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: 681
Date published: October 22, 2018
Status: Active

Facility Siting and Operations

Because energy development often takes place in critical wildlife habitats, ecological science can be used to help guide project siting and operational decisions to areas and practices that present the lowest risk to energy development and wildlife.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 22, 2018
Status: Active

Management and Restoration

USGS supports restoration activities by providing tools and data to assist partners.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 22, 2018
Status: Active

Indirect Effects and Disturbance

USGS scientists are studying how land-surface disturbance from energy development affect wildlife.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 21, 2018
Status: Active

Risk and Impact Assessment

USGS scientists study and monitor fish and wildlife, providing natural resource managers evidence-based information on the status and trends of species of interest. A rigorous scientific process is applied to understand risks, measure impacts, and inform solutions to national and local challenges facing both humans and wildlife.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 21, 2018
Status: Active

Wildlife Behavior

Disturbances from energy development can have an affect on wildlife behavior. USGS scientists study the impacts of energy development on land, water, and the healthy ecosystems that fish and wildlife depend on to determine how these impacts may affect wildlife behavior.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 21, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Species

Recent development of energy resources, such as wind, oil, gas, and solar, can potentially affect landscapes in ways that require changes in avian management practices.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 20, 2018
Status: Active

Arctic Species

USGS scientists are researching wildlife species and their responses to ecosystem change to inform management decisions related to development of oil, gas and mineral resources on Bureau of Land
Management lands and on the Outer Continental Shelf managed by Bureau of Ocean Energy
Management.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 20, 2018
Status: Active

Aquatic Species

To meet a continued demand for energy, USGS scientists assess the nation's oil, natural gas and coal resources, as well as study the impacts of energy development on land, water, and the healthy ecosystems that fish and wildlife depend on.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 19, 2018
Status: Active

Hydropower and Invasive Species

USGS interdisciplinary science directly addresses a variety of threats to hydroelectric dams by addressing damage caused by invasive species such as a variety of mussels that clog hydroelectric facilities and damage aquatic ecosystems. One important benefit of this USGS science is that it can help prevent unnecessary maintenance costs.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 19, 2018
Status: Active

Dam Removal and River Restoration

For rivers where dams need to be removed, USGS has considerable expertise and ongoing projects in ecological management to safely remove unwanted dams and restore fisheries and other ecosystem services.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 19, 2018
Status: Active

Dam Operations

Hydropower has served as a significant and reliable source of electricity to many communities and industries across the nation for more than five decades. As hydropower dams age and require critical upgrades, USGS hydrologists, engineers and fish biologists work together to design the next generation of dams and operational protocols that improve passage for migratory fish and cause fewer...

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 17, 2018
Status: Active

Digital Soil Mapping: High Resolution Maps for Modern Land Management Decisions

The field of digital soil mapping has bridged the classic theories of soil science into the modern computing age to produce high resolution maps. This body of work utilizes classic soil factorial theory (soil = f[climate, organisms, relief (topography), parent material, time] + ɛ, or ‘clorpt’). The clorpt framework has been approximated using various environmental spatial data layers to...

Filter Total Items: 101
Date published: March 1, 2018

Quarterly Mortality Reports

National Wildlife Health Center produces quarterly mortality reports, containing information about wildlife mortality events throughout the United States and on occasion across North America.

Date published: March 1, 2018

NPN Visualization Tool

Phenology map viewer from the National Phenology Network.

Date published: March 1, 2018

DATA RELEASE & MODEL - Humpback Chub and Rainbow Trout Joint Mark-Recapture Data and Model, Colorado River, Arizona-Data & Model

These data were compiled for a joint mark-recapture analysis of humpback chub and rainbow trout and include capture histories for both species, and environmental covariates associated with monthly time steps used to measure survival and growth, and environmental covariates used to predict capture probability during each sampling trip.

Date published: February 12, 2018

Shoreline change rates in salt marsh units in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey

This dataset displays shoreline change rates at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA

Date published: February 1, 2018

NWHC Reports to AFWA and WAFWA

Access NWHC reports to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Date published: January 18, 2018

DATA RELEASE - Long-term Experimental Forest Growth and Drought Data

Forests around the world are experiencing severe droughts and elevated competitive intensity due to increased tree density. These data were compiled to represent multi-decadal forest growth across eight different experimental forests in the United States, each with replicated levels of density treatments, as well as an important drought index correlated to growth.

