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The Ecosystems Mission Area provides impartial science information and tools to the Nation’s natural resource managers, with particular focus on the science needs of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and DOI bureaus to manage species, lands and priority ecosystems; fulfill treaty obligations; respond to and reduce threats to natural resources; and manage mineral and energy resources.
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Establishing Explicit Biological Objectives to Guide Strategic Habitat Conservation for the Gulf Coast
To inform conservation efforts for the Gulf Coast, USGS is developing a suite of decision support tools to provide explicit population and habitat objectives.
The federally protected Atlantic Coast Piping Plover relies on habitats that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. USGS works to understand how these changes have affected nesting habitat and the reproductive success of the shorebird.
An Inventory and Comparative Study of Bees, A Keystone Ecological Group in the Endangered Coastal Prairie of Louisiana
Much of Louisiana's coastal prairie has been converted to rice and sugarcane cultivation. USGS is inventorying bee populations in these areas to explore how effective restoration efforts have been.
USGS' and Loyola University New Orleans' innovative research techniques played a role in the decision to downlist the Okaloosa Darter, a freshwater fish endemic to northwest Florida, from Endangered to Threatened.
Wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico coast play an important role in the global carbon cycle, but as they rapidly convert to open water, their potential for carbon storage is declining. USGS is working to provide accurate, long-term marsh soil carbon sequestration rates.
Wetlands are often classified by their vegetation, which can help scientists track how these landscapes change over time. USGS turns to unsupervised artificial neural networks to help guide this classification process.
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are aquatic organisms that move into ecosystems beyond their natural, historic range and cause severe and irreversible damage to the habitats they invade. Most AIS arrive as a direct result of human activity, such as boating and angling. The threat of AIS introduction is especially high in the Greater Yellowstone Area, as humans from all over the world come to...
Dongting Lake, one of the wetlands that make up the floodplains of China's Yangtze River, is important habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. However, the re-engineering of the water way and the intensification of agricultural practices has contributed to changes in hydrology and sedimentation. USGS and partners from China are assessing the potential impact of these changes to the...
Honey bee colony failure is primarily due to the infestation of mites and agricultural pesticides, including neonicotinoids. USGS researches the impacts these have on honey bee reproductive capabilities.
Neonicotinoid insecticides the fastest growing insecticide worldwide - and may play a role in the declines of terrestrial and aquatic vertebrate species.
Remote sensing helps USGS scientists detect and map surface oil in coastal environments.
With the help of remote sensing, USGS maps the progression of marsh dieback along the Louisiana coast.
Increasing virulence, but not infectivity, associated with serially emergent virus strains of a fish rhabdovirus
Surveillance and genetic typing of field isolates of a fish rhabdovirus, infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV), has identified four dominant viral genotypes that were involved in serial viral emergence and displacement events in steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in western North America. To investigate drivers of these landscape-scale...Breyta, Rachel; McKenney, Douglas; Tesfaye, Tarin; Ono, Kotaro; Kurath, Gael
Resprouting and seeding hypotheses: A test of the gap-dependent model using resprouting and obligate seeding subspecies of Arctostaphylos
Ecological factors favoring either postfire resprouting or postfire obligate seeding in plants have received considerable attention recently. Three ecological models have been proposed to explain patterns of these two life history types. In this study, we test these three models using data from California chaparral. We take an innovative approach...Keeley, Jon E.; Parker, V. Thomas; Vasey, Michael C.
Characterization of the putatively introduced red alga Acrochaetium secundatum (Acrochaetiales, Rhodophyta) growing epizoically on the pelage of southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis)
Ecological associations between epibionts (organisms that live on the surface of another living organism) and vertebrates have been documented in both marine and terrestrial environments, and may be opportunistic, commensal, or symbiotic (Lewin et al. 1981, Holmes 1985, Allen et al. 1993, Bledsoe et al. 2006, Pfaller et al. 2008, Suutari et al....Bentall, Gena B.; Rosen, Barry H.; Kunz, Jessica M.; Miller, Melissa A.; Saunders, Gary W.; LaRoche, Nicole L.
