Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 566
Date published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Energy Development and Aquatic Ecosystems

USGS is advancing science on the impacts of energy development on aquatic ecosystems.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Fish and Aquatic Ecology

USGS scientists conduct studies to understand how aquatic species interact with each other and their environment in a wide range of aquatic habitats, including streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and coastal areas. USGS scientists quantify and describe functional relationships among aquatic species and habitats to describe aquatic community structure, function, adaptation, and sustainability....

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Vulnerability Assessments of Aquatic Species

The USGS Fisheries Program develops valuable tools for assessing species’ vulnerability to environmental stressors, focusing on 3 critical elements: exposure (magnitude of change), sensitivity (likelihood of adverse impacts), and adaptive capacity (species’ ability to cope with change). For example, our scientists develop the tools and science to help water managers evaluate tradeoffs in...

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Aquatic Toxicology

The USGS investigates pathogens and other environmental factors that affect aquatic organism health to  support the management, conservation, and restoration of aquatic species.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Fish Health

USGS investigates pathogen discovery, causes, and drivers; researches disease ecology and immunology; and develops advanced tools for surveillance, risk assessment, and control of diseases that impact aquatic organism health to support the management, conservation, and restoration of aquatic species.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Fish Physiology and Behavior

USGS research focuses on fish physiology and behavioral characteristics, vulnerability assessments, and development of indicator tools that can be used to inform decisions with the goal of sustaining and enhancing fisheries resources in concert with human uses.

Date published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Imperiled Aquatic Species

Forty percent of all fish species in North America are at risk of extinction. USGS research is crucial to protect and manage at-risk species and healthy fish populations into the future. Species management research encompasses threatened and endangered species, Interior trust species protected by law, sensitive species that are declining, rare, or uncommon that may be candidates for future...

Date published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Freshwater Species

USGS research and technology provides the scientific basis for the adaptive management of aquatic species and aquatic habitats in the United States. The USGS examines the physiology, life history, reproduction, and habitat needs of specific life stages of fish and other aquatic organisms to assist fishery managers to develop techniques to understand, conserve, and restore fish species and...

Date published: April 13, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Habitats

USGS scientists quantify and describe functional relationships among aquatic species in coastal habitats to characterize aquatic community structure, function, adaptation, and sustainability.

Date published: April 13, 2018
Status: Active

Wetlands and Ponds

USGS research to assess wetland habitats and ecological functions are critical for restoration activities.

Date published: April 13, 2018
Status: Active

Deepwater Habitats

Deepwater habitats, such as the Great Lakes, are a key strategic resource and driver of economic vitality that are threatened by multiple stressors, including overfishing, invasions of exotic species, habitat degradation, pollution, climate change, and harmful algal blooms. Under the 1954 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, the Department of Interior is responsible for conducting a...

Date published: April 13, 2018
Status: Active

Streams and Rivers

USGS studies the ecology and biodiversity of streams, rivers, and aquatic ecosystems to understand impacts of changing land and water use on fish species and aquatic communities. We research critical fish and aquatic habitats and develop techniques to understand, conserve, and restore fish communities.

Filter Total Items: 69
Date published: 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. 

Date published: April 21, 2016

Alabama Strategic Habitat Units Applications

WARC's Advanced Applications Team develops and maintains databases and applications to help the Alabama Department of Transportation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ensure new road construction and existing road maintenance at waterway crossings don't adversely affect threatened and endangered species dependent on those waterways. 

Date published: April 21, 2016

Hurricane Sandy Ecosystems Application Development

This showcases the data and analytical products from studies related to habitat change, storm surge and ecological modeling, migratory bird impacts, and other studies conducted at WARC and funded by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. WARC's Advanced Applications Team also supports the efforts of scientists conducting research in Hurricane Sandy-impacted areas. 

Date published: April 21, 2016

Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS)

CRMS is the largest of all Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPRRA) funded projects and has established a network of ~400 biological monitoring stations across coastal Louisiana spanning all coastal habitat types and generating tremendous volumes of data. 

Date published: April 21, 2016

Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP) Barrier Island Restoration

MsCIP was developed in 2009 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, in conjunction with other Federal and State agencies, to help reduce future storm damage along the Mississippi Gulf coast. In 2014, in cooperation with the USACE Mobile District, WARC's Advanced Applications Team began development on the MsCIP Data Viewer, an interactive web-mapping environment. 

Date published: April 20, 2016

Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA)

CWPPRA is the oldest and largest coastal restoration effort operating across coastal Louisiana and has constructed 105 restoration projects since its establishment over 20 years ago. WARC's Advanced Applications Team has proudly worked with the CWPPRA Task Force over the years to ensure timely and accurate project-specific information is publicly available. 

Date published: April 20, 2016

Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) Support

The JEM community of practice is focused on ecological modeling and monitoring across the Greater Everglades, with particular interest in habitats, how various factors affect habitat change, and how the organisms dependent on those habitats respond today and into the future.

Date published: April 20, 2016

Everglades Eco-Modeling Data Visualization and Tool Development

Working with the Joint Ecosystem Modeling (JEM) community of practice, the WARC Advanced Applications Team developed and maintains the EverVIEW Data Viewer desktop visualization platform, which allows users to easily visualize and inspect standards-compliant NetCDF modeling data and has experienced tremendous feature growth driven by user feedback. 

Date published: April 20, 2016

EverVIEW Lite

Recently, the Team has developed and released EverVIEW Lite, an online web mapping framework based on the core features available in the desktop viewer.

Date published: April 20, 2016

Coastal Information Management System (CIMS)

WARC's Advanced Applications Team is responsible for data management and application development to support the biological monitoring components of coastal restoration projects in the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority portfolio. 

Date published: April 12, 2016

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program Database Queries

Welcome to the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) information resource for the United States Geological Survey. Located at Gainesville, Florida, this site has been established as a central repository for spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of introduced aquatic species.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database (NAS)

The NAS provides spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of aquatic species introduced into the United States. The NAS allows for real-time queries, has regional contact information, species accounts and general information. Sign up for species-specific email alerts. Special maps available for zebra and quagga mussels, Asian carp and lionfish.

Filter Total Items: 2,287
Year Published: 2018

Mercury concentrations in multiple tissues of Kittlitz's murrelets (Brachyramphus brevirostris)

Mercury (Hg) is a non-essential, toxic metal that is distributed worldwide. Mercury biomagnifies in food webs and can threaten the health of top predators such as seabirds. The Kittlitz's murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) is a seabird endemic to Alaska and the Russian Far East and is a species of conservation concern in the region. We...

Kenney, Leah A.; Kaler, Robb S.; Kissling, Michelle L.; Bond, Alexander L.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.
Kenney, L.A., Kaler, R.S., Kissling, M.L., Bond, A.L., Eagles-Smith, C.A., 2017, Mercury concentrations in multiple tissues of Kittlitz's murrelets (Brachyramphus brevirostris): Marine Pollution Bulletin, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.10.055.

Year Published: 2018

Occupancy modeling of autonomously recorded vocalizations to predict distribution of rallids in tidal wetlands

Conservation and management for a species requires reliable information on its status, distribution, and habitat use. We identified occupancy and distributions of king (Rallus elegans) and clapper (R. crepitans) rail populations in marsh complexes along the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers in Virginia, USA by modeling data on vocalizations recorded...

Stiffler, Lydia L.; Anderson, James T.; Katzner, Todd
Stiffler, L.L., Anderson, J.T., Katzner, T.E., 2018, Occupancy modeling of autonomously recorded vocalizations to predict distribution of rallids in tidal wetlands: Wetlands, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-018-1003-z.

