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: 714
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: 110
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: 2,930
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.

Year Published: 2018

Rivers are social–ecological systems: Time to integrate human dimensions into riverscape ecology and management

Incorporation of concepts from landscape ecology into understanding and managing riverine ecosystems has become widely known as riverscape ecology. Riverscape ecology emphasizes interactions among processes at different scales and their consequences for valued ecosystem components, such as riverine fishes. Past studies have focused strongly on...

Dunham, Jason B.; Angermeier, Paul L.; Crausbay, Shelley D.; Cravens, Amanda; Gosnell, Hannah; McEvoy, Jamie; Moritz, Max A.; Raheem, Nejem; Sanford, Todd
Dunham, J.B., Angermeier, P.L., Crausbay, S., Cravens, A., Gosnell, H., McEvoy, J., Moritz, M., Raheem, N., Sanford, T., 2018, Rivers are social–ecological systems- Time to integrate human dimensions into riverscape ecology and management: WIREs Water, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1291.

Year Published: 2018

Biology and impacts of Pacific Islands invasive species. 14. Sus scrofa the feral pig (Artiodactyla: Suidae)

Feral pigs (Sus scrofa L.) are perhaps the most abundant, widespread, and economically significant large introduced vertebrate across the Pacific island region. Unlike many other nonnative invasive species, feral pigs have both cultural and recreational importance in the region, complicating their management. Today, Pacific island feral pigs...

Wehr, Nathaniel H. ; Hess, Steven C.; Litton, Creighton M.

Filter Total Items: 682
August 2, 2017

H2 East Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: H2 East Transect; Depth: 7.6 Meters (24.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.6 Kilometers (1.6 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15008216,-123.53210661; Site Description: This site is medium to shallow depth. Substrate is mainly gravel with some sand, cobble and an occasional boulder and has not changed since dam

...
August 2, 2017

H2 West Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: H2 West Transect; Depth: 7.3 Meters (23.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.6 Kilometers (1.6 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15008216,-123.53277857; Site Description: This site is medium to shallow depth. Substrate is mainly gravel with some sand, cobble and an occasional boulder and has not changed since dam

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August 1, 2017

K1 East Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: K1 East Transect; Depth: 6.2 Meters (20.4 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 4.5 Kilometers (2.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13592923,-123.5101581; Site Description: This is a shallow site. Sediment is a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (1:29 seconds) and brown seaweed was abundant but this year browns were

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August 1, 2017

K1 West Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: K1 West Transect; Depth: 5.5 Meters (18.0 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 4.5 Kilometers (2.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 6 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13592923,-123.51082988; Site Description: This is a shallow site. Sediment is a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (0:20, 0:25 seconds) and brown seaweed was abundant with the browns more

...
August 1, 2017

F2 West Transect – 2017

Permanent Site: F2 West Transect; Depth: 11.1 Meters (36.3 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,-123.55036603; 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

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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

...
chart of vegetation change in the bird's foot delta
July 31, 2017

Changing vegetation in the Delta 2016-2017

Chart showing changes in vegetation density in the Mississippi River delta in Louisiana, May 2015-May 2016. From a USGS Open File Report published in July 2017 by co-authors Elijah Ramsey III and Amina Rangoonwala,

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.
 

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 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

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Filter Total Items: 323
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.

Date published: December 12, 2016

Coastal Wetland Decision Support Tools Now Available for Great Lakes

Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative Launches Coastal Wetland Decision Support Tools

Date published: December 12, 2016

Not Just for Kissing: Mistletoe and Birds, Bees, and Other Beasts

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.

Date published: November 28, 2016

Western Fisheries Science News, October 2016 | Issue 4.10

Transporting Fish around Impassable Dams:  An Opportunity and Challenge for Reintroductions

Date published: November 22, 2016

Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

True or false? People are the leading cause of wildfires in the United States.

Date published: November 17, 2016

Wild Turkey Talk

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.

Date published: November 16, 2016

Small Alpine Insects are Big Messengers of Climate Change

West Glacier, Mont. – Two rare alpine insects – native to the northern Rocky Mountains and dependent on cold waters of glacier and snowmelt-fed alpine streams – are imperiled due to climate warming induced glacier and snow loss according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners.

Date published: November 16, 2016

USGS Study Reveals Interactive Effects of Climate Change, Invasive Species on Native Fish

A new USGS study shows non-native Brown Trout can place a burden on native Brook Trout under the increased water temperatures climate change can cause.

Date published: November 1, 2016

Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

True or False? People can catch white-nose syndrome from bats or the environment. 

Attribution: Ecosystems
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.