Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 562
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Decision Frameworks

Decision frameworks bring science and stakeholders needs together to determine the best way to manage natural resources.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Biological Collections

Biological collections provide critical data to assess the history of the status, population trends, and abundance of the plants and animals around us. 

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Citizen Science

Citizen science — scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, usually in collaboration with scientific institutions — is a grassroots approach to natural science. It educates and engages the public by encouraging ordinary citizens to use their interests and their talents in tackling a wide range of real-world problems. 

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are the benefits that ecosystems provide that are valued by human users such as food, fresh water, and cultural services. Ecosystems also provide marketable goods like seafood and timber.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Adaptive Assessments

The Status and Trends program is using adaptive assessments to understand the current condition of plants, animals, and habitats then structuring management decisions around the information learned.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 22, 2018
Status: Active

Data Analysis, Synthesis, and Delivery

The Status and Trends program provides research, technological tools, and decision support to meet the science needs of the Nation's resource managers to conserve and protect aquatic species, communities, and habitats.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: February 15, 2018
Status: Active

Biological Survey Unit

Scientists and staff of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center stationed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) do research on the systematics and conservation of vertebrate species and curate and manage the North American collections of Amphibian, Reptile, Bird, and Mammal specimens and associated records.

Date published: February 15, 2018
Status: Active

Fish Passage

A major focus of USGS-LSC is the design and evaluation of state-of the-art upstream and downstream fish passage structures for hydropower facilities of different sizes and locations and for different fish species, including endangered sturgeons and Atlantic salmon. Performance, physiology, behavior and energetics of each fish species are tested in-house for each design.

Contacts: Alexander Haro
Date published: February 8, 2018
Status: Active

Louisiana Barrier Island Habitat Mapping and Change Assessment

Barrier islands provide numerous invaluable ecosystem goods and services including storm protection and erosion control for the mainland, habitat for fish and wildlife, salinity regulation in estuaries, carbon sequestration in marshes, recreation, and tourism. These islands are dynamic environments due to their position at the land-sea interface. Storms, wave energy, tides, currents, and...

Date published: February 7, 2018
Status: Active

Relative Sensitivity of Adult Mosquitoes and Butterflies to Adult Mosquito Control Pesticides

Mosquito control on Department of the Interior (DOI) managed lands is a resource management challenge. The pesticides used to control mosquitoes may also affect nontarget organisms whose conservation is one of the primary responsibilities of resource managers.

Date published: February 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory: Recent Accomplishments

The Challenge: Bird banding is indispensable for the study of bird movement, survival and behavior. The US Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) was established in 1920 and expanded into the current operation supporting the activities of approximately 1750 Master banders and more than 5200 sub-permittees. In collaboration with the Canadian Bird Banding Office, it jointly coordinates the North American...

Contacts: Bruce Peterjohn
Date published: January 26, 2018
Status: Active

Remote Sensing

USGS scientists are exploring new uses of remote sensing for monitoring and assessment.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Filter Total Items: 2,285
Year Published: 2017

Characterizing Golden Eagle risk to lead and anticoagulant rodenticide exposure: A review

Contaminant exposure is among the many threats to Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) populations throughout North America, particularly lead poisoning and anticoagulant rodenticides (AR). These threats may act in concert with others (e.g., lead poisoning and trauma associated with striking objects) to exacerbate risk. Golden Eagles are skilled...

Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Buck, Jeremy A.

Year Published: 2017

U.S. Geological Survey sage-grouse and sagebrush ecosystem research annual report for 2017

The sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem extends across a large portion of the Western United States, and the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is one of the iconic species of this ecosystem. Greater sage-grouse populations occur in 11 States and are dependent on relatively large expanses of sagebrush-dominated habitat. Sage-grouse...

Hanser, Steven E.
Hanser, S.E., ed., 2017, U.S. Geological Survey sage-grouse and sagebrush ecosystem research annual report for 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1436, 54 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1436.

Year Published: 2017

U.S. Geological Survey—Energy and wildlife research annual report for 2017

IntroductionTerrestrial and aquatic ecosystems provide valuable services to humans and are a source of clean water, energy, raw materials, and productive soils. The Nation’s food supply is more secure because of wildlife. For example, native pollinators enhance agricultural crops, and insect-eating bats provide pest control services worth billions...

Khalil, Mona
Attribution: Ecosystems
Khalil, Mona, ed., 2017, U.S. Geological Survey—Energy and wildlife research annual report for 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1435, 91 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1435.

Year Published: 2017

Development of a robust analytical framework for assessing landbird trends, dynamics and relationships with environmental covariates in the North Coast and Cascades Network

During 2015-2016, we completed development of a new analytical framework for landbird population monitoring data from the National Park Service (NPS) North Coast and Cascades Inventory and Monitoring Network (NCCN). This new tool for analysis combines several recent advances in modeling population status and trends using point-count data and is...

Ray, Chris; Saracco, James; Jenkins, Kurt J.; Huff, Mark; Happe, Patricia J.; Ransom, Jason I.

Year Published: 2017

Survivorship across the annual cycle of a migratory passerine, the willow flycatcher

Annual survivorship in migratory birds is a product of survival across the different periods of the annual cycle (i.e. breeding, wintering, and migration), and may vary substantially among these periods. Determining which periods have the highest mortality, and thus are potentially limiting a population, is important especially for species of...

Paxton, Eben H.; Durst, Scott L.; Sogge, Mark K.; Koronkiewicz, Thomas J.; Paxton, Kristina L.
Paxton, E. H., S. L. Durst, M. K. Sogge, T. J. Koronkiewicz, and K. L. Paxton. 2017. Survivorship across the annual cycle of a migratory passerine, the willow flycatcher. Journal of Avian Biology 48:1126–1131. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jav.01371

Year Published: 2017

Diel variation in detection and vocalization rates of king (Rallus elegans) and clapper (Rallus crepitans) rails in intracoastal waterways

Surveys for secretive marsh birds could be improved with refinements to address regional and species-specific variation in detection probabilities and optimal times of day to survey. Diel variation in relation to naïve occupancy, detection rates, and vocalization rates of King (Rallus elegans) and Clapper (R. crepitans) rails were studied in...

Stiffler, Lydia L.; Anderson, James T.; Welsh, Amy B.; Harding, Sergio R.; Costanzo, Gary R.; Katzner, Todd
Stiffler, L.L., Anderson, J.T., Welsh, A.B., Harding, S.R., Costanzo, G.R., Katzner, T.E., 2017, Diel variation in detection and vocalization rates of king (Rallus elegans) and clapper (Rallus crepitans) rails in intracoastal waterways: Waterbirds, v. 40, no. 3, p. 263-271, https://doi.org/10.1675/063.040.0307.

Year Published: 2017

Hawai`i forest bird monitoring database: Database dictionary

Between 1976 and 1981, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (now U.S. Geological Survey – Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center [USGS-PIERC]) conducted systematic surveys of forest birds and plant communities on all the main Hawaiian Islands, except O‘ahu, as part of the Hawai‘i Forest Bird Surveys (HFBS). Results of this monumental effort have...

Camp, Richard J.; Genz, Ayesha
Camp, R. J., and A. S. Genz. 2017. Hawai‘i Forest Bird Monitoring Database: database dictionary. Hawai`i Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report HCSU-TR039, University of Hawai'i at Hilo, Hilo, Hawai‘i. Available: http://hdl.handle.net/10790/3311.

Year Published: 2017

Lessons from the Tōhoku tsunami: A model for island avifauna conservation prioritization

Earthquake-generated tsunamis threaten coastal areas and low-lying islands with sudden flooding. Although human hazards and infrastructure damage have been well documented for tsunamis in recent decades, the effects on wildlife communities rarely have been quantified. We describe a tsunami that hit the world's largest remaining tropical seabird...

Reynolds, Michelle H.; Berkowitz, Paul; Klavitter, John; Courtot, Karen
Reynolds, M. H., P. Berkowitz, J. L. Klavitter, and K. N. Courtot. 2017. Lessons from the Tōhoku tsunami: A model for island avifauna conservation prioritization. Ecology and Evolution 7:5873–5890. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3092

Year Published: 2017

Long-term dynamics and characteristics of snags created for wildlife habitat

Snags provide essential habitat for numerous organisms and are therefore critical to the long-term maintenance of forest biodiversity. Resource managers often use snag creation to mitigate the purposeful removal of snags at the time of harvest, but information regarding how created snags change over long timescales (>20 y) is absent from...

Barry, Amy M.; Hagar, Joan; Rivers, James W.
Barry, A.M., Hagar, J.C., Rivers, J.W., 2017, Long-term dynamics and characteristics of snags created for wildlife habitat: Forest Ecology and Management, v. 403, p. 145-151, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2017.07.049.

Year Published: 2017

Biological and ecological science for Florida—The Sunshine State

Florida is rich in sunshine and other natural resources essential to the State's economy. More than 100 million tourists visit Florida's beaches, wetlands, forests, oceans, lakes, and streams where they generate billions of dollars and sustain more than a million jobs. Florida also provides habitat for several thousand freshwater and marine fish,...

Attribution: Ecosystems
U.S. Geological Survey, 2017, Biological and ecological science for Florida—The Sunshine State: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017-3066, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173066.

Year Published: 2017

Satellite-tagged osprey nearly sets longevity record and productivity response to initial captures

We equipped adult Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) from 24 nests in Oregon/Washington with satellite-tracked battery-powered radios, known as platform transmitter terminals (PTTs), in 1996–1999. These Ospreys from the lower Columbia River (river miles 76–286), and the Willamette Valley in western Oregon were part of a larger study of Osprey fall...

Henny, Charles J.; Martell, Mark S.
Henny, C.J., Martell, M., 2017, Satellite-tagged osprey nearly sets longevity record and productivity response to initial captures: Journal of Raptor Research, v. 51, no. 2, p. 180-183, https://doi.org/10.3356/JRR-16-71.1.

Year Published: 2017

Centennial-scale reductions in nitrogen availability in temperate forests of the United States

Forests cover 30% of the terrestrial Earth surface and are a major component of the global carbon (C) cycle. Humans have doubled the amount of global reactive nitrogen (N), increasing deposition of N onto forests worldwide. However, other global changes—especially climate change and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations—are increasing...

McLauchlan, Kendra K.; Gerhart, Laci M.; Battles, John J.; Craine, Joseph M.; Elmore, Andrew J.; Higuera, Phil E.; Mack, Michelle M; McNeil, Brendan E.; Nelson, David M.; Pederson, Neil; Perakis, Steven
McLauchlan, K.K., Gerhart, L.M., Battles, J., Craine, J.M., Elmore, A.J., Higuera, P.E., Mack, M.M., McNeil, B., Nelson, D.M., Pederson, N., Perakis, S.S., 2017, Centennial-scale reductions in nitrogen availability in temperate forests of the United States: Scientific Reports, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08170-z.

Filter Total Items: 538
Yosemite Toad
December 31, 2016

Yosemite Toad Vocalization

Amphibians’ permeable skin makes them incredibly sensitive to changes in their environment. Scientists and conservationists alike are using them as “sentinel species” that could provide early warnings of ecosystem change and stress affecting them and other organisms. Next time you are out, stop and listen. Do you hear them?
 

Sierran Treefrog
December 31, 2016

Sierran Treefrog Vocalization

Amphibians’ permeable skin makes them incredibly sensitive to changes in their environment. Scientists and conservationists alike are using them as “sentinel species” that could provide early warnings of ecosystem change and stress affecting them and other organisms. Next time you are out, stop and listen. Do you hear them?
 

 California Red-legged Frog
December 31, 2016

California Red-Legged Frog Vocalization

Amphibians’ permeable skin makes them incredibly sensitive to changes in their environment. Scientists and conservationists alike are using them as “sentinel species” that could provide early warnings of ecosystem change and stress affecting them and other organisms. Next time you are out, stop and listen. Do you hear them?
 

Chinese firebelly new
December 31, 2016

Chinese Firebelly Newt

A Chinese firebelly newt (Cynops orientalis), the first salamander species found to be infected with the spring viraemia of carp virus.

Chinese fire belly newt
December 31, 2016

Chinese Firebelly Newt

A Chinese firebelly newt (Cynops orientalis), the salamander species recently found to be infected with the spring viraemia of carp virus, or SVCV.

Testing for Bsal
December 31, 2016

Testing for Bsal

Scientists sample a rough-skinned newt for the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal, at a pond near Portland, Oregon. Bsal is decimating wild salamander populations in Europe and could emerge in the U.S. through the captive amphibian trade.

Attribution: Ecosystems
American Alligator
December 31, 2016

American Alligator

USGS and other scientists have studied in-depth alligator populations in Florida and Louisiana, but basic ecological knowledge is lacking for populations at the northern edge of their range. For example, differences in climate and habitat between the southern and northern portions of the range limit the applicability of findings from other studies to South Carolina alligator management....

Sampling for Bsal
December 31, 2016

Sampling for Bsal

Scientists sample a rough-skinned newt for the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal, at a pond near Portland, Oregon. Bsal is decimating wild salamander populations in Europe and could emerge in the U.S. through the captive amphibian trade.

Attribution: Ecosystems
American Alligator
December 31, 2016

Largest American Alligator Satellite Telemetry-Tracking Study

South Carolina alligators occupy a patchwork of diverse habitats, including rivers, lakes, wooded swamps, tidal marshes, and impounded freshwater wetlands. As a mobile, opportunistic predator, alligators seasonally adjust their habitat use for feeding. For example, some Florida alligators venture into brackish water habitats to feed on nutrient-rich blue crabs during the wet season because...

Dissected bat guano pellet showing antennae, eyes, and body fragments of midges.
December 31, 2016

Dissected bat guano pellet showing antennae, eyes, and body parts

Dissected guano pellet showing antennae, eyes, and body fragments of midges. 

December 31, 2016

Polar Bears Film Their Own Sea Ice World

This video showcases the latest polar bear point-of-view footage to date along with an interview of the research scientist who is responsible for the project. Released in conjunction with a new scientific study led by the USGS. 
 

Golden Eagle
December 31, 2016

Golden eagle fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) backpack

Reports of golden eagle mortality linked to wind energy facilities are cause for concern especially when coupled with the knowledge that golden eagles move great distances between breeding and wintering areas. Mortalities at a particular wind energy facility can consequently affect breeding populations of golden eagles at local and continent-wide scales. Information is needed to understand the...

Filter Total Items: 313
Date published: March 23, 2017

Chandler Robbins Inspired Generations of Scientists and Birders, 1918-2017

U.S. Geological Survey scientist emeritus Chandler S. Robbins, whose heartfelt love of birds, quicksilver mind, boundless energy and sunny demeanor made him a major force in bird conservation in the U.S. and worldwide, died Monday, March 20 at the age of 98.

Date published: March 21, 2017

Livestock grazing effects on sage-grouse: study identifies options to sustain ranching and help wildlife

Effects of livestock grazing on greater sage-grouse populations can be positive or negative depending on the amount of grazing and when grazing occurs, according to research published today in Ecological Applications. The research was conducted by scientists from the United States Geological Survey, Colorado State University and Utah State University.

Date published: March 16, 2017

New Study Supports the Rarity and Limited Range of a Kauai Endemic Bird

Approximately 500 Puaiohi exist in the wild, all on Kauai

Date published: March 15, 2017

Wild Birds an Unlikely Source of Costly Poultry Disease

Wild ducks and shorebirds do not appear to carry Newcastle disease viruses that sicken or kill poultry, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: March 13, 2017

Increase of Alaskan Snow Geese OK for Other Species

A new report by the USGS finds that although snow geese are increasing rapidly in northern Alaska, they are not having a negative effect on black brant. Brant are a goose species that shares its nesting habitat with snow geese.

Date published: March 7, 2017

Caribou Appear to Keep up with Warming Arctic

Despite recent changes to the growing season for plants in the Arctic, Alaska, caribou appear to have remained in sync with these changes over the last 30 years. 

Date published: March 2, 2017

Increasing Shrubs Mean Changes for Some but Not All Arctic Birds

Scientists can now predict which avian species are most sensitive to the increasingly dominant shrub habitat spreading across Alaska, a capability that will be useful for natural resource agencies in Alaska charged with managing these resources.

Date published: March 1, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, February 2017 | Issue 5.2

In Memoriam — William Toshio Yasutake, 1922–2016

Date published: February 23, 2017

Just HOW EARLY is spring arriving in your neighborhood? Find out . . .

Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.  This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, bringing relatively early ‘signs of spring’ to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.

Date published: February 23, 2017

Just HOW EARLY is spring arriving in your neighborhood? Find out . . .

Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.  This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, already bringing surprising signs of spring to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.

Date published: February 14, 2017

Handbook for sagebrush steppe restoration techniques can help sustain wildlife and western ecosystems

The sagebrush ecosystem in the western U.S is one of the largest ecosystems in North America, but it is also threatened from wildfire and invasive plants. “Restoration of these unique ecosystems will help sustain wildlife and livelihoods throughout the West," said David Pyke, the USGS ecologist and lead author of the final installment of a three-part sagebrush restoration handbook. 

Date published: February 13, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, January 2017 | Issue 5.1

Olfactory Cues Provide Insight into Lamprey Behavior and Physiology