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: 756
Date published: July 30, 2018
Status: Active

Aleutian Islands Ecosystem Recovery Studies

The Aleutian archipelago is a 2,000 km long chain of volcanically-derived treeless islands stretching from Unimak Island in the east to the Commander Islands in the west.  These volcanic islands support a wide range of species including large numbers of seabirds and marine mammal species, some of which are threatened and endangered, leading to a high level of federal management concern.

Date published: July 24, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Influenza

Avian influenza is a viral disease caused by various strains of avian influenza viruses that can be classified as low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) or highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).  It remains a global disease with potential high consequence with the potential to threaten wildlife, agriculture, and human health. 

Date published: July 24, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Influenza Surveillance

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) serves on the U.S. Interagency Steering Committee for Surveillance for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Birds to standardize surveillance for this disease and is a leading partner in conducting morbidity and mortality investigations in support of the Interagency Strategic Plan for Early Detection and Monitoring for Avian Influenzas of...

Date published: July 23, 2018
Status: Active

Index of Wildlife Disease Information Resources

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) provides the following index of wildlife disease information resources as a starting point to learn about selected wildlife diseases. The index includes informational web pages and communications and outreach products from the NWHC. To search for scientific literature, please visit the USGS Publications...

Date published: July 23, 2018
Status: Active

BOR environmental DNA sampling for invasive mussels at USGS gages

As part of an ongoing project funded by the Bureau of Reclamation and lead by the Idaho Water Sciences Center (IDWSC) and Northern Rocky Mountain Research Center (NOROCK), the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC) will analyze environmental DNA samples collected at gage stations directly downstream of multiple reservoirs throughout the Columbia River Basin. The goal of this...

Contacts: Jon Amberg
Date published: July 23, 2018
Status: Active

Avoidance behavior of cold-, cool-, and warmwater fish exposed to Zequanox in a two-choice preference chamber

Zebra (Dreissenia polymorpha, Pallas 1771) and quagga (D. bugensis, Andrusov 1897) mussels, collectively referred to as dreissenid mussels, are invasive bivalves native to the Ponto-Caspian region of Eurasia (Stepien et al. 2013; Benson 2018a). High fecundity and a free-swimming planktonic life stage allow for easy and rapid dispersal of dreissenid mussels (Mackie 1991;...

Contacts: James Luoma
Date published: July 23, 2018
Status: Active

Assessment of newly developed acoustic stimuli for manipulating movement of bigheaded carps

Bigheaded carps, like other cyprinids, have specialized structures known as Weberian ossicles that increase their hearing range and sensitivity. Recent results from controlled laboratory studies have indicated that playback of a recording of an outboard boat motor was effective at altering silver and bighead carp behavior. 

Date published: July 12, 2018
Status: Active

Emerging Viruses - HSL

Fish Diseases

Emerging Viruses

Date published: July 12, 2018
Status: Active

Nucleospora Salmonis - HSL

Fish Diseases

Nucleospora Salmonis

Date published: July 12, 2018
Status: Completed

Whirling Disease - HSL

Fish Diseases

Whirling Disease

Date published: July 12, 2018
Status: Active

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) - HSL

Fish Diseases

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

Date published: July 12, 2018
Status: Active

Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC) - HSL

Fish Diseases

Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC)

Filter Total Items: 158
Date published: April 21, 2016

Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS)

CRMS is the largest of all Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPRRA) funded projects and has established a network of ~400 biological monitoring stations across coastal Louisiana spanning all coastal habitat types and generating tremendous volumes of data. 

Date published: April 21, 2016

Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP) Barrier Island Restoration

MsCIP was developed in 2009 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, in conjunction with other Federal and State agencies, to help reduce future storm damage along the Mississippi Gulf coast. In 2014, in cooperation with the USACE Mobile District, WARC's Advanced Applications Team began development on the MsCIP Data Viewer, an interactive web-mapping environment. 

Date published: April 20, 2016

Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA)

CWPPRA is the oldest and largest coastal restoration effort operating across coastal Louisiana and has constructed 105 restoration projects since its establishment over 20 years ago. WARC's Advanced Applications Team has proudly worked with the CWPPRA Task Force over the years to ensure timely and accurate project-specific information is publicly available. 

Date published: April 20, 2016

Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) Support

The JEM community of practice is focused on ecological modeling and monitoring across the Greater Everglades, with particular interest in habitats, how various factors affect habitat change, and how the organisms dependent on those habitats respond today and into the future.

Date published: April 20, 2016

Everglades Eco-Modeling Data Visualization and Tool Development

Working with the Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) community of practice, the WARC Advanced Applications Team developed and maintains the EverVIEW Data Viewer desktop visualization platform, which allows users to easily visualize and inspect standards-compliant NetCDF modeling data and has experienced tremendous feature growth driven by user feedback. 

Date published: April 20, 2016

EverVIEW Lite

Recently, the Team has developed and released EverVIEW Lite, an online web mapping framework based on the core features available in the desktop viewer.

Date published: April 20, 2016

Coastal Information Management System (CIMS)

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. 

