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: 747
Date published: December 5, 2017
Status: Active

The Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard: Cross-Center Collaboration Brings Real-time, USGS Water Data to the Gulf Coast through a Spatially Enabled Mapping Application

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. The objective of this effort is to expand the Texas Water Dashboard platform to include the coastal regions of the five Gulf states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and...

Date published: November 28, 2017
Status: Active

Wind Energy and Wildlife Team (FRESC)

FRESC's Wind Energy and Wildlife Team is lead by Manuela Huso. She and her team are involved in design and analysis of post-construction fatality monitoring studies as well as deterrent and curtailment studies at several wind-power generation facilities.

Contacts: Manuela M Huso
Date published: November 28, 2017
Status: Active

FRESC Terrestrial Ecosystems Laboratory

Research in our laboratory centers on the ecology and biogeochemistry of forest ecosystems, as well as grassland and riparian systems. We examine how factors such as natural and human disturbances, climate and climate change, succession, and soil fertility shape ecosystem biogeochemistry - and the reciprocal effect of biogeochemical cycles on these and other factors.

Date published: November 28, 2017
Status: Active

FRESC Restoration and Ecology of Arid Lands Team

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.

Contacts: David A Pyke
Date published: November 16, 2017
Status: Active

Impacts of Disease on Wolves in Yellowstone National Park

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...

Contacts: Paul Cross, Emily Almberg, Doug Smith, Ellen Brandell & Peter Hudson
Date published: November 16, 2017
Status: Active

Chronic Wasting Disease

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.

Contacts: Paul Cross, Angela Brennan & Matt Kauffman
Date published: November 16, 2017
Status: Active

Pneumonia in Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep populations are often impacted by outbreaks of pneumonia that are suspected to come from domestic sheep and goats.

Contacts: Paul Cross, Frances Cassirer, Raina Plowright, Peter Hudson, Tom Besser & Keiza Manlove, Andrew Dobson
Date published: November 16, 2017
Status: Active

Quantitative Disease Ecology

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...

Contacts: Paul Cross
Date published: November 16, 2017
Status: Active

Brucellosis

Brucellosis is a nationally and internationally regulated disease of livestock with significant consequences for animal health, public health, and international trade.

Contacts: Paul Cross, Emily Almberg, Kelly Proffitt, Brandon Scurlock, & Eric Maichak, Jared Rogerson & Hank Edwards, Mark Drew & Paul Atwood , Eric Cole, Angela Brennan
Date published: November 13, 2017
Status: Active

Restoration of Shrub Steppe Ecosystems

This research theme provides land managers information to help them make restoration decision at local and landscape scales.

Contacts: David A Pyke
Date published: November 13, 2017
Status: Active

Nitrogen Deficiency and Excess in Forests: Patterns, Mechanisms and Management

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.

Date published: November 9, 2017
Status: Active

Fire Effects and Forest Recovery

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...

Filter Total Items: 30,796
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Year Published: 2019

On the development of a magnetic susceptibility‐based tracer for aeolian sediment transport research

Aeolian processes — the erosion, transport, and deposition of sediment by wind — play important geomorphological and ecological roles in drylands. These processes are known to impact the spatial patterns of soil, nutrients, plant‐available water, and vegetation in many dryland ecosystems. Tracers, such as rare earth elements and stable isotopes...

Ravi, Sujith; Gonzales, Howell B.; Buynevich, Ilya V.; Li, Junran; Sankey, Joel B.; Dukes, David; Wang, Guan
Ravi, S., Gonzales, H.B., Buynevich, I.V., Li, J., Sankey, J.B., Dukes, D., and Wang, G., 2018, On the development of a magnetic susceptibility-based tracer for aeolian sediment transport research: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, online, https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4536.

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Year Published: 2019

Movements of female Sage Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus during incubation recess

We combined GPS data‐loggers, VHF transmitters, and DVR video‐monitoring to measure fine‐scale movement patterns during daily incubation recesses by female Sage Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus, a species with uniparental incubation that has experienced widespread population decline and distributional contraction. Most (69.6%) Sage Grouse...