Date published: January 15, 2018

Medical Wallet Card for Wildlife Professionals

Biologists working with wildlife may be exposed to a variety of disease agents. NWHC has developed a wallet card that wildlife professionals can carry with them to alert medical personnel about potential exposure to zoonotic diseases. Contact information is provided for the Centers for Disease Control for the occurrence of zoonotic diseases in humans.

Date published: January 1, 2018

List of Species Affected by H5N1 (Avian Influenza)

List of species affected by H5N1 avian influenza (excel file).

Date published: December 11, 2017

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard

The USGS Southeast Regional Office has funded a cross-center collaboration between the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and the Texas Water Science Center for the development of the Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard. 

Date published: December 7, 2017

A Baseline Assessment of Contaminant Concentrations in Sediment and Biota in Proximity to Coal Transport Tracks in the Pacific Northwest (2014)

This dataset provides baseline concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), other aromatic organic compounds, mercury (Hg), and trace metal concentrations in sediment and biota collected from two sites along an existing rail line used for coal transport in the Columbia River Gorge, Washington.

Date published: November 27, 2017

DATA RELEASE - Ground-dwelling arthropod composition, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2009—Data

These data were compiled from pitfall traps deployed at three sites, along a 25 kilometers (km) stretch of the Colorado River, immediately downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Each site had both pre and post-dam riparian habitats present. The purpose of the sampling was to determine if arthropod abundance, diversity and feeding guilds differed between...

Date published: November 21, 2017

Annual California sea otter stranding data

The California Sea Otter Stranding Network is part of the USGS effort to monitor southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) and provide data to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since 1985, stranded otters from throughout their California coastal range have been collected and analyzed to inform resource management on recovery and conservation of the species.

Filter Total Items: 2,913
Year Published: 2018

Mercury and lead exposure in avian scavengers from the Pacific Northwest suggest risks to California condors: Implications for reintroduction and recovery

Mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb) are widespread contaminants that pose risks to avian scavengers. In fact, Pb exposure is the primary factor limiting population recovery in the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) and Hg can impair avian reproduction at environmentally relevant exposures. The Pacific Northwest region of the...

Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Varland, Daniel E.
Herring, G., Eagles-Smith, C.A., Varland, D.E., 2018, Mercury and lead exposure in avian scavengers from the Pacific Northwest suggest risks to California condors- Implications for reintroduction and recovery: Environmental Pollution, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.09.005.

Year Published: 2018

Modelling sound attenuation in heterogeneous environments for improved bioacoustic sampling of wildlife populations

Acoustic sampling methods are becoming increasingly important in biological monitoring. Sound attenuation is one of the most important dynamics affecting the utility of acoustic data as it directly affects the probability of detection of individuals by acoustic sensor arrays and especially the localization of acoustic signals necessary in...

Royle, J. Andrew
Royle, J. A., 2018, Modeling sound attenuation in heterogeneous environments for improved bioacoustic sampling of wildlife populations: Methods in Ecology and Evolution, v. 9, no. 9, p. 1939-1947. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13040

Year Published: 2018

U.S. Geological Survey energy and wildlife research annual report for 2018

USGS scientists provide scientific information and options that land and resource managers and private industries can use to make decisions regarding the development of energy resources while protecting the health of ecosystems. Studies focus on delivering information to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the impacts of energy infrastructure on fish and...

Khalil, Mona
Khalil, Mona, ed., 2018, U.S. Geological Survey energy and wildlife research annual report for 2018 (ver. 1.1, October 2018): U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1447, 102 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1447.

Year Published: 2018

U.S. Geological Survey sage-grouse and sagebrush ecosystem research annual report for 2018

The sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem extends across a large portion of the Western United States, and the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is one of the iconic species of this ecosystem. Greater sage-grouse populations occur in 11 States and are dependent on relatively large expanses of sagebrush-dominated habitat. Sage-grouse...

Hanser, Steven E.
Hanser, S.E., ed., 2018, U.S. Geological Survey sage-grouse and sagebrush ecosystem research annual report for 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1446, 67 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1446.

Year Published: 2018

Monitoring responses to variation in food supply for a migratory waterfowl: American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) in winter

Wintering Black Ducks (Anas rubripes) concentrate in wetlands along the Atlantic coast where natural and anthropogenic disturbances have increased over the last 50 years, a period in which the population of Black Ducks has declined. We studied the sensitivity of Black Ducks to perturbations in food supply that often result from disturbances by...

Barboza, Perry S.; Jorde, Dennis G.
Barboza, P. S. and Jorde, D. G., 2018, Monitoring responses to variation in food supply for a migratory waterfowl: American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) in winter: Journal of Comparative Physiology B, v. 188, no. 5, p. 831-842. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00360-018-1163-4

Year Published: 2018

Conflicting messages about camping near waterbodies in wilderness: A review of the scientific basis and need for flexibility

The preceding article by C. B. Griffin examines the differences in recommended camping distance from waterbodies from a perspective that there should be consistency between the guidance provided by land management agencies and low impact education and communication programs, such as Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly. We concur that regulatory...

Marion, Jeffrey L.; Wimpey, Jeremy; Lawhorn, Ben
Marion, J., Wimpey, J., and Lawhorn, B., 2018, Conflicting messages about camping near waterbodies in wilderness: A review of the scientific basis and need for flexibility: International Journal of Wilderness, v. 24, no. 2, p. 1-12. https://ijw.org/2018-conflicting-messages-about-camping-near-waterbodies-in-wilderness/

Year Published: 2018

Understanding and mitigating wilderness therapy impacts: The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument case study

Studies demonstrate that wilderness therapy programs can be beneficial for participants; however, little research has explored the ecological impacts of these programs. A prominent wilderness therapy organization utilizes vast tracts of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) for programming. This study examines the specific...

Romo, Amelia; Marion, Jeffrey L.; Wimpey, Jeremy; Taff, Derrick; Schwartz, Forrest
Romo, A., Marion, J., Wimpey, J., Taff, D., and Schwartz, F., 2018, Understanding and Mitigating Wilderness Therapy Impacts: The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Case Study: International Journal of Wilderness, v. 24, no. 2. https://ijw.org/2018-understanding-and-mitigating-wilderness-therapy-impacts/

Year Published: 2018

Exploring the impacts of seagrass on coupled marsh-tidal flat morphodynamics

Intertidal coastal environments are prone to changes induced by sea level rise, increases in storminess, temperature, and anthropogenic disturbances. It is unclear how changes in external drivers may affect the dynamics of low energy coastal environments because their response is non-linear, and characterized by many thresholds and discontinuities...

Carr, Joel A.; Mariotti, Giulio; Fahgerazzi, Sergio; McGlathery, Karen; Wiberg, Patricia
Carr, J. A., Mariotti, G., Fagherazzi, S., McGlathery, K., and Wiberg, P., 2018, Exploring the impacts of seagrass on coupled marsh-tidal flat morphodynamics: Frontiers in Environment Science, v. 6, no. Article 92, p. 1-16 https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2018.00092

Year Published: 2018

Evidence that climate sets the lower elevation range limit in a high‐elevation endemic salamander

A frequent assumption in ecology is that biotic interactions are more important than abiotic factors in determining lower elevational range limits (i.e., the “warm edge” of a species distribution). However, for species with narrow environmental tolerances, theory suggests the presence of a strong environmental gradient can lead to persistence,...

Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Brand, Adrianne B,; De Wekker, Stephan F. J.; Lee, Temple R.; Wofford, John E.B.
Grant, E. H. C., Brand, A. B., De Wekker, S. F. J, Lee, T. R., and Wofford, J. E., 2018, Evidence that climate sets the lower elevation range limit in a high-elevation endemic salamander: Ecology and Evolution, v. 8, no. 15, p. 7553-7562. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4198

Year Published: 2018

The risk of rodent introductions from shipwrecks to seabirds on Aleutian and Bering Sea islands

Accidental introductions of rodents present one of the greatest threats to indigenous island biota, especially seabirds. On uninhabited remote islands, such introductions are likely to come from shipwrecks. Here we use a comprehensive database of shipwrecks in Western Alaska to model the frequency of shipwrecks per Aleutian and Bering Sea island,...

