Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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Filter Total Items: 562
Date published: March 21, 2018
Status: Active

Effects of Aquatic Vegetation on Water Quality and Residence Time in the Bay-Delta

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,...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Vector-borne Disease Research

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...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Forest Structure Resulting from ‘Wildlife Forestry Silviculture’

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...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Assessing Amphibian Disease Risk in the Northeast

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.

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Spatiotemporal Exploratory Models: Deriving Spatial Waterfowl Inputs for Disease Risk Modeling

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...

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

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,...

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

Conservation of Rare Vegetation Communities of the Atlantic Coastal Barrier Islands

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...

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

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 (...

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

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...

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Seaduck Challenge Study

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...

Date published: March 14, 2018
Status: Active

Integrating Estuarine Water-Quality Data in Northeastern National Parks

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...

Date published: March 14, 2018
Status: Active

Variation in Nitrogen Isotope Ratios of Eelgrass to Detect Trends in Estuarine Nutrient Status

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...

Filter Total Items: 69
Date published: March 4, 2016

National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS)

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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

Nature’s Notebook: A national-scale, multi-taxa phenology observation program

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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

Long Term Resource Monitoring

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.

Date published: March 4, 2016

The Spring Indices (SI)

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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

The National Phenology Database

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.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) Trend Data

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.

Date published: March 4, 2016

SAGEMAP

A GIS Database for Sage-grouse and Shrubsteppe Management in the Intermountain West.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Raptor Information System (RIS)

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).

Date published: March 4, 2016

North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)

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.

Date published: March 4, 2016

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."

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

North American Bird Monitoring Projects Database - Other (Bird Studies Canada)

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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

North American Bird Phenology Program — BPP Data Viewer

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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Filter Total Items: 2,285
Year Published: 2018

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.
Copeland, S.M., Munson, S.M., Pilliod, D.S., Welty, J.L., Bradford, J.B., and Butterfield, B.J., 2017, Long-term trends in restoration and associated land treatments in the southwestern United States: Restoration Ecology, v. (online), http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/rec.12574.

Year Published: 2018

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
Richardson, B., Boyd, A.A., Tobaisson, T., Germino, M.J., 2017, Spectrophotometry of Artemisia tridentata to qualitatively determine subspecies: Rangeland Ecology and Management, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2017.07.004.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Hardegree, S.P., Abatzoglou, J.T., Brunson, M., Germino, M.J., Hegewisch, K.C., Moffet, C.A., Pilliod, D.S., Roundy, B.A., Boehm, A.R., Meredith, G.R., 2017, Weather-centric rangeland revegetation planning: Rangeland Ecology and Management, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2017.07.003.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Conlisk, E., Castanha, C., Germino, M.J., Veblen, T.T., Smith, J.M., Kueppers, L.M., 2017, Seed origin and warming constrain lodgepole pine recruitment, slowing the pace of population range shifts: Global Change Biology, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13840.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Lazarus, B. E., Castanha, C., Germino, M. J., Kueppers, L. M. and Moyes, A. B. (), Growth strategies and threshold responses to water deficit modulate effects of warming on tree seedlings from forest to alpine. J Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2745.12837

Year Published: 2018

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.
Eckmann, M., Dunham, J.B., Connor, E.J., Welch, C.A., 2016, Bioenergetic evaluation of diel vertical migration by bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in a thermally stratified reservoir: Ecology of Freshwater Fish, p. online, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eff.12321.

Year Published: 2017

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.
Johnson, N.C., Haig, S.M., Mosher, S.M., Hollenbeck, J.P., 2017, Reproductive success of Mariana swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu: Journal of Field Ornithology, v. 88, p. 362–373, https://doi.org/10.1111/jofo.12236.

Year Published: 2017

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
Jacobi, J.D., and Stock, J., 2017, Vegetation response of a dry shrubland community to feral goat management on the island of Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5136, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175136.

Year Published: 2017

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
Arismendi, I., Dunham, J.B., Heck, M.P., Schultz, L.D., Hockman-Wert, D.P., 2017, A statistical method to predict flow permanence in dryland streams from time series of stream temperature: Water, v. 9, no. 12, p. 946, https://doi.org/10.3390/w9120946.

Year Published: 2017

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
Reynolds, M. H., K. N. Courtot, and J. S. Hatfield. 2017. How many Laysan teal Anas laysanensis are on Midway Atoll? Methods for monitoring abundance after reintroduction. Wildfowl 67:60–71. Available: https://wildfowl.wwt.org.uk/index.php/wildfowl/article/view/2664/1781

Year Published: 2017

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.
D’Antonio, C. M., R. Ostertag, S. Cordell, and S. Yelenik. 2017. Interactions among invasive plants: lessons from Hawai‘i. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 48:521–541. Available: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110316-022620

Year Published: 2017

Feral goats and sheep

No abstract available.

Pitt, William C.; Beasley, James; Witmer, Gary W.; Hess, Steve; Van Vuren, Dirk H.; Witmer, Gary W.
Hess, S. C., D. H. Van Vuren, and G. W. Witmer. 2017. Feral goats and sheep. Pages 287–307 in W. C. Pitt, J. Beasley, and G. W. Witmer, editors. Ecology and Management of Terrestrial Vertebrate Invasive Species in the United States. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Filter Total Items: 538
October 31, 2017

USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station Building Demo Time Lapse Video

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...

R/V Arcticus at Sturgeon Bay
September 21, 2017

R/V Arcticus at Sturgeon Bay

Fog surrounds the USGS Research Vessel Arcticus as it comes into port at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Hoary marmots can be seen near large boulders in alpine meadows from Washington to Alaska.
September 13, 2017

Hoary marmots

Hoary marmots can be seen near large boulders in alpine meadows from Washington to Alaska. 

Photomicrograph of a green desmid alga resembling a holiday ornament
August 31, 2017

A natural marvel in a single cell

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...

Man measuring a little red bird.
August 31, 2017

Iiwi banding 2

Measuring the wing length of a banded Iiwi

Man holding red bird.
August 31, 2017

Iiwi with transmitter

Iiwi with small radio transmitter attached to help track the bird's movement through the forest

American pika in the Northern Cascades. American pikas occupy talus slopes in mountain ecosystems throughout western NA.
August 8, 2017

American pika in the Northern Cascades.

American pika in the Northern Cascades. American pikas occupy talus slopes in mountain ecosystems throughout western North America.

July 31, 2017

A Current Immersion

Curt Storlazzi of the USGS explains how the water cycle pulled him into oceanography, and how his personal interests parallel his profession.
 

WERC researcher conducting elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge
July 31, 2017

WERC Elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay NWR

WERC researcher conducting elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

WERC Coastal ecosystem
July 31, 2017

WERC Coastal Ecosystem Studies

Coastal ecosystem studies at Trinidad coast, California. 

chart of vegetation change in the bird's foot delta
July 31, 2017

Changing vegetation in the Delta 2016-2017

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,

Filter Total Items: 313
Date published: July 10, 2017

Hawaiian Birds Rapidly Colonize Young Restoration Forest

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.

Date published: July 5, 2017

Return of the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

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):

Date published: July 5, 2017

Hot new imagery of wintering bats suggests a group behavior for battling white-nose syndrome

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.

Date published: June 29, 2017

More Milkweeds Located Throughout the Landscape Can Help Conserve Monarchs

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. 

Date published: June 26, 2017

Reptile Skin Grown in Lab for First Time, Helps Study Endangered Turtle Disease

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.

Date published: June 26, 2017

Lake Harvests are Likely More Fruitful than We Knew

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.

Date published: June 22, 2017

Oral Plague Vaccine Helps Reduce Outbreaks in Prairie Dog Colonies

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.  

Date published: June 22, 2017

Lessons from a Tsunami Could Help Protect Seabirds in the Face of Rising Seas

Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning

Date published: June 19, 2017

Snake Fungal Disease Identified in Wild British Snakes for First Time

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.

Date published: June 15, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, May 2017 | Issue 5.5

Exploring the Role of Non-Native American Shad in the Columbia River Basin

Date published: June 6, 2017

Scientists Discover New Species of Fijian Iguana

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.

Date published: June 6, 2017

Increased Sea Ice Drift Puts Polar Bears on Faster Moving Treadmill

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.