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: 809
Date published: April 3, 2018
Status: Active

Effect of Chronic Neonicotinoid Insecticide Exposure upon Monarch Development

The long-term viability of monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterfly populations in North America is in doubt.

Date published: April 3, 2018
Status: Active

Coral Diseases

Coral disease is now one of the major causes of reef degradation and coral mortality. First reported on reefs in the Florida Keys and Caribbean in the 1970s, black band disease was first recorded in Hawaii in 1994.

Date published: April 3, 2018
Status: Active

Sea Star Wasting Disease

Sea stars are dying off at dramatic rates across the West Coast from Baja California in Mexico to Alaska. The wasting disease that is affecting sea stars also is not specific to one species: more than 20 sea star species have been affected so far.

Date published: March 29, 2018
Status: Active

Diagnostic Services

The Wildlife Disease Diagnostic Laboratories Branch of the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) conducts laboratory investigations to determine the causes of wildlife mortality events, especially large-scale die-offs or those that are otherwise unusual.

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

Necropsy & Pathology

The Necropsy and Pathology capabilities are performed by diagnostic veterinary pathologists and necropsy technical staff whose principal role is to determine the cause of death for animals submitted to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC).  These scientists examine carcasses to verify species and condition, collect and process photographic and radiographic images, conduct detailed...

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
Filter Total Items: 30,677
Year Published: 2018

Seasonal surveillance confirms the range expansion of Aedes japonicus japonicas (Theobald) (Diptera: Culicidae) to the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu and Kauai

The Asian bush mosquito, Aedes japonicus japonicus (Theobald) was not known to occur in the Hawaii archipelago until it was identified on the island of Hawaii in 2003. This mosquito species remained undetected on the neighboring islands for 8 years before it was discovered at the Honolulu International Airport on Oahu in 2012. By 2015, four Ae. j...

Harwood, James; Fiorenzanoa, Jodi; Gerardoa, Elizabeth; Black, Theodore; Hasty, Jeomhee; Lapointe, Dennis

Year Published: 2018

Increasing temperature seasonality may overwhelm shifts in soil moisture to favor shrub grass dominance in Colorado Plateau drylands

Ecosystems in the southwestern U.S. are hotspots for climate change, and are predicted to experience continued warming and drying. In these water-limited systems, the balance between herbaceous and woody plant abundance impacts biodiversity and ecosystem processes, highlighting the need to understand how climate change will influence functional...

Gremer, Jennifer R.; Andrews, Caitlin M.; Norris, Jodi R.; Thomas, Lisa P.; Munson, Seth M.; Duniway, Michael C.; Bradford, John B.

Year Published: 2018

Taxonomic evaluation of the three “type” specimens of the fringe-footed shrew, Sorex fimbripes Bachman, 1837 (Mammalia: Soricidae) and recommended nomenclatural status of the name

John Bachman (1837:391) described the “fringe-footed shrew,” Sorex fimbripes Bachman, 1837, in his landmark monograph on the North American Soricidae (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla), in which he recognized 13 uniquely New World species. Characters he attributed to S. fimbripes resulted in its being interpreted as a tiny, semi-aquatic species and...

Woodman, Neal

Year Published: 2018

Interior Least Tern sandbar nesting habitat measurements from Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery

Sandbars of large sand-bedded rivers of the central United States serve important ecological functions to many species, including the endangered Interior Least Tern (Sternula antillarum, ILT). The ILT is a colonial bird that feeds on fish and nests primarily on riverine sandbars during its annual breeding season of around May through July,...

Bulliner, Edward A.; Elliott, Caroline M.; Jacobson, Robert B.; Lott, Casey
Bulliner, E.A., Elliott, C.M., Jacobson, R.B., and Lott, C., 2018, Interior Least Tern sandbar nesting habitat measurements from Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1098, 32 p., https://doi. org/10.3133/ds1098.

Year Published: 2018

Post-release breeding of translocated sharp-tailed grouse and an absence of artificial insemination effects

Context: Translocation has become a widely used method to restore wildlife populations following extirpation. For some species, such as lekking grouse, which breed at traditional mating grounds, reproduction is linked to culturally established geographic locations. Cultural centres are lost upon extirpation, making restoration into otherwise...

Mathews, Steven R.; Coates, Peter S.; Fike, Jennifer A.; Schneider, Helena; Fischer, Dominik; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Lierz, Michael; Delehanty, David J.

Year Published: 2018

2017-2018 Palila abundance estimates and trend

The palila (Loxioides bailleui) population was surveyed annually from 1998–2018 on Mauna Kea Volcanoto determine abundance, population trend, and spatial distribution. In the latest surveys, the 2017population was estimated at 1,177−1,813 birds (point estimate: 1,461) and the 2018 population wasestimated at 778−1,420 (point estimate: 1,051). Only...

Genz, Ayesha S.; Brinck, Kevin W.; Camp, Richard J.; Banko, Paul C.

Year Published: 2018

How and why Upper Colorado River Basin land, water, and fire managers choose to use drought tools (or not)

On the Western Slope of Colorado, variable climate and precipitation conditions are typical. Periods of drought—which may be defined by lack of water, high temperatures, low soil moisture, or other indicators—cause a range of impacts across sectors, including water, land, and fire management.The Western Slope’s Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB)...

Cravens, Amanda E.
Cravens, A.E., 2018, How and why Upper Colorado River Basin land, water, and fire managers choose to use drought tools (or not): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1173, 60 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181173.

Year Published: 2018

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program Long Term Resource Monitoring element—Spatial data query tool

The Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program Long Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) element has been monitoring fish, water quality, and vegetation in six study pools in the Upper Mississippi River system for approximately 30 years. Geographic locations were recorded for all sampling points. All of this information has been made publicly...

Rohweder, Jason J.
Rohweder, Jason, 2018, Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program Long Term Resource Monitoring element—Spatial data query tool: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018-3077, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183077.

Year Published: 2018

Hyperspectral remote sensing of wetland vegetation

Chapter 11 by Ramsey and Rangoonwala provides an overview of how hyperspectral imaging (HSI) advances the mapping of coastal wetlands that comprise a unique variety of plant species, forms, and associations. Each description begins by seeking to uncover the relationship between canopy hyperspectral reflectance and one or more of the aggregated...

Ramsey, Elijah; Rangoonwala, Amina
Ramsey, E.W., III, and Rangoonwala, A., 2018, Hyperspectral remote sensing of wetland vegetation, in Thenkabail, P.S., Lyon, G.J., and Huete, A., eds., Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Vegetation (Second Ed.), vol. IV, Advanced Applications in Remote Sensing of Agricultural Crops and Natural Vegetation: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, Chap. 11, p. 219-248, https://www.routledge.com/Advanced-Applications-in-Remote-Sensing-of-Agricultural-Crops-and-Natural/Thenkabail-Lyon-Huete/p/book/9781138364769.

Year Published: 2018

Non‐linear effect of sea ice: Spectacled Eider survival declines at both extremes of the ice spectrum

Understanding the relationship between environmental factors and vital rates is an important step in predicting a species’ response to environmental change. Species associated with sea ice are of particular concern because sea ice is projected to decrease rapidly in polar environments with continued levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The...

Christie, Katherine S.; Hollmen, Tuula E.; Flint, Paul L.; Douglas, David C.

Year Published: 2018

Exposure of Alaska brown bears (Ursus arctos) to bacterial, viral, and parasitic agents varies spatiotemporally and may be influenced by age

We collected blood and serum from 155 brown bears (Ursus arctos) inhabiting five locations in Alaska during 2013–16 and tested samples for evidence of prior exposure to a suite of bacterial, viral, and parasitic agents. Antibody seroprevalence among Alaska brown bears was estimated to be 15% for Brucella spp., 10% for Francisella...

Leacock, William B.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Cleveland, Christopher A.; Hilderbrand, Grant V.; Joly, Kyle; Gustine, David D.; Mangipane, Buck; Leacock, William B.; Crupi, Anthony P.; Hill, Dolores E.; Dubey, Jitender P.; Yabsley, Michael J.

Year Published: 2018

Updated statewide abundance estimates for the Florida manatee

Knowing how many manatees live in Florida is critical for conservation and management of this threatened species. Martin et al. (2015) flew aerial surveys in 2011–2012 and estimated abundance in those years using advanced techniques that incorporated multiple data sources. We flew additional aerial surveys in 2015–2016 to count manatees and again...

Hostetler, Jeffrey A.; Edwards, Holly H.; Martin, Julien; Schueller, Paul

Filter Total Items: 694
July 29, 2016

A2 East Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: A2 East Transect; Depth: 12.6 Meters (41.5 Feet); Distance from river mouth: Kilometers 1.8 (1.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14130295, -123.58766124; Site Description: One of our deeper sites at over 40 feet. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud. Seaweeds have returned but are sparse with the main species being the

...
July 29, 2016

K1 East Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: K1 East Transect; Depth: 6.2 Meters (20.5 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 4.5 Kilometers (2.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13592923,-123.5101581; Site Description: This is a shallow site. Sediment is a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (0:38) and brown seaweed was abundant but this year browns were way more

...
Clown nudibranch
July 28, 2016

Clown nudibranch

Clown nudibranch - Scuba divers from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Fisheries Research Center, Washington Sea Grant, EPA and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe collected data and images from a long-term study of the Elwha River dam removals and the resulting effects on the nearshore ecosystem.

Location: Strait of Juan de Fuca, near

...
July 28, 2016

F2 West Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: F2 West Transect; Depth: 11.3 Meters (37.2 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.5 Kilometers (0.9 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15672004,-123.55036603; Site Description: Substrate is mainly a gravel - cobble mixture with an occasional boulder. Seaweed is abundant but is not as abundant as pre-dam removal levels,

...
Cluster of tubeworms
July 28, 2016

Cluster of tubeworms

Cluster of tubeworms - Scuba divers from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Fisheries Research Center, Washington Sea Grant, EPA and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe collected data and images from a long-term study of the Elwha River dam removals and the resulting effects on the nearshore ecosystem.

Location: Strait of Juan de Fuca,

...
July 28, 2016

J1 East Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: J1 East Transect; Depth: 9.3 Meters (30.4 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 6.7 Kilometers (4.1 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13607725,-123.47935008; Site Description: This site is medium depth. Substrates is mainly a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (0:20, 0:36 seconds) and brown seaweed growth is dense and appears

...
July 28, 2016

F2 East Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: F2 East Transect; Depth: 11.3 Meters (37.2 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.5 Kilometers (0.9 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15672004,-123.54969397; Site Description: Substrate is mainly a gravel - cobble mixture with an occasional boulder. Seaweed is abundant but is not as abundant as pre-dam removal levels,

...
Fan hydroids
July 28, 2016

Fan hydroids

Fan hydroids - Scuba divers from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Fisheries Research Center, Washington Sea Grant, EPA and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe collected data and images from a long-term study of the Elwha River dam removals and the resulting effects on the nearshore ecosystem.

Location: Strait of Juan de Fuca, near the

...
July 27, 2016

F1 West Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: F1 West Transect; Depth: 6.6 Meters (21.7 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.3 Kilometers (0.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15292999, -123.55078602; Site Description: Visibility on the day this video was taken was bad and the currents were swift. This is a shallow site. Substrate is all sand. The brown acid kelp

...
July 27, 2016

F1 East Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: F1 East Transect; Depth: 6.3 Meters (20.6 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.3 Kilometers (0.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15292999, -123.55011402; Site Description: Visibility on the day this video was taken was bad and the currents were swift. This is a shallow site. Substrate is all sand. Woody debris was

...
Buffalo sculpin camouflaged
July 25, 2016

Buffalo sculpin camouflaged

Buffalo sculpin camouflaged - Scuba divers from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Fisheries Research Center, Washington Sea Grant, EPA and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe collected data and images from a long-term study of the Elwha River dam removals and the resulting effects on the nearshore ecosystem.

