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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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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.
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.
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.
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.
This center is an interdisciplinary organization advancing the use of science in natural resource decision making. The Center focuses on research and applications in three science areas: decision science (adaptive management and structured decision making), ecosystem services, and resilience/sustainability.
We help our scientists partner with governments, NGOs, universities, and individuals in other countries to conduct research that benefits the partner country and the United States. These partnerships can enhance the science and improve diplomatic relationships (science diplomacy), a less tangible but equally important benefit.
Instream cover and shade mediate avian predation on trout in semi-natural streams
Piscivory by birds can be significant, particularly on fish in small streams and during seasonal low flow when available cover from predators can be limited. Yet, how varying amounts of cover may change the extent of predation mortality from avian predators on fish is not clear. We evaluated size-selective survival of coastal cutthroat trout (...Penaluna, Brooke E.; Dunham, Jason B.; Noakes, David L. G.
Stress-gradient hypothesis explains susceptibility to Bromus tectorum invasion and community stability in North America's semi-arid Artemisia tridentata wyomingensis ecosystems
Questions: (1) What combinations of overlapping water and heat stress and herbivory disturbance gradients are associated with shifts in interactions between Artemisia tridentata subsp. wyomingensis (Artemisia) and herbaceous beneficiary species? (2) Do interactions between Artemisia and beneficiaries shift from competition to facilitation with...Reisner, Michael D.; Doescher, Paul S.; Pyke, David A.
Moisture rivals temperature in limiting photosynthesis by trees establishing beyond their cold-edge range limit under ambient and warmed conditions
Climate change is altering plant species distributions globally, and warming is expected to promote uphill shifts in mountain trees. However, at many cold-edge range limits, such as alpine treelines in the western United States, tree establishment may be colimited by low temperature and low moisture, making recruitment patterns with warming...Moyes, Andrew B.; Germino, Matthew J.; Kueppers, Lara M.
Soil organic matter regulates molybdenum storage and mobility in forests
The trace element molybdenum (Mo) is essential to a suite of nitrogen (N) cycling processes in ecosystems, but there is limited information on its distribution within soils and relationship to plant and bedrock pools. We examined soil, bedrock, and plant Mo variation across 24 forests spanning wide soil pH gradients on both basaltic and...Marks, Jade A; Perakis, Steven; King, Elizabeth K.; Pett-Ridge, Julie
Rethinking the longitudinal stream temperature paradigm: region-wide comparison of thermal infrared imagery reveals unexpected complexity of river temperatures
Prevailing theory suggests that stream temperature warms asymptotically in a downstream direction, beginning at the temperature of the source in the headwaters and leveling off downstream as it converges to match meteorological conditions. However, there have been few empirical examples of longitudinal patterns of temperature in large rivers due...Fullerton, Aimee H.; Torgersen, Christian E.; Lawler, Joshua J.; Faux, Russell N.; Steel, E. Ashley; Beechie, Timothy J.; Ebersole, Joseph L.; Leibowitz, Scott J.
Effects of changing climate on aquatic habitat and connectivity for remnant populations of a wide-ranging frog species in an arid landscape
Amphibian species persisting in isolated streams and wetlands in desert environments can be susceptible to low connectivity, genetic isolation, and climate changes. We evaluated the past (1900–1930), recent (1981–2010), and future (2071–2100) climate suitability of the arid Great Basin (USA) for the Columbia spotted frog (Rana...Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert S.; Robertson, Jeanne M.; Murphy, Melanie; Funk, W. Chris
Local variability mediates vulnerability of trout populations to land use and climate change
Land use and climate change occur simultaneously around the globe. Fully understanding their separate and combined effects requires a mechanistic understanding at the local scale where their effects are ultimately realized. Here we applied an individual-based model of fish population dynamics to evaluate the role of local stream variability in...Penaluna, Brooke E.; Dunham, Jason B.; Railsback, Steve F.; Arismendi, Ivan; Johnson, Sherri L.; Bilby, Robert E; Safeeq, Mohammad; Skaugset, Arne E.
Evaluation of fisher (Pekania pennanti) restoration in Olympic National Park and the Olympic Recovery Area: 2014 annual progress report
With the translocation and release of 90 fishers (Pekania pennanti) from British Columbia to Olympic National Park during 2008–2010, the National Park Service and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife accomplished the first phase of fisher restoration in Washington State. Beginning in 2013, we initiated a new research project to determine the...Happe, Patricia J.; Jenkins, Kurt J.; Kay, Thomas J.; Pilgrim, Kristy L.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Lewis, Jeffrey C.; Aubry, Keith B.
Key seabird areas in southern New England identified using a community occupancy model
Seabirds are of conservation concern, and as new potential risks to seabirds are arising, the need to provide unbiased estimates of species’ distributions is growing. We applied community occupancy models to detection/non-detection data collected from repeated aerial strip-transect surveys conducted in 2 large study plots off southern New...O'Connell, Allan F.; Flanders, Nicholas P.; Gardner, Beth; Winiarski, Kristopher J.; Paton, Peter W. C.; Allison, Taber
Projecting changes in subalpine tree populations with warming across an elevation gradientGermino, Matthew J.; Kueppers, Lara; Conlisk, Erin; Castanha, Cristina; Moyes, Andrew; Smith, Jeremy; Veblen, Tom
Survival, growth, and tag retention in age-0 Chinook Salmon implanted with 8-, 9-, and 12-mm PIT tags
The ability to represent a population of migratory juvenile fish with PIT tags becomes difficult when the minimum tagging size is larger than the average size at which fish begin to move downstream. Tags that are smaller (e.g., 8 and 9 mm) than the commonly used 12-mm PIT tags are currently available, but their effects on survival, growth, and tag...Tiffan, Kenneth F.; Perry, Russell W.; Connor, William P.; Mullins, Frank L.; Rabe, Craig; Nelson, Doug D
Multiscale analysis of river networks using the R package linbin
Analytical tools are needed in riverine science and management to bridge the gap between GIS and statistical packages that were not designed for the directional and dendritic structure of streams. We introduce linbin, an R package developed for the analysis of riverscapes at multiple scales. With this software, riverine data on aquatic habitat and...Welty, Ethan Z.; Torgersen, Christian E.; Brenkman, Samuel J.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Armstrong, Jonathan B.