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: 745
Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Strategic Planning

The USGS provides science for Department of the Interior bureaus and other decision makers with vital information that they need to fulfill their mission. The diversity of USGS scientific expertise enables the bureau to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial scientific information to resource managers and planners. Scientific coordination and...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 21, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Species Tools

Tracking the establishment and spread of existing and new invasive species is critical to effectively manage invasive species. In addition to standard means of monitoring, the USGS is developing new tools, particularly molecular techniques, to assist in the early detection of invasive species.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 21, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Insects

Invasive species often pose the primary threat to biodiversity in the Pacific. USGS research focuses on the ecology, reducing impacts, and controlling highly invasive insect species. For example, USGS scientists are assessing novel mosquito control tools (e.g., bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia). Mosquitoes carry diseases that affect people (e.g., West Nile virus, dengue); therefore, the...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 21, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Mussels

Invasive zebra and quagga mussels (collectively called dreissenid mussels) are causing significant ecological and economic impacts and the range of these impacts continues to increase as they spread across North America. Dreissenids affect industrial and municipal infrastructure, recreational water users, and they severely alter aquatic ecosystems. USGS has been conducting dreissenid mussel...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 21, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Mammals

Understanding life history and the environmental requirements, tolerances, and thresholds  of invasive species is critical to developing effective control and management options. The USGS conducts research on the biology of many species including Nutria and feral pigs to provide the information needed by management agencies.

 

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 20, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Reptiles

Invasive species have negatively impacted many ecosystems. Invasive reptiles are an increasing problem across the United States. Tracking the establishment and spread of existing and new invasive species is critical to effectively manage invasive species. USGS scientists are developing new tools, particularly molecular techniques, to assist in the early detection of, and rapid response to, ...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Report Mortality Events and Submit Specimens

Find all required forms, instructions, and guidelines for submitting specimens to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC).

Date published: May 17, 2018
Status: Active

Asian Carp

The negative effects of invasive Asian carp to the Nation’s waterways are far reaching and have potential to expand and intensify. USGS is delivering data, tools and technologies to partners to keep these invasive fish out of the Great Lakes and other aquatic ecosystems and control them where they occur in the Ohio River and Mississippi River Basins.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Seabirds and Forage Fish Ecology

Alaska's coastal and offshore waters provide foraging habitat for an estimated 100 million birds comprising more than 90 different species; from loons and seaducks that nest inland, to petrels and puffins that breed on islands off shore. All these birds depend on the sea to provide a wide variety of food types— from clams, crabs and urchins nearshore— to krill, forage fish, and squid offshore...

Date published: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Land Treatment Exploration Tool

The Land Treatment ExplorationTool provides a practical resource for managers who are planning restoration and rehabilitation actions on public lands. The tool generates a variety of spatial products while being user friendly for all levels of GIS expertise, even to those with little or no experience.

Date published: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Joint Ecosystem Modeling: Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Marl Prairie Indicator

Marl prairie is the most diverse freshwater vegetation community in the Greater Everglades and provides the only suitable habitat for the federally endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow (CSSS; Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis).

Date published: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Joint Ecosystem Modeling: EverSnail

EverSnail, developed in collaboration with the University of West Florida, is an age- and size-structured spatially-explicit landscape model of native apple snails (Pomacea paludosa).

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Year Published: 2019

Assessing vulnerability and threat from housing development to Conservation Opportunity Areas in State Wildlife Action Plans across the United States

Targeting conservation actions efficiently requires information on vulnerability of and threats to conservation targets, but such information is rarely included in conservation plans. In the U.S., recently updated State Wildlife Action Plans identify Conservation Opportunity Areas (COAs) selected by each state as priority areas for future action...

Carter, Sarah K.; Maxted, Shelley S.; Bergeson, Tara L. E. ; Helmers, David P.; Scott, Lori; Radeloff, Volker C.

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Year Published: 2019

Least Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) surveys in the Hansen Dam Basin, Los Angeles County, California—2018 data summary

Executive SummaryWe surveyed for Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus; vireo) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along Big Tujunga Creek in the Hansen Dam Basin in Los Angeles County, California, in 2018. Four vireo surveys were conducted between...

Pottinger, Ryan E.; Kus, Barbara E.
Pottinger, R.E., and Kus, B.E., 2019, Least Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) surveys in the Hansen Dam Basin, Los Angeles County, California—2018 data summary: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1103, 11 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1103.

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Year Published: 2019

Assessing lek attendance of male greater sage‐grouse using fine‐resolution GPS data: Implications for population monitoring of lek mating grouse

Counts of males displaying on breeding grounds are the primary management tool used to assess population trends in lekking grouse species. Despite the importance of male lek attendance (i.e., proportion of males on leks available for detection) influencing lek counts, patterns of within season and between season variability in attendance rates are...

Wann, Gregory T.; Coates, Peter S.; Prochazka, Brian G.; Severson, John P.; Monroe, Adrian P.; Aldridge, Cameron L.

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Year Published: 2019

Diving behavior of Pink-footed Shearwaters Ardenna creatopus rearing chicks on Isla Mocha, Chile

Recent information reporting Pink-footed Shearwater Ardenna creatopus mortality from fisheries bycatch throughout its range has encouraged fisheries managers in Chile to evaluate and consider shearwater foraging behaviors to better evaluate risk. In response, we tracked six chickrearing adult Pink-footed Shearwaters from Isla Mocha, off south-...

Adams, Josh; Felis, Jonathan J.; Czapanskiy, Max; Carle, Ryan D.; Hodum, Peter J.

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Year Published: 2019

Nutrients mediate the effects of temperature on methylmercury concentrations in freshwater zooplankton

Methylmercury (MeHg) bioaccumulation in freshwater aquatic systems is impacted by anthropogenic stressors, including climate change and nutrient enrichment. The goal of this study was to determine how warmer water temperatures and excess nutrients would alter zooplankton communities and phytoplankton concentrations, and whether those changes would...

Jordan, Meredith P; Stewart, Robin; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Stracker, Angela L

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Year Published: 2019

Assessing the impact of the Conservation Reserve Program on honey bee health

Insect pollinators are critically important for maintaining U.S. food production and ecosystem health. The upper Midwest is home to more than 40 percent of all U.S. honey bee colonies and is considered by many beekeepers to be America’s last beekeeping refuge. Beekeepers come to this region because their honey bees require high-quality grassland...

Otto, Clint R. V.
Otto, C.R.V., 2018, Assessing the impact of the Conservation Reserve Program on honey bee health: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3082, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183082.

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Year Published: 2019

Evaluation of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) fry survival at Lookout Point Reservoir, western Oregon, 2017

A field study was conducted to estimate survival of fry-sized juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in Lookout Point Reservoir, western Oregon, during 2017. The field study consisted of releasing three groups of genetically marked fish in the reservoir and monthly fish sampling. Fish were released during April 18–19 (43,950 fish), May...

Kock, Tobias J.; Perry, Russell W.; Hansen, Gabriel S.; Haner, Philip V.; Pope, Adam C.; Plumb, John M.; Cogliati, Karen M.; Hansen, Amy C.
Kock, T.J., Perry, R.W., Hansen, G.S., Haner, P.V., Pope, A.C., Plumb, J.M., Cogliati, K.M., and Hansen, A.C., 2019, Evaluation of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) fry survival at Lookout Point Reservoir, western Oregon, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1011, 42 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191011.

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Year Published: 2019

Assessing causes of mortality for endangered juvenile Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) in mesocosms in Upper Klamath Lake, south-central Oregon, 2016

Executive SummaryThe recovery of endangered Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) in Upper Klamath Lake, south-central Oregon, has been impeded because juveniles are not recruiting into adult spawning populations. Adult sucker populations spawn each spring but mortality of age-0 suckers during their first summer is excessively high, and...

Hereford, Danielle M.; Conway, Carla M.; Burdick, Summer M.; Elliott, Diane G.; Perry, Todd M.; Dolan-Caret, Amari; Harris, Alta C.
Hereford, D.M., Conway, C.M., Burdick, S.M., Elliott, D.G., Perry, T.M., Dolan-Caret, A., and Harris, A.C., 2019, Assessing causes of mortality for endangered juvenile Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) in mesocosms in Upper Klamath Lake, south-central Oregon, 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Open -File Report 2019-1006, 80 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191006.

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Year Published: 2019

Hydrodynamic controls on sediment retention in an emerging diversion-fed delta

The morphodynamics of river-dominated deltas are largely controlled by the supply and retention of sediment within deltaic wetlands and the rate of relative sea-level rise. Yet, sediment budgets for deltas are often poorly constrained. In the Mississippi River Delta, a system rapidly losing land due to natural...

Keogh, Molly E.; Kolker, Alexander S.; Snedden, Gregg A.; Renfro, Alisha A.

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Year Published: 2019

Dynamic N-mixture models with temporal variability in detection probability

In theory parameters of dynamic N-mixture models can be estimated with multiple years of data without the robust design under the assumption of constant detection probability. However, such an assumption can rarely be met in long-term studies, and the consequences of violating this assumption in the inferences of dynamic N-mixture models have not...

Zhao, Qing; Royle, J. Andrew

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Year Published: 2019

Complex immune responses and molecular reactions to pathogens and disease in a desert reptile (Gopherus agassizii)

Immune function plays an important role in an animal's defense against infectious disease. In reptiles, immune responses may be complex and counterintuitive, and diagnostic tools used to identify infection, such as induced antibody responses are limited. Recent studies using gene transcription profiling in tortoises have proven useful in...

Drake, K. Kristina; Aiello, Christina M.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lewison, Rebecca L.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Waters, Shannon C.; Hudson, Peter J.

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Year Published: 2019

Phylogeography and evolution of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus in China

Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) is a well-known rhabdoviral pathogen of salmonid fish. In this study, a comprehensive analysis of 40 IHNV viruses isolated from thirteen fish farms in nine geographically dispersed Chinese provinces during 2012 to 2017 is presented. Identity of nucleotide and amino acid sequences among all the...

Xu, Liming; Zhao, Jingzhuang; Liu, Miao; Kurath, Gael; Breyta, Rachel B.; Ren, Guangming; Yin, Jiasheng; Liu, Hongbai; Lu, Tongyan

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May 19, 2017

H1 East Transect – May 2017

Permanent Site: H1 East Transect; Depth: 5.9 Meters (19.5 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

...
An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle was recently observed in the Mojave Desert.
May 4, 2017

An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle

An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle was recently observed by USGS scientists and staff from The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in the Mojave Desert. Turtles of this population have rarely been seen since the late 1990s.

A cabin along Alaska's Arctic coast was recently washed into the ocean because the bluff it was sitting on eroded away.
May 3, 2017

Climate Change Impacts

From the Sound Waves Newletter article, "Erosion Doubles Along Part of Alaska's Arctic Coast — Cultural and Historical Sites Lost" at http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2009/05/research2.html

Scientist holding a laptop and equipment, standing in a green field.
April 30, 2017

Assessing Tallgrass Coastal Prairie in Southwest Louisiana

Vegetation assessments are part of an effort to produce seamless, consistent, and high resolution landcover data for the northern portion of the western gulf coastal plain. This geography was once dominated by tallgrass prairie and has undergone dramatic change with less than 1% of this natural habitat in existence.

Tallgrass prairie provides a suite of ecosystem

...
Female scientist looking through microscope.
April 30, 2017

Examining Pallid Sturgeon Eggs

Biological science aid, Marlee Malmborg, examines and records the viability of pallid sturgeon eggs at the Columbia Environmental Research Center.

April 21, 2017

H1 East Transect – April 2017

Permanent Site: H1 East Transect; Depth: 5.5 Meters (18.0 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

...
Mule deer investigating a game camera in Madison Valley, Montana.
April 8, 2017

Mule deer investigating a game camera in Madison Valley, Montana.

Mule deer investigating a game camera in Madison Valley, Montana.

