Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 460
Invasive Tamarisk or saltcedar as it is known, growing on the side of a river.
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Find out more about invasive species in the western U.S. such as cheatgrass, tamarisk, and buffelgrass.

Brown treesnake
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

USGS research focuses on developing and enhancing capabilities to forecast and predict invasive species establishment and spread. Early detection helps resource managers identify and report new invasive species, especially for cryptic species and those in very low abundance, to better assess risks to natural areas. 

Image: Sea Lamprey Parasitic
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Tracking the establishment and spread of existing and new invasive species is critical to effectively manage invasive species.

Lake Trout with attached sea lamprey
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Find out more about invasive species in the midwest such as asian carp, sea lamprey, and phragmites.

Phragmites, an invasive grass
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native species and habitats affected by invasive species.  This is critical because control without restoration can leave the ecosystem vulnerable to subsequent reinvasion by the same or additional invasive species.   

Image: American Bullfrog
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Once invasive species are established, how should they be managed?

WERC American Avocet on nest with eggs
Date Published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

California’s Central Valley and San Francisco Bay Estuary have a long history of mercury contamination from past mercury mining and gold extraction. Waterbirds are particularly susceptible to mercury because of their use of wetland habitats where methylmercury (the most toxic and biologically available form) is produced and relatively low methylmercury exposure can reduce reproductive success...

WERC Marsh in China Camp
Date Published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

To facilitate communication and outreach of sea level rise research results and implications, Dr. Karen Thorne and members of USGS WERC are hosting in-person workshops along the Pacific coast at different sites in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Joshua trees burning in the Bulldog Fire in Mojave Desert tortoise habitat of southwestern Utah
Date Published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Desert landscapes are rapidly changing due to increases in invasive plant species, frequency of wildfires, urban and energy development, recreational use, military training, and climate variation. Dr. Todd Esque, USGS researchers, and collaborators are working together to investigate these changes and provide managers with key information that can be used to manage natural resources more...

WERC caged mosquitofish used to monitor mercury bioaccumulation
Date Published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Wetlands provide numerous ecosystem services, but also can be sources of methylmercury production and export. Click the next tab to learn how WERC's Dr. Josh Ackerman is evaluating the ecological factors that drive contaminant bioaccumulation in wetland-dependent fish and wildlife.

Image: California’s Hotter Drought and Tree Death
Date Published: October 30, 2017

Dr. Nathan Stephenson and colleagues seek to determine what changes are occurring in forests, why they are occurring, and what they mean. For example, they have documented a long-term, apparently climatically-induced increase of tree mortality rates in otherwise undisturbed old forests across the western U.S., implying that these forests could become net sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide...

Tiny desert tortoise found during a population census
Date Published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

The desert tortoise is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. USGS WERC scientists, along with project partners have been conducting long-term analyses on how changes in the southwestern deserts of the United States can affect desert tortoise populations. Dr. Todd Esque and his team are investigating how habitat disturbances and restoration projects influence tortoise...

Filter Total Items: 60
Mallard
March 28, 2017

Low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses in wild migratory waterfowl in a region of high poultry production, Delmarva, Maryland

This data set is comprised of four files related to the biosurveillance of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIV) in migratory waterfowl at 22 locations in the Maryland portion of the Delmarva Peninsula in fall/winter of 2013-2014. 

Grasses and woody plants growing along river with walls on Grand Canyon visible to one side.
March 22, 2017

DATA RELEASE - Southwestern Riparian Plant Trait Matrix, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona, 2014 - 2016

This dataset contains information on the physical traits and environmental tolerances of plant species occurring along the lower Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Data for the matrix were compiled from published scientific papers, unpublished reports, plant fact sheets, existing trait databases, regional floras, and plant guides.

Disentangling the mechanisms regulating coastal wetland sustainability in the face of rising sea levels
March 14, 2017

Quantitative Analysis Using Structural Equation Modeling

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.

