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The Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) is an integrated scientific program established in 1920 supporting the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America. This information is used to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations. Because birds are good indicators of the health of the environment, the...
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.
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.
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.
Climate change is an additional stressor in a complex suite of threats facing freshwater ecosystems. Climate change is already stressing many freshwater species by warming water temperatures, shifting streamflow regimes, increasing extreme events (e.g., floods, drought, wildfire), and facilitating species invasions.
USGS fisheries scientists study the complex...
USGS scientists conduct studies to understand how aquatic species interact with each other and their environment in a wide range of aquatic habitats, including streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and coastal areas. USGS scientists quantify and describe functional relationships among aquatic species and habitats to describe aquatic community structure, function, adaptation, and sustainability....
The USGS Fisheries Program develops valuable tools for assessing species’ vulnerability to environmental stressors, focusing on 3 critical elements: exposure (magnitude of change), sensitivity (likelihood of adverse impacts), and adaptive capacity (species’ ability to cope with change). For example, our scientists develop the tools and science to help water managers evaluate tradeoffs in...
The USGS investigates pathogens and other environmental factors that affect aquatic organism health to support the management, conservation, and restoration of aquatic species.
USGS investigates pathogen discovery, causes, and drivers; researches disease ecology and immunology; and develops advanced tools for surveillance, risk assessment, and control of diseases that impact aquatic organism health to support the management, conservation, and restoration of aquatic species.
USGS research focuses on fish physiology and behavioral characteristics, vulnerability assessments, and development of indicator tools that can be used to inform decisions with the goal of sustaining and enhancing fisheries resources in concert with human uses.
Forty percent of all fish species in North America are at risk of extinction. USGS research is crucial to protect and manage at-risk species and healthy fish populations into the future. Species management research encompasses threatened and endangered species, Interior trust species protected by law, sensitive species that are declining, rare, or uncommon that may be candidates for future...
This site provides data and tools to help answer the question of how well we are protecting common plants and animals (GAP Analysis). Choose a state or the entire United States. Download data for land cover, species, protected areas and more or view online, using the interactive GAP Data Viewers.
This tool produces and provides information on the characteristics, extent, and status of the Nation's wetlands and deepwater habitats and other wildlife habitats.
At this website, one can view lists of native freshwater snails by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of snails by political boundaries. Lists can be downloaded for use in reports or analyses. Data file last updated 12/17/2013.
The 2008 AFS Endangered Species Committee list of imperiled freshwater and diadromous fishes of North America
At this website, one can view lists of imperiled fishes by freshwater ecoregion, by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of imperiled fishes by ecoregions or political boundaries. Data file last updated 4/25/2013.
The 2007 AFS Endangered Species Committee list of common and imperiled freshwater crayfishes of the United States and Canada
At this website, one can view lists of crayfishes by freshwater ecoregion, by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of crayfishes by ecoregions or political boundaries. Data file last updated 3/17/2011.
Modulators of mercury risk to wildlife and humans in the context of rapid global change
Environmental mercury (Hg) contamination is an urgent global health threat. The complexity of Hg in the environment can hinder accurate determination of ecological and human health risks, particularly within the context of the rapid global changes that are altering many ecological processes, socioeconomic patterns, and other factors like...Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Silbergeld, Ellen K.; Basu, Niladri; Bustamante, Paco; Diaz-Barriga, Fernando; Hopkins, William A.; Kidd, Karen A.; Nyland, Jennifer F.
Spatial patterns in occupancy and reproduction of Golden Eagles during drought: Prospects for conservation in changing environments
We used a broad-scale sampling design to investigate spatial patterns in occupancy and breeding success of territorial pairs of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the Diablo Range, California, USA, during a period of exceptional drought (2014–2016). We surveyed 138 randomly selected sample sites over 4 occasions each year and identified 199...Wiens, David; Kolar, Patrick; Hunt, W. Grainger; Hunt, Teresa; Fuller, Mark R.; Bell, Douglas A.
Survey of beaver-related restoration practices in rangeland streams of the western USA
Poor condition of many streams and concerns about future droughts in the arid and semi-arid western USA have motivated novel restoration strategies aimed at accelerating recovery and increasing water resources. Translocation of beavers into formerly occupied habitats, restoration activities encouraging beaver recolonization, and instream...Pilliod, David S.; Rohde, Ashley T.; Charnley, Susan; Davee, Rachael R; Dunham, Jason B.; Gosnell, Hannah; Grant, Gordon E.; Hausner, Mark B.; Huntington, Justin L.; Nash, Caroline
The effect of isolation, fragmentation, and population bottlenecks on song structure of a Hawaiian honeycreeper
Little is known about how important social behaviors such as song vary within and among populations for any of the endemic Hawaiian honeycreepers. Habitat loss and non‐native diseases (e.g., avian malaria) have resulted in isolation and fragmentation of Hawaiian honeycreepers within primarily high elevation forests. In this study, we examined how...Pang-Ching, Joshua M.; Paxton, Kristina L.; Paxton, Eben H.; Pack, Adam A.; Hart, Patrick J.
Development and release of phenological data products—A case study in compliance with federal open data policy
In Autumn 2015, USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) staff implemented new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data-management policies intended to ensure that the results of Federally funded research are made available to the public. The effort aimed both to improve USA-NPN data releases and to provide a model for similar programs within the USGS....Rosemartin, Alyssa H.; Langseth, Madison L.; Crimmins, Theresa M.; Weltzin, Jake F.
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
Land use diversification and intensification on elk winter range in Greater Yellowstone: A framework and agenda for social-ecological research
Amenity migration describes the movement of peoples to rural landscapes and the transition toward tourism and recreation and away from production-oriented land uses (ranching, timber harvesting). The resulting mosaic of land uses and community structures has important consequences for wildlife and their management. This research note examines...Haggerty, Julia Hobson; Epstein, Kathleen; Stone, Michael; Cross, Paul
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
American pika in the Northern Cascades. American pikas occupy talus slopes in mountain ecosystems throughout western North America.
Curt Storlazzi of the USGS explains how the water cycle pulled him into oceanography, and how his personal interests parallel his profession.
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,
Metolius River, Smiling River Campground, Deschutes National Forest
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....
An aerial view of southeast Louisiana coastal marshes.
Satellite images of the same wetland taken in 2008 and 2016 show a wetland restoration project has produced some gains in marsh area.
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.
Adding milkweeds and other native flowering plants into midwestern agricultural lands is key to restoring monarch butterflies, with milkweed sowers from all sectors of society being critically needed for success.
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.
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.
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.
Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning
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.
Exploring the Role of Non-Native American Shad in the Columbia River Basin
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.
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.
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.
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.