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: August 27, 2018
Status: Active

Non-lethal Detection of Skin Injuries in Juvenile Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha by Fast Green FCF Dye

In fish, as in humans, an intact epidermis is critical to defense against entry of pathogens into the skin. Macroscopic examination of scale loss is the principal method of evaluating physical damage to juvenile salmonids out-migrating through hydroelectric dams in the Snake and Columbia Rivers, and in fish subjected to capture and handling procedures in locations such as hatcheries, fish...

Date published: August 24, 2018
Status: Active

Contaminants in Puget Sound Forage Fishes and Impacts to the Marine Food Web

Toxic chemical pollutants have been released into Puget Sound for decades by human activities. There’s a wide range of contaminants, from persistent compounds like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and flame retardants to contaminants of emerging concern. Aquatic species can be exposed to and accumulate contaminants, causing disease or disruption of biological processes like growth or...

Date published: August 24, 2018
Status: Active

Ichthyobodo - HSL

Fish Diseases

Ichthyobodo

Date published: August 24, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Cool Tools for Hot Topics

The USGS Ecosystems Mission Area hosted an interactive session at the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies 2018 Annual Meeting that featured USGS science-based tools and approaches to address a variety of fish and wildlife management hot topics, including how and when to apply them to specific...

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: August 21, 2018
Status: Active

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Migratory Birds

Migratory birds, and particularly those using habitats close to human settlements, may be infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria.  The USGS is working with public health professionals to understand the role of birds in the maintenance and dispersal of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  Additionally, the USGS is investigating how antibiotic resistant bacteria in birds may relate to public and...

Date published: August 20, 2018
Status: Active

Investigation and Disease Prevention of Spring Viremia of Carp Virus (SVCV)

There has been long history of disease outbreaks and economic losses in wild and farmed carp species due to SVCV. Formerly thought to be restricted to Europe and Asia, SVCV was detected for the first time in North America from diseased koi at a North Carolina fish farm in 2002, and there were extensive eradication efforts with 135,000 fish euthanized in addition to the ~15,000 that died from...

Date published: August 13, 2018
Status: Active

Changing Arctic Ecosystems

The USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative will enhance the long-term science foundation needed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and other partners.

Date published: August 10, 2018
Status: Active

Loon Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on Alaska’s three loon species since the late 1970s. Loons rely on freshwater lakes for nesting habitat and fish and invertebrates inhabiting lakes and marine ecosystems for food. All three loon species in Alaska occur within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on Alaska’s northern coast. Research by the USGS is...

Date published: August 7, 2018
Status: Active

Relation between Plant Community Structure and Function and the Effectiveness of Wetland Restoration Efforts

High rates of wetland loss continue to occur along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast, and this remains an issue of concern to resource managers.

Date published: August 6, 2018
Status: Active

Sea Turtle Movement and Habitat Use in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) uses trawling to capture and relocate live sea turtles away from dredging locations to minimize the risk of turtle entrainment. These incidental turtle captures provide a unique opportunity to fill critical data gaps for difficult to capture life-stages of marine turtles.

Date published: August 3, 2018
Status: Active

Distribution and Density of Sea Turtles in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM): Gulf of Mexico Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (GoMMAPPS)

The over-arching goal of GoMMAPPS is to collect broad-scale survey data for seabirds, marine mammals and sea turtles to determine distribution and abundance in the Gulf of Mexico.

Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Integrating Science and Management for Optimal Prevention and Control of Invasive Nymphoides in Florida

Two invasive species of floating hearts, Nymphoides cristata and N. indica, are actively managed in Florida. A rare native species, N. humboldtiana, has been found in Florida and verified by molecular methods; this species is nearly indistinguishable from N. indica.

Filter Total Items: 153
Date published: January 27, 2017

Mean of the Top Ten Percent of NDVI Values in the Yuma Proving Ground during Monsoon Season, 1986-2011

This study uses growth in vegetation during the monsoon season measured from LANDSAT imagery as a proxy for measured rainfall. NDVI values from 26 years of pre- and post-monsoon season Landsat imagery were derived across Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in southwestern Arizona, USA.

Date published: January 6, 2017

WNS Summer Surveillance: DATA

Bats occupying hibernacula during summer months may play an important role in the epidemiology of white-nose syndrome (WNS). For example, bats exposed to viable Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the causative agent of WNS, in late summer could spread the fungus by transmitting it to other bats or to other locations suitable for establishment of new environmental reservoirs. To explore risks...