Snowy Egret BBS Map
February 8, 2017

The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966 - 2015

This website presents population change information for more than 400 species of North American birds, as estimated from the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Estimates of trend (interval-specific estimates of population change), annual indices of abundance, and maps of abundance and population change for these species are presented for a variety of regions.

Wood Frog, Lithobates sylvatica
February 8, 2017

North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) anuran detection data from the eastern and central United States (1994-2015)

The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) was a collaborative citizen science effort between the US Geological Survey (USGS) and 26 Partners (state agencies, universities, and nonprofits) for monitoring calling amphibian populations over much of the eastern and central United States.

Landscape Intactness for the Western US
February 2, 2017

A Multiscale Index of Landscape Intactness for the Western United States

Landscape intactness has been defined as a quantifiable estimate of naturalness measured on a gradient of anthropogenic influence. We developed a multiscale index of landscape intactness for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) landscape approach, which requires multiple scales of information to quantify the cumulative effects of land use.

Bibiocephala dorsal vent
February 2, 2017

North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC)

Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) was created by the USGS Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) to provide users with high-quality digital microscopy photographs.

Field Guide to the Nonindigenous Marine Fishes of Florida publication cover
January 30, 2017

Field Guide to the Nonindigenous Marine Fishes of Florida

The purpose of this field guide is to provide information on nonindigenous
(i.e., non-native) fishes that have been observed in Florida’s marine waters.

Image: Arizona Upland Plant Community in the Sonoran Desert
January 27, 2017

Mean of the Top Ten Percent of NDVI Values in the Yuma Proving Ground during Monsoon Season, 1986-2011

This study uses growth in vegetation during the monsoon season measured from LANDSAT imagery as a proxy for measured rainfall. NDVI values from 26 years of pre- and post-monsoon season Landsat imagery were derived across Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in southwestern Arizona, USA.

Dust blowing on the Navajo Nation. 
December 1, 2016

DATA RELEASE - TsezhinBii Field and Summary Data, Navajo Nation, Arizona, 2004

These data provide the locational coordinates, soil texture characteristics, plant species occurrence and cover, and vegetation summary characteristics for the Tsezhin bii region in the south-central area of the Navajo Nation.

USGS Dam Removal Information Portal (DRIP) Screenshot
October 31, 2016

USGS Dam Removal Information Portal (DRIP)

The Dam Removal Information Portal is a Web site that serves information about the scientific studies associated with dam-removal projects. It is a visualization tool, including a map and interactive charts, of a dam-removal literature review designed and developed by a working group at the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis (Bellmore and others, 2015).

ScienceBase Thumbnail
October 1, 2016

Approved Data Releases

This public folder contains approved data release products produced by the USGS Western Ecologial Research Center. This folder also includes metadata that will be harvested and displayed by the USGS Science Data Catalog ( http://data.usgs.gov/datacatalog) to improve access and discovery. 

Filter Total Items: 563
Year Published: 2017

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center: Advancing wildlife and ecosystem health

In 1975, the Federal government responded to the need for establishing national expertise in wildlife health by creating the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), a facility within the Department of the Interior; the NWHC is the only national center dedicated to wildlife disease detection, control, and prevention. Its mission is to provide...

Moede Rogall, Gail; Sleeman, Jonathan M.
Moede Rogall, Gail, and Sleeman, J.M., 2017, The USGS National Wildlife Health Center: Advancing wildlife and ecosystem health: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3102, 6 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20163102.

Year Published: 2017

Ecological risk assessment of Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) for the Great Lakes Basin

Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) is an herbivorous, freshwater fish that was first introduced in the United States in the early 1960s for use in biological control of aquatic vegetation. It has since escaped and dispersed through the Mississippi River basin towards the Great Lakes. To characterize the risk of Grass Carp to the Great Lakes...

Kolar, Cynthia S.; Cudmore, Becky
Attribution: Ecosystems
DFO. 2017. Ecological Risk Assessment of Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) for the Great Lakes Basin. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2016/057.

