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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Filter Total Items: 747
Date published: November 29, 2018
Status: Completed

Molecular characterization of unknown virus isolated from the introduced species, the Northern snake head (Channa argus), present in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Molecular characterization of unknown virus isolated from the introduced species, the Northern snake head (Channa argus), present in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Date published: November 29, 2018
Status: Active

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Prevalence of Intersex in Fish Populations in New Jersey

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Prevalence of Intersex in Fish Populations in New Jersey

Date published: November 13, 2018
Status: Active

Evaluating the pathogenicity and replication of a novel aquareovirus that infects the endangered fountain darter, Etheostoma fonticola

Evaluating the pathogenicity and replication of a novel aquareovirus that infects the endangered fountain darter, Etheostoma fonticola

Date published: November 1, 2018
Status: Active

Using Molecular Tools to Recalibrate Freshwater Mussel Taxonomy with a Focus on Imperiled Species

Freshwater mussels of the family Unionidae, also known as naiads, pearly mussels, freshwater clams, or unionids, are a diverse group of bivalve mollusks that are distributed on every continent except Antarctica. Approximately 300 species are known from the United States, with most of this diversity residing in rivers of the Southeast where many endemic taxa have evolved.

Date published: November 1, 2018
Status: Active

High-Flow Experiments on the Colorado River

Glen Canyon Dam has altered flow and fine sediment (sand, silt, and clay) dynamics of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Before the dam, the Colorado River experienced highly variable flows and carried a large amount of sediment through Grand Canyon, which maintained sandbars (highly valued camping areas in Grand Canyon) and provided sand that protected archeological and cultural sites from...

Date published: October 26, 2018
Status: Active

Abbreviations

Projects in the Energy and Wildlife program use many abbreviations to describe partners, equipment, and places. The list below gives the abbreviation and full name of the abbreviations used throughout the Energy and Wildlife program website.

Contacts: Mona Khalil
Date published: October 23, 2018
Status: Active

Assessment of the immune status of wild and laboratory-maintained smallmouth bass

Deaths of young-of-year smallmouth bass in the Chesapeake Bay drainage has been noted since 2005. Studies of affected fish have found bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. Mixed infections suggest these fish are immunosuppressed. Understanding the role of specific pathogens and environmental factors that contribute to their presence is important but equally important is the understanding...

Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Effects of Nanophyetus salmincola on the Health and Survival of Puget Sound Steelhead

Low early marine survival rates of Puget Sound steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), the state fish of Washington, have contributed to its dramatic population decline and current listing as a “Threatened Species” under the Endangered Species Act. Determining the cause(s) of this elevated mortality remains a primary objective of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, a large US / Canada effort...

Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Genomic Mechanisms that Underlie Lack of Recovery of Prince William Sound Herring Following the 1990s Collapse

In the decades following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS), it has become increasingly apparent that oil can be toxic at extremely low concentrations to developing fish embryos including herring, where some toxic phenotypes may be apparent during embryogenesis, but some are delayed until later in life. Therefore, acute and lingering oil may act as an insidious selective force within...

Contacts: Paul Hershberger, Ph.D., Jacob Gregg, Ashley MacKenzie, William Richards, Andrew Whitehead, John Incardona, Nat Scholtz
Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Herring Disease Program

Using an approach that involves a combination of field- and laboratory-based studies, we are investigating fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound, AK.  Field studies are providing infection and disease prevalence data to inform the population models, serological data that indicate the prior exposure history and...

Date published: October 17, 2018
Status: Active

Digital Soil Mapping: High Resolution Maps for Modern Land Management Decisions

The field of digital soil mapping has bridged the classic theories of soil science into the modern computing age to produce high resolution maps. This body of work utilizes classic soil factorial theory (soil = f[climate, organisms, relief (topography), parent material, time] + ɛ, or ‘clorpt’). The clorpt framework has been approximated using various environmental spatial data layers to...

