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
Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
Pollinators are crucial contributors to our environment and society by enhancing plant diversity in wild lands and providing food for humans in agricultural settings. Some three-fourths of all native plants in the world require pollination by an animal, most often an insect, and most often a native bee.
The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) is a long-term, science-based program focused on assessing, conserving, and enhancing fish and wildlife habitats while facilitating responsible energy development through local collaboration and partnerships.
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.
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;...
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...
We are exploring models that relate measures of bat activity to environmental conditions, such as weather, moon phase, and day of year.
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.
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.
We are investigating ways to accurately estimate this fraction in order to improve the accuracy of estimates and the efficiency of searching.
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.
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...
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...
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
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...
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
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
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.
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.
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
Movements of four native Hawaiian birds across a naturally fragmented landscape
Animals often increase their fitness by moving across space in response to temporal variation in habitat quality and resource availability, and as a result of intra and inter-specific interactions. The long-term persistence of populations and even whole species depends on the collective patterns of individual movements, yet animal movements have...Knowlton, Jessie L.; Flaspohler, David J.; Paxton, Eben H.; Fukami, Tadashi; Giardina, Christian P.; Gruner, Daniel S.; Wilson Rankin, Erin E.
Structured decision making for conservation of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in Long Creek, Klamath River Basin, south-central Oregon
With the decline of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), managers face multiple, and sometimes contradictory, management alternatives for species recovery. Moreover, effective decision-making involves all stakeholders influenced by the decisions (such as Tribal, State, Federal, private, and non-governmental organizations) because they represent...Benjamin, Joseph R.; McDonnell, Kevin; Dunham, Jason B.; Brignon, William R.; Peterson, James T.
Spatial and temporal variability in the effects of wildfire and drought on thermal habitat for a desert trout
We studied how drought and an associated stressor, wildfire, influenced stream flow permanence and thermal regimes in a Great Basin stream network. We quantified these responses by collecting information with a spatially extensive network of data loggers. To understand the effects of wildfire specifically, we used data from 4 additional sites that...Schultz, Luke; Heck, Michael; Hockman-Wert, David; Allai, T; Wengerd, Seth J.; Cook, NA; Dunham, Jason B.
Integrating count and detection–nondetection data to model population dynamics
There is increasing need for methods that integrate multiple data types into a single analytical framework as the spatial and temporal scale of ecological research expands. Current work on this topic primarily focuses on combining capture–recapture data from marked individuals with other data types into integrated population models. Yet, studies...Zipkin, Elise F.; Rossman, Sam; Yackulic, Charles B.; Wiens, David; Thorson, James T.; Davis, Raymond J.; Grant, Evan H. Campbell
Response of bird community structure to habitat management in piñon-juniper woodland-sagebrush ecotones
Piñon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands have been expanding their range across the intermountain western United States into landscapes dominated by sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) shrublands. Management actions using prescribed fire and mechanical cutting to reduce woodland cover and control expansion provided opportunities to...Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steven E.; Grace, James B.; Hollenbeck, Jeff P.; Leu, Matthias
The Altamont Pass Wind Far is located in northern California.
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. Near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska
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...
Cell phone video of USGS biologist Diego Johnson releasing a golden eagle that had just been fitted with a tracking device. The work is informing land managers on eagle movements in the southwest, an area of expanding renewable energy development.
Tarantula hawk wasps sting and paralyze tarantulas to feed their young. USGS Ecologist Todd Esque captured this video of a tarantula hawk wasp dragging a tarantula through the desert in Mexico.
Permanent Site: E2 East Transect; Depth: 14.3 Meters (46.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.9 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15653002,-123.56130401; Site Description: This is one of our deeper sites. Substrate is mainly gravel/cobble with an occasional boulder. A few brown acid kelps (Desmarestia spp. at 0:06 seconds) and red...
Permanent Site: E2 West Transect; Depth: 14.6 Meters (47.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.9 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15653002, -123.56197605; Site Description: This is one of our deeper sites. Substrate is mainly gravel/cobble with scattered boulders. A few small red and brown seaweeds, mainly acid kelp Desmarestia spp. (0:...
Permanent Site: D2 West Transect; Depth: 12.8 Meters (41.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.3 Kilometers (0.2 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal Lat/Long: 48.15233001,-123.56896603; Site Description: This site is right off the mouth of the river. Substrate is mainly gravel with some cobble. Dead clam shells are scattered everywhere (2:14 seconds). Small woody debris is...
Permanent Site: J1 West Transect; Depth: 9.8 Meters (32.3 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 6.6 Kilometers (4.1 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13607725,-123.48002186; Site Description: This site is medium depth. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (0:25 seconds) and brown seaweed growth is dense and appears to be at pre-dam removal...
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.
Transporting Fish around Impassable Dams: An Opportunity and Challenge for Reintroductions
True or false? People are the leading cause of wildfires in the United States.
A group of turkeys is referred to as either a rafter or a gang. So this Thanksgiving, when celebrating with your own gang, remember the turkey as more than just the main course, but, as Benjamin Franklin said so many years ago, as a noble fowl of American tradition.
West Glacier, Mont. – Two rare alpine insects – native to the northern Rocky Mountains and dependent on cold waters of glacier and snowmelt-fed alpine streams – are imperiled due to climate warming induced glacier and snow loss according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners.
A new USGS study shows non-native Brown Trout can place a burden on native Brook Trout under the increased water temperatures climate change can cause.
True or False? People can catch white-nose syndrome from bats or the environment.
Plan also addresses other rangeland threats
Understanding Disease Outbreaks in Populations of Wild Marine Fishes
As coastal development along the Gulf Coast continues to expand, tidal saline wetlands could have difficulty adjusting to rising sea levels.
Roughly over a quarter of the golden eagles killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in Northern California from 2012-2014 were recent immigrants to the local population, according to research led by the U.S. Geological Survey.