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: 811
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
Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Databases, Models, and Decision Support Tools

Today's natural resource managers must make effective decisions about broad-scale ecosystem processes occurring across the landscape, with complex interactions, numerous competing stakeholder demands, and highly uncertain outcomes. USGS scientists are applying tools from decision science such as structured decision making, adaptive management, and modeling that examines the outcome of a...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Rapid Response Teams

The USGS Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team was established to help prevent the spread of invasive Brown Treesnakes through screening, risk assessment, outreach, and training for field response efforts.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
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
Filter Total Items: 30,699
Year Published: 2019

Fire changes the spatial distribution and sources of soil organic carbon in a grassland-shrubland transition zone

AimsIn many mixed grass-shrub ecosystems, increased shrub biomass tends to promote overall carbon storage, but the distribution of carbon pools may be complicated by disturbances such as wildfires. We investigated the spatial distribution of surface soil organic carbon (SOC) and its relative contribution from grasses and shrubs after fires in a...

Wang, Guan; Li, Junran; Ravi, Sujith; Theiling, Bethany P.; Sankey, Joel B.

Year Published: 2019

Pulsed salmonfly emergence and its potential contribution to terrestrial detrital pools

Adult aquatic insects are a globally important subsidy in terrestrial food webs. However, our understanding of their importance is largely limited to studies that measure predation of live insects by terrestrial predators. Yet the flux of adult aquatic insects to terrestrial detrital pools may also be an important...

Wesner, Jeff; Walters, David; Zuellig, Robert E.

Year Published: 2019

Impacts of nonnative Brown Trout on Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout in a tributary stream

Nonnative trout are a considerable threat to native salmonids, yet our understanding of the mechanisms behind interspecific interactions remains limited. We evaluated the impacts of nonnative Brown Trout Salmo salar on a population of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri in Montana. We contrasted diets,...

Al-Chokhachy, Robert K.; Sepulveda, Adam J.

Year Published: 2019

Cyanobacteria reduce motility of quagga mussel (Driessena rostriformis bugensis) sperm

The temporal expansion of harmful algal blooms, primarily associated with cyanobacteria, may impact aquatic organisms at vulnerable life history stages. Broadcast spawning species release gametes into the water column for external fertilization, directly exposing sperm to potential aquatic stressors. To determine if cyanobacteria can disrupt...

Boegehold, Anna G.; Alame, Karim; Johnson, Nicholas S.; Kashian, Donna R.

Year Published: 2019

Navigating the field of decision analysis

Managers, policy makers, and decision makers with responsibility for environmental decisions have an extraordinarily difficult job. The systems they manage are complex (coupled human-natural systems), with many dimensions and complicated dynamics. Our knowledge of how those systems respond to management actions is often limited, so many of the...

Runge, Michael C.; McDonald-Madden, Eve

Year Published: 2019

Extreme value-based methods for modeling elk yearly movements

Species range shifts and the spread of diseases are both likely to be driven by extreme movements, but are difficult to statistically model due to their rarity. We propose a statistical approach for characterizing movement kernels that incorporate landscape covariates as well as the potential for heavy-tailed distributions. We used a spliced...

Wijeyakulasuriya, Dhanushi A.; Hanks, Ephraim M.; Shaby, Benjamin A.; Cross, Paul C.

Year Published: 2019

Influence of climate, post‐treatment weather extremes, and soil factors on vegetation recovery after restoration treatments in the southwestern US

AimsUnderstanding the conditions associated with dryland vegetation recovery after restoration treatments is challenging due to a lack of monitoring data and high environmental variability over time and space. Tracking recovery trajectories with satellite‐based vegetation indices can strengthen predictions of restoration outcomes across broad...

Copeland, Stella M.; Munson, Seth M.; Bradford, John B.; Butterfield, Bradley J.

Year Published: 2019

Distance models as a tool for modelling detection probability and density of native bumblebees

Effective monitoring of native bee populations requires accurate estimates of population size and relative abundance among habitats. Current bee survey methods, such as netting or pan trapping, may be adequate for a variety of study objectives but are limited by a failure to account for imperfect detection. Biases due to imperfect detection could...

McNeil, Darin J.; Otto, Clint R. V.; Moser, Erin L.; Urban-Mead, Katherine R.; King, David E.; Rodewald, Amanda D.; Larkin, Jeffrey L.