Date published: October 17, 2018
Status: Active

Integrated Ecohydrological Science in the Northern Rocky Mountains — the variability of water availability and the effects on ecosystems

Our primary goal is to better understand and characterize how stream environments and the ecosystems they support are influenced by climate change and drought in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

Filter Total Items: 153
Date published: October 30, 2017

Movement Maps for Suisun Marsh Waterfowl and Waterbird Studies

Suisun Marsh is a critical habitat for wintering and breeding waterbirds in California. USGS is working with the California DWR to examine the trends in bird decline and to assess the habitat factors driving long-term survival of waterfowl, rails, and other birds in this important area.

Date published: October 18, 2017

DATA RELEASE - Riparian Vegetation and Environmental Variables, Colorado River, 2014—Data

These data consist of species relative cover; percent cover of dead plant material, soil and rock; and a variety of broad- and local- scale environmental variables. These data relate to sample sites along the Colorado River through Grand Canyon between Lees Ferry and river mile 245. Sample sites were distributed among three geomorphic features: channel margins, debris fans, and sandbars.

Date published: October 17, 2017

Shapefiles and Historical Aerial Photographs, Little Missouri River, 1939-2003

The data archive contains the aerial photographs and channel delineations used in our analysis. The images have been geo-referenced to the 1995 digital orthophoto quarter quadrangles as described by Miller and Friedman (2009). The channel delineations for all photo years (including 2003) and the delineation of the outer flood-plain boundary are stored as shapefiles.

Date published: October 16, 2017

Environmental conditions synchronize avian botulism type E outbreaks in the Great Lakes: Data

During 2010 to 2013, waterbird mortality surveillance programs used a shared protocol for shoreline walking surveys performed June to November at three areas in northern Lake Michigan. Timing (to day) and location (to transect) of carcass deposition and species affected were summarized. Using these observations, the broader goal of our study was to quantify the spatial synchrony of avian...

Date published: September 26, 2017

Pathogenic lineage of Perkinsea causes mass mortality of frogs across the USA: Data

(i) Severe perkinsea data was based on the observation of characteristic gross and microscopic lesions and the morphological identification of Perkinsea organisms within the lesions. Necropsies and gross evaluation of carcasses were carried out under a dissecting microscope. Specimen were collected and submitted to the NWHC as part of mortality investigations and collection of specimen from...

Date published: September 20, 2017

Monkeypox challenge of rope squirrels: data

Monkeypox virus (MPXV) is a zoonotic disease endemic in Central and West Africa and is the most virulent orthopoxvirus affecting humans since the eradication of variola virus (VARV). In order to assess their reservoir potential, wild-caught rope squirrels were experimentally infected via intranasal and intradermal exposure with a recombinant MPXV strain from Central Africa engineered to...

Date published: August 7, 2017

Atypical Feeding Behavior of Long-tailed Ducks in the Wake of a Commercial Fishing Boat while Clamming

Data represents analyses of gizzard and gullet (esophagus and proventriculus) of nine ducks using traditional techniques

Date published: July 27, 2017

An Online Database for IHN Virus in Pacific Salmonid Fish: MEAP-IHNV

The Molecular Epidemiology of Aquatic Pathogens (MEAP)-IHNV Database

The MEAP-IHNV database provides access to detailed data for anyone interested in IHNV molecular epidemiology, such as fish health professionals, fish culture facility managers, and academic researchers.

Date published: July 19, 2017

Natural infections with Pigeon Paramyxovirus-1: Pathologic changes in Eurasian collared-doves (Streptopelia decaocto) and rock pigeons (Columba livia) in the USA: Data

We reviewed pathological findings and to a lesser extent epidemiological data from 70 free-ranging columbiforms naturally infected with Pigeon paramyxovirus-1 (PPMV-1) from 25 different PPMV-1 mortality events in columbiforms in the USA. In a subset of 17 birds from 10 of the studied outbreaks, we carried out immunohistochemistry targeting PPMV-1 nucleoprotein to determine the tissue...

Date published: July 12, 2017

Development of a Multimetric Index for Integrated Assessment of Salt Marsh Ecosystem Condition

This dataset is comprised of eight files related to salt marsh monitoring data or measures of of human disturbance (i.e. human impacts in terms of physical, chemical, and land-use stressors) collected at 33 marsh study units (MSUs) in five National Parks within the NPS Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN) along the NE coast of the US.

