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: 747
Date published: June 11, 2018
Status: Active

Collecting Ecological Data and Models of Living Shoreline Restoration Projects

Developing effective living shoreline restoration projects that can withstand hurricanes and storms requires a better understanding of how restoration structures reduce the impact of wave and current energy on marsh edges in estuaries and bays. Without this knowledge, existing living shoreline projects and adaptive management measures are more likely to fail, decreasing the possibility for...

Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Active

Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing Support: Gulf Coast Joint Venture

The Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV) was established in 1988 as a result of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, which espouses the restoration of continental waterfowl populations through conservation partnerships in priority habitat regions. Since that time GCJV partners have expanded their mission and purpose to include the provision of habitat to support other priority bird species...

Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Riparian Vegetation Monitoring: How One Square Meter Can Tell the Story of 245 River Miles

The goal of Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center’s (part of the Southwest Biological Science Center) riparian vegetation monitoring program is to assess changes and trends in plant species composition and cover and relate those changes to Glen Canyon Dam operations, river hydrology, climate, and geomorphology. Monitoring is done by annual field-data collection on plant cover and...

Contacts: Emily Palmquist, Brad Butterfield
Date published: June 6, 2018
Status: Active

Overview of Riparian Vegetation in Grand Canyon

Riparian areas are conspicuous belts of dense, green vegetation along streams and rivers, and can be considered “ribbons of life”. Despite covering less than 2 percent of the land area in the southwestern U.S., riparian areas tend to have high species diversity and population density, making them valuable to managers, scientists, and the public. These unique ecosystems act as a link between...

Contacts: Emily Palmquist, Joel B Sankey, Ph.D., Laura Durning, Brad Butterfield
Date published: June 1, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Botulism

Botulism is a natural toxin produced by a bacterium ( Clostridium botulinum ) commonly found in the soil. There are several types of botulism toxin some of which can affect humans who eat improperly canned foods. Birds get their own kind of botulism (Type C in Hawaii) that does not affect humans. Botulism type C is concentrated in aquatic invertebrates that filter feed sediments or...

Contacts: Thierry M Work
Date published: June 1, 2018
Status: Active

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a microscopic parasites called a protozoan. The specific name of the protozoan that causes toxoplasmosis is Toxoplasma gondiiT. gondii reproduces in the gut of cats (all members of the Felidae are susceptible). Cats shed the parasite in their feces, and the parasite is ingested by other animals (intermediate hosts) causing disease. Cats can...

Contacts: Thierry M Work
Date published: May 25, 2018
Status: Active

Disease Ecology and Modeling

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) provides quantitative support and technical assistance to state and federal wildlife managers and partners to better understand or predict the impact of disease on wildlife populations.

Date published: May 24, 2018
Status: Active

Vaccines

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) works on developing various disease management tools, including the development of vaccines. Our current work focuses on vaccines for sylvatic plague, white-nose syndrome, and rabies as disease control strategies.

Contacts: Tonie Rocke
Date published: May 24, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Aquatic Plants

Invasive aquatic species clog waterways and are a concern for water managers. Once established, invasive aquatic species impact local ecosystems, recreation, and impede travel. As part of the USGS effort to empower our partners (Interior, Federal and State agencies), the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database team has botanists ...

Date published: May 24, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Grasses, Vegetation, and Weeds

Invasive plants (e.g. leafy spurge, cheatgrass, brome, and buffelgrass) have dramatic impacts on Western landscapes through increased fire vulnerability, changes in ecosystem structure and diminished livestock grazing value. USGS researchers are working with DOI land managers, and federal and state partners to find solutions to this growing problem.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 23, 2018
Status: Active

Technology Development and Innovation

To provide the next generation of wildlife disease tools, that can move past detection and documentation and towards solutions for wildlife disease problems, the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is developing a suite of new or adapted technology. Primarily, these technologies focus on three areas of improvement in the realm of wildlife disease: prediction and prevention, surveillance for...

Date published: May 23, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Fish

Invasive fish cause significant economic losses and diminish opportunities for beneficial
uses of valued aquatic resources. Costly effects include harm to fisheries (e.g., Asian carp, snakeheads, whirling disease, and hemorrhagic septicemia). USGS research is focused on invasive fish spread and distribution, genetic and population impacts of invasives, hybridization between native and non...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Filter Total Items: 30,796
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Year Published: 2019

Arizona hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. arizonicus)—A systematic data assessment in support of recovery

The Arizona hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. arizonicus) is endemic to central Arizona in Gila and Pinal Counties, and has been federally listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) since 1979. Mining, mineral exploration, and highway development have resulted in habitat degradation and loss of individual...

