Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

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.

 

Check out our Cool Tools for Hot Topics!
Filter Total Items: 747
Date published: March 29, 2018
Status: Active

Diagnostic Virology Laboratory (DVL)

The Diagnostic Virology Laboratory (DVL) performs isolation and identification of common and novel viruses from diagnostic and research samples.  Isolation procedures used are specific to the host animal and suspected pathogen.  The DVL has expertise in recognizing morphological changes in cell culture and effects on embryonated avian eggs caused by viral infection.  Some of the identification...

Contacts: Hon Ip
Date published: March 29, 2018
Status: Active

Diagnostic Parasitology Laboratory (DPL)

The Diagnostic Parasitology Laboratory (DPL) supports the Center’s diagnostic investigations and conducts research. A variety of procedures are used to identify eukaryotic parasites, including the use of morphological characters, dichotomous taxonomic keys and DNA sequence analysis.

Contacts: Rebecca A Cole
Date published: March 29, 2018
Status: Active

Chemistry Laboratory

The Chemistry Laboratory technical staff provides toxicology support for diagnostic cases, including metal analysis (primarily lead), screening for organophosphate and carbamate pesticide exposure, and other toxicants.  The Chemistry Laboratory is also the main conduit for submission of  toxicology to external laboratories.

Contacts: David S Blehert
Date published: March 29, 2018
Status: Active

Diagnostic Microbiology Laboratory (DML)

The Diagnostic Microbiology Laboratory (DML) routinely performs a variety of procedures to isolate and identify important pathogenic bacteria and fungi from wildlife.  Microbes are identified based upon morphological characteristics, biochemical/physiological properties, molecular assays (e.g., PCR), and DNA sequence analysis.

Contacts: Jeffrey M Lorch
Date published: March 27, 2018
Status: Active

White-Nose Syndrome Surveillance

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) assists State, Federal, and Tribal wildlife agencies nationwide with early detection of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), and addresses specific research priorities identified by partners in conjunction with the ...

Contacts: Anne Ballmann
Date published: March 27, 2018
Status: Active

Monarch Conservation Science Partnership Map Viewer and Tools

This web mapping application is a repository for data and tools that support the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership

Date published: March 27, 2018
Status: Active

Multi-century perspectives on current and future streamflow in the Missouri River Basin

The Missouri River system is the life-blood of the American Midwest providing water resources that drive agriculture, industry, hydroelectric power generation, and ecosystems. However, the Missouri River Basin (MRB) (Figure 1) is the only major river in the western U.S. for which hydrologic reconstructions from tree rings have not been generated in any systematic way. This knowledge gap is...

Contacts: Greg Pederson
Date published: March 26, 2018
Status: Active

Structured Decision Making

The biggest natural resource management challenges include competing views of the value and uses of those resources in society. Patuxent scientists develop methods to manage resources given those competing views under a “structured decision making” (SDM) framework. Our scientists both practice and train others in key SDM skills, such as model development and monitoring design.

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Vector-borne Disease Research

Lyme disease is the most prevalent vector-borne disease in North America, with about 300,000 cases per year in the U.S.  We are studying transmission of the spirochete that causes this disease among wild animals and the blacklegged tick vectors, to determine why Lyme disease is common in the northeast and northern Midwest but rare in the south, even though blacklegged ticks are present in all...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Forest Structure Resulting from ‘Wildlife Forestry Silviculture’

The Challenge: Management of bottomland forests using wildlife forestry silviculture is being undertaken to achieve desired forest conditions for priority silvicolous wildlife, such as Louisiana black bear, migratory birds, and resident game species. Wildlife forestry management results in forests that have more open canopies and increased understory vegetation yet exhibit heterogeneous...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Assessing Amphibian Disease Risk in the Northeast

The Challenge: Disease in amphibian populations can have a range of effects, from devastating declines following introduction of a novel pathogen to recurring breakout events on a landscape. Elucidating mechanisms underlying the effects of diseases on amphibian populations is crucial to help managers make appropriate decisions to achieve management goals for amphibians.

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI): Understanding Amphibian Populations in the Northeastern United States

Currently, 90 amphibian species are recognized in the Northeast, including 59 species in the Order Caudata (salamanders) and 31 species in the Order Anura (frogs and toads). Almost half of the amphibians in the Northeast are salamanders within the family Plethodontidae. Amphibians are found in all physiographic regions of the Northeast, from sea level to the heights of the Appalachian,...

Filter Total Items: 30,796
Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Pathology and case definition of Severe Perkinsea Infections of frogs

Severe Perkinsea infection (SPI) is an emerging disease of frogs responsible for mass mortalities of tadpoles across the United States. It is caused by protozoa belonging to the phylum Perkinsozoa that form a distinct group referred to as the Pathogenic Perkinsea Clade of frogs. In this work, we provide detailed description of gross and histologic...