Date published: July 11, 2017

Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012

Germaine, S.S., Carter, S.K., Ignizio, D.A., and Freeman, A.T., 2017, Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7BR8QDD. DOI: 10.5066/F7BR8QDD

Date published: July 6, 2017

Life history attributes data for Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) in Arizona 2013

The Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) occurs in the desert and plains grasslands of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Sonora, Mexico. This data was produced as part of the first intensive study of its life history and breeding ecology, providing baseline data and facilitating comparisons with other North American Grasshopper Sparrow...

Filter Total Items: 30,796
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Year Published: 2019

Invasive species research—Science for detection, containment, and control

Invasive species research within the U.S. Geological Survey’s Ecosystems Mission Area focuses on invasive organisms throughout the United States. U.S. Geological Survey scientists work with partners in the Department of the Interior, other Federal, State and Territorial agencies, Tribes, industry, and agriculture to provide the information needed...

Campbell, Earl W.; Tam, Cynthia S.; Soileau, Suzanna C.
Attribution: Ecosystems
Campbell, E.W., Tam, C.S., and Soileau, S.C., 2019, Invasive species research—Science for detection, containment, and control: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010–3080, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183080.

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Year Published: 2019

Hydrologic function of rapidly induced biocrusts

In dryland ecosystems, land degradation and erosion pose severe threats to ecosystem productivity and human wellbeing. Bio‐inoculation of degraded soils with native biological soil crusts ('biocrusts') is a promising yet relatively untested means to improve soil stability and hydrologic function (i.e. increase infiltration and reduce runoff). In a...

Fick, Stephen E.; Barger, Nichole N.; Duniway, Michael C.

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Year Published: 2019

Pathways to strategic communication for biodiversity conservation: Response to “Hearing ourselves (and acting in consequence): A commentary on Bekessy et al. from a bird-handling environmental education perspective”

Central to discussions about the merits of ecosystem services as a communication strategy is the degree to which it represents a strategic and effective approach to advance biodiversity conservation. There is increasing recognition that many conservation communication efforts can be more strategic (e.g. Kusmanoff et al. 2016).

Kusmanoff, Alex; Runge, Michael C.; Keith, David A.; Wintle, Brendan A.; Bekessy, Sarah A.

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Year Published: 2019

Which trees die during drought? The key role of insect host-tree selection

1. During drought, the tree subpopulations (such as size or vigor classes) that suffer disproportionate mortality can be conceptually arrayed along a continuum defined by the actions of biotic agents, particularly insects. At one extreme, stress dominates: insects are absent or simply kill the most physiologically stressed trees. At the...

Stephenson, Nathan L.; Das, Adrian J.; Ampersee, Nicholas J.; Bulaon, Beverly M; Yee, Julie L.

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Year Published: 2019

Potential sea level rise for the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana

Situated in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain of the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GCP LCC), the Chitimacha Tribe is one of four federally recognized tribes in Louisiana. The Tribal seat, trust lands/ reservation, and adjacent Tribal owned lands are located near Charenton, Louisiana, totaling nearly 1,000 acres. The...

Spear, Kathryn A.; Jones, William; Griffith, Kereen; Tirpak, Blair E.; Walden, Kimberly
Spear, K.A., Jones, W., Griffith, K., Tirpak, B.E., and Walden, K., 2019, Potential sea level rise on Chitimacha Tribal Lands in Louisiana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1030, 1 sheet, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191030.

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Year Published: 2019

Functional variation at an expressed MHC class IIß locus associates with Ranavirus infection intensity in larval anuran populations

Infectious diseases are causing catastrophic losses to biodiversity globally. Iridoviruses in the genus Ranavirus are among the leading causes of amphibian disease-related mortality. Polymorphisms in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are significantly associated with variation in amphibian susceptibility to pathogens. MHC genes encode...

Savage, Anna E.; Muletz-Wolz, Carly R.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Fleischer, Robert C.; Mulder , Kevin P.