Thomas, Kathryn A.; Shryock, Daniel F.; Esque, Todd C.
Thomas, K.A., Shryock, D.F., and Esque, T.C., 2019, Arizona hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. arizonicus)—A systematic data assessment in support of recovery: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1004, 36 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191004.

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Year Published: 2019

Influence of salinity on relative density of American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) in Everglades National Park: Implications for restoration of Everglades ecosystems

The status of the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) has long been a matter of concern in Everglades National Park (ENP) due to its classification as a federal and state listed species, its recognition as a flagship species, and its function as an ecosystem indicator. Survival and recovery of American crocodiles has been linked with regional...

Mazzotti, Frank J.; Smith, Brian; Squires, Michiko; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Farris, Seth C; Hackett, Caitlin; Hart, Kristen M.; Briggs-Gonzalez, Venetia; Brandt, Laura A.

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Year Published: 2019

Evidence for a duplicated mitochondrial region in Audubon’s shearwater based on MinION sequencing

Mitochondrial genetic markers have been extensively used to study the phylogenetics and phylogeography of many birds, including seabirds of the order Procellariiformes. Evidence suggests that part of the mitochondrial genome of Procellariiformes, especially albatrosses, is duplicated, but no DNA fragment covering the entire duplication has been...

Torres, Lucas; Welch, Andreanna J.; Zanchetta, Catherine; Chesser, Terry; Manno, Maxime; Donnadieu, Cecile; Bretagnolle, Vincent; Pante, Eric

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Year Published: 2019

Weak effects of geolocators on small birds: a meta‐analysis controlled for phylogeny and publication bias

Currently, the deployment of tracking devices is one of the most frequently used approaches to study movement ecology of birds. Recent miniaturisation of light‐level geolocators enabled studying small bird species whose migratory patterns were widely unknown. However, geolocators may reduce vital rates in tagged birds and may bias obtained...

Brlík, Vojtěch; Koleček, Jaroslav; Burgess, Malcolm; Hahn, Steffen; Humple, Diana; Krist, Milos; Ouwehand, Janne; Weiser, Emily L.; Adamik, Peter; Alves, José A.; Arlt, Debora; Barišić, Sanja; Becker, Detlef; Belda, Eduardo J.; Beran, Vaclav; Both, Christiaan; Bravo, Susana P.; Briedis, Martins; Bohumír, Chutný; Ćiković, Davor; Cooper, Nathan W.; Costa, Joana S.; Cueto, Víctor R.; Emmenegger, Tamara; Fraser, Kevin; Gilg, Olivier; Guerrero, Marina; Hallworth, Michael T.; Hewson, Chris; Jiguet, Frédéric; Johnson, James; Kelly, Tosha; Kishkinev, Dmitry; Leconte, Michel; Lislevand, Terje; Lisovski, Simeon; López, Cosme; McFarland, Kent P.; Marra, Peter P.; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Matyjasiak. Piotr; Meier, Christoph M.; Metzger, Benjamin; Monrós, Juan S.; Neumann, Roland; Newman, Amy; Norris, Ryan; Pärt, Tomas; Pavel, Václav; Perlut, Noah; Piha, Markus; Reneerkens, Jeroen; Rimmer, Christopher C.; Roberto-Charro, Amélie; Scandolara, Chiara; Sokolova, Natalia; Takenaka, Makiko; Tolkmitt, Dirk; van Oosten, Herman; Wellbrock, Arndt H. J.; Wheeler, Hazel; van der Winden, Jan; Witte, Klaudia; Woodworth, Brad; Procházka, Petr

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Year Published: 2019

Microclimate influences mangrove freeze damage: Implications for range expansion in response to changing macroclimate

In response to warming winter air temperatures, freeze-sensitive mangrove forests are expected to expand at the expense of freeze-tolerant salt marshes. To better anticipate and prepare for mangrove range expansion, there is a need to advance understanding of the modulating role of microclimate. Here, we synthesized hypotheses regarding the...

Osland, Michael J.; Hartmann, Arik M.; Day, Richard H.; Ross, Michael S.; Hall, Courtney T.; Feher, Laura C.; Vervaeke, William

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Year Published: 2019

An improved mechanical owl for efficient capture of nesting raptors

Scientific study of raptors often requires the use of a lure to capture individuals for marking or collecting various data and samples. Live lure owls in the genus Bubo are commonly used with mist nets or dho-gazas to trap nesting raptors, but the use of these live lures presents ethical, logistical, and financial challenges. Although...

Jensen, Meghan K.; Hamburg, Shanti D.; Rota, Christopher T.; Brinker, David F.; Coles, Dustin L.; Manske, Mark A.; Slabe, Vincent A.; Stuber, Matthew J.; Welsh, Amy B.; Katzner, Todd E.

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Year Published: 2019

Effectiveness of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) suppression in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho: 2006–2016

The nonnative lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush Walbaum, 1792) population in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho increased exponentially during 1999–2006. This led to an unsustainable level of predation mortality on kokanee (Oncorhynchus nerka Walbaum, 1792), increased the conservation threat to native bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus Suckley...

Dux, Andrew M.; Hansen, Michael J.; Corsi, Matthew P.; Wahl, Nicholas C.; Fredericks, James P.; Corsi, Charles E.; Schill, Daniel J.; Horner, Ned J.

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Year Published: 2019

The black brant population is declining based on mark recapture

Annual survival and recruitment in black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) have declined since the 1990s, yet aerial surveys of the global population have been stable or even increasing over the past decade. We used a combination of a Lincoln estimator based on harvest information and band recoveries, and marked‐unmarked ratios in bag checks in 1...

Sedinger, James S.; Riecke, Thomas V.; Leach, Alan G.; Ward, David H.

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Year Published: 2019

Flexible timing of annual movements across consistently used sites by Marbled Godwits breeding in Alaska

The study of avian movement has detailed a spectrum of strategies for the timing and use of sites throughout the annual cycle, from near randomness to complete consistency. New tracking devices now permit the repeated tracking of individual animals throughout the annual cycle, detailing previously unappreciated levels of variation within migratory...

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Tibbitts, Lee; Gill, Robert E.

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Year Published: 2019

Adaptive variation, including local adaptation, requires decades to become evident in common gardens

Population‐level adaptation to spatial variation in factors such as climate and soils is critical for climate‐vulnerability assessments, restoration seeding, and other ecological applications in species management, and the underlying information is typically based on common‐garden studies that are short duration. Here, we show >20 yr were...

Germino, Matthew J.; Moer, Ann M.; Sands, Alan R.

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Year Published: 2019

On the shoulders of giants: Continuing the legacy of large-scale ecosystem manipulation experiments in Puerto Rico

There is a long history of experimental research in the Luquillo Experimental Forest in Puerto Rico. These experiments have addressed questions about biotic thresholds, assessed why communities vary along natural gradients, and have explored forest responses to a range of both anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic disturbances. Combined, these...

Wood, Tana E.; González, Grizelle; Silver, Whendee L.; Reed, Sasha C.; Cavaleri, Molly A.

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Year Published: 2019

Long-term nitrogen addition shifts the soil nematode community to bacterivore-dominated and reduces its ecological maturity in a subalpine forest

Nitrogen deposition from anthropogenic sources is a global problem that reaches even the most remote ecosystems. Responses belowground vary by ecosystem, and have feedbacks to geochemical processes, including carbon storage. A long-term nitrogen addition study in a subalpine forest has shown carbon loss over time, atypical...

Shaw, E. Ashley; Boot, Claudia M.; Moore, John C.; Wall, Diana H.; Baron, Jill S.

Filter Total Items: 720
Aerial view of southeast Louisiana coastal marshes
July 10, 2017

Louisiana's Coastal Wetland Loss Rate Continues to Slow

An aerial view of southeast Louisiana coastal marshes. 

Satellite images of the same marsh in 2008 and 2016
July 10, 2017

Restoration projects help some Louisiana coastal wetlands rebuild

Satellite images of the same wetland taken in 2008 and 2016 show a wetland restoration project has produced some gains in marsh area.

Map shows early wetland losses in red, recent losses in purple
July 10, 2017

Map shows early wetland losses in red, recent losses in purple

This map shows the historic trend in wetland losses, with early losses in red and the most recent ones in purple.

July 6, 2017

Wildlife on the Nevada National Security Site

Mountain lions, desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, and a variety of other wildlife live on and pass through the Nevada National Security Site each day. It’s a highly restricted area that is free of hunting and has surprisingly pristine areas.This 22-minute program highlights an extraordinary study on how mountain lions interact with their prey. It shows how the scientists

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Blowing dust in a fallowed agricultural field in central Arizona.
June 30, 2017

Bare Ground = Blowing Dust

Across the desert Southwest, ground void of plant material is prone to soil erosoin and dust storms. In this fallowed agricultural field, we see that a spring breeze can carry away fertile top soil and create air quality concerns. USGS RAMPS defines causes of environmental hazards created by degraded land, and creates collaborative solutions to reduce these types of risks

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Woman leaning over collecting sturgeon free embryos outside
June 30, 2017

Collecting Sturgeon Free Embryos

A biological science technician collects pallid sturgeon free embryos from the sampling nets in the experimental streams at the Columbia Environmental Research Center.

