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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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Researchers from the Louisiana Cooperative Research Unit evaluated habitat suitability at White Lake, Louisiana, for the possible reintroduction of endangered whooping cranes. The information collected led to the 2011-2012 release of 40 cranes. Researchers are continuing to monitor the reintroduced cranes and more releases are planned.
The Oregon Cooperative Unit, graduate students, and a group of U.S. and international collaborators are conducting long-term research on the Adélie penguin on Ross Island, Antarctica. This species depends on sea ice (obligate) and in some regions of Antarctica is being affected by climate change’s influence on sea ice patterns.
Many species of sea turtle are endangered. Conservation of these species is complicated by their complex life history, the broad spatial distribution of different life stages, and their migratory nature. Monitoring programs track general status of populations and evaluate the effect of management actions on species conservation.
Mechanisms of Aquatic Species Invasions across the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SALCC)
USGS scientists study the mechanisms of aquatic species invasions across the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SALCC) with the help of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database (NAS).
On an island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, USGS scientists discover corals are seeking refuge from climate change in mangroves.
Ecology of and Control Strategies for Invasive Burmese Pythons (Python molurus bivitattus) in the Greater Everglades
Telemetry tracking of captured pythons reveals movement patterns of the invasive Burmese python in the Greater Everglades, information that managers can use to prioritize python control efforts.
Genetic structure, diversity, and interisland dispersal in the endangered Mariana Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus guami)
The Mariana Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus guami) is a highly endangered taxon, with fewer than 300 individuals estimated to occur in the wild. The subspecies is believed to have undergone population declines attributable to loss of wetland habitats on its native islands in the Mariana Islands. We analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)...Miller, Mark P.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Haig, Susan M.; Takano, Leilani L.; Garcia, Karla
Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat—Part 1. Concepts for understanding and applying restoration
Sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the United States currently occur on only about one-half of their historical land area because of changes in land use, urban growth, and degradation of land, including invasions of non-native plants. The existence of many animal species depends on the existence of sagebrush steppe habitat. The greater sage-grouse (...Pyke, David A.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pellant, Mike; Knick, Steven T.; Miller, Richard F.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Doescher, Paul S.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Brunson, Mark; McIver, James D.
Woodland salamander responses to a shelterwood harvest-prescribed burn silvicultural treatment within Appalachian mixed-oak forests
Forest management practices that mimic natural canopy disturbances, including prescribed fire and timber harvests, may reduce competition and facilitate establishment of favorable vegetative species within various ecosystems. Fire suppression in the central Appalachian region for almost a century has contributed to a transition from oak-dominated...Ford, W. Mark; Mahoney, Kathleen R.; Russell, Kevin R.; Rodrigue, Jane L.; Riddle, Jason D.; Schuler, Thomas M.; Adams, Mary Beth
Bioaccumulation trends of arsenic and antimony in a freshwater ecosystem affected by mine drainage
We compared As and Sb bioaccumulation and biomagnification when these metalloids co-occurred at varying environmental concentrations in a stream and wetlands near a contaminated mine site in Idaho (USA). We measured As and Sb concentrations in water and substrate samples, and in tissues of organisms representing several trophic levels....Dovick, Meghan A.; Kulp, Thomas R.; Arkle, Robert S.; Pilliod, David S.
Response of the nitrogen-fixing lichen Lobaria pulmonaria to phosphorus, molybdenum, and vanadium
Nitrogen-fixing lichens (cyanolichens) are an important source of nitrogen (N) in Pacific Northwest forests, but limitation of lichen growth by elements essential for N fixation is poorly understood. To investigate how nutrient limitation may affect cyanolichen growth rates, we fertilized a tripartite cyanobacterial lichen (Lobaria pulmonaria) and...Marks, Jade A; Pett-Ridge, Julie; Perakis, Steven S.; Allen, Jessica L; McCune, Bruce
Status and trends of adult Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) sucker populations in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, 2014
Executive Summary Data from a long-term capture-recapture program were used to assess the status and dynamics of populations of two long-lived, federally endangered catostomids in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon. Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris) have been captured and tagged with passive integrated...Hewitt, David A.; Janney, Eric C.; Hayes, Brian S.; Harris, Alta C.
The rapid return of marine-derived nutrients to a freshwater food web following dam removal
Dam removal is increasingly being recognized as a viable river restoration action. Although the main beneficiaries of restored connectivity are often migratory fish populations, little is known regarding recovery of other parts of the freshwater food web, particularly terrestrial components. We measured stable isotopes in key components to the...Tonra, Christopher M; Sager-Fradkin, Kimberly A.; Morley, Sarah A; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Marra, Peter P.
Environmental DNA sampling protocol - filtering water to capture DNA from aquatic organisms
Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is an effective method of determining the presence of aquatic organisms such as fish, amphibians, and other taxa. This publication is meant to guide researchers and managers in the collection, concentration, and preservation of eDNA samples from lentic and lotic systems. A sampling workflow diagram and three...Laramie, Matthew B.; Pilliod, David S.; Goldberg, Caren S.; Strickler, Katherine M.
Will the effects of sea-level rise create ecological traps for Pacific Island seabirds?
More than 18 million seabirds nest on 58 Pacific islands protected within vast U.S. Marine National Monuments (1.9 million km2). However, most of these seabird colonies are on low-elevation islands and sea-level rise (SLR) and accompanying high-water perturbations are predicted to escalate with climate change. To understand how SLR may impact...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Courtot, Karen; Berkowitz, Paul; Storlazzi, Curt D.; Moore, Janet; Flint, Elizabeth
Do open access data policies inhibit innovation?
There has been a great deal of attention paid recently to the idea of data sharing (Van Noorden 2014, Beardsley 2015, Nature Publishing Group2015, www.copdess.com). However, the vast majority of these arguments are in agreement and present as fait accompli the idea that data are a public good and that therefore, once...Katzner, Todd E.
Efforts to eradicate yellow crazy ants on Johnston Atoll: Results from Crazy Ant Strike Team IX, December 2014-June 2015
The ecologically destructive yellow crazy ant (YCA; Anoplolepis gracilipes) was first detected on Johnston Atoll in January 2010. Within eight months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had mobilized its first crazy ant strike team (CAST), a group of biologists dedicated to testing and identifying insecticidal baits to be used to eradicate the ant...Banko, Paul C.; Peck, Robert W.; Donmoyer, Kevin; Kropidlowski, Stephan; Pollock, Amanda
Polymorphic mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) in a coastal riverscape: size class assemblages, distribution, and habitat associations
We compared the assemblage structure, spatial distributions, and habitat associations of mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) morphotypes and size classes. We hypothesised that morphotypes would have different spatial distributions and would be associated with different habitat features based on feeding behaviour and diet. Spatially...Starr, James C.; Torgersen, Christian E.