Mission Areas


Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 548
Date published: March 14, 2018
Status: Active

Shoreline Changes and Impacts to Natural Resources in Chesapeake Bay

The Challenge: Climate change and sea level rise are expected to affect many miles of shoreline in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast in the coming years. In this scenario, federal and state agencies need to make more detailed assessments of how different watersheds and shoreline types might influence an array of ecosystem functions and components. Recently, most states...

Date published: March 13, 2018
Status: Active

A Vaccination Program to Protect Endangered Whooping Cranes from Encephalitis Virus

The Challenge: In eastern North America there is a viral disease called Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE. This virus is transmitted among native bird species by the mosquito, Culiseta melanura, but does not cause disease in these passerine species. However, the virus is capable of causing severe disease or death in horses, some game bird species, humans and whooping cranes. In the fall of...

Date published: March 13, 2018
Status: Active

Use of Structured Decision Making to Optimize Salt Marsh Management Decisions at Northeastern National Wildlife Refuges

The Challenge: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) needs tools to inform decisions regarding the management and restoration of salt marsh ecosystems on northeastern National Wildlife Refuges. Previously, we developed a structured decision making (SDM) framework for optimizing refuge management decisions. This SDM framework served as the foundation for FWS to implement a consistent...

Date published: March 13, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Influenza Surveillance in Waterfowl in the Atlantic Flyway

The Challenge: In December of 2014, a novel strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) caused an outbreak in poultry on the West coast of the United States. From there, the virus progressed steadily eastward, causing $3.3 billion in economic losses in addition to 50 million chickens or turkeys dying or being depopulated. While the primary mode of spread appears to be via the poultry...

Date published: March 13, 2018
Status: Active

Research and Management of Informal (Visitor-Created) Trails in Protected Areas

The Challenge: The proliferation and degradation of visitor-created “informal” trails in protected areas can be a vexing management issue for land managers. Formal trail systems never provide access to all locations required by visitors seeking to engage in a variety of appropriate recreational activities. Traveling off-trail may be necessary to engage in activities such as nature study,...

Contacts: Jeff Marion, Ph.D., Dr. Jeremy Wimpey, Dr. Chris Carr, Dr. Yu-Fai Leung
Date published: March 12, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Salt Marsh Management Along the Atlantic

The Challenge: A number of coastal states have been altering marshes for mosquito control since the early 1900s, but for the past four decades, changes have been made in the methods used to alter high-marsh environments. However, in most states, research and monitoring activities are still needed to inform the management methods employed. Although modern Open Marsh Water Management (OMWM)...

Date published: March 12, 2018
Status: Active

Pathogens in the Aquatic Environment – Waterfowl, Avian Influenza

The Challenge: Changes in aquatic ecosystems related to climate change phenomena or other anthropogenically based environmental stressors have significant impact on the dynamics of the host-pathogen-environment relationship, often with surprising results. Therefore, biosurveillance of the aquatic environment for pathogens of significance to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as to...

Date published: March 9, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Wild Bird Avian Influenza Program – Studies from Endemic Regions of Eurasia

The Challenge: Following outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Eurasia, many researchers have attempted to determine how this virus spreads across the landscape. Unfortunately, prior to this work, most studies on HPAI movements were based on virology data alone, and no information on host ecology. Beginning in 2007, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) and Western...

Date published: March 8, 2018
Status: Active

Tracking Domestic Ducks through the Market Chain in China via Telemetry

The Challenge: Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAI) of certain subtypes primarily infect poultry, causing disease outbreaks and negative socio-economic impacts on poultry farming depending on the characteristics of biosecurity and the virus strain. HPAI viruses seem to be adapted to artificial ecosystems including poultry farming, free-ranging duck production, and live bird markets...