A female scientists overlooks swimming chambers for pallid sturgeon
June 30, 2017

Preparing Swim Chambers

A biological science technician prepares the swim chambers to assess the swimming abilities of young pallid sturgeon.

landscape of red alder with evergreen trees
June 24, 2017

Red alder landscape

Looking out over a red alder forest with evergreen trees at Cascade Head Preserve in Oregon.

June 19, 2017

H1 East Transect – June 2017

Permanent Site: H1 East Transect; Depth: 5.4 Meters (17.6 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.1479177,-123.53472865; Site Description: This is a shallow site and one of the farthest removed from the effects of the sediment plume outside of the control sites. Substrate remains mainly

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Phragmites under stress in Pass A Loutre, Louisiana
May 31, 2017

High stakes, big questions in marsh grass die-back

Brown patches and brown stems show stress in this phagmites (roseau cane) stand in Pass A Loutre Wildlife Management Area, a tract of state-owned land in Louisiana's bird foot delta, where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico. An ongoing phragmites was first discovered in spring 2017 and blamed on an invasive scale insect from Asia. But a new USGS report, based

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bat with left wing spread open
May 31, 2017

Examining a bat's wing for white-nose syndrome in Washington

Researchers examine a bat (Myotis sp.) to test for the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome.

Varied Chesapeake Bay landscapes
May 24, 2017

To Foresee Chesapeake Bay’s Future, Scientists Look to the Land

A montage of four Chesapeake Bay aerial photos. L-R: A waterfront residential community; row crops bordered by forest; Baltimore Harbor; piers and crab pots in a waterfront fishing community.

Attribution: Ecosystems, Northeast
Filter Total Items: 289
Date published: May 9, 2016

Evidence of Unconventional Oil and Gas Wastewater Found in Surface Waters near Underground Injection Site

These are the first published studies to demonstrate water-quality impacts to a surface stream due to activities at an unconventional oil and gas wastewater deep well injection disposal site.

Date published: May 6, 2016

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms of All Species

USGS wishes to honor all mothers, of all species. Many of our research findings have and are shedding light on the lives of non-human moms.  

Date published: May 4, 2016

The Case of the Unbroken Shrew

Featuring a very unusual tibia...

Date published: April 20, 2016

Mystery Solved: Traits Identified for Why Certain Chemicals Reach Toxic Levels in Aquatic Food Webs

Researchers have figured out what makes certain chemicals  accumulate to toxic levels in aquatic food webs. And, scientists have developed a screening technique to determine which chemicals pose the greatest risk to the environment.

 

Date published: April 18, 2016

You, yes, you! Consider helping take the pulse of our planet

With the White House’s launch of CitizenScience.gov and the inaugural Citizen Science Day this Saturday April 16, 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey invites you to look into a landscape of opportunities to participate in science! 

Date published: April 18, 2016

EarthWord – Watershed

This week’s EarthWord sounds like what the British might call an outhouse...

Date published: April 4, 2016

Despite Long-Lasting Pollutants, Ospreys Thrive in US’ Largest Estuary

The world's largest breeding population of ospreys is coping well with the long-lasting residues of toxic chemicals that were banned decades ago but remain in the Chesapeake Bay food chain at varying levels, such as the pesticide DDT and insulating chemicals known as PCBs.

Date published: April 4, 2016

Cold Mountain Streams Offer Climate Refuge

A new study offers hope for cold-water species in the face of climate change. The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding paradox between predictions of widespread extinctions of cold-water species and a general lack of evidence for those extinctions despite decades of recent climate change.

Date published: March 31, 2016

Bat with white-nose syndrome confirmed in Washington state

OLYMPIA, Wash. – White-nose syndrome (WNS) has been confirmed in a little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) found near North Bend – the first recorded occurrence of this devastating bat disease in western North America. The presence of this disease was verified by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center

Date published: March 21, 2016

USGS Science Helps Agencies Create Conservation Plan for Santa Ana River, Native Fishes

The U.S. Geological Survey is playing a role in providing the science being used by agencies to manage the habitat for two threatened California fish species – the Santa Ana Sucker and the Arroyo Chub. Both species, which live in the Santa Ana River Watershed, are of special interest to local, state and federal agencies desiring to protect the fishes’ fragile ecosystem.

Date published: March 21, 2016

Eastern Monarch Butterflies at Risk of Extinction Unless Numbers Increase

Long-term declines in the overwintering Eastern population of North American monarch butterflies are significantly increasing their likelihood of becoming extinct over the next two decades, according to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and U.S. Geological Survey research published today

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 16, 2016

Shorebirds Ignore Aircraft, But Pay Attention to People, Off-road Vehicles

The American oystercatchers studied on Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina were disturbed more by pedestrians and off-road vehicles passing their nests than the U.S. military aircraft flying overhead.