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: 809
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Decision Frameworks

Decision frameworks bring science and stakeholders needs together to determine the best way to manage natural resources.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Biological Collections

Biological collections provide critical data to assess the history of the status, population trends, and abundance of the plants and animals around us. 

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Citizen Science

Citizen science — scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, usually in collaboration with scientific institutions — is a grassroots approach to natural science. It educates and engages the public by encouraging ordinary citizens to use their interests and their talents in tackling a wide range of real-world problems. 

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are the benefits that ecosystems provide that are valued by human users such as food, fresh water, and cultural services. Ecosystems also provide marketable goods like seafood and timber.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Adaptive Assessments

The Status and Trends program is using adaptive assessments to understand the current condition of plants, animals, and habitats then structuring management decisions around the information learned.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Marine Invertebrate Diseases

Coral reefs worldwide are under tremendous stress primarily due to human activities along the coasts. While climate change, over fishing, and coastal development have been implicated as a major cause of coral reef decline, diseases seem to play an increasing role.

Contacts: Thierry M Work
Date published: February 25, 2018
Status: Active

Sea Turtle Diseases

Sea turtles are one of the oldest groups of reptiles and are found worldwide. There are seven species of sea turtles in the world, and Hawaii has two of them, the hawksbill and the far more numerous green turtle. Threats to turtles include by-catch from fisheries activity, over harvesting of eggs on nesting beaches, and disease. Of the latter, the most significant disease of sea turtles is...

Contacts: Thierry M Work, T. Todd Jones, Ph.D.
Date published: February 24, 2018
Status: Active

Snake Fungal Disease

Snake fungal disease is an emerging infectious disease, confirmed in numerous species of snakes, caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola.

Contacts: Jeffrey M Lorch
Date published: February 23, 2018
Status: Active

Sylvatic Plague

Sylvatic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, is a bacterial disease transmitted by fleas that afflicts many mammalian species, including humans.

Contacts: Tonie Rocke
Date published: February 22, 2018
Status: Active

Data Analysis, Synthesis, and Delivery

The Status and Trends program provides research, technological tools, and decision support to meet the science needs of the Nation's resource managers to conserve and protect aquatic species, communities, and habitats.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 20, 2018
Status: Active

Giant African Land Snail

Originally from East Africa, the giant African land snail (Achatina fulica), has been established throughout the Indo-Pacific Basin, including the Hawaiian Islands.  Since 2011, these snails have been found in Miami, Florida. Although the current range is limited to the southern latitudes of Florida, this snail can withstand freezing and go into hibernation for as much as a year.  This allows...

Date published: February 15, 2018
Status: Completed

Biological Survey Unit

Scientists and staff of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center stationed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) do research on the systematics and conservation of vertebrate species and curate and manage the North American collections of Amphibian, Reptile, Bird, and Mammal specimens and associated records.

Filter Total Items: 30,677
Year Published: 2018

Identifying opportunities for long-lasting habitat conservation and restoration in Hawaii’s shifting climate

Conservation efforts in isolated archipelagos such as Hawaii often focus on habitat-based conservation and restoration efforts that benefit multiple species. Unfortunately, identifying locations where such efforts are safer from climatic shifts is still challenging. We aimed to provide a method to approximate these potential habitat shifts for...

Fortini, Lucas B.; Jacobi, James D.

Year Published: 2018

Historical patterns of wildfire ignition sources in California ecosystems

State and federal agencies have reported fire causes since the early 1900s, explicitly for the purpose of helping land managers design fire-prevention programs. We document fire-ignition patterns in five homogenous climate divisions in California over the past 98 years on state Cal Fire protected lands and 107 years on federal United States Forest...

Keeley, Jon E.; Syphard, Alexandra D.

Year Published: 2018

Evaluating riparian vegetation change in canyon-bound reaches of the Colorado River using spatially extensive matched photo sets

Much of what we know about the functional ecology of aquatic and riparian ecosystems comes from work on regulated rivers (Johnson et al. 2012). What little we know about unregulated conditions on many of our larger rivers is often inferred from recollections of individuals, personal diaries, notes, maps, and collections from early scientific...

Scott, Michael L; Webb, Robert H.; Johnson, R. Roy; Turner, Raymond M.; Friedman, Jonathan M.; Fairley, Helen C.

Year Published: 2018

Ontogenetic changes in swimming speed of silver carp, bighead carp, and grass carp larvae: implications for larval dispersal

Bighead, silver, and grass carps are invasive in the waterways of central North America, and grass carp reproduction in tributaries of the Great Lakes has now been documented. Questions about recruitment potential motivate a need for accurate models of egg and larval dispersal. Quantitative data on swimming behaviors and capabilities during early...

George, Amy E.; Garcia, Tatiana; Stahlschmidt, Benjamin H.; Chapman, Duane C.

Year Published: 2018

Accounting for surveyor effort in large-scale monitoring programs

Accounting for errors in wildlife surveys is necessary for reliable status assessments and quantification of uncertainty in estimates of population size. We apply a hierarchical log-linear Poisson regression model that accounts for multiple sources of variability in count data collected for the Integrated Waterbird Management and Monitoring...

Aagaard, Kevin; Lyons, James E.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.

Year Published: 2018

Remote sensing vegetation index methods to evaluate changes in greenness and evapotranspiration in riparian vegetation in response to the Minute 319 environmental pulse flow to Mexico

During the spring of 2014, 130 million m3 of water were released from the United States' Morelos Dam on the lower Colorado River to Mexico, allowing water to reach the Gulf of California for the first time in 13 years. Our study assessed the effects of water transfer or ecological environmental flows from one nation to another,...

Nagler, Pamela L.; Jarchow, Christopher J.; Glenn, Edward P.

