Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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Filter Total Items: 594
Date published: May 20, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Reptiles

Invasive species have negatively impacted many ecosystems. Invasive reptiles are an increasing problem across the United States. Tracking the establishment and spread of existing and new invasive species is critical to effectively manage invasive species. USGS scientists are developing new tools, particularly molecular techniques, to assist in the early detection of, and rapid response to, ...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 17, 2018
Status: Active

Asian Carp

The negative effects of invasive Asian carp to the Nation’s waterways are far reaching and have potential to expand and intensify. USGS is delivering data, tools and technologies to partners to keep these invasive fish out of the Great Lakes and other aquatic ecosystems and control them where they occur in the Ohio River and Mississippi River Basins.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Land Treatment Planning Tool

The Land Treatment Planning Tool provides a practical resource for managers who are planning restoration and rehabilitation actions on public lands. The tool generates a variety of spatial products while being user friendly for all levels of GIS expertise, even to those with little or no experience.

Date published: May 10, 2018
Status: Active

Joint Ecosystem Modeling: Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Marl Prairie Indicator

Marl prairie is the most diverse freshwater vegetation community in the Greater Everglades and provides the only suitable habitat for the federally endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow (CSSS; Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis).

Date published: May 7, 2018
Status: Active

Sea turtle nesting on Eglin Air Force Base property, Cape San Blas, Florida

The Northwestern Atlantic population of loggerhead sea turtles is one of the largest in the world. Genetic studies have divided this population into 5 management units including a genetically distinct group that nests throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM).

Date published: May 2, 2018
Status: Active

Remote Sensing

USGS is using remote sensing of Fisheries and Aquatic Communities to monitor and assess fish populations and aquatic communities.

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 work with partners to assess 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.

Filter Total Items: 69
Date published: March 4, 2016

National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS)

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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

Nature’s Notebook: A national-scale, multi-taxa phenology observation program

Nature’s Notebook is an online phenological monitoring program that currently supports data collection, storage and use for almost 250 animal species (including fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals) and 650 plant species (including trees, shrubs, forbs, grasses and cacti). Available to anyone from scientists to nature enthusiast.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

Long Term Resource Monitoring

This web resource provides decision makers with the information needed to maintain the Upper Mississippi River System as a viable multiple-use large river ecosystem.

Date published: March 4, 2016

The Spring Indices (SI)

The Spring Indices are a suite of models developed to simulate the timing of the onset of spring in native and cultivated plants, as well as other physical and ecological processes, that are primarily sensitive to temperature. The SI can be calculated for any weather station that collects daily minimum and maximum temperatures.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

The National Phenology Database

The database houses contemporary and historical data on organismal phenology across the nation. These data are being used in a number of applications for science, conservation and resource management. Customizable data downloads using specific dates, regions, species and phenophases, are freely available.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) Trend Data

The ARMI database provides occupancy and abundance estimates at the project level. Data can be accessed in tabular format or plotted directly via an interactive map browser. The trend data is updated annually and is useful for tracking the status of some of our nation’s amphibian populations.

Date published: March 4, 2016

SAGEMAP

A GIS Database for Sage-grouse and Shrubsteppe Management in the Intermountain West.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Raptor Information System (RIS)

Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC, Corvallis) — The Raptor Information System (RIS) is a computerized literature retrieval system that focuses on raptor management, human impacts on raptors, the mitigation of adverse impacts, and basic raptor biology (with an emphasis on population dynamics and predation).

Date published: March 4, 2016

North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)

Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a project monitored by the USGS and the Canadian Wildlife Service on the status and trends of North American bird populations. The data can be used to estimate population trends and relative abundances at various scales.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Across Trophic Level System Simulation for the Freshwater Wetlands of the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp

Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS) is a project to develop a set of models for the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp of South Florida. The models will support studies "to compare the future effects of alternative hydrologic scenarios on the biotic components of the system."

