Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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The Ecosystems Mission Area provides impartial science information and tools to the Nation’s natural resource managers, with particular focus on the science needs of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and DOI bureaus to manage species, lands and priority ecosystems; fulfill treaty obligations; respond to and reduce threats to natural resources; and manage mineral and energy resources.

 

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Filter Total Items: 809
Date published: April 17, 2016
Status: Completed

Development of an Environmental Assessment and Eradication Plan to Remove Tilapia from Ponds and Wetlands in National Parks on the Island of Hawai’i

Mozambique tilapia, a highly invasive non-native fish of the family Cichlidae, were discovered in a wetland in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park on the Big Island of Hawai'i. As the U.S. National Park Service works to restore the natural communities and functions of wetland ecosystems on the island, the eradication of the tilapia population is considered necessary to fully achieve...

Contacts: Leo Nico, Ph.D.
Date published: April 17, 2016

Life History Characterization and Host Fish Identification for Federally Listed and Imperiled Freshwater Mussel Species in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia and Florida

Freshwater mussels are considered the most imperiled group of animals in the United States. These animals provide valuable ecological services by filtering water, sequestering nutrients, and providing forage for migratory birds, small mammals, and turtles. They also have a unique and complex life cycle that makes them especially vulnerable to human disturbances. It includes a parasitic larval...

Date published: April 17, 2016
Status: Active

Evaluation of Stream Reaches for Mussel Reintroduction in the Upper Coosa Watershed, NW Georgia

The Conasauga River in northwest Georgia and southeast Tennessee harbors the majority of mussel diversity still found in the Georgia portion of the Upper Coosa Basin. While the Conasauga historically supported at least 44 mussel species, only about 20 species remain. 

Date published: April 17, 2016

Geographical Trends in Ecosystem Function and Biodiversity of Wetlands as a Surrogate for Climate Change

Extreme drought and temperature in the southeastern United States may become more frequent in the future, and any  extreme shifts in climate condition are likely to have effects on wetland ecosystem function. USGS research predicts the effects of climate change by shifts in function and biodiversity across existing  climate gradients in baldcypress swamps. 

Date published: April 17, 2016
Status: Active

Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Assessment at Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island, Alabama, is the only barrier island providing protection to much of Alabama's coastal natural resources. Severely impacted by repeated extreme events, like Hurricane Katrina and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, USGS and partners are conducting a joint study to evaluate the feasibility of certain alternatives to increase resiliency and sustainability of the island. 

Date published: April 16, 2016

Past and Future Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Coastal Habitats and Species (FISCHS)

USGS aims to integrate biological and hydrological models to help develop management tools to deal with the projected ecological consequences of rising sea level in coastal south Florida.

Date published: April 16, 2016

Determining the Ploidy and Resultant Reproductive Capability of Artificially Spawned and Wild Caught Asian Carp

The invasive grass carp and black carp are artificially spawned to produce triploids, which means they have three sets of chromosomes and are sterile. WARC scientists invented an early ploidy prediction process for produced fry, and a post-mortem assessment method for carp caught either in the wild or sold and hauled live to other states. 

Date published: April 16, 2016

Climate Change Effects on Coastal Marsh Foundation Species

Mangrove forests have migrated inland over the past few decades at many locations along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. This expansion has been attributed to factors associated with climate change, such as increased salinity resulting from sea-level rise and longer intervals between winter freezes, which can kill cold-intolerant mangrove species. 

Date published: April 16, 2016
Status: Active

Asian Tiger Shrimp Distribution and Genetics

The Asian tiger shrimp began appearing in commercial shrimp catches in 2006. They grow larger than native shrimp and are known to be fierce predators - so shrimpers and managers are concerned about the potential effects this species might have. 

Date published: April 16, 2016

GIS and Custom Application Support for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

 The scientists at the Wetland and Aquatic Science Center (WARC) have provided coastal restoration project managers and decision makers with GIS planning, database and custom application capacity since 1992. The scope and complexity of this support has increased over the years and has resulted in the development of a comprehensive geospatial and advanced application teams that provide decision...

Date published: April 16, 2016

Spatial Analysis Support for Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (Breaux Bill) Planning Activities

WARC first implemented geographic information systems (GIS) in 1980 to help monitor the nature and extent of wetland habitat changes. The center continues to use GIS, remote sensing, and other computer based technologies to address a wide range of natural resource related issues. 

Date published: April 16, 2016

Adaptive Regulation of Waterfowl Harvests Using Incomplete Survey Information

The 2011 (Draft) Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Migratory Bird Hunting (EIS) offers four alternatives concerning the timing of the regulatory process for setting waterfowl hunting seasons. The no-change alternative involves a process by which most proposals for hunting seasons are developed in response to survey information that becomes available in early summer, such as...

Filter Total Items: 30,668
Year Published: 2018

Regeneration of Salicaceae riparian forests in the Northern Hemisphere: A new framework and management tool

Human activities on floodplains have severely disrupted the regeneration of foundation riparian shrub and tree species of the Salicaceae family (Populus and Salix spp.) throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Restoration ecologists initially tackled this problem from a terrestrial perspective that emphasized planting....

