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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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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.
Deserts are areas of the country which receive less than 10 in (250 mm) annual precipitation. In the United States, we have four distinct major deserts. Three are “hot deserts” because they receive precipitation in the summer months (Mojave, Sonoran, Chihuahuan) and one “cold desert” because it receives precipitation during the winter (Great Basin).
Ecological Stressors are physical, chemical, and biological factors that impact the condition and integrity of ecosystems and can change the trajectories of species and ecosystems. Stressors can be natural (fire, storms, insect outbreaks), or anthropogenic (e.g., climate change, fire, energy development).
USGS researchers tag and track endangered and threatened sea turtles to inform adaptive management strategies in marine protected areas.
USGS research on wetlands spans the range from freshwater alpine lakes in the Western United States to salt marshes along the Gulf; from the coastline of Alaska to the Southeastern US, and from vernal pools to the Great Lakes. Our scientists conduct research at local, national and international scales.
Climate change may reduce the suitability of nesting and foraging habitat used by federally threatened and endangered species, like the Loggerhead sea turtle.
Mosquito Control Pesticide Impacts to Butterflies: Implications for Imperiled Butterfly Conservation on a National Wildlife Refuge
USGS researchers evaluate the impact of a pesticide on two imperiled butterfly species in the Florida Keys.
USGS researchers investigate the effects of methylmercury contamination on reproduction of the Eastern mosquitofish, a common fish in South Florida.
USGS scientists investigate adaptive habitat conservation for Flatwoods salamanders.
Spatial and temporal patterns of mercury concentrations in freshwater fish across the Western United States and Canada
Methylmercury contamination of fish is a global threat to environmental health. Mercury (Hg) monitoring programs are valuable for generating data that can be compiled for spatially broad syntheses to identify emergent ecosystem properties that influence fish Hg bioaccumulation. Fish total Hg (THg) concentrations were evaluated across the Western...Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Willacker, James J.; Tate, Michael T.; Lutz, Michelle A; Fleck, Jacob; Stewart, Robin; Wiener, James G.; Evers, David C.; Lepak, Jesse M.; Davis, Jay A.; Pritz, Colleen Flanagan
Carbon dioxide as a tool to deter the movement of invasive bigheaded carps
Nonnative bigheaded carps are established in the Mississippi River and there is substantial concern about their potential entry into the interconnected Laurentian Great Lakes. While electrical barriers currently exist as a preventative measure, there is need for additional control mechanisms to promote barrier security through redundancy. We...Michael R. Donaldson; Amberg, Jon J.; Shivani Adhikari; Cupp, Aaron R.; Jensen, Nathan; Romine, Jason G.; Adam Wright; Gaikowski, Mark P.; Cory D. Suski
Biotelemetry data for golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) captured in coastal southern California, November 2014–February 2016
The status of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in coastal southern California is unclear. To address this knowledge gap, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in collaboration with local, State, and other Federal agencies began a multi-year survey and tracking program of golden eagles to address questions regarding habitat use, movement behavior,...Tracey, Jeff A.; Madden, Melanie C.; Sebes, Jeremy B.; Bloom, Peter H.; Katzner, Todd E.; Fisher, Robert N.
Multi-scale connectivity and graph theory highlight critical areas for conservation under climate change
Conservation planning and biodiversity management require information on landscape connectivity across a range of spatial scales from individual home ranges to large regions. Reduction in landscape connectivity due changes in land-use or development is expected to act synergistically with alterations to habitat mosaic configuration arising from...Dilts, Thomas E.; Weisberg, Peter J.; Leitner, Phillip; Matocq, Marjorie D.; Inman, Richard D.; Nussear, Ken E.; Esque, Todd C.
Avian mercury exposure and toxicological risk across western North America: A synthesis
Methylmercury contamination of the environment is an important issue globally, and birds are useful bioindicators for mercury monitoring programs. The available data on mercury contamination of birds in western North America were synthesized. Original data from multiple databases were obtained and a literature review was conducted to obtain...Ackerman, Joshua T.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Herzog, Mark P.; Hartman, Christopher; Peterson, Sarah H.; Evers, David C.; Jackson, Allyson K.; Elliott, John E.; Vander Pol, Stacy S.; Bryan, Colleen E.