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

North American Bird Monitoring Projects Database - Other (Bird Studies Canada)

The North American Bird Monitoring Projects Database site is dedicated to bird monitoring in North America. It provides easy access to descriptions of all major bird monitoring projects in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

North American Bird Phenology Program — BPP Data Viewer

The North American Bird Phenology Program was a network of volunteer observers who recorded information on first arrival dates, maximum abundance, and departure dates of migratory birds across North America. Active between 1880 and 1970, the program exists now as a historic collection of six million migration card observations.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Filter Total Items: 2,311
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.

Year Published: 2018

A simplified field protocol for genetic sampling of birds using buccal swabs

DNA sampling is an essential prerequisite for conducting population genetic studies. For many years, blood sampling has been the preferred method for obtaining DNA in birds because of their nucleated red blood cells. Nonetheless, use of buccal swabs has been gaining favor because they are less invasive yet still yield adequate amounts of DNA for...

Vilstrup, Julia T.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Miller, Mark P.; McDearman, Will; Walters, Jeffrey R.; Haig, Susan M.
Vilstrup, J.T., Mullins, T.D., Miller, M.P., McDearman, W., Walters, J.R., Haig, S.M., 2018, An simplified field protocol for genetic sampling of birds using buccal swabs: The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1676/16-105.1.

Year Published: 2018

Assessment of distribution and abundance estimates for Mariana swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) via examination of survey methods

We described past and present distribution and abundance data to evaluate the status of the endangered Mariana Swiftlet (Aerodramus bartschi), a little-known echolocating cave swiftlet that currently inhabits 3 of 5 formerly occupied islands in the Mariana archipelago. We then evaluated the survey methods used to attain these estimates via...

Johnson, Nathan C.; Haig, Susan M.; Mosher, Stephen M.
Johnson, N.C., Haig, S.M., Mosher, S.M., 2018, Assessment of distribution and abundance estimates for Mariana swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) via examination of survey methods: The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1676/16-106.1.

Year Published: 2018

Effect of cattle exclosures on Columbia Spotted Frog abundance

Livestock grazing is an important land use in the western USA and can have positive or negative effects on amphibians. Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) often use ponds that provide water for cattle. We conducted a long-term manipulative study on US Forest Service land in northeastern Oregon to determine the effects of full and partial...

Adams, Michael J.; Pearl, Christopher; Chambert, Thierry; Mccreary, Brome; Galvan, Stephanie; Rowe, Jennifer
Adams, M.J., Pearl, C.A., Chambert, T., McCreary, B., Galvan, S.K., Rowe, J.C., 2018, Effect of cattle exclosures on Columbia spotted frog abundance: Wetlands Ecology and Management, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-018-9596-9.

Year Published: 2018

Improving estimation of flight altitude in wildlife telemetry studies

Altitude measurements from wildlife tracking devices, combined with elevation data, are commonly used to estimate the flight altitude of volant animals. However, these data often include measurement error. Understanding this error may improve estimation of flight altitude and benefit applied ecology.There are a number of different approaches that...

Poessel, Sharon; Duerr, Adam E.; Hall, Jonathan C.; Braham, Melissa A.; Katzner, Todd
Poessel, S.A., Duerr, A.E., Hall, J.C., Braham, M.A., Katzner, T.E., 2018, Improving estimation of flight altitude in wildlife telemetry studies: Journal of Applied Ecology, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13135.

Year Published: 2018

Greater sage-grouse science (2015–17)—Synthesis and potential management implications

Executive SummaryThe greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter called “sage-grouse”), a species that requires sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), has experienced range-wide declines in its distribution and abundance. These declines have prompted substantial research and management investments to improve the understanding of sage-grouse and...

Hanser, Steven E.; Deibert, Patricia A.; Tull, John C.; Carr, Natasha B.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Bargsten, Travis D.; Christiansen, Thomas J.; Coates, Peter S.; Crist, Michele R.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Ellsworth, Ethan A.; Foster, Lee J.; Herren, Vicki A.; Miller, Kevin H.; Moser, Ann; Naeve, Robin M.; Prentice, Karen L.; Remington, Thomas E.; Ricca, Mark A.; Shinneman, Douglas J.; Truex, Richard L.; Wiechman , Lief A. ; Wilson, Dereck C.; Bowen, Zachary H.
Attribution: Ecosystems
Hanser, S.E., Deibert, P.A., Tull, J.C., Carr, N.B., Aldridge, C.L., Bargsten, T.C., Christiansen, T.J., Coates, P.S., Crist, M.R., Doherty, K.E., Ellsworth, E.A., Foster, L.J., Herren, V.A., Miller, K.H., Moser, Ann, Naeve, R.M., Prentice, K.L., Remington, T.E., Ricca, M.A., Shinneman, D.J., Truex, R.L., Wiechman, L.A., Wilson, D.C., and Bowen, Z.H., 2018, Greater sage-grouse science (2015–17)—Synthesis and potential management implications: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1017, 46 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181017.

Year Published: 2018

Concentrations of environmental DNA (eDNA) reflect spawning salmon abundance at fine spatial and temporal scales

Developing fast, cost-effective assessments of wild animal abundance is an important goal for many researchers, and environmental DNA (eDNA) holds much promise for this purpose. However, the quantitative relationship between species abundance and the amount of DNA present in the environment is likely to vary substantially among taxa and with...

Tillotson, Michael D.; Kelly, Ryan P.; Duda, Jeff; Hoy, Marshal S.; Kralj, James; Quinn, Thomas P.
Tillotson, M.D., R.P. Kelly, J.J. Duda, M. Hoy, J. Kralj, and T.P. Quinn. 2018. Concentrations of environmental DNA (eDNA) reflect spawning salmon abundance at fine spatial and temporal scales. Biol. Conserv. 220:1-11.

Year Published: 2018

Mercury concentrations in multiple tissues of Kittlitz's murrelets (Brachyramphus brevirostris)

Mercury (Hg) is a non-essential, toxic metal that is distributed worldwide. Mercury biomagnifies in food webs and can threaten the health of top predators such as seabirds. The Kittlitz's murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) is a seabird endemic to Alaska and the Russian Far East and is a species of conservation concern in the region. We...

Kenney, Leah A.; Kaler, Robb S.; Kissling, Michelle L.; Bond, Alexander L.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.
Kenney, L.A., Kaler, R.S., Kissling, M.L., Bond, A.L., Eagles-Smith, C.A., 2017, Mercury concentrations in multiple tissues of Kittlitz's murrelets (Brachyramphus brevirostris): Marine Pollution Bulletin, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.10.055.

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.

Filter Total Items: 545
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)

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
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,

...
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
...
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

...
October 31, 2017

USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station Building Demo Time Lapse Video

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

...
R/V Arcticus at Sturgeon Bay
September 21, 2017

R/V Arcticus at Sturgeon Bay

Fog surrounds the USGS Research Vessel Arcticus as it comes into port at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Hoary marmots can be seen near large boulders in alpine meadows from Washington to Alaska.
September 13, 2017

Hoary marmots

Hoary marmots can be seen near large boulders in alpine meadows from Washington to Alaska. 

Photomicrograph of a green desmid alga resembling a holiday ornament
August 31, 2017

A natural marvel in a single cell

This single-celled freshwater algae wasa collected as part of the first-ever study of the green algae family called desmids in Florida’s Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, in the northern Everglades. USGS biologist Barry H. Rosen, an expert on freshwater algae who leads the study, used a technique called differential interference microscopy to highlight the relief of

...
Man measuring a little red bird.
August 31, 2017

Iiwi banding 2

Measuring the wing length of a banded Iiwi

Filter Total Items: 332
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 25, 2017

Story from the Field: Ducks of Suisun Marsh

Suisun Marsh in summer is typically heavy with fog, mosquitoes, and biting flies, but the sun casts sharp light across the water, beating back the usual unpleasantness as WERC volunteer Brock Riggs wades toward a study site on an early July morning. 

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

Date published: July 10, 2017

Hawaiian Birds Rapidly Colonize Young Restoration Forest

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.

Date published: July 5, 2017

Return of the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

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):