Date published: March 7, 2018
Status: Active

An Eco-immunological Study of Chesapeake Bay Waterfowl

The Challenge: The health of the abundant waterfowl species of Chesapeake Bay has become a major concern due to the spread of Avian Influenza (AI) across North America and the role of waterfowl as a vector of AI. For decades, the health of the Bay’s waterfowl has been affected by the degradation of water quality and food supply due to industrial contaminants,agricultural run-off, pollution...

Date published: March 6, 2018
Status: Active

Alpine Wildlife and Snowpack Dynamics in the North Cascades

Mountain ecosystems are expected to change with continued reductions in annual snowpack that have been observed worldwide over the past half-century. Recent snow droughts in North America have been attributed to unusually warm temperatures that cause winter precipitation to fall as rain, rather than snow. Many species of alpine wildlife depend on snowpack for insulation from extreme cold and...

Date published: March 5, 2018
Status: Active

Disturbances and Stressors

Conservation and restoration of the sagebrush ecosystem is a major challenge. There are numerous threats to the ecosystem including increasing risk of wildfire, invasion by exotic annual grasses, expansion of conifer trees, development for agricultural use and energy extraction, and many other natural and human caused disturbances. Restoration of sagebrush habitat following a disturbance is...

Contacts: Steve Hanser
Filter Total Items: 68
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


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
Date published: March 4, 2016

Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)

Find the scientific names of species by their popular names or vice-versa.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Filter Total Items: 2,277
Year Published: 2017

Vegetation response of a dry shrubland community to feral goat management on the island of Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i

The Hawaiian Islands are well known for their unique ecosystem assemblages that have a high proportion of endemic flora and fauna. However, since human colonization of this archipelago—starting with the arrival of Polynesian sailors approximately 1,200 years ago, and particularly following western contact in 1778—thousands of non-native species...

Jacobi, James D.; Stock, Jonathan
Jacobi, J.D., and Stock, J., 2017, Vegetation response of a dry shrubland community to feral goat management on the island of Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5136, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175136.

Year Published: 2017

A statistical method to predict flow permanence in dryland streams from time series of stream temperature

Intermittent and ephemeral streams represent more than half of the length of the global river network. Dryland freshwater ecosystems are especially vulnerable to changes in human-related water uses as well as shifts in terrestrial climates. Yet, the description and quantification of patterns of flow permanence in these systems is challenging...

Arismendi, Ivan; Dunham, Jason B.; Heck, Michael; Schultz, Luke; Hockman-Wert, David
Arismendi, I., Dunham, J.B., Heck, M.P., Schultz, L.D., Hockman-Wert, D.P., 2017, A statistical method to predict flow permanence in dryland streams from time series of stream temperature: Water, v. 9, no. 12, p. 946, https://doi.org/10.3390/w9120946.

Year Published: 2017

How many Laysan Teal Anas laysanensis are on Midway Atoll? Methods for monitoring abundance after reintroduction

Wildlife managers often request a simple approach to monitor the status of species of concern. In response to that need, we used eight years of monitoring data to estimate population size and test the validity of an index for monitoring accurately the abundance of reintroduced, endangered Laysan Teal Anas laysanensis. The population was...

Reynolds, Michelle H.; Courtot, Karen; Hatfield, Jeffrey
Reynolds, M. H., K. N. Courtot, and J. S. Hatfield. 2017. How many Laysan teal Anas laysanensis are on Midway Atoll? Methods for monitoring abundance after reintroduction. Wildfowl 67:60–71. Available: https://wildfowl.wwt.org.uk/index.php/wildfowl/article/view/2664/1781

Year Published: 2017

Interactions among invasive plants: Lessons from Hawai‘i

Most ecosystems have multiple-plant invaders rather than single-plant invaders, yet ecological studies and management actions focus largely on single invader species. There is a need for general principles regarding invader interactions across varying environmental conditions, so that secondary invasions can be anticipated and managers can...

