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: 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...

Date published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Ecosystem Baselines and Restoration

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. 

Date published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Fish Slam - November 2017

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.

Date published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Everglades Invasive Species

Find out more about invasive species in the Everglades such as the burmese python and black and white tegus.

Date published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Pacific Islands Invasive Species

Find out more about invasive species in the Pacific islands such as brown treesnake, invasive mammals (mouflon, feral pigs, rats, and mongoose), plants, ants, and yellowjacket wasps.

Date published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Invasive Species in the West

Find out more about invasive species in the western U.S. such as cheatgrass, tamarisk, and buffelgrass.

Filter Total Items: 30,946
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Year Published: 2019

POLARIS properties: 30-meter probabilistic maps of soil properties over the contiguous United States

Soils play a critical role in the cycling of water, energy, and carbon in the Earth system. Until recently, due primarily to a lack of soil property maps of a sufficiently high‐quality and spatial detail, a minor emphasis has been placed on providing high‐resolution measured soil parameter estimates for land surface models and hydrologic models....

Chaney, Nathaniel W.; Minasny, Budiman; Herman, Jonathan D.; Nauman, Travis W.; Brungard, Colby W.; Morgan, Cristine L. S.; McBratney, Alexander B.; Wood, Eric F.; Yimam, Yohannes

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Year Published: 2019

Long-term suppression of the Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) population in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho

A simulation model of lake trout Salvelinus namaycush (Walbaum 1792) population dynamics in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho, was used to estimate (1) the optimal allocation of effort among gillnet mesh sizes that minimizes abundance in the shortest time; (2) the number of years needed to suppress the population to 90% of peak abundance; and (3...

Hansen, Michael J.; Corsi, Matthew P.; Dux, Andrew M.

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Year Published: 2019

Response to “Prepublication communication of research results”: The need for a coordinated wildlife disease surveillance laboratory network

In “Prepublication Communication of Research Results”, Adams et al. (2018) outline the importance of timeliness in providing scientific results with consequential implications for wildlife management to responsible government agencies. The authors discuss various impediments to sharing of scientific results and provide well-reasoned arguments why...

Sleeman, Jonathan M.; Blehert, David S.; Richgels, Katherine L. D.; White, C. LeAnn

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Year Published: 2019

Demographic responses of least terns and piping plovers to the 2011 Missouri River flood—A large-scale case study

A catastrophic flood event on the Missouri River system in 2011 led to substantial changes in abundance and distribution of unvegetated sand habitat. This river system is a major component of the breeding range for interior Least terns (Sternula antillarum; “terns”) and piping plovers (Charadrius melodus; “plovers”), both of which are Federally...

Anteau, Michael J.; Sherfy, Mark H.; Shaffer, Terry L.; Swift, Rose J.; Toy, Dustin L.; Dovichin, Colin M.
Anteau, M.J., Sherfy, M.H., Shaffer, T.L., Swift, R.J., Toy, D.L., and Dovichin, C.M., 2019, Demographic responses of least terns and piping plovers to the 2011 Missouri River flood—A large-scale case study: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1176, 33 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181176.

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Year Published: 2019

Explaining harvests of wild-harvested herbaceous plants: American ginseng as a case study

Wild-harvested plants face increasing demand globally. As in many fisheries, monitoring the effect of harvesting on the size and trajectory of resource stocks presents many challenges given often limited data from disparate sources. Here we analyze American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) harvests from 18 states in the...

Schmidt, John Paul; Cruse-Sanders, Jennifer; Chamberlain, James L.; Ferreira, Susana; Young, John A.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury isotopes reveal an ontogenetic shift in habitat use by walleye in lower Green Bay of Lake Michigan

In general, fish residing in rivers differ from fish residing in lakes in their mercury (Hg) isotope ratios. Specifically, fish residing in lakes typically show enriched values for the isotope ratios of δ202Hg (mass-dependent fractionation of isotope 202Hg) and Δ199Hg (mass-independent fractionation of isotope 199Hg) compared with fish...

Madenjian, Charles P.; Janssen, Sarah E.; Lepak, Ryan F.; Ogorek, Jacob M.; Rosera, Tylor J.; DeWild, John F.; Krabbenhoft, David P.; Cogswell, Stewart F.; Holey, Mark E.

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Year Published: 2019

Effects of flood inundation, invasion by Phalaris arundinacea, and nitrogen enrichment on extracellular enzyme activity in an Upper Mississippi River floodplain forest

The community structures and ecosystem functions of floodplains are primarily driven by variation in flood inundation. However, global changes, such as invasive species and nutrient enrichment, may alter the effects of flooding in these systems. We added nitrogen (N) to correspond with twice the annual atmospheric deposition rate of the south-west...

De Jager, Nathan R.; Swanson, Whitney; Hernandez, Daniel L.; Reich, Julia; Erickson, Richard A.; Strauss, Eric A.

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Year Published: 2019

Ecological consequences of anomalies in atmospheric moisture and snowpack

Although increased frequency of extreme‐weather events is one of the most secure predictions associated with contemporary climate change, effects of such events on distribution and abundance of climate‐sensitive species remain poorly understood. Montane ecosystems may be especially sensitive to extreme weather because of complex abiotic and biotic...

