Due to a lapse in appropriations, the majority of USGS websites may not be up to date and may not reflect current conditions. Websites displaying real-time data, such as Earthquake and Water and information needed for public health and safety will be updated with limited support. Additionally, USGS will not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted.  For more information, please see www.doi.gov/shutdown

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: 715
Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Decision Analysis

USGS scientists work with decision makers and stakeholders to develop decision analytic frameworks to deliberately reduce the uncertainty that negatively affects the quality of decisions whether made once (i.e., Structured Decision Making) or repeatedly (i.e., Adaptive Management).

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Forecasting

Informed forecasting of landscape structure, function, composition, and condition requires an understanding of the factors that control, constrain, and regulate ecosystem dynamics. USGS science is focused on understanding these driving factors using ecological research, long-term field studies and ecosystem modeling. Additionally, the USGS works with partners to provide alternative strategies...

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

System Understanding

The Environments Program responds to the needs and requirements of resource management bureaus within the Interior and other science and resource management organizations by designing, developing and conducting research required for the resource management and policy decisions made by a variety of stakeholders.

Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

White-Nose Syndrome

Since the winter of 2006-07, millions of North American bats have died from white-nose syndrome (WNS). As of September 2015, bats with WNS were confirmed in 26 states and five Canadian provinces.

White-nose syndrome gets its name from the white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which infects the skin on the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats and was ...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Malaria

Avian malaria is a mosquito-borne disease of birds caused by a protozoan parasite (Plasmodium relictum). P. relictum reproduces in avian red blood cells. If the parasite load is sufficiently high, the bird loses red blood cells (anemia). Because red blood cells are critical for moving oxygen about the body, loss of these cells can lead to progressive weakness and, eventually...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death

USGS has been involved in the response to Rapid Ohi’a Death since its detection in 2015, and is part of the multi-organizational Rapid Ohi’a Death Working Group which was formed to share information and coordinate research, resource management and outreach activities.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Risk Assessment

USGS research focuses on developing and enhancing capabilities to forecast and predict invasive species establishment and spread. Early detection helps resource managers identify and report new invasive species, especially for cryptic species and those in very low abundance, to better assess risks to natural areas. Tracking the establishment and spread of existing and new invasive species is...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Native Populations

USGS researchers monitor native populations for threats of invading species to improving understanding of the ecology of invaders and factors in resistance of habitats to invasion.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Best Management Practices

Best management practices (BMPs) can be used to help prevent the spread of invasive species and help mitigate the consequences of invasive species once they have become established. BMPs provide a framework for natural resource managers to follow to effectively deal with, and prevent the spread of, invasive species.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 20, 2018
Status: Active

Species Reintroduction

The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native species and habitats affected by invasive species.  This is critical because control without restoration can leave the ecosystem vulnerable to subsequent reinvasion by the same or additional invasive species.  

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 20, 2018
Status: Active

Habitat Restoration

The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native species and habitats affected by invasive species. This is critical because control without restoration can leave the ecosystem vulnerable to subsequent reinvasion by the same or additional invasive species.The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 20, 2018
Status: Active

Integrated Pest Management / Adaptive Management

A focus of USGS research is to integrate control strategies where applicable to empower land and water
managers to respond rapidly to a wide variety of new invasions across the United States.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Filter Total Items: 119
Date published: March 4, 2016

National Plants Database

Provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the United States and its territories.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

Web Soil Survey (WSS)

Provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) — Wetlands Mapper

This tool produces and provides information on the characteristics, extent, and status of the Nation's wetlands and deepwater habitats and other wildlife habitats.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: January 1, 2015

Boat ramp locations within the Columbia River Basin with associated recreational use, water quality measurements, and risk assessment data for zebra and quagga mussels- tabular data

Aquatic invasive species are often transported between water bodies on boats or boat trailers. Thus, contaminated boats and boat trailers are considered one of the primary vectors for introduction of invasive species into a new water body. This data set was compiled in response to a funding grant from the Bonneville Power Administration Technology Innovation group (Cooperative agreement #59650...

Date published: January 1, 2015

Boat ramp locations within the Columbia River Basin with associated recreational use, water quality measurements, and risk assessment data for zebra and quagga mussels- shapefile

Aquatic invasive species are often transported between water bodies on boats or boat trailers. Thus, contaminated boats and boat trailers are considered one of the primary vectors for introduction of invasive species into a new water body. This data set was compiled in response to a funding grant from the Bonneville Power Administration Technology Innovation group (Cooperative agreement #59650...

Date published: January 1, 2015

Boat ramp locations within the Columbia River Basin with associated recreational use, water quality measurements, and risk assessment data for zebra and quagga mussels- service definition file

Aquatic invasive species are often transported between water bodies on boats or boat trailers. Thus, contaminated boats and boat trailers are considered one of the primary vectors for introduction of invasive species into a new water body. This data set was compiled in response to a funding grant from the Bonneville Power Administration Technology Innovation group (Cooperative agreement #59650...

Date published: December 17, 2013

American Fisheries Society List of Freshwater Gastropods (Snails) from Canada and the United States

At this website, one can view lists of native freshwater snails by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of snails by political boundaries. Lists can be downloaded for use in reports or analyses. Data file last updated 12/17/2013.

Date published: April 25, 2013

The 2008 AFS Endangered Species Committee list of imperiled freshwater and diadromous fishes of North America

At this website, one can view lists of imperiled fishes by freshwater ecoregion, by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of imperiled fishes by ecoregions or political boundaries. Data file last updated 4/25/2013.

Date published: March 17, 2011

The 2007 AFS Endangered Species Committee list of common and imperiled freshwater crayfishes of the United States and Canada

At this website, one can view lists of crayfishes by freshwater ecoregion, by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of crayfishes by ecoregions or political boundaries. Data file last updated 3/17/2011.

Date published: January 1, 2011

Lake Michigan Volunteer AMBLE – Avian Monitoring for Botulism Lakeshore Events

The National Wildlife Health Center, with help from partners and support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, organized “Lake Michigan Volunteer AMBLE – Avian Monitoring for Botulism Lakeshore Events” in 2011. The goal of AMBLE was to empower concerned citizens to monitor bird health and beach conditions along the Lake Michigan shoreline, thus increasing knowledge of avian botulism...

Date published: September 9, 2010

Mangrove Secrets

The Sheltered Corals of Hurricane Hole, US Virgin Islands

Filter Total Items: 2,932
Year Published: 2018

Effects of air temperature and discharge on Upper Mississippi River summer water temperatures

Recent interest in the potential effects of climate change has prompted studies of air temperature and precipitation associations with water temperatures in rivers and streams. We examined associations between summer surface water temperatures and both air temperature and discharge for 5 reaches of the Upper Mississippi River during 1994–2011....

Gray, Brian R.; Robertson, Dale M.; Rogala, James T.
Gray, B.R., Robertson, D.M., Rogala, J.T. 2018. Effects of air temperature and discharge on Upper Mississippi River summer water temperatures. River Research and Applications. 10 pgs. DOI: 10.1002/rra.3278.

Year Published: 2018

The use of lead isotope analysis to identify potential sources of lead toxicosis in a juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) with ventricular foreign bodies

A male juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was admitted to the Wildlife Center of Virginia with a left humeral fracture a large quantity of anthropogenic debris in the ventriculus, a blood lead level of 0.616 ppm, and clinical signs consistent with chronic lead toxicosis. Because of the poor prognosis for recovery and release, the eagle...

Franzen-Klein, Dana; McRuer, David; Slabe, Vincent; Katzner, Todd E.
Franzen-Klein, D., McRuer, D., Slabe, V.A., Katzner, T.E., 2018, The use of lead isotope analysis to identify potential sources of lead toxicosis in a juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) with ventricular foreign bodies: Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, v. 32, no. 1, p. 34-39, https://doi.org/10.1647/2016-184.

Year Published: 2018

Substrate and flow characteristics associated with White Sturgeon recruitment in the Columbia River Basin

A study was conducted to identify habitat characteristics associated with age 0+ White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, 1863) recruitment in three reaches of the Columbia River Basin: Skamania reach (consistent recruitment), John Day reach (intermittent/inconsistent recruitment), and Kootenai reach (no recruitment). Our modeling...

Hatten, James R.; Parsley, Michael; Barton, Gary; Batt, Thomas; Fosness, Ryan L.
Hatten, J.R., M.J. Parsley, G.J. Garton, T.R. Batt, and R.L. Fosness. 2018. Substrate and flow characteristics associated with White Sturgeon recruitment in the Columbia River. Heliyon 4(5): e00629.

Year Published: 2018

Use of created snags by cavity‐nesting birds across 25 years

Snags are important habitat features for many forest‐dwelling species, so reductions in the number of snags can lead to the loss of biodiversity in forest ecosystems. Intentional snag creation is often used in managed forests to mitigate the long‐term declines of naturally created snags, yet information regarding the use of snags by wildlife...

Barry, Amy M.; Hagar, Joan; Rivers, James W.
Barry, A.M., Hagar, J.C., Rivers, J.W., 2018, Use of created snags by cavity-nesting birds across 25 Years: Journal of Wildlife Management, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21489.

Year Published: 2018

Effects of experimental removal of Barred Owls on population demography of Northern Spotted Owls in Washington and Oregon—2017 progress report

Populations of Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina; hereinafter referred to as Spotted Owl) are declining throughout this subspecies’ geographic range. Evidence indicates that competition with invading populations of Barred Owls (S. varia) has contributed significantly to those declines. A pilot study in California showed that...

Wiens, J. David; Dugger, Katie M.; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Dilione, Krista E.; Simon, David C.
Wiens, J.D., Dugger, K.M., Lesmeister, D.B., Dilione, K.E., and Simon, D.C., 2018, Effects of experimental removal of Barred Owls on population demography of Northern Spotted Owls in Washington and Oregon—2017 progress report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1086, 23 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181086.

Year Published: 2018

MonitoringResources.org—Supporting coordinated and cost-effective natural resource monitoring across organizations

Natural resource managers who oversee the Nation’s resources require data to support informed decision-making at a variety of spatial and temporal scales that often cross typical jurisdictional boundaries such as states, agency regions, and watersheds. These data come from multiple agencies, programs, and sources, often with their own methods and...

Bayer, Jennifer M.; Scully, Rebecca A.; Weltzin, Jake F.
Bayer, J.M., Scully, R.A., and Weltzin, J.F., 2018, MonitoringResources.org—Supporting coordinated and cost-effective natural resource monitoring across organizations: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3015, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183015.

Year Published: 2018

Effects of the proposed California WaterFix North Delta Diversion on survival of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, northern California

The California Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation propose new water intake facilities on the Sacramento River in northern California that would convey some of the water for export to areas south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (hereinafter referred to as the Delta) through tunnels rather than through the Delta. The...

Perry, Russell W.; Pope, Adam C.
Perry, R.W., and Pope, A.C., 2018, Effects of the proposed California WaterFix North Delta Diversion on survival of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, northern California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1078, 94 p. plus appendixes, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181078.

Year Published: 2018

Examining speed versus selection in connectivity models using elk migration as an example

ContextLandscape resistance is vital to connectivity modeling and frequently derived from resource selection functions (RSFs). RSFs estimate relative probability of use and tend to focus on understanding habitat preferences during slow, routine animal movements (e.g., foraging). Dispersal and migration, however, can produce rarer, faster movements...

