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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Date published: February 29, 2016

Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are attributes and outputs of ecosystems that are valued by human users. Ecosystem services are produced by ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling, climate regulation, and maintenance of biodiversity. Ecosystems also provide marketable goods like seafood and timber.

Date published: February 29, 2016

Resilience

Resilience is the ability of a system or a community to absorb shocks and still maintain the same basic structure and functions. Management for ecological resilience seeks flexible system behaviors that can deliver ecosystem goods and services on a sustained basis.

Date published: February 29, 2016

Meeting Science Needs

"Within the funds provided for the Biological Research Division, the managers have earmarked $3,400,000 for mission-critical science support for the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The managers reiterate that these funds are for research needs solely identified by FWS." FY2001 Conference Report on Department of the Interior Appropriations

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: February 29, 2016

Inform Decisions

Develop and distribute derived phenological information to inform human land use and risk management, and the conservation and management of natural resources, in variable climates and changing environments.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: February 26, 2016
Status: Active

Spatial Ecology of the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) and American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in the Greater Everglades

Satellite/GPS tags help USGS researchers understand the movements of American Alligators and American Crocodiles in the Greater Everglades.

Date published: February 26, 2016

Priority Ecosystems Science Projects

Focused ecosystem research and restoration.

Date published: February 26, 2016

Fish and Aquatic Organism Health

Understanding disease to support the management and restoration of aquatic species.

Date published: February 26, 2016

Imperiled Aquatic Species

Research on stressors and habitat requirements of imperiled aquatic species to inform their restoration.

Date published: February 26, 2016

Restoration Science and Technology

Research and technology for restoring aquatic species and aquatic habitats.

Date published: February 26, 2016

Species Diversity and Life History

Aquatic species diversity is the hallmark of healthy aquatic ecosystems.

Date published: February 26, 2016

Genetics, Genomics, and Molecular Biology

These tools offer invaluable insights into fishery resource problems.

Date published: February 26, 2016

Restoring Whooping Cranes to Southwest Louisiana: A Cooperative Venture

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.

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Year Published: 2018

Dynamic minimum set problem for reserve design: Heuristic solutions for large problems

Conversion of wild habitats to human dominated landscape is a major cause of biodiversity loss. An approach to mitigate the impact of habitat loss consists of designating reserves where habitat is preserved and managed. Determining the most valuable areas to preserve in a landscape is called the reserve design problem. There exists several...

Bonneau, Mathieu; Sabbadin, Regis; Johnson, Fred A.; Stith, Bradley
Bonneau, M., Sabbadin, R., Johnson, F.A., and Stith, B., 2018, Dynamic minimum set problem for reserve design: Heuristic solutions for large problems: PLoS ONE, v. 13, no. 3, art. e0193093, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193093.

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Year Published: 2018

Post-spring migration colony-site prospecting by Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii)

We recorded banded Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) and unbanded individuals mated to banded individuals in May and the first third of June in 2001 and 2002 to quantify post spring migration prospecting by this species at Falkner Island, Connecticut, USA. In 2001, more than one quarter: 34/125 (27.2%) of those observed by 19 May and 38/150 (25.3...

Spendelow, Jeffrey A.; Eichenwald, Adam J.
Spendelow, J. A. and Eichenwald, A. J., 2018, Post-Spring Migration Colony-site Prospecting by Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii): North American Bird Bander, v. 43, no. 1, p. 1-6.

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Year Published: 2018

Value of sample information in dynamic, structurally uncertain resource systems

Few if any natural resource systems are completely understood and fully observed. Instead, there almost always is uncertainty about the way a system works and its status at any given time, which can limit effective management. A natural approach to uncertainty is to allocate time and effort to the collection of additional data, on the reasonable...

Williams, Byron K.; Johnson, Fred A.
Williams, B.K., and Johnson, F.A., 2018, Value of sample information in dynamic, structurally uncertain resource systems: PLoS ONE, v. 13, no. 6, art. e0199326, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199326.