Date published: January 1, 2017

Mortality trends in northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) collected from the coast of Washington and Oregon during 2002—2015: Data

During 2002−2015 we examined the causes of mortality in beachcast northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) collected from the coasts of Washington and Oregon states. A total of 333 moribund or dead sea otters were reported through opportunistic observations and 93 otter carcasses were collected for necropsy. Retrieved carcasses received a full diagnostic evaluation to determine...

Date published: January 1, 2017

Detection of Nanophyetus salmincola in water, snails and fish tissues by quantitative PCR

The data are used to support the development and validation of two quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays to detect the parasite Nanophyetus salmincola DNA in water samples and fish and snail tissues. The data link to a series of experiments that are described in the publications. Experiment 1 defines the linearity and detection limits of the assays. Experiment 2 assesses the...

Date published: January 1, 2017

Data for Trap Net Captured Juvenile Lost River and Shortnose Suckers from Upper Klamath Lake

Data included in this data set are for trap net captured juvenile suckers from Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon starting in 2001. Data were collected on fishing effort, the number of suckers captured, sucker length, and sucker species. There are two levels of data. Net level data contains 14,838 records and the data file is 2,069 KB and fish level data contains 25,236 records and the data file is 1,...

Date published: January 1, 2017

Aquatic invertebrate abundance in the Elwha River estuary, Washington, in 2007 and 2013

This portion of the data release presents aquatic invertebrate abundance data from samples collected in the Elwha River estuary, Washington, in 2007 and 2013 (no associated USGS Field Activities numbers because data were collected predominantly by biologists from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe). Replicate benthic samples were collected at 18 locations throughout the estuary complex using a...

Date published: January 1, 2017

Emerging fungal pathogen Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola in wild European snakes: data

Snake fungal disease (SFD) is an emerging disease of wild snakes in eastern North America caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola. Recently, the disease has also been detected in wild snake in Europe. The data presented here describe: 1) culture, PCR, and histopathology results of wild European snakes opportunistically sampled for O. ophiodiicola, 2) colony expansion rates of various...

Date published: December 14, 2016

APPLICATION - RAMPS Climate Partitioning Tool

The purpose of this application is to aid sampling efforts along climate gradients for a geographic region of interest. Examples of potential uses of this tool include: sampling plant materials for common garden studies, establishing common garden arrays, establishing vegetation transects, or banking seed for native plant conservation. Funding support from BLM Colorado Plateau Native Plant...

Date published: December 13, 2016

Puffer Mortality Data

In 2010, a mass mortality of pufferfish in Hawaii was dominated by Arothron hispidus showing aberrant neurological behaviors. Using pathology, toxinology, and field surveys, we implicated a series of novel, polar, marine toxins as a likely cause of this mass mortality. Our findings are striking in that 1) a marine toxin was associated with a kill of a fish species that is, itself, toxic; 2...

Date published: December 5, 2016

Susceptibility and antibody response of the laboratory model zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) to West Nile Virus: Data

The data set contains the results of experimental challenge of captive zebra finches with an American crow isolate of West Nile virus (WNV). Data include infectivity, mortality, viremia, oral shedding of virus, and serology for anti- WNV antibodies. Australian and Timor zebra finches were used in this study and both are useful as a laboratory model of an avian species with moderate...

Date published: December 1, 2016

DATA RELEASE - TsezhinBii Field and Summary Data, Navajo Nation, Arizona, 2004

These data provide the locational coordinates, soil texture characteristics, plant species occurrence and cover, and vegetation summary characteristics for the Tsezhin bii region in the south-central area of the Navajo Nation.

Date published: October 31, 2016

Dam Removal Information Portal (DRIP)

The Dam Removal Information Portal (DRIP) is a web application where partners, scientists, and practitioners can find information on dam removals and associated scientific studies. It is a visualization tool, including a map and interactive charts, of a dam-removal literature review designed and developed by a working group at the USGS John...

Filter Total Items: 30,796
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Year Published: 2019

Energy allocation and feeding ecology of juvenile chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) during transition from freshwater to saltwater

Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) populations near their northern range extent in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Alaska have undergone major changes in population trajectory and illuminated the lack of basic information on juvenile ecology. This study fills information gaps on the early life history of chum salmon at northern latitudes....

Burril, Sean E.; von Biela, Vanessa R.; Hillbruber, Nicola; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2019

Distribution and abundance of Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) on the Middle San Luis Rey River, San Diego County, Southern California—2018 data summary

We surveyed for Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus; vireo) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) along the San Luis Rey River, between College Boulevard in Oceanside and Interstate 15 in Fallbrook, California (middle San Luis Rey River), in 2018. Surveys were conducted from...

Allen, Lisa D.; Kus, Barbara E.
Allen, L.D., and Kus, B.E., 2019, Distribution and abundance of Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) on the middle San Luis Rey River, San Diego County, southern California—2018 data summary: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1109, 12 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1109.

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Year Published: 2019

Does perspective matter? A case study comparing Eulerian and Lagrangian estimates of common murre (Uria aalge) distributions

Studies estimating species' distributions require information about animal locations in space and time. Location data can be collected using surveys within a predetermined frame of reference (i.e., Eulerian sampling) or from animal‐borne tracking devices (i.e., Lagrangian sampling). Integration of observations obtained from Eulerian and Lagrangian...

Phillips, Elizabeth M.; Horne, John K.; Zamon, Jeannette E.; Felis, Jonathan J.; Adams, Josh
Phillips, EM, Horne, JK, Zamon, JE, Felis, JJ, Adams, J. Does perspective matter? A case study comparing Eulerian and Lagrangian estimates of common murre (Uria aalge) distributions. Ecol Evol. 2019; 9: 4805– 4819. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5083

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Year Published: 2019

Wildlife mortality at wind facilities: How we know what we know how we might mislead ourselves, and how we set our future course

To accurately estimate per turbine – or per megawatt – annual wildlife mortality at wind facilities, the raw counts of carcasses found must be adjusted for four major sources of imperfect detection: (1) fatalities that occur outside the monitoring period; (2) carcasses that land outside the monitored area; (3) carcasses that are removed by...

Huso, Manuela M.

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Year Published: 2019

Interactive mapping of nonindigenous species in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Nonindigenous species pose significant risks to the health and integrity of ecosystems around the world. Tracking and communicating the spread of these species has been of interest to ecologists and environmental managers for many years, particularly in the bi-national Laurentian Great Lakes of North America. In this paper, we introduce the Great...

Smith, Joseph P.; Lower, El K.; Martinez, Felix A.; Riseng, Catherine M.; Mason, Lacey A.; Rutherford, Edward S.; Neilson, Matthew E.; Fuller, Pam L.; Wehrly, Kevin E.; Sturtevant, Rochelle A.

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Year Published: 2019

Invasive buffelgrass detection using high-resolution satellite and UAV imagery on Google Earth Engine

 Methods to detect and monitor the spread of invasive grasses are critical to avoid ecosystem transformations and large economic costs. The rapid spread of non-native buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) has intensified fire risk and is replacing fire intolerant native vegetation in the Sonoran Desert of the southwestern U.S. Coarse-resolution...

Elkind, Kaitlyn; Sankey, Temuulen T.; Munson, Seth M.; Aslan, Clare E.

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Year Published: 2019

Regeneration of Metrosideros polymorpha forests in Hawaii after landscape‐level canopy dieback

Questions(a) Have Metrosideros polymorpha trees become re‐established in Hawaiian forests previously impacted by canopy dieback in the 1970s? (b) Has canopy dieback expanded since the 1970s? (c) Can spatial patterns from this dieback be correlated with habitat factors to model future dieback in this area?Study SiteAn 83,603 ha study...

Mertelmeyer, Linda; Jacobi, James D.; Mueller-Dombois, Dieter; Brinck, Kevin W.; Boehmer, Hans Juergen

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Year Published: 2019

Confronting uncertainty: Contributions of the wildlife profession to the broader scientific community

Most wildlife professionals are engaged in 1 or both of 2 basic endeavors: science and management. These endeavors are a focus of many other disciplines, leading to widespread sharing of general methodologies. Wildlife professionals have appropriately borrowed and assimilated many methods developed primarily in other disciplines but have also led...

Nichols, James D.

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Year Published: 2019

Environmental DNA as a tool to help inform zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, management in inland lakes

Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) are an aquatic invasive species that plague much of North America and are difficult to impossible to eradicate once they become established. Therefore, prevention and monitoring are key elements in the control of these organisms. Traditional microscopy is commonly used in monitoring but requires the presence of...

Amberg, Jon J.; Merkes, Christopher M.; Stott, Wendylee; Rees, Christopher B.; Erickson, Richard A.

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Year Published: 2019

The effectiveness of non-native fish removal techniques in freshwater ecosystems: a systematic review

In aquatic systems, biological invasions can result in adverse ecological effects. Management techniques available for non-native fish removal programs (including eradication and population size control) vary widely, but include chemicals, harvest regimes, physical removal, or biological control. For management agencies, deciding on what non-...

Rytwinski, Trina; Taylor, Jessica J.; Donaldson, Lisa A.; Britton, J. Robert; Browne, David R.; Gresswell, Robert E.; Lintermans, Mark; Prior, Kent A.; Pellatt, Marlow G.; Vis, Chantal; Cooke, Steven J.

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Year Published: 2019

Pesticides and pollinators: A socioecological synthesis

The relationship between pesticides and pollinators, while attracting no shortage of attention from scientists, regulators, and the public, has proven resistant to scientific synthesis and fractious in matters of policy and public opinion. This is in part because the issue has been approached in a compartmentalized and intradisciplinary way,...

Sponsler, Douglas B.; Grozinger, Christina M.; Hitaj, Claudia; Rundlof, Maj; Botias, Cristina; Code, Aimee; Lonsdorf, Eric V.; Melthapoulos, Andony P.; Smith, David J.; Suryanarayanan, Sainath; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Williams, Neal M.; Zhang, Minghua; Douglas, Margaret R.

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Year Published: 2019

Fish culling reduces tapeworm burden in Arctic charr by increasing parasite mortality rather than by reducing density‐dependent transmission

Two common Dibothriocephalus (formerly Diphyllobothrium) tapeworm species were significantly reduced by experimental culling of their fish host Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) in a subarctic lake.Between 1984 and 1991, funnel traps were used to cull ~35 metric tons of Arctic charr, reducing charr density by ~80%. As charr...

Henriksen, Eirik H.; Frainer, Andre; Knudsen, Rune; Kristoffersen, Roar; Kuris, Armand M.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Amundsen, Per-Arne

Filter Total Items: 720
Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 2
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 2

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other organisms, typically algae. The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific is a unique case where a transition from corals to corallimorphs occurred. Corallimorphs are a type of invasive

...
Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 3
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 3

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other organisms, typically algae. The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific is a unique case where a transition from corals to corallimorphs occurred. Corallimorphs are a type of invasive

...
A discussion group looks at notes on a large easel pad
December 31, 2017

Collaborative Discussion

The USGS RAMPS program hosts workshops where land managers from federal, state, and local agencies, practitioners, and NGO's can come together to discuss challenges and develop creative solutions. Here,

...
Phragmites rhizome
December 31, 2017

Phragmites rhizome

Phragmites rhizome, or a belowground stem that puts up new shoots, dug up in a coastal marsh of Lake Erie in northern Ohio. Phragmites' belowground biomass can exceed that of its aboveground biomass. 

Frog liver with SPI
December 31, 2017

Frog liver with SPI

This photomicrograph shows a liver of a frog with a severe Perkinsea infection.

Bats hibernating in cave
December 31, 2017

Bats hibernating in cave

Bats hibernating in a cave. 

Attribution: Ecosystems
USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag.
December 31, 2017

USGS scientist holds a surf scoter that has been tagged.

USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag that works by transmitting the location of the birds to satellites that are orbiting the Earth. (Jonathan Fiely, USGS)

Phragmites, an invasive grass
December 31, 2017

Phragmites, an invasive grass

Introduced Phragmites australis, also called the common reed, is an invasive grass in the Great Lakes.

November 30, 2017

2017 Nov. Pub. Lecture—Sea Otters: Confessions of a Keystone Carnivore

  • Sea otters are perhaps the best-known example of a "keystone predator".
  • Sea otter behavior -- in particular diet specialization and limited mobility -- can mediate their effects on ecosystem dynamics.
  • Other predators, especially large sea stars, can complement and reinforce the keystone role of sea otters: this became apparent with the loss of all
...
Attribution: Ecosystems
November 24, 2017

Serene Sirens: USGS Sea Cow Science

A USGS video about manatees reveals that while the animals may act like the cows of the sea, they also have more than a bit of the magical siren or mermaid about them.  Go for a serene swim.

