Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

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.

 

Check out our Cool Tools for Hot Topics!
Filter Total Items: 740
Date published: November 29, 2018
Status: Completed

Molecular characterization of unknown virus isolated from the introduced species, the Northern snake head (Channa argus), present in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Molecular characterization of unknown virus isolated from the introduced species, the Northern snake head (Channa argus), present in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Date published: November 29, 2018
Status: Active

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Prevalence of Intersex in Fish Populations in New Jersey

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Prevalence of Intersex in Fish Populations in New Jersey

Date published: November 13, 2018
Status: Active

Evaluating the pathogenicity and replication of a novel aquareovirus that infects the endangered fountain darter, Etheostoma fonticola

Evaluating the pathogenicity and replication of a novel aquareovirus that infects the endangered fountain darter, Etheostoma fonticola

Date published: November 1, 2018
Status: Active

Using Molecular Tools to Recalibrate Freshwater Mussel Taxonomy with a Focus on Imperiled Species

Freshwater mussels of the family Unionidae, also known as naiads, pearly mussels, freshwater clams, or unionids, are a diverse group of bivalve mollusks that are distributed on every continent except Antarctica. Approximately 300 species are known from the United States, with most of this diversity residing in rivers of the Southeast where many endemic taxa have evolved.

Date published: November 1, 2018
Status: Active

High-Flow Experiments on the Colorado River

Glen Canyon Dam has altered flow and fine sediment (sand, silt, and clay) dynamics of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Before the dam, the Colorado River experienced highly variable flows and carried a large amount of sediment through Grand Canyon, which maintained sandbars (highly valued camping areas in Grand Canyon) and provided sand that protected archeological and cultural sites from...

Date published: October 31, 2018
Status: Active

Wildlife Tracking/Telemetry

USGS scientists use tracking/telemetry tags to determine the occurrence and local movement patterns of wildlife. Because energy development often takes place in critical wildlife habitats, scientists can study these wildlife patterns to help guide project siting and operational decisions to areas and practices that present the lowest risk to energy development and wildlife.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 31, 2018
Status: Active

Management Support Tools

USGS scientists build broadly applicable management support tools to assist resource managers and the industry in siting of energy development and selection of off-site mitigation areas.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 31, 2018
Status: Active

Demographic and Population Models

USGS scientists are currently developing models for species of interest that can be overlaid with maps showing areas of potential energy. These models, or map overlays, identify areas of biological strengths and weaknesses or high- and low-quality habitat and can identify opportunities for conservation—areas of high-quality habitat where energy-generating potential is low—and areas of...

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 30, 2018
Status: Active

Conservation Planning

Conservation planning tools, such as those listed below, have been developed by USGS scientists to assist resource managers in prioritizing areas for future energy development.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 30, 2018
Status: Active

Fish Migration

 As hydropower dams age and require critical upgrades, USGS hydrologists, engineers and fish biologists work together to design the next generation of dams and operational protocols that improve passage for migratory fish and cause fewer negative effects on upstream and downstream ecosystems.  

Date published: October 30, 2018
Status: Active

Adaptive Management

USGS scientists conduct a combination of short- and longterm biological research, survey and monitoring, data analysis and applications, new tool and technology development and application, decision support, and adaptive management to address energy and wildlife management issues.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 30, 2018
Status: Active

Population Effects

USGS science is helping to understand the potential population effects for a number of wildlife species. Scientists are also developing risk assessment tools to guide energy development to locations where it will have minimal impact on wildlife. 

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Filter Total Items: 118
Date published: January 1, 2018

Dataset: Molecular testing of adult Pacific salmon and trout (Oncorhynchus spp.) for several RNA viruses demonstrates widespread distribution of piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) in Alaska and Washington

Dataset for the publication 'Molecular testing of adult Pacific salmon and trout (Oncorhynchus spp.) for several RNA viruses demonstrates widespread distribution of piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) in Alaska and Washington'. This research was initiated in conjunction with a systematic, multi-agency surveillance effort in the United States (U.S.) in response to reported findings of infectious salmon...

Date published: January 1, 2018

USGS Dam Removal Science Database v2.0

This database is the result of an extensive literature search aimed at identifying documents relevant to the emerging field of dam removal science. In total the database contains 214 citations that contain empirical monitoring information associated with 181 different dam removals across the United States and abroad. Data includes publications through 2016 and supplemented with the U.S. Army...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Distribution and seasonal differences in Pacific Lamprey and Lampetra spp eDNA across 18 Puget Sound watersheds, 2014 and 2015

These data contain all the raw results needed to support the conclusions for the final product. These data are water sampling locations (latitude and longitude), date of water sampling, quantitative PCR values for each water sample, and stream flow at USGS stream gauging stations on sampling day.

