Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
USGS research has a critical role in providing scientific information to improve the understanding and management of the Nation’s largest estuary: the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The 64,000-square-mile watershed supports over 3,600 species of fish, wildlife, and plants and provides spawning grounds for many ecologically and economically important species including striped bass and blue crabs....
Protecting endangered species while managing economically important species is an ongoing natural
resource management challenge, especially in rivers. The USGS develops tools like biological/economic models to identify optimal strategies and economic and biological tradeoffs when adding nonnative species to rivers where endangered native species exist. This ongoing research will provide...
Mountain ecosystems are highly sensitive to climate change, and USGS is conducting montane research across the West to help resource managers plan now for the future. Coordination with scientists around the world has led to mountain research networks to expand our understanding of how these ecosystems respond to climate change.
USGS research on mangrove ecosystem biology includes mangrove regeneration, tree growth, sedimentation, and early seedling development. We are also interested in learning about how mangrove vegetation responds to and influences environmental stressors along the coast such as sea level rise.
Forests are a key component of a healthy ecosystem. Management of these resources is vital to their protection as a recreational resource as well as an environmental resource.
Deserts are areas of the country which receive less than 10 in (250 mm) annual precipitation. In the United States, we have four distinct major deserts. Three are “hot deserts” because they receive precipitation in the summer months (Mojave, Sonoran, Chihuahuan) and one “cold desert” because it receives precipitation during the winter (Great Basin).
Coral reef ecosystems are declining worldwide, and in some places their survival is doubtful. This is both ecologically and economically troubling since coral reefs are the source of essential tourism revenue and local fisheries, as well as unique and rich ecosystems.
USGS research on coastlines is focused on understanding the natural conditions and the influence of human disturbances on species, populations, communities, habitats, and ecosystems.
Ecological research is largely concerned with the system levels beyond that of the organism. An ecological community is all the animal and plant populations occupying a given area. The community (biotic) and the nonliving environment function (abiotic) together as an ecological system or “ecosystem” which is governed by principles such as population dynamics, competition, and energy and...
USGS scientists work with decision makers and stakeholders to develop decision analytic frameworks to deliberately reduce the uncertainty that negatively affects the quality of decisions whether made once (i.e., Structured Decision Making) or repeatedly (i.e., Adaptive Management).
Informed forecasting of landscape structure, function, composition, and condition requires an understanding of the factors that control, constrain, and regulate ecosystem dynamics. USGS science is focused on understanding these driving factors using ecological research, long-term field studies and ecosystem modeling. Additionally, the USGS works with partners to provide alternative strategies...
The Environments Program responds to the needs and requirements of resource management bureaus within the Interior and other science and resource management organizations by designing, developing and conducting research required for the resource management and policy decisions made by a variety of stakeholders.
The data archive contains the aerial photographs and channel delineations used in our analysis. The images have been geo-referenced to the 1995 digital orthophoto quarter quadrangles as described by Miller and Friedman (2009). The channel delineations for all photo years (including 2003) and the delineation of the outer flood-plain boundary are stored as shapefiles.
Atypical Feeding Behavior of Long-tailed Ducks in the Wake of a Commercial Fishing Boat while Clamming
Data represents analyses of gizzard and gullet (esophagus and proventriculus) of nine ducks using traditional techniques
The Molecular Epidemiology of Aquatic Pathogens (MEAP)-IHNV Database
The MEAP-IHNV database provides access to detailed data for anyone interested in IHNV molecular epidemiology, such as fish health professionals, fish culture facility managers, and academic researchers.
This dataset is comprised of eight files related to salt marsh monitoring data or measures of of human disturbance (i.e. human impacts in terms of physical, chemical, and land-use stressors) collected at 33 marsh study units (MSUs) in five National Parks within the NPS Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN) along the NE coast of the US.
Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012
Germaine, S.S., Carter, S.K., Ignizio, D.A., and Freeman, A.T., 2017, Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7BR8QDD. DOI: 10.5066/F7BR8QDD
Life history attributes data for Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) in Arizona 2013
The Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) occurs in the desert and plains grasslands of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Sonora, Mexico. This data was produced as part of the first intensive study of its life history and breeding ecology, providing baseline data and facilitating comparisons with other North American Grasshopper Sparrow...
Standardization and Application of an Index of Community Integrity for Waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay
This data set is comprised of five files related to the modification and scoring of Index of Waterbird Community Integrity (IWCI) scores for all waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay. One Excel file (A) contains a list of 100+ Chesapeake waterbird species and their species attribute and IWCI scores.
These data were developed to provide land managers and researchers with early-season, near-real-time predictions of spatially explicit percent cover predictions of herbaceous annual vegetation in the study area. Appropriate use of the data should be defined by the user; however, this data comes with several caveats.