D'Antonio, Carla M.; Ostertag, Rebecca; Cordell, Susan; Yelenik, Stephanie G.
D’Antonio, C. M., R. Ostertag, S. Cordell, and S. Yelenik. 2017. Interactions among invasive plants: lessons from Hawai‘i. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 48:521–541. Available: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110316-022620

Year Published: 2017

Feral goats and sheep

No abstract available.

Pitt, William C.; Beasley, James; Witmer, Gary W.; Hess, Steve; Van Vuren, Dirk H.; Witmer, Gary W.
Hess, S. C., D. H. Van Vuren, and G. W. Witmer. 2017. Feral goats and sheep. Pages 287–307 in W. C. Pitt, J. Beasley, and G. W. Witmer, editors. Ecology and Management of Terrestrial Vertebrate Invasive Species in the United States. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Year Published: 2017

Monitoring Hawaiian biodiversity: Pilot study to assess changes to forest birds and their habitat

Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the variety and abundance of species in a defined area, and is one of the oldest and most basic descriptions of biological communities. Understanding how populations and communities are structured and change over space and time in response to internal and external forces is a management priority. Effective...

Gorresen, P. Marcos; Camp, Richard J.; Gaudioso, Jacqueline; Brinck, Kevin W.; Berkowitz, Paul; Jacobi, James D.

Year Published: 2017

No evidence of critical slowing down in two endangered Hawaiian honeycreepers

There is debate about the current population trends and predicted short-term fates of the endangered forest birds, Hawai`i Creeper (Loxops mana) and Hawai`i `Ākepa (L. coccineus). Using long-term population size estimates, some studies report forest bird populations as stable or increasing, while other studies report signs of population...

Rozek, Jessica C.; Camp, Richard J.; Reed, J. Michael
Rozek, J. C., R. J. Camp, and J. M. Reed. 2017. No evidence of critical slowing down in two endangered Hawaiian honeycreepers. PLOS ONE 12:e0187518. Available: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0187518

Year Published: 2017

Assessing the potential of translocating vulnerable forest birds by searching for novel and enduring climatic ranges

Hawaiian forest birds are imperiled, with fewer than half the original >40 species remaining extant. Recent studies document ongoing rapid population decline and pro- ject complete climate-based range losses for the critically endangered Kaua’i endemics ‘akeke’e (Loxops caeruleirostris) and ‘akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi) by end-of-century due to...

Fortini, Lucas B.; Kaiser, Lauren R.; Vorsino, Adam E.; Paxton, Eben H.; Jacobi, James D.
Fortini, L. B., L. R. Kaiser, A. E. Vorsino, E. H. Paxton, and J. D. Jacobi. 2017. Assessing the potential of translocating vulnerable forest birds by searching for novel and enduring climatic ranges. Ecology and Evolution 7:9119–9130. Available: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.3451/full

Year Published: 2017

Summer and winter space use and home range characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in eastern North America

Movement behavior and its relationship to habitat provide critical information toward understanding the effects of changing environments on birds. The eastern North American population of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) is a genetically distinct and small population of conservation concern. To evaluate the potential responses of this population...

Miller, Tricia A.; Brooks, Robert P.; Lanzone, Michael J.; Cooper, Jeff; O'Malley, Kieran; Brandes, David; Duerr, Adam E.; Katzner, Todd
Miller, T.A., Brooks, R.P., Lanzone, M.J., Cooper, J., O'Malley, K., Brandes, D., Duerr, A.E., Katzner, T.E., 2017, Summer and winter space use and home range characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in eastern North America: The Condor, v. 119, no. 4, p. 697-719, https://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-16-154.1.

Year Published: 2017

Patterns of spatial distribution of golden eagles across North America: How do they fit into existing landscape-scale mapping systems?

Conserving wide-ranging animals requires knowledge about their year-round movements and resource use. Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) exhibit a wide range of movement patterns across North America. We combined tracking data from 571 Golden Eagles from multiple independent satellite-telemetry projects from North America to provide a comprehensive...