Year Published: 2019

Keeping the crown of the continent connected: An interagency US2 connectivity workshop report

At over 2.5 million acres, Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex form one of the largest protected areas in the continental United States. Straddling the Continental Divide, these two areas form a vital linkage between vast areas of public land to the south towards Yellowstone, and contiguous protected areas north of the US...

Waller, John S.; Graves, Tabitha
Waller, J and TA Graves. 2018. Keeping the Crown of the Continent Connected: An interagency US2 connectivity workshop report. Unpublished report. National Park Service, Glacier National Park. 30 pp. https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/Reference/Profile/2259314

Year Published: 2019

Evidence for widespread microbivory of endophytic bacteria in roots of vascularplants through oxidative degradation in root cell periplasmic spaces

In this chapter we present a hypothesis, and data supporting it, that vascular plants in diverse families possess symbiotic/endophytic bacteria that frequently vector on or within their seeds; seedlings degrade symbiotic bacteria within roots. Evidence of widespread microbivory was found in a survey for intracellular bacteria that we conducted...

White, James F.; Torres, Monica S.; Verma, Satish Kumar; Elmore, Matthew T.; Kowalski, Kurt P.; Kingsley, Kathryn L.

Year Published: 2019

Effects of prescribed fire on San Francisco gartersnake survival and movement

The application of fire is prescribed for management of habitats for many plant and animal communities, but its effects on herpetofauna are diverse and remain poorly understood. To date no studies have examined the effects of prescribed fire on endangered San Francisco gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) populations, despite a call for...

Halstead, Brian J.; Thompson, Michelle E.; Amarello, Melissa; Smith, Jeffrey J.; Wylie, Glenn D.; Routman, Eric J.; Casazza, Michael L.

Year Published: 2019

Delayed herbivory by migratory geese increases summer‐long CO2 uptake in coastal western Alaska

The advancement of spring and the differential ability of organisms to respond to changes in plant phenology may lead to ‘phenological mismatches’ as a result of climate change. One potential for considerable mismatch is between migratory birds and food availability in northern breeding ranges and these mismatches may have consequences for...

Leffler, A. Joshua; Beard, Karen H.; Kelsey, Katharine C.; Choi, Ryan T.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Welker, Jeffery M.

Filter Total Items: 703
Invasive black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae).
October 26, 2016

Invasive black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae).

Invasive black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae). USGS is working on development of tools for the detection and capture of invasive reptiles in Florida.

October 10, 2016

Detecting Invasive Species in the Field: Portable eDNA Screening Tool

The USGS field tested the use of a portable hand-held kit for the detection of the environmental DNA (eDNA) of Asian carps (bighead carp and silver carp) in water samples as part of on-going invasive species detection research. The goals of the USGS-led research are to develop a method and kit that can be used on-site to detect Asian carp eDNA within one hour. Developing

...
Beached boats and bare trees in Hurricane Hole
September 30, 2016

Irma leaves beached boats and broken trees in Huricane Hole

Boat owners sought protection for their vessels in sheltered Hurricane Hole, but Hurricane Irma sunk and beached many boats, likely damaging corals. Photo: Caroline Rogers, USGS, 2017

Photo of USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examining instrumentation to measure photosynthetic rates of biocrusts.
September 29, 2016

USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examines instruments to measure biocrust

USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examines instrumentation to measure photosynthetic rates of biocrusts.

Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight, according to a new USGS study

...
Photo of outdoor testing plots where biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time.
September 26, 2016

Biocrust outdoor testing plots

USGS scientists created outdoor testing plots where large squares of biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time. Researchers not only looked at how the biocrusts responded, but also measured the amount of energy that the different biocrust communities reflected back into the atmosphere relative to how much energy came in from the sun.

...
Photo of Biocrust outdoor testing plots
September 26, 2016

Biocrust outdoor testing plots

USGS scientists created outdoor testing plots where large squares of biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time. Researchers not only looked at how the biocrusts responded, but also measured the amount of energy that the different biocrust communities reflected back into the atmosphere relative to how much energy came in from the sun.

...
Photo of USGS scientist Sasha Reed studying outdoor biocrust testing sites
September 26, 2016

USGS scientist Sasha Reed studys outdoor biocrust testing sites

USGS scientist Sasha Reed studies sites where different climate conditions are being mimicked to determine effect on biocrusts.

Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight,

...
Photo of biocrust outdoor testing plots.
September 26, 2016

Biocrust outdoor testing plots.

USGS scientists created outdoor testing plots where large squares of biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time. Researchers not only looked at how the biocrusts responded, but also measured the amount of energy that the different biocrust communities reflected back into the atmosphere relative to how much energy came in from the sun.

...
two scientists setting up an experiment in an area dominated by cheatgrass
September 23, 2016

Setting up a bacterial control experiment on cheatgrass

Scientists are studying several weed suppressive bacteria to see if they can be used as a biological control on invasive exotic grasses, such as cheatgrass.

Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm
September 8, 2016

Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm

The Altamont Pass Wind Far is located in northern California.

September 6, 2016

USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station Renovation — Time Lapse

Watch as the USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station water tank and pump house are constructed from the ground up! This short video features time lapse photography of the 1-million gallon water tank and pump house constructed to supply water to a state-of-the-art aquatic science laboratory. Laboratory construction will occur over the next several years and will also be

...
Filter Total Items: 286
Date published: October 19, 2015

Arctic Mammals May Face Shrinking Habitat from Climate Warming

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A new scientific study predicts that some of Alaska’s mammal species will respond to future climate warming by concentrating in northern areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska. If true, for many species, this would be a significant northward shift into tundra habitats where they are currently absent.

Date published: October 19, 2015

EarthWord: Hypoxia

Hypoxia sounds as bad as it is. It refers to an environment that is too low on oxygen to sustain most aerobic life, particularly an aquatic environment. Hypoxia is most problematic when it happens where oxygen is normally plentiful, because most living organisms require oxygen to continue living.

Date published: October 14, 2015

Birds in the Bakken: Oil Development Can Affect Critical Habitat

Many grassland bird species in the Bakken shale region, including some seriously declining populations, are displaced from their habitats as a result of oil and gas development, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research.

Date published: September 28, 2015

Declines and Slow Recovery in Little Brown Bat Populations Predicted

Populations of bats diminished by white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease of hibernating bats, are unlikely to return to healthy levels in the near future, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research.

Date published: September 25, 2015

Hepatitis B-like Virus Found in Great Lakes Fish Species

A hepatitis B-like virus has been found for the first time in fish. A team of USGS researchers found the virus in white sucker from the Great Lakes Region using gene-sequencing technologies.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: September 23, 2015

Invasive Silver Carp Respond Strongly to Sound

Silver carp, a species of invasive Asian carp, demonstrated a strong aversion to certain noises during a recent study on the potential use of sound for silver carp control.

Date published: September 17, 2015

Numbers Encouraging, but Shark Bites Still Problematic for Sea Otter Recovery

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The recovery of southern sea otters appears to have taken an upturn, according to results from the annual California sea otter survey released by the U.S. Geological Survey today. Yet despite an overall increase in sea otter abundance, sharks have been “taking a bite” out of the portion of the population that could fuel expansion into new areas.

Date published: September 15, 2015

100 Photos That Can Help Prevent Sickness, Save Lives

A series of 100 photos may reduce the risk of Native Americans and Alaska Natives being exposed to or consuming water or food containing harmful cyanobacteria.

Date published: September 14, 2015

EarthWord: Crepuscular

The term crepuscular describes events relating to, resembling, or occurring during twilight, meaning morning and evening hours. An animal described as crepuscular is active during twilight.

Date published: September 10, 2015

Fire Patterns in the Range of the Greater Sage-Grouse, 1984-2013

OAKHURST, Calif. -- Overall fire threats to greater sage-grouse habitat are much higher in the western part of the species’ range than in the eastern part, according to a U.S. Geological Survey fire threats assessment study published today.

Date published: September 10, 2015

Cumulative Effects of Wildfire Adversely Affect Greater Sage-Grouse in the Great Basin

Slowing fire-related population declines in greater sage-grouse in the Great Basin over the next 30 years may depend on the intensity of fire suppression efforts in core breeding areas and long-term patterns of precipitation, according to a just-published USGS-led study.

Date published: September 8, 2015

Sage-grouse Priority Areas Function as an Interdependent Network

BOISE, Idaho — The network of greater sage-grouse priority areas is a highly centralized system of conservation reserves. The largest priority areas likely can support sage-grouse populations within their boundaries, but smaller priority areas will need to rely on their neighbors in the surrounding network to sustain local populations, according to new research by the U.S. Geological Survey.