Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 556
Date published: May 2, 2018
Status: Active

Data Visualization

USGS aquatic scientists are developing data visualization tools to assist
natural resource managers in decision‐making and adaptive management.

Date published: May 2, 2018
Status: Active

Statistical Modeling

The USGS is incorporating different species and aquatic communities into statistical models to begin developing tools that quantify relationships between flow and total ecosystem services provided by river systems for human benefit. 

Date published: May 2, 2018
Status: Active

Genetics and Genomics

USGS aquatic scientists develop and adapt new technologies and tools that increase the effectiveness, efficiency, safety, and accuracy of aquatic ecosystem management.

Date published: May 2, 2018
Status: Active

Fish Tagging and Tracking

USGS Fisheries scientists apply advanced technologies to monitor and assess fish populations and aquatic communities.

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems

USGS Fisheries scientists examine the physiology, life history, reproduction, and habitat needs of aquatic species to assist managers to develop techniques to understand, conserve, and restore fish communities.

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Pollution in Aquatic Ecosystems

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

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory

The Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) is an integrated scientific program supporting the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations. As birds are good indicators of the health of the environment, the status and trends of bird populations are critical for...

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Species and Disease

USGS provides fisheries research information to restore and enhance fish habitat and understand fish diseases. Endangered species and those that are imperiled receive special research interest. Aquatic Invasive Species research is aiding in early detection and control measures, as well as understanding impacts these invaders have on aquatic environments.

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Land and Water Management

USGS research in advanced technologies, use of remote sensing, and research and monitoring in large river systems across the U.S. uniquely positions the USGS Fisheries Program to contribute to practical applications of landscape science.

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Drought and Aquatic Ecosystems

As part of the USGS Fisheries program, ecological flows, or the relationships between quality, quantity, and timing of water flows and ecological response of aquatic biota and ecosystems; and related ecosystem services are being investigated. 

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Climate Change and Aquatic Ecosystems

USGS scientists quantify and describe functional relationships among aquatic species and habitats to describe aquatic community structure, function, adaptation, and sustainability. Research is conducted that links biology, population genetic diversity, and organism health for fish, native mussels, and other aquatic organisms in relation to their habitat requirements.

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Energy Development and Aquatic Ecosystems

USGS is advancing science on the impacts of energy development on aquatic ecosystems.

Filter Total Items: 68
Date published: August 7, 2017

Atypical Feeding Behavior of Long-tailed Ducks in the Wake of a Commercial Fishing Boat while Clamming

Data represents analyses of gizzard and gullet (esophagus and proventriculus) of nine ducks using traditional techniques

Date published: July 27, 2017

An Online Database for IHN Virus in Pacific Salmonid Fish: MEAP-IHNV

The Molecular Epidemiology of Aquatic Pathogens (MEAP)-IHNV Database

The MEAP-IHNV database provides access to detailed data for anyone interested in IHNV molecular epidemiology, such as fish health professionals, fish culture facility managers, and academic researchers.

Date published: July 12, 2017

Development of a Multimetric Index for Integrated Assessment of Salt Marsh Ecosystem Condition

This dataset is comprised of eight files related to salt marsh monitoring data or measures of of human disturbance (i.e. human impacts in terms of physical, chemical, and land-use stressors) collected at 33 marsh study units (MSUs) in five National Parks within the NPS Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN) along the NE coast of the US.

Date published: July 11, 2017

Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012

Germaine, S.S., Carter, S.K., Ignizio, D.A., and Freeman, A.T., 2017, Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7BR8QDD. DOI: 10.5066/F7BR8QDD

Date published: July 6, 2017

Life history attributes data for Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) in Arizona 2013

The Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) occurs in the desert and plains grasslands of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Sonora, Mexico. This data was produced as part of the first intensive study of its life history and breeding ecology, providing baseline data and facilitating comparisons with other North American Grasshopper Sparrow...

