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
USGS invasive species science in the Midwest Region is focused on early detection, risk assessment and development of new management control tools and strategies to prevent spread of invasives including Asian carp, invasive mussels, and Phragmites (an invasive wetland plant) in areas including Great Lakes and the Mississippi and Missouri River basins.
The maculata apple snail (Pomacea maculata) has invaded many coastal and some inland areas in south Louisiana. Reports have indicated that the freshwater snails have significantly reduced the amount of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and floating leaved vegetation (FLV) available for waterfowl and other wildlife.
Differentiating diploids from triploids at the earliest life stage possible allows for a more efficient use of resources including production time and rearing space. Thus, a reliable flow cytometric (FCM) method has been developed to discriminate triploids from diploids at the larval stage. In order to help simplify the process of differentiating triploids from diploids, we propose a simple...
Mangroves have decreased worldwide due to human development, climate change and other forces. In southwest Florida, tremendous growth and development pressure has resulted in appreciable losses in mangrove wetlands.
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.
Years after the last inmate departed Alcatraz Island, waterbirds like Black-crowned Night Herons and Snowy Egrets still make the forbidding island their home. The National Park Service has requested the aid of WERC’s Dr. Pete Coates to inform efforts to expand visitor access to the Island, and simultaneously maintain healthy waterbird populations.
The 64,000-square mile watershed that drains to the Chesapeake Bay is highly populated and has diverse land use, including forested, agricultural, and urbanized areas. Increased precipitation in the eastern United States over the last 100 years has affected stream flow and thus the loading of pollutants delivered to the bay. Such pollutants as suspended sediment and dissolved phosphorus and...
The Challenge: The primary dune along barrier island beaches protects leeward vegetation from tidal fluctuation, salt spray and storm surge. However, storm surges like those experienced during Hurricane Sandy can obliterate the primary dune, transporting sand inland and burying existing vegetation. The dune rebuilds naturally as recovering vegetation traps wind-blown and waterborne sand. ...
22-23 March 2017 - Ten teams of fishery biologists sampled 28 sites amid unexpected wildfires in the Big Cypress National Preserve over the two day period. On the second day a reporter from the Miami Herald accompanied a ground crew team.
Dozens of species of non-native fishes are present in the freshwaters of Florida, and new species are discovered each year. Maintaining current information on the geographic ranges of all non-native fishes is a daunting task, as many jurisdictions are involved at the state, federal, and municipal levels. There is a need to coordinate sampling, research and management across jurisdictional...
The Challenge: The Akeke’e (Loxops caeruleirostris) and the Akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi), two species of Hawaiian honeycreeper, are critically endangered bird species endemic to high elevation ohia forests on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Both species have suffered severe population declines and range contractions in recent decades. Akeke’e are currently thought to number ca. 950 wild...
USGS scientists have been involved for a number of years in the development and use of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This methodology represents an approach to statistical modeling that focuses on the study of complex cause-effect hypotheses about the mechanisms operating in systems. SEM is increasingly used in ecological and environmental studies and this site seeks to provide...
Using satellite vegetation and compound topographic indices to map highly erodible cropland buffers for cellulosic biofuel crop developments in eastern Nebraska, USA
Cultivating annual row crops in high topographic relief waterway buffers has negative environmental effects and can be environmentally unsustainable. Growing perennial grasses such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) for biomass (e.g., cellulosic biofuel feedstocks) instead of annual row crops in these high relief waterway buffers can...Gu, Yingxin; Wylie, Bruce K.
High-tech or field techs: Radio-telemetry is a cost-effective method for reducing bias in songbird nest searching
We compared the efficacy of standard nest-searching methods with finding nests via radio-tagged birds to assess how search technique influenced our determination of nest-site characteristics and nest success for Golden-winged Warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera). We also evaluated the cost-effectiveness of using radio-tagged birds to find nests. Using...Peterson, Sean M.; Streby, Henry M.; Lehman, Justin A.; Kramer, Gunnar R.; Fish, Alexander C.; Andersen, David E.
Delineation of marsh types from Corpus Christi Bay, Texas, to Perdido Bay, Alabama, in 2010
Coastal zone managers and researchers often require detailed information regarding emergent marsh vegetation types (that is, fresh, intermediate, brackish, and saline) for modeling habitat capacities and needs of marsh dependent taxa (such as waterfowl and alligator). Detailed information on the extent and distribution of emergent marsh vegetation...Enwright, Nicholas M.; Hartley, Stephen B.; Couvillion, Brady R.; Michael G. Brasher; Jenneke M. Visser; Michael K. Mitchell; Bart M. Ballard; Mark W. Parr; Barry C. Wilson
When do we need more data? A primer on calculating the value of information for applied ecologists
Applied ecologists continually advocate further research, under the assumption that obtaining more information will lead to better decisions. Value of information (VoI) analysis can be used to quantify how additional information may improve management outcomes: despite its potential, this method is still underused in environmental decision-making...Canessa, Stefano; Guillera-Arroita, Gurutzeta; Lahoz-Monfort, José J.; Southwell, Darren M; Armstrong, Doug P.; Chadès, Iadine; Lacy, Robert C; Converse, Sarah J.
Rapid water quality change in the Elwha River estuary complex during dam removal
Dam removal in the United States is increasing as a result of structural concerns, sedimentation of reservoirs, and declining riverine ecosystem conditions. The removal of the 32 m Elwha and 64 m Glines Canyon dams from the Elwha River in Washington, U.S.A., was the largest dam removal project in North American history. During the 3 yr of dam...Foley, Melissa M.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Beirne, Matthew M.; Paradis, Rebecca; Ritchie, Andrew; Warrick, Jonathan A.
Estimating the abundance of the Southern Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation with aerial surveys
The Southern Hudson Bay (SH) polar bear subpopulation occurs at the southern extent of the species’ range. Although capture–recapture studies indicate abundance was likely unchanged between 1986 and 2005, declines in body condition and survival occurred during the period, possibly foreshadowing a future decrease in abundance. To obtain...Obbard, Martyn E.; Stapleton, Seth P.; Middel, Kevin R.; Thibault, Isabelle; Brodeur, Vincent; Jutras, Charles
Statistical guidelines for assessing marine avian hotspots and coldspots: A case study on wind energy development in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean
Estimating patterns of habitat use is challenging for marine avian species because seabirds tend to aggregate in large groups and it can be difficult to locate both individuals and groups in vast marine environments. We developed an approach to estimate the statistical power of discrete survey events to identify species-specific hotspots and...Zipkin, Elise F.; Kinlan, Brian P.; Sussman, Allison; Rypkema, Diana; Wimer, Mark; O'Connell, Allan F.
A collision risk model to predict avian fatalities at wind facilities: an example using golden eagles, Aquila chrysaetos
Wind power is a major candidate in the search for clean, renewable energy. Beyond the technical and economic challenges of wind energy development are environmental issues that may restrict its growth. Avian fatalities due to collisions with rotating turbine blades are a leading concern and there is considerable uncertainty surrounding avian...New, Leslie; Bjerre, Emily; Millsap, Brian A.; Otto, Mark C.; Runge, Michael C.
Monitoring population status of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska: options and considerations
After many decades of absence from southeast Alaska, sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are recolonizing parts of their former range, including Glacier Bay, Alaska. Sea otters are well known for structuring nearshore ecosystems and causing community-level changes such as increases in kelp abundance and changes in the size and number of other consumers....Esslinger, George; Esler, Daniel N.; Howlin, S.; Starcevich, L.A.
Two tickets to paradise: multiple dispersal events in the founding of hoary bat populations in Hawai'i
The Hawaiian islands are an extremely isolated oceanic archipelago, and their fauna has long served as models of dispersal in island biogeography. While molecular data have recently been applied to investigate the timing and origin of dispersal events for several animal groups including birds, insects, and snails, these questions have been largely...Russell, Amy L.; Pinzari, Corinna A.; Vonhof, Maarten J.; Olival, Kevin J.; Bonaccorso, Frank
Assessment of general health of fishes collected at selected sites in the Great Lakes Basin In 2012
During the past decade, there has been a substantive increase in the detection of “emerging contaminants”, defined as a new substance, chemical, or metabolite in the environment; or a legacy substance with a newly expanded distribution, altered release, or a newly recognized effect (such as endocrine disruption). Emerging contaminants...Mazik, Patricia M.; Braham, Ryan P.; Hahn, Cassidy M.; Blazer, Vicki
Avian malaria in Hawaiian forest birds: Infection and population impacts across species and elevations
Wildlife diseases can present significant threats to ecological systems and biological diversity, as well as domestic animal and human health. However, determining the dynamics of wildlife diseases and understanding the impact on host populations is a significant challenge. In Hawai‘i, there is ample circumstantial evidence that introduced...Samuel, Michael D.; Woodworth, Bethany L.; Atkinson, Carter T.; Hart, P. J.; LaPointe, Dennis
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...
Permanent Control Site: GP2 West Transect; Depth: 13.0 Meters (42.6 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 18.8 Kilometers (11.6 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.12781102,-123.31712832; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding boulders. This year red seaweed was absent...
Permanent Control Site: GP2 East Transect; Depth: 13.2 Meters (43.4 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 18.8 Kilometers (11.7 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.12781102,-123.31645664; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Substrate is mainly a gravel sand mixture. A few large boulders are located off transect. This year red...
Permanent Control Site: GP1 East Transect; Depth: 7.5 m (24.7 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long:; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding numerous large boulders. Red (1:34 seconds) and...
Golden eagles can be killed by colliding with a number of human-made objects, including wind turbines. USGS research wildlife biologist Todd Katzner describes his studies of golden eagle flight. This research is being done to model flight behavior which might help managers understand how placement of wind turbines might pose significant risks to golden eagles.
Permanent Control Site: GP1 West Transect; Depth: 7.9 m (25.9 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.11852521,-123.31605203; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding numerous large boulders....
Permanent Site: H1 West Transect; Depth: 5.7 Meters (18.7 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14803012,-123.53535558; Site Description: This is a shallow site and one of the farthest removed from the effects of the sediment plume outside of the control sites. Substrate is still mainly gravel with some...
Permanent Site: A2 West Transect; Depth: 13.2 Meters (43.2 Feet); Distance from river mouth: Kilometers 1.8 (1.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14130295, -123.5883331; Site Description: One of our deeper sites at over 40 feet. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud with scattered boulders. Seaweeds are still sparse and mainly acid kelp Desmarestia (0:30, 1:...
Mercury contamination is widespread, at various levels across western North America in air, soil, sediment, plants, fish and wildlife.
A recent study looks at the impact of climate change on certain fish in Wisconsin lakes.
Kauai Island forest birds at tipping point toward extinction
Mesocosms Give Us the Fish-eye View into the Lives and Deaths of Endangered Suckers
USGS and the Vietnam Biodiversity Conservation Agency partner to protect the biodiversity of Vietnam.
American pikas – small herbivores that typically live in rocky slopes, known as talus, across many mountain ranges in the American West – are disappearing from some locations across the West due to climate change, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and some of its partners.
The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey have published a hub to enable easy visualization and access to geospatial data about the west’s “sagebrush sea.” This will help guide sagebrush conservation efforts during the 2016 fire season and beyond.
Developing Water Temperature Models to Help Understand Fish Population Dynamics and Management Actions
U.S. Geological Survey scientists will present their research at the Ecological Society of America meeting from Aug. 7-12, 2016, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The theme is "Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene."
Information relating to fish biology, locations and effects of climate change will help guide future research and management decisions
A new fact sheet documenting the development of the Missouri River Pallid Sturgeon Effects Analysis (EA) is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey. The EA is an effort to assess how Missouri River management has affected—and may affect—the endangered pallid sturgeon population.