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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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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...
The Challenge: Bird banding is indispensable for the study of bird movement, survival and behavior. The US Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) was established in 1920 and expanded into the current operation supporting the activities of approximately 1750 Master banders and more than 5200 sub-permittees. In collaboration with the Canadian Bird Banding Office, it jointly coordinates the North American...
The Status and Trends Program provides timely, quality science about arid and semi-arid lands to meet the needs of resource management bureaus within Interior and other science and resource management organizations.
In the 21st century, drivers such as sea level rise, extreme weather events, changes in the flow rate of rivers, and human development of coastal habitats will affect coastal landscapes and ecosystems across the region, including estuaries.
Information about the status and trends of natural resources is required at a variety of spatial and temporal scales to detect changes that may signal degradation or improvement of natural systems, such as habitat, or to identify new or emerging conditions that signal the need for management action or further investigative research.
The status and trends of organisms, habitats and ecosystems is often controlled by environmental and anthropogenic stressors that have the potential to impact the health and productivity of lands and waters of management concern.
Wetlands provide goods and services that have been valued at up to $78,500 per acre per year (R. Costanza and others, Global Environmental Change 2014). In addition to providing fish and wildlife habitat, coastal ecosystems protect coastlines from storms, store carbon in sediments, improve water quality, and maintain productive coastal fisheries. In the 21st century, drivers such as sea level...
USGS scientists, in collaboration with key partners, assess ecological patterns and processes within important ecological systems, such as Coastal Marine Ecosystems, to understand the status and trends of organisms and habitats at large spatial scales to support restoration of these important ecological systems.
We are a leader in the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership (MCSP) which includes a variety of resource management organizations both Federal (including the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and non-Federal (including Xerces Society).
Development and release of phenological data products—A case study in compliance with federal open data policy
In Autumn 2015, USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) staff implemented new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data-management policies intended to ensure that the results of Federally funded research are made available to the public. The effort aimed both to improve USA-NPN data releases and to provide a model for similar programs within the USGS....Rosemartin, Alyssa H.; Langseth, Madison L.; Crimmins, Theresa M.; Weltzin, Jake F.
Using a food web model to inform the design of river restoration—An example at the Barkley Bear Segment, Methow River, north-central Washington
With the decline of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead (O. mykiss), habitat restoration actions in freshwater tributaries have been implemented to improve conditions for juveniles. Typically, physical (for example, hydrologic and engineering) based models are used to design restoration alternatives with the assumption that...Benjamin, Joseph R.; Bellmore, J. Ryan; Dombroski, Daniel
Land use diversification and intensification on elk winter range in Greater Yellowstone: A framework and agenda for social-ecological research
Amenity migration describes the movement of peoples to rural landscapes and the transition toward tourism and recreation and away from production-oriented land uses (ranching, timber harvesting). The resulting mosaic of land uses and community structures has important consequences for wildlife and their management. This research note examines...Haggerty, Julia Hobson; Epstein, Kathleen; Stone, Michael; Cross, Paul
A guide to calculating habitat-quality metrics to inform conservation of highly mobile species
Many metrics exist for quantifying the relative value of habitats and pathways used by highly mobile species. Properly selecting and applying such metrics requires substantial background in mathematics and understanding the relevant management arena. To address this multidimensional challenge, we demonstrate and compare three measurements of...Bieri, Joanna A.; Sample, Christine; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Diffendorfer, James E.; Earl, Julia E.; Erickson, Richard A.; Federico, Paula; Flockhart, D. T. Tyler; Nicol, Sam; Semmens, Darius J.; Skraber, T.; Wiederholt, Ruscena; Mattsson, Brady J.
Beyond the edge: Linking agricultural landscapes, stream networks, and best management practices
Despite much research and investment into understanding and managing nutrients across agricultural landscapes, nutrient runoff to freshwater ecosystems is still a major concern. We argue there is currently a disconnect between the management of watershed surfaces (agricultural landscape) and river networks (riverine landscape). These landscapes...Kreiling, Rebecca M.; Thoms, Martin C.; Richardson, William B.