Date published: July 6, 2017

Standardization and Application of an Index of Community Integrity for Waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay

This data set is comprised of five files related to the modification and scoring of Index of Waterbird Community Integrity (IWCI) scores for all waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay. One Excel file (A) contains a list of 100+ Chesapeake waterbird species and their species attribute and IWCI scores.

Date published: May 19, 2017

Early Estimates of Herbaceous Annual Cover in the Sagebrush Ecosystem

These data were developed to provide land managers and researchers with early-season, near-real-time predictions of spatially explicit percent cover predictions of herbaceous annual vegetation in the study area. Appropriate use of the data should be defined by the user; however, this data comes with several caveats.

Date published: April 27, 2017

North American Breeding Bird Survey Dataset 1966 - 2016, version 2016.0

The 1966-2016 North American Breeding Bird Survey dataset contains avian point count data for more than 700 North American bird taxa (species, races, and unidentified species groupings).  These data are collected annually during the breeding season, primarily June, along thousands of randomly established roadside survey routes in the United States and Canada.

Date published: March 28, 2017

Low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses in wild migratory waterfowl in a region of high poultry production, Delmarva, Maryland

This data set is comprised of four files related to the biosurveillance of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIV) in migratory waterfowl at 22 locations in the Maryland portion of the Delmarva Peninsula in fall/winter of 2013-2014. 

Date published: March 22, 2017

DATA RELEASE - Southwestern Riparian Plant Trait Matrix, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona, 2014 - 2016

This dataset contains information on the physical traits and environmental tolerances of plant species occurring along the lower Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Data for the matrix were compiled from published scientific papers, unpublished reports, plant fact sheets, existing trait databases, regional floras, and plant guides.

Date published: March 14, 2017

Quantitative Analysis Using Structural Equation Modeling

USGS scientists have been involved for a number of years in the development and use of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This methodology represents an approach to statistical modeling that focuses on the study of complex cause-effect hypotheses about the mechanisms operating in systems.

Date published: February 8, 2017

The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966 - 2015

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.

Filter Total Items: 13
Date published: April 22, 2008

Numbered Ecoregions of North America (2008)

Numbered Ecoregions of North America (2008)

Filter Total Items: 2,278
Year Published: 2018

Gene flow connects coastal populations of a habitat specialist, the Clapper Rail Rallus crepitans

Examining population genetic structure can reveal patterns of reproductive isolation or population mixing and inform conservation management. Some avian species are predicted to exhibit minimal genetic differentiation among populations as a result of the species high mobility, with habitat specialists tending to show greater fine‐scale genetic...

Coster, Stephanie S.; Welsh, Amy B.; Costanzo, Gary R.; Harding, Sergio R.; Anderson, James T.; Katzner, Todd
Coster, S.S., Welsh, A.B., Costanzo, G.R., Harding, S.R., Anderson, J.T., Katzner, T.E., 2018, Gene flow connects coastal populations of a habitat specialist, the Clapper Rail (Rallus crepitans): Ibis, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1111/ibi.12599.

Year Published: 2018

Modeling habitat for Marbled Murrelets on the Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon, using lidar data

Habitat models using lidar-derived variables that quantify fine-scale variation in vegetation structure can improve the accuracy of occupancy estimates for canopy-dwelling species over models that use variables derived from other remote sensing techniques. However, the ability of models developed at such a fine spatial scale to maintain accuracy...

Hagar, Joan C.; Aragon, Ramiro; Haggerty, Patricia; Hollenbeck, Jeff P.
Hagar, J.C., Perez, R.A., Haggerty, P., and Hollenbeck, J.P., 2018, Modeling habitat for Marbled Murrelets on the Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon, using lidar data: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1035, 21 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181035.

Year Published: 2018

Functional group, biomass, and climate change effects on ecological drought in semiarid grasslands

Water relations in plant communities are influenced both by contrasting functional groups (grasses, shrubs) and by climate change via complex effects on interception, uptake and transpiration. We modelled the effects of functional group replacement and biomass increase, both of which can be outcomes of invasion and vegetation management, and...

Wilson, Scott D.; Schlaepfer, Daniel R.; Bradford, John B.; Lauenroth, William K.; Duniway, Michael C.; Hall, Sonia A.; Jamiyansharav, Khishigbayar; Jia, Gensuo; Lkhagva, Ariuntsetseg; Munson, Seth M.; Pyke, David A.; Tietjen, Britta
Wilson, S.D., Schlaepfer, D.R., Bradford, J.B., Lauenroth, W.K., Duniway, M.C., Hall, S.A., Jamiyansharav, K., Jia, G., Lkhagva, A., Munson, S.M., Pyke, D.A., Tietjen, B., 2018, Functional group, biomass, and climate change effects on ecological drought in semiarid grasslands: Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JG004173.

Year Published: 2018

Intraspecific niche models for ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) suggest potential variability in population-level response to climate change

Unique responses to climate change can occur across intraspecific levels, resulting in individualistic adaptation or movement patterns among populations within a given species. Thus, the need to model potential responses among genetically distinct populations within a species is increasingly recognized. However, predictive models of future...

Maguire, Kaitlin C.; Shinneman, Douglas; Potter, Kevin M.; Hipkins, Valerie D.
Maguire, K.C., Shinneman, D.J., Potter, K.M., Hipkins, V.D., 2018, Intraspecific niche models for ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) suggest potential variability in population-level response to climate change: Systematic Biology, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syy017.

Year Published: 2018

Population estimates of the Endangered Hawaiʻi ʻĀkepa (Loxops coccineus) in different habitats on windward Mauna Loa

Endangered Hawai‘i ʻĀkepas (Loxops coccineus) are endemic to Hawai‘i island, where they occur in five spatially distinct populations. Data concerning the status and population trends of these unique Hawaiian honeycreepers are crucial for assessing the effectiveness of recovery and management actions. In 2016, we used point‐transect distance...

Judge, Seth W.; Camp, Richard J.; Hart, Patrick J.; Kichman, Scott T.
Judge, S. W., R. J. Camp, P. J. Hart, and S. T. Kichman. 2018. Population estimates of the Endangered Hawaiʻi ʻĀkepa (Loxops coccineus) in different habitats on windward Mauna Loa. Journal of Field Ornithology 89:11–21.

Year Published: 2018

A conservation paradox in the Great Basin—Altering sagebrush landscapes with fuel breaks to reduce habitat loss from wildfire

Interactions between fire and nonnative, annual plant species (that is, “the grass/fire cycle”) represent one of the greatest threats to sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems and associated wildlife, including the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). In 2015, U.S. Department of the Interior called for a “science-based strategy to...

Shinneman, Douglas J.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Coates, Peter S.; Germino, Matthew J.; Pilliod, David S.; Vaillant, Nicole M.
Shinneman, D.J., Aldridge, C.L., Coates, P.S., Germino, M.J., Pilliod, D.S., and Vaillant, N.M., 2018, A conservation paradox in the Great Basin—Altering sagebrush landscapes with fuel breaks to reduce habitat loss from wildfire: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1034, 70 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181034.

Year Published: 2018

Raptor interactions with wind energy: Case studies from around the world

The global potential for wind power generation is vast, and the number of installations is increasing rapidly. We review case studies from around the world of the effects on raptors of wind-energy development. Collision mortality, displacement, and habitat loss have the potential to cause population-level effects, especially for species that are...

Watson, Richard T.; Kolar, Patrick S.; Ferrer, Miguel; Nygård, Torgeir; Johnston, Naira; Hunt, W. Grainger; Smit-Robinson, Hanneline A.; Farmer, Christopher J; Huso, Manuela; Katzner, Todd
Watson, R.T., Kolar, P.S., Ferrer, M., Nygard, T., Johnston, N., Hunt, W.G., Smit-Robinson, H.A., Farmer, C., Huso, M.M., Katzner, T.E., 2018, Raptor interactions with wind energy- case studies from around the world: Journal of Raptor Research, v. 52, no. 1, p. 1-18, https://doi.org/10.3356/JRR-16-100.1.

Year Published: 2018

Biological and ecological science for Wisconsin—A Great Lakes and Rivers State

Wisconsin and natural resources go hand-in-hand. Tourism, which generates $19 billion annually and sustains about 200,000 jobs, depends on an abundance of lakes, rivers, shorelines, and woodlands for fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor recreation. Rivers and floodplains in the Upper Mississippi Basin, including the Mississippi River, are...

Attribution: Ecosystems
U.S. Geological Survey, 2018, Biological and ecological science for Wisconsin—A Great Lakes and Rivers State: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018-3004, 2. p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183004.

Year Published: 2018

Modeling intrinsic potential for beaver (Castor canadensis) habitat to inform restoration and climate change adaptation

Through their dam-building activities and subsequent water storage, beaver have the potential to restore riparian ecosystems and offset some of the predicted effects of climate change by modulating streamflow. Thus, it is not surprising that reintroducing beaver to watersheds from which they have been extirpated is an often-used restoration and...

Dittbrenner, Benjamin J.; Pollack, Michael M.; Schilling, Jason W.; Olden, Julian D.; Lawler, Joshua J.; Torgersen, Christian E.
Dittbrenner, B.J., Pollack, M.M., Schilling, J.W., Olden, J.D., Lawler, J.J., Torgersen, C.E., 2018, Modeling intrinsic potential for beaver (Castor canadensis) habitat to inform restoration and climate change adaptation: PLoS ONE, v. 13, no. 2, p. e0192538, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192538.

Year Published: 2018

Fire and grazing influence site resistance to Bromus tectorum through their effects on shrub, bunchgrass and biocrust communities in the Great Basin (USA)

Shrubs, bunchgrasses and biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are believed to contribute to site resistance to plant invasions in the presence of cattle grazing. Although fire is a concomitant disturbance with grazing, little is known regarding their combined impacts on invasion resistance. We are the first to date to test the idea that biotic...

Condon, Lea A.; Pyke, David A.
Condon, L.A., Pyke, D.A., 2018, Fire and grazing influence site resistance to Bromus tectorum through their effects on shrub, bunchgrass and biocrust communities in the Great Basin (USA): Ecosystems, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-018-0230-8.

Year Published: 2018

Golden Eagle Monitoring Plan for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

This report describes options for monitoring the status and population trends of the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) within the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) area of Southern California in maintaining stable or increasing population in the planning area. The report profiles the ecology of golden eagles in the region and...

Wiens, David; Kolar, Patrick; Katzner, Todd
Wiens, J.D., Kolar, P.S., Katzner, T.E., 2018, Golden Eagle Monitoring Plan for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan: California Energy Commission Publication number: CEC-500-2018-008, p. 99.

Year Published: 2018

An analytical framework for estimating aquatic species density from environmental DNA

Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis of water samples is on the brink of becoming a standard monitoring method for aquatic species. This method has improved detection rates over conventional survey methods and thus has demonstrated effectiveness for estimation of site occupancy and species distribution. The frontier of eDNA applications, however, is...

Chambert, Thierry; Pilliod, David S.; Goldberg, Caren S.; Doi, Hideyuki; Takahara, Teruhiko
Chambert, T., Pilliod, D.S., Goldberg, C.S., Doi, H., Takahara, T., 2018, An analytical framework for estimating aquatic species density from environmental DNA: Ecology and Evolution, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3764.

Filter Total Items: 531
Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand

This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 3
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 3

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other organisms, typically algae. The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific is a unique case where a transition from corals to corallimorphs occurred. Corallimorphs are a type of invasive anemone that...

USGS
December 31, 2017

California myotis (Myotis californicus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 
 

A desmid alga is bright red and green photographed in UV light
December 31, 2017

This single-celled alga is a natural ornament

It looks like a holiday ornament, but this lovely object is a single-celled freshwater alga from the desmid family, found in the marshes of Florida’s Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. USGS biologist Barry Rosen photographed it at 200x magnification using ultraviolent light and a fluorescence microscope. Desmids range in size from under 10 microns—approximately the width...

Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background

This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

Bats hibernating in cave
December 31, 2017

Bats hibernating in cave

Bats hibernating in a cave. 

Attribution: Ecosystems
Monarch on Joe Pyeweed plant
December 31, 2017

Monarch on Joe Pyeweed plant

Monarch butterfly on a Joe Pyeweed plant.

USGS
December 31, 2017

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) Echo Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 
 

Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand 2
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand 2

This image shows sea lampreys in their larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

Hibernating little brown bat
December 31, 2017

Hibernating little brown bat

little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) with white-nose syndrome hibernating in a Virginia cave during late spring of 2016. Patches of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome can be seen growing out of the skin (white areas) near the nose and across the folded wing skin of this bat.  Spherical drops of water condensation coat the bat's outer fur, a normal condition that...

Phragmites rhizome
December 31, 2017

Phragmites rhizome

Phragmites rhizome, or a belowground stem that puts up new shoots, dug up in a coastal marsh of Lake Erie in northern Ohio. Phragmites' belowground biomass can exceed that of its aboveground biomass. 

Monarch on hairy puccoon
December 31, 2017

Monarch on hairy puccoon

A monarch butterfly on a hairy puccoon plant.

Filter Total Items: 310
Date published: March 9, 2018

Raptor Interactions with Wind Energy: Case Studies from Around the

Attempts to measure and mitigate the effects of wind turbines on wildlife have been an integral part of wind energy development.

Date published: March 9, 2018

Fire and Grazing Influence Site Resistance to Cheatgrass Invasion

Shrubs, bunchgrasses, and biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are believed to contribute to site resistance to plant invasions. 

Date published: March 9, 2018

Modeling Potential Beaver Habitat for Restoring Riparian Ecosystems

Beaver have the potential to restore riparian ecosystems and offset potential effects of climate change by modulating streamflow through dam-building and subsequent water storage.

Date published: March 2, 2018

Greater Sage-Grouse Science (2015-2017): Synthesis and Potential Management Implications

At the request of the BLM, the USGS worked with federal and state agency partners to develop a report that synthesizes the scientific literature published since records of decision were completed for 2015 BLM/USDA Forest Service land use plan amendments for greater sage-grouse, and provides potential management implications of the science.

Date published: March 1, 2018

Waterbirds at Risk in the Chesapeake Bay

Scientists investigate the impacts of shoreline armoring

Date published: February 22, 2018

USGS and NASA Team Up to Help Scientists Study the “Social Networks” of Wildlife

In the future of wildlife tracking, sea otters have their own social network.

Date published: February 1, 2018

Polar Bears Film Their Own Sea Ice World

In June of 2014, the USGS released the first-ever polar bear point-of-view footage, offering a never-seen-before perspective from the top Arctic predator.

Date published: January 19, 2018

Scientists, volunteers rescue about 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles

Florida's second-largest turtle rescue of 21st century is “exhausting, inspiring,” USGS biologist says

Date published: January 16, 2018

New Information on Bat Fungus Improves Detection of Deadly Disease

The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease of hibernating bats, spreads rapidly by way of bats, then establishes and persists in soil and on walls of underground hibernation sites, according to a study published today.

Date published: December 13, 2017

Taking the Bait: Majority of Prairie Dogs Are Consuming Plague Vaccine

About 70 percent of wild prairie dogs successfully ingested baits containing an oral sylvatic plague vaccine, or SPV, that were distributed throughout their habitats, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: December 12, 2017

Saving Salamanders: Vital to Ecosystem Health

Amphibians—the big-eyed, swimming-crawling-jumping-climbing group of water and land animals that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and worm-like caecilians—are the world’s most endangered vertebrates.