Mission Areas


Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 522
Date published: January 25, 2018
Status: Active


In the 21st century, drivers such as sea level rise, extreme weather events, changes in the flow rate of rivers, and human development of coastal habitats will affect coastal landscapes and ecosystems across the region, including estuaries.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 25, 2018
Status: Active

Landscape Conservation

The USGS Status and Trends program develops information and tools used by our partners to assess, conserve, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 25, 2018
Status: Active


Information about the status and trends of natural resources is required at a variety of spatial and temporal scales to detect changes that may signal degradation or improvement of natural systems, such as habitat, or to identify new or emerging conditions that signal the need for management action or further investigative research.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 24, 2018
Status: Active

Natural Stressors

The status and trends of organisms, habitats and ecosystems is often controlled by environmental and anthropogenic stressors that have the potential to impact the health and productivity of lands and waters of management concern.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 24, 2018
Status: Active


Wetlands provide goods and services that have been valued at up to $78,500 per acre per year (R. Costanza and others, Global  Environmental Change 2014). In addition to providing fish and wildlife habitat, coastal ecosystems protect coastlines from storms, store carbon in sediments, improve water quality, and maintain productive coastal fisheries. In the 21st century, drivers such as sea level...

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 24, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Marine Ecosystems

USGS scientists, in collaboration with key partners, assess ecological patterns and processes within important ecological systems, such as Coastal Marine Ecosystems, to understand the status and trends of organisms and habitats at large spatial scales to support restoration of these important ecological systems.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Active

Ecosystem Effects of Increased Coal Transport Across the Pacific Northwest

Proposed new coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon could increase rail traffic through the Northwest and potentially increase unintended release of coal dust to the environment.

Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Active


We are a leader in the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership (MCSP) which includes a variety of resource management organizations both Federal (including the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and non-Federal (including Xerces Society).

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 19, 2018
Status: Active


North American bats face unprecedented threats including habitat loss and fragmentation, white-nose syndrome, wind energy development, and climate change. 

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Great Lakes Deepwater Monitoring

USGS work on assessing the status and trends of deepwater aquatic communities in the Great Lakes provides information fisheries managers are using to see if management actions (such as reducing invasive sea lampreys) have helped important commercials fisheries (such as lake trout) recover. Our monitoring program helps guide decision-making in effective directions for a variety of stakeholders...

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring Resources

The Status and Trends Program responds to the monitoring and information needs and requirements of
resource management bureaus within Interior and other science and resource management organizations
by working with them to design, develop, and support research, monitoring, and assessment activities
required for resource management and policy decisions by a variety of...

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory

Bird banding is used to study the movement, behavior, and survival of birds. In North America, bird banding is a joint program between USGS and the Canadian Wildlife Service.

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: 571
Year Published: 2016

The effects of habitat, climate, and Barred Owls on long-term demography of Northern Spotted Owls

Estimates of species' vital rates and an understanding of the factors affecting those parameters over time and space can provide crucial information for management and conservation. We used mark–recapture, reproductive output, and territory occupancy data collected during 1985–2013 to evaluate population processes of Northern Spotted...

Dugger, Catherine; Forsman, Eric D.; Franklin, Alan B.; Davis, Raymond J.; White, Gary C.; Schwarz, Carl J.; Burnham, Kenneth P.; Nichols, James D.; Hines, James E.; Yackulic, Charles B.; Doherty, Paul F.; Bailey, Larissa; Clark, Darren A.; Ackers, Steven H.; Andrews, Lawrence S.; Augustine, Benjamin; Biswell, Brian L.; Blakesley, Jennifer; Carlson, Peter C.; Clement, Matthew J.; Diller, Lowell V.; Glenn, Elizabeth M.; Green, Adam; Gremel, Scott A.; Herter, Dale R.; Higley, J. Mark; Hobson, Jeremy; Horn, Rob B.; Huyvaert, Kathryn P.; McCafferty, Christopher; McDonald, Trent; McDonnell, Kevin; Olson, Gail S.; Reid, Janice A.; Rockweit, Jeremy; Ruiz, Viviana; Saenz, Jessica; Sovern, Stan G.

Year Published: 2016

A simple web-based tool to compare freshwater fish data collected using AFS standard methods

The American Fisheries Society (AFS) recently published Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes. Enlisting the expertise of 284 scientists from 107 organizations throughout Canada, Mexico, and the United States, this text was developed to facilitate comparisons of fish data across regions or time. Here we describe...

