Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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Filter Total Items: 422
Map of Ten Thousand Islands, Florida
August 1, 2017

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.

Reptile specimens
July 31, 2017

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....

NPS photo of a Black-Crowned Night Heron
June 12, 2017

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....

Severn River, Annapolis, Maryland, a tributary to Chesapeake Bay, showing high sediment
May 12, 2017

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...

Over wash fan created by Hurricane Sandy in a protected area of Fire Island National Seashore.
April 27, 2017

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...

Blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus)
March 22, 2017

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.

WERC American Avocet on nest with eggs
March 20, 2017

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...

Fish Slam 2016 group
March 16, 2017

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...

Genetic diversity is critical to the success of captive breeding programs
March 16, 2017

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...

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

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...

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
March 14, 2017

The Challenge: The Canada Goose Branta canadensis was historically a highly migratory species.  However, this species has recently established resident populations in urban, suburban, and agricultural areas in many parts of the U.S., including the Chesapeake Bay region.  The enormous success of these populations has led to consideration of this species as a nuisance, largely due...

Female mallard & young
March 14, 2017

The Challenge: The genomic revolution is giving wildlife biologists new tools to assess the role of wildlife in spreading diseases that affect human populations.   Peptide arrays are a high throughput technology that gives unprecedented breadth and depth of information about the immune system.  We are using peptide arrays to assess the immune responses of Chesapeake Bay...

Filter Total Items: 56
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. 

Terrapin nest distrabution on the Chesapeake Bay
July 14, 2016

Diamondback Terrapins in Chesapeake Bay, 2002 Beach Survey

The survey was conducted in summer 2002 to assess the presence of terrapins in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Results are spatial locations of evidence related to nesting.

Albany wind farm
May 2, 2016

Evidence of Absence Webinar

This video describes a statistical software package called "Evidence of Absence" that can be used to provide evidence of compliance with incidental take permits. It will be useful to wildlife managers and wind energy operators to estimate, with reasonable certainty, that a certain number of birds or bats have been killed at wind energy facilities, even when no carcasses are found.

South Florida Information Access logo
April 27, 2016

South Florida Information Access (SOFIA)

South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) was established to provide coherent information access in support of research, decision-making, and resource management for the South Florida ecosystem restoration effort.

SLR graphic
April 21, 2016

Sea-Level Rise Visualization for Alabama and Mississippi

The interactive sea-level rise visualization tool results from a collaborative effort between NOAA's Coastal Services Center, USGS WARC, and USGS Mississippi Water Science Center. The tool illustrates the scale of potential flooding, but not the exact location, and does not account for erosion, subsidence, sediment accretion, or future construction. 

Filter Total Items: 553
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.

Year Published: 2016

Multi-scale connectivity and graph theory highlight critical areas for conservation under climate change

Conservation planning and biodiversity management require information on landscape connectivity across a range of spatial scales from individual home ranges to large regions. Reduction in landscape connectivity due changes in land-use or development is expected to act synergistically with alterations to habitat mosaic configuration arising from...

Dilts, Thomas E.; Weisberg, Peter J.; Leitner, Phillip; Matocq, Marjorie D.; Inman, Richard D.; Nussear, Ken E.; Esque, Todd C.
Dilts, TE, PJ Weisberg, P Leitner, MD Matocq, RD Inman, KE Nussear, TC Esque. 2016. Multi-scale connectivity and graph theory highlight critical areas for conservation under climate change. Ecological Applications. doi: 10.1890/15-0925

Year Published: 2016

High-resolution records detect human-caused changes to the boreal forest wildfire regime in interior Alaska

Stand-replacing wildfires are a keystone disturbance in the boreal forest, and they are becoming more common as the climate warms. Paleo-fire archives from the wildland–urban interface can quantify the prehistoric fire regime and assess how both human land-use and climate change impact ecosystem dynamics. Here, we use a combination of a...

Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Mann, Daniel H.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Wooller, Matthew J.; Finney, Bruce P.

Year Published: 2016

The North American model and captive cervid facilities—What is the threat?

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation represents the key principles that in combination resulted in a distinct form of wildlife conservation in the United States and Canada. How and to what extent captive cervid facilities comport with or conflict with these principles has implications for wildlife conservation. Greatest threats appear...

Organ, John F.; Decker, Thomas A.; Lama, Tanya M.
Organ, J.F., T.A. Decker, and T.M. Lama. 2016. The North American model and captive cervid facilities - what is the threat? Wildlife Society Bulletin 40(1):10-13

Year Published: 2016

Evaluation of Caspian tern (Hydroprogne caspia) and snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) nesting on modified islands at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, California—2015 Annual Report

Executive Summary In order to address the 2008/10 NOAA Fisheries Biological Opinion for operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) have developed and begun implementation of Caspian tern (Hydroprogne caspia) management plans. This implementation...

Hartman, C. Alex; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Herzog, Mark P.; Strong, Cheryl; Trachtenbarg, David; Sawyer, Kimberley A.; Shore, Crystal A.
Hartman, C.A., Ackerman, J.T., Herzog, M.P., Strong, C., Trachtenbarg, D., Sawyer, K.A., and Shore, C.A., 2016, Evaluation of Caspian tern (Hydroprogne caspia) and snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) nesting on modified islands at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, California—2015 Annual Report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016-1049, 36 p., http//dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161049.

Filter Total Items: 435
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...
Phragmites, an invasive grass
2017 (approx.)
Introduced Phragmites australis, also called the common reed, is an invasive grass in the Great Lakes.
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.
Southeastern Bat with P. destructans Fungus
2017 (approx.)
This southeastern bat (Myotis austroriparius) from Alabama shows signs of infection from the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center later confirmed white-nose syndrome in this animal, marking the first time that WNS was found in a southeastern bat. As of June 2017, the species joins eight other hibernating bat species...
Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand 2
2017 (approx.)
This image shows sea lampreys 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. S ea lamprey s are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.
Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication
2017 (approx.)
This microscopic image shows a sun-shaped area within turtle skin cells where chelonid herpesvirus 5 replicates. The virus capsids, or protein shells, are arrayed like a corona around the circle. ChHV5 is associated with fibropapillomatosis a tumor disease affecting endangered green turtles. (Credit: Thierry Work, USGS)
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.
Man measuring a little red bird.
2017 (approx.)
Measuring the wing length of a banded Iiwi
Man holding red bird.
2017 (approx.)
Iiwi with small radio transmitter attached to help track the bird's movement through the forest
WERC researcher conducting elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge
2017 (approx.)
WERC researcher conducting elevation surveys in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge
WERC Coastal ecosystem
2017 (approx.)
Coastal ecosystem studies at Trinidad coast, California.
Filter Total Items: 290
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. 

Image: 'Akiapōlā'au
July 10, 2017

Forest birds on the island of Hawaii are responding positively to being restored in one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, according to a new study released July 10 in the journal Restoration Ecology.

A mother grizzly bear and her cub in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
July 5, 2017

From the journals of Lewis & Clark, April 13, 1805 (in the vicinity of Pouch Point Recreation Area - 16 miles south of New Town, North Dakota):

Hibernating little brown bat
July 5, 2017

Hot new imagery from temperature-sensing cameras suggests that bats who warm up from hibernation together throughout the winter may be better at surviving white nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus ravaging insect-eating bat populations in the United States and Canada.

Close up of Monarch
June 29, 2017

Adding milkweeds and other native flowering plants into midwestern agricultural lands is key to restoring monarch butterflies, with milkweed sowers from all sectors of society being critically needed for success. 

Sea turtle
June 26, 2017

Scientists recently reconstructed the skin of endangered green turtles, marking the first time that skin of a non-mammal was successfully engineered in a laboratory, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study. In turn, the scientists were able to grow a tumor-associated virus to better understand certain tumor diseases.

Commercial lake fishing
June 26, 2017

Harvests from freshwater fisheries such as the Great Lakes could total more than 12 million tons a year globally and contribute more to global food supplies and economies than previous estimates indicate, according to a study published today by Michigan State University and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Prairie dog and SPV bait
June 22, 2017

Prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to succumb to plague after they ingest peanut-butter-flavored bait that contains a vaccine against the disease, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today in the journal EcoHealth.  

A Laysan Albatross chick in its nest near the coastline at Midway Atoll, Hawaii
June 22, 2017

Sudden flooding hit islands of global importance for Pacific birds highlighting threats and opportunities for conservation planning

A juvenile Broad-banded Watersnake that tested positive for snake fungal disease (SFD) exhibiting ulceration of the skin.
June 19, 2017

Europe’s wild snakes could face a growing threat from a fungal skin disease that has contributed to wild snake deaths in North America, according to an international collaborative study, led by conservation charity Zoological Society of London alongside partners including the U.S. Geological Survey. The new study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.