Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 548
Date published: March 5, 2018
Status: Active

Sagebrush Habitat

Across the extent of the sagebrush ecosystem, USGS scientists are studying sagebrush ecosystem components to help understand management actions that can best improve habitat conditions.

Contacts: Steve Hanser
Date published: March 5, 2018
Status: Active

Sagebrush-Associated Species: Types, Habitat, and Populations

More than 350 wildlife and plant species, in addition to the greater sage-grouse, depend on the sagebrush ecosystem for all or part of their life requirements. USGS science can inform management of these species, including mule deer, pygmy rabbits, and songbirds.

Contacts: Steve Hanser
Date published: March 5, 2018
Status: Active

Sage-Grouse Habitat, Population, and Genomics

Despite being one of the most well-studied upland game birds in North America, key knowledge gaps persist in the understanding of sage-grouse biology. USGS scientists are working to address these knowledge gaps in key areas including the development of population models that incorporate information about the complexities of the biological processes and dynamic habitats, improving the...

Contacts: Steve Hanser
Date published: March 5, 2018
Status: Active

Sage-grouse and Sagebrush Resources

Additional resources and related links for the sage-grouse and sagebrush ecosystem program are listed below.

Contacts: Steve Hanser
Date published: March 2, 2018
Status: Active

Sage-grouse and Sagebrush Steppe Lead Scientists

Listed below are the names of USGS principal investigators working on sage-grouse or sagebrush steppe ecosystem issues.

Date published: February 28, 2018
Status: Active

Vulnerability Assessment Frameworks

The USGS Status and Trends program assesses ecological patterns and processes within important ecological systems to understand complex environmental controls over species and ecosystems, and their vulnerability to internal and external stressors and drivers.

 

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 28, 2018
Status: Active

Contaminants

Health status can often affect the size and distribution of plant and animals population across landscapes. 

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 28, 2018
Status: Active

Sea-Level Rise

Coastal ecosystems greatly influence the livelihood and resilience of coastal communities and cities to external stressors such as storms or sea level change.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 28, 2018
Status: Active

Fire

Successful restoration or rehabilitation of degraded species, habitats and ecosystems requires assessments of the status and trends of the impacted system before, during and after restoration. In addition, an ecological understanding is required to inform changes in resource management activities to support restoration, as well as to assess the relative success of the restoration and to adjust...

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Decision Frameworks

Decision frameworks bring science and stakeholders needs together to determine the best way to manage natural resources.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Biological Collections

Biological collections provide critical data to assess the history of the status, population trends, and abundance of the plants and animals around us. 

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Citizen Science

Citizen science — scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, usually in collaboration with scientific institutions — is a grassroots approach to natural science. It educates and engages the public by encouraging ordinary citizens to use their interests and their talents in tackling a wide range of real-world problems. 

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Filter Total Items: 68
Date published: March 4, 2016

National Gap Analysis Program (GAP)

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.

Date published: March 4, 2016

National Plants Database

Provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the United States and its territories.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

Web Soil Survey (WSS)

Provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) — Wetlands Mapper

This tool produces and provides information on the characteristics, extent, and status of the Nation's wetlands and deepwater habitats and other wildlife habitats.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: December 17, 2013

American Fisheries Society List of Freshwater Gastropods (Snails) from Canada and the United States

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.

Date published: April 25, 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.

Date published: March 17, 2011

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.

Date published: September 9, 2010

Mangrove Secrets

The Sheltered Corals of Hurricane Hole, US Virgin Islands

Filter Total Items: 2,277
Year Published: 2017

Lidar aboveground vegetation biomass estimates in shrublands: Prediction, uncertainties and application to coarser scales

Our study objectives were to model the aboveground biomass in a xeric shrub-steppe landscape with airborne light detection and ranging (Lidar) and explore the uncertainty associated with the models we created. We incorporated vegetation vertical structure information obtained from Lidar with ground-measured biomass data, allowing us to scale shrub...

Li, Aihua; Dhakal, Shital; Glenn, Nancy F.; Spaete, Luke P.; Shinneman, Douglas; Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert; McIlroy, Susan
Li, A.; Dhakal, S.; Glenn, N.F.; Spaete, L.P.; Shinneman, D.J.; Pilliod, D.S.; Arkle, R.S.; McIlroy, S.K. Lidar Aboveground Vegetation Biomass Estimates in Shrublands: Prediction, Uncertainties and Application to Coarser Scales. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 903.

