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: 745
Date published: February 22, 2019
Status: Active

Point and Non-Point Sources of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds and the Potential Effects on Fish and Frogs in the New Jersey Pinelands

Point and Non-Point Sources of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds and the Potential Effects on Fish and Frogs in the New Jersey Pinelands

Contacts: Vicki Blazer
Date published: February 19, 2019
Status: Active

Risk Analysis of Invasive Freshwater Fishes in Hawaii and Micronesia

Invasive species threaten biodiversity around the world, especially on islands. USGS scientists are helping to identify fish species that have the greatest potential to invade the fresh waters of Microneisa. 

Date published: February 8, 2019
Status: Active

Episode 1 - Pollinators

This episode's buzz is all about pollinators, the birds, bees, bats, beetles, and other animals that feed on pollen from plants and help bring about one in three bites of food to our plates. Pollinators are crucial contributors to our environment and society by enhancing plant diversity in wild lands and providing food for humans in agricultural settings. Some three-fourths of all native...

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: December 13, 2018
Status: Active

WFRC Ecology Section - Projects Overview

The Ecology Section examines how environmental variability, human activities and infrastructure influence food web interactions and species performance in freshwater and marine ecosystems. We have extensive experience in quantifying aquatic food web processes as they relate to growth, survival and production of key species of interest, especially resident and anadromous salmonids.

Date published: December 12, 2018
Status: Active

Geospatial Science and Technology

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Southwest Biological Science Center, and more specifically, its River Ecosystem Science branch which includes the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC), is a preeminent science group that has more than 20 years of experience of providing high-quality, detailed science to resource managers and stakeholders primarily concerned with the effects of dam...

Date published: December 12, 2018
Status: Active

Life History and Migration of Sturgeons in New England Waters

Sturgeons appear in the fossil record as early as the Triassic, 200 million years ago.  Although most populations could once tolerate harvesting pressures, most populations have collapsed and nearly all of the 28 species alive today are listed as threatened or endangered.  In New England, dams and water regulation challenge population recoveries of the two resident species, the shortnose and...

Contacts: Micah Kieffer
Date published: December 10, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Ecosystems Podcast Series - Outstanding in the Field

The USGS Ecosystems Mission Area brings you Outstanding in the Field, an original podcast series that tells stories about our science, our adventures, and our efforts to better understand fish and wildlife and the ecosystems that support them.  

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: December 4, 2018
Status: Active

Life History of Pacific Northwest Fishes through Age and Growth Structures

The focus of our research is the ecological analysis of Pacific Northwest fishes through age and growth structures such as: scales, fin rays and otoliths (small calcium carbonate deposits beneath the brain used in hearing and balance that grow in proportion to the overall growth of the fish). These structures are utilized as research tools for understanding life histories and habitat...

Date published: November 29, 2018
Status: Active

Human and Ecological Health Impacts Associated with Water Reuse and Conservation Practices

Human and Ecological Health Impacts Associated with Water Reuse and Conservation Practices

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

Filter Total Items: 150
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

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: December 11, 2017

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard

The USGS Southeast Regional Office has funded a cross-center collaboration between the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and the Texas Water Science Center for the development of the Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard. 

Date published: November 29, 2017

SPV field trials bait uptake data

These data were collected as part of a field trial to test the effectiveness of a sylvatic plague vaccine (see Rocke et al., 2017 for details). Vaccine and control plots were selected randomly from the available pairs at each location. Baits containing Rhodamine B, a biomarker, were distributed at each plot. At least 1 week and no more than 2 months post-baiting each year, local collaborators...

Date published: November 28, 2017

Data collected in 2008-2014 to assess nearshore subtidal community responses to increased sediment load during removal of the Elwha River dams, Washington State, USA

Data are time series of substrate grain size, remotely sensed water column turbidity, and measures of abundance (e.g., density, percent cover) of the nearshore subtidal (3-17 m depth) benthic community (vegetation, invertebrates, and fish) collected before (2008-2011) and during dam removal (2012-2014).

Date published: November 27, 2017

DATA RELEASE - Ground-dwelling arthropod composition, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2009—Data

These data were compiled from pitfall traps deployed at three sites, along a 25 kilometers (km) stretch of the Colorado River, immediately downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Each site had both pre and post-dam riparian habitats present. The purpose of the sampling was to determine if arthropod abundance, diversity and feeding guilds differed between...

Date published: November 21, 2017

Annual California sea otter stranding data

The California Sea Otter Stranding Network is part of the USGS effort to monitor southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) and provide data to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since 1985, stranded otters from throughout their California coastal range have been collected and analyzed to inform resource management on recovery and conservation of the species.

Date published: November 14, 2017

Determinants of Pseudogymnoascus destructans within bat hibernacula: data

This dataset includes data used to summarize trends and identify best-fit models to explain patterns in presence-absence and abundance of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) in environmental substrates and on bats within six bat hibernacula at different stages of white-nose syndrome (WNS). Data relating to environmental substrates include: dates and relative spatial locations of samples...

Date published: October 31, 2017

Guide to the Plants of Louisiana

This guide to the vascular plants of Louisiana includes a database of plant characters, a search engine and plant images. Photographs include images of leaves, fruit, flower, stem, bark and other key identification features. Information about plants can be accessed by searching plant lists either by scientific name or common name.

Date published: October 30, 2017

Movement Maps for Suisun Marsh Waterfowl and Waterbird Studies

Suisun Marsh is a critical habitat for wintering and breeding waterbirds in California. USGS is working with the California DWR to examine the trends in bird decline and to assess the habitat factors driving long-term survival of waterfowl, rails, and other birds in this important area.

Date published: October 18, 2017

DATA RELEASE - Riparian Vegetation and Environmental Variables, Colorado River, 2014—Data

These data consist of species relative cover; percent cover of dead plant material, soil and rock; and a variety of broad- and local- scale environmental variables. These data relate to sample sites along the Colorado River through Grand Canyon between Lees Ferry and river mile 245. Sample sites were distributed among three geomorphic features: channel margins, debris fans, and sandbars.

Date published: October 17, 2017

Shapefiles and Historical Aerial Photographs, Little Missouri River, 1939-2003

The data archive contains the aerial photographs and channel delineations used in our analysis. The images have been geo-referenced to the 1995 digital orthophoto quarter quadrangles as described by Miller and Friedman (2009). The channel delineations for all photo years (including 2003) and the delineation of the outer flood-plain boundary are stored as shapefiles.

Filter Total Items: 30,781
Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Changes in genetic diversity and differentiation in Red‐cockaded woodpeckers (Dryobates borealis) over the past century

Red‐cockaded woodpeckers (RCW; Dryobates borealis) declined after human activities reduced their fire‐maintained pine ecosystem to <3% of its historical range in the southeastern United States and degraded remaining habitat. An estimated 1.6 million RCW cooperative breeding groups declined to about 3,500 groups with no more than 10,000 birds by...

Miller, Mark P.; Vilstrup, Julia T.; Mullins, Thomas D.; McDearmon, Will; Walters, Jeffrey R.; Haig, Susan M.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Screen-printed soft capacitive sensors for spatial mapping of both positive and negative pressures

Soft pressure sensors are one class of the essential devices for robotics and wearable device applications. Despite the tremendous progress, sensors that can reliably detect both positive and negative pressures have not yet been demonstrated. In this paper, we report a soft capacitive pressure sensor made using a convenient and low-cost screen-...

Shi, Hongyang; Al-Rubaiai, Mohammed; Holbrook, Christopher; Miao, Jinshui; Pinto, Thassyo; Wang, Chuan; Tan, Xiaobo

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Invasive species research—Science for detection, containment, and control

Invasive species research within the U.S. Geological Survey’s Ecosystems Mission Area focuses on invasive organisms throughout the United States. U.S. Geological Survey scientists work with partners in the Department of the Interior, other Federal, State and Territorial agencies, Tribes, industry, and agriculture to provide the information needed...

Campbell, Earl W.; Tam, Cynthia S.; Soileau, Suzanna C.
Attribution: Ecosystems
Campbell, E.W., Tam, C.S., and Soileau, S.C., 2019, Invasive species research—Science for detection, containment, and control: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010–3080, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183080.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Hydrologic function of rapidly induced biocrusts

In dryland ecosystems, land degradation and erosion pose severe threats to ecosystem productivity and human wellbeing. Bio‐inoculation of degraded soils with native biological soil crusts ('biocrusts') is a promising yet relatively untested means to improve soil stability and hydrologic function (i.e. increase infiltration and reduce runoff). In a...

Fick, Stephen E.; Barger, Nichole N.; Duniway, Michael C.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Pathways to strategic communication for biodiversity conservation: Response to “Hearing ourselves (and acting in consequence): A commentary on Bekessy et al. from a bird-handling environmental education perspective”

Central to discussions about the merits of ecosystem services as a communication strategy is the degree to which it represents a strategic and effective approach to advance biodiversity conservation. There is increasing recognition that many conservation communication efforts can be more strategic (e.g. Kusmanoff et al. 2016).

Kusmanoff, Alex; Runge, Michael C.; Keith, David A.; Wintle, Brendan A.; Bekessy, Sarah A.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Which trees die during drought? The key role of insect host-tree selection

1. During drought, the tree subpopulations (such as size or vigor classes) that suffer disproportionate mortality can be conceptually arrayed along a continuum defined by the actions of biotic agents, particularly insects. At one extreme, stress dominates: insects are absent or simply kill the most physiologically stressed trees. At the...

Stephenson, Nathan L.; Das, Adrian J.; Ampersee, Nicholas J.; Bulaon, Beverly M; Yee, Julie L.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Potential sea level rise for the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana

Situated in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain of the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GCP LCC), the Chitimacha Tribe is one of four federally recognized tribes in Louisiana. The Tribal seat, trust lands/ reservation, and adjacent Tribal owned lands are located near Charenton, Louisiana, totaling nearly 1,000 acres. The...

Spear, Kathryn A.; Jones, William; Griffith, Kereen; Tirpak, Blair E.; Walden, Kimberly
Spear, K.A., Jones, W., Griffith, K., Tirpak, B.E., and Walden, K., 2019, Potential sea level rise on Chitimacha Tribal Lands in Louisiana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1030, 1 sheet, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191030.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Functional variation at an expressed MHC class IIß locus associates with Ranavirus infection intensity in larval anuran populations

Infectious diseases are causing catastrophic losses to biodiversity globally. Iridoviruses in the genus Ranavirus are among the leading causes of amphibian disease-related mortality. Polymorphisms in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are significantly associated with variation in amphibian susceptibility to pathogens. MHC genes encode...

Savage, Anna E.; Muletz-Wolz, Carly R.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Fleischer, Robert C.; Mulder , Kevin P.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Living with wildfire in Montezuma County, Colorado: 2015 data report

Residents in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) can play an important role in reducing wildfire’s negative effects by performing wildfire risk mitigation on their property. This report offers insight into the wildfire risk mitigation activities and related considerations, such as attitudes, experiences, and concern about wildfire, for people with...

Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Meldrum, James R.; Wilson, Pamela; Champ, Patricia A.; Barth, Christopher M.; Boag, Angela

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Energetic costs of aquatic locomotion in a subadult polar bear

Most marine mammals rely on swimming as their primary form of locomotion. These animals have evolved specialized morphologies, physiologies, and behaviors that have enabled them to efficiently move through an aquatic environment (Williams 1999). Such adaptations include body streamlining, modified plantar surfaces for propulsion, and...

Pagano, Anthony M.; Cutting, Amy; Nicassio-Hiskey, Nicole; Hash, Amy; Williams, Terrie M.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Relative prediction intervals reveal larger uncertainty in 3D approaches to predictive digital soil mapping of soil properties with legacy data

Fine scale maps of soil properties enable efficient land management and inform earth system models. Recent efforts to create soil property maps from field observations tend to use similar tree-based machine learning interpolation approaches, but often deal with depth of predictions, validation, and uncertainty differently. One of the main...

Nauman, Travis; Duniway, Michael C.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2019

Using the value of information to improve conservation decision making

Conservation decisions are challenging, not only because they often involve difficult conflicts among outcomes that people value, but because our understanding of the natural world and our effects on it is fraught with uncertainty. Value of Information (VoI) methods provide an approach for understanding and managing uncertainty from the standpoint...