Dudko, Jonathan E.; Coates, Peter S.; Delehanty, David J.

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Year Published: 2019

A Bayesian life-cycle model to estimate escapement at maximum sustained yield in salmon based on limited information

Life-cycle models combine several strengths for estimating population parameters and biological reference points of harvested species and are particularly useful for those exhibiting distinct habitat shifts and experiencing contrasting environments. Unfortunately, time series data are often limited to counts of adult abundance and harvest. By...

Ohlberger, Jan; Brinkman, Samuel J.; Crain, Patrick; Pess, George R.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Buehrens, Thomas W.; Quinn, Thomas P.; Hilborn , Ray

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Year Published: 2019

Movement ecology of reintroduced migratory Whooping Cranes

No abstract available.

Teitelbaum, Claire S.; Converse, Sarah J.; Fagan, William F.; Mueller, Thomas
Mueller, T., Teitelbaum, C.S., Fagan, W.F., and Converse, S.J., 2018, Movement Ecology of Reintroduced Migratory Whooping Cranes, in French, J.B., Jr., Converse, S.J., and Austin, J.E., editors, Whooping Cranes: Biology and Conservation: San Diego, CA, Academic Press, Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes, p. 217-238.

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Year Published: 2019

Reproduction and reproductive strategies relevant to management of Whooping Cranes ex situ

Due to the small population size (∼400 birds) and continuing threats to wild Whooping Cranes (Grus americana), an ex situ (captive) population is maintained to contribute to the recovery of the species. The goals of the captive breeding program are to provide opportunity for research and birds for reintroduction. However, reproduction...

Songsasen, Nucharin; Converse, Sarah J.; Brown, Megan
Songsasen, N., Converse, S.J., and Brown, M., 2018, Reproduction and Reproductive Strategies Relevant to Management of Whooping Cranes Ex Situ, in French, J.B., Jr., Converse, S.J., and Austin, J.E., editors, Whooping Cranes: Biology and Conservation: San Diego, CA, Academic Press, Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes, p. 373-388.

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Year Published: 2019

Population dynamics of reintroduced Whooping Cranes

Because of the small size and restricted range of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo Population, reintroduction is a prominent element of the recovery effort to ensure persistence of Whooping Cranes (Grus americana). A fundamental objective of all Whooping Crane reintroduction efforts is the establishment of a self-sustaining population. Therefore...

Converse, Sarah J.; Servanty, Sabrina; Moore, Clinton T.; Runge, Michael C.
Converse, S.J., Servanty, S., Moore, C.T., and Runge, M.C., 2018, Population Dynamics of Reintroduced Whooping Cranes, in French, J.B., Jr., Converse, S.J., and Austin, J.E., editors, Whooping Cranes: Biology and Conservation: San Diego, CA, Academic Press, Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes, p. 139-160.

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Year Published: 2019

Whooping Cranes past and present

The Whooping Crane (Grus americana), endemic to North America, is the rarest of all crane species. It is believed that in the early 1800s, the Whooping Crane was widespread in North America, though it was never very abundant. Whooping Crane numbers decreased precipitously as westward migration of Euro-American settlers converted ...

French, John B.; Converse, Sarah J.; Austin, Jane E.
French, J.B., Jr., Converse, S.J., and Austin, J.E., 2018, Whooping Cranes Past and Present, in French, J.B., Jr., Converse, S.J., and Austin, J.E., editors, Whooping Cranes: Biology and Conservation: San Diego, CA, Academic Press, Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes, p. 3-16.

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Year Published: 2019

Reproductive failure in the Eastern Migratory Population: The interaction of research and management

The reintroduction of the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes (Grus americana) has shown the most promise of any effort to date toward the establishment of a self-sustaining population. However, reproduction – including both nest success and chick survival – has been a major challenge. Here, we review the research and...

Converse, Sarah J.; Strobel, Bradley N.; Barzen, Jeb A.
Converse, S.J., Strobel, B.N., and Barzen, J.A., 2018, Reproductive Failure in the Eastern Migratory Population: The Interaction of Research and Management, in French, J.B., Jr., Converse, S.J., and Austin, J.E., editors, Whooping Cranes: Biology and Conservation: San Diego, CA, Academic Press, Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes, p. 161-178.

