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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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The focus of our research is on the restoration and monitoring of the plants and soils of the Intermountain West. Our lab is part of the Snake River Field Station, but is located in Corvallis, Oregon. Research topics include fire rehabilitation effects and effectiveness, indicators of rangeland health, invasive species ecology, and restoration of shrub steppe ecosystems.
In 1995 and 1996, wolves were reintroduced into the Northern Rockies where they have since established and spread. Within Yellowstone National Park, one of the core protected release sites, the unmanaged population steadily increased to high densities, producing a large wolf population susceptible to infections such as canine parvovirus (CPV), canine distemper virus (CDV) and sarcoptic mange...
Over the past 20 years, chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Wyoming has been spreading slowly outward from the southeastern corner of the state toward the Greater Yellowstone Area and Wyoming's elk feed grounds, where more than 24,000 elk are supplementally fed each winter.
Bighorn sheep populations are often impacted by outbreaks of pneumonia that are suspected to come from domestic sheep and goats.
Researchers at the USGS are working on developing new quantitative methods to study disease dynamics in wildlife systems as well as systems at the wildlife-domestic-human interface. Much of our work focuses on how host population structure affects disease invasion, persistence and control in wildlife disease systems. We tackle these issues with a combination of simulation and statistical...
Brucellosis is a nationally and internationally regulated disease of livestock with significant consequences for animal health, public health, and international trade.
This research theme provides land managers information to help them make restoration decision at local and landscape scales.
This research theme facilitates the sound management and restoration of Pacific Northwest Douglas-fir forests, as well as to refine broader-scale predictions of how temperate forests will function in an increasingly nitrogen-rich world.
This research theme examines the impacts of prescribed fire on plant productivity, soil physical, chemical, and biological characteristics, and nutrient leaching. Results from this research will enable improved decision-making of how to manage fire-prone forests to maintain long-term forest fertility and productivity, especially across wide climate gradients characteristic of the Pacific...
This research theme coalesces studies of old-growth temperate forests in several major thematic areas including landscape and ecosystem controls on watershed nutrient export, wildfire disturbance legacies on biogeochemical cycling, and the imprint of tree species on soil nutrients in old-growth forests.
The Hunt For The Southernmost Snakehead. Thirty-one fishery biologists from eleven agencies participated in a two-day Fish Slam event. Thirty-five sites in Broward and Miami-Dade counties were sampled for non-native fishes.
Recent stability of resident and migratory landbird populations in National Parks of the Pacific Northwest
Monitoring species in National Parks facilitates inference regarding effects of climate change on population dynamics because parks are relatively unaffected by other forms of anthropogenic disturbance. Even at early points in a monitoring program, identifying climate covariates of population density can suggest vulnerabilities to future change....Ray, Chris; Saracco, James; Holmgren, Mandy; Wilkerson, Robert; Siegel, Rodney; Jenkins, Kurt J.; Ransom, Jason I.; Happe, Patricia J.; Boetsch, John; Huff, Mark
Potential impacts of sea level rise on native plant communities and associated cultural sites in coastal areas of the main Hawaiian Islands
Hawaiian coastal vegetation is comprised of plant species that are adapted to growing in extremely harsh conditions (salt spray, wave wash, wind, and substrates with limited nutrients) found in this habitat zone. Prior to human colonization of Hawai‘i coastal vegetation extended as a continuous ring around each of the islands, broken only by...Jacobi, James D.; Warshauer, Frederick R.
A multi-species synthesis of physiological mechanisms in drought-induced tree mortality
Widespread tree mortality associated with drought has been observed on all forested continents and global change is expected to exacerbate vegetation vulnerability. Forest mortality has implications for future biosphere–atmosphere interactions of carbon, water and energy balance, and is poorly represented in dynamic vegetation models. Reducing...Adams, Henry D.; Zeppel, Melanie; Anderegg, William R.L.; Hartmann, Henrik; Landhäusser, Simon M.; Tissue, David T.; Huxman, Travis E.; Hudson, Patrick J.; Franz, Trenton E.; Allen, Craig D.; Anderegg, Leander D. L.; Barron-Gafford, Greg A.; Beerling, David; Breshears, David D.; Brodribb, Timothy J.; Bugmann, Harald; Cobb, Richard C.; Collins, Adam D.; Dickman, L. Turin; Duan, Honglang; Ewers, Brent E.; Galiano, Lucia; Galvez, David A.; Garcia-Forner, Núria; Gaylord, Monica L.; Germino, Matthew J.; Gessler, Arthur; Hacke, Uwe G.; Hakamada, Rodrigo; Hector, Andy; Jenkins, Michael W.; Kane, Jeffrey M.; Kolb, Thomas E.; Law, Darin J.; Lewis, James D.; Limousin, Jean-Marc; Love, David; Macalady, Alison K.; Martinez-Vilalta, Jordi; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Mitchell, Patrick J.; Muss, Jordan D.; O'Brien, Michael J.; O'Grady, Anthony P.; Pangle, Robert E.; Pinkard, Elizabeth A.; Piper, Frida I.; Plaut, Jennifer; Pockman, William T.; Quirk, Joe; Reinhardt, Keith; Ripullone, Francesco; Ryan, Michael G.; Sala, Anna; Sevanto, Sanna; Sperry, John S.; Vargas, Rodrigo; Vennetier, Michel; Way, Danielle A.; Wu, Chonggang; Yepez, Enrico A.; McDowell, Nate G.
At a global scale, do climate change threatened species also face a greater number of non-climatic threats?