Date published: January 1, 2018

Climatic CPGs -- Probability of Streamflow Permanence (PROSPER) Continuous Parameter Grids (CPGs)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed the PRObability of Streamflow PERmanence (PROSPER) model, a GIS raster-based empirical model that provides streamflow permanence probabilities (probabilistic predictions) of a stream channel having year-round flow for any unregulated and minimally-impaired stream channel in the Pacific Northwest region, U.S. The model provides annual predictions...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Probability of Streamflow Permanence (PROSPER) Continuous Parameter Grids (CPGs)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed the PRObability of Streamflow PERmanence (PROSPER) model, a GIS raster-based empirical model that provides streamflow permanence probabilities (probabilistic predictions) of a stream channel having year-round flow for any unregulated and minimally-impaired stream channel in the Pacific Northwest region, U.S. The model provides annual predictions...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Physical CPGs -- Probability of Streamflow Permanence (PROSPER) Continuous Parameter Grids (CPGs)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed the PRObability of Streamflow PERmanence (PROSPER) model, a GIS raster-based empirical model that provides streamflow permanence probabilities (probabilistic predictions) of a stream channel having year-round flow for any unregulated and minimally-impaired stream channel in the Pacific Northwest region, U.S. The model provides annual predictions...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Annual survival, site fidelity, and longevity in the eastern population of the Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)

Data comprise 6632 observations of individually banded Painted Buntings, captured and observed from 1999-2016 at 40 study locations on the southeastern Atlantic Coast (NC, SC, GA and FL, US).

Date published: January 1, 2018

Preliminary evaluation of behavioral response of nesting waterbirds to small unmanned aircraft flight

This dataset is comprised of 3 .csv files related to the use of unmanned aerial systems over waterbird colonies. Specifically, data detail the disturbance observed in birds during flights, the time required for traditional ground surveys to be conducted, and the distance at which birds flush during traditional ground surveys.

Date published: January 1, 2018

Probability of Streamflow Permanence (PROSPER) Model Output Layers

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed the PRObability of Streamflow PERmanence (PROSPER) model, a GIS raster-based empirical model that provides streamflow permanence probabilities (probabilistic predictions) of a stream channel having year-round flow for any unregulated and minimally-impaired stream channel in the Pacific Northwest region, U.S. The model provides annual predictions...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Concentrations of environmental DNA (eDNA) during sockeye salmon spawning in 2016, Hansen Creek, Alaska, USA

This dataset contains environmental DNA (eDNA) concentrations and spawning adult abundances for sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in Hansen Creek, a small tributary in the Wood River watershed, southeast Alaska, USA. We took temporally- and spatially-replicated eDNA samples during the spawning period (mid-July through August), along with fish counts (live, naturally dead, and killed),...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Susceptibility of Nanophyetus salmonicola cercariae to formalin, hydrogen peroxide and seawater

The ability of formalin, PEROX-AID® (hydrogen peroxide), and seawater to kill waterborne Nanophyetus salmincola cercariae was evaluated in vitro. Newly emerged waterborne cercariae survived for extended periods in freshwater, with 50-74% survival occurring in negative control groups after 24 hr. Exposure to dilutions of formalin reduced this survival time, with 0% of cercariae...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Data to Support Efficacy Studies of Injectable Tulathromycin for Reduction of Vertical Transmission of Renibacterium salmoninarum in Spring Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

Bacterial kidney disease (BKD) caused by Renibacterium salmoninarum (Rs) occurs nearly worldwide where wild or cultured salmonid fishes are present. Control of BKD is confounded by its two modes of transmission, horizontal (fish-to-fish) and vertical (from female parent to progeny via the eggs). A highly successful BKD control strategy employed in Pacific Northwest hatcheries culturing spring...

Filter Total Items: 4,609
Year Published: 2019

Ethanol and sodium acetate as a preservation method to delay degradation of environmental DNA

Environmental DNA (eDNA) samples that are collected from remote locations depend on rapid stabilization of the DNA. The degradation of eDNA in water samples is minimized when samples are stored at ≤ 4 °C. Developing a preservation technique to maintain eDNA integrity at room temperature would allow a wider range of locations to be sampled. We...

Ladell, Bridget A.; Walleser, Liza R.; McCalla, S. Grace; Erickson, Richard A.; Amberg, Jon J.

Year Published: 2019

Lethal and sublethal responses of native mussels (Unionidae: Lampsilis siliquoidea and Lampsilis higginsii) to elevated carbon dioxide

Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) that have been proposed for aquatic invasive species control (24 000 – 96 000 μatm partial pressure of CO2 (PCO2); 1 atm = 101.325 kPa) were tested on two juvenile mussels, the fatmucket (Lampsilis siliquoidea) and the US federally endangered Higgins’ eye (Lampsilis higginsii). A suite of responses (survival,...

Waller, Diane L.; Bartsch, Michelle R.; Bartsch, Lynn; Jackson, Craig

Year Published: 2019

Spatial, road geometric, and biotic factors associated with Barn Owl mortality along an interstate highway

Highway programs typically focus on reducing vehicle collisions with large mammals because of economic or safety reasons while overlooking the millions of birds that die annually from traffic. We studied wildlife‐vehicle collisions along an interstate highway in southern Idaho, USA, with among the highest reported rates of American Barn Owl ...

Arnold, Erin M.; Hanser, Steven E.; Regan, Tempe; Thompson, Jeremy; Lowe, Melinda; Kociolek, Angela; Belthoff, James R.
Attribution: Ecosystems

Year Published: 2019

Gene flow connects coastal populations of a habitat specialist, the Clapper Rail Rallus crepitans

Examining population genetic structure can reveal patterns of reproductive isolation or population mixing and inform conservation management. Some avian species are predicted to exhibit minimal genetic differentiation among populations as a result of the species high mobility, with habitat specialists tending to show greater fine‐scale genetic...

Coster, Stephanie S.; Welsh, Amy B.; Costanzo, Gary R.; Harding, Sergio R.; Anderson, James T.; Katzner, Todd E.

Year Published: 2018

Habitat Needs Assessment‐II for the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: Linking science to management perspectives

The Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program vision statement is for a healthier and more resilient Upper Mississippi River ecosystem that sustains the river’s multiple uses. To address this vision, the UMRR Program recently developed a suite of 12 indicators that quantify aspects of ecosystem health and resilience (i.e., connectivity,...

McCain, Kat; Schmuecker, Sara; De Jager, Nathan R.

Year Published: 2018

Assessment of carbon dioxide piscicide treatments

Few chemicals are approved to control or eradicate nuisance fish populations in the United States. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is currently being developed and studied as a new piscicide option for nonselective population control. This study evaluated dry ice (solid state CO2) as a simple CO2 delivery method during winter piscicide applications....

Cupp, Aaron R.; Smerud, Justin R.; Tix, John A.; Rivera, Jose M.; Kageyama, Stacie A.; Merkes, Christopher M.; Erickson, Richard A.; Amberg, Jon J.; Gaikowski, Mark P.

Year Published: 2018

Taxonomic evaluation of the three “type” specimens of the fringe-footed shrew, Sorex fimbripes Bachman, 1837 (Mammalia: Soricidae) and recommended nomenclatural status of the name

John Bachman (1837:391) described the “fringe-footed shrew,” Sorex fimbripes Bachman, 1837, in his landmark monograph on the North American Soricidae (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla), in which he recognized 13 uniquely New World species. Characters he attributed to S. fimbripes resulted in its being interpreted as a tiny, semi-aquatic species and...

Woodman, Neal

Year Published: 2018

2017-2018 Palila abundance estimates and trend

The palila (Loxioides bailleui) population was surveyed annually from 1998–2018 on Mauna Kea Volcanoto determine abundance, population trend, and spatial distribution. In the latest surveys, the 2017population was estimated at 1,177−1,813 birds (point estimate: 1,461) and the 2018 population wasestimated at 778−1,420 (point estimate: 1,051). Only...

Genz, Ayesha S.; Brinck, Kevin W.; Camp, Richard J.; Banko, Paul C.

Year Published: 2018

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program Long Term Resource Monitoring element—Spatial data query tool

The Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program Long Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) element has been monitoring fish, water quality, and vegetation in six study pools in the Upper Mississippi River system for approximately 30 years. Geographic locations were recorded for all sampling points. All of this information has been made publicly...