Brown, Jessi L.; Bedrosian, Bryan; Bell, Douglas A.; Braham, Melissa A.; Cooper, Jeff; Crandall, Ross H.; DiDonato, Joe; Domenech, Robert; Duerr, Adam E.; Katzner, Todd; Lanzone, Michael J.; LaPlante, David W.; McIntyre, Carol L.; Miller, Tricia A.; Murphy, Robert K.; Shreading, Adam; Slater, Steven J.; Smith, Jeff P.; Smith, Brian W.; Watson, James W.; Woodbridge, Brian
Brown, J.L., Bedrosian, B., Bell, D.A., Braham, M.A., Cooper, J., Crandall, R.H., DiDonato, J., Domenech, R., Duerr, A.E., Katzner, T.E., Lanzone, M.J., LaPlante, D.W., McIntyre, C.L., Miller, T.A., Murphy, R.K., Shreading, A., Slater, S., Smith, J.P., Smith, B.W., Watson, J.W., Woodbridge, B., 2017, Patterns of spatial distribution of golden eagles across North America- how do they fit into existing landscape-scale mapping systems?: Journal of Raptor Research, v. 51, no. 3, p. 197-215, https://doi.org/10.3356/JRR-16-72.1.

Year Published: 2017

Methodological considerations of terrestrial laser scanning for vegetation monitoring in the sagebrush steppe

Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) provides fast collection of high-definition structural information, making it a valuable field instrument to many monitoring applications. A weakness of TLS collections, especially in vegetation, is the occurrence of unsampled regions in point clouds where the sensor’s line-of-sight is blocked by intervening...

Anderson, Kyle E.; Glenn, Nancy; Spaete, Lucas; Shinneman, Douglas; Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert; McIlroy, Susan; Derryberry, DeWayne R.
Anderson, K.E., Glenn, N., Spaete, L.P., Shinneman, D.J., Pilliod, D.S., Arkle, R.S., McIlroy, S.K., Derryberry, D.R., 2017, Methodological considerations of terrestrial laser scanning for vegetation monitoring in the sagebrush steppe: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, v. 189, p. 578, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-017-6300-0.

Year Published: 2017

Methodological considerations regarding online extraction of water from soils for stable isotope determination

No abstract available.

Lazarus, Brynne E.; Germino, Matthew
Lazarus BE, Germino MJ. Methodological considerations regarding online extraction of water from soils for stable isotope determination. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2017;31:1677-1680.

Filter Total Items: 531
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 the image. The bright...

Man measuring a little red bird.
August 31, 2017

Iiwi banding 2

Measuring the wing length of a banded Iiwi

Man holding red bird.
August 31, 2017

Iiwi with transmitter

Iiwi with small radio transmitter attached to help track the bird's movement through the forest

American pika in the Northern Cascades. American pikas occupy talus slopes in mountain ecosystems throughout western NA.
August 8, 2017

American pika in the Northern Cascades.

American pika in the Northern Cascades. American pikas occupy talus slopes in mountain ecosystems throughout western North America.

WERC researcher conducting elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge
July 31, 2017

WERC Elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay NWR

WERC researcher conducting elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

WERC Coastal ecosystem
July 31, 2017

WERC Coastal Ecosystem Studies

Coastal ecosystem studies at Trinidad coast, California. 

chart of vegetation change in the bird's foot delta
July 31, 2017

Changing vegetation in the Delta 2016-2017

Chart showing changes in vegetation density in the Mississippi River delta in Louisiana, May 2015-May 2016. From a USGS Open File Report published in July 2017 by co-authors Elijah Ramsey III and Amina Rangoonwala,

July 31, 2017

A Current Immersion

Curt Storlazzi of the USGS explains how the water cycle pulled him into oceanography, and how his personal interests parallel his profession.

Mallard Duckling
July 26, 2017

Mallard Duckling from Suisun Marsh

This mallard duckling was captured in Suisun Marsh. USGS scientists are weighing, measuring and banding waterfowl to understand how they are using the marsh and for capture-recapture data. 

Retrieving waterfowl
July 24, 2017

Retrieving Waterfowl from a Trap in Suisun Marsh

Two WERC technicians walk back from a placed trap with hands full. 

Metolius River running through the Deschutes National Forest in Camp Sherman, Oregon
July 20, 2017

Metolius River, Smiling River Campground, Deschutes National Forest

Metolius River, Smiling River Campground, Deschutes National Forest

Photo of seeding experiment to improve restoration outcomes in the Southwest.
July 17, 2017

Seeding experiment to improve restoration outcomes in the Southwest.

USGS ecologists Molly McCormick (left) and Katie Laushman (right) conducting a seeding experiment that is a part of RAMPS, a new USGS-led initiative to improve restoration outcomes in the Southwest. Seedings such as these are...

Filter Total Items: 309
Date published: June 26, 2017

Reptile Skin Grown in Lab for First Time, Helps Study Endangered Turtle Disease

Scientists recently reconstructed the skin of endangered green turtles, marking the first time that skin of a non-mammal was successfully engineered in a laboratory, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study. In turn, the scientists were able to grow a tumor-associated virus to better understand certain tumor diseases.

Date published: June 26, 2017

Lake Harvests are Likely More Fruitful than We Knew

Harvests from freshwater fisheries such as the Great Lakes could total more than 12 million tons a year globally and contribute more to global food supplies and economies than previous estimates indicate, according to a study published today by Michigan State University and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: June 22, 2017

Oral Plague Vaccine Helps Reduce Outbreaks in Prairie Dog Colonies

Prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to succumb to plague after they ingest peanut-butter-flavored bait that contains a vaccine against the disease, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today in the journal EcoHealth.  

Date published: June 22, 2017

Lessons from a Tsunami Could Help Protect Seabirds in the Face of Rising Seas

Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning

Date published: June 19, 2017

Snake Fungal Disease Identified in Wild British Snakes for First Time

Europe’s wild snakes could face a growing threat from a fungal skin disease that has contributed to wild snake deaths in North America, according to an international collaborative study, led by conservation charity Zoological Society of London alongside partners including the U.S. Geological Survey. The new study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Date published: June 15, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, May 2017 | Issue 5.5

Exploring the Role of Non-Native American Shad in the Columbia River Basin

Date published: June 6, 2017

Scientists Discover New Species of Fijian Iguana

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, The National Trust of Fiji and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti have discovered a new species of banded iguana.

Date published: June 6, 2017

Increased Sea Ice Drift Puts Polar Bears on Faster Moving Treadmill

A new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wyoming found that increased westward ice drift in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas requires polar bears to expend more energy walking eastward on a faster moving “treadmill” of sea ice.  

Date published: June 6, 2017

USGS Bridging Generations with WWII Technology

On June 6, 1944, thousands of men rained down from the skies onto the battlegrounds of Normandy. After five grueling years of war that shook the globe, D-Day’s victory swept the Allied nations into a wave of celebration.

Date published: June 5, 2017

New USGS Science Plan Designed to Help Plan for Drought Effects on People, Communities, and Ecosystems

The U. S. Geological Survey is poised to bring a dynamic array of science and tools to help decision-makers manage and offset effects of increased drought across the United States, according to a drought plan report released today.

Date published: June 1, 2017

Alabama Survey Finds First Southeastern Bat with White-Nose Syndrome

Biologists have confirmed white-nose syndrome in the southeastern bat, or Myotis austroriparius, for the first time. The species joins eight other hibernating bat species in North America that are afflicted with the deadly bat fungal disease.

Date published: May 31, 2017

USGS Finds 28 Types of Cyanobacteria in Florida Algal Bloom

A new U.S. Geological Survey study that looked at the extensive harmful algal bloom that plagued Florida last year found far more types of cyanobacteria present than previously known.