Can We Make Wind Power Compatible with Wildlife?
This story is a case study on wind energy and bats in Hawaii that communicates the impact and value of USGS science to people and the environment.See the story
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The spread of invasive aquatic vegetation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is having a profound impact on the Delta’s natural habitat. The presence of these “aquatic weeds” has been shown to alter water velocity and increase water clarity, posing threats to native fish species, specifically the threatened Delta Smelt. These aquatic plants can also affect the foodweb by altering nutrient,...
The Challenge: Lyme disease, which is caused by a tick-transmitted spirochete, is the most common vector-borne disease in North America, with about 300,000 cases each year. Most cases occur in the northeastern and north central U.S., with relatively few in the south, even though the vector tick is present in all of these regions. The purpose of this research is to elucidate the ecological...
The Challenge: Management of bottomland forests using wildlife forestry silviculture is being undertaken to achieve desired forest conditions for priority silvicolous wildlife, such as Louisiana black bear, migratory birds, and resident game species. Wildlife forestry management results in forests that have more open canopies and increased understory vegetation yet exhibit heterogeneous...
The Challenge: Disease in amphibian populations can have a range of effects, from devastating declines following introduction of a novel pathogen to recurring breakout events on a landscape. Elucidating mechanisms underlying the effects of diseases on amphibian populations is crucial to help managers make appropriate decisions to achieve management goals for amphibians.
The Challenge: Disease risk modeling can be an important tool for identifying areas of high transmission risk within and between animal populations, allowing for strategic allocation of limited resources for disease surveillance and prevention. Acquiring a spatial understanding of the distributions of high risk populations is a critical first step in developing predictive disease transmission...
Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI): Understanding Amphibian Populations in the Northeastern United States
Currently, 90 amphibian species are recognized in the Northeast, including 59 species in the Order Caudata (salamanders) and 31 species in the Order Anura (frogs and toads). Almost half of the amphibians in the Northeast are salamanders within the family Plethodontidae. Amphibians are found in all physiographic regions of the Northeast, from sea level to the heights of the Appalachian,...
The Challenge: A synthesis of the role of disturbance, in all of its manifestations, on the establishment and development of the American Holly forest is required to guide future conservation measures. Because many forest fragments have already endured >30 years of chronic deer herbivory, a legitimate question of how much more impact by deer can be tolerated and still conserve the essential...
Development of a Multimetric Index for Integrated Assessment of Salt Marsh Condition in the Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network
The Challenge: The integrity and sustainability of salt marshes in National Park units of the Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN) are severely threatened by human activities. These marshes provide critical fish and wildlife habitat and essential ecosystem services in the northeastern coastal zone, and are a high priority for NCBN Vital Signs monitoring. Biennial monitoring of nekton (...
Recovery of Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in Casco Bay, Maine, Following Destruction by European Green Crabs
The Challenge: Eelgrass provides essential functions to the ecology and economy of Maine’s coastal zone. When over half the eelgrass in Casco Bay, Maine, disappeared between 2012 and 2013, USGS experimental evidence identified disturbance from invasive European green crabs as the leading cause. Loss of vegetation is expected to precipitate a range of impacts, including reduced fish and...
The Challenge: The susceptibility and pathogenesis of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) has not been characterized in numerous duck species, especially diving ducks (genera Melanitta, Aythya, and Oxyura), some of which migrate across the continental US. The few studies available (on Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula) suggest that they may shed high amounts of virus, but it is unclear...
The Challenge: Estuaries in northeastern states are severely threatened by the adverse impacts of nutrient over-enrichment. USGS led the development of a vital-signs protocol to monitor estuarine nutrient status in northeastern National Parks, and monitoring has been operational in coastal parks from Massachusetts to Virginia since 2006. Monitoring results must be synthesized and interpreted...
The Challenge: Seagrasses are productive and important components of shallow coastal waters, and they have suffered extensive declines worldwide. Because seagrasses are directly in the path of watershed nutrient inputs, a major cause of habitat loss is coastal development and consequent water quality degradation. Improved approaches for detecting threats of nutrient enrichment are paramount to...
The central organizing framework for documentation, inventory, monitoring, and study of vegetation in the United States from broad scale formations like forests to fine-scale plant communities. The Classification allows users to produce uniform statistics about vegetation resources across the nation at local, regional, or national levels.
Nature’s Notebook is an online phenological monitoring program that currently supports data collection, storage and use for almost 250 animal species (including fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals) and 650 plant species (including trees, shrubs, forbs, grasses and cacti). Available to anyone from scientists to nature enthusiast.
This web resource provides decision makers with the information needed to maintain the Upper Mississippi River System as a viable multiple-use large river ecosystem.
The Spring Indices are a suite of models developed to simulate the timing of the onset of spring in native and cultivated plants, as well as other physical and ecological processes, that are primarily sensitive to temperature. The SI can be calculated for any weather station that collects daily minimum and maximum temperatures.
The database houses contemporary and historical data on organismal phenology across the nation. These data are being used in a number of applications for science, conservation and resource management. Customizable data downloads using specific dates, regions, species and phenophases, are freely available.
The ARMI database provides occupancy and abundance estimates at the project level. Data can be accessed in tabular format or plotted directly via an interactive map browser. The trend data is updated annually and is useful for tracking the status of some of our nation’s amphibian populations.
Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC, Corvallis) — The Raptor Information System (RIS) is a computerized literature retrieval system that focuses on raptor management, human impacts on raptors, the mitigation of adverse impacts, and basic raptor biology (with an emphasis on population dynamics and predation).
Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a project monitored by the USGS and the Canadian Wildlife Service on the status and trends of North American bird populations. The data can be used to estimate population trends and relative abundances at various scales.
Across Trophic Level System Simulation for the Freshwater Wetlands of the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp
Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS) is a project to develop a set of models for the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp of South Florida. The models will support studies "to compare the future effects of alternative hydrologic scenarios on the biotic components of the system."
The North American Bird Monitoring Projects Database site is dedicated to bird monitoring in North America. It provides easy access to descriptions of all major bird monitoring projects in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
The North American Bird Phenology Program was a network of volunteer observers who recorded information on first arrival dates, maximum abundance, and departure dates of migratory birds across North America. Active between 1880 and 1970, the program exists now as a historic collection of six million migration card observations.
Long-term trends in restoration and associated land treatments in the southwestern United States
Restoration treatments, such as revegetation with seeding or invasive species removal, have been applied on U.S. public lands for decades. Temporal trends in these management actions have not been extensively summarized previously, particularly in the southwestern United States where invasive plant species, drought, and fire have altered dryland...Copeland, Stella M.; Munson, Seth M.; Pilliod, David S.; Welty, Justin L.; Bradford, John B.; Butterfield, Bradley J.
Spectrophotometry of Artemisia tridentata to quantitatively determine subspecies
Ecological restoration is predicated on our abilities to discern plant taxa. Taxonomic identification is a first step in ensuring that plants are appropriately adapted to the site. An example of the need to identify taxonomic differences comes from big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). This species is composed of three predominant subspecies...Richardson, Bryce; Boyd, Alicia; Tobiasson, Tanner; Germino, Matthew
Weather-centric rangeland revegetation planning
Invasive annual weeds negatively impact ecosystem services and pose a major conservation threat on semiarid rangelands throughout the western United States. Rehabilitation of these rangelands is challenging due to interannual climate and subseasonal weather variability that impacts seed germination, seedling survival and establishment, annual weed...Hardegree, Stuart P.; Abatzoglou, John T.; Brunson, Mark W.; Germino, Matthew; Hegewisch, Katherine C.; Moffet, Corey A.; Pilliod, David S.; Roundy, Bruce A.; Boehm, Alex R.; Meredith, Gwendwr R.
Seed origin and warming constrain lodgepole pine recruitment, slowing the pace of population range shifts
Understanding how climate warming will affect the demographic rates of different ecotypes is critical to predicting shifts in species distributions. Here we present results from a common garden, climate change experiment in which we measured seedling recruitment of lodgepole pine, a widespread North American conifer that is also planted globally....Conlisk, Erin; Castanha, Cristina; Germino, Matthew; Veblen, Thomas T.; Smith, Jeremy M.; Moyes, Andrew B.; Kueppers, Lara M.
Growth strategies and threshold responses to water deficit modulate effects of warming on tree seedlings from forest to alpine
1.Predictions of upslope range shifts for tree species with warming are based on assumptions of moisture stress at lower elevation limits and low temperature stress at high elevation limits. However, recent studies have shown that warming can reduce tree seedling establishment across the entire gradient from subalpine forest to alpine via moisture...Lazarus, Brynne E.; Castanha, Cristina; Germino, Matthew; Kueppers, Lara M.; Moyes, Andrew B.
Bioenergetic evaluation of diel vertical migration by bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in a thermally stratified reservoir
Many species living in deeper lentic ecosystems exhibit daily movements that cycle through the water column, generally referred to as diel vertical migration (DVM). In this study, we applied bioenergetics modelling to evaluate growth as a hypothesis to explain DVM by bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in a thermally stratified reservoir (Ross...Eckmann, Madeleine; Dunham, Jason B.; Connor, Edward J.; Welch, Carmen A.
Reproductive success of Mariana swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu
Mariana Swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) are federally listed as endangered, with populations currently limited to just three islands in the Mariana Islands plus an introduced population on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu. Before efforts are made to reintroduce Mariana Swiftlets to other islands in the Mariana archipelago, additional information is...Johnson, Nathan C.; Haig, Susan M.; Mosher, Stephen M.; Hollenbeck, Jeff P.
Vegetation response of a dry shrubland community to feral goat management on the island of Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i
The Hawaiian Islands are well known for their unique ecosystem assemblages that have a high proportion of endemic flora and fauna. However, since human colonization of this archipelago—starting with the arrival of Polynesian sailors approximately 1,200 years ago, and particularly following western contact in 1778—thousands of non-native species...Jacobi, James D.; Stock, Jonathan
A statistical method to predict flow permanence in dryland streams from time series of stream temperature
Intermittent and ephemeral streams represent more than half of the length of the global river network. Dryland freshwater ecosystems are especially vulnerable to changes in human-related water uses as well as shifts in terrestrial climates. Yet, the description and quantification of patterns of flow permanence in these systems is challenging...Arismendi, Ivan; Dunham, Jason B.; Heck, Michael; Schultz, Luke; Hockman-Wert, David
How many Laysan Teal Anas laysanensis are on Midway Atoll? Methods for monitoring abundance after reintroduction
Wildlife managers often request a simple approach to monitor the status of species of concern. In response to that need, we used eight years of monitoring data to estimate population size and test the validity of an index for monitoring accurately the abundance of reintroduced, endangered Laysan Teal Anas laysanensis. The population was...Reynolds, Michelle H.; Courtot, Karen; Hatfield, Jeffrey
Interactions among invasive plants: Lessons from Hawai‘i
Most ecosystems have multiple-plant invaders rather than single-plant invaders, yet ecological studies and management actions focus largely on single invader species. There is a need for general principles regarding invader interactions across varying environmental conditions, so that secondary invasions can be anticipated and managers can...D'Antonio, Carla M.; Ostertag, Rebecca; Cordell, Susan; Yelenik, Stephanie G.
Feral goats and sheep
No abstract available.Pitt, William C.; Beasley, James; Witmer, Gary W.; Hess, Steve; Van Vuren, Dirk H.; Witmer, Gary W.
Out with the old, in with the new! A state-of-the-art aquatic science laboratory is being built on the shores of Lake Huron at the USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station (HBBS), one of seven field stations of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center, operated in partnership with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. To make way for the new laboratory, four old buildings on the HBBS property needed to be...
This single-celled freshwater algae wasa collected as part of the first-ever study of the green algae family called desmids in Florida’s Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, in the northern Everglades. USGS biologist Barry H. Rosen, an expert on freshwater algae who leads the study, used a technique called differential interference microscopy to highlight the relief of the image. The bright...
American pika in the Northern Cascades. American pikas occupy talus slopes in mountain ecosystems throughout western North America.
Curt Storlazzi of the USGS explains how the water cycle pulled him into oceanography, and how his personal interests parallel his profession.
Chart showing changes in vegetation density in the Mississippi River delta in Louisiana, May 2015-May 2016. From a USGS Open File Report published in July 2017 by co-authors Elijah Ramsey III and Amina Rangoonwala,
Forest birds on the island of Hawaii are responding positively to being restored in one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, according to a new study released July 10 in the journal Restoration Ecology.
From the journals of Lewis & Clark, April 13, 1805 (in the vicinity of Pouch Point Recreation Area - 16 miles south of New Town, North Dakota):
Hot new imagery from temperature-sensing cameras suggests that bats who warm up from hibernation together throughout the winter may be better at surviving white nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus ravaging insect-eating bat populations in the United States and Canada.
Adding milkweeds and other native flowering plants into midwestern agricultural lands is key to restoring monarch butterflies, with milkweed sowers from all sectors of society being critically needed for success.
Scientists recently reconstructed the skin of endangered green turtles, marking the first time that skin of a non-mammal was successfully engineered in a laboratory, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study. In turn, the scientists were able to grow a tumor-associated virus to better understand certain tumor diseases.
Harvests from freshwater fisheries such as the Great Lakes could total more than 12 million tons a year globally and contribute more to global food supplies and economies than previous estimates indicate, according to a study published today by Michigan State University and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to succumb to plague after they ingest peanut-butter-flavored bait that contains a vaccine against the disease, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today in the journal EcoHealth.
Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning
Europe’s wild snakes could face a growing threat from a fungal skin disease that has contributed to wild snake deaths in North America, according to an international collaborative study, led by conservation charity Zoological Society of London alongside partners including the U.S. Geological Survey. The new study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Exploring the Role of Non-Native American Shad in the Columbia River Basin
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, The National Trust of Fiji and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti have discovered a new species of banded iguana.
A new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wyoming found that increased westward ice drift in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas requires polar bears to expend more energy walking eastward on a faster moving “treadmill” of sea ice.