Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.