Date published: April 12, 2016

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program Database Queries

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.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database (NAS)

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.

Date published: March 4, 2016

National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS)

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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

Nature’s Notebook: A national-scale, multi-taxa phenology observation program

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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

Long Term Resource Monitoring

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.

Filter Total Items: 30,899
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Year Published: 2019

Using the value of information to improve conservation decision making

Conservation decisions are challenging, not only because they often involve difficult conflicts among outcomes that people value, but because our understanding of the natural world and our effects on it is fraught with uncertainty. Value of Information (VoI) methods provide an approach for understanding and managing uncertainty from the standpoint...

Bolam, Friederike C.; Grainger, Matthew J.; Mengerson, Kerrie L.; Stewart, Gavin B.; Sutherland, William J.; Runge, Michael C.; McGowan, Philip J. K.

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Year Published: 2019

The contribution of road-based citizen science to the conservation of pond-breeding amphibians

Roadside amphibian citizen science (CS) programmes bring together volunteers focused on collecting scientific data while working to mitigate population declines by reducing road mortality of pond‐breeding amphibians. Despite the international popularity of these movement‐based, roadside conservation efforts (i.e. “big nights,” “bucket brigades”...

Sterrett, Sean; Katz, Rachel A.; Fields, William R.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.

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Year Published: 2019

Mortality due to Tyzzer's disease of muskrats in northern Ohio, USA

In 2017, we investigated a mortality event of muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) in Northwest Ohio, USA, and determined the causes of death to be from Tyzzer's disease due to Clostridium piliforme and Klebsiella pneumoniae septicemia. The gross presentation resembled tularemia, which highlighted the importance of a complete...

Grear, Daniel A.; Lankton, Julia S.; Zaleski, Sara; Witt, Mark; Lorch, Jeffrey M.

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Year Published: 2019

Life-history model for sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) at Lake Ozette, northwestern Washington—Users' guide

Salmon populations spawning in the Lake Ozette watershed of northwestern Washington were once sufficiently abundant to support traditional Tribal fisheries, and were later harvested by settlers. However, in 1974 and 1975, the sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) harvest decreased to 0 from a high of more than 17,500 in 1949, thus stimulating...

Woodward, Andrea; Haggerty, Mike; Crain, Patrick
Woodward, A., Haggerty, M., and Crain, P., 2019, Life-history model for sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) at Lake Ozette, northwestern Washington—Users' guide: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1031, 79 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191031.

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Year Published: 2019

Grizzly bear depredation on grazing allotments in the Yellowstone ecosystem

Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) conflicts with humans, including livestock depredation on public land grazing allotments, have increased during the last several decades within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) in the western United States as the grizzly bear population has grown in number and occupied range. Minimizing conflicts and improving...

Wells, Smith L.; McNew, Lance B.; Tyers, Daniel B.; van Manen, Frank T.; Thompson, Daniel J.

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Year Published: 2019

Identifying occupancy model inadequacies: Can residuals separately assess detection and presence?

Occupancy models are widely applied to estimate species distributions, but few methods exist for model checking. Thorough model assessments can uncover inadequacies and allow for deeper ecological insight by exploring structure in the observed data not accounted for by a model. We introduce occupancy model residual definitions that utilize the...

Wright, Wilson; Irvine, Kathryn M.; Higgs, Megan D.

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Year Published: 2019

Development of a quantitative PCR method for screening ichthyoplankton samples for bigheaded carps

Monitoring ichthyoplankton is useful for identifying reproductive fronts and spawning locations of bigheaded carps (Hypophthalmichthys spp.). Unfortunately, sorting and identifying ichthyoplankton to monitor for bigheaded carp reproduction is time consuming and expensive. Traditional methods require frequent egg-larvae sampling, sorting of all...

Fritts, Andrea; Knights, Brent C.; Larson, James H.; Amberg, Jon J.; Merkes, Christopher M.; Tajjioui, Tariq; Butler, Steven E.; Diana, Matthew J.; Wahl, David H.; Weber, Michael J.; Waters, John D.

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Year Published: 2019

Consequences of ignoring spatial variation in population trend when conducting a power analysis

Long-term, large-scale monitoring programs are becoming increasingly common to document status and trends of wild populations. A successful program for monitoring population trend hinges on the ability to detect the trend of interest. Power analyses are useful for quantifying the sample size needed for trend detection, given expected variation in...

Weiser, Emily L.; Diffendorfer, James E.; Lopez-Hoffman, Laura; Semmens, Darius J.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.

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Year Published: 2019

Simulating the effects of climate variability on waterbodies and wetland-dependent birds in the Prairie Pothole Region

Understanding how bird populations respond to changes in waterbody availability in the climatically variable Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America hinges on being able to couple hydrological and climate modeling to represent potential future landscapes. Model experiments run with the Pothole Complex Hydrologic Model using downscaled...

Mcintyre, N.E.; Liu, G.; Gorzo, J.; Wright, C.K.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Schwartz, F.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury concentrations vary within and among individual bird feathers: A critical evaluation and guidelines for feather use in mercury monitoring programs

Feathers are widely used to represent mercury contamination in birds. Yet, few recommendations exist that provide guidance for using bird feathers in mercury monitoring programs. We conducted a literature review and 5 experiments to show that mercury concentrations vary substantially within (vane >100% higher than calamus) and among (>1000...

Peterson, Sarah H.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Toney, Matthew; Herzog, Mark P.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury exposure and altered parental nesting behavior in a wild songbird

Methylmercury is a neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor and may impair avian reproduction directly through embryotoxicity or by altering parental care behaviors. We studied mercury exposure and incubation behavior of free-living tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting in artificial nest boxes. Using small temperature dataloggers, we measured...

Hartman, C. Alex; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Herzog, Mark P.

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Year Published: 2019

Serologic evidence for influenza A virus exposure in three loon species (Gavia spp.) breeding in Alaska

Limited information exists on exposure to influenza A viruses (IAVs) in many wild waterbird species, including loons. We analyzed serum samples from breeding adult Pacific (Gavia pacifica), Red-throated (G. stellata), and Yellow-billed Loons (G. adamsii) sampled at three locations along the coast of Alaska from 2008-2017 to gain a better...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Spivey, Timothy J.; Van Hemert, Caroline R.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Jiang, Kaijun; Wan, Xiu-Feng; Ramey, Andrew M.

Filter Total Items: 740
person bent over on barren ground over looking a lake and mountains. A jute net covers the foreground.
December 8, 2017

Scientist spreading moss fragments

A USGS scientist spreads moss fragments for a study to test the restoration potential of moss, an important component of biological soil crust. A jute net, foreground, helps stabilize the moss fragments as they adhere to the soil.

November 30, 2017

2017 Nov. Pub. Lecture—Sea Otters: Confessions of a Keystone Carnivore

  • 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
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Attribution: Ecosystems
November 24, 2017

Serene Sirens: USGS Sea Cow Science

A USGS video about manatees reveals that while the animals may act like the cows of the sea, they also have more than a bit of the magical siren or mermaid about them.  Go for a serene swim.

Attribution: Ecosystems
A Cuban treefrog on a green leaf
November 13, 2017

Cuban treefrogs have leaped into Louisiana

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

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Sonoran desert scene, complete with prickly pear, saguaro, and cholla cactus species.
October 31, 2017

Sonoran Desert Cactus Guild

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

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October 31, 2017

USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station Building Demo Time Lapse Video

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

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R/V Arcticus at Sturgeon Bay
September 21, 2017

R/V Arcticus at Sturgeon Bay

Fog surrounds the USGS Research Vessel Arcticus as it comes into port at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Man measuring a little red bird.
August 31, 2017

Iiwi banding 2

Measuring the wing length of a banded Iiwi

Photomicrograph of a green desmid alga resembling a holiday ornament
August 31, 2017

A natural marvel in a single cell

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

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Man holding red bird.
August 31, 2017

Iiwi with transmitter

Iiwi with small radio transmitter attached to help track the bird's movement through the forest

View of the lush green San Rafael grasslands of southern Arizona and northern Mexico, framed by a cloudy blue sky.
August 31, 2017

The Sonoran desert has grasslands, too.

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

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Filter Total Items: 299
Date published: November 22, 2016

Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

True or false? People are the leading cause of wildfires in the United States.

Date published: November 17, 2016

Wild Turkey Talk

A group of turkeys is referred to as either a rafter or a gang.  So this Thanksgiving, when celebrating with your own gang, remember the turkey as more than just the main course, but, as Benjamin Franklin said so many years ago, as a noble fowl of American tradition.

Date published: November 16, 2016

Small Alpine Insects are Big Messengers of Climate Change

West Glacier, Mont. – Two rare alpine insects – native to the northern Rocky Mountains and dependent on cold waters of glacier and snowmelt-fed alpine streams – are imperiled due to climate warming induced glacier and snow loss according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners.

Date published: November 16, 2016

USGS Study Reveals Interactive Effects of Climate Change, Invasive Species on Native Fish

A new USGS study shows non-native Brown Trout can place a burden on native Brook Trout under the increased water temperatures climate change can cause.

Date published: November 1, 2016

Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

True or False? People can catch white-nose syndrome from bats or the environment. 

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: October 21, 2016

Stories from the Field: Ecology of California Ridgway's Rails

Notes from field biologists studying the endangered Ridgway's rail.

Date published: October 3, 2016

Rising Sea Levels, Coastal Development’s Effect on Gulf Coast Wetlands

As coastal development along the Gulf Coast continues to expand, tidal saline wetlands could have difficulty adjusting to rising sea levels.

Date published: September 28, 2016

Local Wind Energy Development Has Broad Consequences for Golden Eagles

Roughly over a quarter of the golden eagles killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in Northern California from 2012-2014 were recent immigrants to the local population, according to research led by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Date published: September 22, 2016

Burmese Python Hatchlings Seen on Key Largo

Burmese pythons have been found on Key Largo.