Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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Filter Total Items: 548
Date published: January 16, 2018
Status: Active

National Phenology Network (NPN)

The USA National Phenology Network is a national-scale science and monitoring initiative focused on phenology, which is the study of seasonal life-cycle events such as leafing, flowering, reproduction and migration, as a tool to understand how plants, animals and landscapes respond to environmental variation and change.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 8, 2018
Status: Active

FRESC Snake River Field Station

The scientists of the Snake River Field Station (SRFS) work throughout the western United States, particularly in the public lands of the Intermountain West, Great Basin, and Columbia Plateau. Their work addresses wildlife monitoring protocols; sage-grouse distribution, population trends, and habitat associations; rangeland ecology and restoration; invasive-species management; fire ecology;...

Date published: January 4, 2018

Experimental suppression of invasive lake trout: Implications for conservation of imperiled bull trout in Glacier National Park

After 14,000 years of dominance, Glacier National Park’s (GNP) greatest native aquatic predator is at high risk of extirpation (local extinction) in several lakes on the western slopes of the Continental Divide. The decline of threatened bull trout in GNP is directly attributed to the invasion and establishment of nonnative lake trout, which consistently displace bull trout in systems where...

Date published: December 27, 2017
Status: Active

Regional Patterns of Relationship of Bat Activity to Environmental Conditions

We are exploring models that relate measures of bat activity to environmental conditions, such as weather, moon phase, and day of year.

Contacts: Manuela M Huso
Date published: December 27, 2017
Status: Active

Relationship of Bat Fatality to Activity in the Rotor-Swept Zone

We are conducting daily fatality searches for bat carcasses in order to relate fatality pattern to measures of bat activity, as well as to daily environmental conditions - such as weather, moon phase, and day of year.

Contacts: Manuela M Huso
Date published: December 22, 2017
Status: Active

Estimating the Abundance of an Animal Population When the Total Observed Count is Zero

We are developing the theoretical statistical framework that would allow inference from known search effort and detectability parameters regarding estimated fatality when there are no or few observed carcasses. In addition, we are developing software that resource managers as well as developers can use to design fatality monitoring protocols optimized for different objectives.

Date published: December 22, 2017
Status: Active

Density Weighting

We are investigating ways to accurately estimate this fraction in order to improve the accuracy of estimates and the efficiency of searching.

Date published: December 22, 2017
Status: Active

A General Estimator of Wildlife Fatality from Count Data

We are creating an estimator that allows a more general parameterization of carcass arrival and persistence times, while accommodating the different assumptions regarding the likelihood that a carcass is observed.

Contacts: Manuela M Huso, David Dail
Date published: December 22, 2017
Status: Active

Fatality Estimation Software

We are developing publicly available open-source software that uses data provided by the user to estimate the probability that a searcher will miss a carcass and the probability that a carcass will be removed before a searcher has the opportunity to observe it. The estimates are combined with the observed casualties and an estimate of the fraction of the population of killed animals expected...

Contacts: Manuela M Huso, Nick Som, Lew Ladd
Date published: December 13, 2017
Status: Active

Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) is an interdisciplinary group of scientists and biologists responsible for long-term monitoring and research efforts on grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The team was formed by the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 1973 as a direct result of controversy...

Date published: December 11, 2017
Status: Active

Use of Remote Sensing Data to Quantify Bird and Bat Distributions and Inform Migratory Bird Conservation Efforts

Three federal wildlife refuge complexes on the upper Texas coast include portions of the Columbia Bottomlands and other forests that are important for migratory birds and possibly bats: Texas Mid-Coast, Trinity River, and Chenier Plain.

Date published: December 11, 2017
Status: Active

Use of Remote Sensing Data to Quantify Bird Distributions and Aid in the Environmental Assessment of Energy Development in the Gulf of Mexico Region

Knowing where migratory birds consistently stop to rest and forage is critical for conservation planning, particularly along the northern and western Gulf where there is increased interest in energy development.