Year Published: 2016

USGS science and technology help managers battle invading Asian carp

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducts Asian carp research focused on early detection, risk assessment, and development of control tools and strategies. The goals are to prevent the establishment of invasive Asian carp in the Great Lakes and to reduce their impacts in the Ohio River and Mississippi River Basins and elsewhere. Managers can use...

Kolar, Cynthia S.; Morrison, Sandra S.
Kolar, C.S., and Morrison, S.S., 2016, USGS science and technology help managers battle invading Asian carp: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3063, 4 p., http:/dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163063.

Year Published: 2016

U.S. Geological Survey—Energy and Wildlife Research Annual Report for 2016

Recent growth and development of renewable energy and unconventional oil and gas extraction are rapidly diversifying the energy supply of the United States. Yet, as our Nation works to advance energy security and conserve wildlife, some conflicts have surfaced. To address these challenges, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting innovative...

Khalil, Mona
Khalil, Mona, ed., 2016, U.S. Geological Survey—Energy and Wildlife Research Annual Report for 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1147, 59 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161147.

Year Published: 2016

Renewable energy and wildlife conservation

The renewable energy sector is rapidly expanding and diversifying the power supply of the country. Yet, as our Nation works to advance renewable energy and to conserve wildlife, some conflicts arise. To address these challenges, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting innovative research and developing workable solutions to reduce impacts...

Khalil, Mona
Khalil, Mona, 2016, Renewable energy and wildlife conservation: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3067, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163067.

Year Published: 2016

Land-use change reduces habitat suitability for supporting managed honey bee colonies in the Northern Great Plains

Human reliance on insect pollination services continues to increase even as pollinator populations exhibit global declines. Increased commodity crop prices and federal subsidies for biofuel crops, such as corn and soybeans, have contributed to rapid land-use change in the US Northern Great Plains (NGP), changes that may jeopardize habitat for...

Otto, Clint R.; Roth, Cali; Carlson, Benjamin; Smart, Matthew
Otto, C. R. V., C. L. Roth, B. L. Carlson, and M. D. Smart. 2016. Land-use change reduces habitat suitability for supporting managed honey bee colonies in the Northern Great Plains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Early edition online, 6p. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1603481113.

Year Published: 2016

U.S. Geological Survey science strategy for highly pathogenic avian influenza in wildlife and the environment (2016–2020)

IntroductionThrough the Science Strategy for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Wildlife and the Environment, the USGS will assess avian influenza (AI) dynamics in an ecological context to inform decisions made by resource managers and policymakers from the local to national level. Through collection of unbiased scientific information on...

Harris, M. Camille; Pearce, John M.; Prosser, Diann J.; White, C. LeAnn; Miles, A. Keith; Sleeman, Jonathan M.; Brand, Christopher J.; Cronin, James P.; De La Cruz, Susan; Densmore, Christine L.; Doyle, Thomas W.; Dusek, Robert J.; Fleskes, Joseph P.; Flint, Paul L.; Guala, Gerald F.; Hall, Jeffrey S.; Hubbard, Laura E.; Hunt, Randall J.; Ip, Hon S.; Katz, Rachel A.; Laurent, Kevin W.; Miller, Mark P.; Munn, Mark D.; Ramey, Andy M.; Richards, Kevin D.; Russell, Robin E.; Stokdyk, Joel P.; Takekawa, John Y.; Walsh, Daniel P.
Harris, M.C., Pearce, J.M., Prosser, D.J., White, C.L., Miles, A.K., Sleeman, J.M., Brand, C.J., Cronin, J.P., De La Cruz, S., Densmore, C.L., Doyle, T.W., Dusek, R.J., Fleskes, J.P., Flint, P.L., Guala, G.F., Hall, J.S., Hubbard, L.E., Hunt, R.J., Ip, H.S., Katz, R.A., Laurent, K.W., Miller, M.P., Munn, M.D., Ramey, A.M., Richards, K.D., Russell, R.E., Stokdyk, J.P., Takekawa, J.Y., and Walsh, D.P., 2016, U.S. Geological Survey science strategy for highly pathogenic avian influenza in wildlife and the environment (2016–2020): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1121, 38 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161121.

