Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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The Ecosystems Mission Area provides impartial science informaiton 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.

Scientists with the Ecosystem Mission Area can be found working across the Nation to provide fish, wildlife, and habitat science support to natural resource managers. Our sixteen Ecosystem Science Centers provide unique scientific capabilities to support the management and conservation of our Nation’s biological resources.

  

Filter Total Items: 633
Date published: April 18, 2012
Status: Completed

Experimental Study of Fire Season and Frequency in South Florida Pinelands

Fire is a major driving force in determining the structure and composition of subtropical vegetation. Prescribed fire constitutes one of the most pervasive management actions influencing the restoration and maintenance of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem. 

Contacts: James Snyder
Date published: March 10, 2012

Systematic Studies of Southeastern Fishes

The southeastern United States is home to a variety of freshwater snails, mussels, crayfish, and fishes. USGS scientists are conducting systematic studies to better document the region's biodiversity.

Contacts: Noel Burkhead
Date published: April 17, 2009

Integrative Studies of Florida Spring Ecosystems

Florida's springs are a source of cultural, recreational, and ecological importance. But land-use changes and increased demands for groundwater due to the state's growing population have led to widespread impairment of these unique ecosystems. 

Date published: March 10, 2008

Conservation Research on North American Freshwater Faunas

The decline of freshwater animals has resulted in an increase in the number of imperiled species and extinctions. USGS scientists use genetics to determine if these species truly are gone forever.

Contacts: Noel Burkhead
Date published: October 14, 2003

Gulf sturgeon Fact Sheet

Gulf sturgeon Fact Sheet

Microbiology

Research in fish and wildlife health and disease, geomicrobiology, ecosystem function, climate change, water quality for drinking and in recreation, bioremediation, nanotechnology, energy and geographic patterns of microbial distribution.

Attribution: Ecosystems

National Phenology Network

Brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States.

Attribution: Ecosystems

Science and Decisions Center

This center is an interdisciplinary organization advancing the use of science in natural resource decision making. The Center focuses on research and applications in three science areas: decision science (adaptive management and structured decision making), ecosystem services, and resilience/sustainability.

Attribution: Ecosystems

International

We help our scientists partner with governments, NGOs, universities, and individuals in other countries to conduct research that benefits the partner country and the United States. These partnerships can enhance the science and improve diplomatic relationships (science diplomacy), a less tangible but equally important benefit.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Filter Total Items: 2,346
Year Published: 2014

Physiological condition of juvenile wading birds in relation to multiple landscape stressors in the Florida Everglades: effects of hydrology, prey availability, and mercury bioaccumulation

The physiological condition of juvenile birds can be influenced by multiple ecological stressors, and few studies have concurrently considered the effects of environmental contaminants in combination with ecological attributes that can influence foraging conditions and prey availability. Using three temporally distinct indices of physiological...

Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Gawlik, Dale E.; Beerens, James M.; Ackerman, Joshua T.
Physiological condition of juvenile wading birds in relation to multiple landscape stressors in the Florida Everglades: effects of hydrology, prey availability, and mercury bioaccumulation; 2014; Article; Journal; PLos One; Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Gawlik, Dale E.; Beerens, James M.; Ackerman, Joshua T.

Year Published: 2014

Soil resources influence vegetation and response to fire and fire-surrogate treatments in sagebrush-steppe ecosystems

Current paradigm suggests that spatial and temporal competition for resources limit an exotic invader, cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.), which once established, alters fire regimes and can result in annual grass dominance in sagebrush steppe. Prescribed fire and fire surrogate treatments (mowing, tebuthiuron, and imazapic) are used to reduce woody...

Rau, Benjamin M.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pyke, David A.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Doescher, Paul; Caldwell, Todd G.
Soil resources influence vegetation and response to fire and fire-surrogate treatments in sagebrush-steppe ecosystems; 2014; Article; Journal; Rangeland Ecology & Management; Rau, Benjamin M.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pyke, David A.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Doescher, Paul; Caldwell, Todd G.

Year Published: 2014

Resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems: implications for state and transition models and management treatments

In sagebrush ecosystems invasion of annual exotics and expansion of piñon (Pinus monophylla Torr. and Frem.) and juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook., J. osteosperma [Torr.] Little) are altering fire regimes and resulting in large-scale ecosystem transformations. Management treatments aim to increase resilience to disturbance and enhance...

Chambers, Jeanne C.; Miller, Richard F.; Board, David I.; Pyke, David A.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Grace, James B.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Tausch, Robin J.
Resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems: implications for state and transition models and management treatments; 2014; Article; Journal; Rangeland Ecology & Management; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Miller, Richard F.; Board, David I.; Pyke, David A.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Grace, James B.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Tausch, Robin J.

Year Published: 2014

Ecological scale of bird community response to piñon-juniper removal

Piñon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) removal is a common management approach to restore sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) vegetation in areas experiencing woodland expansion. Because many management treatments are conducted to benefit sagebrush-obligate birds, we surveyed bird communities to assess treatment effectiveness in establishing...

Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steven E.; Leu, Matthias
Ecological scale of bird community response to piñon-juniper removal; 2014; Article; Journal; Rangeland Ecology and Management; Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steven E.; Leu, Matthias

Year Published: 2014

Using sightability-adjusted brood-pair ratios to estimate waterfowl productivity

Historically, biologists used brood-pair ratios (BPRs) as an index to waterfowl productivity to help guide management decisions and evaluate conservation practices. However, BPRs are biased by imperfect detection probabilities, especially for broods. We conducted roadside surveys for breeding waterfowl pairs on 7–8 study sites in the springs...

Pagano, Anthony M.; Amundson, Courtney L.; Pieron, Matthew R.; Arnold, Todd W.; Kimmel, Timothy C.

Year Published: 2014

Phenological adjustment in arctic bird species: relative importance of snow melt and ecological factors

Previous studies have documented advancement in clutch initiation dates (CIDs) in response to climate change, most notably for temperate-breeding passerines. Despite accelerated climate change in the Arctic, few studies have examined nest phenology shifts in arctic breeding species. We investigated whether CIDs have advanced for the most abundant...

Liebezeit, Joseph R.; Gurney, K. E. B.; Budde, Michael E.; Zack, Steve; Ward, David H.
Liebezeit, J. R., K. E. B. Gurney, M. Budde, S. Zack, and D. H. Ward. 2014. Phenological adjustment in arctic bird species: relative importance of snow melt and ecological factors. Polar Biology 37(9):1309-1320. doi:10.1007/s00300-014-1522-x

Year Published: 2014

Changes in Mauna Kea Dry Forest Structure 2000-2014

Changes in the structure of the subalpine vegetation of Palila Critical Habitat on the southwestern slope of Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawai‘i, were analyzed using 12 metrics of change in māmane (Sophora chrysophylla) and naio (Myoporum sandwicense) trees surveyed on plots in 2000 and 2014. These two dominant species were analyzed separately, and...

Banko, Paul C.; Brinck, Kevin W.
Brinck, K. W. and P.C. Banko. 2014. Changes in Mauna Kea Dry Forest Structure 2000-2014. Hawaii Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report. TR HCSU-0054. University of Hawaii at Hilo, 20 pp.

Year Published: 2014

Factors related to northern goshawk landscape use in the western Great Lakes region

Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) are a species of special conservation concern in the western Great Lakes bioregion and elsewhere in North America, and exhibit landscape-scale spatial use patterns. However, little information exists about Northern Goshawk habitat relations at broad spatial extents, as most existing published information...

Bruggeman, Jason E.; Andersen, David E.; Woodford, James E.

Year Published: 2014

Survival of surf scoters and white-winged scoters during remigial molt

Quantifying sources and timing of variation in demographic rates is necessary to determine where and when constraints may exist within the annual cycle of organisms. Surf scoters (Melanitta perspicillata) and white-winged scoters (M. fusca) undergo simultaneous remigial molt during which they are flightless for >1 month. Molt could result in...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Esler, Daniel N.; Dickson, Rian D.; Hupp, Jerry W.; Evenson, Joseph R.; Anderson, Eric M.; Barrett, Jennifer; Schmutz, Joel A.
Uher-Koch, B. D., D. Esler, R. D. Dickson, J. W. Hupp, J. R. Evenson, E. M. Anderson, J. Barrett, and J. A. Schmutz. 2014. Survival of Surf Scoters and White-Winged Scoters during remigial molt. Journal of Wildlife Management 78(7):1189-1196. doi:10.1002/jwmg.774

Year Published: 2014

Using resistance and resilience concepts to reduce impacts of annual grasses and altered fire regimes on the sagebrush ecosystem and sage-grouse- A strategic multi-scale approach

This Report provides a strategic approach for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems and Greater Sage- Grouse (sage-grouse) that focuses specifically on habitat threats caused by invasive annual grasses and altered fire regimes. It uses information on factors that influence (1) sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive...

Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pyke, David A.; Maestas, Jeremy D.; Boyd, Chad S.; Campbell, Steve; Espinosa, Shawn; Havlina, Doug; Mayer, Kenneth F.; Wuenschel, Amarina

Year Published: 2014

A nuclear DNA perspective on delineating evolutionarily significant lineages in polyploids: the case of the endangered shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum)

The shortnose sturgeon, Acipenser brevirostrum, oft considered a phylogenetic relic, is listed as an “endangered species threatened with extinction” in the US and “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Effective conservation of A. brevirostrum depends on understanding its diversity and evolutionary processes, yet challenges associated with the...

King, Timothy L.; Henderson, Anne P.; Kynard, Boyd E.; Kieffer, Micah C.; Peterson, Douglas L.; Aunins, Aaron W.; Brown, Bonnie L.
A nuclear DNA perspective on delineating evolutionarily significant lineages in polyploids: the case of the endangered shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum); 2014; Article; Journal; PLoS ONE; King, Timothy L.; Henderson, Anne P.; Kynard, Boyd E.; Kieffer, Micah C.; Peterson, Douglas L; Aunins, Aaron W.; Brown, Bonnie L.

Year Published: 2014

Can air temperature be used to project influences of climate change on stream temperature?

Worldwide, lack of data on stream temperature has motivated the use of regression-based statistical models to predict stream temperatures based on more widely available data on air temperatures. Such models have been widely applied to project responses of stream temperatures under climate change, but the performance of these models has not been...

Arismendi, Ivan; Safeeq, Mohammad; Dunham, Jason B.; Johnson, Sherri L.
Can air temperature be used to project influences of climate change on stream temperature?; 2014; Article; Journal; Environmental Research Letters; Arismendi, Ivan; Safeeq, Mohammad; Dunham, Jason B.; Johnson, Sherri L.