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: 740
Date published: October 24, 2018
Status: Active

Bats

Bats are essential parts of Earth’s environments and perform services valuable to humans. Research by USGS scientists shows that insect-eating bats—through their free pest-suppression services—save farmers at least $3 billion each year. Many bat populations are declining due to factors such as habitat loss and disease. Recent growth in wind-energy development brought the unexpected consequence...

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 24, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Species

USGS science guides responsible energy development by providing managers and energy developers authoritative and cutting edge tools to locate, plan, and build new energy facilities and avoid unnecessary impacts to fish and wildlife. These tools help managers balance energy development with stewardship of America’s fish and wildlife heritage.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 23, 2018
Status: Active

Assessment of the immune status of wild and laboratory-maintained smallmouth bass

Deaths of young-of-year smallmouth bass in the Chesapeake Bay drainage has been noted since 2005. Studies of affected fish have found bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. Mixed infections suggest these fish are immunosuppressed. Understanding the role of specific pathogens and environmental factors that contribute to their presence is important but equally important is the understanding...

Date published: October 22, 2018
Status: Active

Species Distribution Models

USGS scientists combine species data, range maps, and distribution models for amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles occurring in the U.S. These kinds of maps and data are fundamental to conservation planning, forecasting, and research.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 22, 2018
Status: Active

Facility Siting and Operations

Because energy development often takes place in critical wildlife habitats, ecological science can be used 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 22, 2018
Status: Active

Management and Restoration

USGS supports restoration activities by providing tools and data to assist partners.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 22, 2018
Status: Active

Indirect Effects and Disturbance

USGS scientists are studying how land-surface disturbance from energy development affect wildlife.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 21, 2018
Status: Active

Risk and Impact Assessment

USGS scientists study and monitor fish and wildlife, providing natural resource managers evidence-based information on the status and trends of species of interest. A rigorous scientific process is applied to understand risks, measure impacts, and inform solutions to national and local challenges facing both humans and wildlife.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 21, 2018
Status: Active

Wildlife Behavior

Disturbances from energy development can have an affect on wildlife behavior. USGS scientists study the impacts of energy development on land, water, and the healthy ecosystems that fish and wildlife depend on to determine how these impacts may affect wildlife behavior.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 21, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Species

Recent development of energy resources, such as wind, oil, gas, and solar, can potentially affect landscapes in ways that require changes in avian management practices.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 20, 2018
Status: Active

Arctic Species

USGS scientists are researching wildlife species and their responses to ecosystem change to inform management decisions related to development of oil, gas and mineral resources on Bureau of Land
Management lands and on the Outer Continental Shelf managed by Bureau of Ocean Energy
Management.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 20, 2018
Status: Active

Aquatic Species

To meet a continued demand for energy, USGS scientists assess the nation's oil, natural gas and coal resources, as well as study the impacts of energy development on land, water, and the healthy ecosystems that fish and wildlife depend on.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Filter Total Items: 118
Date published: July 6, 2017

Life history attributes data for Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) in Arizona 2013

The Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) occurs in the desert and plains grasslands of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Sonora, Mexico. This data was produced as part of the first intensive study of its life history and breeding ecology, providing baseline data and facilitating comparisons with other North American Grasshopper Sparrow...

Date published: July 6, 2017

Standardization and Application of an Index of Community Integrity for Waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay

This data set is comprised of five files related to the modification and scoring of Index of Waterbird Community Integrity (IWCI) scores for all waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay. One Excel file (A) contains a list of 100+ Chesapeake waterbird species and their species attribute and IWCI scores.

Date published: May 19, 2017

Early Estimates of Herbaceous Annual Cover in the Sagebrush Ecosystem

These data were developed to provide land managers and researchers with early-season, near-real-time predictions of spatially explicit percent cover predictions of herbaceous annual vegetation in the study area. Appropriate use of the data should be defined by the user; however, this data comes with several caveats.

Date published: March 28, 2017

Low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses in wild migratory waterfowl in a region of high poultry production, Delmarva, Maryland

This data set is comprised of four files related to the biosurveillance of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIV) in migratory waterfowl at 22 locations in the Maryland portion of the Delmarva Peninsula in fall/winter of 2013-2014. 

Date published: March 22, 2017

DATA RELEASE - Southwestern Riparian Plant Trait Matrix, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona, 2014 - 2016

This dataset contains information on the physical traits and environmental tolerances of plant species occurring along the lower Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Data for the matrix were compiled from published scientific papers, unpublished reports, plant fact sheets, existing trait databases, regional floras, and plant guides.

Date published: March 14, 2017

Quantitative Analysis Using Structural Equation Modeling

USGS scientists have been involved for a number of years in the development and use of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This methodology represents an approach to statistical modeling that focuses on the study of complex cause-effect hypotheses about the mechanisms operating in systems.

Date published: February 8, 2017

The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966 - 2015

This website presents population change information for more than 400 species of North American birds, as estimated from the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Estimates of trend (interval-specific estimates of population change), annual indices of abundance, and maps of abundance and population change for these species are presented for a variety of regions.

Date published: February 8, 2017

North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) anuran detection data from the eastern and central United States (1994-2015)

The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) was a collaborative citizen science effort between the US Geological Survey (USGS) and 26 Partners (state agencies, universities, and nonprofits) for monitoring calling amphibian populations over much of the eastern and central United States.

Date published: February 2, 2017

A Multiscale Index of Landscape Intactness for the Western United States

Landscape intactness has been defined as a quantifiable estimate of naturalness measured on a gradient of anthropogenic influence. We developed a multiscale index of landscape intactness for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) landscape approach, which requires multiple scales of information to quantify the cumulative effects of land use.

Date published: February 2, 2017

North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC)

Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) was created by the USGS Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) to provide users with high-quality digital microscopy photographs.

Date published: January 30, 2017

Field Guide to the Nonindigenous Marine Fishes of Florida

The purpose of this field guide is to provide information on nonindigenous (i.e., non-native) fishes that have been observed in Florida’s marine waters.

Date published: January 27, 2017

Mean of the Top Ten Percent of NDVI Values in the Yuma Proving Ground during Monsoon Season, 1986-2011

This study uses growth in vegetation during the monsoon season measured from LANDSAT imagery as a proxy for measured rainfall. NDVI values from 26 years of pre- and post-monsoon season Landsat imagery were derived across Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in southwestern Arizona, USA.

Filter Total Items: 4,609
Year Published: 2018

Migratory coupling between predators and prey

Animal migrations act to couple ecosystems and are undertaken by some of the world’s most endangered taxa. Predators often exploit migrant prey, but the movements taken by these consumers are rarely studied or understood. We define such movements, where migrant prey induce large-scale movements of predators, as migratory coupling. Migratory...

Furey, Nathan B.; Armstrong, Jonathan B.; Beauchamp, David A.; Hinch, Scott G.

Year Published: 2018

Quantitative acoustic differentiation of cryptic species illustrated with King and Clapper rails

Reliable species identification is vital for survey and monitoring programs. Recently, the development of digital technology for recording and analyzing vocalizations has assisted in acoustic surveying for cryptic, rare, or elusive species. However, the quantitative tools that exist for species differentiation are still being refined. Using...

Stiffler, Lydia L.; Schroeder, Katie M.; Anderson, James T.; McRae, Susan B.; Katzner, Todd E.

Year Published: 2018

Insect communities in big sagebrush habitat are altered by wildfire and post‐fire restoration seeding

Natural resource managers sow grass, forb, and shrub seeds across millions of hectares of public lands in the western United States to restore sagebrush‐steppe ecosystems burned by wildfire. The effects of post‐fire vegetation treatments on insect communities in these ecosystems have not been investigated.We conducted the first investigation of...

Rohde, Ashley T.; Pilliod, David S.; Novak, Stephen J.