Filter Total Items: 2,277
Year Published: 2017

Potential impacts of sea level rise on native plant communities and associated cultural sites in coastal areas of the main Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian coastal vegetation is comprised of plant species that are adapted to growing in extremely harsh conditions (salt spray, wave wash, wind, and substrates with limited nutrients) found in this habitat zone. Prior to human colonization of Hawai‘i coastal vegetation extended as a continuous ring around each of the islands, broken only by...

Jacobi, James D.; Warshauer, Frederick R.
Jacobi, J. D., and F. R. Warshauer. 2017. Potential impacts of sea level rise on native plant communities and associated cultural sites in coastal areas of the main Hawaiian Islands. Final Report to Pacific Islands Climate Science Center. URL: http://piccc.net/project/impacts-of-sea-level-rise-on-native-plant-communities-in-coastal-areas-of-the-main-hawaiian-islands/.

Year Published: 2017

A multi-species synthesis of physiological mechanisms in drought-induced tree mortality

Widespread tree mortality associated with drought has been observed on all forested continents and global change is expected to exacerbate vegetation vulnerability. Forest mortality has implications for future biosphere–atmosphere interactions of carbon, water and energy balance, and is poorly represented in dynamic vegetation models. Reducing...

Adams, Henry D.; Zeppel, Melanie; Anderegg, William R.L.; Hartmann, Henrik; Landhäusser, Simon M.; Tissue, David T.; Huxman, Travis E.; Hudson, Patrick J.; Franz, Trenton E.; Allen, Craig D.; Anderegg, Leander D. L.; Barron-Gafford, Greg A.; Beerling, David; Breshears, David D.; Brodribb, Timothy J.; Bugmann, Harald; Cobb, Richard C.; Collins, Adam D.; Dickman, L. Turin; Duan, Honglang; Ewers, Brent E.; Galiano, Lucia; Galvez, David A.; Garcia-Forner, Núria; Gaylord, Monica L.; Germino, Matthew J.; Gessler, Arthur; Hacke, Uwe G.; Hakamada, Rodrigo; Hector, Andy; Jenkins, Michael W.; Kane, Jeffrey M.; Kolb, Thomas E.; Law, Darin J.; Lewis, James D.; Limousin, Jean-Marc; Love, David; Macalady, Alison K.; Martinez-Vilalta, Jordi; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Mitchell, Patrick J.; Muss, Jordan D.; O'Brien, Michael J.; O'Grady, Anthony P.; Pangle, Robert E.; Pinkard, Elizabeth A.; Piper, Frida I.; Plaut, Jennifer; Pockman, William T.; Quirk, Joe; Reinhardt, Keith; Ripullone, Francesco; Ryan, Michael G.; Sala, Anna; Sevanto, Sanna; Sperry, John S.; Vargas, Rodrigo; Vennetier, Michel; Way, Danielle A.; Wu, Chonggang; Yepez, Enrico A.; McDowell, Nate G.
Adams, H.D., Zeppel, M.J.B., Anderegg, W.R.L. et al. (59 more authors) (2017) A multi-species synthesis of physiological mechanisms in drought-induced tree mortality. Nature Ecology and Evolution. (In Press)

Year Published: 2017

At a global scale, do climate change threatened species also face a greater number of non-climatic threats?

For many species the threats of climate change occur in a context of multiple existing threats. Given the current focus of global change ecology in identifying and understanding species vulnerable to climate change, we performed a global analysis to characterize the multi-threat context for species threatened by climate change. Utilizing 30,053...

Fortini, Lucas B.; Dye, Kaipo
Fortini, L. B., and K. Dye. 2017. At a global scale, do climate change threatened species also face a greater number of non-climatic threats? Global Ecology and Conservation 11:207-212. Available: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2017.06.006

Year Published: 2017

Integrating Breeding Bird Survey and demographic data to estimate Wood Duck population size in the Atlantic Flyway

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) uses data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) to assist in monitoring and management of some migratory birds. However, BBS analyses provide indices of population change rather than estimates of population size, precluding their use in developing abundance-based objectives and limiting...

