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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.
Check out our 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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scientific Support of Salmon and Steelhead Reintroductions in Impounded River Basins of the Pacific Northwest
Salmon and steelhead populations in the Pacific Northwest were severely affected by hydropower development that occurred during the first half of the 20th century. Impassable dams were constructed on many rivers throughout the region which prevented returning adult salmonids from accessing important habitats where spawning and rearing historically occurred. In the past two decades...
Relict forests (i.e., forests unable to reestablish after disturbance) may develop in the southeastern U.S. in future predicted extreme climates of temperature, flooding, and drought, according to the International Panel on Climate Change.
The objective of this research is to assess the sensitivity of female and male LMB reproductive capabilities at the time of year when they are physiologically preparing for spawning season (also known as gonad recrudescence).
Avian influenza is a viral disease caused by various strains of avian influenza viruses that can be classified as low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) or highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). It remains a global disease with potential high consequence with the potential to threaten wildlife, agriculture, and human health.
The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) serves on the U.S. Interagency Steering Committee for Surveillance for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Birds to standardize surveillance for this disease and is a leading partner in conducting morbidity and mortality investigations in support of the Interagency Strategic Plan for Early Detection and Monitoring for Avian Influenzas of...
The Spring Indices are a suite of models developed to simulate the timing of the onset of spring in native and cultivated plants, as well as other physical and ecological processes, that are primarily sensitive to temperature. The SI can be calculated for any weather station that collects daily minimum and maximum temperatures.
The database houses contemporary and historical data on organismal phenology across the nation. These data are being used in a number of applications for science, conservation and resource management. Customizable data downloads using specific dates, regions, species and phenophases, are freely available.
The ARMI database provides occupancy and abundance estimates at the project level. Data can be accessed in tabular format or plotted directly via an interactive map browser. The trend data is updated annually and is useful for tracking the status of some of our nation’s amphibian populations.
Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC, Corvallis) — The Raptor Information System (RIS) is a computerized literature retrieval system that focuses on raptor management, human impacts on raptors, the mitigation of adverse impacts, and basic raptor biology (with an emphasis on population dynamics and predation).
Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a project monitored by the USGS and the Canadian Wildlife Service on the status and trends of North American bird populations. The data can be used to estimate population trends and relative abundances at various scales.
Across Trophic Level System Simulation for the Freshwater Wetlands of the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp
Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS) is a project to develop a set of models for the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp of South Florida. The models will support studies "to compare the future effects of alternative hydrologic scenarios on the biotic components of the system."
The North American Bird Monitoring Projects Database site is dedicated to bird monitoring in North America. It provides easy access to descriptions of all major bird monitoring projects in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
The North American Bird Phenology Program was a network of volunteer observers who recorded information on first arrival dates, maximum abundance, and departure dates of migratory birds across North America. Active between 1880 and 1970, the program exists now as a historic collection of six million migration card observations.
This site provides data and tools to help answer the question of how well we are protecting common plants and animals (GAP Analysis). Choose a state or the entire United States. Download data for land cover, species, protected areas and more or view online, using the interactive GAP Data Viewers.
Barred owl research needs and prioritization in California
Barred owls (Strix varia) have reached high densities within the range of the northern spotted owl (S. occidentalis caurina) and are rapidly increasing in number within the range of the California spotted owl (S. o. occidentalis). Encroaching populations of barred owls pose a significant competitive threat to the viability of both spotted owl...Peery, Zach; Wiens, David; Bown, Robin; Carlson, Peter C.; Dugger, Katie; Dumbacher, Jack; Franklin, Alan B.; Hamm, Keith A.; Higley, Mark; Keane, John J.
Investigating the mixing efficiencies of liquid-to-liquid chemical injection manifolds for aquatic invasive species management
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) have spread throughout the United States via major rivers and tributaries. Locks and dams positioned along affected waterways, specifically lock chambers, are being evaluated as potential management sites to prevent further expansion into new areas. Recent research has shown that infusion of chemicals (e.g., carbon...Zolper, Thomas J.; Cupp, Aaron R.; Smith, David L.
Wrangling distributed computing for high-throughput environmental science: An introduction to HTCondor
Biologists and environmental scientists now routinely solve computational problems that were unimaginable a generation ago. Examples include processing geospatial data, analyzing -omics data, and running large-scale simulations. Conventional desktop computing cannot handle these tasks when they are large, and high-performance computing is not...Erickson, Richard A.; Fienen, Michael N.; McCalla, S. Grace; Weiser, Emily L.; Bower, Melvin L.; Knudson, Jonathan M.; Thain, Greg
Fuels guide and database for intact and invaded big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecological sites—User manual
The Fuels Guide and Database (FGD) is intended to provide fuel loading and vegetation information for big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecological sites in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (hereinafter the NCA) in southern Idaho. Sagebrush ecosystems in the NCA and throughout much of the Great Basin are...Shinneman, Douglas J.; Welty, Justin L.; Arkle, Robert S.; Pilliod, David S.; Glenn, Nancy F.; McIlroy, Susan K.; Halford, Anne S.
Multidirectional abundance shifts among North American birds and the relative influence of multifaceted climate factors
Shifts in species distributions are major fingerprint of climate change. Examining changes in species abundance structures at a continental scale enables robust evaluation of climate change influences, but few studies have conducted these evaluations due to limited data and methodological constraints. In this study, we estimate temporal changes in...Huang, Qiongyu; Sauer, John R.; Dubayah, Ralph O.
Preliminary evaluation of behavioral response of nesting waterbirds to small unmanned aircraft flight
Small unmanned aircraft systems present an emerging technology with the potential to survey colonial waterbird populations while reducing disturbance in comparison to traditional ground counts. Recent research with these systems has been performed on some colonially nesting avian species; however, none have focused on wading bird species. During...Reintsma, Kaitlyn; McGowan, Peter C.; Callahan, Carl R.; Collier, Tom; Gray, David; Sullivan, Jeffery D.; Prosser, Diann J.
Floristic and climatic reconstructions of two Lower Cretaceous successions from Peru
Climate during the Early Cretaceous in tropical South America has often been reconstructed as arid. However, some areas seem to have been humid. We reconstructed the floristic composition of two tropical stratigraphic successions in Peru using quantitative palynology (rarefied species richness and abundance), and used the abundance of aridity vs....Mejia-Velasquez, Paula J.; Manchester, Steven R.; Jaramillo, Carlos A.; Quiroz, Luiz; Fortini, Lucas B.
Quantifying climate sensitivity and climate-driven change in North American amphibian communities
Changing climate will impact species’ ranges only when environmental variability directly impacts the demography of local populations. However, measurement of demographic responses to climate change has largely been limited to single species and locations. Here we show that amphibian communities are responsive to climatic variability, using >...Miller, David A.W.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Muths, Erin L.; Amburgey, Staci M.; Adams, M.J.; Joseph, Maxwell B.; Waddle, J. Hardin; Johnson, Pieter T.J.; Ryan, Maureen E.; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Calhoun, Daniel L.; Davis, Courtney L.; Fisher, Robert N.; Green, David M.; Hossack, Blake R.; Rittenhouse, Tracy A.G.; Walls, Susan C.; Bailey, Larissa L.; Cruickshank, Sam S.; Fellers, Gary M.; Gorman, Thomas A.; Haas, Carola A.; Hughson, Ward; Pilliod, David S.; Price, Steven J.; Ray, Andrew M.; Sadinski, Walter; Saenz, Daniel; Barichivich, William J.; Brand, Adrianne B,; Brehme, Cheryl S.; Dagit, Rosi; Delaney, Katy S.; Glorioso, Brad M.; Kats, Lee B.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Pearl, Christopher; Rochester, Carlton J.; Riley, Seth P. D.; Roth, Mark F.; Sigafus, Brent
Vegetative community response to landscape-scale post-fire herbicide (imazapic) application
Disturbances such as wildfire create time-sensitive windows of opportunity for invasive plant treatment, and the timing of herbicide application relative to the time course of plant community development following fire can strongly influence herbicide effectiveness. We evaluated the effect of herbicide (imazapic) applied in the first winter or...Applestein, Cara; Germino, Matthew J.; Fisk, Matthew
Late-season movement and habitat use by Oregon spotted frogs (Rana pretiosa) in Oregon, USA
Many amphibians use multiple habitats across seasons. Information on seasonal habitat use, movement between seasonal habitat types, and habitats that may be particularly valuable is important to conservation and management. We used radio-telemetry to study late-season movement and habitat use by Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa) at nine sites...Pearl, Christopher; Mccreary, Brome; Rowe, Jennifer; Adams, M.J.
A spatially discrete, integral projection model and its application to invasive carp
Natural resource managers and ecologists often desire an understanding of spatial dynamics such as migration, dispersion, and meta-population dynamics. Network-node models can capture these salient features. Additionally, the state-variable used with many species may be appropriately modeled as a continuous variable (e.g., length) and...Erickson, Richard A.; Eager, Eric E.; Kocovsky, Patrick; Glover, David C.; Kallis, Jahn L.; Long, K. R.
Effects of leg flags on nest survival of four species of Arctic‐breeding shorebirds
Marking wild birds is an integral part of many field studies. However, if marks affect the vital rates or behavior of marked individuals, any conclusions reached by a study might be biased relative to the general population. Leg bands have rarely been found to have negative effects on birds and are frequently used to mark individuals. Leg flags,...Weiser, Emily L.; Lanctot, Richard B.; Brown, Stephen C.; Gates, H. River; Bentzen, Rebecca L.; Boldenow, Megan L.; Cunningham, Jenny A.; Doll, Andrew C.; Donnelly, Tyrone F.; English, Willow B.; Franks, Samantha E.; Grond, Kristen; Herzog, Patrick; Hill, Brooke L.; Kendall, Steve J.; Kwon, Eunbi; Lank, David B.; Liebezeit, Joseph R.; Rausch, Jennie; Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Taylor, Audrey R.; Ward, David H.; Woodard, Paul F.; Sandercock, Brett K.
This single-celled freshwater algae wasa collected as part of the first-ever study of the green algae family called desmids in Florida’s Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, in the northern Everglades. USGS biologist Barry H. Rosen, an expert on freshwater algae who leads the study, used a technique called differential interference microscopy to highlight the relief of...
The San Rafael grasslands are a diverse ecosystem in southern Arizona along the U.S./Mexico border region, a part of the Madrean Archipelago ecoregion. The USGS RAMPS program conducts collaborative...
Permanent Control Site: GP1 East Transect; Depth: 6.7 m (22.1 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.11852521,-123.31538047; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding...
Permanent Control Site: GP1 West Transect; Depth: 8.0 m (26.2 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.11852521,-123.31605203; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding...
Permanent Site: F1 East Transect; Depth: 6.6 Meters (21.5 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.3 Kilometers (0.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15292999, -123.55011402; Site Description: This is a shallow site. Substrate remains predominantly sand, but patches of gravel were present (0:39 seconds) as well as cobble onto which large...
Permanent Site: F1 West Transect; Depth: 6.7 Meters (22.0 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.3 Kilometers (0.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15292999, -123.55078602; Site Description: This is a shallow site. Substrate remains predominantly sand. Larger brown seaweeds were present. These species are usually attached to gravel-...
Permanent Site: F2 East Transect; Depth: 11.2 Meters (36.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.5 Kilometers (0.9 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15672004,-123.54969397; Site Description: Substrate is mainly a gravel/cobble mixture with an occasional boulder. Seven species of brown seaweed were present. Seaweed was abundant but not...
Permanent Site: J1 East Transect; Depth: 9.1 Meters (29.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 6.7 Kilometers (4.1 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13607725,-123.47935008; Site Description: This site is medium depth. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand mixture. Visibility was poor this day. Both red (0:51 seconds) and brown seaweed...
Permanent Site: J1 West Transect; Depth: 9.2 Meters (30.2 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 6.6 Kilometers (4.1 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13607725,-123.48002186; Site Description: This site is medium depth. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand mixture. Visibility was poor this day. Both red (0:48, 1:25 seconds) and brown seaweed...
Permanent Site: C2 East Transect; Depth: 15.1 Meters (49.7 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.7 Kilometers (0.4 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.147841,-123.57596074; Site Description: One of our deepest sites. Substrate is all muddy sand. Both brown and red seaweeds are absent except for one acid kelp Desmarestia (0:38 seconds). Two...
Permanent Site: 4SP1 - East Transect; Depth: 5.5 Meters (18.1 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.8 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) East; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15257, -123.556704; Site Description: The site has converted from gravel/cobble substrate to all sand. Since 2013, seaweed has been completely absent. However, this year three species...
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative Launches Coastal Wetland Decision Support Tools
Perhaps some of you have already experienced a sweet smooch or two under the holiday mistletoe, enjoying this fairly old kissing ritual for people. While figuring prominently in ancient lore, mistletoe is important in other vital ways: it provides essential food, cover and nesting sites for an amazing number of critters. In fact, some animals couldn’t even survive without mistletoe.
True or false? People are the leading cause of wildfires in the United States.
A group of turkeys is referred to as either a rafter or a gang. So this Thanksgiving, when celebrating with your own gang, remember the turkey as more than just the main course, but, as Benjamin Franklin said so many years ago, as a noble fowl of American tradition.