March 31, 2017

Establishing Forster's Tern Nesting Colonies

Scientists from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) are conducting a "social attraction" study for seabirds in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Historically, this region offered wetland habitats to local wildlife. With the introduction of industrial salt ponds and human development, however, much of this habitat was lost. Now,

...
March 30, 2017

2017 March Public Lecture—Brown Bears, Sea Otters, and Seals, Oh My!

Brown Bears, Sea Otters, and Seals, Oh My!
Unexpected interactions on the Katmai Coast
by Grant Hilderbrand, Chief of the Marine Ecosystems Office, USGS Alaska Science Center

  • Highlights of ongoing research on brown bears on the coast of the Katmai National Park
  • Observations from video collars deployed on brown bears
...
March 24, 2017

H1 East Transect – March 2017

Permanent Site: H1 East Transect; Depth: 5.9 Meters (19.5 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

...
Three sailfin catfish found in the Big Cypress National Preserve
March 23, 2017

Sailfin catfishes discovered in Big Cypress

The sailfin catfish is one of 13 species of nonnative fish that biologists discovered during the Fish Slam in Big Cypress National Preserve, March 23, 2017.

 

Pike killifish found in Big Cypress
March 23, 2017

Non-native pike killifish from the Big Cypress

The pike killifish, native to Mexico and Central America, was one of 13 nonnative fish species that biologists discovered during the two-day Fish Slam in Big Cypress National Preserve, March 22 and 23, 2017.

 

Filter Total Items: 289
Date published: March 3, 2016

Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team Deployed to Saipan after Two Snake Sightings

Two recent reports of two brown treesnakes on Saipan is prompting federal and state officials to urge citizens of Hawaii, Guam and other Pacific Islands to report any sightings of these invasive snakes to authorities. Snakes can be reported by calling (671) 777-HISS or (670) 28-SNAKE.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Cattle Increase Occurrence of Ravens That Prey on Sage Grouse

DIXON, Calif. – Ravens are almost fifty percent more likely to inhabit areas in sagebrush landscapes if cattle are present, and preferentially select sites near greater sage-grouse breeding grounds.

Date published: March 1, 2016

Snake Fungal Disease Found in Louisiana

Snake fungal disease, or SFD, a disease causing high mortality rates in some species of snakes, has been found in Louisiana for the first time, according to a new study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists. SFD now has been confirmed in at least 16 states in the Eastern and Midwestern United States.

Date published: February 29, 2016

EarthWord – Quagga Mussel

Its spelling looks similar to Quahog, and it is even distantly related—the Quagga Mussel is a bivalve mollusk just like the Quahog.  That’s where the similarities end, though. Quahogs are clams, native to the Americas and often used in chowder, whereas Quaggas are mussels native to Ukraine that accumulate toxins and have an offensive smell.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: February 22, 2016

Deadly Amphibian Fungus Abroad Threatens Certain U.S. Regions

The areas of the United States that are most at risk of a potentially invasive salamander fungus are the Pacific coast, the southern Appalachian Mountains and the mid-Atlantic regions, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey report.

Date published: February 9, 2016

President’s 2017 Budget Proposes $1.2 Billion for the USGS

WASHINGTON—The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request for the U.S. Geological Survey reflects the USGS's vital role in addressing some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century by advancing scientific discovery and innovation.

Date published: February 9, 2016

Food for Billions: Inland Fisheries and World Food Security

Reston, VA – Inland capture fisheries are much more crucial to global food security than realized, according to the first global review of the value of inland fish and fisheries.

Date published: February 8, 2016

USGS Increases Public Access to Scientific Research

The U.S. Geological Survey is implementing new measures that will improve public access to USGS-funded science as detailed in its new public access plan.

Date published: January 28, 2016

Process Changes for Reporting Sightings of Asian Carp, other Non-Native Aquatic Species

Boaters, swimmers or other members of the public who see Lionfish, Asian carp, Zebra mussels or any other invasive or non-native plant or animal species have two options to report sightings.

Date published: January 26, 2016

New Invasive Annual Grass Book Addresses Critical Questions for the Western U.S.

BOISE, Idaho — Bromus species – such as cheatgrass – are exotic annual grasses that have become the dominant annual grasses in the western hemisphere. Their spread and impacts across the western U.S. continue despite the many attempts by land managers to control these species.

Date published: January 19, 2016

Decades of Bat Observations Reveal Uptick in New Causes of Mass Mortality

FORT COLLINS, Colorado – Reports of bat deaths worldwide due to human causes largely unique to the 21st century are markedly rising, according to a new USGS-led analysis published in Mammal Review.

Date published: January 15, 2016

Biodiversity Critical to Maintaining Healthy Ecosystems

Researchers have found clear evidence that biological communities rich in species are substantially healthier and more productive than those depleted of species.