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: 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).

Date published: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Joint Ecosystem Modeling: Alligator Production Probability Model

Because the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a keystone species of the Everglades ecosystem, managers need a way to quantitatively assess the effects of alternative restoration scenarios on alligators.

Date published: May 7, 2018
Status: Active

Sea turtle nesting on Eglin Air Force Base property, Cape San Blas, Florida

The Northwestern Atlantic population of loggerhead sea turtles is one of the largest in the world. Genetic studies have divided this population into 5 management units including a genetically distinct group that nests throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM).

Date published: May 2, 2018
Status: Active

Remote Sensing

USGS is using remote sensing of Fisheries and Aquatic Communities to monitor and assess fish populations and aquatic communities.

Date published: May 2, 2018
Status: Active

Data Visualization

USGS aquatic scientists are developing data visualization tools to assist
natural resource managers in decision‐making and adaptive management.

Date published: May 2, 2018
Status: Active

Statistical Modeling

The USGS is incorporating different species and aquatic communities into statistical models to begin developing tools that quantify relationships between flow and total ecosystem services provided by river systems for human benefit. 

Date published: May 2, 2018
Status: Active

Genetics and Genomics

USGS aquatic scientists develop and adapt new technologies and tools that increase the effectiveness, efficiency, safety, and accuracy of aquatic ecosystem management.

Date published: May 2, 2018
Status: Active

Fish Tagging and Tracking

USGS Fisheries scientists apply advanced technologies to monitor and assess fish populations and aquatic communities.

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems

USGS Fisheries scientists work with partners to assess the physiology, life history, reproduction, and habitat needs of aquatic species to assist managers to develop techniques to understand, conserve, and restore fish communities.

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Pollution in Aquatic Ecosystems

USGS scientists quantify and describe functional relationships among aquatic species and habitats to characterize aquatic community structure, function, adaptation, and sustainability.

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory

The Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) is an integrated scientific program established in 1920 supporting the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America.  This information is used to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations. Because birds are good indicators of the health of the environment, the...

Filter Total Items: 30,796
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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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Year Published: 2019

Occupancy models for citizen-science data

Large‐scale citizen‐science projects, such as atlases of species distribution, are an important source of data for macroecological research, for understanding the effects of climate change and other drivers on biodiversity, and for more applied conservation tasks, such as early‐warning systems for biodiversity loss.However, citizen‐science data...

Altwegg, Res; Nichols, James D.

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Year Published: 2019

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in plasma of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus)

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are ubiquitous, synthetic anthropogenic chemicals known to infiltrate and persist in biological systems as a result of their stability and bioaccumulation potential. This study investigated 15 PFAS, including short-chain carboxylic and sulfonic acids, and their presence in a threatened herbivore...

Palmer, Kady; Bangma, Jacqueline T.; Reiner, Jessica L.; Bonde, Robert K.; Korte, Jeffrey E.; Boggs, Ashley S. P.; Bowden, John A.

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Expressing lamprey feces
March 6, 2017

Expressing lamprey feces

USGS scientist Nick Johnson isn’t afraid to get dirty. Here he is expressing green feces from a parasitic sea lamprey. DNA in the feces may help USGS scientists discover the identity of sea lamprey’s last meal. 

In UV light an alga from the desmid family looks like a snowflake chain
February 28, 2017

A snowflake chain? Nope. A one-celled green alga.

The desmid family of single-celled green algae are never found in abundance, says USGS biologist Barry Rosen. They inhabit the soft, slightly acidic water of wetlands that depend on rainwater, like Florida’s Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. They don’t “bloom” en masse, but their presence is an indicator of good water quality. Rosen’s research is

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February 22, 2017

H1 East Transect – February 2017

Permanent Site: H1 East Transect; Depth: 5.8 Meters (19.1 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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sampling equipment on big sagebrush site
February 16, 2017

Plot 347, point 6, Morley Nelson Snake River NCA

Cover photo for Shinneman, D.J., Welty, J.L., Arkle, R.S., Pilliod, D.S., Glenn, N.F., McIlroy, S.K., Halford, A.S., 2018, Fuels guide and database for intact and invaded big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecological sites—User manual: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series Report 1048, p. 9, https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1048

Idaho/Oregon border stake with person pulling a sled in background
February 1, 2017

Crossing the Idaho-Oregon border in winter

This remote area along the southern Idaho-Oregon border was affected by the 2015 Soda Fire, which burned nearly 400 square miles of sagebrush habitat important to many species of wildlife, as well as federal and private ranchlands. The USGS, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, is leading a first of its kind study on the efficacy of certain post-fire

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Manatee Health Assessment
January 31, 2017

Manatee Health Assessment

USGS conducts a health assessment on a mantee in Crystal River, Florida.

