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: 754
Date published: February 12, 2018
Status: Active

Comprehensive 1966 - 2017 Results! North American Breeding Bird Survey

The North American Breeding Bird Survey program (BBS) provides critical science-based population data for more than 400 bird species to improve our understanding of how these federally entrusted species respond to environmental variability and ecosystem change.  The BBS generates results that inform Federal wildlife managers in the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service,...

Date published: February 9, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Diseases

The Honolulu Field Station provides routine diagnostic support to state and federal agencies in order to determine cause of death in endangered and threatened native birds in Hawaii, US territories, and affiliated states in the Pacific.   These activities have resulted in information that was important in the recovery of several species of endangered birds such as Laysan ducks, Nihoa...

Contacts: Thierry M Work, Sarah Faegre, PhD
Date published: February 8, 2018
Status: Active

Louisiana Barrier Island Habitat Mapping and Change Assessment

Barrier islands provide numerous invaluable ecosystem goods and services including storm protection and erosion control for the mainland, habitat for fish and wildlife, salinity regulation in estuaries, carbon sequestration in marshes, recreation, and tourism. These islands are dynamic environments due to their position at the land-sea interface. Storms, wave energy, tides, currents, and...

Date published: February 8, 2018
Status: Active

Fish Health

Fish are an important component of marine ecosystems, but relatively little is known of their health, in part because sick and dying fish are difficult to detect.

Contacts: Thierry M Work
Date published: February 7, 2018
Status: Active

Relative Sensitivity of Adult Mosquitoes and Butterflies to Adult Mosquito Control Pesticides

Mosquito control on Department of the Interior (DOI) managed lands is a resource management challenge. The pesticides used to control mosquitoes may also affect nontarget organisms whose conservation is one of the primary responsibilities of resource managers.

Date published: February 7, 2018
Status: Active

Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

The USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program designs and develops large and small scale surveys for native bees. As part of that program we also develop identification tools and keys for native bee species. One aspect of creating those tools is creating accurate and detailed pictures of native bees and the plants and insects they interact with.

Contacts: Sam Droege
Date published: February 7, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Species

Invasive plants and animals can cause havoc in tropical island ecosystems, because many organisms that have evolved on islands have lost the ability to combat organisms arriving from the continents for reasons as varied as changes in immunity, life history, or behaviors. Early detection and intervention are key aspects dictating whether or not invasive organisms become established.

Contacts: Thierry M Work
Date published: February 1, 2018
Status: Active

White-Nose Syndrome

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an emergent disease of hibernating bats that has spread from the northeastern to the central United States at an alarming rate. Since the winter of 2007-2008, millions of insect-eating bats in 33 states and seven Canadian provinces (as of August 2018)...

Date published: February 1, 2018
Status: Active

Epidemiological Services

Professionals at the NWHC include wildlife biologists, veterinarians, statisticians, epidemiologists, and informatics specialists. This multidisciplinary group conducts investigations and disease ecology studies of emerging and recurring priority wildlife diseases, maintains and analyzes comprehensive information on wildlife disease events, and provides response and management consultation and...

Contacts: C. LeAnn White
Date published: February 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory: Recent Accomplishments

The Challenge: Bird banding is one of the most indispensable techniques for studying the movement, survival and behavior of birds. The North American Bird Banding Program was established in 1920 and has evolved into the complex operation that supports the activities of approximately 1550 Master banders and 6000 sub-permittees in the United States.

Contacts: Bruce Peterjohn
Date published: January 16, 2018
Status: Active

National Phenology Network (NPN)

The USA National Phenology Network is a national-scale science and monitoring initiative focused on phenology, which is the study of seasonal life-cycle events such as leafing, flowering, reproduction and migration, as a tool to understand how plants, animals and landscapes respond to environmental variation and change.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 12, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive pathogens

Streamside salamanders such as this one are susceptible to invasive fungal pathogens of the genus Batrachochytrium.  Two types of emerging fungal agents, B. dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans have been identified as serious risks to our amphibian populations.

Filter Total Items: 30,875
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Year Published: 2019

Compounding effects of climate change reduce population viability of a montane amphibian

Anthropogenic climate change presents challenges and opportunities to the growth, reproduction, and survival of individuals throughout their life cycles. Demographic compensation among life‐history stages has the potential to buffer populations from decline, but alternatively, compounding negative effects can lead to accelerated population decline...

Kissel, Amanda M.; Palen, Wendy J.; Ryan, Maureen E.; Adams, Michael J.

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Year Published: 2019

Implications of introgression for wildlife translocations: the case of North American martens

The evolutionary consequences of natural introgression provide a rare opportunity to retrospectively evaluate how the introduction of exotics or genetic rescue efforts may impact endemic faunas. Phylogeographic structure among mainland, endemic insular, and introduced North American marten (Martes americana and M. caurina) populations...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Wilson, Robert E.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Cook, Joseph A.

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Year Published: 2019

Behavioral effects of copper on larval white sturgeon

Early–life stage white sturgeon are sensitive to copper (Cu), with adverse behavioral responses observed during previous studies. The objectives of the present study were to quantify the effects of Cu exposure on white sturgeon swimming and feeding behaviors and determine their time to response. Larval sturgeon (1–2, 28, or 35 d posthatch [dph])...

Puglis, Holly J.; Calfee, Robin D.; Little, Edward E.

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Year Published: 2019

An old tree and its many‐shaped leaves

Plant leaf shape is highly variable. The beauty of leaves can be purely aesthetic, but also derives from the mystery of adaptive significance. This mystery is especially compelling for species with strongly varying leaf shape on a single tree. The desert poplar (Populus euphratica Oliv.) is an ancient and protected species, and forms riparian...

Dong, Quan; Friedman, Jonathan M.; Honghua Zhou

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury contamination in resident and migrant songbirds and potential effects on body condition

Methlymercury is a significant risk to environmental health globally. We examined the ecological drivers of methylmercury bioaccumulation in songbirds and its effect on body condition while experimentally removing the potentially confounding and predominant effects of site and habitat. We measured blood and...

Ackerman, Joshua T.; Hartman, C. Alex; Herzog, Mark P.

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Year Published: 2019

Landscape genetics reveal broad and fine‐scale population structure due to landscape features and climate history in the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) in North Dakota

Prehistoric climate and landscape features play large roles structuring wildlife populations. The amphibians of the northern Great Plains of North America present an opportunity to investigate how these factors affect colonization, migration, and current population genetic structure. This study used 11 microsatellite loci to genotype 1,230...

Waraniak, Justin M.; Fisher, Justin D. L.; Purcell, Kevin; Mushet, David M.; Stockwell, Craig A.

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Year Published: 2019

Evidence for interactions among environmental stressors in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Co-occurrence of environmental stressors is ubiquitous in ecosystems, but cumulative effects are difficult to predict for effective indicator development. Individual stressors can amplify (synergies) or lessen (antagonisms) each other's impacts or have fully independent effects (additive). Here we use the Laurentian Great Lakes, where a multitude...

Smith, Sigrid D. P.; Bunnell, David B.; Burton, G.A.; Ciborowski, Jan J. H.; Davidson, Alisha D.; Dickinson, Caitlin E.; Eaton, Lauren A.; Esselman, Peter C.; Evans, Mary Anne; Kashian, Donna R.; Manning, Nathan F.; McIntyre, Peter B.; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Perez-Fuentetaja, Alicia; Steinman, Alan D.; Uzarski, Donald G.; Allan, J. David

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Year Published: 2019

Evaluating response distances to develop buffer zones for staging terns

Buffer zones, calculated by flight‐initiation distance (FID), are often used to reduce anthropogenic disturbances to wildlife, but FID can vary significantly across life‐history stages. We examined the behavioral effect of potential natural (gulls and shorebirds) and anthropogenic (pedestrians) disturbance sources to staging roseate (Sterna...

Althouse, Melissa A.; Cohen, Jonathan B.; Karpanty, Sarah M.; Spendelow, Jeffrey A.; Davis, Kayla L.; Parsons, Katherine C.; Luttazi, Cristin F.

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Year Published: 2019

Comparing clustered sampling designs for spatially explicit estimation of population density

Spatially explicit capture–recapture methods do not assume that animals have equal access to sampling devices (e.g., detectors), which allows for gaps in the sampling extent and nonuniform (e.g., clustered) sampling designs. However, the performance (i.e., relative root mean squared error [RRMSE], confidence interval coverage, relative bias and...

Clark, Joseph D.

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Year Published: 2019

Allowable take of black vultures in the eastern United States

Black vultures (Coragyps atratus) have been increasing in density and expanding their range in the eastern United States since at least the 1960s. In many areas, their densities have increased to the level where they are causing damage to property and livestock and the number of requests for allowable take permits has increased throughout these...

Zimmerman, Guthrie S.; Millsap, Brian A.; Avery, Michael L.; Sauer, John R.; Runge, Michael C.; Richkus, Kenneth D.

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Year Published: 2019

Clade 2.3.4.4 H5 North American highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses infect, but do not cause clinical signs in American Black Ducks (Anas rubripes)

Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) from the goose/Guangdong/1996 clade 2.3.4.4 H5 lineage spread from Asia into North America in 2014, most likely by wild bird migrations. Although several variants of the virus were detected, an H5N8 and H5N2 were the most widespread in North American wild birds and domestic poultry. In early 2015,...

Spackman, Erica; Prosser, Diann; Pantin-Jackwood, Mary; Stephens, Christopher B.; Berlin, Alicia

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Year Published: 2019

Absence of PCB hot spot effect in walleye Sander vitreus from lower Green Bay of Lake Michigan

Under certain conditions, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentration in individuals of one sex of an adult fish population may exceed that of the other sex by more than a factor of two. This phenomenon, known as the PCB hot spot effect, has been postulated to be contingent upon the following two conditions: (1) presence of a PCB hot spot in...

