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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 use microbial and molecular techniques as tools to manage beach water quality and to protect the public from swimming-related illnesses such as gastroenteritis.
Spatiotemporal patterns of mercury accumulation in lake sediments of western North America
For the Western North America Mercury Synthesis, we compiled mercury records from 165 dated sediment cores from 138 natural lakes across western North America. Lake sediments are accepted as faithful recorders of historical mercury accumulation rates, and regional and sub-regional temporal and spatial trends were analyzed with descriptive and...Drevnick, Paul; Cooke, Colin A.; Barraza, Daniella; Blais, Jules M.; Coale, Kenneth; Cumming, Brian F.; Curtis, Chris; Das, Biplob; Donahue, William F.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Engstrom, Daniel R.; Fitzgerald, William F.; Furl, Chad V.; Gray, John R.; Hall, Roland I.; Jackson, Togwell A.; Laird, Kathleen R.; Lockhart, W. Lyle; Macdonald, Robie W.; Mast, M. Alisa; Mathieu, Callie; Muir, Derek C.G.; Outridge, Peter; Reinemann, Scott; Rothenberg, Sarah E.; Ruiz-Fernandex, Ana Carolina; St. Louis, V.L.; Sanders, Rhea; Sanei, Hamed; Skierszkan, Elliott; Van Metre, Peter C.; Veverica, Timothy; Wiklund, Johan A.; Wolfe, Brent B.
Mercury risk to avian piscivores across western United States and Canada
The widespread distribution of mercury (Hg) threatens wildlife health, particularly piscivorous birds. Western North America is a diverse region that provides critical habitat to many piscivorous bird species, and also has a well-documented history of mercury contamination from legacy mining and atmospheric deposition. The diversity of landscapes...Jackson, Allyson K.; Evers, David C.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Willacker, James J.; Elliott, John E.; Lepak, Jesse M.; Vander Pol, Stacy S.; Bryan, Colleen E.
Nitrogen enrichment regulates calcium sources in forests
Nitrogen (N) is a key nutrient that shapes cycles of other essential elements in forests, including calcium (Ca). When N availability exceeds ecosystem demands, excess N can stimulate Ca leaching and deplete Ca from soils. Over the long term, these processes may alter the proportion of available Ca that is derived from atmospheric deposition vs....Hynicka, Justin D.; Pett-Ridge, Julie C.; Perakis, Steven
Changes in habitat use and distribution of mouflon in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
European mouflon sheep (Ovis gmelini musimon) were introduced to Kahuku Ranch on Hawai‘i Island in 1968 and 1974 for trophy hunting and have been detrimental to the native ecosystem by trampling, bark stripping, and browsing vegetation. In 2003, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park acquired Kahuku Ranch and managers began removing mouflon. The...Palupe, Bronson; Leopold, Christina R.; Hess, Steven C.; Faford, Jonathan K.; Pacheco, Dexter; Judge, Seth W.
Mercury in western North America: A synthesis of environmental contamination, fluxes, bioaccumulation, and risk to fish and wildlife
Western North America is a region defined by extreme gradients in geomorphology and climate, which support a diverse array of ecological communities and natural resources. The region also has extreme gradients in mercury (Hg) contamination due to a broad distribution of inorganic Hg sources. These diverse Hg sources and a varied landscape create a...Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Wiener, James G.; Eckley, Chris S.; Willacker, James J.; Evers, David C.; Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark C.; Obrist, Daniel; Fleck, Jacob; Aiken, George R.; Lepak, Jesse M.; Jackson, Allyson K.; Webster, Jackson; Stewart, Robin; Davis, Jay; Alpers, Charles N.; Ackerman, Joshua T.