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Year Published: 2019

Living with wildfire in Montezuma County, Colorado: 2015 data report

Residents in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) can play an important role in reducing wildfire’s negative effects by performing wildfire risk mitigation on their property. This report offers insight into the wildfire risk mitigation activities and related considerations, such as attitudes, experiences, and concern about wildfire, for people with...

Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Meldrum, James R.; Wilson, Pamela; Champ, Patricia A.; Barth, Christopher M.; Boag, Angela

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Year Published: 2019

Energetic costs of aquatic locomotion in a subadult polar bear

Most marine mammals rely on swimming as their primary form of locomotion. These animals have evolved specialized morphologies, physiologies, and behaviors that have enabled them to efficiently move through an aquatic environment (Williams 1999). Such adaptations include body streamlining, modified plantar surfaces for propulsion, and...

Pagano, Anthony M.; Cutting, Amy; Nicassio-Hiskey, Nicole; Hash, Amy; Williams, Terrie M.

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Year Published: 2019

Relative prediction intervals reveal larger uncertainty in 3D approaches to predictive digital soil mapping of soil properties with legacy data

Fine scale maps of soil properties enable efficient land management and inform earth system models. Recent efforts to create soil property maps from field observations tend to use similar tree-based machine learning interpolation approaches, but often deal with depth of predictions, validation, and uncertainty differently. One of the main...

Nauman, Travis; Duniway, Michael C.

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Year Published: 2019

Using the value of information to improve conservation decision making

Conservation decisions are challenging, not only because they often involve difficult conflicts among outcomes that people value, but because our understanding of the natural world and our effects on it is fraught with uncertainty. Value of Information (VoI) methods provide an approach for understanding and managing uncertainty from the standpoint...

Bolam, Friederike C.; Grainger, Matthew J.; Mengerson, Kerrie L.; Stewart, Gavin B.; Sutherland, William J.; Runge, Michael C.; McGowan, Philip J. K.

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Year Published: 2019

The contribution of road-based citizen science to the conservation of pond-breeding amphibians

Roadside amphibian citizen science (CS) programmes bring together volunteers focused on collecting scientific data while working to mitigate population declines by reducing road mortality of pond‐breeding amphibians. Despite the international popularity of these movement‐based, roadside conservation efforts (i.e. “big nights,” “bucket brigades”...

Sterrett, Sean; Katz, Rachel A.; Fields, William R.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.

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Year Published: 2019

Mortality due to Tyzzer's disease of muskrats in northern Ohio, USA

In 2017, we investigated a mortality event of muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) in Northwest Ohio, USA, and determined the causes of death to be from Tyzzer's disease due to Clostridium piliforme and Klebsiella pneumoniae septicemia. The gross presentation resembled tularemia, which highlighted the importance of a complete...

Grear, Daniel A.; Lankton, Julia S.; Zaleski, Sara; Witt, Mark; Lorch, Jeffrey M.

Filter Total Items: 720
Asian carp removal in Missouri
February 23, 2018

Asian Carp Removal in Missouri

In 2018, USGS and partners completed an incredible feat against a harmful aquatic invasive species when over 240,000 pounds of invasive Silver Carp and Bighead Carp were removed from Creve Coeur Lake in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

Female northern harrier gaze
February 9, 2018

Female Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) Gaze

A female northern harrier (Circus cyaneus) gazes into the camera at Suisun Marsh, CA.

Manatee Health Assessment
February 1, 2018

Manatee Health Assessment

USGS conducts a health assessment on a mantee in Crystal River, Florida.

Picture of field water-level monitoring gage EDEN 13
January 31, 2018

Field water-level monitoring gage EDEN 13

Field water-level monitoring gage EDEN 13. Photograph by Michael Oliver, U.S. Geological Survey.
U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3069
Version 1.1, January 2018

Sea turtle
December 31, 2017

Sea turtle

Green sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered throughout their range. (Credit: Thierry Work, USGS)

Attribution: Ecosystems
Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication
December 31, 2017

Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication

This microscopic image shows a sun-shaped area within turtle skin cells where chelonid herpesvirus 5 replicates. The virus capsids, or protein shells, are arrayed like a corona around the circle. ChHV5 is associated with fibropapillomatosisa tumor disease affecting endangered green turtles. (Credit: Thierry Work,

...
A desmid alga is bright red and green photographed in UV light
December 31, 2017

This single-celled alga is a natural ornament

It looks like a holiday ornament, but this lovely object is a single-celled freshwater alga from the desmid family, found in the marshes of Florida’s Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. USGS biologist Barry Rosen photographed it at 200x magnification using ultraviolent light and a fluorescence microscope. Desmids range in size from under 10 microns—

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Hibernating little brown bat
December 31, 2017

Hibernating little brown bat

little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) with white-nose syndrome hibernating in a Virginia cave during late spring of 2016. Patches of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome can be seen growing out of the skin (white areas) near the nose and across the folded wing skin of this bat.  Spherical drops of water condensation coat the bat's outer fur, a

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Blue SPV bait
December 31, 2017

Blue SPV bait

This image shows the blue version of sylvatic plague vaccine bait for prairie dogs. 

Prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to succumb to a deadly disease called sylvatic plague after they ingest peanut-butter-flavored bait that contains a vaccine against the disease.

In an effort to increase populations of endangered black-footed ferrets and conserve the

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USGS
December 31, 2017

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

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USGS
December 31, 2017

California myotis (Myotis californicus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

...
Monarch on Joe Pyeweed plant
December 31, 2017

Monarch on Joe Pyeweed plant

Monarch butterfly on a Joe Pyeweed plant.

Filter Total Items: 289
Date published: May 10, 2017

Glaciers Rapidly Shrinking and Disappearing: 50 Years of Glacier Change in Montana

The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University.

Date published: May 3, 2017

Migrating mule deer track “green waves” of spring forage: study highlights importance of habitat corridors for migrating game and other species

Migratory mule deer in Wyoming closely time their movements to track the spring green-up, providing evidence of an underappreciated foraging benefit of migration, according to a study by University of Wyoming and U.S. Geological Survey scientists at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

Date published: May 3, 2017

Wind Turbines Affect Behavior of Desert Tortoise Predators

How a wind energy facility is designed can influence the behavior of animal predators and their prey, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: May 2, 2017

Wildlife Recovery Following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill was Highly Variable Across Species

Thanks to a quarter-century of research and monitoring, scientists now know how different wildlife species were injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and how long it took for populations to recover.

Date published: May 1, 2017

Avian Flu Testing of Wild Ducks Informs Biosecurity and Can Reduce Economic Loss

Ducks in North America can be carriers of avian influenza viruses similar to those found in a 2016 outbreak in Indiana that led to the losses of hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys, according to a recent study.

Date published: April 27, 2017

Billions More Milkweeds Needed to Restore Monarchs

As many as 1.8 billion additional stems of milkweed plants may be needed in North America to return imperiled monarch butterflies to a sustainable population size, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: April 26, 2017

Asian Carp Would Have Adequate Food to Survive in Lake Michigan

If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Michigan, there would be enough food available for these particular species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: April 18, 2017

Deadly Deer Disease Expected to Grow Rapidly and Spread in Wisconsin

A new tool, which predicted the recent, rapid growth and continued spread of chronic wasting disease in deer, can help forecast and manage other costly biological threats to humans, animals and the environment, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: April 11, 2017

Florida Manatees Likely to Persist For At Least 100 Years—US Geological Survey  

Florida’s iconic manatee population is highly likely to endure for the next 100 years, so long as wildlife managers continue to protect the marine mammals and their habitat, a new study by the US Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has found.

Date published: April 11, 2017

Scientists Evaluate Ways to Save Hawaiian Honeycreeper

Long distance flights in search of flowering trees threatens the Hawaiian Iiwi as climate change increases the distribution of avian diseases

Date published: April 11, 2017

Media Inquiries on USGS Manatee Research

We appreciate your interest in USGS' Sirenia Project. To help inform members of the media and public, we have provided relevant publications, reports, and websites.