Renner, Martin; Nelson, Eric; Watson, Jordan; Haynie, Alan; Poe, Aaron; Robards, Martin D.; Hess, Steve C.
Renner, M., E. Nelson, J. Watson, A. Haynie, A. Poe, M. Robards, and S. C. Hess. 2018. The risk of rodent introductions from shipwrecks to seabirds on Aleutian and Bering Sea islands. Biological Invasions 20:2679–2690.

Year Published: 2018

Molecular systematics of swifts of the genus Chaetura (Aves: Apodiformes: Apodidae)

Phylogenetic relationships among swifts of the morphologically conservative genus Chaetura were studied using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences. Taxon sampling included all species and 21 of 30 taxa (species and subspecies) within Chaetura. Our results indicate that Chaetura is monophyletic and...

Chesser, Terry; Vaseghi, Haley; Hosner, Peter A.; Bergner, Laura M.; Cortes-Rodriguez, M. Nandadevi; Welch, Andreanna J.; Collins, Charles T.
Chesser, R. T., Vaseghi, H., Hosner, P. A., Bergner, L. M., Cortez-Rodriquez, M. N., Welch, A. J., and Collins, C. T., 2018, Molecular systematics of swifts of the genus Chaetura (Aves: Apodiformes: Apodidae): Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, v. 128, p. 162-171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2018.07.006

Year Published: 2018

Juvenile Chinook salmon and forage fish use of eelgrass habitats in a diked and channelized Puget Sound River Delta

Eelgrass Zostera marina can form extensive meadows on Puget Sound river deltas. The extent to which these meadows provide critical rearing habitat for local estuarine fishes, especially out‐migrating juvenile salmon, is not well understood. Further, delta eelgrass has been impacted by diking and river channelization with unknown...

Rubin, Stephen P.; Hayes, Michael C.; Grossman, Eric E.
Rubin, S.P., M.C. Hayes, and E.E. Grossman. 2018. Juvenile Chinook salmon and forage fish use of eelgrass habitats in a diked and channelized Puget Sound River Delta. Marine Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 10:435-451.

Filter Total Items: 680
Canada lynx
June 21, 2018

Canada Lynx

– Scientists at the USGS Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and
Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in
collaboration with The Rockefeller University’s Vertebrate Genome Laboratory,
New York, are releasing to a public repository at the vertebrate lab, for use by
geneticists, conservationists and other researchers around the

...
Coring a ponderosa pine
June 16, 2018

WERC's Dr. Phil van Mantgem Cores Ponderosa Pine in Lassen NP

Dr. Phillip van Mantgem cores a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) in Lassen National Park, CA.

Bee pollinating a flowering coastal prairie plant
June 15, 2018

Bee pollinating a flowering coastal prairie plant - WARC

Bee pollinating a flowering coastal prairie plant

June 1, 2018

PAMF Participation Cycle

This video describes the annual participation cycle for those enrolled in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF). PAMF encompasses three annual steps including enrolling, monitoring and managing. As participants employ management actions and submit monitoring reports they will receive management guidance generated by the PAMF model, which provides the most

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June 1, 2018

PAMF Participation Cycle (Audio-Described)

This video describes the annual participation cycle for those enrolled in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF). PAMF encompasses three annual steps including enrolling, monitoring and managing. As participants employ management actions and submit monitoring reports they will receive management guidance generated by the PAMF model, which provides the most

...
USGS scientist using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
May 30, 2018

USGS scientist using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

USGS scientist Todd Preston using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).  USGS is actively exploring the use of small unmanned aerial system (aka drones) for scientific data collection and testing whether or not they are useful in monitoring wildlife. These systems have proven their utility in military reconnaissance missions and are now finding a second life in scientific

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Fog on Yukon River
May 29, 2018

Fog on Yukon River

Fog along the Yukon River showing a Black Spruce dominated forest in the foreground, which is prone to wildfire.  Photo by Bruce Wylie, USGS

1985-2018 Lion fish invasion. Ecosystems Mission Area. Wetlands and Aquatic Research Center
May 16, 2018

1985-2018 Lionfish Invasion

Lionfish invasion (1985-2018). Lionfish invaded US Atlantic coastal waters, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico with unprecedented, alarming speed. Though reports of sightings date back to the 1980s, it is only recently that the species has exploded in numbers and range. In fact, the lionfish invasion is the 

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Giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas)
May 14, 2018

Threatened Giant Gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas)

Threatened giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas). This semi-aquatic snake lives in rice fields and the remaining wetlands of California's Central Valley.