Madenjian, Charles P.; Dembkowski, Daniel J.; Isermann, Daniel A.; Batterman, Stuart A.; Chernyak, Sergei C.; Cogswell, Stewart F.; Holey, Mark E.

Filter Total Items: 738
Photo of USGS biologist preparing to release a reproductive female pallid sturgeon.
August 5, 2016

USGS Biologist prepares to release a reproductive female sturgeon.

USGS Biologist Sabrina Davenport prepares to release a reproductive female pallid sturgeon.

August 3, 2016

Shovelnose Spawning

Video of ARIS Sonar imagery showing a female and two male shovelnose sturgeon over an egg deposition location recorded during controlled experiments to study spawning behavior.
 

August 1, 2016

C1 East Transect – 2013

Permanent Site: C1 East Transect; Depth: Meters (Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.7 Kilometers (0.4 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 2 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14525225,-123.57294101; Site Description: Substrate is entirely sand. All seaweeds are absent. Invertebrates are scarce and are almost exclusively the ornate tubeworm Diopatra ornata (appears as small

...
Sampling for Bsal
August 1, 2016

Sampling for Bsal

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

July 29, 2016

K1 West Transect – 2016

Permanent Site: K1 West Transect; Depth: 5.6 Meters (18.4 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,-123.51082988; Site Description: This is a shallow site. Sediment is a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (0:59) and brown seaweed was abundant but this year browns were more abundant

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Candy striped shrimp with sand rose anemone
July 29, 2016

Candy striped shrimp with sand rose anemone

Candy striped shrimp with sand rose anemone - 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 for a long-term study of the Elwha River dam removals and the resulting effects on the nearshore ecosystem.

Location: 

...
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,

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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

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Filter Total Items: 297
Date published: May 12, 2014

Partly Cloudy With a Chance of Birds, Bats, and Bugs

Migratory birds provide ecosystem benefits that include pest control, pollination of plants and serve as food sources for other wildlife.  They are also a source of recreation for millions of bird watchers and enthusiasts who provide food and design backyard habitats to attract a variety of species throughout the year.

Date published: April 16, 2014

Lack of Vitamin B1 Killing Great Lakes Fish

Great Lakes fish in the salmon family that rely on the fish “alewife” as part of their diet face a major obstacle in restoring naturally reproducing populations, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research published in the journal Fish and Shellfish Immunology.

Date published: April 14, 2014

California Camera Captures Curious Bobcat Behavior

Cats can find curious ways to navigate the human environment. USGS Western Ecological Research Center ecologist Erin Boydston has been studying how large wildlife like bobcats and mountain lions deal with the suburban sprawl of...

Date published: April 8, 2014

Sea Otters Can Get the Flu, Too

Northern sea otters living off the coast of Washington state were infected with the same H1N1 flu virus that caused the world-wide pandemic in 2009, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. 

Date published: March 27, 2014

At the Lab Bench, Amid the Island Fog, and Under the Desert Sun, WERC Women Scientists Lean In

Like women researchers in other organizations and other scientific disciplines, women PI’s at USGS must manage unique career challenges, while pursuing their research questions and making an impact on our world.

Date published: March 19, 2014

North Atlantic May Be a New Route for Spread of Avian Flu to North America

The North Atlantic region is a newly discovered important pathway for avian influenza to move between Europe and North America, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report published today.

Date published: March 19, 2014

Bighorn Sheep on A Desert Island: Been There, Dung That

In a finding authors are coining an "unintentional rewilding," scientists identified a cave dung deposit as belonging to bighorn sheep that became extinct on a desert island sometime between the 6th and the 20th century.

Date published: March 19, 2014

Invasive Burmese Pythons Are Good Navigators and Can Find Their Way Home

Invasive Burmese pythons in South Florida are able to find their way home even when moved far away from their capture locations, a finding that has implications for the spread of the species.

Attribution: Ecosystems, Southeast
Date published: March 19, 2014

Invasive Burmese Pythons Are Good Navigators and Can Find Their Way Home

Invasive Burmese pythons in South Florida are able to find their way home even when moved far away from their capture locations, a finding that has implications for the spread of the species.

Attribution: Ecosystems, Southeast
Date published: March 12, 2014

Parasite in Live Asian Swamp Eels May Cause Human Illness

Raw or undercooked Asian swamp eels could transmit a parasitic infection called gnathostomiasis to consumers.

Date published: March 11, 2014

Asian Carp Eggs Found Near Lynxville, Wisconsin

Asian carp eggs, including late-stage embryos nearly ready to hatch from the egg, were recently identified in samples collected by U.S. Geological Survey scientists in 2013 from the Upper Mississippi River as far north as Lynxville, Wisc.

Attribution: Ecosystems, Midwest
Date published: March 3, 2014

WERC Center Director Steven Schwarzbach Retires

Steven Schwarzbach, Center Director of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center, has retired from federal service. WERC Deputy Center Director Dr. Keith Miles acted as Acting Center Director in the interim, and is now the official Center Director.