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Year Published: 2019

Mortality in Aransas-Wood Buffalo Whooping Cranes: Timing, location, and causes

For long-lived species with low fecundity rates, population growth rate can be sensitive to changes in annual survival. Understanding where, when, and why animals die provides useful information for prioritizing conservation practices designed to increase survival. As part of a satellite tracking study, we identified 19 confirmed and suspected...

Pearse, Aaron T.; Brandt, David A.; Hartup, Barry K.; Bidwell, Mark T.
Pearse, A.T., D.A. Brandt, B.K. Hartup, and M.T. Bidwell. 2018. Mortality in Aransas-Wood Buffalo whooping cranes: timing, location, and causes. In J.B. French, S.J. Converse, and J.E. Austin, editors. Whooping Cranes: Biology and Conservation. Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes. Academic Press, San Diego, CA

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Year Published: 2019

Revisiting the historic distribution and habitats of the Whooping Crane

The endangered Whooping Crane (Grus americana) historically had a wide distribution that covered diverse ecoregions across North America while retaining consistent habitat preferences within each ecoregion. We reevaluate the historic information compiled by Robert Porter Allen in 1952 and added 74 other records. Based on the ecological...

Austin, Jane E.; Hayes, Matthew A.; Barzen, Jeb A.
Austin, J.E., Hayes, M.A., Barzen, J.A. 2018. Revisiting the historic distribution and habitats of the whooping crane. In: J.B. French, Converse, S.J., and Austin, J.E., editors. Whooping Cranes: Biology and Conservation. Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes. Academic Press, San Diego, CA. p 25-88.

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Year Published: 2019

Changing station coverage impacts temperature trends in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Over the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB), temperatures in widely used gridded data products do not warm as much as mean temperatures from a stable set of U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) stations, located at generally lower elevations, in most months of the year. This is contrary to expectations of elevation-dependent warming, which...

McAfee, Stephanie A.; McCabe, Gregory; Gray, Stephen; Pederson, Gregory T.

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Year Published: 2019

Conservation challenges emerging from free-roaming horse management: a vexing social-ecological mismatch

Horses have been associated with human societies for millennia, and for many have come to symbolize wildness, power, resilience, and freedom. Although equids were extirpated from North America 10 000-12 000 years ago, descendants of domestic horses now roam freely in the USA and 17 other countries across six continents. In landscape-scale and...

Beever, Erik A.; Huntsinger, Lynn; Petersen, Steven L.

Filter Total Items: 720
A hydraulic habitat assessment boat in the river
June 29, 2016

Hydraulic Habitat Assessment Boat

A U.S. Geological Survey hydraulic habitat assessment boat in not enough water.

Scientists with headlight looking at samples at night time.
June 29, 2016

Night Sampling

USGS Fish Biologist Dave Combs searches through net contents for larval fish during night sampling on the Upper Missouri River.

Scientists standing on a boat capturing samples with a net in the water.
June 29, 2016

Night Sampling Boat

USGS fish biologist Dr. Pat Braaten and student contractor Garrett Cook inspect contents of a larval fish net during night sampling on the Upper Missouri River.

Scientist retrieving a fluorometer
June 29, 2016

Fluorometer Retrieval

Research hydrologist Dr. Susannah Erwin retrieves fluorometer from the Upper Missouri River to download dye trace data.

A boat going out on a river for sampling.
June 28, 2016

Boat Launch for Night Sampling

USGS fish biologists launch at sunset on the Upper Missouri River for a night of sampling for larval pallid sturgeon.

Close-up view of tweezers picking up an ichthyoplankton sample.
June 28, 2016

Ichthyoplankton Sample

Typical contents of a net deployment showing larval fish, possibly pallid sturgeon.

The ADCP boat on the river
June 28, 2016

ADCP Boat

A US Geological Survey hydroacoustic survey boat measures velocity profiles on the Upper Missouri River.