Year Published: 2018

Modulators of mercury risk to wildlife and humans in the context of rapid global change

Environmental mercury (Hg) contamination is an urgent global health threat. The complexity of Hg in the environment can hinder accurate determination of ecological and human health risks, particularly within the context of the rapid global changes that are altering many ecological processes, socioeconomic patterns, and other factors like...

Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Silbergeld, Ellen K.; Basu, Niladri; Bustamante, Paco; Diaz-Barriga, Fernando; Hopkins, William A.; Kidd, Karen A.; Nyland, Jennifer F.
Eagles-Smith, C.A., Silbergeld, E.K., Basu, N., Bustamante, P., Diaz-Barriga, F., Hopkins, W.A., Nyland, J.F., 2018, Modulators of mercury risk to wildlife and humans in the context of rapid global change: Ambio, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-1011-x.

Year Published: 2018

Spatial patterns in occupancy and reproduction of Golden Eagles during drought: Prospects for conservation in changing environments

We used a broad-scale sampling design to investigate spatial patterns in occupancy and breeding success of territorial pairs of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the Diablo Range, California, USA, during a period of exceptional drought (2014–2016). We surveyed 138 randomly selected sample sites over 4 occasions each year and identified 199...

Wiens, David; Kolar, Patrick; Hunt, W. Grainger; Hunt, Teresa; Fuller, Mark R.; Bell, Douglas A.
Wiens, J.D., Kolar, P.S., Hunt, G., Hunt, T., Fuller, M.R., Bell, D.A., 2018, Spatial patterns in occupancy and reproduction of Golden Eagles during drought- Prospects for conservation in changing environments: The Condor, v. 120, p. 106-124, https://doi.org/ 10.1650/CONDOR-17-96.1.

Year Published: 2018

Survey of beaver-related restoration practices in rangeland streams of the western USA

Poor condition of many streams and concerns about future droughts in the arid and semi-arid western USA have motivated novel restoration strategies aimed at accelerating recovery and increasing water resources. Translocation of beavers into formerly occupied habitats, restoration activities encouraging beaver recolonization, and instream...

Pilliod, David S.; Rohde, Ashley T.; Charnley, Susan; Davee, Rachael R; Dunham, Jason B.; Gosnell, Hannah; Grant, Gordon E.; Hausner, Mark B.; Huntington, Justin L.; Nash, Caroline
Pilliod, D.S., Rohde, A.T., Charnley, S., Davee, R.R., Dunham, J.B., Gosnell, H., Grant, G.E., Hausner, M.B., Huntington, J.L., Nash, C., 2018, Survey of beaver-related restoration practices in rangeland streams of the western USA: Environmental Management, v. 61, p. 58-68, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-017-0957-6.

Year Published: 2018

The effect of isolation, fragmentation, and population bottlenecks on song structure of a Hawaiian honeycreeper

Little is known about how important social behaviors such as song vary within and among populations for any of the endemic Hawaiian honeycreepers. Habitat loss and non‐native diseases (e.g., avian malaria) have resulted in isolation and fragmentation of Hawaiian honeycreepers within primarily high elevation forests. In this study, we examined how...

Pang-Ching, Joshua M.; Paxton, Kristina L.; Paxton, Eben H.; Pack, Adam A.; Hart, Patrick J.
Pang‐Ching, J. M., K. L. Paxton, E. H. Paxton, A. A. Pack, and P. J. Hart. 2018. The effect of isolation, fragmentation, and population bottlenecks on song structure of a Hawaiian honeycreeper. Ecology and Evolution 8:2076–2087. Available: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3820

Year Published: 2018

Development and release of phenological data products—A case study in compliance with federal open data policy

In Autumn 2015, USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) staff implemented new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data-management policies intended to ensure that the results of Federally funded research are made available to the public. The effort aimed both to improve USA-NPN data releases and to provide a model for similar programs within the USGS....