Estimating juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) abundance from beach seine data collected in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay, California
Resource managers rely on abundance or density metrics derived from beach seine surveys to make vital decisions that affect fish population dynamics and assemblage structure. However, abundance and density metrics may be biased by imperfect capture and lack of geographic closure during sampling. Currently, there is considerable uncertainty about...Perry, Russell W.; Kirsch, Joseph E.; Hendrix, A. Noble
Taxonomy of the order Mononegavirales: update 2016
In 2016, the order Mononegavirales was emended through the addition of two new families (Mymonaviridae and Sunviridae), the elevation of the paramyxoviral subfamily Pneumovirinae to family status (Pneumoviridae), the addition of five free-floating genera (Anphevirus, Arlivirus, Chengtivirus, Crustavirus, and Wastrivirus), and several other changes...Afonso, C.L.; Kurath, Gael; 82 Additional Authors
Herpetological monitoring and assessment on the Trinity River, Trinity County, California—Final report
The primary goal of the Trinity River Restoration Program is to rehabilitate the fisheries on the dam-controlled Trinity River. However, maintaining and enhancing other wildlife populations through the restoration initiative is also a key objective. Foothill yellow-legged frogs (Rana boylii) and western pond turtles (Actinemys marmorata) have been...Snover, Melissa L.; Adams, M.J.
Impacts of climate change and renewable energy development on habitat of an endemic squirrel, Xerospermophilus mohavensis, in the Mojave Desert, USA
Predicting changes in species distributions under a changing climate is becoming widespread with the use of species distribution models (SDMs). The resulting predictions of future potential habitat can be cast in light of planned land use changes, such as urban expansion and energy development to identify areas with potential conflict. However,...Inman, Richard D.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Leitner, Philip; Matocq, Marjorie D.; Weisberg, Peter J.; Dilts, Thomas E.
Predation on larval suckers in the Williamson River Delta revealed by molecular genetic assays—A pilot study
Predation of endangered Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris) during larval egress to Upper Klamath Lake from the Williamson River is poorly understood but may be an important factor limiting recruitment into adult spawning populations. Native and non-native piscivores are abundant in nursery...Hereford, Danielle M.; Ostberg, Carl O.; Burdick, Summer M.
Salmon redd identification using environmental DNA (eDNA)
IntroductionThe purpose of this project was to develop a technique to use environmental DNA (eDNA) to distinguish between redds made by Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and redds made by Coho salmon (O. kisutch) and to distinguish utilized redds from test/abandoned redds or scours that have the appearance of redds. The project had two...Pilliod, David S.; Laramie, Matthew B.
Conservation of native Pacific trout diversity in western North America
Pacific trout Oncorhynchus spp. in western North America are strongly valued in ecological, socioeconomic, and cultural views, and have been the subject of substantial research and conservation efforts. Despite this, the understanding of their evolutionary histories, overall diversity, and challenges to their conservation is incomplete. We review...Penaluna, Brooke E.; Abadía-Cardoso, Alicia; Dunham, Jason B.; García de León, Francisco J; Gresswell, Robert E.; Luna, Arturo Ruiz; Taylor, Eric B.; Shepard, Bradley B.; Al-Chokhachy, Robert K.; Muhlfeld, Clint C.; Bestgen, Kevin R.; Rogers, Kevin H.; Escalante, Marco A; Keeley, Ernest R; Temple, Gabriel; Williams, Jack E.; Matthews, Kathleen; Pierce, Ron; Mayden, Richard L.; Kovach, Ryan; Garza, John Carlos; Fausch, Kurt D.
Flyer for webinar on Weds. Feb. 14 – Mercury transport and bioaccumulation in California reservoirs affected by historical gold mining
Webinar on Mercury in Reservoirs - February 28th Webinar References
Thermal imagery is one tool to assist researchers in measuring temperature loss from the mange patches (red) and compare this with temperature loss from natural fur (blues and greens). As you can see in the two contrasting images, the hairless areas associated with mange are much easier to see using thermal imagery due to heat loss versus a standard photograph from a...
Clay-colored sparrow nest.
A colorful clay-colored sparrow nest. These sparrows live in brushy grasslands and prairie habitats.