Bonar, Scott A.; Mercado-Silva, Norman; Rahr, Matt; Torrey, Yuta T.; Cate, Averill

Year Published: 2016

Restored agricultural wetlands in Central Iowa: habitat quality and amphibian response

Amphibians are declining throughout the United States and worldwide due, partly, to habitat loss. Conservation practices on the landscape restore wetlands to denitrify tile drainage effluent and restore ecosystem services. Understanding how water quality, hydroperiod, predation, and disease affect amphibians in restored wetlands is central to...

Reeves, Rebecca A.; Pierce, Clay; Smalling, Kelly L. ; Klaver, Robert W.; Vandever, Mark W.; Battaglin, William A.; Muths, Erin L.
Reeves, R. A., C. L. Pierce, E. Muths., K. L. Smalling, R. W. Klaver, M. W. Vandever and W. A. Battaglin. 2015. Restored agricultural wetlands in central Iowa: habitat quality and amphibian response. Wetlands. DOI: 10.1007/s13157-015-0720-9

Year Published: 2016

Flexible risk metrics for identifying and monitoring conservation-priority species

Region-specific conservation programs should have objective, reliable metrics for species prioritization and progress evaluation that are customizable to the goals of a program, easy to comprehend and communicate, and standardized across time. Regional programs may have vastly different goals, spatial coverage, or management agendas, and one-size-...

Stanton, Jessica C.; Semmens, Brice X.; McKann, Patrick C.; Will, Tom; Thogmartin, Wayne E.
Stanton, J.C., Semmens, B.X., McKann, P.C., Will, T., Thogmartin, W.E. 2015. Flexible risk metrics for identifying and monitoring conservation-priority species. Ecological Indicators. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.10.020.

Year Published: 2016

Diagnostic and model dependent uncertainty of simulated Tibetan permafrost area

 We perform a land-surface model intercomparison to investigate how the simulation of permafrost area on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) varies among six modern stand-alone land-surface models (CLM4.5, CoLM, ISBA, JULES, LPJ-GUESS, UVic). We also examine the variability in simulated permafrost area and distribution introduced by five different...

Wang, A.; Moore, J.C.; Cui, Xingquan; Ji, D.; Li, Q.; Zhang, N.; Wang, C.; Zhang, S.; Lawrence, D.M.; McGuire, A.D.; Zhang, W.; Delire, C.; Koven, C.; Saito, K.; MacDougall, A.; Burke, E.; Decharme, B.

Year Published: 2016

Effects of wind-energy facilities on grassland bird distributions

The contribution of renewable energy to meet worldwide demand continues to grow. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable sectors, but new wind facilities are often placed in prime wildlife habitat. Long-term studies that incorporate a rigorous statistical design to evaluate the effects of wind facilities on wildlife are rare. We...

Shaffer, Jill A.; Buhl, Deb
Shaffer, J. A., and D. A. Buhl. 2015. Effects of wind-energy facilities on grassland bird distributions. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12569 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12569/abstract

Year Published: 2016

The influence of a severe reservoir drawdown on springtime zooplankton and larval fish assemblages in Red Willow Reservoir, Nebraska

Reservoirs can be dynamic systems, often prone to unpredictable and extreme water-level fluctuations, and can be environments where survival is difficult for zooplankton and larval fish. Although numerous studies have examined the effects of extreme reservoir drawdown on water quality, few have examined extreme drawdown on both abiotic and biotic...

DeBoer, Jason A.; Webber, Christa M.; Dixon, Taylor A.; Pope, Kevin L.

Year Published: 2016

Postnatal growth rates covary weakly with embryonic development rates and do not explain adult mortality probability among songbirds on four continents

Growth and development rates may result from genetic programming of intrinsic processes that yield correlated rates between life stages. These intrinsic rates are thought to affect adult mortality probability and longevity. However, if proximate extrinsic factors (e.g., temperature, food) influence development rates differently between stages and...

Martin, Thomas E.; Oteyza, Juan C.; Mitchell, Adam E.; Potticary, Ahva L.; Lloyd, P.

Year Published: 2016

Optimizing surveillance for South American origin influenza A viruses along the United States Gulf Coast through genomic characterization of isolates from blue-winged teal (Anas discors)

Relative to research focused on intercontinental viral exchange between Eurasia and North America, less attention has been directed towards understanding the redistribution of influenza A viruses (IAVs) by wild birds between North America and South America. In this study, we genomically characterized 45 viruses isolated from blue-winged teal (Anas...

