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The Ecosystems Mission Area provides impartial science information 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.
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Evaluating the Prevalence of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in the Southeastern U.S.: Any Evidence of Disease-Related Population Declines?
Pathogens and infectious disease play a role in some recent species extinctions and are likely to impact biodiversity in the future. Environmental DNA - eDNA - is coupled with traditional amphibian sampling methods to determine the distribution and prevalence of the amphibian chytrid fungus, also known as Bd, in the southeastern US.
A Decision Support Tool for Repatriation of Aquatic Fauna: A Case Study Involving the Striped Newt (Notophthalmus perstriatus) at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
The Striped Newt is a small salamander found in xeric habitats (e.g., scrub, sandhill, dry flatwoods) of the lower coastal plain and northern peninsular Florida. Though once considered "common," they are currently a candidate species for federal listing.
On November 20, 2014, eight teams of fishery biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), U.S. National Park Service (NPS), and Florida International University (FIU) gathered for a one-day sampling event to collect non-native fishes from canals, ponds and ditches in Miami-Dade County, FL....
USGS scientists work to provide data to UC Davis researchers on health and growth of smelt population in Bay-Delta.
Scientists study habitats occupied by longfin smelt larvae to better understand their ecology and to inform water management operations, species management, and habitat restoration efforts.
Based on field research conducted during 2002-2009, the bobwhite population on the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Southwest Florida is incapable of supporting desired levels of sport harvest.
Habitat alteration and climate, when combined, are serious threats to amphibians and other wildlife. Habitat suitability models are being used to predict the responses of an amphibian community to hydrological and habitat restoration in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem.
The South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SALCC) has proposed natural resource indicators and associated targets for the marine ecosystem.
Scientists research the importance of abiotic versus biotic (food supply) habitat features as drivers of delta smelt abundance and distribution.
Coping with Invasive Alien Species and Environmental Stressors: Linking Behavioral Studies with Management for Anuran Amphibians
Climate change and invasive species are two key drivers of biodiversity loss. Knowing how amphibians respond to climate change and invasive species can greatly improve predictions of species' persistence in the face of these factors and can help guide resource managers and conservation biologists in developing strategies to manage for these encroaching disturbances.
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.
Incorporating future change into current conservation planning: Evaluating tidal saline wetland migration along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast under alternative sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios
In this study, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, quantified the potential for landward migration of tidal saline wetlands along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast under alternative future sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios. Our analyses focused exclusively on tidal saline wetlands (that is,...Enwright, Nicholas M.; Griffith, Kereen T.; Osland, Michael J.
Dreissenid mussel research priorities workshop
Currently, dreissenid mussels have yet to be detected in the northwestern part of the United States and western Canada. Infestation of one of the jurisdictions within the mussel-free Pacific Northwest would likely have significant economic, societal and environmental implications for the entire region. Understanding the biology and environmental...Sytsma, Mark; Phillips, Stephen; Counihan, Timothy D.
Fire activity as a function of fire–weather seasonal severity and antecedent climate across spatial scales in southern Europe and Pacific western USA
Climate has a strong influence on fire activity, varying across time and space. We analyzed the relationships between fire–weather conditions during the main fire season and antecedent water-balance conditions and fires in two Mediterranean-type regions with contrasted management histories: five southern countries of the European Union (...Urbieta, Itziar R.; Zavala, Gonzalo; Bedia, Joaquin; Gutierrez, Jose M.; San Miguel-Ayanz, Jesus; Camia, Andrea; Keeley, Jon E.; Moreno, Jose M.
Recent Arctic tundra fire initiates widespread thermokarst development
Fire-induced permafrost degradation is well documented in boreal forests, but the role of fires in initiating thermokarst development in Arctic tundra is less well understood. Here we show that Arctic tundra fires may induce widespread thaw subsidence of permafrost terrain in the first seven years following the disturbance. Quantitative analysis...Jones, Benjamin M.; Grosse, Guido; Arp, Christopher D.; Miller, Eric K.; Liu, Lingli; Hayes, Daniel J.; Larsen, Christopher F.
Large-scale range collapse of Hawaiian forest birds under climate change and the need 21st century conservation options
Hawaiian forest birds serve as an ideal group to explore the extent of climate change impacts on at-risk species. Avian malaria constrains many remaining Hawaiian forest bird species to high elevations where temperatures are too cool for malaria's life cycle and its principal mosquito vector. The impact of climate change on Hawaiian forest birds...Fortini, Lucas B.; Vorsino, Adam E.; Amidon, Fred A.; Paxton, Eben H.; Jacobi, James D.
Genetic structure, diversity, and interisland dispersal in the endangered Mariana Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus guami)
The Mariana Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus guami) is a highly endangered taxon, with fewer than 300 individuals estimated to occur in the wild. The subspecies is believed to have undergone population declines attributable to loss of wetland habitats on its native islands in the Mariana Islands. We analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)...Miller, Mark P.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Haig, Susan M.; Takano, Leilani L.; Garcia, Karla
Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat—Part 1. Concepts for understanding and applying restoration
Sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the United States currently occur on only about one-half of their historical land area because of changes in land use, urban growth, and degradation of land, including invasions of non-native plants. The existence of many animal species depends on the existence of sagebrush steppe habitat. The greater sage-grouse (...Pyke, David A.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Pellant, Mike; Knick, Steven T.; Miller, Richard F.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Doescher, Paul S.; Schupp, Eugene W.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Brunson, Mark; McIver, James D.
Woodland salamander responses to a shelterwood harvest-prescribed burn silvicultural treatment within Appalachian mixed-oak forests
Forest management practices that mimic natural canopy disturbances, including prescribed fire and timber harvests, may reduce competition and facilitate establishment of favorable vegetative species within various ecosystems. Fire suppression in the central Appalachian region for almost a century has contributed to a transition from oak-dominated...Ford, W. Mark; Mahoney, Kathleen R.; Russell, Kevin R.; Rodrigue, Jane L.; Riddle, Jason D.; Schuler, Thomas M.; Adams, Mary Beth
Bioaccumulation trends of arsenic and antimony in a freshwater ecosystem affected by mine drainage
We compared As and Sb bioaccumulation and biomagnification when these metalloids co-occurred at varying environmental concentrations in a stream and wetlands near a contaminated mine site in Idaho (USA). We measured As and Sb concentrations in water and substrate samples, and in tissues of organisms representing several trophic levels....Dovick, Meghan A.; Kulp, Thomas R.; Arkle, Robert S.; Pilliod, David S.
Response of the nitrogen-fixing lichen Lobaria pulmonaria to phosphorus, molybdenum, and vanadium
Nitrogen-fixing lichens (cyanolichens) are an important source of nitrogen (N) in Pacific Northwest forests, but limitation of lichen growth by elements essential for N fixation is poorly understood. To investigate how nutrient limitation may affect cyanolichen growth rates, we fertilized a tripartite cyanobacterial lichen (Lobaria pulmonaria) and...Marks, Jade A; Pett-Ridge, Julie; Perakis, Steven S.; Allen, Jessica L; McCune, Bruce
Status and trends of adult Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) sucker populations in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, 2014
Executive Summary Data from a long-term capture-recapture program were used to assess the status and dynamics of populations of two long-lived, federally endangered catostomids in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon. Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris) have been captured and tagged with passive integrated...Hewitt, David A.; Janney, Eric C.; Hayes, Brian S.; Harris, Alta C.
The rapid return of marine-derived nutrients to a freshwater food web following dam removal
Dam removal is increasingly being recognized as a viable river restoration action. Although the main beneficiaries of restored connectivity are often migratory fish populations, little is known regarding recovery of other parts of the freshwater food web, particularly terrestrial components. We measured stable isotopes in key components to the...Tonra, Christopher M; Sager-Fradkin, Kimberly A.; Morley, Sarah A; Duda, Jeff; Marra, Peter P.
Caroline Poli and John Warzybok assess Brewer's sparrows (Spizella breweri) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) being weighed on digital scale, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
John Warzybok secures a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri), White Sands Missle Range, New Mexico.
John Warzybok records data whille Caroline Poli secures a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) for assessment, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Sampling bags holding Brewer's sparrows (Spizella breweri), White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
John Warzybok assesses a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
USGS' Steve Hanser holding a Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri).
USGS Scientist Mark Roth listening to frog calls. Coolecting frog calls allows scientists to determine distribution of species.