Bolam, Friederike C.; Grainger, Matthew J.; Mengerson, Kerrie L.; Stewart, Gavin B.; Sutherland, William J.; Runge, Michael C.; McGowan, Philip J. K.

Filter Total Items: 720
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 

...
Giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas)
May 14, 2018

Threatened Giant Gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas)

Threatened giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas). This semi-aquatic snake lives in rice fields and the remaining wetlands of California's Central Valley.

Sonoran desert scene showing invasion by red brome grass and fire scars on a saguaro cactus.
April 30, 2018

Red Brome Carries Fire and Burns Saguaros

Bromus Rubens (red brome) is an invasive annual grass that grows in warmer deserts of the Southwest U.S. It can carry fires in systems that aren't fire adapted, causing lasting damage to desert flora, as shown here in the Sonoran desert north of Phoenix, AZ. The

...
April 26, 2018

PubTalk 4/2018 - Coral Reefs

Title: The Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Protection - Rigorously valuing flood reduction benefits to inform coastal zone management decisions

  • Coral reefs are a first line of coastal defense
  • We can account for the physical defense that reefs provide
  • We can provide value-based information to guide restoration efforts at management-relevant
...
Two men stand in a grassland beneath a sky filled with fluffy cumulus clouds and a blue sky.
March 31, 2018

Standing in the field with mangers

Touring public lands, guided by the people who manage the lands, is a important to RAMPS. On these tours we get to meet the passionate people, understand their challenges and aspirations, and help make steps towards innovative science-based solutions. In this photo staff from BLM's Aqua Fria National Monument stand with USGS scientist, Seth Munson and discuss how to

...
Thermal habitat mapping using kayak-mounted sensors
March 26, 2018

June 2018 "USGS At Work" category winner Carrie Blakeslee

Jeff Cole, USGS Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory, using temperature sensors and a humminbird sonar system mounted on a kayak to map the thermal habitat of the East Branch (Fishs Eddy, New York) of the Delaware River.

Southern Sea Otters Floating in Morro Bay, CA
March 6, 2018

Southern Sea Otters Floating in Morro Bay, CA

Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) float in Morro Bay, CA.

View of the sonoran desert at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument showing an organ pipe cactus and mountains of Mexico
February 28, 2018

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ pipe cactus are rare in the Sonoran desert in the U.S. They can only be found in and around Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, shown here. The distribution of Organ Pipe Cactus is limited due to lack of tolerance for cold temperatures. The biota of the Sonoran desert is particularly senstive to disturbance. Soils often erode quickly once vegetation is removed. The

...
February 28, 2018

Bee Laboratory (Instagram Story)

Instagram story showing the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab clearing invasive species from a field.

Filter Total Items: 289
Date published: June 26, 2017

Reptile Skin Grown in Lab for First Time, Helps Study Endangered Turtle Disease

Scientists recently reconstructed the skin of endangered green turtles, marking the first time that skin of a non-mammal was successfully engineered in a laboratory, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study. In turn, the scientists were able to grow a tumor-associated virus to better understand certain tumor diseases.

Date published: June 26, 2017

Lake Harvests are Likely More Fruitful than We Knew

Harvests from freshwater fisheries such as the Great Lakes could total more than 12 million tons a year globally and contribute more to global food supplies and economies than previous estimates indicate, according to a study published today by Michigan State University and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: June 22, 2017

Oral Plague Vaccine Helps Reduce Outbreaks in Prairie Dog Colonies

Prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to succumb to plague after they ingest peanut-butter-flavored bait that contains a vaccine against the disease, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today in the journal EcoHealth.  

Date published: June 22, 2017

Lessons from a Tsunami Could Help Protect Seabirds in the Face of Rising Seas

Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning

Date published: June 19, 2017

Snake Fungal Disease Identified in Wild British Snakes for First Time

Europe’s wild snakes could face a growing threat from a fungal skin disease that has contributed to wild snake deaths in North America, according to an international collaborative study, led by conservation charity Zoological Society of London alongside partners including the U.S. Geological Survey. The new study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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.