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: 754
Date published: April 7, 2016

Surface Elevation Vulnerability of Coastal Forested Wetlands to Sea-Level Rise

Wetlands vary in their abilities to keep up with sea-level rise; they either adjust vertically and/or move inland. USGS is working with partners around the world to measure rates of surface elevation change relative to local sea-level rise. 

Date published: April 7, 2016
Status: Active

Hierarchical Models for Estimating Abundance and Occurrence of Individual Species

USGS is working to develop hierarchical models that will help analyze population-level surveys and sampling protocols, including presence-absence, point-count, multiple observer, removal, and capture-recapture.

Date published: April 6, 2016
Status: Archived

Identifying Fish Nursery Habitats Using Otolith Elemental Fingerprints

Fish otoliths - ear bones - can be used to identify the fish nursery habitat used by estuarine fish.

Contacts: Carole McIvor
Date published: April 6, 2016

Tracking and Modeling the Population of the Louisiana Black Bear Using “BearTRAK”

"BearTrak" is an app that provides a central repository for Louisiana Black Bear tracking data, allowing managers to access information more quickly and reliably.

Date published: April 6, 2016
Status: Active

Efficacy of eDNA as an Early Detection and Rapid Response Indicator for Burmese Pythons in the Northern Greater Everglades Ecosystem

Traditional approaches to locating Burmese pythons - including visual searches and trapping - have resulted in low detection. Environmental DNA - or eDNA - is increasingly being used to detect the presence of non-native species, particularly when traditional methods may not be adequate. 

Date published: April 6, 2016
Status: Active

Genetic Analysis of the Invasive Burmese Python to Aid Management and Population-Control Decision-Making

Invasive Burmese pythons threaten the success of Everglades restoration efforts. To assist with management and population control decision making, USGS scientists are implementing genetic studies to identify potential new entry pathways and to help quantify the size of the breeding population.

Date published: April 5, 2016

Genetic Analysis of Wild and Captive Black Carp in the Mississippi River Basin

Black carp have likely been present in the Mississippi River since the 1990s, but their current distribution and spread is not well understood. Genetics is helping to shed light on this species, including its diversity, the relatedness of wild and captive fish, and its introduction history. 

Date published: April 5, 2016
Status: Active

Population Biology and Ecology of Diamondback Terrapins in Mangrove Forested Ecosystems in the Greater Everglades

Long-term capture-recapture research in the Everglades National Park provides baseline information on the Diamondback Terrapin, a species that may be threatened by human disturbances.

Date published: April 5, 2016

Hydrodynamics and Sediment Transport in Deltas and Coastal Wetlands

Diversions are being used to encourage Missippi River delta growth via increased sediment availability to coastal wetlands. USGS studies hydrodynamics and sediment transport in Louisiana to better understand how marshes and deltas respond to these sediment inputs. 

Date published: April 5, 2016
Status: Active

Exploration of Caribbean Seamounts within the Greater and Lesser Antilles (GA/LA) Transition Zone: Characterization of the Benthic Ecology and Geology

Seamounts may be biodiversity hotspots, oases, islands, and centers for endemism in the deep sea. USGS and partners explore these possibilities within the Greater and Lesser Antilles Transition Zone.

Date published: April 1, 2016
Status: Active

Monitoring Effects of Barrier Island Restoration on Piping Plovers in Louisiana

The federally threatened piping plover relies on sand-beach habitat year-round for nesting, foraging, and roosting, habitat that is particularly vulnerable to loss and degradation from coastal development, recreation activities, erosion, and sea-level rise. 

Date published: March 30, 2016
Status: Active

Evaluation of Tegu Movements and Habitat Use in Relation to Location and Habitat

Tegus are breeding, they have a diverse diet, and they are established in areas throughout South Florida. USGS is tracking this problematic reptile species to better understand their movements and habitat use to help managers prevent dispersal into new areas.

Filter Total Items: 30,875
Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

Differing modes of biotic connectivity within freshwater ecosystem mosaics

We describe a collection of aquatic and wetland habitats in an inland landscape, and their occurrence within a terrestrial matrix, as a “freshwater ecosystem mosaic” (FEM). Aquatic and wetland habitats in any FEM can vary widely, from permanently ponded lakes, to ephemerally ponded wetlands, to groundwater‐fed springs, to flowing rivers and...

Mushet, David M.; Alexander, Laurie C.; Bennet, Micah; Schofield, Kate; Christensen, Jay R.; Ali, Genevieve; Pollard, Amina I.; Fritz, Ken M.; Lang, Megan
Mushet, D. M., Alexander, L. C., Bennett, M., Schofield, K., Pollard, A., Christensen, J. R., Ali, G., Fritz, K., and Lang, M. W., 2018, Differing modes of biotic connectivity within freshwater ecosystem mosaics: Journal of the American Water Resources Association. DOI 10.1111/1752-1688.12683.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

Biological connectivity of seasonally ponded wetlands across spatial and temporal scales

Many species that inhabit seasonally ponded wetlands also rely on surrounding upland habitats and nearby aquatic ecosystems for resources to support life stages and to maintain viable populations. Understanding biological connectivity among these habitats is critical to ensure that landscapes are protected at appropriate scales to conserve species...

Smith, Lora L.; Subalusky, Amanda; Atkinson, Carla L.; Earl, Julia E.; Mushet, David M.; Scott, David E.; Lance, Stacey L.; Johnson, Steve A.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

Ancient convergent losses of Paraoxonase 1 yield potential risks for modern marine mammals

Mammals diversified by colonizing drastically different environments, with each transition yielding numerous molecular changes, including losses of protein function. Though not initially deleterious, these losses could subsequently carry deleterious pleiotropic consequences. We have used phylogenetic methods to identify convergent functional...

Meyer, Wynn K.; Jamison, Jerrica; Richter, Rebecca; Woods, Stacy E.; Partha, Raghavendran; Kowalczyk, Amanda; Kronk, Charles; Chikina, Maria; Bonde, Robert K.; Crocker, Daniel E.; Gaspard, Joseph C.; Lanyon, Janet M.; Marsillach, Judit; Furlong, Clement E.; Clark, Nathan L.
Meyer, W.K., Jamison, J., Richter, R., Woods, S.E., Partha, R., Kowalczyk, A., Kronk, C., Chikina, M., Bonde, R.K., Crocker, D.E., Gaspard, J., Lanyon, J.M., Marsillach, J., Furlong, C.E., and Clark, N.L., 2018, Ancient convergent losses of Paraoxonase 1 yield potential risks for modern marine mammals: Science, v. 361, no. 6402, p. 591-594, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aap7714.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

A new approach to automated incubation recess detection using temperature loggers

Nest attendance during incubation is an important facet of avian nesting behavior, and understanding the number, timing, and duration of incubation recesses can improve our understanding of the factors determining avian reproductive success. Temperature loggers are a low-cost, noninvasive method for studying nest attendance, but processing and...

Croston, Rebecca; Hartman, C. Alex; Herzog, Mark P.; Casazza, Michael L.; Ackerman, Joshua T.
Croston, R, CA Hartman, MP Herzog, ML Casazza, and JT Ackerman. 2018. A new approach to automated incubation recess detection using temperature loggers. Condor: Ornithological Applications 120:739-750. http://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-18-6.1

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

Molecular systematics of swifts of the genus Chaetura (Aves: Apodiformes: Apodidae)

Phylogenetic relationships among swifts of the morphologically conservative genus Chaetura were studied using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences. Taxon sampling included all species and 21 of 30 taxa (species and subspecies) within Chaetura. Our results indicate that Chaetura is monophyletic and...