Year Published: 2016

Evaluating the effectiveness of wildlife detection and observation technologies at a solar power tower facility

Solar power towers produce electrical energy from sunlight at an industrial scale. Little is known about the effects of this technology on flying animals and few methods exist for automatically detecting or observing wildlife at solar towers and other tall anthropogenic structures. Smoking objects are sometimes observed co-occurring with reflected...

Diehl, Robert H.; Valdez, Ernest W.; Preston, Todd M.; Wellik, Mike J.; Cryan, Paul
Diehl RH, Valdez EW, Preston TM, Wellik MJ, Cryan PM (2016) Evaluating the effectiveness of wildlife detection and observation technologies at a solar power tower facility. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0158115. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158115

Year Published: 2016

Mangrove postcard

Mangrove ecosystems protect vulnerable coastlines from storm effects, recycle nutrients, stabilize shorelines, improve water quality, and provide habitat for commercial and recreational fish species as well as for threatened and endangered wildlife. U.S. Geological Survey scientists conduct research on mangrove ecosystems to provide reliable...

Ball, Lianne C.
Attribution: Ecosystems
Ball, L.C., 2016, Mangrove postcard: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 164, 2 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/gip164.

Year Published: 2016

Impacts of climate change and renewable energy development on habitat of an endemic squirrel, Xerospermophilus mohavensis, in the Mojave Desert, USA

Predicting changes in species distributions under a changing climate is becoming widespread with the use of species distribution models (SDMs). The resulting predictions of future potential habitat can be cast in light of planned land use changes, such as urban expansion and energy development to identify areas with potential conflict. However,...

Inman, Richard D.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Leitner, Philip; Matocq, Marjorie D.; Weisberg, Peter J.; Dilts, Thomas E.
Inman, RD, TC Esque, KE Nussear, P Leitner, MD Matocq, PJ Weisberg, TE Dilts. 2016. Impacts of climate change and renewable energy development on habitat of an endemic squirrel, Xerospermophilus mohavensis, in the Mojave Desert, USA. Biological Conservation 200: 112-121. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.05.033

Year Published: 2016

Mortality monitoring design for utility-scale solar power facilities

IntroductionSolar power represents an important and rapidly expanding component of the renewable energy portfolio of the United States (Lovich and Ennen, 2011; Hernandez and others, 2014). Understanding the impacts of renewable energy development on wildlife is a priority for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in compliance with Department...

Huso, Manuela; Dietsch, Thomas; Nicolai, Chris
Huso, Manuela, Dietsch, Thomas, and Nicolai, Chris, 2016, Mortality monitoring design for utility-scale solar power facilities: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016-1087, 44 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161087.

Year Published: 2016

Wetlands postcard

Wetlands Postcard Research conducted by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey provides reliable scientific information for the management of wetlands ranging from small freshwater alpine lakes in the Western United States to coastal wetlands of the Great Lakes and salt marshes along the Southeastern coast. Learn more about USGS wetlands...

Ball, Lianne C.
Attribution: Ecosystems
Ball, L.C., 2016, Wetlands postcard: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 163, 2 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/gip163.