Isidoro Ayza, Marcos; Grear, Daniel A.; Chambouvet, Aurélie

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Phenology and species diversity in a Lake Huron ichthyoplankton community: Ecological implications of invasive species dominance

Ichthyoplankton communities are dynamic and vary spatiotemporally based on factors such as wind, water currents, and phenology. Nonetheless, ichthyoplankton are an indicator of spawning success in fish populations and examining their community diversity and composition can serve to provide information on ecosystem integrity. Although some...

O'Brien, Timothy P.; Ireland, Stacey; Roseman, Edward F.; Briggs, Andrew S; Taylor, William W.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

A vision for documenting and sharing knowledge in conservation

As editors, we mark the launch of Conservation Science and Practice, a journal of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), with the following remarks framing the purpose and aspirations of the journal. Our aim is to share scholarship on and experiences of the practice of conservation. We define conservation practice as the application of...

Schwartz, Mark W.; Belhabib, Dyhia; Biggs, Duan; Cook, Carly N.; Fitzsimmons, James; Giordano, Anthony J.; Glew, Louise; Gottlieb, Sara; Kattan, Gustavo; Knight, Andrew T.; Lundquist, Carolyn J.; Lynam, Antony J.; Masuda, Yuta J.; Mwampamba, Tuyeni H.; Nuno, Ana; Plumptre, Andrew J.; Ray, Justina C.; Reddy, Sheila M.; Runge, Michael C.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

U.S. Geological Survey science for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative—2017 annual report

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) was established in 2008 to address the scientific and conservation questions associated with land use changes because of energy development and other factors in southwest Wyoming. Over the past decade, partners from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), State and Federal land management agencies,...

Zeigenfuss, Linda C.; Aikens, Ellen; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Anderson, Patrick J.; Assal, Timothy J.; Bowen, Zachary H.; Chalfoun, Anna D.; Chong, Geneva W.; Eddy-Miller, Cheryl A.; Germaine, Stephen S.; Graves, Tabitha; Homer, Collin G.; Huber, Christopher C.; Johnston, Aaron; Kauffman, Matthew J.; Manier, Daniel J.; McShane, Ryan R.; Miller, Kirk A.; Monroe, Adrian P.; Ortega, Anna; Walters, Annika W.; Wyckoff, Teal B.
Zeigenfuss, L.C., Aikens, E., Aldridge, C.L., Anderson, P.J., Assal, T.J., Bowen, Z.H., Chalfoun, A.D., Chong, G.W., Eddy-Miller, C.A., Germaine, S.S., Graves, T., Homer, C.G., Huber, C.C., Johnston, A., Kauffman, M.J., Manier, D.J., McShane, R.R., Miller, K.A., Monroe, A.P., Ortega, A., Walters, A.W., and Wyckoff, T.B., 2019, U.S. Geological Survey science for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative—2017 annual report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1188, 57 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181188.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Brood size affects future reproduction in a long-lived bird with precocial young

Estimation of trade-offs between current reproduction and future survival and fecundity of long-lived vertebrates is essential to understanding factors that shape optimal reproductive investment. Black brant geese (Branta bernicla nigricans) fledge more goslings, on average, when their broods are experimentally enlarged to be greater than the most...

Alan Leach; James Sedinger; Thomas Riecke; Amanda Van Dellen; Ward, David H.; Sean Boyd

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Hierarchical multi-population viability analysis

Population viability analysis (PVA) uses concepts from theoretical ecology to provide a powerful tool for quantitative estimates of population dynamics and extinction risks. However, conventional statistical PVA requires long-term data from every population of interest, whereas many species of concern exist in multiple isolated populations that...

Leasure, Douglas R.; Wenger, Seth J.; Chelgren, Nathan; Neville, Helen M.; Dauwalter, Daniel C.; Bjork, Robin; Fesenmyer, Kurt A.; Dunham, Jason B.; Peacock, Mary M.; Luce, Charlie H.; Lute, Abby C.; Isaak, Daniel J.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Defensible standardized ploidy assessments for Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella, Cyprinidae) intercepted from the commercial supply chain

Although methods are in place through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) program for ploidy testing of feral caught Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) and black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus), no guidelines exist for carp hauled across state lines. Using 1200 Grass Carp purchased by undercover Ohio law enforcement during 2015–2016, we...

Jenkins, Jill A.; Chauvin, Megan D.; Johnson, Darren; Brown, Bonnie L.; Bailey, Jennifer; Kelly, Anita M.; Kinter, Bryan T.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

The expectations and challenges of wildlife disease research in the era of genomics: forecasting with a horizon scan-like exercise

The outbreak and transmission of disease-causing pathogens are contributing to the unprecedented rate of biodiversity decline. Recent advances in genomics have coalesced into powerful tools to monitor, detect, and reconstruct the role of pathogens impacting wildlife populations. Wildlife researchers are thus uniquely positioned to merge ecological...

Fitak, Robert R.; Antonides, Jennifer D.; Baitchman, Eric J.; Bonaccorso, Elisa; Braun, Josephine; Kubiski, Steven; Chiu, Elliott; Fagre, Anna C.; Gagne, Roderick B.; Lee, Justin S.; Malmberg, Jennifer L.; Stenglein, Mark D.; Dusek, Robert J.; Forgacs, David; Fountain-Jones, Nicholas M.; Gilbertson, Marie L. J.; Worsley-Tonks, Katherine E. L.; Funk, W. Chris; Trumbo, Daryl R.; Ghersi, Bruno M.; Grimaldi, Wray; Heisel, Sara E.; Jardine, Claire M.; Kamath, Pauline L.; Karmacharya, Dibesh; Kozakiewicz, Christopher P.; Kraberger, Simona; Loisel, Dagan A.; McDonald, Cait; Miller, Steven; O’Rourke, Devon; Ott-Conn, Caitlin N.; Páez-Vacas, Mónica; Peel, Alison J.; Turner, Wendy C.; VanAcker, Meredith C.; VandeWoude, Sue; Pecon-Slattery, Jill

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Decision-making in agent-based modeling: A current review and future prospectus

All basic processes of ecological populations involve decisions; when and where to move, when and what to eat, and whether to fight or flee. Yet decisions and the underlying principles of decision-making have been difficult to integrate into the classical population-level models of ecology. Certainly, there is a long history of modeling...

DeAngelis, Donald L.; Diaz, Stephanie G.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Seasonal distribution of Dall's porpoise in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Dall's porpoise, Phocoenoides dalli, are a conspicuous predator in the Prince William Sound ecosystem, yet there has been little effort directed towards monitoring this species since the 1980s, prior to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. We used vessel-based surveys to examine the seasonal distribution of Dall's porpoise in the waters of Prince William...

J.R. Moran; O'Dell, M.B.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Straley, Jan M; Dickson, D.M.S.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Lethal infection of wild raptors with highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 and H5N2 viruses in the USA, 2014–15

An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) led to heavy losses of poultry in commercial farms in North America in 2014–15. Enhanced surveillance by virologists and pathologists at the US Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center and its partners resulted in the identification of lethal infections with clade 2.3.4.4 subgroup...

Knowles, Susan; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie I.; Ip, Hon S.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Whooping crane use of riverine stopover sites

Migratory birds like endangered whooping cranes (Grus americana) require suitable nocturnal roost sites during twice annual migrations. Whooping cranes primarily roost in shallow surface water wetlands, ponds, and rivers. All these features have been greatly impacted by human activities, which present threats to the continued recovery of the...

Baasch, David M.; Farrell, Patrick D.; Howlin, Shay; Pearse, Aaron T.; Farnsworth, Jason M.; Smith, Chadwin B.

Filter Total Items: 720
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

...
Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK
August 26, 2016

Horned Puffin, near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska

Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK. Near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska

August 26, 2016

First Days - Harlequin Ducks

This ridiculously cute video of baby Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) shows their first day outside the egg (about 20 hours old). Scientists at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center are training ducks to respond to sounds — just like a hearing test given to kids during elementary school — to learn more about their ability to hear underwater. This will inform the

...
August 25, 2016

E2 East Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: E2 East Transect; Depth: 14.3 Meters (46.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.9 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15653002,-123.56130401; Site Description: This is one of our deeper sites. Substrate is mainly gravel/cobble with an occasional boulder. A few brown acid kelps (Desmarestia spp. at 0:06 

...
August 25, 2016

E2 West Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: E2 West Transect; Depth: 14.6 Meters (47.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.9 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15653002, -123.56197605; Site Description: This is one of our deeper sites. Substrate is mainly gravel/cobble with scattered boulders. A few small red and brown seaweeds, mainly acid kelp

...
August 25, 2016

Eagle Tracking

Cell phone video of USGS biologist Diego Johnson releasing a golden eagle that had just been fitted with a tracking device.  The work is informing land managers on eagle movements in the southwest, an area of expanding renewable energy development.

August 25, 2016

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawk wasps sting and paralyze tarantulas to feed their young. USGS Ecologist Todd Esque captured this video of a tarantula hawk wasp dragging a tarantula through the desert in Mexico. 