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Year Published: 2018

The flathead catfish invasion of the Great Lakes

A detailed review of historical literature and museum data revealed that flathead catfish were not historically native in the Great Lakes Basin, with the possible exception of a relict population in Lake Erie. The species has invaded Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron, nearly all drainages in Michigan, and the Fox/Wolf and Milwaukee...

Fuller, Pamela L.; Whelan, Gary

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Year Published: 2018

An update on Toxoplasma gondii infections in northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) from Washington State, USA

Toxoplasmosis in marine mammals is epidemiologically and clinically important. Toxoplasma gondii antibodies (by modified agglutination test, cut-off ≥1:25) were detected in serum of 65 of 70 (92.9%) northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) from Washington State, USA. Brains and/or muscles of 44 sea otters were bioassayed in mice (INF-γ knock-...

Verma, Shiv K.; Knowles, Susan; Cerqueira-Cezar, Camila K.; Kwok, Oliver C.; Jiang, Tiantian; Su, Chunlei; Dubey, Jitender P.

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Year Published: 2018

Bat community response to silvicultural treatments in bottomland hardwood forests managed for wildlife in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

Silvicultural treatments (e.g., selective timber harvests) that are prescribed to promote wildlife habitat are intended to alter the physical structure of forests to achieve conditions deemed beneficial for wildlife. Such treatments have been advocated for management of bottomland hardwood forests on public conservation lands in the Mississippi...

Ketzler, Loraine P.; Comer, Christopher E.; Twedt, Daniel J.
Ketzler, L. P., Comer, C. E., and Twedt, D. J., 2018, Bat community response to silvicultural treatments in bottomland hardwood forests managed for wildlife in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley: Forest Ecology and Management, v. 417, p. 40-48. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2018.02.047

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Year Published: 2018

Juvenile salmonid monitoring following removal of Condit Dam in the White Salmon River Watershed, Washington, 2017

Condit Dam, at river kilometer 5.3 on the White Salmon River, Washington, was breached in 2011, and removed completely in 2012, providing anadromous salmonids with the opportunity to recolonize habitat blocked for nearly 100 years. Prior to dam removal, a multi-agency workgroup concluded that the preferred salmonid restoration alternative was to...

Jezorek, Ian G.; Hardiman, Jill M.
Jezorek, I.G., and Hardiman, J.M., 2018, Juvenile salmonid monitoring following removal of Condit Dam in the White Salmon River watershed, Washington, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1106, 31 p. https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181106.

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Year Published: 2018

On the reliability of N‐mixture models for count data

N‐mixture models describe count data replicated in time and across sites in terms of abundance N and detectability p. They are popular because they allow inference about N while controlling for factors that influence p without the need for marking animals. Using a capture–recapture perspective, we show that the loss of information that results...

Barker, Richard J.; Schofield, Matthew J.; Link, William A.; Sauer, John R.
Baker, R. J., Schofield, M. R., Link, W. A., and Sauer, J. R., 2018, On the reliability of N-mixture models for count data: Biometrics, v. 74, no. 1, p. 369-377. https://doi.org/10.1111/biom.12734

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Year Published: 2018

Variation in inbreeding rates across the range of Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina): Insights from over 30 years of monitoring data

Inbreeding has been difficult to quantify in wild populations because of incomplete parentage information. We applied and extended a recently developed framework for addressing this problem to infer inbreeding rates in Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) across the Pacific Northwest, USA. Using pedigrees from 14,187 Northern Spotted...

Miller, Mark P.; Haig, Susan M.; Forsman, Eric D.; Anthony, Robert G.; Diller, Lowell; Dugger, Katie M.; Franklin, Alan B.; Fleming, Tracy L.; Gremel, Scott; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Higley, Mark; Herter, Dale R.; Sovern, Stan G
Miller, M.P., Haig, S.M., Forsman, E.D., Anthony, R.G., Diller, L., Dugger, K.M., Franklin, A.B., Gremel, S.A., Lesmeister, D.B., Higley, M., Herter, D.R., Sovern, S.G., 2018, Variation in inbreeding rates across the range of Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina)- insights from over 30 years of monitoring data: The Auk: Ornithological Advances, v. 135, no. 4, p. 821-833, https://doi.org/10.1642/AUK-18-1.1.

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Year Published: 2018

“Asian carp” is societally and scientifically problematic. Let's replace it

Bighead Carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, Black Carp Mylopharyngodon piceus, Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella, and Silver Carp H. molitrix are considered invasive species in North America and Europe. In North America, they are typically referred to collectively as “Asian carp”, a reference to their native range. The...

Kocovsky, Patrick; Chapman, Duane C.; Qian, Song S.

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Year Published: 2018

Modeling the distributions of tegu lizards in native and potential invasive ranges

Invasive reptilian predators can have substantial impacts on native species and ecosystems. Tegu lizards are widely distributed in South America east of the Andes, and are popular in the international live animal trade. Two species are established in Florida (U.S.A.) - Salvator merianae (Argentine black and white tegu) and Tupinambis teguixin...

Jarnevich, Catherine S.; Hayes, Mark; Fitzgerald, Lee A.; Yackel, Amy; Falk, Bryan; Collier, Michelle; Bonewell, Lea; Klug, Page; Naretto, Sergio; Reed, Robert
Jarnevich, C. S., M. A. Hayes, L. A. Fitzgerald, A. A. Yackel Adams, B. G. Falk, M. A. M. Collier, L. R. Bonewell, P. E. Klug, S. Naretto, and R. N. Reed. 2018. Modeling the distributions of tegu lizards in native and potential invasive ranges. Scientific Reports 8:10193.

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Year Published: 2018

Defining the risk landscape in the context of pathogen pollution: Toxoplasma gondii in sea otters along the Pacific Rim

Pathogens entering the marine environment as pollutants exhibit a spatial signature driven by their transport mechanisms. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris), a marine animal which lives much of its life within sight of land, presents a unique opportunity to understand land–sea pathogen transmission. Using a dataset on Toxoplasma gondii ...

Burgess, Tristan L.; Tinker, M. Tim; Miller, Melissa A.; Bodkin, James L.; Murray, Michael J.; Saarinen, Justin A.; Nichol, Linda M.; Larson, Shawn E.; Conrad, Patricia A.; Johnson, Christine K.
Burgess TLet al. 2018 Defining the risk landscape in the context of pathogen pollution: Toxoplasma gondii in sea otters along the Pacific Rim.R. Soc. open sci. 5: 171178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.171178

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Erosion along Alaska’s Arctic coastline near the village of Kaktovik
December 31, 1969

Erosion along Alaska’s Arctic coastline near the village of Kaktovik

Neal Pastick – lead author of the study – investigating erosion along Alaska’s Arctic coastline near the village of Kaktovik. Permafrost-dominated coasts of Alaska have drastically changed as the result of coastal transgression and storm-surge flooding which can result in the loss of cultural sites and damage to infrastructure.  Photo by M. Torre Jorgenson

Hoop fishing net deployed on the Little Colorado River
January 1, 0000

Hoop fishing net deployed on the Little Colorado River

Hoop fishing net deployed on the Little Colorado River just downstream of a travetine fall

Delta Smelt being held in hand
January 1, 0000

Delta Smelt

Delta Smelt being held in hand

USGS
May 11, 2018

Webinar on Mercury in Reservoirs - February 14th Webinar Flyer

Flyer for webinar on Weds. Feb. 14 – Mercury transport and bioaccumulation in California reservoirs affected by historical gold mining

USGS
May 15, 2018

Webinar on Mercury in Reservoirs - February 28th Webinar References

Webinar on Mercury in Reservoirs - February 28th Webinar References

Comparison of traditional and thermal imagery to show mange.

Comparison of traditional and thermal imagery to show mange.

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

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USGS
August 29, 2018

Proposed Course Outline for SDM Construction

Proposed outline for course on SDM construction

Attribution: Ecosystems