The 1966-2016 North American Breeding Bird Survey dataset contains avian point count data for more than 700 North American bird taxa (species, races, and unidentified species groupings). These data are collected annually during the breeding season, primarily June, along thousands of randomly established roadside survey routes in the United States and Canada.
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.
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.
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.
Extinct Taxa in States/Provinces of North America (2012)
Extinct Taxa in Ecoregions of North America (2012)
Use of Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) burrows as shelter by Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) chicks
The availability of shelter to avoid predation and ameliorate physiologically stressful conditions is often important to the survival of avian hatchlings. However, as changes in habitat availability force birds to nest in nontraditional locations, young must quickly adapt to using novel sources of shelter. Two Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) colonies...McGowan, Peter C.; Reintsma, Kaitlyn; Sullivan, Jeffery D.; DeVoss, Katie P.; Wall, Jennifer L.; Zimnik, Mia D.; Callahan, Carl R.; Schultz, Bill; Prosser, Diann J.
Regeneration of Salicaceae riparian forests in the Northern Hemisphere: A new framework and management tool
Human activities on floodplains have severely disrupted the regeneration of foundation riparian shrub and tree species of the Salicaceae family (Populus and Salix spp.) throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Restoration ecologists initially tackled this problem from a terrestrial perspective that emphasized planting....Gonzalez, Eduardo; Martinez-Fernandez, Vanesa; Shafroth, Patrick B.; Sher, Anna A.; Henry, Annie L.; Garofano-Gomez, Virginia; Corenblit, Dov
Integrating animal movement with habitat suitability for estimating dynamic landscape connectivity
Context High-resolution animal movement data are becoming increasingly available, yet having a multitude of empirical trajectories alone does not allow us to easily predict animal movement. To answer ecological and evolutionary questions at a population level, quantitative estimates of a species’ potential to link patches or populations are of...van Toor, Mariëlle L.; Kranstauber, Bart; Newman, Scott H.; Prosser, Diann J.; Takekawa, John Y.; Technitis, Georgios; Weibel, Robert; Wikelski, Martin; Safi, Kamran
Ask not what nature can do for you: A critique of ecosystem services as a communication strategy
Given the urgent need to raise public awareness on biodiversity issues, we review the effectiveness of “ecosystem services” as a frame for promoting biodiversity conservation. Since its inception as a communications tool in the 1970s, the concept of ecosystem services has become pervasive in biodiversity policy. While the goal of securing...Bekessy, Sarah A.; Runge, Michael C.; Kusmanoff, Alex; Keith, David A.; Wintle, Brendan A.
Extreme drought alters frequency and reproductive success of floaters in Willow Flycatchers
Changes in habitat quality, including those caused by extreme events like droughts and floods, could alter costs and benefits of territoriality and thereby the prevalence and reproductive consequences for individuals capable of breeding that do not do so (floaters). We studied floating behavior in a population of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (...Theimer, Tad; Sogge, Mark K.; Cardinal, Suzanne N.; Durst, Scott L.; Paxton, Eben H.
Chapter 4: Northern spotted owl habitat and populations: Status and threats
The northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990 (USFWS 1990). Providing adequate amounts of suitable forest cover to sustain the subspecies was a major component of the first recovery plan for northern spotted owls (USFWS 1992) and a driver in the basic reserve design and old-...Lesmeister, Damon B.; Davis, Ramond J; Singleton, Peter H; Wiens, David
Critically assessing the utility of portable lead analyzers for wildlife conservation
Lead (Pb) exposure in wildlife is a widespread management and conservation concern. Quantitative determination of Pb concentrations in wildlife tissues is the foundation for estimating exposure and risk. Development of low‐cost, portable instruments has improved access and cost‐effectiveness of determining Pb concentrations in blood samples, while...Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Bedrosian, Bryan; Craighead, Derek; Domenech, Robert; Langner, Heiko W.; Parish, Chris N.; Shreading, Adam; Welch, Alacia; Wolstenholme, Rachel
The utility of point count surveys to predict wildlife interactions with wind energy facilities: An example focused on golden eagles
Wind energy development is rapidly expanding in North America, often accompanied by requirements to survey potential facility locations for existing wildlife. Within the USA, golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are among the most high-profile species of birds that are at risk from wind turbines. To minimize golden eagle fatalities in areas...Sur, Maitreyi; Belthoff, James R.; Bjerre, Emily R.; Millsap, Brian A.; Katzner, Todd
Adaptive population divergence and directional gene flow across steep elevational gradients in a climate‐sensitive mammal
The American pika is a thermally sensitive, alpine lagomorph species. Recent climate-associated population extirpations and genetic signatures of reduced population sizes range-wide indicate the viability of this species is sensitive to climate change. To test for potential adaptive responses to climate stress, we sampled pikas along two...Waterhouse, Matthew D.; Erb, Liesl P.; Beever, Erik; Russello, Michael A.