For many species the threats of climate change occur in a context of multiple existing threats. Given the current focus of global change ecology in identifying and understanding species vulnerable to climate change, we performed a global analysis to characterize the multi-threat context for species threatened by climate change. Utilizing 30,053...Fortini, Lucas B.; Dye, Kaipo
Integrating Breeding Bird Survey and demographic data to estimate Wood Duck population size in the Atlantic Flyway
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) uses data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) to assist in monitoring and management of some migratory birds. However, BBS analyses provide indices of population change rather than estimates of population size, precluding their use in developing abundance-based objectives and limiting...Zimmerman, Guthrie S.; Sauer, John R.; Boomer, G. Scott; Devers, Patrick K.; Garrettson, Pamela R.
Assessing multi-tissue lead burdens in free-flying obligate scavengers in eastern North America
Avian scavengers are regularly exposed to anthropogenic lead. Although many studies evaluate lead concentrations of either blood or tissues of lead-poisoned birds, there is comparatively less research on lead burdens of free-flying, apparently healthy individuals and populations. Here, we address this lack of information by assessing lead levels...Behmke, Shannon; Mazik, Patricia; Katzner, Todd E.
Enhanced precipitation promotes decomposition and soil C stabilization in semiarid ecosystems, but seasonal timing of wetting matters
AimsChanging precipitation regimes in semiarid ecosystems will affect the balance of soil carbon (C) input and release, but the net effect on soil C storage is unclear. We asked how changes in the amount and timing of precipitation affect litter decomposition, and soil C stabilization in semiarid ecosystems.MethodsThe study took place at a long-...Campos, Xochi; Germino, Matthew J.; de Graaff, Marie-Anne
Status and trends of adult Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) sucker populations in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, 2015
Executive SummaryData from a long-term capture-recapture program were used to assess the status and dynamics of populations of two long-lived, federally endangered catostomids in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon. Lost River suckers (LRS; Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (SNS; Chasmistes brevirostris) have been captured and tagged with passive...Hewitt, David A.; Janney, Eric C.; Hayes, Brian S.; Harris, Alta C.
Biological and ecological science for Montana—The Treasure State
Montana is rich in minerals, energy, and soils, as well as prairies, forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, fish, and wildlife. Many enterprises that drive the economy are based on natural resources, including tourism, hunting, fishing, agriculture, and energy development. The outdoor-recreation economy alone supports 64,000 Montana jobs and generates...
Case studies of riparian and watershed restoration in the southwestern United States—Principles, challenges, and successes
Globally, rivers and streams are highly altered by impoundments, diversions, and stream channelization associated with agricultural and water delivery needs. Climate change imposes additional challenges by further reducing discharge, introducing variability in seasonal precipitation patterns, and increasing temperatures. Collectively, these...Ralston, Barbara E.; Sarr, Daniel A.; Ralston, Barbara E.; Sarr, Daniel A.
Research, monitoring, and evaluation of emerging issues and measures to recover the Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon ESU, 1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016
The portion of the Snake River fall Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha ESU that spawns upstream of Lower Granite Dam transitioned from low to high abundance during 1992–2016 in association with U.S. Endangered Species Act recovery efforts and other federally mandated actions. This annual report focuses on (1) numeric and habitat use responses...Connor, William P.; Mullins, Frank L.; Tiffan, Kenneth F.; Plumb, John M.; Perry, Russell W.; Erhardt, John M.; Hemingway, Rulon J.; Bickford, Brad; Rhodes, Tobyn N.
Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon life history investigations
Predation by nonnative fishes is one factor that has been implicated in the decline of juvenile salmonids in the Pacific Northwest. Impoundment of much of the Snake and Columbia rivers has altered food webs and created habitat favorable for species such as Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu. Smallmouth Bass are common throughout the Columbia...Erhardt, John M.; Bickford, Brad; Hemingway, Rulon J.; Rhodes, Tobyn N.; Tiffan, Kenneth F.
Biologists have immobilized the bear and prepare to lift it out of the trap and onto the tarp for data collection. Once on the tarp the bear is easier to move.
A biologist prepares to collect biological information from the bear they have captured. Biologists collect hair samples for genetic analysis, weigh the bear, and gather numerous measurements of the body, such as the head, paws, claws, teeth, etc. Overall condition of the bear is assessed as well, including a body fat measurement.
Biologists are very careful to keep the grizzly bear under shade and protected from the elements while they collect biological data. Vital signs are monitored throughout the handling period.
The kerchief over the grizzly bear’s eyes protects it from dust and debris and reduces visual stimulation. The small tubing in its nose, known as a nasal cannula, delivers oxygen to the animal while it is tranquilized.
Field personnel use bioelectrical impedance to assess body fat percentage of captured bears. The procedure is similar to how body fat is measured in humans and is based on the resistance of body tissues to the flow of a small, harmless electrical signal. The electrical current is impeded more by fat tissues compared with tissues that are composed mostly of water, thus...
Biologists with IGBST and the National Park Service fit a grizzly bear with a radio collar. Once a bear is radio collared, biologists can track its movements with telemetry.
A report issued today by key environmental and scientific federal agencies assesses the increasing prevalence of low-oxygen “dead zones” in U.S. coastal waters and outlines a series of research and policy steps that could help reverse the decades-long trend.
LARAMIE, Wy. — Previous research has claimed that the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 is helping restore quaking aspen in risky areas where wolves prowl. But apparently elk hungry for winter food had a different idea.
LEETOWN, W. Va. — A distinct decline in horseshoe crab numbers has occurred that parallels climate change associated with the end of the last Ice Age, according to a study that used genomics to assess historical trends in population sizes.
IDYLLWILD, CALIF. — Thirty-six rare tadpoles were released into a wild steam today near Idyllwild, Calif. as part of a program aimed at giving the nearly-extinct, Southern California population of mountain yellow-legged frogs a chance of thriving in the wild again.