Scientists in a boat reviewing data on a computer
June 28, 2016

ADCP Data Review

Research hydrologist Dr. Susannah Erwin and hydrologic technician Brian Anderson inspect ADCP data on the Upper Missouri River.

People sitting and standing listening to scientists talking.
June 27, 2016

Pre-Sample Briefing

Pre-deployment briefing for the Upper Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon Drift Study. Fish biologists and physical scientists from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, US Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Montana, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and US Army Corps of Engineers go over the sample design and assignments.

A person's hands with gloves on looking at a drift sampe
June 27, 2016

Processing a Drift Sample

Student Contractor Garrett Cook processes a drift sample collected on June 27 shortly after the free embryos and beads were released. Note the small cluster of pallid sturgeon free embryos and green beads in the lower portion of the sorting tray. These embryos and beads were elements of the Upper Missouri River drift experiment.

People distributing free embryos to boats
June 27, 2016

Distribution of Free Embryos to Boats

Distribution of free embryos to boats in preparation for mass release.

People on boats releasing larva into the water.
June 27, 2016

Larval Release

Simultaneous mass release of 700,000 free embryos from boats distributed across the channel of the Upper Missouri River.

Filter Total Items: 289
Date published: February 8, 2013

Biologist Roger Hothem Retires from USGS

A wildlife biologist and environmental contaminants expert with the Department of Interior for more than 30 years, USGS Western Ecological Research Center scientist and principal investigator Roger Hothem was given a fond farewell this January in Dixon, California.

Date published: October 29, 2010

Great Lakes Sea Lamprey Control To be Featured on Discovery Channel’s

ANN ARBOR, MI—Sea lamprey control is a “dirty job,” one that TV star Mike Rowe will take on during an upcoming episode of the Discovery Channel’s popular program Dirty Jobs.  The segment will first air on November 2, 2010 at 9:00 EST/8:00 CST.

Date published: October 25, 2010

Mountain Vegetation Impacted by Climate Change

Climate change has had a significant effect on mountain vegetation at low elevations in the past 60 years, according to a study done by the University of California at Davis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: October 25, 2010

Wildlife Health Reporting Tools May Help Prevent Human Illness

Two new tools that enable the public to report sick or dead wild animals could also lead to the detection and containment of wildlife disease outbreaks that may pose a health risk to people.

Date published: October 14, 2010

Secretary of the Interior Recognizes USGS and its Collaborators with Partners in Conservation Awards

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar selected four U.S. Geological Survey programs and their collaborators to receive a Partners in Conservation Award — The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council-USGS Water Quality Monitoring Program...

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: September 20, 2010

Southern Calif. Urbanization Isolates Wildlife, Promotes Inbreeding

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Urban development can isolate wildlife populations and promote inbreeding, according to a genetic study of animals in the Santa Monica Mountains by researchers at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: September 16, 2010

Raptor Gains Honorable Mention in Government Computer News Award Competition

Raptor, the new search engine of the USGS-National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), has just been recognized and honored as one of ten 2010 Honorable Mention Winners in the 23rd Annual Government Computer News Awards for Outstanding Information Technology Achievement in Government.
 

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: September 13, 2010

Manatee Subspecies Genetically Confirmed, But Diversity Challenge Looms

Gainesville, FL. -- The first genetic study to compare nuclear DNA of endangered Antillean manatees in Belize with Florida manatees confirmed their designation as separate subspecies. Belize’s manatees, however, were found to have extremely low genetic diversity, raising questions about their long-term genetic viability.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: September 7, 2010

Potomac River: Ten-fold Increase in Native Submerged Vegetation Reflects Improved Water Quality

The Potomac River in Washington, D.C. is showing multiple benefits from restoration efforts, newly published research suggests. Reduced nutrients and improved water clarity have increased the abundance and diversity of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the Potomac, according to direct measurements taken during the 18-year field study.

Date published: September 3, 2010

New Report Warns of Expanding Threat of Hypoxia in U.S. Coastal Waters

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.

Date published: September 1, 2010

Are Wolves Saving Yellowstone’s Aspen Trees from Elk?

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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: August 30, 2010

Climate Change Implicated in Decline of Horseshoe Crabs

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.