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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: 713
Date published: November 14, 2014
Status: Completed

Fish Slam 2014

On November 20, 2014, eight teams of fishery biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), U.S. National Park Service (NPS), and Florida International University (FIU) gathered for a one-day sampling event to collect non-native fishes from canals, ponds and ditches in Miami-Dade County, FL....

Date published: September 15, 2014
Status: Active

Technical Support and Synthesis of Data Collected on the Health and Status of Delta Smelt

USGS scientists work to provide data to UC Davis researchers on health and growth of smelt population in Bay-Delta.

Date published: August 1, 2014
Status: Active

Rearing Habitats of Longfin Smelt in the Low Salinity Zone of the San Francisco Estuary

Scientists study habitats occupied by longfin smelt larvae to better understand their ecology and to inform water management operations, species management, and habitat restoration efforts.

Date published: May 6, 2014

Adaptive Management for the Northern Bobwhite on the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area

Based on field research conducted during 2002-2009, the bobwhite population on the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Southwest Florida is incapable of supporting desired levels of sport harvest.

Date published: April 17, 2014

Use of Amphibian Communities as Indicators of Restoration Success in the Greater Everglades

Habitat alteration and climate, when combined, are serious threats to amphibians and other wildlife. Habitat suitability models are being used to predict the responses of an amphibian community to hydrological and habitat restoration in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. 

Date published: April 1, 2014

Assessment of South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SALCC) Marine Indicators

The South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SALCC) has proposed natural resource indicators and associated targets for the marine ecosystem.

Contacts: Michael Randall
Date published: April 1, 2014
Status: Active

Abiotic and Biotic Effects on Delta Smelt Abundance and Distribution

Scientists research the importance of abiotic versus biotic (food supply) habitat features as drivers of delta smelt abundance and distribution.

Date published: April 17, 2013

Coping with Invasive Alien Species and Environmental Stressors: Linking Behavioral Studies with Management for Anuran Amphibians

Climate change and invasive species are two key drivers of biodiversity loss. Knowing how amphibians respond to climate change and invasive species can greatly improve predictions of species' persistence in the face of these factors and can help guide resource managers and conservation biologists in developing strategies to manage for these encroaching disturbances. 

Date published: April 18, 2012
Status: Completed

Experimental Study of Fire Season and Frequency in South Florida Pinelands

Fire is a major driving force in determining the structure and composition of subtropical vegetation. Prescribed fire constitutes one of the most pervasive management actions influencing the restoration and maintenance of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. 

Contacts: James Snyder
Date published: March 10, 2012

Systematic Studies of Southeastern Fishes

The southeastern United States is home to a variety of freshwater snails, mussels, crayfish, and fishes. USGS scientists are conducting systematic studies to better document the region's biodiversity.

Contacts: Noel Burkhead
Date published: April 17, 2009

Integrative Studies of Florida Spring Ecosystems

Florida's springs are a source of cultural, recreational, and ecological importance. But land-use changes and increased demands for groundwater due to the state's growing population have led to widespread impairment of these unique ecosystems. 

Date published: March 10, 2008

Conservation Research on North American Freshwater Faunas

The decline of freshwater animals has resulted in an increase in the number of imperiled species and extinctions. USGS scientists use genetics to determine if these species truly are gone forever.

Contacts: Noel Burkhead
Filter Total Items: 3,081
Year Published: 2015

Long-term effects of wildfire on greater sage-grouse - integrating population and ecosystem concepts for management in the Great Basin

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereinafter, sage-grouse) are a sagebrush obligate species that has declined concomitantly with the loss and fragmentation of sagebrush ecosystems across most of its geographical range. The species currently is listed as a candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)....

Coates, Peter S.; Ricca, Mark A.; Prochazka, Brian G.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Casazza, Michael L.
Coates, P.S., Ricca, M.A., Prochazka, B.G., Doherty, K.E., Brooks, M.L., and Casazza, M.L., 2015, Long-term effects of wildfire on greater sage-grouse—Integrating population and ecosystem concepts for management in the Great Basin: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1165, 42 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151165.

Year Published: 2015

Legacy effects of wildfire on stream thermal regimes and rainbow trout ecology: an integrated analysis of observation and individual-based models

Management of aquatic resources in fire-prone areas requires understanding of fish species’ responses to wildfire and of the intermediate- and long-term consequences of these disturbances. We examined Rainbow Trout populations in 9 headwater streams 10 y after a major wildfire: 3 with no history of severe wildfire in the watershed (unburned...

Rosenberger, Amanda E.; Dunham, Jason B.; Neuswanger, Jason R.; Railsback, Steven F.

Year Published: 2015

Challenges of establishing big sgebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in rangeland restoration: effects of herbicide, mowing, whole-community seeding, and sagebrush seed sources

The loss of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) on sites disturbed by fire has motivated restoration seeding and planting efforts. However, the resulting sagebrush establishment is often lower than desired, especially in dry areas. Sagebrush establishment may be increased by addressing factors such as seed source and condition or management...

Brabec, Martha M.; Germino, Matthew J.; Shinneman, Douglas J.; Pilliod, David S.; McIlroy, Susan K.; Arkle, Robert S.
Brabec, M.M., M.J. Germino, D.J. Shinneman, D.S. Pilliod, S.K. McIlroy, and R.S. Arkle. 2015. Challenges of Establishing Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in 3 Rangeland Restoration: Effects of Herbicide, Mowing, 4 Whole-Community Seeding, and Sagebrush Seed Sources. Rangeland Ecology and Management: 68(5):432-435.

Year Published: 2015

Range-wide network of priority areas for greater sage-grouse - a design for conserving connected distributions or isolating individual zoos?

The network of areas delineated in 11 Western States for prioritizing management of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) represents a grand experiment in conservation biology and reserve design. We used centrality metrics from social network theory to gain insights into how this priority area network might function. The network was...

Crist, Michele R.; Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steven E.
Crist, M.R., Knick, S.T., and Hanser, S.E., 2015, Range-wide network of priority areas for greater sage-grouse—A design for conserving connected distributions or isolating individual zoos?: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1158, 34 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/20151158.

Year Published: 2015

Book review: Mosquito eradication: The story of killing Campto

In 1826, the paradise that was the Hawaiian Islands was changed forever when the first mosquito species was accidentally introduced to the island of Maui. Though it has not lived up to its potential as a vector of human disease in the islands, Culex quinquefasciatus and the avian pathogens it transmits laid waste to...

Lapointe, Dennis
LaPointe, Dennis. 2015. Book review of Mosquito Eradication: The Story of Killing Campto. American Entomologist, 61: 192-192.

Year Published: 2015

Chronicling long-term predator responses to a shifting forage base in Chesapeake Bay: an energetics approach

The population of Striped Bass Morone saxatilis in Chesapeake Bay has increased significantly since the 1980s because of management efforts while the relative abundance of some key prey fish has declined since the 1970s. We examined the trophic interactions and prey consumption patterns of Striped Bass in Chesapeake Bay to determine how...

Overton, Anthony S.; Griffin, Jennifer C.; Margraf, F. Joseph; May, Eric B.; Hartman, Kyle J.

Year Published: 2015

Seasonally-dynamic presence-only species distribution models for a cryptic migratory bat impacted by wind energy development

Understanding seasonal distribution and movement patterns of animals that migrate long distances is an essential part of monitoring and conserving their populations. Compared to migratory birds and other more conspicuous migrants, we know very little about the movement patterns of many migratory bats. Hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus), a cryptic,...

Hayes, Mark A.; Cryan, Paul M.; Wunder, Michael B.
Hayes, M.A., P.M. Cryan, and M.B. Wunder. 2015. Seasonally-dynamic presence-only species distribution models for a cryptic migratory bat impacted by wind energy development. PLoS ONE 10: e0132599

Year Published: 2015

Landscape-scale distribution and density of raptor populations wintering in anthropogenic-dominated desert landscapes

Anthropogenic development has great potential to affect fragile desert environments. Large-scale development of renewable energy infrastructure is planned for many desert ecosystems. Development plans should account for anthropogenic effects to distributions and abundance of rare or sensitive wildlife; however, baseline data on abundance and...

Duerr, Adam E.; Miller, Tricia A.; Cornell Duerr, Kerri L; Lanzone, Michael J.; Fesnock, Amy; Katzner, Todd E.

Year Published: 2015

Successful mitigation of viral disease based on a delayed exposure rearing strategy at a large-scale steelhead trout conservation hatchery

In 2009, the largest steelhead trout conservation hatchery in the state of Idaho, Dworshak National Fish Hatchery (NFH), lost over 50% of the juvenile steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) population being reared for release. The causative agent of this high mortality was the viral pathogen infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV). This was...

Breyta, R.; Samson, Corie; Blair, Marilyn; Black, Allison; Kurath, Gael
Breyta, R., C. Samson, M. Blair, A. Black, and G. Kurath. 2016. Successful mitigation of viral disease based on a delayed exposure rearing strategy at a large-scale steelhead trout conservation hatchery. Aquaculture 450: 213-224.

Year Published: 2015

Estimating the short-term recovery potential of little brown bats in the eastern United States in the face of White-nose syndrome

White-nose syndrome (WNS) was first detected in North American bats in New York in 2006. Since that time WNS has spread throughout the northeastern United States, southeastern Canada, and southwest across Pennsylvania and as far west as Missouri. Suspect WNS cases have been identified in Minnesota and Iowa, and the causative agent of WNS (...

Russell, Robin E.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Erickson, Richard A.; Szymanski, Jennifer A.; Tinsley, Karl

Year Published: 2015

Unusual behavior in the parental care of a house wren (Troglodytes aedon): Post fledging use of an old nest during cold nights

I report on the unusual behavior of an adult House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) leading recently fledged young back to the nest for two consecutive nights. The ambient temperature reached below 0°C during both nights. Despite disadvantages associated with remaining in the nest, this observation suggests that adult birds may assess trade-offs...

Scholer, Micah N.
Scholer, M.N., 2015, Unusual Behavior in Parental Care by a House Wren (Troglodytes aedon): Post Fledging Use of an Old Nest During Cold Nights. Wilson Journal of Ornithology, p. 545-547.

Year Published: 2015

Characterization of a novel hepadnavirus in the white sucker (Catostomus commersonii) from the Great Lakes Region of the USA

The white sucker Catostomus commersonii is a freshwater teleost often utilized as a resident sentinel. Here, we sequenced the full genome of a hepatitis B-like virus that infects white suckers from the Great Lakes Region of the USA. Dideoxysequencing confirmed the white sucker hepatitis B virus (WSHBV) has a circular genome (3542 bp) with the...

Hahn, Cassidy M.; Iwanowicz, Luke R.; Cornman, Robert S.; Conway, Carla M.; Winton, James R.; Blazer, Vicki S.
Hahn, CM, L.R. Iwanowicz, R.S. Cornman, C.M. Conway, J.R. Winton, and V.S. Blazer, (2015) Characterization of a Novel Hepadnavirus in the White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii) from the Great Lakes Region of the USA. Journal of Virology. 89: 11801-11811.