August 24, 2016

J1 West Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: J1 West Transect; Depth: 9.8 Meters (32.3 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 6.6 Kilometers (4.1 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13607725,-123.48002186; Site Description: This site is medium depth. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (0:25 seconds) and brown seaweed growth is dense and appears to be

...
August 24, 2016

D2 West Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: D2 West Transect; Depth: 12.8 Meters (41.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.3 Kilometers (0.2 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal Lat/Long: 48.15233001,-123.56896603; Site Description: This site is right off the mouth of the river. Substrate is mainly gravel with some cobble. Dead clam shells are scattered everywhere (2:14 seconds).

...
August 23, 2016

GP2 East Transect – 2016

Permanent Control Site: GP2 East Transect; Depth: 13.2 Meters (43.4 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 18.8 Kilometers (11.7 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.12781102,-123.31645664; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Substrate is mainly a gravel sand mixture. A few large boulders are located off

...
August 23, 2016

GP1 West Transect – 2016

Permanent Control Site: GP1 West Transect; Depth: 7.9 m (25.9 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.11852521,-123.31605203; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding

...
August 23, 2016

Golden Eagle Flight

Golden eagles can be killed by colliding with a number of human-made objects, including wind turbines. USGS research wildlife biologist Todd Katzner describes his studies of golden eagle flight. This research is being done to model flight behavior which might help managers understand how placement of wind turbines might pose significant risks to golden eagles.

 

Filter Total Items: 289
Date published: June 30, 2015

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Remain the Primary Threat to Polar Bears

Greenhouse gas emissions remain the primary threat to the preservation of polar bear populations worldwide. This conclusion holds true under both a reduced greenhouse gas emission scenario that stabilizes climate warming and another scenario where emissions and warming continue at the current pace, according to updated U.S. Geological Survey research models.

Date published: June 24, 2015

Past Water Patterns Drive Present Wading Bird Numbers

Wading bird numbers in the Florida Everglades are driven by water patterns that play out over multiple years according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and Florida Atlantic University.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: May 20, 2015

Long-term Prognosis for Florida Manatees Improves

The risk of extinction for the endangered Florida manatee appears to be lower, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey led study.

Date published: May 18, 2015

Genetics Provide New Hope for Endangered Freshwater Mussels

WELLSBORO, Pa. — A piece of the restoration puzzle to save populations of endangered freshwater mussels may have been found, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey led study. Local population losses in a river may not result in irreversible loss of mussel species; other mussels from within the same river could be used as sources to restore declining populations.

Date published: May 12, 2015

Climate Change Threatens Native Trout Diversity

Scientists have discovered that the diversity of a threatened native trout species will likely decrease due to future climate change. 

Date published: May 11, 2015

Boom and Bust in the Boreal Forest: Climate Signals Seen in Bird Populations

Weaving concepts of ecology and climatology, recent interdisciplinary research by USGS and several university partners reveals how large-scale climate variability appears to connect boom-and-bust cycles in the seed production of the boreal (northern conifer) forests of Canada to massive, irregular movements of boreal birds.

Date published: May 6, 2015

Asian Carp Would Have Adequate Food to Survive in Lake Erie

If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Erie, there would be enough food available for these species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: May 5, 2015

Seasonal Habitat Quality and Landscape Characteristics Explain Genetic Differences Between Greater Sage-grouse Populations in Wyoming

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Low-quality nesting and winter seasonal habitats are strong predictors of reduced gene flow between greater sage-grouse breeding locations, according to research just published in Ecology and Evolution and authored by the U.S. Geological Survey and their colleagues at the University of Waterloo.

Date published: May 4, 2015

Shorebird Science? iPlover is the App for That

RESTON, Va.-- The latest tool designed to help manage the threatened piping plover is only a download away; iPlover is the first smartphone data collection application developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and will help those managing plover populations.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: April 28, 2015

Burmese Python Habitat Use Patterns May Help Control Efforts

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla.— The largest and longest Burmese Python tracking study of its kind -- here or in its native range -- is providing researchers and resource managers new information that may help target control efforts of this invasive snake, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: April 16, 2015

Model Offers More Ease, Precision for Managing Invasive Asian Carp

The likelihood of Asian carp eggs being kept in suspension and hatching in the St. Joseph River in Michigan has been further evaluated using a model that examines a range of multiple flow and water temperature scenarios. Results illustrate the highest percentage of Asian carp eggs at risk of hatching occurs when the streamflow is low and when the water temperature is high.

Date published: April 16, 2015

Genetics Provides New Clues about Lionfish Invasion

New genetic data suggest the red lionfish invasion in the Caribbean Basin and Western Atlantic started in multiple locations, not just one as previously believed, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.