Migration ecology and stopover population size of Red Knots Calidris canutus rufa at Mingan Archipelago after exiting the breeding grounds
Populations of migratory birds present unique conservation challenges given the often vast distances separating critical resources throughout the annual cycle. Migration areas close to the breeding grounds represent a link between two key stages of the annual cycle, and understanding migration ecology as birds exit the breeding grounds may be...Lyons, James E.; Baker, Allan J.; González, Patricia M.; Aubry, Yves; Buidin, Christophe; Rochepault, Yann
Managing individual nests promotes population recovery of a top predator
Threatened species are managed using diverse conservation tactics implemented at multiple scales ranging from protecting individuals, to populations, to entire species. Individual protection strives to promote recovery at the population‐ or species‐level, although this is seldom evaluated.After decades of widespread declines, bald eagles, ...Cruz, Jennyffer; Windels, Steve K.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Crimmins, Shawn M.; Grim, Leland; Zuckerberg, Benjamin
Rapid colonization of a Hawaiian restoration forest by a diverse avian community
Deforestation of tropical forests has led to widespread loss and extirpation of forest bird species around the world, including the Hawaiian Islands which have experienced a dramatic loss of forests over the last 200–800 years. Given the important role birds play in forest ecosystem functions via seed dispersal and pollination, a bird community's...Paxton, Eben H.; Yelenik, Stephanie G.; Borneman, Tracy E.; Rose, Eli; Camp, Richard J.; Kendall, Steve J.
Implementing the 2012 North American Waterfowl Management Plan revision: Populations, habitat, and people
The North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) has established a model for wildlife conservation planning over the last 3 decades. Management at a continental scale, leveraged funding, regional partnerships, and a strong science basis have been notable features. Periodic updates to the NAWMP occurred since implementation in 1986; however, a...Humburg, Dale D.; Anderson, Michael G.; Brasher, Michael G.; Carter, Michael F.; Eadie, John M.; Fulton, David C.; Johnson, Fred A.; Runge, Michael C.; Vrtiska, Mark P.
Are ranger patrols effective in reducing poaching-related threats within protected areas?
Poaching is one of the greatest threats to wildlife conservation world-wide. However, the spatial and temporal patterns of poaching activities within protected areas, and the effectiveness of ranger patrols and ranger posts in mitigating these threats, are relatively unknown.We used 10 years (2006–2015) of ranger-based monitoring data and...Moore, Jennnifer F.; Mulindahabi, Felix; Masozera, Michel K.; Nichols, James D.; Hines, James; Turikunkiko, Ezechiel; Oli, Madan K.
Recreation economics to inform migratory species conservation: Case study of the northern pintail
Quantification of the economic value provided by migratory species can aid in targeting management efforts and funding to locations yielding the greatest benefits to society and species conservation. Here we illustrate a key step in this process by estimating hunting and birding values of the northern pintail (Anas acuta) within primary breeding...Mattsson, Brady J.; Dubovsky, James A.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Bagstad, Kenneth J.; Goldstein, Joshua H.; Loomis, John B.; Diffendorfer, James E.; Semmens, Darius J.; Wiederholt, Ruscena; Lopez-Hoffman, Laura
From salmon to shad: Shifting sources of marine-derived nutrients in the Columbia River Basin
Like Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), nonnative American shad (Alosa sapidissima) have the potential to convey large quantities of nutrients between the Pacific Ocean and freshwater spawning areas in the Columbia River Basin (CRB). American shad are now the most numerous anadromous fish in the CRB, yet the magnitude of the resulting...Haskell, Craig A.
The USGS Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit teams are capturing and marking black bears in the Ozark and Ouachita regions of Oklahoma.
A USGS grizzly bear researcher snapped this picture of a mother grizzly bear and her cub in Yellowstone National Park. Adult females are the most important segment of the grizzly bear populations because they are the reproductive engine.
A female Agassiz's desert tortoise at Joshua Tree National Park lounges in the entrance of her burrow, wearing a USGS radio.
NPS/USGS remote den camera. Fisher family denning in a mountain beaver burrow. Look carefully! Two fisher kits in front of their den site in a mountain beaver burrow (foreground) with mom (background left) watching on. The kits are about 4-5 months old.
This short clip is representative of a large amount of video footage of an adult female polar bear, equipped with a point of view camera, that is used by scientists to study polar bear behavior and feeding rates. Camera were attached to 10 animals in the southern Beaufort Sea over the course of several years, and stay on the animals for about 2 weeks until it is retrieved...
So many unknowns and so many potentials.
- In secret, Native Bees, not honey bees, do most of our pollinating
- Why we don't know the status of 99% of our Native Bees
- Why are there 400 Native Bees without names
- Why biodiverse native plant communities = biodiverse native bee communities
Biological soil crusts, or biocrusts, are lichens, mosses, and cyanobacteria that grow on the soil surface and are common in the spaces between native plants in arid and semi-arid systems. Biocrusts reduce soil erosion, contribute to nutrient and water cycling, and reduce evaporation and invasion by exotic plants. The green-red plants with flower bud stalks are likely...
Interpretive signage created by interpretive designer and illustrator Denise Dahn, with murals of USGS Western Fisheries Research Center Pump House created by Jeff Jacobson in background.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.