Manatee Health Assessment
January 31, 2017

Manatee Health Assessment

USGS conducts a health assessment on a mantee in Crystal River, Florida. 

Manatee Health Assessment
January 31, 2017

Manatee Health Assessment

USGS conducts a health assessment on a mantee in Crystal River, Florida.

Manatee Health Assessment
January 31, 2017

Manatee Health Assessment

USGS conducts a health assessment on a mantee in Crystal River, Florida.

Chinese firebelly new
December 31, 2016

Chinese Firebelly Newt

A Chinese firebelly newt (Cynops orientalis), the first salamander species found to be infected with the spring viraemia of carp virus.

Chinese fire belly newt
December 31, 2016

Chinese Firebelly Newt

A Chinese firebelly newt (Cynops orientalis), the salamander species recently found to be infected with the spring viraemia of carp virus, or SVCV.

Testing for Bsal
December 31, 2016

Testing for Bsal

Scientists sample a rough-skinned newt for the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal, at a pond near Portland, Oregon. Bsal is decimating wild salamander populations in Europe and could emerge in the U.S. through the captive amphibian trade.

Filter Total Items: 289
Date published: January 4, 2016

Sea Lamprey Mating Pheromone Registered by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as First Vertebrate Pheromone Biopesticide

Ann Arbor, MI – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered a sea lamprey mating pheromone, 3kPZS, as the first ever vertebrate pheromone biopesticide in late December, 2015. Like an alluring perfume, the mating pheromone is a scent released by male sea lampreys to lure females onto nesting sites.

Date published: December 18, 2015

The Other 364 Days of the Year: The Real Lives of Wild Reindeer

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer, of course, is another common name for caribou (Rangifer tarandus) a large, cold-adapted, herding herbivore related to deer, elk and moose.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: December 17, 2015

Intersex Prevalent in Black Bass Inhabiting National Wildlife Refuges in Northeast

Eighty five percent of male smallmouth bass and 27 percent of male largemouth bass tested in waters in or near 19 National Wildlife Refuges in the Northeast U.S. were intersex, according to a new study by U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: December 14, 2015

Climate Past as Prologue for Ponderosa Pines

Scientists from the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey have reconstructed the recent migration history of ponderosa pine trees in the central Rocky Mountains.

Date published: December 10, 2015

Continued Decline of the Northern Spotted Owl Associated with the Invasive Barred Owl, Habitat Loss, and Climate Variation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Northern spotted owl populations are declining in all parts of their range in the Pacific Northwest, according to research published in The Condor. Based on data from 11 study areas across Washington, Oregon and northern California, a rangewide decline of nearly 4 percent per year was estimated from 1985 to 2013.

Date published: November 17, 2015

Cause of Deadly Disease in Snakes Identified

The fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola is the definitive cause of the skin infections in snakes known as snake fungal disease, or SFD, according to U.S. Geological Survey research published today in the journal mBio.

Date published: November 12, 2015

Arctic Tundra Fire Causes Widespread Permafrost Landscape Changes

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Large and severe tundra fires cause top down permafrost thaw, playing a major role in altering Arctic landscapes according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: November 4, 2015

Native Bees Foraging in Fields Are Exposed to Neonicotinoid Insecticides and other Pesticides

According to the first-ever study of pesticide residues on field-caught bees, native bees are exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides and other pesticides. This report was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

Date published: November 3, 2015

New Tool Rates Stream Vulnerability to Unconventional Oil and Gas Development

On average, streams in the Niobrara-Mowry Play of eastern Wyoming, Fayetteville Play of Arkansas, and Barnett Play of Texas ranked most vulnerable to unconventional oil and gas development, but for different reasons, according to recent U.S. Geological Survey coauthored research.

Date published: October 30, 2015

Genetic Study Confirms Growth of Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Population

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Genetic data show the grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has grown since the 1980s with no loss in genetic diversity, according to a report by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

Date published: October 29, 2015

Invasive Northern Snakehead Carries Bacteria as Bad as its Bite

The invasive northern snakehead fish found in the mid-Atlantic area is now cause for more concern, potentially bringing diseases into the region that may spread to native fish and wildlife, according to a team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists.

Date published: October 28, 2015

Everglades’ Alligator Numbers Drop after Dry Years

Alligators and the Everglades go hand-in-hand, and as water conditions change in the greater Everglades ecosystem, gators are one of the key species that could be affected.

Attribution: Ecosystems