Brennan, Angela; Hanks, Ephraim M.; Merkle, Jerod A.; Cole, Eric K.; Dewey, Sarah R.; Courtemanch, Alyson B.; Cross, Paul C.
Brennan, A, EM Hanks, JA Merkle, EK Cole, SR Dewey, AB Courtemanch, and PC Cross. 2018. Examining speed versus selection in connectivity models using elk migration as an example. Landscape Ecology. 00:000-000

Year Published: 2018

Ecological genomics predicts climate vulnerability in an endangered southwestern songbird

Few regions have been more severely impacted by climate change in the USA than the Desert Southwest. Here, we use ecological genomics to assess the potential for adaptation to rising global temperatures in a widespread songbird, the willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii), and find the endangered desert southwestern subspecies (E. t. extimus) most...

Ruegg, Kristin; Bay, Rachael A.; Anderson, Eric C.; Saracco, James F.; Harrigan, Ryan J.; Whitfield, Mary J.; Paxton, Eben H.; Smith, Thomas B.
Ruegg, K., R. A. Bay, E. C. Anderson, J. F. Saracco, R. J. Harrigan, M. Whitfield, E. H. Paxton, and T. B. Smith. 2018. Ecological genomics predicts climate vulnerability in an endangered southwestern songbird. Ecology Letters 21:1085–1096. Available: https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12977

Year Published: 2018

Ecosystems science: Genes to landscapes

Bountiful fisheries, healthy and resilient wildlife, flourishing forests and vibrant grasslands are coveted resources that benefit all Americans. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) science supports the conservation and management of the Nation’s fish and wildlife, and the landscapes they inhabit. Our biological resources—ecosystems and the wild things...

Attribution: Ecosystems
U.S. Geological Survey, 2018, Ecosystems science--Genes to landscapes: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018-3030, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183030.

Year Published: 2018

Characterization of Plasmodium relictum, a cosmopolitan agent of avian malaria

BackgroundMicroscopic research has shown that Plasmodium relictum is the most common agent of avian malaria. Recent molecular studies confirmed this conclusion and identified several mtDNA lineages, suggesting the existence of significant intra-species genetic variation or cryptic speciation. Most identified lineages have a broad range...

Valkiunas, Gediminas; Ilgūnas, Mikas; Bukauskaitė, Dovilė; Fragner, Karin; Weissenböck, Herbert; Atkinson, Carter T.; Iezhova, Tatjana
Valkiūnas, G., M. Ilgūnas, D. Bukauskaitė, K. Fragner, H. Weissenböck, C. T. Atkinson, and T. A. Iezhova. 2018. Characterization of Plasmodium relictum, a cosmopolitan agent of avian malaria. Malaria Journal 17:184.

Year Published: 2018

Co‐occurrence dynamics of endangered Lower Keys marsh rabbits and free‐ranging domestic cats: Prey responses to an exotic predator removal program

The Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) is one of many endangered endemic species of the Florida Keys. The main threats are habitat loss and fragmentation from sea‐level rise, development, and habitat succession. Exotic predators such as free‐ranging domestic cats (Felis catus) pose an additional threat to these endangered small...

Cove, Michael V.; Gardner, Beth; Simons, Theodore R.; O'Connell, Allan F.

Filter Total Items: 660
July 31, 2017

A Current Immersion

Curt Storlazzi of the USGS explains how the water cycle pulled him into oceanography, and how his personal interests parallel his profession.
 

WERC researcher conducting elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge
July 31, 2017

WERC Elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay NWR

WERC researcher conducting elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

WERC Coastal ecosystem
July 31, 2017

WERC Coastal Ecosystem Studies

Coastal ecosystem studies at Trinidad coast, California. 

Two researchers aligning a 2 meter by 2 meter PVC square for an experimental restoration plot within a fenced area.
July 31, 2017

Setting up experimental restoration plots.

Field crew install a Restoration Field Trial Network garden in the rangelands of Northern Arizona. Each garden in the network is examining seedlings and seeds in conjunction with restoration treatments to better

...
July 31, 2017

H1 East Transect – July 2017

Permanent Site: H1 East Transect; Depth: 5.2 Meters (16.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.1479177,-123.53472865; Site Description: This is a shallow site and one of the farthest removed from the effects of the sediment plume outside of the control sites. Substrate remains mainly

...
July 31, 2017

H1 West Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: H1 West Transect; Depth: 5.4 Meters (17.7 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14803012,-123.53535558; Site Description: This is a shallow site and one of the farthest removed from the effects of the sediment plume outside of the control sites. Substrate remains

...
July 31, 2017

E2 East Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: E2 East Transect; Depth: 15.1 Meters (49.4 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.9 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15653002,-123.56130401; Site Description: Video is only of the last 10 meters of the transect. This is one of our deeper sites. Substrate is mainly gravel/cobble with an occasional boulder

...
July 31, 2017

E2 West Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: E2 West Transect; Depth: 14.6 Meters (47.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.9 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15653002, -123.56197605; Site Description: This is one of our deeper sites. Substrate is mainly gravel/cobble with scattered boulders. Only a few small brown seaweeds were present (acid

...
July 30, 2017

D2 East Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: D2 East Transect; Depth: 12.1 Meters (39.7 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.3 Kilometers (0.2 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15233001,-123.56829403; Site Description: This site is right off the mouth of the river. In 2016 it was actively being buried in sand but this year the substrate was returning to mainly gravel

...
July 30, 2017

D2 West Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: D2 West Transect; Depth: 12.3 Meters (40.3 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.3 Kilometers (0.2 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal Lat/Long: 48.15233001,-123.56896603; Site Description: This site is right off the mouth of the river. In previous years the substrate has been mainly gravel with some cobble and about 10% sand but this year

...
July 30, 2017

L1 East Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: L1 East Transect; Depth: 11.0 Meters (36.2 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.3 Kilometers (1.4 Miles) west; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13957527,-123.59359993; Site Description: This transect is medium depth. Substrate is mainly fine sediment/sand/mud covered in a layer of brown diatoms (0:05 seconds). Scattered boulders

...
July 30, 2017

L1 West Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: L1 West Transect; Depth: 10.9 Meters (35.7 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.3 Kilometers (1.4 Miles) west; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13957527,-123.59427175; Site Description: This transect is medium depth. The first 20 meters contains scattered boulders (0:52, 1:12 seconds). Where there are no boulders, substrate is

...
Filter Total Items: 280
Date published: October 21, 2016

Stories from the Field: Ecology of California Ridgway's Rails

Notes from field biologists studying the endangered Ridgway's rail.

Date published: October 3, 2016

Rising Sea Levels, Coastal Development’s Effect on Gulf Coast Wetlands

As coastal development along the Gulf Coast continues to expand, tidal saline wetlands could have difficulty adjusting to rising sea levels.

Date published: September 28, 2016

Local Wind Energy Development Has Broad Consequences for Golden Eagles

Roughly over a quarter of the golden eagles killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in Northern California from 2012-2014 were recent immigrants to the local population, according to research led by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Date published: September 22, 2016

Burmese Python Hatchlings Seen on Key Largo

Burmese pythons have been found on Key Largo.

Date published: September 19, 2016

Sea Otter Survey Encouraging, but Comes Up Short of the “Perfect Story”

SANTA CRUZ, California — The southern sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis, continues its climb toward recovery, according to the annual count released today by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners.

Date published: September 7, 2016

Declining Bird Community on Kauai Island Reveals Threat of Changing Environmental Conditions

Kauai Island forest birds at tipping point toward extinction

Date published: September 3, 2016

U.S., Vietnamese Science Agencies Partner to Protect Biodiversity in Vietnam

USGS and the Vietnam Biodiversity Conservation Agency partner to protect the biodiversity of Vietnam.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: August 25, 2016

Pikas Disappearing from Parts of the West Due to Climate Change

American pikas – small herbivores that typically live in rocky slopes, known as talus, across many mountain ranges in the American West – are disappearing from some locations across the West due to climate change, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and some of its partners.