Evaluation of the hydraulic and biological performance of the portable floating fish collector at Cougar Reservoir and Dam, Oregon, 2014
The biological and hydraulic performance of a new portable floating fish collector (PFFC) located in a cul-de-sac within the forebay of Cougar Dam, Oregon, was evaluated during 2014. The purpose of the PFFC was to explore surface collection as a means to capture juvenile salmonids at one or more sites using a small, cost-effective, pilot-scale...Beeman, John W.; Evans, Scott D.; Haner, Philip V.; Hansel, Hal C.; Hansen, Amy C.; Hansen, Gabriel S.; Hatton, Tyson W.; Sprando, Jamie M.; Smith, Collin D.; Adams, Noah S.
Assessing models of speciation under different biogeographic scenarios; An empirical study using multi-locus and RNA-seq analyses
Evolutionary biology often seeks to decipher the drivers of speciation, and much debate persists over the relative importance of isolation and gene flow in the formation of new species. Genetic studies of closely related species can assess if gene flow was present during speciation, because signatures of past introgression often persist in the...Edwards, Taylor; Tollis, Marc; Hsieh, PingHsun; Gutenkunst, Ryan N.; Liu, Zhen; Kusumi, Kenro; Culver, Melanie; Murphy, Robert W.
Toward more realistic projections of soil carbon dynamics by Earth system models
Soil carbon (C) is a critical component of Earth system models (ESMs), and its diverse representations are a major source of the large spread across models in the terrestrial C sink from the third to fifth assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Improving soil C projections is of a high priority for Earth system...Luo, Y.; Ahlström, Anders; Allison, Steven D.; Batjes, Niels H.; Brovkin, V.; Carvalhais, Nuno; Chappell, Adrian; Ciais, Philippe; Davidson, Eric A.; Finzi, Adien; Georgiou, Katerina; Guenet, Bertrand; Hararuk, Oleksandra; Harden, Jennifer; He, Yujie; Hopkins, Francesca; Jiang, L.; Koven, Charles; Jackson, Robert B.; Jones, Chris D.; Lara, M.; Liang, J.; McGuire, A. David; Parton, William; Peng, Changhui; Randerson, J.; Salazar, Alejandro; Sierra, Carlos A.; Smith, Matthew J.; Tian, Hanqin; Todd-Brown, Katherine E. O; Torn, Margaret S.; van Groenigen, Kees Jan; Wang, Ying; West, Tristram O.; Wei, Yaxing; Wieder, William R.; Xia, Jianyang; Xu, Xia; Xu, Xiaofeng; Zhou, T.
2015-2016 Palila abundance estimates
The palila (Loxioides bailleui) population was surveyed annually during 1998−2016 on Mauna Kea Volcano to determine abundance, population trend, and spatial distribution. In the latest surveys, the 2015 population was estimated at 852−1,406 birds (point estimate: 1,116) and the 2016 population was estimated at 1,494−2,385 (point estimate: 1,934)....Camp, Richard J.; Brinck, Kevin W.; Banko, Paul C.
A simple prioritization tool to diagnose impairment of stream temperature for coldwater fishes in the Great Basin
We provide a simple framework for diagnosing the impairment of stream water temperature for coldwater fishes across broad spatial extents based on a weight-of-evidence approach that integrates biological criteria, species distribution models, and geostatistical models of stream temperature. As a test case, we applied our approach to identify...Falke, Jeffrey A.; Dunham, Jason B.; Hockman-Wert, David; Pahl, Randy A.
CDMetaPOP: An individual-based, eco-evolutionary model for spatially explicit simulation of landscape demogenetics
1. Combining landscape demographic and genetics models offers powerful methods for addressing questions for eco-evolutionary applications.2. Using two illustrative examples, we present Cost–Distance Meta-POPulation, a program to simulate changes in neutral and/or selection-driven genotypes through time as a function of individual-based movement,...Landguth, Erin L; Bearlin, Andrew; Day, Casey; Dunham, Jason B.
Displaced phylogeographic signals from Gyrodactylus arcuatus, a parasite of the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus, suggest freshwater glacial refugia in Europe
We examined the global mitochondrial phylogeography of Gyrodactylus arcuatus, a flatworm ectoparasite of three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus. In accordance with the suggested high divergence rate of 13%/million years, the genetic variation of the parasite was high: haplotype diversity h = 0.985 and nucleotide...Lumme, Jaakko; Mäkinen, Hannu; Ermolenko, Alexey V.; Gregg, Jacob L.; Ziętara, Marek S.