Zimmerman, Guthrie S.; Sauer, John; Boomer, G. Scott; Devers, Patrick K.; Garrettson, Pamela R.
Zimmerman, G. S., Sauer, J. R., Boomer, G. S., Devers, P. K., and Garrettson, P. R., 2017, Integrating Breeding Bird Survey and demographic data to estimate Wood Duck population size in the Atlantic Flyway: Condor, v. 119, no. 3, p. 616-628.

Year Published: 2017

Assessing multi-tissue lead burdens in free-flying obligate scavengers in eastern North America

Avian scavengers are regularly exposed to anthropogenic lead. Although many studies evaluate lead concentrations of either blood or tissues of lead-poisoned birds, there is comparatively less research on lead burdens of free-flying, apparently healthy individuals and populations. Here, we address this lack of information by assessing lead levels...

Behmke, Shannon; Mazik, Patricia; Katzner, Todd
Behmke, S., Mazik, P. & Katzner, T. Environ Monit Assess (2017) 189: 139. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-017-5855-0

Year Published: 2017

Enhanced precipitation promotes decomposition and soil C stabilization in semiarid ecosystems, but seasonal timing of wetting matters

AimsChanging precipitation regimes in semiarid ecosystems will affect the balance of soil carbon (C) input and release, but the net effect on soil C storage is unclear. We asked how changes in the amount and timing of precipitation affect litter decomposition, and soil C stabilization in semiarid ecosystems.MethodsThe study took place at a long-...

Campos, Xochi; Germino, Matthew; de Graaff, Marie-Anne
Campos X., Germino M., de Graaff M.-A. Enhanced precipitation promotes decomposition and soil C stabilization in semiarid ecosystems, but seasonal timing of wetting matters Plant Soil (2017).

Year Published: 2017

Biological and ecological science for Montana—The Treasure State

Montana is rich in minerals, energy, and soils, as well as prairies, forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, fish, and wildlife. Many enterprises that drive the economy are based on natural resources, including tourism, hunting, fishing, agriculture, and energy development. The outdoor-recreation economy alone supports 64,000 Montana jobs and generates...

U.S. Geological Survey, 2017, Biological and ecological science for Montana—The Treasure State: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017-3052, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173052.

Year Published: 2017

Landscape context and the biophysical response of rivers to dam removal in the United States

Dams have been a fundamental part of the U.S. national agenda over the past two hundred years. Recently, however, dam removal has emerged as a strategy for addressing aging, obsolete infrastructure and more than 1,100 dams have been removed since the 1970s. However, only 130 of these removals had any ecological or geomorphic assessments, and fewer...

Foley, Melissa M.; Magilligan, Francis J.; Torgersen, Christian E.; Major, Jon J.; Anderson, Chauncey; Connolly, Patrick J.; Wieferich, Daniel; Shafroth, Patrick B.; Evans, James E.; Infante, Dana M.; Craig, Laura
Foley MM, Magilligan FJ, Torgersen CE,Major JJ, Anderson CW, Connolly PJ, Weiferich, D, Shafroth, PS, Evans, JE, Infante, D, Craig, LS. (2017) Landscape context and the biophysical response of rivers to dam removal in the United States. PLoS ONE 12(7): e0180107. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180107

Year Published: 2017

Evidence of absence (v2.0) software user guide

Evidence of Absence software (EoA) is a user-friendly software application for estimating bird and bat fatalities at wind farms and for designing search protocols. The software is particularly useful in addressing whether the number of fatalities is below a given threshold and what search parameters are needed to give assurance that thresholds...

Dalthorp, Daniel; Huso, Manuela; Dail, David
Dalthorp, Daniel, Huso, Manuela, and Dail, David, 2017, Evidence of absence (v2.0) software user guide: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1055, 109 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1055.

Year Published: 2017

Methods for measuring bird-mediated seed rain: Insights from a Hawaiian mesic forest

Amount and diversity of bird-dispersed seed rain play important roles in determining forest composition, yet neither is easy to quantify. The complex ecological processes that influence seed movement make the best approach highly context specific. Although recent advances in seed rain theory emphasize quantifying source-specific seed shadows, many...

Rose, Eli; Stewart, Meredith; Brinkman, Andrew; Paxton, Eben H.; Yelenik, Stephanie G.
Rose, E., M. Stewart, A. Brinkman, E. Paxton, and S. Yelenik. 2017. Methods for measuring bird-mediated seed rain: insights from a Hawaiian mesic forest. Pacific Science 71:287–302. Available: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.2984/71.3.4

Year Published: 2017

Field efficacy trials with sylvatic plague vaccine

These data were collected as part of a field trial to test the efficacy of a sylvatic plague vaccine. Treatment and control sites were selected randomly from the available sites at each location. Site pairs were a minimum of 20 acres, (with a few exceptions). Prairie dog trapping took place a minimum of two weeks post-baiting and trapping...

Richgels, Katherine; Russell, Robin E.; Rocke, Tonie E.
Katherine Richgels, Robin Russell, and Tonie Rocke, 2017, Field efficacy trials with sylvatic plague vaccine: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7B56GXM.

Year Published: 2017

Selenium: Mercury molar ratios in freshwater fish in the Columbia River Basin: Potential applications for specific fish consumption advisories

Fish provide a valuable source of beneficial nutrients and are an excellent source of low fat protein. However, fish are also the primary source of methylmercury exposure in humans. Selenium often co-occurs with mercury and there is some evidence that selenium can protect against mercury toxicity yet States issue fish consumption advisories based...

Cusack, Leanne K.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Harding, Anna K.; Kile, Molly; Stone, Dave

Filter Total Items: 531
October 10, 2016

Detecting Invasive Species in the Field: Portable eDNA Screening Tool

The USGS field tested the use of a portable hand-held kit for the detection of the environmental DNA (eDNA) of Asian carps (bighead carp and silver carp) in water samples as part of on-going invasive species detection research. The goals of the USGS-led research are to develop a method and kit that can be used on-site to detect Asian carp eDNA within one hour. Developing portable, rapid and...

September 30, 2016

USGS Science in Point Reyes National Seashore (California)

Interviews with staff at Point Reyes National Seashore tell how this National Park Service unit uses USGS science to educate visitors, and manage the park.
 

Beached boats and bare trees in Hurricane Hole
September 30, 2016

Irma leaves beached boats and broken trees in Huricane Hole

Boat owners sought protection for their vessels in sheltered Hurricane Hole, but Hurricane Irma sunk and beached many boats, likely damaging corals. Photo: Caroline Rogers, USGS, 2017

Photo of USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examining instrumentation to measure photosynthetic rates of biocrusts.
September 29, 2016

USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examines instruments to measure biocrust

USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examines instrumentation to measure photosynthetic rates of biocrusts.

Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight, according to a new USGS study. 

Photo of outdoor testing plots where biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time.
September 26, 2016

Biocrust outdoor testing plots

USGS scientists created outdoor testing plots where large squares of biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time. Researchers not only looked at how the biocrusts responded, but also measured the amount of energy that the different biocrust communities reflected back into the atmosphere relative to how much energy came in from the sun.

Arid and...

Photo of Biocrust outdoor testing plots
September 26, 2016

Biocrust outdoor testing plots

USGS scientists created outdoor testing plots where large squares of biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time. Researchers not only looked at how the biocrusts responded, but also measured the amount of energy that the different biocrust communities reflected back into the atmosphere relative to how much energy came in from the sun.

Arid and...

Photo of USGS scientist Sasha Reed studying outdoor biocrust testing sites
September 26, 2016

USGS scientist Sasha Reed studys outdoor biocrust testing sites

USGS scientist Sasha Reed studies sites where different climate conditions are being mimicked to determine effect on biocrusts.

Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight, according to a new USGS...

Photo of biocrust outdoor testing plots.
September 26, 2016

Biocrust outdoor testing plots.

USGS scientists created outdoor testing plots where large squares of biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time. Researchers not only looked at how the biocrusts responded, but also measured the amount of energy that the different biocrust communities reflected back into the atmosphere relative to how much energy came in from the sun.

Arid and...

Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm
September 8, 2016

Wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm

The Altamont Pass Wind Far is located in northern California.

September 6, 2016

USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station Renovation — Time Lapse

Watch as the USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station water tank and pump house are constructed from the ground up! This short video features time lapse photography of the 1-million gallon water tank and pump house constructed to supply water to a state-of-the-art aquatic science laboratory. Laboratory construction will occur over the next several years and will also be chronicled with time lapse...

Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK
August 26, 2016

Horned Puffin, near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska

Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK. Near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska

August 26, 2016

First Days - Harlequin Ducks

This ridiculously cute video of baby Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) shows their first day outside the egg (about 20 hours old). Scientists at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center are training ducks to respond to sounds — just like a hearing test given to kids during elementary school — to learn more about their ability to hear underwater. This will inform the design of effective...

Filter Total Items: 309
Date published: January 24, 2017

Current Conservation Efforts May Not Be Enough for California’s Central Valley Waterbirds

A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that current conservation planning efforts for waterbird habitat in the Central Valley can likely compensate for habitat loss through the middle of the century.

Date published: January 19, 2017

Managing 246 million acres: new science-based tools support Bureau of Land Management’s landscape approach

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Land Management today released a collaborative report with new information and tools to support effective management of millions of acres of BLM public lands.  The report underscores the value of a landscape approach to management, and shows that the BLM manages some of the largest areas of intact public lands in the west. 

Date published: January 18, 2017

New England’s 1816 “Mackerel Year,” Volcanoes and Climate Change Today

Hundreds of articles have been written about the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, at Indonesia’s Mt. Tambora just over 200 years ago. But for a small group of New England-based researchers, one more Tambora story needed to be told, one related to its catastrophic effects in the Gulf of Maine that may carry lessons for intertwined human-natural systems facing climate change today.

Date published: December 27, 2016

Western Fisheries Science News, November 2016 | Issue 4.11

Internship Supports Youth, Tribes, and Fish

Date published: December 22, 2016

A Grand Slam for Students, Schools and Science

"It’s a grand slam for all involved,” said Dawn Childs, USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units.  “Recent high school graduates with special needs get real-world experience while helping USGS scientists on projects ranging from grizzly bears and energy to historic documents and bird migration. And a school system gets to successfully train students to enter the workforce."

Date published: December 19, 2016

The Other 364 Days of the Year: The Real Lives of Wild Reindeer

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer and caribou are large, cold-adapted, herding herbivores related to deer, elk and moose.

To learn more about how these arctic antler-bearers spend the other 364 days of the year, we talked to USGS caribou expert Dr. Layne Adams, who has studied these animals for more than 30 years.

Date published: December 12, 2016

Coastal Wetland Decision Support Tools Now Available for Great Lakes

Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative Launches Coastal Wetland Decision Support Tools

Date published: December 12, 2016

Not Just for Kissing: Mistletoe and Birds, Bees, and Other Beasts

Perhaps some of you have already experienced a sweet smooch or two under the holiday mistletoe, enjoying this fairly old kissing ritual for people. While figuring prominently in ancient lore, mistletoe is important in other vital ways: it provides essential food, cover and nesting sites for an amazing number of critters. In fact, some animals couldn’t even survive without mistletoe.

Date published: November 28, 2016

Western Fisheries Science News, October 2016 | Issue 4.10

Transporting Fish around Impassable Dams:  An Opportunity and Challenge for Reintroductions

Date published: November 22, 2016

Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

True or false? People are the leading cause of wildfires in the United States.