Rosemartin, Alyssa H.; Langseth, Madison L.; Crimmins, Theresa M.; Weltzin, Jake F.
Rosemartin, A., Langseth, M.L., Crimmins, T.M., and Weltzin, J.F., 2018, Development and release of phenological data products—A case study in compliance with federal open data policy: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1007, 13 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181007.

Year Published: 2018

Using a food web model to inform the design of river restoration—An example at the Barkley Bear Segment, Methow River, north-central Washington

With the decline of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead (O. mykiss), habitat restoration actions in freshwater tributaries have been implemented to improve conditions for juveniles. Typically, physical (for example, hydrologic and engineering) based models are used to design restoration alternatives with the assumption that...

Benjamin, Joseph R.; Bellmore, J. Ryan; Dombroski, Daniel
Benjamin, J.R., Bellmore, J.R., and Dombroski, Daniel, 2018, Using a food web model to inform the design of river restoration—An example at the Barkley Bear Segment, Methow River, north-central Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1002, 24 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181002.

Year Published: 2018

Land use diversification and intensification on elk winter range in Greater Yellowstone: A framework and agenda for social-ecological research

Amenity migration describes the movement of peoples to rural landscapes and the transition toward tourism and recreation and away from production-oriented land uses (ranching, timber harvesting). The resulting mosaic of land uses and community structures has important consequences for wildlife and their management. This research note examines...

Haggerty, Julia Hobson; Epstein, Kathleen; Stone, Michael; Cross, Paul

Year Published: 2018

Rapid colonization of a Hawaiian restoration forest by a diverse avian community

Deforestation of tropical forests has led to widespread loss and extirpation of forest bird species around the world, including the Hawaiian Islands which have experienced a dramatic loss of forests over the last 200–800 years. Given the important role birds play in forest ecosystem functions via seed dispersal and pollination, a bird community's...

Paxton, Eben H.; Yelenik, Stephanie G.; Borneman, Tracy E.; Rose, Eli; Camp, Richard J.; Kendall, Steve J.
Paxton, E. H., S. G. Yelenik, T. E. Borneman, E. T. Rose, R. J. Camp, and S. J. Kendall. 2018. Rapid colonization of a Hawaiian restoration forest by a diverse avian community. Restoration Ecology 26:165–173.

Year Published: 2018

Evaluating trade-offs in bull trout reintroduction strategies using structured decision making

Structured decision making allows reintroduction decisions to be made despite uncertainty by linking reintroduction goals with alternative management actions through predictive models of ecological processes. We developed a decision model to evaluate the trade-offs between six bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) reintroduction decisions with the...

Brignon, William R.; Peterson, James T.; Dunham, Jason B.; Schaller, Howard A.; Schreck, Carl B.
Brignon, W. R., Peterson, J. T., Dunham, J. B., Schaller, H. A., & Schreck, C. B. (2017). Evaluating Tradeoffs in Bull Trout Reintroduction Strategies Using Structured Decision Making. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Year Published: 2018

Lack of observed movement response to lead exposure of California condors

Lead poisoning is an important conservation concern for wildlife, and scavenging birds are especially at risk from consumption of carcasses of animals killed with lead ammunition. Because current methods to identify lead exposure require animal capture and blood collection, management would benefit from the development of a less costly and...

Poessel, Sharon; Brandt, Joseph; Uyeda, Linda; Astell, Molly; Katzner, Todd E.
Poessel, S.A., Brandt, J., Uyeda, L., Astell, M., Katzner, T.E., 2017, Lack of observed movement response to lead exposure of California condors: Journal of Wildlife Management, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21378.

Filter Total Items: 539
Brown bears (Ursus arctos) and Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus)
December 31, 2017

Bear predation on salmon can be high in many Alaskan rivers.

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.

USGS
December 31, 2017

Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis) Call

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. 
 

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) and Chum (Salmon Oncorhynchus)
December 31, 2017

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) and Chum (Salmon Oncorhynchus)

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. ...