Role of habitat complexity in predator-prey dynamics between an introduced fish and larval Long-toed Salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum)
Predation by nonnative fishes has reduced abundance and increased extinction risk for amphibian populations worldwide. Although rare, fish and palatable amphibians have been observed to coexist where aquatic vegetation and structural complexity provide suitable refugia. We examined whether larval long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum...Kenison, Erin K; Litt, Andrea R.; Pilliod, David S.; McMahon, Tom E
Response of ecosystem metabolism to low densities of spawning Chinook salmon
Marine derived nutrients delivered by large runs of returning salmon are thought to subsidize the in situ food resources that support juvenile salmon. In the Pacific Northwest, USA, salmon have declined to <10% of their historical abundance, with subsequent declines of marine derived nutrients once provided by large salmon runs. We explored...Benjamin, Joseph R.; Bellmore, J. Ryan; Watson, Grace A.
Hg concentrations in fish from coastal waters of California and Western North America
The State of California conducted an extensive and systematic survey of mercury (Hg) in fish from the California coast in 2009 and 2010. The California survey sampled 3483 fish representing 46 species at 68 locations, and demonstrated that methylHg in fish presents a widespread exposure risk to fish consumers. Most of the locations sampled (37 of...Davis, Jay; Ross, John; Bezalel, Shira; Sim, Lawrence; Bonnema, Autumn; Ichikawa, Gary; Heim, Wes; Schiff, Kenneth C; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Ackerman, Joshua T.
Differentiating sex and species of Western Grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis) and Clark's Grebes (Aechmophorus clarkii) and their eggs using external morphometrics and discriminant function analysis
In birds where males and females are similar in size and plumage, sex determination by alternative means is necessary. Discriminant function analysis based on external morphometrics was used to distinguish males from females in two closely related species: Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) and Clark's Grebe (A. clarkii). Additionally,...Hartman, C. Alex; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Herzog, Mark P.
Recommended reporting standards for test accuracy studies of infectious diseases of finfish, amphibians, molluscs and crustaceans: the STRADAS-aquatic checklist
Complete and transparent reporting of key elements of diagnostic accuracy studies for infectious diseases in cultured and wild aquatic animals benefits end-users of these tests, enabling the rational design of surveillance programs, the assessment of test results from clinical cases and comparisons of diagnostic test performance. Based on...Gardner, Ian A; Whittington, Richard J; Caraguel, Charles G B; Hick, Paul; Moody, Nicholas J G; Corbeil, Serge; Garver, Kyle A.; Warg, Janet V.; Arzul, Isabelle; Purcell, Maureen K.; St. J. Crane, Mark; Waltzek, Thomas B.; Olesen, Niels J; Lagno, Alicia Gallardo
Angler harvest, hatchery return, and tributary stray rates of recycled adult summer steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss in the Cowlitz River, Washington
Hatchery ‘recycling’ programs have been used to increase angling opportunities by re-releasing fish into a river after they returned to a hatchery or fish trap. Recycling is intended to increase opportunities for fishermen, but this strategy could affect wild fish populations if some recycled fish remain in the river and interact with...Kock, Tobias J.; Perry, Russell W.; Gleizes, Chris; Dammers, Wolf; Liedtke, Theresa L.
Salmon and steelhead in the White Salmon River after the removal of Condit Dam–Planning efforts and recolonization results
Condit Dam, at river kilometer 5.3 on the White Salmon River, Washington, was breached in 2011 and completely removed in 2012. This action opened habitat to migratory fish for the first time in 100 years. The White Salmon Working Group was formed to create plans for fish salvage in preparation for fish recolonization and to prescribe the actions...Allen, Brady; Engle, Rod O; Zendt, Joseph S; Shrier, Frank C; Wilson, Jeremy T; Connolly, Patrick J.