Filter Total Items: 459
Brown bears (Ursus arctos) and Chum (Salmon Oncorhynchus)
2017 (approx.)
Bear predation on salmon can be high in many Alaskan rivers. Brown bears Ursus arctos and Chum Salmon Oncorhynchus keta are managed concurrently in McNeil River State Game Sanctuary by Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game to benefit the salmon, bears, commercial fishers, and provide unparalleled close-up bear viewing and photography opportunities for the public. https://www.coopunits.org/Alaska/
USGS
2017 (approx.)
Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area.
Blue SPV bait
2017 (approx.)
This image shows the blue version of sylvatic plague vaccine bait for prairie dogs. Prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to succumb to a deadly disease called sylvatic plague after they ingest peanut-butter-flavored bait that contains a vaccine against the disease. In an effort to increase populations of endangered black-footed ferrets and conserve the prairie dogs they rely on for survival,...
USGS
2017 (approx.)
Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area.
Measuring sea urchins 3
2017 (approx.)
When it comes to collecting data, sometimes scientists have to look beneath the surface. Here, USGS scientists count and measure sea urchins to better understand the species' demographics off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. This information will help managers best respond to urchin die-offs, should they occur in the future.
Frog liver with SPI
2017 (approx.)
This photomicrograph shows a liver of a frog with a severe Perkinsea infection.
USGS
2017 (approx.)
Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area.
Hibernating little brown bat
2017 (approx.)
A little brown bat ( Myotis lucifugus ) with white-nose syndrome hibernating in a Virginia cave during late spring of 2016. Patches of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome can be seen growing out of the skin (white areas) near the nose and across the folded wing skin of this bat. Spherical drops of water condensation coat the bat's outer fur, a normal condition that illustrates the cold and...
Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand
2017 (approx.)
This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase. Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. S ea lamprey s are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.
Phragmites, an invasive grass
2017 (approx.)
Introduced Phragmites australis, also called the common reed, is an invasive grass in the Great Lakes.
A desmid alga is bright red and green photographed in UV light
2017 (approx.)
It looks like a holiday ornament, but this lovely object is a single-celled freshwater alga from the desmid family, found in the marshes of Florida’s Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. USGS biologist Barry Rosen photographed it at 200x magnification using ultraviolent light and a fluorescence microscope. Desmids range in size from under 10 microns—approximately the width of...
Filter Total Items: 289
Issue5.8August2017Thumb
September 18, 2017

Science to Support Salmon Recovery Efforts in the Puget Sound

Image: Burning Sagebrush
September 6, 2017

An examination of long-term data for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management finds that land treatments in the southwestern United States are increasingly large, expensive and related to fire and invasive species control.

UMESC Building
September 5, 2017

The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 9.  

NPWRC Building
August 30, 2017

The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 16.  

USGS: Science for a changing world
August 23, 2017

A non-native insect infestation may not be the only factor involved in the ongoing die-back of a marsh grass in the Mississippi River’s “bird foot delta,” the ecologically and economically important part of coastal Louisiana where the river meets the Gulf of Mexico.

Lake Michigan at Sunset
August 16, 2017

Invasive mussels and less nutrients from tributaries have altered the Lake Michigan ecosystem making it more conducive to the stocking of lake trout and steelhead than Chinook salmon, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey and Michigan State University study.

Image: Black-Footed Ferret
August 10, 2017

Reporters are invited to an event near Fort Collins showcasing cooperative efforts to develop a potential breakthrough in wildlife management – an oral vaccine that may help protect prairie dogs against plague and assist in the recovery of endangered black-footed ferrets at specific locations in the West.  

Hibernating little brown bat with white muzzle and spots on wings typical of white-nose syndrome. (Photo by Greg Turner, Pennsyl
August 1, 2017

The cold-loving fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd) that causes white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of North American bats during hibernation, could also spread in summer months. Bats and humans visiting contaminated caves and mines can inadvertently contribute to the spread of the fungus, according to a recently published study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Greater White-fronted Goose on the North Slope of Alaska
July 17, 2017

Direct encounters with humans can increase the likelihood that nesting geese will lose their eggs to predators, according to a recent study released Monday, July 17.

An American pika collects grass and flowers to stockpile its winter food supplies.
July 12, 2017

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners has identified situations and conditions where some animals display behavioral flexibility – the ability to rapidly change behavior in response to short – or long-term environmental changes such as climate variability.