Evolution of viral virulence: empirical studies
The concept of virulence as a pathogen trait that can evolve in response to selection has led to a large body of virulence evolution theory developed in the 1980-1990s. Various aspects of this theory predict increased or decreased virulence in response to a complex array of selection pressures including mode of transmission, changes in host, mixed...Kurath, Gael; Wargo, Andrew R.
Feeding ecology of non-native Siberian prawns, Palaemon modestus (Heller, 1862) (Decapoda, Palaemonidae), in the lower Snake River, Washington, U.S.A.
We used both stomach content and stable isotope analyses to describe the feeding ecology of Siberian prawns Palaemon modestus (Heller, 1862), a non-native caridean shrimp that is a relatively recent invader of the lower Snake River. Based on identifiable prey in stomachs, the opossum shrimp Neomysis mercedis Holmes, 1896 comprised up to 34-55% (by...Tiffan, Kenneth F.; Hurst, William
Permanent Site: H1 East Transect; Depth: 5.5 Meters (Feet 18.0); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.1479177,-123.53472865; Site Description: This is a shallow site and one of the farthest removed from the effects of the sediment plume outside of the control sites. Substrate is mainly...
Permanent Site: E2 West Transect; Depth: 14.8 Meters (48.7 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.9 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15653002, -123.56197605; Site Description: This is one of our deeper sites. Substrate is mainly gravel/cobble with scattered boulders (0:25, 0:34, 0:43seconds). Seaweed is abundant,...
Permanent Site: F2 East Transect; Depth: 11.7 Meters (38.3 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.5 Kilometers (0.9 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15672004,-123.54969397; Site Description: Substrate is mainly gravel mixed with a little cobble and an occasional boulder. Red (0:50, 1:15 seconds) and brown seaweeds are very abundant,...
Permanent Site: F1 East Transect; Depth: 6.2 Meters (20.4 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.3 Kilometers (0.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15292999, -123.55011402; Site Description: Video is blurry and of poor quality. This is a shallow site with gravel substrate. Algae is abundant, especially three-ribbed kelp Cymathere...
Permanent Site: C1 East Transect; Depth: 9.6 Meters (Feet 31.4); Distance from river mouth: 0.7 Kilometers (0.4 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14525225,-123.57294101; Site Description: Substrate is clean sand with minimal gravel. Algae is absent on first third of transect. Patches of brown seaweed, mainly Alaria marginata (0:43 seconds...
Permanent Site: F1 West Transect; Depth: 6.7 Meters (22 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.3 Kilometers (0.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15292999, -123.55078602; Site Description: This is a shallow site with gravel substrate. Algae is abundant, especially three-ribbed kelp Cymathere triplicate (0:17, 0:34 seconds), Alaria...
Permanent Site: A1 East Transect; Depth: 8.2 Meters (27.0 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.8 Kilometers (1.1 Miles) West; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13870775, -123.5855312; Site Description: Transect is in eastern part of Freshwater Bay. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud with an occasional boulder. Both annual and perennial seaweeds...
Permanent Site: A1 West Transect; Depth: 8.2 Meters (27.0 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.9 Kilometers (1.2 Miles) West; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13870775, -123.586203; Site Description: Transect is in eastern part of Freshwater Bay. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud with patches of boulders. Annual and perennial seaweeds are...
Permanent Site: F2 West Transect; Depth: 11.9 Meters (38.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.5 Kilometers (0.9 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15672004,-123.55036603; Site Description: Substrate is mainly gravel mixed with a little cobble and an occasional boulder. Red (0:47 seconds) and brown seaweeds are very abundant, including...
Permanent Site: H2 East Transect; Depth: 7.9 Meters (25.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.6 Kilometers (1.6 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15008216,-123.53210661; Site Description: This site is medium to shallow depth. Substrate is mainly gravel with some sand, cobble and an occasional boulder (1:38 seconds). Seaweed is dense,...
Permanent Site: A2 East Transect; Depth: 12.5 Meters (Feet 41.1); Distance from river mouth: Kilometers 1.8 (1.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14130295, -123.58766124; Site Description: One of our deeper sites at over 40 feet. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud. Annual seaweeds are present but not abundant. The dominant species this...
Permanent Site: A2 West Transect; Depth: 13.0 Meters (Feet 42.7); Distance from river mouth: Kilometers 1.8 (1.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14130295, -123.5883331; Site Description: One of our deeper sites at over 40 feet. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud with scattered boulders. Annual species of seaweeds are present. This year...