Rohweder, Jason J.
Rohweder, Jason, 2018, Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program Long Term Resource Monitoring element—Spatial data query tool: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018-3077, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183077.

Year Published: 2018

Intensive oyster aquaculture can reduce disease impacts on sympatric wild oysters

Risks associated with disease spread from fish and shellfish farming have plagued the growth and public perception of aquaculture worldwide. However, by processing nutrients and organic material from the water column, the culture of many suspension-feeding bivalves has been proposed as a novel solution toward mitigating problems facing coastal...

Ben-Horin, Tal; Burge, Colleen A.; Bushek, David; Groner, Maya L.; Proestou, Dina A.; Huey, Lauren I.; Bidegain, Gorka; Carnegie, Ryan B.

Year Published: 2018

Indicators of ecosystem structure and function for the Upper Mississippi River System

This report documents the development of quantitative measures (indicators) of ecosystem structure and function for use in a Habitat Needs Assessment (HNA) for the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS). HNAs are led periodically by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program, which is the primary habitat...

De Jager, Nathan R.; Rogala, James T.; Rohweder, Jason J.; Van Appledorn, Molly; Bouska, Kristen L.; Houser, Jeffrey N.; Jankowski, Kathi Jo
De Jager, N.R., Rogala, J.T., Rohweder, J.J., Van Appledorn, M., Bouska, K.L., Houser, Jeffrey, N., and Jankowski, K.J., 2018, Indicators of ecosystem structure and function for the Upper Mississippi River System: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1143, 115 p., including 4 appendixes, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181143.

Year Published: 2018

Optimization of salt marsh management at the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Delaware, through use of structured decision making

Structured decision making is a systematic, transparent process for improving the quality of complex decisions by identifying measurable management objectives and feasible management actions; predicting the potential consequences of management actions relative to the stated objectives; and selecting a course of action that maximizes the total...

Neckles, Hilary A.; Lyons, James E.; Nagel, Jessica L.; Adamowicz, Susan C.; Mikula, Toni; Guiteras, Susan T.; Mitchell, Laura R.
Neckles, H.A., Lyons, J.E., Nagel, J.L., Adamowicz, S.C., Mikula, T., Guiteras, S.T., and Mitchell, L.R., 2018, Optimization of salt marsh management at the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Delaware, through use of structured decision making: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1160, 18 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181160.

Filter Total Items: 689
Salt marsh harvest mouse
July 13, 2018

Endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris)

A Federally endangered salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris) climbs a branch.

Female northern harrier
July 13, 2018

Adult Female Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)

An adult, female northern harrier (Circus cyaneus) flies overhead in Suisun Marsh, CA. Before habitat loss drove declines in the bird's populations, Suisun Marsh hosted the state's largest population of northern harriers.

July 11, 2018

Four Examples of Nest Predation by Rats - Hawaii Volcanoes National

Black rats were unintentionally introduced to Hawai’i in the late 1800s, most likely as hitchhikers on trading vessels. Since their introduction, they have disrupted native ecosystems by destroying native plants, eating native arthropods, and depredating bird nests. Black rats have contributed to population declines and species extinctions of Hawaiian forest birds, and

...
July 11, 2018

Four Examples of Nest Predation by Rats (Short)

Black rats were unintentionally introduced to Hawai’i in the late 1800s, most likely as hitchhikers on trading vessels. Since their introduction, they have disrupted native ecosystems by destroying native plants, eating native arthropods, and depredating bird nests. Black rats have contributed to population declines and species extinctions of Hawaiian forest birds, and

...
Canada lynx
June 21, 2018

Canada Lynx

– Scientists at the USGS Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and
Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in
collaboration with The Rockefeller University’s Vertebrate Genome Laboratory,
New York, are releasing to a public repository at the vertebrate lab, for use by
geneticists, conservationists and other researchers around the

...
Coring a ponderosa pine
June 16, 2018

WERC's Dr. Phil van Mantgem Cores Ponderosa Pine in Lassen NP

Dr. Phillip van Mantgem cores a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) in Lassen National Park, CA.

Bee pollinating a flowering coastal prairie plant
June 15, 2018

Bee pollinating a flowering coastal prairie plant - WARC

Bee pollinating a flowering coastal prairie plant

June 1, 2018

PAMF Participation Cycle

This video describes the annual participation cycle for those enrolled in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF). PAMF encompasses three annual steps including enrolling, monitoring and managing. As participants employ management actions and submit monitoring reports they will receive management guidance generated by the PAMF model, which provides the most

...
June 1, 2018

PAMF Participation Cycle (Audio-Described)

This video describes the annual participation cycle for those enrolled in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF). PAMF encompasses three annual steps including enrolling, monitoring and managing. As participants employ management actions and submit monitoring reports they will receive management guidance generated by the PAMF model, which provides the most

...
USGS scientist using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
May 30, 2018

USGS scientist using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

USGS scientist Todd Preston using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).  USGS is actively exploring the use of small unmanned aerial system (aka drones) for scientific data collection and testing whether or not they are useful in monitoring wildlife. These systems have proven their utility in military reconnaissance missions and are now finding a second life in scientific

...
Fog on Yukon River
May 29, 2018

Fog on Yukon River

Fog along the Yukon River showing a Black Spruce dominated forest in the foreground, which is prone to wildfire.  Photo by Bruce Wylie, USGS

1985-2018 Lion fish invasion. Ecosystems Mission Area. Wetlands and Aquatic Research Center
May 16, 2018

1985-2018 Lionfish Invasion

Lionfish invasion (1985-2018). Lionfish invaded US Atlantic coastal waters, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico with unprecedented, alarming speed. Though reports of sightings date back to the 1980s, it is only recently that the species has exploded in numbers and range. In fact, the lionfish invasion is the 

...
Filter Total Items: 284
Date published: October 23, 2017

Trick or Treat? The Frightening Threats to Bats

Written by Marisa Lubeck and Ethan Alpern

Date published: September 29, 2017

Annual Southern Sea Otter Survey: Despite Small Population Dip, Species Moves a Step Closer to Recovery

According to data released Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners, the three-year average of the total counts of southern sea otters was down from last year’s high, although it still exceeded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting threshold for a second straight year.

Date published: September 27, 2017

Research to Recover Threatened Waterfowl: USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Supervisor Receives Prestigious U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion Award

USGS scientist James “Barry” Grand, Ph.D., has been named a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion (Region 7) for his exemplary long-term research on two formerly threatened species, the spectacled eider and Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Emerging Disease Further Jeopardizes North American Frogs

A deadly amphibian disease called severe Perkinsea infections, or SPI, is the cause of many large-scale frog die-offs in the United States, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey

Date published: September 6, 2017

Wildfire and Invasive Species Drives Increasing Size and Cost of Public Land Restoration Efforts

An examination of long-term data for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management finds that land treatments in the southwestern United States are increasingly large, expensive and related to fire and invasive species control.

Date published: September 5, 2017

Public Invitation: USGS La Crosse Science Center Opens Doors for Interactive Experience

The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 9.  

Date published: August 30, 2017

Public Invitation: Jamestown Science Center Opens Doors for Interactive Experience

The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 16.  

Date published: August 25, 2017

Story from the Field: Ducks of Suisun Marsh

Suisun Marsh in summer is typically heavy with fog, mosquitoes, and biting flies, but the sun casts sharp light across the water, beating back the usual unpleasantness as WERC volunteer Brock Riggs wades toward a study site on an early July morning. 

Date published: August 23, 2017

Invasive Pest May Not Be Only Cause of Recent Louisiana Marsh Die-off

A non-native insect infestation may not be the only factor involved in the ongoing die-back of a marsh grass in the Mississippi River’s “bird foot delta,” the ecologically and economically important part of coastal Louisiana where the river meets the Gulf of Mexico.

Date published: August 16, 2017

Changing Tides: Lake Michigan Could Best Support Lake Trout and Steelhead

Invasive mussels and less nutrients from tributaries have altered the Lake Michigan ecosystem making it more conducive to the stocking of lake trout and steelhead than Chinook salmon, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey and Michigan State University study.

Date published: August 10, 2017

Media Advisory: Wildlife Partners Unite to Protect Iconic Species from Deadly Plague

Reporters are invited to an event near Fort Collins showcasing cooperative efforts to develop a potential breakthrough in wildlife management – an oral vaccine that may help protect prairie dogs against plague and assist in the recovery of endangered black-footed ferrets at specific locations in the West.  

Date published: August 1, 2017

Deadly Fungus Affecting Hibernating Bats Could Spread During Summer

The cold-loving fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd) that causes white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of North American bats during hibernation, could also spread in summer months. Bats and humans visiting contaminated caves and mines can inadvertently contribute to the spread of the fungus, according to a recently published study by the U.S. Geological Survey.