Sonoran desert scene showing invasion by red brome grass and fire scars on a saguaro cactus.
April 30, 2018

Red Brome Carries Fire and Burns Saguaros

Bromus Rubens (red brome) is an invasive annual grass that grows in warmer deserts of the Southwest U.S. It can carry fires in systems that aren't fire adapted, causing lasting damage to desert flora, as shown here in the Sonoran desert north of Phoenix, AZ. The

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April 26, 2018

PubTalk 4/2018 - Coral Reefs

Title: The Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Protection - Rigorously valuing flood reduction benefits to inform coastal zone management decisions

  • Coral reefs are a first line of coastal defense
  • We can account for the physical defense that reefs provide
  • We can provide value-based information to guide restoration efforts at management-relevant
...
Two men stand in a grassland beneath a sky filled with fluffy cumulus clouds and a blue sky.
March 31, 2018

Standing in the field with mangers

Touring public lands, guided by the people who manage the lands, is a important to RAMPS. On these tours we get to meet the passionate people, understand their challenges and aspirations, and help make steps towards innovative science-based solutions. In this photo staff from BLM's Aqua Fria National Monument stand with USGS scientist, Seth Munson and discuss how to

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Filter Total Items: 322
Date published: January 16, 2018

New Information on Bat Fungus Improves Detection of Deadly Disease

The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease of hibernating bats, spreads rapidly by way of bats, then establishes and persists in soil and on walls of underground hibernation sites, according to a study published today.

Date published: December 13, 2017

Taking the Bait: Majority of Prairie Dogs Are Consuming Plague Vaccine

About 70 percent of wild prairie dogs successfully ingested baits containing an oral sylvatic plague vaccine, or SPV, that were distributed throughout their habitats, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: December 12, 2017

Saving Salamanders: Vital to Ecosystem Health

Amphibians—the big-eyed, swimming-crawling-jumping-climbing group of water and land animals that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and worm-like caecilians—are the world’s most endangered vertebrates. 

Date published: December 4, 2017

Avian Flu From Abroad Can Spread in North American Poultry, Wild Birds

Some avian influenza, or bird flu, viruses that are able to enter North America from other continents through migrating birds can be deadly to poultry and can infect waterfowl populations, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: November 24, 2017

Serene Sirens: USGS Sea Cow Science

It may be hard to believe the legend that sailors long-at-sea once considered manatees to be mermaids. The manatee nickname – the “Sea Cow” – which comes from the herbivores’ affinity for grazing on vegetation and their slow, ambling way just makes more sense. But a U.S. Geological Survey video reveals that while they may be cow-like, they also have more than a bit of the magical mermaid to them.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: October 25, 2017

Biologist starting over after Hurricane Irma damages home, office, research site

Coral reef expert Caroline Rogers was the only USGS employee in the Virgin Islands when the Category 5 storm hit.

Date published: October 23, 2017

Trick or Treat? The Frightening Threats to Bats

Written by Marisa Lubeck and Ethan Alpern

Date published: September 29, 2017

Annual Southern Sea Otter Survey: Despite Small Population Dip, Species Moves a Step Closer to Recovery

According to data released Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners, the three-year average of the total counts of southern sea otters was down from last year’s high, although it still exceeded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting threshold for a second straight year.

Date published: September 27, 2017

Research to Recover Threatened Waterfowl: USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Supervisor Receives Prestigious U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion Award

USGS scientist James “Barry” Grand, Ph.D., has been named a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion (Region 7) for his exemplary long-term research on two formerly threatened species, the spectacled eider and Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Emerging Disease Further Jeopardizes North American Frogs

A deadly amphibian disease called severe Perkinsea infections, or SPI, is the cause of many large-scale frog die-offs in the United States, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey