Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 562
Date published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Imperiled Aquatic Species

Forty percent of all fish species in North America are at risk of extinction. USGS research is crucial to protect and manage at-risk species and healthy fish populations into the future. Species management research encompasses threatened and endangered species, Interior trust species protected by law, sensitive species that are declining, rare, or uncommon that may be candidates for future...

Date published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Freshwater Species

USGS research and technology provides the scientific basis for the adaptive management of aquatic species and aquatic habitats in the United States. The USGS examines the physiology, life history, reproduction, and habitat needs of specific life stages of fish and other aquatic organisms to assist fishery managers to develop techniques to understand, conserve, and restore fish species and...

Date published: April 13, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Habitats

USGS scientists quantify and describe functional relationships among aquatic species in coastal habitats to characterize aquatic community structure, function, adaptation, and sustainability.

Date published: April 13, 2018
Status: Active

Wetlands and Ponds

USGS research to assess wetland habitats and ecological functions are critical for restoration activities.

Date published: April 13, 2018
Status: Active

Deepwater Habitats

Deepwater habitats, such as the Great Lakes, are a key strategic resource and driver of economic vitality that are threatened by multiple stressors, including overfishing, invasions of exotic species, habitat degradation, pollution, climate change, and harmful algal blooms. Under the 1954 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, the Department of Interior is responsible for conducting a...

Date published: April 13, 2018
Status: Active

Streams and Rivers

USGS studies the ecology and biodiversity of streams, rivers, and aquatic ecosystems to understand impacts of changing land and water use on fish species and aquatic communities. We research critical fish and aquatic habitats and develop techniques to understand, conserve, and restore fish communities.

Date published: April 5, 2018
Status: Active

Sylvatic Plague

Sylvatic plague is a flea-borne bacterial disease of wild rodents. Humans, pets, and wildlife can be afflicted with this disease.  Prairie dogs are highly susceptible to plague and are the primary food source of the highly endangered black-footed ferret, which is also susceptible to the disease. Sylvatic plague can decimate prairie dog colonies (90% or greater mortality rates), resulting in...

Date published: April 3, 2018
Status: Active

Effect of Chronic Neonicotinoid Insecticide Exposure upon Monarch Development

The long-term viability of monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterfly populations in North America is in doubt.

Date published: April 3, 2018
Status: Active

Coral Diseases

Coral disease is now one of the major causes of reef degradation and coral mortality. First reported on reefs in the Florida Keys and Caribbean in the 1970s, black band disease was first recorded in Hawaii in 1994.

Date published: April 3, 2018
Status: Active

Sea Star Wasting Disease

Sea stars are dying off at dramatic rates across the West Coast from Baja California in Mexico to Alaska. The wasting disease that is affecting sea stars also is not specific to one species: more than 20 sea star species have been affected so far.

Date published: March 27, 2018
Status: Active

Multi-century perspectives on current and future streamflow in the Missouri River Basin

The Missouri River system is the life-blood of the American Midwest providing water resources that drive agriculture, industry, hydroelectric power generation, and ecosystems. However, the Missouri River Basin (MRB) (Figure 1) is the only major river in the western U.S. for which hydrologic reconstructions from tree rings have not been generated in any systematic way. This knowledge gap is...

Contacts: Greg Pederson
Date published: March 26, 2018
Status: Active

Structured Decision Making

The biggest natural resource management challenges include competing views of the value and uses of those resources in society. Patuxent scientists develop methods to manage resources given those competing views under a “structured decision making” (SDM) framework. Our scientists both practice and train others in key SDM skills, such as model development and monitoring design.

Filter Total Items: 69
Date published: April 21, 2016

Sea-Level Rise Visualization for Alabama and Mississippi

The interactive sea-level rise visualization tool results from a collaborative effort between NOAA's Coastal Services Center, USGS WARC, and USGS Mississippi Water Science Center. The tool illustrates the scale of potential flooding, but not the exact location, and does not account for erosion, subsidence, sediment accretion, or future construction. 

Date published: April 21, 2016

Alabama Strategic Habitat Units Applications

WARC's Advanced Applications Team develops and maintains databases and applications to help the Alabama Department of Transportation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ensure new road construction and existing road maintenance at waterway crossings don't adversely affect threatened and endangered species dependent on those waterways. 

Date published: April 21, 2016

Hurricane Sandy Ecosystems Application Development

This showcases the data and analytical products from studies related to habitat change, storm surge and ecological modeling, migratory bird impacts, and other studies conducted at WARC and funded by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. WARC's Advanced Applications Team also supports the efforts of scientists conducting research in Hurricane Sandy-impacted areas. 

Date published: April 21, 2016

Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS)

CRMS is the largest of all Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPRRA) funded projects and has established a network of ~400 biological monitoring stations across coastal Louisiana spanning all coastal habitat types and generating tremendous volumes of data. 

Date published: April 21, 2016

Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP) Barrier Island Restoration

MsCIP was developed in 2009 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, in conjunction with other Federal and State agencies, to help reduce future storm damage along the Mississippi Gulf coast. In 2014, in cooperation with the USACE Mobile District, WARC's Advanced Applications Team began development on the MsCIP Data Viewer, an interactive web-mapping environment. 

Date published: April 20, 2016

Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA)

CWPPRA is the oldest and largest coastal restoration effort operating across coastal Louisiana and has constructed 105 restoration projects since its establishment over 20 years ago. WARC's Advanced Applications Team has proudly worked with the CWPPRA Task Force over the years to ensure timely and accurate project-specific information is publicly available. 

Date published: April 20, 2016

Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) Support

The JEM community of practice is focused on ecological modeling and monitoring across the Greater Everglades, with particular interest in habitats, how various factors affect habitat change, and how the organisms dependent on those habitats respond today and into the future.

Date published: April 20, 2016

Everglades Eco-Modeling Data Visualization and Tool Development

Working with the Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) community of practice, the WARC Advanced Applications Team developed and maintains the EverVIEW Data Viewer desktop visualization platform, which allows users to easily visualize and inspect standards-compliant NetCDF modeling data and has experienced tremendous feature growth driven by user feedback. 

Date published: April 20, 2016

EverVIEW Lite

Recently, the Team has developed and released EverVIEW Lite, an online web mapping framework based on the core features available in the desktop viewer.

Date published: April 20, 2016

Coastal Information Management System (CIMS)

WARC's Advanced Applications Team is responsible for data management and application development to support the biological monitoring components of coastal restoration projects in the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority portfolio. 

Date published: April 12, 2016

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program Database Queries

Welcome to the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) information resource for the United States Geological Survey. Located at Gainesville, Florida, this site has been established as a central repository for spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of introduced aquatic species.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database (NAS)

The NAS provides spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of aquatic species introduced into the United States. The NAS allows for real-time queries, has regional contact information, species accounts and general information. Sign up for species-specific email alerts. Special maps available for zebra and quagga mussels, Asian carp and lionfish.

Filter Total Items: 2,285
Year Published: 2018

Occupancy modeling of autonomously recorded vocalizations to predict distribution of rallids in tidal wetlands

Conservation and management for a species requires reliable information on its status, distribution, and habitat use. We identified occupancy and distributions of king (Rallus elegans) and clapper (R. crepitans) rail populations in marsh complexes along the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers in Virginia, USA by modeling data on vocalizations recorded...

Stiffler, Lydia L.; Anderson, James T.; Katzner, Todd
Stiffler, L.L., Anderson, J.T., Katzner, T.E., 2018, Occupancy modeling of autonomously recorded vocalizations to predict distribution of rallids in tidal wetlands: Wetlands, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-018-1003-z.

Year Published: 2018

Modulators of mercury risk to wildlife and humans in the context of rapid global change

Environmental mercury (Hg) contamination is an urgent global health threat. The complexity of Hg in the environment can hinder accurate determination of ecological and human health risks, particularly within the context of the rapid global changes that are altering many ecological processes, socioeconomic patterns, and other factors like...

Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Silbergeld, Ellen K.; Basu, Niladri; Bustamante, Paco; Diaz-Barriga, Fernando; Hopkins, William A.; Kidd, Karen A.; Nyland, Jennifer F.
Eagles-Smith, C.A., Silbergeld, E.K., Basu, N., Bustamante, P., Diaz-Barriga, F., Hopkins, W.A., Nyland, J.F., 2018, Modulators of mercury risk to wildlife and humans in the context of rapid global change: Ambio, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-1011-x.

Year Published: 2018

Spatial patterns in occupancy and reproduction of Golden Eagles during drought: Prospects for conservation in changing environments

We used a broad-scale sampling design to investigate spatial patterns in occupancy and breeding success of territorial pairs of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the Diablo Range, California, USA, during a period of exceptional drought (2014–2016). We surveyed 138 randomly selected sample sites over 4 occasions each year and identified 199...

Wiens, David; Kolar, Patrick; Hunt, W. Grainger; Hunt, Teresa; Fuller, Mark R.; Bell, Douglas A.
Wiens, J.D., Kolar, P.S., Hunt, G., Hunt, T., Fuller, M.R., Bell, D.A., 2018, Spatial patterns in occupancy and reproduction of Golden Eagles during drought- Prospects for conservation in changing environments: The Condor, v. 120, p. 106-124, https://doi.org/ 10.1650/CONDOR-17-96.1.

Year Published: 2018

Survey of beaver-related restoration practices in rangeland streams of the western USA

Poor condition of many streams and concerns about future droughts in the arid and semi-arid western USA have motivated novel restoration strategies aimed at accelerating recovery and increasing water resources. Translocation of beavers into formerly occupied habitats, restoration activities encouraging beaver recolonization, and instream...

Pilliod, David S.; Rohde, Ashley T.; Charnley, Susan; Davee, Rachael R; Dunham, Jason B.; Gosnell, Hannah; Grant, Gordon E.; Hausner, Mark B.; Huntington, Justin L.; Nash, Caroline
Pilliod, D.S., Rohde, A.T., Charnley, S., Davee, R.R., Dunham, J.B., Gosnell, H., Grant, G.E., Hausner, M.B., Huntington, J.L., Nash, C., 2018, Survey of beaver-related restoration practices in rangeland streams of the western USA: Environmental Management, v. 61, p. 58-68, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-017-0957-6.

Year Published: 2018

The effect of isolation, fragmentation, and population bottlenecks on song structure of a Hawaiian honeycreeper

Little is known about how important social behaviors such as song vary within and among populations for any of the endemic Hawaiian honeycreepers. Habitat loss and non‐native diseases (e.g., avian malaria) have resulted in isolation and fragmentation of Hawaiian honeycreepers within primarily high elevation forests. In this study, we examined how...

Pang-Ching, Joshua M.; Paxton, Kristina L.; Paxton, Eben H.; Pack, Adam A.; Hart, Patrick J.
Pang‐Ching, J. M., K. L. Paxton, E. H. Paxton, A. A. Pack, and P. J. Hart. 2018. The effect of isolation, fragmentation, and population bottlenecks on song structure of a Hawaiian honeycreeper. Ecology and Evolution 8:2076–2087. Available: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3820

Year Published: 2018

Development and release of phenological data products—A case study in compliance with federal open data policy

In Autumn 2015, USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) staff implemented new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data-management policies intended to ensure that the results of Federally funded research are made available to the public. The effort aimed both to improve USA-NPN data releases and to provide a model for similar programs within the USGS....

Rosemartin, Alyssa H.; Langseth, Madison L.; Crimmins, Theresa M.; Weltzin, Jake F.
Rosemartin, A., Langseth, M.L., Crimmins, T.M., and Weltzin, J.F., 2018, Development and release of phenological data products—A case study in compliance with federal open data policy: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1007, 13 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181007.

Year Published: 2018

Using a food web model to inform the design of river restoration—An example at the Barkley Bear Segment, Methow River, north-central Washington

With the decline of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead (O. mykiss), habitat restoration actions in freshwater tributaries have been implemented to improve conditions for juveniles. Typically, physical (for example, hydrologic and engineering) based models are used to design restoration alternatives with the assumption that...

Benjamin, Joseph R.; Bellmore, J. Ryan; Dombroski, Daniel
Benjamin, J.R., Bellmore, J.R., and Dombroski, Daniel, 2018, Using a food web model to inform the design of river restoration—An example at the Barkley Bear Segment, Methow River, north-central Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1002, 24 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181002.

Year Published: 2018

Rapid colonization of a Hawaiian restoration forest by a diverse avian community

Deforestation of tropical forests has led to widespread loss and extirpation of forest bird species around the world, including the Hawaiian Islands which have experienced a dramatic loss of forests over the last 200–800 years. Given the important role birds play in forest ecosystem functions via seed dispersal and pollination, a bird community's...

Paxton, Eben H.; Yelenik, Stephanie G.; Borneman, Tracy E.; Rose, Eli; Camp, Richard J.; Kendall, Steve J.
Paxton, E. H., S. G. Yelenik, T. E. Borneman, E. T. Rose, R. J. Camp, and S. J. Kendall. 2018. Rapid colonization of a Hawaiian restoration forest by a diverse avian community. Restoration Ecology 26:165–173.

Year Published: 2018

Evaluating trade-offs in bull trout reintroduction strategies using structured decision making

Structured decision making allows reintroduction decisions to be made despite uncertainty by linking reintroduction goals with alternative management actions through predictive models of ecological processes. We developed a decision model to evaluate the trade-offs between six bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) reintroduction decisions with the...

Brignon, William R.; Peterson, James T.; Dunham, Jason B.; Schaller, Howard A.; Schreck, Carl B.
Brignon, W. R., Peterson, J. T., Dunham, J. B., Schaller, H. A., & Schreck, C. B. (2017). Evaluating Tradeoffs in Bull Trout Reintroduction Strategies Using Structured Decision Making. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Year Published: 2018

Lack of observed movement response to lead exposure of California condors

Lead poisoning is an important conservation concern for wildlife, and scavenging birds are especially at risk from consumption of carcasses of animals killed with lead ammunition. Because current methods to identify lead exposure require animal capture and blood collection, management would benefit from the development of a less costly and...

Poessel, Sharon; Brandt, Joseph; Uyeda, Linda; Astell, Molly; Katzner, Todd E.
Poessel, S.A., Brandt, J., Uyeda, L., Astell, M., Katzner, T.E., 2017, Lack of observed movement response to lead exposure of California condors: Journal of Wildlife Management, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21378.

Year Published: 2018

Estimating vegetation biomass and cover across large plots in shrub and grass dominated drylands using terrestrial lidar and machine learning

Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) has been shown to enable an efficient, precise, and non-destructive inventory of vegetation structure at ranges up to hundreds of meters. We developed a method that leverages TLS collections with machine learning techniques to model and map canopy cover and biomass of several classes of short-stature vegetation...

Anderson, Kyle E.; Glenn, Nancy F.; Spaete, Lucas P.; Shinneman, Douglas; Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert; McIlroy, Susan; Derryberry, DeWayne R.
Anderson, K.E., Glenn, N.F., Spaete, L.P., Shinneman, D.J., Pilliod, D.S., Arkle, R.S., McIlroy, S.K., Derryberry, D.R., 2018, Estimating vegetation biomass and cover across large plots in shrub and grass dominated drylands using terrestrial lidar and machine learning: Ecological Indicators, v. 84, p. 793-802, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.09.034

Year Published: 2018

Meteorological and environmental variables affect flight behaviour and decision-making of an obligate soaring bird, the California Condor Gymnogyps californianus

The movements of animals are limited by evolutionary constraints and ecological processes and are strongly influenced by the medium through which they travel. For flying animals, variation in atmospheric conditions is critically influential in movement. Obligate soaring birds depend on external sources of updraft more than do other flying species...

Poessel, Sharon; Brandt, Joseph; Miller, Tricia A.; Katzner, Todd
Poessel, S.A., Brandt, J., Miller, T.A., Katzner, T.E., 2017, Meteorological and environmental variables affect flight behaviour and decision-making of an obligate soaring bird, the California Condor Gymnogyps californianus: Ibis, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1111/ibi.12531.

Filter Total Items: 538
Alligator Hatchlings
December 31, 2017

Alligator Hatchlings

Crocodilians are one of the few reptile taxa that exhibit parental care. In alligators, following nest construction, females stay nearby in a guard hole, and are known to defend their nests against predators or other intruders. At the end of the 60-day incubation period, alligator hatchlings will vocalize from within the egg, to signal to the mother that they are ready to hatch. At hatch,...

Frog liver with SPI
December 31, 2017

Frog liver with SPI

This photomicrograph shows a liver of a frog with a severe Perkinsea infection.

Phragmites, an invasive grass
December 31, 2017

Phragmites, an invasive grass

Introduced Phragmites australis, also called the common reed, is an invasive grass in the Great Lakes.

Sea turtle
December 31, 2017

Sea turtle

Green sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered throughout their range. (Credit: Thierry Work, USGS)

Attribution: Ecosystems
USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag.
December 31, 2017

USGS scientist holds a surf scoter that has been tagged.

USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag that works by transmitting the location of the birds to satellites that are orbiting the Earth. (Jonathan Fiely, USGS)

Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication
December 31, 2017

Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication

This microscopic image shows a sun-shaped area within turtle skin cells where chelonid herpesvirus 5 replicates. The virus capsids, or protein shells, are arrayed like a corona around the circle. ChHV5 is associated with fibropapillomatosisa tumor disease affecting endangered green turtles. (Credit: Thierry Work, USGS)

Corallimorph mouths
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph mouths

The arrows in this image point to mouths of individual corallimorphs, which are a type of invasive anemone that typically thrives in coral reefs that have been degraded by environmental or man-made disturbances. Each corallimorph mouth is surrounded by a corona of tentacles.

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other...

Emperor geese standing near the shoreline on Kodiak Island
December 31, 2017

Emperor geese near Kodiak.

Emperor geese gathered near the shoreline on Kodiak Island.

Measuring sea urchins 1
December 31, 2017

Measuring sea urchins 1

When it comes to collecting data, sometimes scientists have to look beneath the surface. Here, USGS scientists count and measure sea urchins to better understand the species' demographics off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. This information will help managers best respond to urchin die-offs, should they occur in the future.

November 30, 2017

2017 Nov. Pub. Lecture—Sea Otters: Confessions of a Keystone Carnivore

  • Sea otters are perhaps the best-known example of a "keystone predator".
  • Sea otter behavior -- in particular diet specialization and limited mobility -- can mediate their effects on ecosystem dynamics.
  • Other predators, especially large sea stars, can complement and reinforce the keystone role of sea otters: this became apparent with the loss of all sea stars from wasting
  • ...
Attribution: Ecosystems
November 24, 2017

Serene Sirens: USGS Sea Cow Science

A USGS video about manatees reveals that while the animals may act like the cows of the sea, they also have more than a bit of the magical siren or mermaid about them.  Go for a serene swim.

Attribution: Ecosystems
A Cuban treefrog on a green leaf
November 13, 2017

Cuban treefrogs have leaped into Louisiana

Non-native Cuban treefrogs have established a breeding population in New Orleans, Louisiana, the first such population on the U.S. mainland outside Florida. The treefrogs were discovered at the Audubon Zoo shortly after a shipment of palm trees from Florida were planted in the zoo's elephant enclosure in 2016. USGS scientist Brad Glorioso confirmed the presence of a breeding population in 2017...

Filter Total Items: 313
Date published: September 18, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, August 2017 | Issue 5.8

Science to Support Salmon Recovery Efforts in the Puget Sound

Date published: September 6, 2017

Wildfire and Invasive Species Drives Increasing Size and Cost of Public Land Restoration Efforts

An examination of long-term data for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management finds that land treatments in the southwestern United States are increasingly large, expensive and related to fire and invasive species control.

Date published: September 5, 2017

Public Invitation: USGS La Crosse Science Center Opens Doors for Interactive Experience

The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 9.  

Date published: August 30, 2017

Public Invitation: Jamestown Science Center Opens Doors for Interactive Experience

The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 16.  

Date published: August 23, 2017

Invasive Pest May Not Be Only Cause of Recent Louisiana Marsh Die-off

A non-native insect infestation may not be the only factor involved in the ongoing die-back of a marsh grass in the Mississippi River’s “bird foot delta,” the ecologically and economically important part of coastal Louisiana where the river meets the Gulf of Mexico.

Date published: August 16, 2017

Changing Tides: Lake Michigan Could Best Support Lake Trout and Steelhead

Invasive mussels and less nutrients from tributaries have altered the Lake Michigan ecosystem making it more conducive to the stocking of lake trout and steelhead than Chinook salmon, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey and Michigan State University study.

Date published: August 10, 2017

Media Advisory: Wildlife Partners Unite to Protect Iconic Species from Deadly Plague

Reporters are invited to an event near Fort Collins showcasing cooperative efforts to develop a potential breakthrough in wildlife management – an oral vaccine that may help protect prairie dogs against plague and assist in the recovery of endangered black-footed ferrets at specific locations in the West.  

Date published: August 1, 2017

Deadly Fungus Affecting Hibernating Bats Could Spread During Summer

The cold-loving fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd) that causes white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of North American bats during hibernation, could also spread in summer months. Bats and humans visiting contaminated caves and mines can inadvertently contribute to the spread of the fungus, according to a recently published study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: July 20, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, July 2017 | Issue 5.7

In Memoriam - Dr. William "Dave" Woodson, 1956-2017

Date published: July 17, 2017

Wildlife Cameras Offer Insight on Geese for Industry and Researchers in the Arctic

Direct encounters with humans can increase the likelihood that nesting geese will lose their eggs to predators, according to a recent study released Monday, July 17.

Date published: July 12, 2017

Flexibility in Behavior of Some Animals Helps Them Accommodate a Changing Climate

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners has identified situations and conditions where some animals display behavioral flexibility – the ability to rapidly change behavior in response to short – or long-term environmental changes such as climate variability. 

Date published: July 12, 2017

USGS: Louisiana’s Rate of Coastal Wetland Loss Continues to Slow

Lack of Major Hurricanes Since 2008 Is Likely the Main Reason