Attribution: Ecosystems
A Cuban treefrog on a green leaf
November 13, 2017

Cuban treefrogs have leaped into Louisiana

Non-native Cuban treefrogs have established a breeding population in New Orleans, Louisiana, the first such population on the U.S. mainland outside Florida. The treefrogs were discovered at the Audubon Zoo shortly after a shipment of palm trees from Florida were planted in the zoo's elephant enclosure in 2016. USGS scientist Brad Glorioso confirmed the presence of a

...
October 31, 2017

USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station Building Demo Time Lapse Video

Out with the old, in with the new! A state-of-the-art aquatic science laboratory is being built on the shores of Lake Huron at the USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station (HBBS), one of seven field stations of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center, operated in partnership with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. To make way for the new laboratory, four old buildings on the HBBS

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Filter Total Items: 289
Date published: February 23, 2017

Just HOW EARLY is spring arriving in your neighborhood? Find out . . .

Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.  This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, already bringing surprising signs of spring to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.

Date published: February 14, 2017

Handbook for sagebrush steppe restoration techniques can help sustain wildlife and western ecosystems

The sagebrush ecosystem in the western U.S is one of the largest ecosystems in North America, but it is also threatened from wildfire and invasive plants. “Restoration of these unique ecosystems will help sustain wildlife and livelihoods throughout the West," said David Pyke, the USGS ecologist and lead author of the final installment of a three-part sagebrush restoration handbook. 

Date published: February 8, 2017

Bigger May Not Be Better When It Comes to Mississippi River Diversions

New research shows how river diversions may change water quality in estuaries. 

Date published: February 2, 2017

A Century of Habitat Loss Affects Genetics of Endangered Bird

A new study analyzes the genetic diversity and population structure of the California Ridgway’s rail, Rallus obsoletus, a state and federally-listed endangered bird. The results demonstrate that the so-called “rails” are experiencing negative genetic effects following more than a century of salt marsh habitat loss from agriculture, commercial salt production and urban development.

Date published: February 1, 2017

Christian Zimmerman to Lead Studies as New Director of the Alaska Science Center

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.

Date published: January 25, 2017

Changes in Rainfall, Temperature Expected to Transform Coastal Wetlands This Century

Changes in rainfall and temperature are predicted to transform wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world within the century, a new study from the USGS and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley concludes.

Date published: January 24, 2017

Current Conservation Efforts May Not Be Enough for California’s Central Valley Waterbirds

A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that current conservation planning efforts for waterbird habitat in the Central Valley can likely compensate for habitat loss through the middle of the century.

Date published: January 19, 2017

Managing 246 million acres: new science-based tools support Bureau of Land Management’s landscape approach

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Land Management today released a collaborative report with new information and tools to support effective management of millions of acres of BLM public lands.  The report underscores the value of a landscape approach to management, and shows that the BLM manages some of the largest areas of intact public lands in the west. 

Date published: January 18, 2017

New England’s 1816 “Mackerel Year,” Volcanoes and Climate Change Today

Hundreds of articles have been written about the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, at Indonesia’s Mt. Tambora just over 200 years ago. But for a small group of New England-based researchers, one more Tambora story needed to be told, one related to its catastrophic effects in the Gulf of Maine that may carry lessons for intertwined human-natural systems facing climate change today.

Date published: December 22, 2016

A Grand Slam for Students, Schools and Science

"It’s a grand slam for all involved,” said Dawn Childs, USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units.  “Recent high school graduates with special needs get real-world experience while helping USGS scientists on projects ranging from grizzly bears and energy to historic documents and bird migration. And a school system gets to successfully train students to enter the workforce."

Date published: December 19, 2016

The Other 364 Days of the Year: The Real Lives of Wild Reindeer

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer and caribou are large, cold-adapted, herding herbivores related to deer, elk and moose.

To learn more about how these arctic antler-bearers spend the other 364 days of the year, we talked to USGS caribou expert Dr. Layne Adams, who has studied these animals for more than 30 years.