Ramey, Andy M.; Walther, Patrick; Link, Paul Karl; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Wilcox, Benjamin R.; Newsome, George M.; Spackman, Erica; Brown, J.; Stallknecht, David E.
Ramey, A. M., P. Walther, P. Link, R. L. Poulson, B. R. Wilcox, G. M. Newsome, E. Spackman, J. D. Brown, and D. E. Stallknecht. 2014. Optimizing surveillance for South American origin influenza A viruses along the United States Gulf Coast through genomic characterization of isolates from Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors). Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, doi:10.1111/tbed.12244

Year Published: 2015

State-space modeling to support management of brucellosis in the Yellowstone bison population

The bison (Bison bison) of the Yellowstone ecosystem, USA, exemplify the difficulty of conserving large mammals that migrate across the boundaries of conservation areas. Bison are infected with brucellosis (Brucella abortus) and their seasonal movements can expose livestock to infection. Yellowstone National Park has embarked on a program of...

Hobbs, N. Thompson; Geremia, Chris; Treanor, John; Wallen, Rick; White, P.J.; Hooten, Mevin B.; Rhyan, Jack C.

Year Published: 2015

Seasonal cues of Arctic grayling movement in a small Arctic stream: the importance of surface water connectivity

In Arctic ecosystems, freshwater fish migrate seasonally between productive shallow water habitats that freeze in winter and deep overwinter refuge in rivers and lakes. How these movements relate to seasonal hydrology is not well understood. We used passive integrated transponder tags and stream wide antennae to track 1035 Arctic grayling in Crea...

Heim, Kurt C.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Whitman, Matthew S.; Arp, Christopher D.; Adams, Jeff; Falke, Jeffrey A.

Year Published: 2015

Toward a mechanistic understanding of human-induced rapid environmental change: A case study linking energy development, avian nest predation, and predators

Demographic consequences of human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC) have been widely documented for many populations. The mechanisms underlying such patterns, however, are rarely investigated and yet are critical to understand for effective conservation and management. We investigated the mechanisms underlying reduced avian nest survival...

Hethcoat, Matthew G.; Chalfoun, Anna D.

Filter Total Items: 512
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

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.

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...

March 31, 2017

Establishing Forster's Tern Nesting Colonies

Scientists from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) are conducting a "social attraction" study for seabirds in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Historically, this region offered wetland habitats to local wildlife. With the introduction of industrial salt ponds and human development, however, much of this habitat was lost. Now, former salt ponds are...

March 30, 2017

2017 March Public Lecture—Brown Bears, Sea Otters, and Seals, Oh My!

Brown Bears, Sea Otters, and Seals, Oh My!
Unexpected interactions on the Katmai Coast
by Grant Hilderbrand, Chief of the Marine Ecosystems Office, USGS Alaska Science Center

  • Highlights of ongoing research on brown bears on the coast of the Katmai National Park
  • Observations from video collars deployed on brown bears
  • Implications for
  • ...
Three sailfin catfish found in the Big Cypress National Preserve
March 23, 2017

Sailfin catfishes discovered in Big Cypress

The sailfin catfish is one of 13 species of nonnative fish that biologists discovered during the Fish Slam in Big Cypress National Preserve, March 23, 2017.


Pike killifish found in Big Cypress
March 23, 2017

Non-native pike killifish from the Big Cypress

The pike killifish, native to Mexico and Central America, was one of 13 nonnative fish species that biologists discovered during the two-day Fish Slam in Big Cypress National Preserve, March 22 and 23, 2017.


Filter Total Items: 304
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.

Date published: April 11, 2017

Scientists Evaluate Ways to Save Hawaiian Honeycreeper

Long distance flights in search of flowering trees threatens the Hawaiian Iiwi as climate change increases the distribution of avian diseases

Date published: April 11, 2017

Media Inquiries on USGS Manatee Research

We appreciate your interest in USGS' Sirenia Project. To help inform members of the media and public, we have provided relevant publications, reports, and websites. 

Date published: April 10, 2017

Turtles Die in Southern California Lake Following Drought and Fire

Almost all of the turtles living in a southern California lake died following a large fire and years of drought, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report published in the journal Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems.

Date published: April 6, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, March 2016 | Issue 4.3

Understanding the Effects of Temperature on Diseases in Fish

Date published: April 4, 2017

Hybridization between Native and Invasive Trout is Increasing in the West

Hybridization, or the interbreeding of species, is increasing between native and invasive trout across the northern Rocky Mountains, according to a study released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners.