishes by freshwater ecoregion, by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of crayfishes by ecoregions or political boundaries. Data file last updated 3/17/2011.
The National Wildlife Health Center, with help from partners and support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, organized “Lake Michigan Volunteer AMBLE – Avian Monitoring for Botulism Lakeshore Events” in 2011. The goal of AMBLE was to empower concerned citizens to monitor bird health and beach conditions along the Lake Michigan shoreline, thus increasing knowledge of avian botulism...
Ichthyophonus in sport-caught groundfishes from southcentral Alaska
This report of Ichthyophonus in common sport-caught fishes throughout the marine waters of southcentral Alaska represents the first documentation of natural Ichthyophonus infections in lingcod Ophiodon elongates and yelloweye rockfish Sebastes ruberrimus. In addition, the known geographic range of ...Harris, Bradley P.; Webster, Sarah R.; Wolf, Nathan; Gregg, Jacob L.; Hershberger, Paul
Analytical and diagnostic performance of a qPCR assay for Ichthyophonus spp. compared to the tissue culture ‘gold standard’
Parasites of the genus Ichthyophonus infect many fish species and have a non-uniform distribution within host tissues. Due in part to this uneven distribution, the comparative sensitivity and accuracy of using molecular-based detection methods versus culture to estimate parasite prevalence is under debate. We evaluated the analytical and...Lowe, Vanessa C.; Hershberger, Paul K.; Friedman, Carolyn S.
Infection by Nanophyetus salmincola and toxic contaminant exposure in out‐migrating steelhead from Puget Sound, Washington: Implications for early marine survival
Out‐migrating steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss from four Puget Sound rivers and associated marine basins of Puget Sound in Washington State were examined for the parasite, Nanophyetus salmincola in 2014 to determine whether recent trends in reduced marine survival are associated with the presence of this pathogen. A subset of...Chen, M.F.; O'Neill, S. M.; Carey, A. J.; Conrad, R. H.; Stewart, B. A.; Snekvik, K. R.; Ylitalo, G. M.; Hershberger, Paul
Chapter 4: Northern spotted owl habitat and populations: Status and threats
The northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990 (USFWS 1990). Providing adequate amounts of suitable forest cover to sustain the subspecies was a major component of the first recovery plan for northern spotted owls (USFWS 1992) and a driver in the basic reserve design and old-...Lesmeister, Damon B.; Davis, Ramond J; Singleton, Peter H; Wiens, David
Critically assessing the utility of portable lead analyzers for wildlife conservation
Lead (Pb) exposure in wildlife is a widespread management and conservation concern. Quantitative determination of Pb concentrations in wildlife tissues is the foundation for estimating exposure and risk. Development of low‐cost, portable instruments has improved access and cost‐effectiveness of determining Pb concentrations in blood samples, while...Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Bedrosian, Bryan; Craighead, Derek; Domenech, Robert; Langner, Heiko W.; Parish, Chris N.; Shreading, Adam; Welch, Alacia; Wolstenholme, Rachel
Estimating freshwater productivity, overwinter survival, and migration patterns of Klamath River Coho Salmon
An area of great importance to resource management and conservation biology in the Klamath Basin is balancing water usage against the life history requirements of threatened Coho Salmon. One tool for addressing this topic is a freshwater dynamics model to forecast Coho Salmon productivity based on environmental inputs. Constructing such a...Manhard, Christopher V.; Som, Nicholas A.; Perry, Russell W.; Faukner, Jimmy; Soto, Toz
Estimation of stream conditions in tributaries of the Klamath River, northern California
Because of their critical ecological role, stream temperature and discharge are requisite inputs for models of salmonid population dynamics. Coho Salmon inhabiting the Klamath Basin spend much of their freshwater life cycle inhabiting tributaries, but environmental data are often absent or only seasonally available at these locations. To address...Manhard, Christopher V.; Som, Nicholas A.; Jones, Edward C.; Perry, Russell W.
The utility of point count surveys to predict wildlife interactions with wind energy facilities: An example focused on golden eagles
Wind energy development is rapidly expanding in North America, often accompanied by requirements to survey potential facility locations for existing wildlife. Within the USA, golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are among the most high-profile species of birds that are at risk from wind turbines. To minimize golden eagle fatalities in areas...Sur, Maitreyi; Belthoff, James R.; Bjerre, Emily R.; Millsap, Brian A.; Katzner, Todd
Trophic compression of lake food webs under hydrologic disturbance
The need to protect biostructure is increasingly recognized, yet empirical studies of how human exploits affect ecological networks are rare. Studying the effects of variation in human disturbance intensity from decades past can help us understand and anticipate ecosystem change under alleviated or amplified disturbance over decades to come. Here...Hansen, Adam G.; Gardner, Jennifer R.; Connelly, Kristin A.; Polacek, Matt; Beauchamp, David A.
Adaptive population divergence and directional gene flow across steep elevational gradients in a climate‐sensitive mammal
The American pika is a thermally sensitive, alpine lagomorph species. Recent climate-associated population extirpations and genetic signatures of reduced population sizes range-wide indicate the viability of this species is sensitive to climate change. To test for potential adaptive responses to climate stress, we sampled pikas along two...Waterhouse, Matthew D.; Erb, Liesl P.; Beever, Erik; Russello, Michael A.
Effects of air temperature and discharge on Upper Mississippi River summer water temperatures
Recent interest in the potential effects of climate change has prompted studies of air temperature and precipitation associations with water temperatures in rivers and streams. We examined associations between summer surface water temperatures and both air temperature and discharge for 5 reaches of the Upper Mississippi River during 1994–2011....Gray, Brian R.; Robertson, Dale M.; Rogala, James T.
The use of lead isotope analysis to identify potential sources of lead toxicosis in a juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) with ventricular foreign bodies
A male juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was admitted to the Wildlife Center of Virginia with a left humeral fracture a large quantity of anthropogenic debris in the ventriculus, a blood lead level of 0.616 ppm, and clinical signs consistent with chronic lead toxicosis. Because of the poor prognosis for recovery and release, the eagle...Franzen-Klein, Dana; McRuer, David; Slabe, Vincent; Katzner, Todd
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...
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.