Can We Make Wind Power Compatible with Wildlife?
This story is a case study on wind energy and bats in Hawaii that communicates the impact and value of USGS science to people and the environment.See the story
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The long-term viability of monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterfly populations in North America is in doubt.
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.
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.
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...
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.
The spread of invasive aquatic vegetation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is having a profound impact on the Delta’s natural habitat. The presence of these “aquatic weeds” has been shown to alter water velocity and increase water clarity, posing threats to native fish species, specifically the threatened Delta Smelt. These aquatic plants can also affect the foodweb by altering nutrient,...
The Challenge: Lyme disease, which is caused by a tick-transmitted spirochete, is the most common vector-borne disease in North America, with about 300,000 cases each year. Most cases occur in the northeastern and north central U.S., with relatively few in the south, even though the vector tick is present in all of these regions. The purpose of this research is to elucidate the ecological...
The Challenge: Management of bottomland forests using wildlife forestry silviculture is being undertaken to achieve desired forest conditions for priority silvicolous wildlife, such as Louisiana black bear, migratory birds, and resident game species. Wildlife forestry management results in forests that have more open canopies and increased understory vegetation yet exhibit heterogeneous...
The Challenge: Disease in amphibian populations can have a range of effects, from devastating declines following introduction of a novel pathogen to recurring breakout events on a landscape. Elucidating mechanisms underlying the effects of diseases on amphibian populations is crucial to help managers make appropriate decisions to achieve management goals for amphibians.
The Challenge: Disease risk modeling can be an important tool for identifying areas of high transmission risk within and between animal populations, allowing for strategic allocation of limited resources for disease surveillance and prevention. Acquiring a spatial understanding of the distributions of high risk populations is a critical first step in developing predictive disease transmission...
Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI): Understanding Amphibian Populations in the Northeastern United States
Currently, 90 amphibian species are recognized in the Northeast, including 59 species in the Order Caudata (salamanders) and 31 species in the Order Anura (frogs and toads). Almost half of the amphibians in the Northeast are salamanders within the family Plethodontidae. Amphibians are found in all physiographic regions of the Northeast, from sea level to the heights of the Appalachian,...
The Challenge: A synthesis of the role of disturbance, in all of its manifestations, on the establishment and development of the American Holly forest is required to guide future conservation measures. Because many forest fragments have already endured >30 years of chronic deer herbivory, a legitimate question of how much more impact by deer can be tolerated and still conserve the essential...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The central organizing framework for documentation, inventory, monitoring, and study of vegetation in the United States from broad scale formations like forests to fine-scale plant communities. The Classification allows users to produce uniform statistics about vegetation resources across the nation at local, regional, or national levels.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Long-term trends in restoration and associated land treatments in the southwestern United States
Restoration treatments, such as revegetation with seeding or invasive species removal, have been applied on U.S. public lands for decades. Temporal trends in these management actions have not been extensively summarized previously, particularly in the southwestern United States where invasive plant species, drought, and fire have altered dryland...Copeland, Stella M.; Munson, Seth M.; Pilliod, David S.; Welty, Justin L.; Bradford, John B.; Butterfield, Bradley J.
Spectrophotometry of Artemisia tridentata to quantitatively determine subspecies
Ecological restoration is predicated on our abilities to discern plant taxa. Taxonomic identification is a first step in ensuring that plants are appropriately adapted to the site. An example of the need to identify taxonomic differences comes from big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). This species is composed of three predominant subspecies...Richardson, Bryce; Boyd, Alicia; Tobiasson, Tanner; Germino, Matthew
Weather-centric rangeland revegetation planning
Invasive annual weeds negatively impact ecosystem services and pose a major conservation threat on semiarid rangelands throughout the western United States. Rehabilitation of these rangelands is challenging due to interannual climate and subseasonal weather variability that impacts seed germination, seedling survival and establishment, annual weed...Hardegree, Stuart P.; Abatzoglou, John T.; Brunson, Mark W.; Germino, Matthew; Hegewisch, Katherine C.; Moffet, Corey A.; Pilliod, David S.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Boehm, Alex R.; Meredith, Gwendwr R.
Seed origin and warming constrain lodgepole pine recruitment, slowing the pace of population range shifts
Understanding how climate warming will affect the demographic rates of different ecotypes is critical to predicting shifts in species distributions. Here we present results from a common garden, climate change experiment in which we measured seedling recruitment of lodgepole pine, a widespread North American conifer that is also planted globally....Conlisk, Erin; Castanha, Cristina; Germino, Matthew; Veblen, Thomas T.; Smith, Jeremy M.; Moyes, Andrew B.; Kueppers, Lara M.
Growth strategies and threshold responses to water deficit modulate effects of warming on tree seedlings from forest to alpine
1.Predictions of upslope range shifts for tree species with warming are based on assumptions of moisture stress at lower elevation limits and low temperature stress at high elevation limits. However, recent studies have shown that warming can reduce tree seedling establishment across the entire gradient from subalpine forest to alpine via moisture...Lazarus, Brynne E.; Castanha, Cristina; Germino, Matthew; Kueppers, Lara M.; Moyes, Andrew B.
Bioenergetic evaluation of diel vertical migration by bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in a thermally stratified reservoir
Many species living in deeper lentic ecosystems exhibit daily movements that cycle through the water column, generally referred to as diel vertical migration (DVM). In this study, we applied bioenergetics modelling to evaluate growth as a hypothesis to explain DVM by bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in a thermally stratified reservoir (Ross...Eckmann, Madeleine; Dunham, Jason B.; Connor, Edward J.; Welch, Carmen A.
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.
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...
Image from a remote camera placed in a golden eagle nest in the Mojave Desert. The parent is feed the chick a snake.
This image shows sea lamprey 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.
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...
- 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 ...
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.
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...
Out with the old, in with the new! A state-of-the-art aquatic science laboratory is being built on the shores of Lake Huron at the USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station (HBBS), one of seven field stations of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center, operated in partnership with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. To make way for the new laboratory, four old buildings on the HBBS property needed to be...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In Memoriam - Dr. William "Dave" Woodson, 1956-2017
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.
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.
Lack of Major Hurricanes Since 2008 Is Likely the Main Reason
Forest birds on the island of Hawaii are responding positively to being restored in one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, according to a new study released July 10 in the journal Restoration Ecology.
From the journals of Lewis & Clark, April 13, 1805 (in the vicinity of Pouch Point Recreation Area - 16 miles south of New Town, North Dakota):
Hot new imagery from temperature-sensing cameras suggests that bats who warm up from hibernation together throughout the winter may be better at surviving white nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus ravaging insect-eating bat populations in the United States and Canada.