Year Published: 2018

American Recent Eulipotyphla: Nesophontids, Solenodons, Moles, and Shrews in the New World

The mammalian taxonomic order Eulipotyphla is comprised of the living taxonomic families Erinaceidae (gymnures, hedgehogs, and moonrats), Solenodontidae (solenodonts), Soricidae (shrews), and Talpidae (desmans and moles). Morphological and molecular studies continue to alter our view of relationships within and among these families, and this...

Woodman, Neal

Year Published: 2018

Effect of heat and singeing on stable hydrogen isotope ratios of bird feathers and implications for their use in determining geographic origin

RationaleStable hydrogen isotope (δ2H) ratios of animal tissues are useful for assessing movement and geographic origin of mobile organisms. However, it is uncertain whether heat and singeing affects feather δ2H values and thus subsequent geographic assignments. This is relevant for birds of conservation interest that are burned and killed at...

Vander Zanden, Hannah B.; Reid, Abigail; Katzner, Todd E.; Nelson, David M.

Year Published: 2018

Application of the Stream Salmonid Simulator (S3) to the restoration reach of the Trinity River, California—Parameterization and calibration

Executive SummaryIn this report, we constructed and parameterized the Stream Salmonid Simulator (S3) for the 64-kilometer “Restoration Reach” of the Trinity River, just downstream of Lewiston Dam in northern California. S3 is a deterministic life-stage-structured population model that tracks daily growth, movement, and survival of juvenile salmon...

Perry, Russell W.; Jones, Edward C.; Plumb, John M.; Som, Nicholas A.; Hetrick, Nicholas J.; Hardy, Thomas B.; Polos, Joseph C; Martin, Aaron C.; Alvarez, Justin S.; De Juilio, Kyle P.
Perry, R.W., Jones, E.C., Plumb, J.M., Som, N.A., Hetrick, N.J., Hardy, T.B., Polos, J.C., Martin, A.C., Alvarez, J.S., and De Juilio, K.P., 2018, Application of the Stream Salmonid Simulator (S3) to the restoration reach of the Trinity River, California—Parameterization and calibration: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1174, 64 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181174.

Year Published: 2018

GenEst user guide—Software for a generalized estimator of mortality

GenEst (Generalized Estimator) is a software tool for estimating the total number of individuals arriving in an area during a specific time period when their detection probability is unknown but estimable. Its development was motivated by the need to accurately estimate the total number of bird and bat fatalities occurring at wind and solar energy...

Simonis, Juniper; Dalthorp, Daniel; Huso, Manuela M.; Mintz, Jeffrey; Madsen, Lisa; Rabie, Paul; Studyvin, Jared
Simonis, J., Dalthorp, D., Huso, M., Mintz, J., Madsen, L., Rabie, P., and Studyvin, J., 2018, GenEst user guide—Software for a generalized estimator of mortality: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 7, chap. C19, 72 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm7C19.

Year Published: 2018

GenEst statistical models—A generalized estimator of mortality

IntroductionGenEst (a generalized estimator of mortality) is a suite of statistical models and software tools for generalized mortality estimation. It was specifically designed for estimating the number of bird and bat fatalities at solar and wind power facilities, but both the software (Dalthorp and others, 2018) and the underlying statistical...

Dalthorp, Daniel; Madsen, Lisa; Huso, Manuela M.; Rabie, Paul; Wolpert, Robert; Studyvin, Jared; Simonis, Juniper; Mintz, Jeffrey
Dalthorp, D., Madsen, L., Huso, M., Rabie, P., Wolpert, R., Studyvin, J., Simonis, J., and Mintz, J., 2018, GenEst statistical models—A generalized estimator of mortality: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 7, chap. A2, 13 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm7A2.

Year Published: 2018

Assessment of potential risks from renewable energy development and other anthropogenic factors to wintering Golden Eagles in the western United States

Wind and other energy development are expanding rapidly and on an unprecedented scale within the range of the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) while other anthropogenic-related changes, wildfires, invasive plants, drought, and climate change are altering or destroying native habitats occupied by Golden Eagles. However, the potential effects of...

Humphries, Grant; Magness, Dawn; Huettmann, Falk; Craig, Erica H.; Fuller, Mark R.; Craig, Tim H.; Huettmann, Falk

Year Published: 2018

Batrachochytrium salamandriovrans (Bsal) in Appalachia—Using scenario building to proactively prepare for a wildlife disease outbreak caused by an invasive amphibian chytrid fungus

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), a pathogenic chytrid fungus, is nonnative to the United States and poses a disease threat to vulnerable amphibian hosts. The Bsal fungus may lead to increases in threatened, endangered, and sensitive status listings at State, Tribal, and Federal levels, resulting in financial costs associated with...

Hopkins, M.C.; Adams, M.J.; Super, P.E.; Olson, D.H.; Hickman, C.R.; English, P.; Sprague, L.; Maska, I.B. ; Pennaz, A.B.; Ludwig, K.A.
Attribution: Ecosystems
Hopkins, M.C., Adams, M.J., Super, P.E., Olson, D.H., Hickman, C.R., English, P., Sprague, L., Maska, I.B., Pennaz, A.B., and Ludwig, K.A., 2018, Batrachochytrium salamandriovrans (Bsal) in Appalachia—Using scenario building to proactively prepare for a wildlife disease outbreak caused by an invasive amphibian chytrid fungus: U.S. Geological Survey Report 2018–1150, 31 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181150.

Year Published: 2018

Multi-state occupancy models of foraging habitat use by the Hawaiian hoary bat Lasiurus cinereus semotus

Multi-state occupancy modeling can often improve assessments of habitat use and site quality when animal activity or behavior data are available. We examine the use of the approach for evaluating foraging habitat suitability of the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) from classifications of site occupancy based on flight...

Gorresen, Paulo Marcos; Brinck, Kevin W.; DeLisle, Megan A.; Montoya-Aiona, Kristina; Pinzari, Corinna A.; Bonaccorso, Frank
Gorresen, P. M., K. W. Brinck, M. A. DeLisle, K. Montoya-Aiona, C. A. Pinzari, and F. J. Bonaccorso. 2018. Multi-state occupancy models of foraging habitat use by the Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus). PLoS ONE 13:e0205150.

Year Published: 2018

Long-term impacts of exotic grazer removal on native shrub recovery, Santa Cruz Island, California

A combination of overgrazing and exotic species introduction has led to the degradation of habitats worldwide. It is often unclear whether removal of exotic ungulates will lead to the natural reestablishment of native plant communities without further management inputs. I describe here my return to sites on Santa Cruz Island, California, 12 years...

Yelenik, Stephanie G.
Yelenik, S. G. 2018. Long-term impacts of exotic grazer removal on native shrub recovery, Santa Cruz Island, California. Western North American Naturalist 78:777–786.

Filter Total Items: 689
Sea turtle
December 31, 2017

Sea turtle

Green sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered throughout their range. (Credit: Thierry Work, USGS)

Attribution: Ecosystems
Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication
December 31, 2017

Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication

This microscopic image shows a sun-shaped area within turtle skin cells where chelonid herpesvirus 5 replicates. The virus capsids, or protein shells, are arrayed like a corona around the circle. ChHV5 is associated with fibropapillomatosisa tumor disease affecting endangered green turtles. (Credit: Thierry Work,

...
A desmid alga is bright red and green photographed in UV light
December 31, 2017

This single-celled alga is a natural ornament

It looks like a holiday ornament, but this lovely object is a single-celled freshwater alga from the desmid family, found in the marshes of Florida’s Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. USGS biologist Barry Rosen photographed it at 200x magnification using ultraviolent light and a fluorescence microscope. Desmids range in size from under 10 microns—

...
Hibernating little brown bat
December 31, 2017

Hibernating little brown bat

little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) with white-nose syndrome hibernating in a Virginia cave during late spring of 2016. Patches of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome can be seen growing out of the skin (white areas) near the nose and across the folded wing skin of this bat.  Spherical drops of water condensation coat the bat's outer fur, a

...
USGS
December 31, 2017

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

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Blue SPV bait
December 31, 2017

Blue SPV bait

This image shows the blue version of sylvatic plague vaccine bait for prairie dogs. 

Prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to succumb to a deadly disease called sylvatic plague after they ingest peanut-butter-flavored bait that contains a vaccine against the disease.

In an effort to increase populations of endangered black-footed ferrets and conserve the

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USGS
December 31, 2017

California myotis (Myotis californicus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

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USGS
December 31, 2017

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) Echo Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

...
Monarch on Joe Pyeweed plant
December 31, 2017

Monarch on Joe Pyeweed plant

Monarch butterfly on a Joe Pyeweed plant.

USGS
December 31, 2017

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) Social Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

...
Alligator Hatchlings
December 31, 2017

Alligator Hatchlings

Crocodilians are one of the few reptile taxa that exhibit parental care. In alligators, following nest construction, females stay nearby in a guard hole, and are known to defend their nests against predators or other intruders. At the end of the 60-day incubation period, alligator hatchlings will vocalize from within the egg, to signal to the mother that they are ready to

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Corallimorph mouths
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph mouths

The arrows in this image point to mouths of individual corallimorphs, which are a type of invasive anemone that typically thrives in coral reefs that have been degraded by environmental or man-made disturbances. Each corallimorph mouth is surrounded by a corona of tentacles.

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to

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Filter Total Items: 284
Date published: June 6, 2017

Scientists Discover New Species of Fijian Iguana

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, The National Trust of Fiji and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti have discovered a new species of banded iguana.

Date published: June 6, 2017

Increased Sea Ice Drift Puts Polar Bears on Faster Moving Treadmill

A new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wyoming found that increased westward ice drift in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas requires polar bears to expend more energy walking eastward on a faster moving “treadmill” of sea ice.  

Date published: June 6, 2017

USGS Bridging Generations with WWII Technology

On June 6, 1944, thousands of men rained down from the skies onto the battlegrounds of Normandy. After five grueling years of war that shook the globe, D-Day’s victory swept the Allied nations into a wave of celebration.

Date published: June 5, 2017

New USGS Science Plan Designed to Help Plan for Drought Effects on People, Communities, and Ecosystems

The U. S. Geological Survey is poised to bring a dynamic array of science and tools to help decision-makers manage and offset effects of increased drought across the United States, according to a drought plan report released today.

Date published: June 1, 2017

Alabama Survey Finds First Southeastern Bat with White-Nose Syndrome

Biologists have confirmed white-nose syndrome in the southeastern bat, or Myotis austroriparius, for the first time. The species joins eight other hibernating bat species in North America that are afflicted with the deadly bat fungal disease.

Date published: May 31, 2017

USGS Finds 28 Types of Cyanobacteria in Florida Algal Bloom

A new U.S. Geological Survey study that looked at the extensive harmful algal bloom that plagued Florida last year found far more types of cyanobacteria present than previously known.

Date published: May 25, 2017

Mapping Chesapeake's Future From Today's Land Use

USGS’ pixel-by-pixel land use forecasts offer essential road maps for restoration. 

Date published: May 10, 2017

Glaciers Rapidly Shrinking and Disappearing: 50 Years of Glacier Change in Montana

The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University.

Date published: May 3, 2017

Migrating mule deer track “green waves” of spring forage: study highlights importance of habitat corridors for migrating game and other species

Migratory mule deer in Wyoming closely time their movements to track the spring green-up, providing evidence of an underappreciated foraging benefit of migration, according to a study by University of Wyoming and U.S. Geological Survey scientists at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

Date published: May 3, 2017

Wind Turbines Affect Behavior of Desert Tortoise Predators

How a wind energy facility is designed can influence the behavior of animal predators and their prey, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: May 2, 2017

Wildlife Recovery Following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill was Highly Variable Across Species

Thanks to a quarter-century of research and monitoring, scientists now know how different wildlife species were injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and how long it took for populations to recover.