Status and Trends Program
Programs L2 Landing Page
To protect, conserve, and restore the living resources—plants, animals, habitats, ecosystems—entrusted to their care, land and resource managers must understand the condition, or status (e.g., abundance, distribution, productivity, health), of those resources as well as their trends (i.e., how these variables change over time).
Scientists and staff of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center stationed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) do research on the systematics and conservation of vertebrate species and curate and manage the North American collections of Amphibian, Reptile, Bird, and Mammal specimens and associated records.
The Challenge: The Akeke’e (Loxops caeruleirostris) and the Akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi), two species of Hawaiian honeycreeper, are critically endangered bird species endemic to high elevation ohia forests on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Both species have suffered severe population declines and range contractions in recent decades. Akeke’e are currently thought to number ca. 950 wild...
The Challenge: The Canada Goose Branta canadensis was historically a highly migratory species. However, this species has recently established resident populations in urban, suburban, and agricultural areas in many parts of the U.S., including the Chesapeake Bay region. The enormous success of these populations has led to consideration of this species as a nuisance, largely due to its...
The Challenge: Ancient Egyptians mummified animals for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was as votive offerings to certain deities. Among the six species of shrews that have been identified as mummies, one is now extinct, one is no longer occurs in Egypt, and the remaining four have more restricted distributions in the country. One of the latter species also exhibits significantly...
The Challenge: The postcranial skeletons of mammals exhibit tremendous variation in form that partly relates to phylogeny (who a particular species is related to) and partly to locomotory function (how that species moves through its environment). Understanding the contributions of these two factors is important because phylogenetic characters assist in working out evolutionary relationships,...
The Challenge: Many critical wildlife surveys, such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), are analyzed using complex hierarchical models. These models are generally multi-scale and contain random effects; the standard approaches to model selection and assessment of model fit are often inappropriate and no simple way exists to compare alternative models. However, a clear need exists...
The Challenge: Over the last half of the 20th century, the breeding range of American black duck (Anas rubripes) has contracted from central Canada and the Northeastern United States toward eastern Canada. This reduction in size of the breeding range has been reflected in a steady decline of black ducks counted during winter surveys, both the midwinter Waterfowl Survey conducted by the U. S....
The Challenge: Population status information is required for management of migratory bird populations, and structured decision making and adaptive anagement place additional emphasis on the need for rigorous survey designs and robust estimation methods. The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Christmas Bird Count (CBC) provide continent-scale information on breeding and wintering...
Natural resource agencies are challenged not only by climate change impacts on terrestrial and marine resources, but also by related effects on human communities that depend on these lands and waters. These effects include changes in economic activity, subsistence practices, demographic trends, human health, recreation, infrastructure, and community resilience. While there are many policy...
The Department of Interior (DOI) produces annual estimates of the economic contributions of DOI programs, activities, and services. USGS economists contribute to the annual analysis, and the USGS Information Science Branch has developed an interactive data visualization to display results: https://my.usgs.gov/doidv/.
The National Park Service (NPS) preserves and protects more than 84 million acres of important historic, cultural, and natural resources across 401 sites for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Protected resources and landscapes managed by the National Park Service contribute to the societal welfare of the American public, reflected by ecosystem service values derived from their...
The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) addresses effects of land-use and climate changes on Southwest Wyoming’s natural resources. In partnership with twelve Federal, State, and local natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations– FORT and ten other USGS centers are conducting dozens of integrated science projects to assess the status of Southwest Wyoming’s...
This website presents population change information for more than 400 species of North American birds, as estimated from the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Estimates of trend (interval-specific estimates of population change), annual indices of abundance, and maps of abundance and population change for these species are presented for a variety of regions.
American woodcock migratory connectivity as indicated by hydrogen isotopes
To identify factors contributing to the long-term decline of American woodcock, a holistic understanding of range-wide population connectivity throughout the annual cycle is needed. We used band recovery data and isotopic composition of primary (P1) and secondary (S13) feathers to estimate population sources and connectivity among natal, early...Sullins, Daniel S.; Conway, Warren C.; Haukos, David A.; Hobson, Keith A.; Wassenaar, Leonard I; Comer, Christopher E.; Hung, I-Kuai
A replacement name for Asthenes wyatti perijanus Phelps 1977
A recent near-complete phylogeny of the avian family Furnariidae (Derryberry et al. 2011) found a number of discrepancies between the phylogeny and the then-current taxonomy of the group, and several changes were proposed to reconcile the taxonomy of the family with the phylogeny. Among these was the merging of the genus Schizoeaca Cabanis 1873...Chesser, R. Terry
Flexible risk metrics for identifying and monitoring conservation-priority species
Region-specific conservation programs should have objective, reliable metrics for species prioritization and progress evaluation that are customizable to the goals of a program, easy to comprehend and communicate, and standardized across time. Regional programs may have vastly different goals, spatial coverage, or management agendas, and one-size-...Stanton, Jessica C.; Semmens, Brice X.; McKann, Patrick C.; Will, Tom; Thogmartin, Wayne E.
Toward a mechanistic understanding of human-induced rapid environmental change: A case study linking energy development, avian nest predation, and predators
Demographic consequences of human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC) have been widely documented for many populations. The mechanisms underlying such patterns, however, are rarely investigated and yet are critical to understand for effective conservation and management. We investigated the mechanisms underlying reduced avian nest survival...Hethcoat, Matthew G.; Chalfoun, Anna D.
First satellite tracks of the Endangered black-capped petrel
The black-capped petrel Pterodroma hasitata is an endangered seabird with fewer than 2000 breeding pairs restricted to a few breeding sites in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. To date, use areas at sea have been determined entirely from vessel-based surveys and opportunistic sightings and, as such, spatial and temporal gaps in our...Jodice, Patrick G.R.; Ronconi, Robert A.; Rupp, Ernst; Wallace, George E.; Satgé, Yvan
Will a warmer and wetter future cause extinction of native Hawaiian forest birds?
Isolation of the Hawaiian archipelago produced a highly endemic and unique avifauna. Avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum), an introduced mosquito-borne pathogen, is a primary cause of extinctions and declines of these endemic honeycreepers. Our research assesses how global climate change will affect future malaria risk and native bird populations....Liao, Wei; Timm, Oliver Elison; Zhang, Chunxi; Atkinson, Carter T.; LaPointe, Dennis; Samuel, Michael D.
Seasonally-dynamic presence-only species distribution models for a cryptic migratory bat impacted by wind energy development
Understanding seasonal distribution and movement patterns of animals that migrate long distances is an essential part of monitoring and conserving their populations. Compared to migratory birds and other more conspicuous migrants, we know very little about the movement patterns of many migratory bats. Hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus), a cryptic,...Hayes, Mark A.; Cryan, Paul M.; Wunder, Michael B.
Estimating the short-term recovery potential of little brown bats in the eastern United States in the face of White-nose syndrome
White-nose syndrome (WNS) was first detected in North American bats in New York in 2006. Since that time WNS has spread throughout the northeastern United States, southeastern Canada, and southwest across Pennsylvania and as far west as Missouri. Suspect WNS cases have been identified in Minnesota and Iowa, and the causative agent of WNS (...Russell, Robin; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Erickson, Richard A.; Szymanski, Jennifer A.; Tinsley, Karl
Two tickets to paradise: multiple dispersal events in the founding of hoary bat populations in Hawai'i
The Hawaiian islands are an extremely isolated oceanic archipelago, and their fauna has long served as models of dispersal in island biogeography. While molecular data have recently been applied to investigate the timing and origin of dispersal events for several animal groups including birds, insects, and snails, these questions have been largely...Russell, Amy L.; Pinzari, Corinna A.; Vonhof, Maarten J.; Olival, Kevin J.; Bonaccorso, Frank
Forecasting and evaluating patterns of energy development in southwestern Wyoming
The effects of future oil and natural gas development in southwestern Wyoming on wildlife populations are topical to conservation of the sagebrush steppe ecosystem. To aid in understanding these potential effects, the U.S. Geological Survey developed an Energy Footprint simulation model that forecasts the amount and pattern of energy development...Garman, Steven L.
Digital representation of oil and natural gas well pad scars in southwest Wyoming: 2012 update
The recent proliferation of oil and natural gas energy development in the Greater Green River Basin of southwest Wyoming has accentuated the need to understand wildlife responses to this development. The location and extent of surface disturbance that is created by oil and natural gas well pad scars are key pieces of information used to assess the...Garman, Steven L.; McBeth, Jamie L.
Direct detection of fungal siderophores on bats with white-nose syndrome via fluorescence microscopy-guided ambient ionization mass spectrometry
White-nose syndrome (WNS) caused by the pathogenic fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans is decimating the populations of several hibernating North American bat species. Little is known about the molecular interplay between pathogen and host in this disease. Fluorescence microscopy ambient ionization mass spectrometry was used to generate...Mascuch, Samantha J.; Moree, Wilna J.; Cheng-Chih Hsu, Cheng-Chih; Turner, Gregory G.; Cheng, Tina L.; Blehert, David S.; Kilpatrick, A. Marm; Frick, Winifred F.; Meehan, Michael J.; Dorrestein, Pieter C.; Gerwick, Lena
A scientist is working to collect alpine insects by picking through moss below tiny, cold, alpine streams. This spot was below a small seep on a slope above a tributary to the Dry Fork, North of the Two Medicine area in Glacier National Park.
Looking out the mouth of Reynolds Glacier in Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park is iconic of the combined impacts of climate change and snow and ice loss – over 80 percent of the park’s glaciers have been lost since the mid-19th century.
Scientists sample for alpine insects in streams like this near Blackfoot Glacier in Glacier National Park. Alpine streams environments in the northern Rocky Mountains are especially vulnerable to climate change due to rapid warming resulting in loss of glaciers and snowpack. Glacier National Park is iconic of the combined impacts of climate change and snow and ice loss – over 80 percent of the park’s glaciers have been lost since the mid-19th century.
A glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier) on a snowy backdrop in Glacier National Park. The species is threatened by climate warming induced glacier and snow loss and has been petitioned for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act due to climate-change-induced habitat loss.
A meltwater stonefly larva (Lednia tumana) sits on a cobbled snow fed stream in Glacier National Park. The species is threatened by climate warming induced glacier and snow loss and has been petitioned for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act due to climate-change-induced habitat loss.
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.
With the White House’s launch of CitizenScience.gov and the inaugural Citizen Science Day this Saturday April 16, 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey invites you to look into a landscape of opportunities to participate in science!
Nesting loggerhead sea turtles in the northern Gulf of Mexico feed among areas that were oiled by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill and where human activities occur, several of which are known to pose threats to sea turtles, a new U.S Geological study showed.