Gonzalez, Eduardo; Martinez-Fernandez, Vanesa; Shafroth, Patrick B.; Sher, Anna A.; Henry, Annie L.; Garofano-Gomez, Virginia; Corenblit, Dov
Gonzalez, E., V. Martinez-Fernandez, P.B. Shafroth, A.A. Sher, A.L. Henry, V. Garofano-Gomez, and D. Corenblit. 2018. Regeneration of Salicaceae riparian forests in the Northern Hemisphere: a new framework and management tool. Journal of Environmental Management 218:374-387.

Year Published: 2018

Energetic costs of locomotion in bears: is plantigrade locomotion energetically economical?

Ursids are the largest mammals to retain a plantigrade posture. This primitive posture has been proposed to result in reduced locomotor speed and economy relative to digitigrade and unguligrade species, particularly at high speeds. Previous energetics research on polar bears (Ursus maritimus) found locomotor costs were more than double predictions...

Pagano, Anthony M.; Carnahan, Anthony M.; Robbins, Charles T.; Owen, Megan A.; Batson, Tammy; Wagner, Nate; Cutting, Amy; Nicassio-Hiskey, Nicole; Hash, Amy; Williams, Terrie M.
Pagano, A.M., A.M. Carnahan, C.T. Robbins, M.A. Owen, T. Batson, N. Wagner, A. Cutting, N. Nicassio-Hiskey, A. Hash, and T.M. Williams. 2018. Energetic costs of locomotion in bears: Is plantigrade locomotion energetically economical? Journal of Experimental Biology 221 doi:10.1242/jeb.175372

Year Published: 2018

Hydrological regime and climate interactively shape riparian vegetation composition along the Colorado River, Grand Canyon

QuestionHow closely do riparian plant communities track hydrological and climatic variation in space, and how do interactions among hydrological and climatic filters influence success of flow management strategies?LocationGrand Canyon, Arizona, USA.MethodsMulti‐year vegetation surveys were conducted across three hydrological zones – active channel...

Butterfield, Bradley J.; Palmquist, Emily C.; Ralston, Barbara

Year Published: 2018

Variation in plant defense suppresses herbivore performance

Defensive variability of crops and natural systems can alter herbivore communities and reduce herbivory. However, it is still unknown how defense variability translates into herbivore suppression. Nonlinear averaging and constraints in physiological tracking (also more generally called time-dependent effects) are the two mechanisms by which...

Pearse, Ian S.; Paul, Ryan; Ode, Paul J.
Pearse IS, Paul R, Ode PJ. 2018 Variation in plant defense suppresses herbivore performance. Current Biology (in press)

Year Published: 2018

A method to value nature-related webcam viewing: The value of virtual use with application to brown bear webcam viewing

There are an estimated 16,000 nature related remote web cameras that provide users around the world with an opportunity to view wildlife. Because there is no monetary price to view the webcams, we utilise variations in the viewers’ opportunity cost of time to estimate consumer surplus. We apply this model to a large sample (n = 2649) of the more...

Loomis, John B.; Richardson, Leslie; Huber, Christopher C.; Skibins, Jeffrey; Sharp, Ryan
Loomis, J., Richardson, L., Huber, C., Skibins, J., & Sharp, R. (2018). A method to value nature-related webcam viewing: the value of virtual use with application to brown bear webcam viewing. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, 7(4): 452-462. DOI: 10.1080/21606544.2018.1483842.

Year Published: 2018

Exposure to synthetic hydraulic fracturing waste influences the mucosal bacterial community structure of the brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) epidermis

Production of natural gas using unconventional technologies has risen as demand for alternative fuels has increased. Impacts on the environment from waste generated from these processes are largely unexplored. In particular, the outcomes of organismal exposure to hydraulic fracturing waste have not been rigorously evaluated. We evaluated the...

Galbraith, Heather S.; Iwanowicz, Deborah D.; Spooner, Daniel E.; Iwanowicz, Luke R.; Keller, David; Zelanko, Paula M.; Adams, Cynthia R.

Year Published: 2018

Book review: A new view on the species abundance distribution Stochastic communities: A mathematical theory of biodiversity

The sampled relative abundances of species of a taxonomic group, whether birds, trees, or moths, in a natural community at a particular place vary in a way that suggests a consistent underlying pattern, referred to as the species abundance distribution (SAD). Preston [1] conjectured that the numbers of species, plotted as a histogram of...

DeAngelis, Donald L.
DeAngelis, D.L., 2018, Book Review: A new view on the species abundance distribution: Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Available Online, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2018.05.002.

Year Published: 2018

Variation in home range size and patterns in adult female American crocodiles Crocodylus acutus

The American crocodile Crocodylus acutus is a threatened species that uses relatively deep, open-water habitats with low salinity. Adult female American crocodiles nest on sandy coastal beaches, islands or human-made berms, assist in the hatching process, and can travel long distances to nesting habitat. We satellite-tracked 15 adult...

Hart, Kristen M.; Beauchamp, Jeffrey S.; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Mazzotti, Frank

Year Published: 2018

Insular biogeographic origins and high phylogenetic distinctiveness for a recently depleted lizard fauna from Christmas Island, Australia

Striking faunal turnover across Asia and Australasia, most famously along the eastern edge of the Sunda Shelf or ‘Wallace's Line’, has been a focus of biogeographic research for over 150 years. Here, we investigate the origins of a highly threatened endemic lizard fauna (four species) on Christmas Island. Despite occurring less 350 km south of the...

Oliver, Paul M.; Blom, Mozes P. K.; Cogger, Harold G.; Fisher, Robert N.; Richmond, Jonathan Q.; Woinarski, John C. Z.
Oliver PM, Blom MPK, Cogger HG, Fisher RN, Richmond JQ, Woinarski JCZ. 2018 Insular biogeographic origins and high phylogenetic distinctiveness for a recently depleted lizard fauna from Christmas Island, Australia. Biol. Lett. 14: 20170696. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2017.0696

Year Published: 2018

Integrating animal movement with habitat suitability for estimating dynamic landscape connectivity

Context High-resolution animal movement data are becoming increasingly available, yet having a multitude of empirical trajectories alone does not allow us to easily predict animal movement. To answer ecological and evolutionary questions at a population level, quantitative estimates of a species’ potential to link patches or populations are of...

van Toor, Mariëlle L.; Kranstauber, Bart; Newman, Scott H.; Prosser, Diann J.; Takekawa, John Y.; Technitis, Georgios; Weibel, Robert; Wikelski, Martin; Safi, Kamran
van Toor, M. L., Kranstauber, B., Newman, S. H., Prosser, D. J., Takekawa, J. Y., Technitis, G., Weibel, R., Wikelski, M., and Safi, K., 2018, Integrating animal movement with habitat suitability for estimating dynamic landscape connectivity: Landscape Ecology, v. 33, no. 6, p. 879-893.

Year Published: 2018

A guide to processing bat acoustic data for the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat)

The North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) aims to improve the state of conservation science for all species of bats shared by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To accomplish this goal, NABat offers guidance and standardized protocols for acoustic monitoring of bats. In this document, “A Guide to Processing Bat Acoustic Data for the...

Reichert, Brian E.; Lausen, Cori; Loeb, Susan; Weller, Ted; Allen, Ryan; Britzke, Eric; Hohoff, Tara; Siemers, Jeremy; Burkholder, Braden; Herzog, Carl; Verant, Michelle
Reichert, B., and Lausen, C., Loeb, S., Weller, T., Allen, R., Britzke, E., Hohoff, T., Siemers, J., Burkholder, B., Herzog, C., and Verant, M., 2018, A guide to processing bat acoustic data for the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1068, 33 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181068.

Year Published: 2018

Diurnal patterns of methane flux from a seasonal wetland: mechanisms and methodology

Methane emissions from wetlands are temporally dynamic. Few chamber-based studies have explored diurnal variation in methane flux with high temporal replication. Using an automated sampling system, we measured methane flux every 2.5 to 4 h for 205 diel cycles during three growing seasons (2013–2015) from a seasonal wetland in the Prairie...

Bansal, Sheel; Tangen, Brian A.; Finocchiaro, Raymond
Bansal, S., Tangen, B. Finocciaro, R. Diurnal patterns of methane flux from a seasonal wetland: mechanisms and methodology. Wetlands

Filter Total Items: 694
Image: Brewer's Sparrow Being Weighed
February 26, 2006

Brewer's Sparrow Being Weighed

Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) being weighed on digital scale, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Image: Brewer's Sparrow
February 26, 2006

Brewer's Sparrow

John Warzybok secures a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri), White Sands Missle Range, New Mexico.

Image: Brewer's Sparrow Being Held for Assessment
February 26, 2006

Brewer's Sparrow Being Held for Assessment

John Warzybok records data whille Caroline Poli secures a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) for assessment, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Image: Bagged Brewer's Sparrows
February 10, 2006

Bagged Brewer's Sparrows

Sampling bags holding Brewer's sparrows (Spizella breweri), White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Image: Brewer's Sparrow Being Assessed
February 10, 2006

Brewer's Sparrow Being Assessed

John Warzybok assesses a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

Pitcher Plant Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
June 3, 2004

Sundew Plant Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

A Sundew plant taken at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana

Image: Brewer's sparrow in hand
May 31, 2004

Brewer's sparrow in hand

USGS' Steve Hanser holding a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri).

map of western U.S.showing sagebrush-dominated ecoregions
March 15, 2003

Sagebrush-dominated ecoregions

Sagebrush-dominated ecoregions in the western United States (sagebrush cover types shown in various shades of yellow, pink, and blue-grey).

USGS Scientist Mark Roth listening to frog calls.
December 31, 2002

USGS Scientist Mark Roth listening to frog calls.

USGS Scientist Mark Roth listening to frog calls. Coolecting frog calls allows scientists to determine distribution of species.

Tadpole with SPI
December 19, 2002

Tadpole with SPI

This tadpole shows signs of a severe Perkinsea infection. 

Tadpole with organ failure
December 19, 2002

Tadpole with organ failure

This tadpole shows signs of severe Perkinsea infection, which causes organ failure. 

Attribution: Ecosystems