Year Published: 2017

Applying citizen-science data and mark-recapture models to estimate numbers of migrant golden eagles in an important bird area in eastern North America

Estimates of population abundance are important to wildlife management and conservation. However, it can be difficult to characterize the numbers of broadly distributed, low-density, and elusive bird species. Although Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are rare, difficult to detect, and broadly distributed, they are concentrated during their autumn...

Dennhardt, Andrew J.; Duerr, Adam E.; Brandes, David; Katzner, Todd
Dennhardt, A.J., Duerr, A.E., Brandes, D., Katzner, T.E., 2017, Applying citizen-science data and mark-recapture models to estimate numbers of migrant golden eagles in an important bird area in eastern North America: The Condor, v. 119, no. 4, p. 817-831, https://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-16-166.1.

Year Published: 2017

Monitoring eradication of European mouflon sheep from the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

European mouflon (Ovis gmelini musimon), the world's smallest wild sheep, have proliferated and degraded fragile native ecosystems in the Hawaiian Islands through browsing, bark stripping, and trampling, including native forests within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO). HAVO resource managers initiated ungulate control efforts in the 469 km2...

Judge, Seth; Hess, Steven C.; Faford, Jonathan K.; Pacheco, Dexter; Leopold, Christina
Judge, S. W., S. C. Hess, J. K. Faford, D. Pacheco, and C. R. Leopold. 2017. Monitoring eradication of European mouflon sheep from the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Pacific Science 71:425–436. Available: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.2984/71.4.3

Year Published: 2017

Ecosystem vs. community recovery 25 years after grass invasions and fire in a subtropical woodland

Despite a large body of research documenting invasive plant impacts, few studies have followed individual invaded sites over decades to observe how they change, and none have contrasted how compositional impacts from invasion compare to ecosystem-process impacts over a multi-decadal time-scale. Using direct measurements of plant density and...

D'Antonio, Carla M.; Yelenik, Stephanie G.; Mack, Michelle C.
D'Antonio, C. M., S. G. Yelenik, and M. C. Mack. 2017. Ecosystem vs. community recovery 25 years after grass invasions and fire in a subtropical woodland. Journal of Ecology 105:1462–1474.

Year Published: 2017

Defining ecological drought for the 21st century

No abstract available.

Crausbay, Shelley D.; Ramirez, Aaron R.; Carter, Shawn L.; Cross, Molly S.; Hall, Kimberly R.; Bathke, Deborah J.; Betancourt, Julio L.; Colt, Steve; Cravens, Amanda; Dalton, Melinda S.; Dunham, Jason B.; Hay, Lauren E.; Hayes, Michael J.; McEvoy, Jamie; McNutt, Chad A.; Moritz, Max A.; Nislow, Keith H.; Raheem, Nejem; Sanford, Todd
Crausbay, S.D., A.R. Ramirez, S.L. Carter, M.S. Cross, K.R. Hall, D.J. Bathke, J.L. Betancourt, S. Colt, A.E. Cravens, M.S. Dalton, J.B. Dunham, L.E. Hay, M.J. Hayes, J. McEvoy, C.A. McNutt, M.A. Moritz, K.H. Nislow, N. Raheem, and T. Sanford, 0: Defining ecological drought for the 21st century. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 0, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0292.1

Year Published: 2017

Biological and ecological science for Nevada—The Silver State

Nevada is rich in minerals, energy, rangelands, mountains, deserts, lakes, fish, and wildlife. Many enterprises critical to Nevada's economy are based on natural resources including solar energy, livestock production, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. Nevada is a national leader in both geothermal and solar utility-scale energy...

Attribution: Ecosystems
U.S. Geological Survey, 2017, Biological and ecological science for Nevada—The Silver State: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017-3075, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173075.

Year Published: 2017

Program MAMO: Models for avian management optimization-user guide

The following chapters describe the structure and code of MAMO, and walk the reader through running the different components of the program with sample data. This manual should be used alongside a computer running R, so that the reader can copy and paste code into R, observe the output, and follow along interactively. Taken together, chapters 2–4...

Guillaumet, Alban; Paxton, Eben H.
Guillaumet, A., and E. H. Paxton. 2017. Program MAMO: Models for avian management optimization-user guide. Hawai`i Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report HCSU-TR077, University of Hawai'i at Hilo, Hilo, Hawai‘i. Available: http://hdl.handle.net/10790/3312.

Year Published: 2017

The Conservation Efforts Database: Improving our knowledge of landscape conservation actions

The Conservation Efforts Database (CED) is a secure, cloud-based tool that can be used to document and track conservation actions across landscapes. A recently released factsheet describes this tool ahead of the rollout of CED version 2.0. The CED was developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USGS, and the Great Northern Landscape...