Johnston, Aaron; Bruggeman, Jason E.; Christophersen, Roger; Beers, Aidan; Beever, Erik A.; Ransom, Jason I.

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Year Published: 2019

Pathology and case definition of Severe Perkinsea Infections of frogs

Severe Perkinsea infection (SPI) is an emerging disease of frogs responsible for mass mortalities of tadpoles across the United States. It is caused by protozoa belonging to the phylum Perkinsozoa that form a distinct group referred to as the Pathogenic Perkinsea Clade of frogs. In this work, we provide detailed description of gross and histologic...

Isidoro Ayza, Marcos; Grear, Daniel A.; Chambouvet, Aurélie

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Year Published: 2019

Phenology and species diversity in a Lake Huron ichthyoplankton community: Ecological implications of invasive species dominance

Ichthyoplankton communities are dynamic and vary spatiotemporally based on factors such as wind, water currents, and phenology. Nonetheless, ichthyoplankton are an indicator of spawning success in fish populations and examining their community diversity and composition can serve to provide information on ecosystem integrity. Although some...

O'Brien, Timothy P.; Ireland, Stacey; Roseman, Edward F.; Briggs, Andrew S; Taylor, William W.

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Year Published: 2019

A vision for documenting and sharing knowledge in conservation

As editors, we mark the launch of Conservation Science and Practice, a journal of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), with the following remarks framing the purpose and aspirations of the journal. Our aim is to share scholarship on and experiences of the practice of conservation. We define conservation practice as the application of...

Schwartz, Mark W.; Belhabib, Dyhia; Biggs, Duan; Cook, Carly N.; Fitzsimmons, James; Giordano, Anthony J.; Glew, Louise; Gottlieb, Sara; Kattan, Gustavo; Knight, Andrew T.; Lundquist, Carolyn J.; Lynam, Antony J.; Masuda, Yuta J.; Mwampamba, Tuyeni H.; Nuno, Ana; Plumptre, Andrew J.; Ray, Justina C.; Reddy, Sheila M.; Runge, Michael C.

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Year Published: 2019

U.S. Geological Survey science for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative—2017 annual report

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) was established in 2008 to address the scientific and conservation questions associated with land use changes because of energy development and other factors in southwest Wyoming. Over the past decade, partners from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), State and Federal land management agencies,...

Zeigenfuss, Linda C.; Aikens, Ellen; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Anderson, Patrick J.; Assal, Timothy J.; Bowen, Zachary H.; Chalfoun, Anna D.; Chong, Geneva W.; Eddy-Miller, Cheryl A.; Germaine, Stephen S.; Graves, Tabitha; Homer, Collin G.; Huber, Christopher C.; Johnston, Aaron; Kauffman, Matthew J.; Manier, Daniel J.; McShane, Ryan R.; Miller, Kirk A.; Monroe, Adrian P.; Ortega, Anna; Walters, Annika W.; Wyckoff, Teal B.
Zeigenfuss, L.C., Aikens, E., Aldridge, C.L., Anderson, P.J., Assal, T.J., Bowen, Z.H., Chalfoun, A.D., Chong, G.W., Eddy-Miller, C.A., Germaine, S.S., Graves, T., Homer, C.G., Huber, C.C., Johnston, A., Kauffman, M.J., Manier, D.J., McShane, R.R., Miller, K.A., Monroe, A.P., Ortega, A., Walters, A.W., and Wyckoff, T.B., 2019, U.S. Geological Survey science for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative—2017 annual report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1188, 57 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181188.

Filter Total Items: 739
Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK
July 14, 2016

Horned Puffin, near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska

Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK. Near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska

Newly hatched pallid sturgeon free embryos.
July 14, 2016

Newly hatched pallid sturgeon free embryos.

Pallid sturgeon free embryos on the day of hatch, approximately 8-9 mm (about 0.33 of an inch) in length.

Lake Trout
July 13, 2016

Lake Trout

Lake trout historically supported the most valuable freshwater commercial fisheries in North America, but their populations crashed in parts of the Great Lakes during the 1950s and 1960s due to overfishing and invasive species.

A person's hand holding a 31mm sturgeon on their index finger.
July 8, 2016

31mm Sturgeon

A 31-mm sturgeon captured in the Missouri River near Williston, North Dakota, on July 8 using a beam trawl. Sampling efforts occurred in support of a recent inter-agency collaborative drift experiment involving 700,000 sturgeon embryos. This sturgeon will be genetically test to see if it is from those used for the experiment.

Research team in the Northern Cascades.
July 7, 2016

USGS - NOROCK Research team in the Northern Cascades.

USGS - NOROCK field team in the Northern Cascades studying Hoary marmots and American pika and snowpack dynamics.  

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 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.

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.

Filter Total Items: 303
Date published: June 26, 2013

On California's Beaches, Mallard Ducks Have Learned to Surf for Food

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) — that familiar duck species ubiquitous to park ponds with males parading their emerald-green heads — have picked up a new feeding habit along the beaches of Santa Barbara. These ducks have learned to surf. For sand crabs.

Date published: May 23, 2013

More Silent Springs: New Study Confirms Amphibian Decline Trends in U.S.

Frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians are less commonly found today in the United States than they were nine years ago, according to a new study from the USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI).

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.