Year Published: 2018

The Introduced Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) on the California Channel Islands: Distribution and Patterns of Spread

The Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is a widespread and abundant introduced species that disrupts ecosystems throughout its introduced range. This invader was inadvertently introduced to Santa Catalina, San Clemente, Santa Cruz, and San Nicolas Islands at various points during the past century but currently appears to be absent from the...

Boser, Christina L.; Merrell, Korie; Fisher, Robert N.; Naughton, Ida; Holway, David A

Year Published: 2018

Biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles at the Camp Cady Wildlife Area, Mojave Desert, California and comparisons with other desert locations

We examined the biodiversity of amphibian and reptile species living in and near constructed ponds in the riparian area at the Camp Cady Wildlife Area (CCWA) in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California, based on field work from 1998-1999, 2016-2017, review of the literature, and searches for museum specimens using VertNet.org. A...

Cummings, Kristy L.; Puffer, Shellie R.; Holmen, Jenny B.; Wallace, Jason K.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Meyer-Wilkins, Kathie; Petersen, Chris; Lovich, Robert E.

Year Published: 2018

Executive summary. In Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2): A Sustained Assessment Report

Central to life on Earth, carbon is essential to the molecular makeup of all living things and plays a key role in regulating global climate. To understand carbon’s role in these processes, researchers measure and evaluate carbon stocks and fluxes. A stock is the quantity of carbon contained in a pool or reservoir in the Earth system (e.g., carbon...

Cavallaro, Nancy; Shrestha, Gyami; Birdsey, Richard; Mayes, Melanie A.; Najjar, Raymond G.; Reed, Sasha C.; Romero-Lankao, Patricia; Zhu, Zhiliang; Birdsey, Richard; Mayes, Melanie A.; Romero-Lankao, Patricia; Najjar, Raymond G.; Reed, Sasha C.; Cavallaro, Nancy; Shrestha, Gyami; Hayes, Daniel J.; Lorenzoni, Laura; Marsh, Anne; Tedesco, Kathy; Wirth, Tom; Zhu, Zhiliang

Year Published: 2018

Analysis of population change and movement using robust design removal data

In capture-mark-reencounter studies, Pollock’s robust design combines methods for open populations with methods for closed populations. Open population features of the robust design allow for estimation of rates of death or permanent emigration, and closed population features enhance estimation of population sizes. We describe a similar design,...

Link, William A.; Converse, Sarah J.; Yackel Adams, Amy A.; Hostetter, Nathan J.

Year Published: 2018

Where have all the turtles gone, and why does it matter?

No abstract available.

Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Agha, Mickey; Gibbons, J. Whitfield

Year Published: 2018

Natural resource condition assessment: Olympic National Park

The Natural Resource Assessment Program aims to document condition and trends of selected park resources while identifying emerging issues and information needs. This information is intended to serve as a platform for natural resource managers to use in developing future resource stewardship priorities and planning.Olympic National Park (OLYM) on...

Mccaffery, Rebecca; Jenkins, Kurt J.

Filter Total Items: 695
Cattle Grazing at Sunset in Montana
April 25, 2016

Cattle Grazing at Sunset in Montana

Cattle graze on a ranch in western Montana.

Elk at a Wyoming feedground.
April 25, 2016

Elk Feedgrounds

Elk grazing at a feedground in Wyoming.

Blue Shiner, Cyprinella caerulea
April 20, 2016

Blue Shiner, Cyprinella caerulea

Blue Shiner, Cyprinella caerulea

Interpretive signage for USGS Western Fisheries Research Center Pump House
April 18, 2016

Interpretive signage for USGS Western Fisheries Research Center Pump House

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.

Osprey Chicks on the James River
April 15, 2016

DDT nearly wiped out these birds, now they’re making a comeback

Washington Post article on the impacts of DDT on birds.

A whooping crane mother and her two chicks in Louisiana, 2016
April 13, 2016

A whooping crane mother and her two chicks in Louisiana, 2016

Female whooping crane L6-12 and chicks LW1-16 and LW2-16, April 13, 2016. These are the first wild-hatched whooper chicks in Louisiana since 1939. Their parents, a four-year-old female and a three-year-old male, were raised at USGS’ Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, where researchers work to rebuild free-flying populations of the bugle-voiced, endangered birds

Assessment of the Cottrellville Shoreline Restoration Project
April 5, 2016

Assessment of the Cottrellville Shoreline Restoration Project

USGS scientists conduct a post-construction assessment of the Cottrellville Shoreline Restoration Project on the St. Clair River, Michigan.

Sonoran desert spring wildflower display.
March 31, 2016

Sonoran Desert Wildflowers and Invasive Species

Ecosystems are changing at a rapid pace. It can be difficult to determine if a landscape is in need of restoration. In this photo of the spring wildflower bloom in the Sonoran desert, an invasive annual grass, Bromus rubens (red brome), is pervasive. Land managers have to make decisions about when, where, and how to intervene in a system. Does this grass pose a threat to

...
Image: Measuring a Frog in the Cascades
March 15, 2016

Measuring a Frog in the Cascades

USGS researchers Brome McCreary (orange vest) and Chris Pearl take measurements on Cascades frog at a mountain lake in Oregon.

March 15, 2016

Mange in Wolves of Yellowstone National Park

This video describes USGS research utilizing remote thermal imaging cameras to study the extent and impact of mange on wolves in Yellowstone National Park.

February 25, 2016

Whitebark pine cone and seeds.

Image of whitebark pine cone and seeds.

February 23, 2016

Telemetry by air

Once a grizzly bear is radio collared, biologists can track its movements with telemetry via airplane.  The IGBST also used the latest telemetry technologies, which allows downloading of GPS data from the radio collar via satellites.