Southeastern Bat with P. destructans Fungus
December 31, 2017

Southeastern Bat with P. destructans Fungus

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...

Alligator Hatchlings
December 31, 2017

Alligator Hatchlings

Crocodilians are one of the few reptile taxa that exhibit parental care. In alligators, following nest construction, females stay nearby in a guard hole, and are known to defend their nests against predators or other intruders. At the end of the 60-day incubation period, alligator hatchlings will vocalize from within the egg, to signal to the mother that they are ready to hatch. At hatch,...

Frog liver with SPI
December 31, 2017

Frog liver with SPI

This photomicrograph shows a liver of a frog with a severe Perkinsea infection.

Phragmites, an invasive grass
December 31, 2017

Phragmites, an invasive grass

Introduced Phragmites australis, also called the common reed, is an invasive grass in the Great Lakes.

Sea turtle
December 31, 2017

Sea turtle

Green sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered throughout their range. (Credit: Thierry Work, USGS)

Attribution: Ecosystems
USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag.
December 31, 2017

USGS scientist holds a surf scoter that has been tagged.

USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag that works by transmitting the location of the birds to satellites that are orbiting the Earth. (Jonathan Fiely, USGS)

Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication
December 31, 2017

Chelonid herpesvirus 5 replication

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 fibropapillomatosisa tumor disease affecting endangered green turtles. (Credit: Thierry Work, USGS)

November 30, 2017

2017 Nov. Pub. Lecture—Sea Otters: Confessions of a Keystone Carnivore

  • Sea otters are perhaps the best-known example of a "keystone predator".
  • Sea otter behavior -- in particular diet specialization and limited mobility -- can mediate their effects on ecosystem dynamics.
  • Other predators, especially large sea stars, can complement and reinforce the keystone role of sea otters: this became apparent with the loss of all sea stars from wasting
  • ...
Attribution: Ecosystems
November 24, 2017

Serene Sirens: USGS Sea Cow Science

A USGS video about manatees reveals that while the animals may act like the cows of the sea, they also have more than a bit of the magical siren or mermaid about them.  Go for a serene swim.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Filter Total Items: 315
Date published: September 27, 2017

Research to Recover Threatened Waterfowl: USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Supervisor Receives Prestigious U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion Award

USGS scientist James “Barry” Grand, Ph.D., has been named a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion (Region 7) for his exemplary long-term research on two formerly threatened species, the spectacled eider and Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Emerging Disease Further Jeopardizes North American Frogs

A deadly amphibian disease called severe Perkinsea infections, or SPI, is the cause of many large-scale frog die-offs in the United States, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey

Date published: September 18, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, August 2017 | Issue 5.8

Science to Support Salmon Recovery Efforts in the Puget Sound

Date published: September 6, 2017

Wildfire and Invasive Species Drives Increasing Size and Cost of Public Land Restoration Efforts

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.

Date published: September 5, 2017

Public Invitation: USGS La Crosse Science Center Opens Doors for Interactive Experience

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.  

Date published: August 30, 2017

Public Invitation: Jamestown Science Center Opens Doors for Interactive Experience

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.  

Date published: August 23, 2017

Invasive Pest May Not Be Only Cause of Recent Louisiana Marsh Die-off

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.

Date published: August 16, 2017

Changing Tides: Lake Michigan Could Best Support Lake Trout and Steelhead

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.

Date published: August 10, 2017

Media Advisory: Wildlife Partners Unite to Protect Iconic Species from Deadly Plague

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.  

Date published: August 1, 2017

Deadly Fungus Affecting Hibernating Bats Could Spread During Summer

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.

Date published: July 20, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, July 2017 | Issue 5.7

In Memoriam - Dr. William "Dave" Woodson, 1956-2017

Date published: July 17, 2017

Wildlife Cameras Offer Insight on Geese for Industry and Researchers in the Arctic

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.