Heller, Matthew M.; Welty, Justin; Wiechman , Lief A.

Year Published: 2017

Shifts in an invasive rodent community favoring black rats (Rattus rattus) following restoration of native forest

One potential, unintended ecological consequence accompanying forest restoration is a shift in invasive animal populations, potentially impacting conservation targets. Eighteen years after initial restoration (ungulate exclusion, invasive plant control, and out planting native species) at a 4 ha site on Maui, Hawai'i, we compared invasive rodent...

Shiels, Aaron B.; Medeiros, Arthur C.; von Allmen, Erica I.
Shiels, A. B., A. C. Medeiros, and E. I. von Allmen. 2017. Shifts in an invasive rodent community favoring Black rats (Rattus rattus) following restoration of native forest. Restoration Ecology 25:759–767. Available: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rec.12494/full

Year Published: 2017

Spatial and temporal patterns in golden eagle diets in the western United States, with implications for conservation planning

Detailed information on diets and predatory ecology of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) is essential to prioritize prey species management and to develop landscape-specific conservation strategies, including mitigation of the effects of energy development across the western United States. We compiled published and unpublished data on Golden Eagle...

Bedrosian, Geoffrey; Watson, James W.; Steenhof, Karen; Kochert, Michael N.; Preston, Charles R.; Woodbridge, Brian; Williams, Gary E.; Keller, Kent R.; Crandall, Ross H.
Bedrosian, G., Watson, J.W., Steenhof, K., Kochert, M.N., Preston, C.R., Woodbridge, B., Williams, G.E., Keller, K.R., Crandall, R.H., 2017, Spatial and temporal patterns in golden eagle diets in the western United States, with implications for conservation planning: Journal of Raptor Research, v. 51, no. 3, p. 347-367, https://doi.org/10.3356/JRR-16-38.1.

Year Published: 2017

Skagit River coho salmon life history model—Users’ guide

Natural resource management is conducted in the context of multiple anthropogenic stressors and is further challenged owing to changing climate. Experiments to determine the effects of climate change on complex ecological systems are nearly impossible. However, using a simulation model to synthesize current understanding of key ecological...

Woodward, Andrea; Kirby, Grant; Morris, Scott
Woodward, Andrea, Kirby, Grant, and Morris, Scott, 2017, Skagit River coho salmon life history model—Users’ guide: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1125, 57 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171125.

Year Published: 2017

Refining the cheatgrass–fire cycle in the Great Basin: Precipitation timing and fine fuel composition predict wildfire trends

Larger, more frequent wildfires in arid and semi-arid ecosystems have been associated with invasion by non-native annual grasses, yet a complete understanding of fine fuel development and subsequent wildfire trends is lacking. We investigated the complex relationships among weather, fine fuels, and fire in the Great Basin, USA. We first modeled...

Pilliod, David S.; Welty, Justin; Arkle, Robert
Pilliod DS, Welty JL, Arkle RS. Refining the cheatgrass–fire cycle in the Great Basin: Precipitation timing and fine fuel composition predict wildfire trends. Ecol Evol. 2017;00:1–26. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3414

Filter Total Items: 531
Aerial view of southeast Louisiana coastal marshes
July 10, 2017

Louisiana's Coastal Wetland Loss Rate Continues to Slow

An aerial view of southeast Louisiana coastal marshes. 

Satellite images of the same marsh in 2008 and 2016
July 10, 2017

Restoration projects help some Louisiana coastal wetlands rebuild

Satellite images of the same wetland taken in 2008 and 2016 show a wetland restoration project has produced some gains in marsh area.

Map shows early wetland losses in red, recent losses in purple
July 10, 2017

Map shows early wetland losses in red, recent losses in purple

This map shows the historic trend in wetland losses, with early losses in red and the most recent ones in purple.

July 6, 2017

Wildlife on the Nevada National Security Site

Mountain lions, desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, and a variety of other wildlife live on and pass through the Nevada National Security Site each day. It’s a highly restricted area that is free of hunting and has surprisingly pristine areas.This 22-minute program highlights an extraordinary study on how mountain lions interact with their prey. It shows how the scientists use helicopters and...

Woman leaning over collecting sturgeon free embryos outside
June 30, 2017

Collecting Sturgeon Free Embryos

A biological science technician collects pallid sturgeon free embryos from the sampling nets in the experimental streams at the Columbia Environmental Research Center.

