Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 594
Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory

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...

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Species and Disease

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.

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Land and Water Management

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.

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Drought and Ecological Flows

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. 

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Climate Change and Aquatic Ecosystems

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...

Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Energy Development and Aquatic Ecosystems

USGS is advancing science on the impacts of energy development on aquatic ecosystems.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Fish and Aquatic Ecology

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....

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Vulnerability Assessments of Aquatic Species

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...

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Aquatic Toxicology

The USGS investigates pathogens and other environmental factors that affect aquatic organism health to  support the management, conservation, and restoration of aquatic species.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Fish Health

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.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Fish Physiology and Behavior

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.

Date published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Imperiled Aquatic Species

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...

Filter Total Items: 69
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
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: 2,311
Year Published: 2018

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.
Eagles-Smith, C.A., Silbergeld, E.K., Basu, N., Bustamante, P., Diaz-Barriga, F., Hopkins, W.A., Nyland, J.F., 2018, Modulators of mercury risk to wildlife and humans in the context of rapid global change: Ambio, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-1011-x.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Wiens, J.D., Kolar, P.S., Hunt, G., Hunt, T., Fuller, M.R., Bell, D.A., 2018, Spatial patterns in occupancy and reproduction of Golden Eagles during drought- Prospects for conservation in changing environments: The Condor, v. 120, p. 106-124, https://doi.org/ 10.1650/CONDOR-17-96.1.

Year Published: 2018

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
Pilliod, D.S., Rohde, A.T., Charnley, S., Davee, R.R., Dunham, J.B., Gosnell, H., Grant, G.E., Hausner, M.B., Huntington, J.L., Nash, C., 2018, Survey of beaver-related restoration practices in rangeland streams of the western USA: Environmental Management, v. 61, p. 58-68, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-017-0957-6.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Pang‐Ching, J. M., K. L. Paxton, E. H. Paxton, A. A. Pack, and P. J. Hart. 2018. The effect of isolation, fragmentation, and population bottlenecks on song structure of a Hawaiian honeycreeper. Ecology and Evolution 8:2076–2087. Available: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3820

Year Published: 2018

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.
Rosemartin, A., Langseth, M.L., Crimmins, T.M., and Weltzin, J.F., 2018, Development and release of phenological data products—A case study in compliance with federal open data policy: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1007, 13 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181007.

Year Published: 2018

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
Benjamin, J.R., Bellmore, J.R., and Dombroski, Daniel, 2018, Using a food web model to inform the design of river restoration—An example at the Barkley Bear Segment, Methow River, north-central Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1002, 24 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181002.

Year Published: 2018

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

Year Published: 2018

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.
Paxton, E. H., S. G. Yelenik, T. E. Borneman, E. T. Rose, R. J. Camp, and S. J. Kendall. 2018. Rapid colonization of a Hawaiian restoration forest by a diverse avian community. Restoration Ecology 26:165–173.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Brignon, W. R., Peterson, J. T., Dunham, J. B., Schaller, H. A., & Schreck, C. B. (2017). Evaluating Tradeoffs in Bull Trout Reintroduction Strategies Using Structured Decision Making. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Poessel, S.A., Brandt, J., Uyeda, L., Astell, M., Katzner, T.E., 2017, Lack of observed movement response to lead exposure of California condors: Journal of Wildlife Management, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21378.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Anderson, K.E., Glenn, N.F., Spaete, L.P., Shinneman, D.J., Pilliod, D.S., Arkle, R.S., McIlroy, S.K., Derryberry, D.R., 2018, Estimating vegetation biomass and cover across large plots in shrub and grass dominated drylands using terrestrial lidar and machine learning: Ecological Indicators, v. 84, p. 793-802, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.09.034

Year Published: 2018

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
Poessel, S.A., Brandt, J., Miller, T.A., Katzner, T.E., 2017, Meteorological and environmental variables affect flight behaviour and decision-making of an obligate soaring bird, the California Condor Gymnogyps californianus: Ibis, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1111/ibi.12531.

Filter Total Items: 545
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.

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.
 

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,

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. 

...
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.

Filter Total Items: 332
Date published: July 5, 2017

Hot new imagery of wintering bats suggests a group behavior for battling white-nose syndrome

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.

Date published: June 29, 2017

More Milkweeds Located Throughout the Landscape Can Help Conserve Monarchs

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. 

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.