Effects of air temperature and discharge on Upper Mississippi River summer water temperatures
Recent interest in the potential effects of climate change has prompted studies of air temperature and precipitation associations with water temperatures in rivers and streams. We examined associations between summer surface water temperatures and both air temperature and discharge for 5 reaches of the Upper Mississippi River during 1994–2011....Gray, Brian R.; Robertson, Dale M.; Rogala, James T.
The use of lead isotope analysis to identify potential sources of lead toxicosis in a juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) with ventricular foreign bodies
A male juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was admitted to the Wildlife Center of Virginia with a left humeral fracture a large quantity of anthropogenic debris in the ventriculus, a blood lead level of 0.616 ppm, and clinical signs consistent with chronic lead toxicosis. Because of the poor prognosis for recovery and release, the eagle...Franzen-Klein, Dana; McRuer, David; Slabe, Vincent; Katzner, Todd
Use of created snags by cavity‐nesting birds across 25 years
Snags are important habitat features for many forest‐dwelling species, so reductions in the number of snags can lead to the loss of biodiversity in forest ecosystems. Intentional snag creation is often used in managed forests to mitigate the long‐term declines of naturally created snags, yet information regarding the use of snags by wildlife...Barry, Amy M.; Hagar, Joan; Rivers, James W.
Lionfish invasion (1985-2018). Lionfish invaded US Atlantic coastal waters, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico with unprecedented, alarming speed. Though reports of sightings date back to the 1980s, it is only recently that the species has exploded in numbers and range. In fact, the lionfish invasion is the...
Title: The Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Protection - Rigorously valuing flood reduction benefits to inform coastal zone management decisions
- Coral reefs are a first line of coastal defense
- We can account for the physical defense that reefs provide
- We can provide value-based information to guide restoration efforts at management-relevant
Jeff Cole, USGS Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory, using temperature sensors and a humminbird sonar system mounted on a kayak to map the thermal habitat of the East Branch (Fishs Eddy, New York) of the Delaware River.
In 2018, USGS and partners completed an incredible feat against a harmful aquatic invasive species when over 240,000 pounds of invasive Silver Carp and Bighead Carp were removed from Creve Coeur Lake in Maryland Heights, Missouri.
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.
The arrows in this image point to mouths of individual corallimorphs, which are a type of invasive anemone that typically thrives in coral reefs that have been degraded by environmental or man-made disturbances. Each corallimorph mouth is surrounded by a corona of tentacles.
Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to...
Image from a remote camera placed in a golden eagle nest in the Mojave Desert. The parent is feed the chick a snake.
This image shows sea lamprey in their 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. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes....
Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other organisms, typically algae. The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific is a unique case where a transition from corals to corallimorphs occurred. Corallimorphs are a type of invasive...
Invasions by exotic annual grasses, most notably cheatgrass and medusahead, are unambiguous threats to rangelands in the western United States, diminishing livestock productivity and increasing wildfire activity.
Incorporation of concepts from landscape ecology into understanding and managing riverine ecosystems has become widely known as riverscape ecology.
Little is known about how lizards and snakes may respond to changes in habitat from climate, invasive species, fire, roads, and natural resource management.
Biological nitrogen fixation is the largest source of the essential nutrient nitrogen that feeds terrestrial ecosystems worldwide.
A population of exotic invasive Cuban treefrogs has been discovered in New Orleans, more than 430 miles (700 kilometers) from the nearest known population in Florida, making this the first known breeding population in the mainland United States outside that state, reports a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Scroll down to hear and download calls of Cuban treefrogs and two native treefrogs.
In the featured photo, WERC scientists search for potential nesting habitat of seabirds like the Ashy Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa) on False Klamath Rock off the coast of California.
Research Ecologist Dan Fagre is the recipient of the 2017 Eugene M. Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communications
Honolulu, Hawaii – Control efforts such as the removal of shipwrecks and application of chlorine may help mitigate the damaging effects of corallimorph, which is a type of invasive anemone, on valuable coral reefs in the Central Pacific Ocean, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.
Plant functional groups have contrasting effects on soil water availability by affecting interception, uptake, and transpiration.
Models of future species distributions are regularly fit at the species level, yet a species’ response to environmental change is not always uniform across its distribution.
Linear fuel breaks have long been used to help suppress fire in the Great Basin, and thousands of miles of new fuel breaks may be constructed in coming years to protect sagebrush ecosystems, including greater sage-grouse habitat.
Environmental DNA picks up traces of the elusive mammals’ saliva, skin, waste, or exhaled breaths.