Location: Strait of Juan de

...
Sanddab
July 25, 2016

Sanddab

Sanddab - Scuba divers from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Fisheries Research Center, Washington Sea Grant, EPA and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe collected data and images from a long-term study of the Elwha River dam removals and the resulting effects on the nearshore ecosystem.

Location: Strait of Juan de Fuca, near the

...
Filter Total Items: 286
Date published: January 6, 2015

Polar Bears Shifting to Areas with More Sea Ice — Genetic Study Reveals

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In a new polar bear study published today, scientists from around the Arctic have shown that recent generations of polar bears are moving towards areas with more persistent year-round sea ice.

Date published: January 5, 2015

Endangered Salmon Population Monitored with eDNA for First Time

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and Washington State University have discovered that endangered Chinook salmon can be detected accurately from DNA they release into the environment. The results are part of a special issue of the journal Biological Conservation on use of environmental DNA to inform conservation and management of aquatic species.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: January 5, 2015

How Does White-Nose Syndrome Kill Bats?

For the first time, scientists have developed a detailed explanation of how white-nose syndrome (WNS) is killing millions of bats in North America, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin. The scientists created a model for how the disease progresses from initial infection to death in bats during hibernation.

Date published: December 8, 2014

USGS and University of Wyoming Researchers to Share Deer Capture Field Work Via Social Media

Wyoming's struggling mule deer populations are receiving significant attention from University of Wyoming researchers, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the U.S. Geological Survey and others, with at least five studies underway that could assist efforts to enhance deer numbers and their habitats.

Date published: December 4, 2014

Rare Insect Found Only in Glacier National Park Imperiled by Melting Glaciers

The persistence of an already rare aquatic insect, the western glacier stonefly, is being imperiled by the loss of glaciers and increased stream temperatures due to climate warming in mountain ecosystems, according to a new study released in Freshwater Science.

Date published: November 20, 2014

Loon Migration Underway, Prompted by Frigid Temperatures

As freezing air swept into the Upper Midwest this past week, juvenile common loons took a cue from the weather and began their migrations to the warm Gulf of Mexico. 

Date published: November 19, 2014

"Teddy Bear" Unlikely to Go Extinct

The bear species nicknamed “teddy” more than a century ago that inspired the iconic stuffed toy still popular today will likely survive at least another century, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. 

Date published: September 4, 2014

Pollutant Risk Changes When Bugs Take Flight

Insects feed fish and wildlife higher on the food chain, but they can also transfer harmful contaminants to their predators according to new research conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and published in Environmental Science and Technology.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: August 8, 2014

Guest Post: Does Biodiversity Protect Humans Against Infectious Disease?

The prevailing view among scientists is that a healthy ecosystem reduces the transmission of infectious diseases in humans. But is this really true for all environments? 

Date published: July 30, 2014

Nesting Gulf Sea Turtles Feed in Waters Filled With Threats

Nesting loggerhead sea turtles in the northern Gulf of Mexico feed among areas that were oiled by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill and where human activities occur, several of which are known to pose threats to sea turtles, a new U.S Geological study showed.

Date published: July 28, 2014

Scientists Predict Massive Urban Growth, Creation of ’Megalopolis’ in Southeast in Next 45 Years

Urban areas in the Southeastern United States will double in size by 2060 unless there are significant changes to land development, according to a new study by the Department of Interior’s Southeast Climate Science Center and North Carolina State University.

Date published: June 6, 2014

Through the Eyes of a Polar Bear

The first "point of view" video from a polar bear on Arctic sea ice has just become available courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.