A female scientists overlooks swimming chambers for pallid sturgeon
June 30, 2017

Preparing Swim Chambers

A biological science technician prepares the swim chambers to assess the swimming abilities of young pallid sturgeon.

Phragmites under stress in Pass A Loutre, Louisiana
May 31, 2017

High stakes, big questions in marsh grass die-back

Brown patches and brown stems show stress in this phagmites (roseau cane) stand in Pass A Loutre Wildlife Management Area, a tract of state-owned land in Louisiana's bird foot delta, where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico. An ongoing phragmites was first discovered in spring 2017 and blamed on an invasive scale insect from Asia. But a new USGS report, based on satellite imaging...

Varied Chesapeake Bay landscapes
May 24, 2017

To Foresee Chesapeake Bay’s Future, Scientists Look to the Land

A montage of four Chesapeake Bay aerial photos. L-R: A waterfront residential community; row crops bordered by forest; Baltimore Harbor; piers and crab pots in a waterfront fishing community.

Attribution: Ecosystems, Northeast
An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle was recently observed in the Mojave Desert.
May 4, 2017

An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle

An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle was recently observed by USGS scientists and staff from The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in the Mojave Desert. Turtles of this population have rarely been seen since the late 1990s.

A cabin along Alaska's Arctic coast was recently washed into the ocean because the bluff it was sitting on eroded away.
May 3, 2017

Climate Change Impacts

From the Sound Waves Newletter article, "Erosion Doubles Along Part of Alaska's Arctic Coast — Cultural and Historical Sites Lost" at http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2009/05/research2.html

Scientist holding a laptop and equipment, standing in a green field.
April 30, 2017

Assessing Tallgrass Coastal Prairie in Southwest Louisiana

Vegetation assessments are part of an effort to produce seamless, consistent, and high resolution landcover data for the northern portion of the western gulf coastal plain. This geography was once dominated by tallgrass prairie and has undergone dramatic change with less than 1% of this natural habitat in existence.

Tallgrass prairie provides a suite of ecosystem services including...

Female scientist looking through microscope.
April 30, 2017

Examining Pallid Sturgeon Eggs

Biological science aid, Marlee Malmborg, examines and records the viability of pallid sturgeon eggs at the Columbia Environmental Research Center.

Filter Total Items: 309
Date published: May 25, 2017

Mapping Chesapeake's Future From Today's Land Use

USGS’ pixel-by-pixel land use forecasts offer essential road maps for restoration. 

Date published: May 15, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, April 2017 | Issue 5.4

Dr. Jim Winton Retires After Long Distinguished Career

Date published: May 10, 2017

Glaciers Rapidly Shrinking and Disappearing: 50 Years of Glacier Change in Montana

The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University.

Date published: May 3, 2017

Migrating mule deer track “green waves” of spring forage: study highlights importance of habitat corridors for migrating game and other species

Migratory mule deer in Wyoming closely time their movements to track the spring green-up, providing evidence of an underappreciated foraging benefit of migration, according to a study by University of Wyoming and U.S. Geological Survey scientists at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

Date published: May 3, 2017

Wind Turbines Affect Behavior of Desert Tortoise Predators

How a wind energy facility is designed can influence the behavior of animal predators and their prey, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: May 2, 2017

Wildlife Recovery Following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill was Highly Variable Across Species

Thanks to a quarter-century of research and monitoring, scientists now know how different wildlife species were injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and how long it took for populations to recover.

Date published: May 1, 2017

Avian Flu Testing of Wild Ducks Informs Biosecurity and Can Reduce Economic Loss

Ducks in North America can be carriers of avian influenza viruses similar to those found in a 2016 outbreak in Indiana that led to the losses of hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys, according to a recent study.

Date published: April 27, 2017

Billions More Milkweeds Needed to Restore Monarchs

As many as 1.8 billion additional stems of milkweed plants may be needed in North America to return imperiled monarch butterflies to a sustainable population size, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: April 26, 2017

Asian Carp Would Have Adequate Food to Survive in Lake Michigan

If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Michigan, there would be enough food available for these particular species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: April 18, 2017

Deadly Deer Disease Expected to Grow Rapidly and Spread in Wisconsin

A new tool, which predicted the recent, rapid growth and continued spread of chronic wasting disease in deer, can help forecast and manage other costly biological threats to humans, animals and the environment, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: April 11, 2017

Florida Manatees Likely to Persist For At Least 100 Years—US Geological Survey  

Florida’s iconic manatee population is highly likely to endure for the next 100 years, so long as wildlife managers continue to protect the marine mammals and their habitat, a new study by the US Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has found.