Chesser, Terry; Vaseghi, Haley; Hosner, Peter A.; Bergner, Laura M.; Cortes-Rodriguez, M. Nandadevi; Welch, Andreanna J.; Collins, Charles T.
Chesser, R. T., Vaseghi, H., Hosner, P. A., Bergner, L. M., Cortez-Rodriquez, M. N., Welch, A. J., and Collins, C. T., 2018, Molecular systematics of swifts of the genus Chaetura (Aves: Apodiformes: Apodidae): Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, v. 128, p. 162-171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2018.07.006

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

Elevated aeolian sediment transport on the Colorado Plateau, USA: The role of grazing, vehicle disturbance, and increasing aridity

Dryland wind transport of sediment can accelerate soil erosion, degrade air quality, mobilize dunes, decrease water supply, and damage infrastructure. We measured aeolian sediment horizontal mass flux (q) at 100 cm height using passive aspirated sediment traps to better understand q variability on the Colorado Plateau. Measured q‘...

Nauman, Travis W.; Duniway, Michael C.; Webb, Nichloas P.; Belnap, Jayne
Nauman, T.W., Duniway, M.C., Webb, N.P., and Belnap, J., 2018, Elevated aeolian sediment transport on the Colorado Plateau, USA-- the role of grazing, vehicle disturbance, and increasing aridity: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, online, https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4457.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

Pre‐fire drought and competition mediate post‐fire conifer mortality in western U.S. National Parks

Tree mortality is an important outcome of many forest fires. Extensive tree injuries from fire may lead directly to mortality, but environmental and biological stressors may also contribute to tree death. However, there is little evidence showing how the combined effects of two common stressors, drought and competition, influence post‐fire...

van Mantgem, Phillip J.; Falk, Donald A.; Williams, Emma C.; Das, Adrian J.; Stephenson, Nathan L.
van Mantgem, P. J., Falk, D. A., Williams, E. C., Das, A. J. and Stephenson, N. L. (2018), Pre‐fire drought and competition mediate post‐fire conifer mortality in western U.S. National Parks. Ecol Appl. . doi:10.1002/eap.1778

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

Juvenile Chinook salmon and forage fish use of eelgrass habitats in a diked and channelized Puget Sound River Delta

Eelgrass Zostera marina can form extensive meadows on Puget Sound river deltas. The extent to which these meadows provide critical rearing habitat for local estuarine fishes, especially out‐migrating juvenile salmon, is not well understood. Further, delta eelgrass has been impacted by diking and river channelization with unknown...

Rubin, Stephen P.; Hayes, Michael C.; Grossman, Eric E.
Rubin, S.P., M.C. Hayes, and E.E. Grossman. 2018. Juvenile Chinook salmon and forage fish use of eelgrass habitats in a diked and channelized Puget Sound River Delta. Marine Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 10:435-451.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

Using United States Geological Survey stream gages to predict flow and temperature conditions to maintain freshwater mussel habitat

Habitat conditions necessary to support freshwater mussels can be difficult to characterize and predict, particularly for rare or endangered species such as the federally endangered dwarf wedgemussel, Alasmidonta heterodon. In this study, we evaluate flow and temperature conditions in three areas of the mainstem Delaware River known to...

Cole, Jeffrey C.; Townsend, Phillip A.; Eshleman, Keith N.; St. John White, Barbara; Galbraith, Heather S.; Lellis, William A.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

Sensitivity of mangrove range limits to climate variability

AimCorrelative distribution models have been used to identify potential climatic controls of mangrove range limits, but there is still uncertainty about the relative importance of these factors across different regions. To provide insights into the strength of climatic control of different mangrove range limits, we tested whether temporal...

Cavanaugh, Kyle C.; Osland, Michael J.; Bardou, Rémi; Hinojosa-Arango, Gustavo; López-Vivas, Juan M.; Parker, John D.; Rovai, Andre S.
Cavanaugh, K.C., Osland, M.J., Bardou, R.,Hinojosa-Arango, G., Lopez-Vivas, J.M., Parker, J.D., and Rovai, A.S., 2018, Sensitivity of mangrove range limits to climate variability: Global Ecology and Biogeography, v. 27, no. 8, p. 925-935, https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12751.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

Influences of the invasive tamarisk leaf beetle (Diorhabda carinulata) on avian diets along the Dolores River in Southwestern Colorado USA

The tamarisk leaf beetle (Diorhabda carinulata), introduced from Eurasia in 2001 as a biological control agent for the invasive plant Tamarix ramosissima, has spread widely throughout the western USA. With D. carinulata now very abundant, scientists and restoration managers have questioned what influence this introduced arthropod...

van Riper, Charles; Puckett, Sarah L.; Darrah, Abigail J.
van Riper III, C., Puckett, S.L., Darrah, A.J., 2018, Influences of the Tamarisk Leaf Beetle (Diorhabda carinulata) on bird diets along the Dolores River in Southwestern Colorado USA: Biological Invasions, online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-018-1764-6.

Publication Thumbnail
Year Published: 2018

A bioassay assessment of a zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) eradication treatment

Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha, Pallas, 1771) are an aquatic invasive species in theUnited States, and new infestations of zebra mussels can rapidly expand into dense colonies. Zebramussels were first reported in Marion Lake, Dakota County, Minnesota, in September 2017, andsurveys indicated the infestation was likely isolated near a public...

Barbour, Matthew T.; Wise, Jeremy K.; Luoma, James A.
Barbour, M.T., Wise, J.K., and Luoma, J.A. 2018, A bioassay assessment of a zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) eradication treatment: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1138, 11 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181138.

Filter Total Items: 738
aspen in a post-fire seral aspen-conifer stand
June 29, 2010

Aspen regeneration after stand-replacing fire

Aspen regeneration after stand-replacing fire in a seral aspen-conifer stand in the Jarbidge Mountains, Nevada

Greater sage-grouse silhouette.
April 10, 2010

Greater sage-grouse silhouette

Greater sage-grouse silhouette.

Greater sage-grouse flying.
March 28, 2010

Greater sage-grouse flying.

Greater sage-grouse flying.

Close-up of manatee calf underwater
February 24, 2010

Curious manatee calf approaches scientist at Crystal River, Florida

A curious manatee calf encounters a snorkeling scientist as the USGS Sirenia Project conducts fieldwork at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

Brain corals, mangrove prop roots and squirrelfish
December 31, 2009

Corals and mangroves share clear waters

Sediment can smother corals, but Hurricane Hole has no sediment-bearing freshwater streams. Its clear waters are habitat for an entire community of marine life, including Montastrea corals and squirrelfish. Photo: Caroline Rogers, USGS, 2009

This photo of a Pacific sheath-tailed bat is the last good photo of this bat from Aguiguan in existence.
December 31, 2009

The last sheath-tailed bat photo

This photo of a Pacific sheath-tailed bat is the last good photo of this bat from Aguiguan in existence.

three neotropical birds (Left to right: Magnolia warbler, Wilson's warbler, Canada warbler - all males) that were cought in mist
December 31, 2009

three neotropical birds

Three neotropical birds (Left to right: Magnolia warbler, Wilson's warbler, Canada warbler - all males) that were cought in mist net for banding

December 31, 2009

Bats at Wind Turbines

Bats at Turbines (B-roll): Surveillance video (B-roll) from a temperature-imaging camera showing a bat interacting with a wind turbine at about 3 a.m. on a brightly moonlit night in late August.[video resolution 614 by 454 pixels, limited by imaging device]

Queen angelfish - Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands
September 18, 2009

Queen angelfish - Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands

A queen angelfish peers through the safety of the mangrove roots across the rich colors and textures of corals, sponges, urchins, and algae. Queen angelfish feed almost exclusively on sponges, which are abundant in these mangroves.

Red Irish lord sculpin
August 26, 2009

Red Irish lord sculpin

Red Irish lord sculpin - Scuba divers from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Fisheries Research Center, Washington Sea Grant, EPA and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe collected data and images from a long-term study of the Elwha River dam removals and the resulting effects on the nearshore ecosystem.

Location: Strait of Juan de Fuca

...
Western pearlshell (Margaritifera falcata)
July 29, 2009

Western pearlshell (Margaritifera falcata)

Margaritifera falcata, Big Creek, Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, ID, July 2009

three people standing in an Idaho sagebrush landscape
July 10, 2009

Scientists collecting data in Idaho sagebrush

USGS scientists collect data for a landscape genetics study in the sagebrush of the Great Basin.