USGS Cool Tools for Hot Topics

Science Center Objects

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 management issues.  This page will be updated to provide the latest information on these tools and applications for decision-making.

 

New Tools to Predict and Detect the Spread of Invasive Species

Lionfish are spreading through the Western North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico

Lionfish are spreading through the Western North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Ned DeLoach (Public domain.)

Contacts: 
Cindy Kolar, USGS Invasive Species Program Coordinator
Earl Campbell, USGS Invasive Species Program Manager
Pam Fuller, USGS Fishery Biologist - Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Margaret Hunter, USGS Research Geneticist - Wetland and Aquatic

Research Center

Topics Covered:

  1. Invasive Species Range Expansion - Advances in prediction and monitoring tools
  2. eDNA to detect and estimate occupancy for invasive and imperiled species 
  3. NAS FAST database and tools

Resources:

 

Disease and Biosurveillance Tools for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management

Mule deer gather on their winter range before beginning their spring migration north through the Wyoming Range mountains

Mule deer does and fawns gather on their winter range just before beginning their spring migration north through the Wyoming Range mountains, Wyoming, USA. (Credit: Samantha Dwinnell, Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Public domain.)

Contact: 
Dr. Camille Hopkins, USGS Wildlife Disease Coordinator

Topics Covered:

  1. CWD spread modeling tool 
  2. CWD surveillance sampling design tool

Resources:

 

 

 

 

 

Using Integrated Population Models can improve precision of T&E Species Management

A close-up photo of a Least Bell's Vireo perched on a tree branch.

A photo of a Least Bell's Vireo, an endangered songbird that makes its home in the vegetation surrounding rivers and streams. (Credit: Alan Schmierer. Public domain.)

Contact: 
Lianne Ball, USGS Environments Program Manager

Integrated population models (IPM) are unified analyses of multiple data sets such as abundance and one or more demographic rates (e.g., survival or fecundity), permitting a more precise estimation of parameters and more accurate population inference.   Combining data sets for an IPM allow us to better target interventions to specific parts of a specie’s life history, distinguish among causal hypotheses, and avoid negative outcomes from interventions.

Using IPMs to inform T&E management decisions has several advantages over traditional modeling techniques such as: leveraging of data to estimate latent quantities, better precision of estimated parameters, and a full accounting of process and sampling variability. An IPM is also more likely to be responsive to possible changes in system dynamics than a set of discrete models and associated weights.

Topics Covered

  1. What are Integrated Population Models and what are they good for?

  2. Examples of how they have already been used.

Resources:

 

Wind Energy Turbine Mapper and Bat Distribution and Impact Tools

Image of scientist setting up a radar system in Colorado to test its efficacy in detecting birds and bats flying towards turbine

Image of scientist setting up a radar system in Colorado to test its efficacy in detecting birds and bats flying towards spinning wind turbines. (Credit: Todd Preston, USGS. Public domain.)

Contacts: 
Mona Khalil, USGS Energy & Wildlife Program Specialist
Sue Phillips, USGS Aridlands Research Manager -Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center 
Brian Reichert, USGS Ecologist - Fort Collins Science Center

Topics Covered:

  1. North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) - USGS
  2. U.S. Wind Turbine Database - USGS 
  3. Generalized Mortality Estimator for Birds and Bats

      Resources:

       

      Advances and Training Opportunities for Species Distribution Modeling

      Graham’s penstemon Penstemon grahamii, a species of concern to land managers in the Colorado Plateau.

      Graham’s penstemon Penstemon grahamii, a species of concern to land managers in the Colorado Plateau. (Credit: Robert Fitts, Utah Natural Heritage Program.. Photo courtesy of Robert Fitts, Utah Natural Heritage Program.)

      Contact: 
      Thomas Edwards, Utah Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Assistant Unit Leader and Research Wildlife Biologist

      Topics Covered:

      1. Advances and training opportunities in species distribution and habitat modelling (SDM) for biologists and decision-makers
      2. Discussion opportunities for:
        • Reasons why application of SDMs to management lags behind modelling advances;
        • How best to develop training that alleviates application concerns of SDMs;
        • Defining elements of decision-quality SDMs; and
        • Structure of two proposed training courses: (i) construction of SDMs, and (ii) proper interpretation of SDMs

      Resources:

       

      Applications to Support Landscape Restoration

      Image:  Big Sagebrush Re-establishing 15 Years Post-wildfire Along the Boise Front Mountains

      Young mountain big sagebrush shown in the foreground are re-establishing in a native bunchgrass community 15 years after a fire along the Boise Front Mountains looking unto the Snake River Plain, Idaho. (Credit: Dave Pyke, USGS. Public domain.)

      Contact:
      Steve Hanser, USGS Sagebrush Ecosystem Program Specialist
      Mike Duniway, USGS Research Ecologist and Soil Scientist - Southwest Biological Science Center
      Zack Bowen, USGS Branch Chief, Ecosystem Dynamics - Fort Collins Science Center

      Topics Covered:

      1. Land Treatment Digital Library  
      2. Land Treatment Planning Tool
      3. Conservation and Restoration Strategy Tool, SageDAT
      4. Disturbance Automated Reclamation Tool
      5. Everglades Depth Estimation Network
      6. Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Viewer
      7. Seed Selector: a tool for finding appropriate plant materials for restoration and reclamation.

      Resources:

       

      Tools to Support State and Multi-Jurisdictional Monitoring Activities

      Multi-colored flowers in the Great Basin.

      Sage-grouse habitat monitoring site in Virginia Mountains, Nevada. (Public domain.)

      Contact
      Jake Weltzin, USGS Status & Trends Program Manager

      Topics Covered:

      1. Tools and approaches:
        Sampling Design and Protocol Development
        Data Management and Tools for Data Exploration, Visualization and Analysis (EVA)
        Adaptive Capacity for Species Vulnerability Assessments
        Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing
        Camera Networks and Advanced Technologies
        Ecological Forecasting
         
      2. Projects and resources:
        MonitoringResources.org
        USA National Phenology Network
        North American Bat Monitoring Program
        Monarch Monitoring and Conservation Assessment Tool
        Restoration Assessment and Monitoring Program for the Southwest

      Resources: