Mission Areas


Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 455
WERC Scientist conducting elevation surveys in a salt marsh
Date Published: October 30, 2017

USGS WERC’s Dr. Karen Thorne, her team of reseachers, and her partners are currently taking a local site network approach to describe current and future conditions and projected responses of coastal ecosystems to sea-level rise and other stressors. The Coastal Ecosystem Response to Climate Change (CERCC) program’s goal is to understand how ecosystems vary in their ability to keep up with sea-...

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 lizard
Date Published: October 30, 2017

At the population level, Dr. Amy Vandergast and her team estimates important population parameters such as effective migration (or gene flow) and the number of breeding adults (or effective population size), and quantify the impacts of landscape changes and disturbance on these parameters. This work informs individual species management.

WERC technician deploying water level logger
Date Published: October 30, 2017

Coastal estuaries that contain marshes and mangroves are currently being reshaped by changing ocean and atmospheric conditions through prolong drought, sea-level rise and increased extreme storm events. Many projected increases in sea-level are expected to result in loss of tidal wetlands and their component species. In addition, changing sediment loads, extreme tide and storm events, and...

USGS green logo
Date Published: October 12, 2017
Status: Active

Landscape ecology has only a short history as a recognized discipline, but it has transformed our thinking about the interplay between pattern and process. We now understand that many smaller-scale phenomena are driven by spatial processes, such as the proximity of different habitats to one another, the ability of organisms to move through landscapes, and the dynamics of natural disturbance...

Male Okaloosa darter
Date Published: September 26, 2017

This website provides access to the list of imperiled freshwater and diadromous fishes of North America as determined by the 2008 American Fisheries Society (AFS) Endangered Species Committee (ESC) on Fishes.

Oregon spotted frog partially submerged
Date Published: September 20, 2017
Status: Active

The Adams' Amphibian Research Lab focuses on amphibian conservation issues. We are currently addressing issues such as invasive species, disease, land use change, and long-term monitoring design for amphibians in North America. We use a combination of comparative surveys and manipulative experiments to understand the factors affecting amphibian distribution and abundance.

Grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Date Published: September 19, 2017
Status: Active

NOROCK has substantial expertise in large carnivore research, primarily involving species listed as Threatened or Endangered.  NOROCK’s Large Carnivore Research Program includes scientists from NOROCK’s Headquarters, West Glacier Field Station, and the Southern Appalachian Field Station.  Studies are conducted in a wide variety of landscapes throughout the U.S., as well as international...

Adult and juvenile Piping Plovers (Kaiti Titherington/USFWS)
Date Published: September 5, 2017

Federally-listed as threatened since 1986, the Atlantic Coast Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) population comprises fewer than 2,000 breeding pairs, according to the most recent census data. These breeding pairs are the target of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) species recovery plan.

The Little Missouri River, flood plain
Date Published: August 30, 2017

Aquatic Systems Branch scientists analyze rings of riparian trees relating tree growth and establishment to historical flow. We then use the tree rings to reconstruct the flow in past centuries. Flow reconstructions discover the frequency and magnitude of past droughts and floods—information that is essential for management of rivers and water supplies. We also use downscaled climate...

GLSC - Coast
Date Published: August 14, 2017

Midwest Region scientists are conducting research to help restore the Great Lakes and advance the goals of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Studies include aquatic invasive species control; restoration of native fish and habitats and coastal wetlands; monitoring phosphorus or other nutrients from watersheds to rivers to the Great Lakes to reduce harmful algal blooms.

Silver Carp - UMESC
Date Published: August 7, 2017

USGS invasive species science in the Midwest Region is focused on early detection, risk assessment and development of new management control tools and strategies to prevent spread of invasives including Asian carp, invasive mussels, and Phragmites (an invasive wetland plant) in areas including Great Lakes and the Mississippi and Missouri River basins.

Filter Total Items: 58
USGS science for a changing world logo
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.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS)

The central organizing framework for documentation, inventory, monitoring, and study of vegetation in the United States from broad scale formations like forests to fine-scale plant communities. The Classification allows users to produce uniform statistics about vegetation resources across the nation at local, regional, or national levels.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Nature’s Notebook: A national-scale, multi-taxa phenology observation program

Nature’s Notebook is an online phenological monitoring program that currently supports data collection, storage and use for almost 250 animal species (including fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals) and 650 plant species (including trees, shrubs, forbs, grasses and cacti). Available to anyone from scientists to nature enthusiast.

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program
March 4, 2016

Long Term Resource Monitoring

This web resource provides decision makers with the information needed to maintain the Upper Mississippi River System as a viable multiple-use large river ecosystem.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

The Spring Indices (SI)

The Spring Indices are a suite of models developed to simulate the timing of the onset of spring in native and cultivated plants, as well as other physical and ecological processes, that are primarily sensitive to temperature. The SI can be calculated for any weather station that collects daily minimum and maximum temperatures.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

The National Phenology Database

The database houses contemporary and historical data on organismal phenology across the nation. These data are being used in a number of applications for science, conservation and resource management. Customizable data downloads using specific dates, regions, species and phenophases, are freely available.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) Trend Data

The ARMI database provides occupancy and abundance estimates at the project level. Data can be accessed in tabular format or plotted directly via an interactive map browser. The trend data is updated annually and is useful for tracking the status of some of our nation’s amphibian populations.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016


A GIS Database for Sage-grouse and Shrubsteppe Management in the Intermountain West.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Raptor Information System (RIS)

Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC, Corvallis) — The Raptor Information System (RIS) is a computerized literature retrieval system that focuses on raptor management, human impacts on raptors, the mitigation of adverse impacts, and basic raptor biology (with an emphasis on population dynamics and predation).

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)

Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a project monitored by the USGS and the Canadian Wildlife Service on the status and trends of North American bird populations. The data can be used to estimate population trends and relative abundances at various scales.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Across Trophic Level System Simulation for the Freshwater Wetlands of the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp

Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS) is a project to develop a set of models for the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp of South Florida. The models will support studies "to compare the future effects of alternative hydrologic scenarios on the biotic components of the system."

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

North American Bird Monitoring Projects Database - Other (Bird Studies Canada)

The North American Bird Monitoring Projects Database site is dedicated to bird monitoring in North America. It provides easy access to descriptions of all major bird monitoring projects in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Filter Total Items: 544
Year Published: 2016

American woodcock migratory connectivity as indicated by hydrogen isotopes

To identify factors contributing to the long-term decline of American woodcock, a holistic understanding of range-wide population connectivity throughout the annual cycle is needed. We used band recovery data and isotopic composition of primary (P1) and secondary (S13) feathers to estimate population sources and connectivity among natal, early...

Sullins, Daniel S.; Conway, Warren C.; Haukos, David A.; Hobson, Keith A.; Wassenaar, Leonard I; Comer, Christopher E.; Hung, I-Kuai

Year Published: 2016

An empirical assessment of which inland floods can be managed

Riverine flooding is a significant global issue. Although it is well documented that the influence of landscape structure on floods decreases as flood size increases, studies that define a threshold flood-return period, above which landscape features such as topography, land cover and impoundments can curtail floods, are lacking. Further, the...

Mogollón, Beatriz; Frimpong, Emmanuel A.; Hoegh, Andrew B.; Angermeier, Paul

Year Published: 2016

Mapping technological and biophysical capacities of watersheds to regulate floods

Flood regulation is a widely valued and studied service provided by watersheds. Flood regulation benefits people directly by decreasing the socio-economic costs of flooding and indirectly by its positive impacts on cultural (e.g., fishing) and provisioning (e.g., water supply) ecosystem services. Like other regulating ecosystem services (e.g.,...

Mogollón, Beatriz; Villamagna, Amy M.; Frimpong, Emmanuel A.; Angermeier, Paul

Year Published: 2016

The first description of oarfish Regalecus glesne (Regalecus russellii Cuvier 1816) ageing structures

Despite being a large, conspicuous teleost with a worldwide tropical and temperate distribution, the giant oarfish Regalecus spp. remain very rare fish species in terms of scientific sampling. Subsequently, very little biological information is known about Regalecus spp. and almost nothing has been concluded in the field of age and growth (Roberts,...

Midway, S.R.; Wagner, Tyler

Year Published: 2016

A replacement name for Asthenes wyatti perijanus Phelps 1977

A recent near-complete phylogeny of the avian family Furnariidae (Derryberry et al. 2011) found a number of discrepancies between the phylogeny and the then-current taxonomy of the group, and several changes were proposed to reconcile the taxonomy of the family with the phylogeny. Among these was the merging of the genus Schizoeaca Cabanis 1873...

Chesser, R. Terry
Chesser, R. T., 2016, A replacement name for Asthenes wyatti perijanus Phelps 1977: Zootaxa, v. 4067, no. 5, p. 599.

Year Published: 2016

Thermokarst rates intensify due to climate change and forest fragmentation in an Alaskan boreal forest lowland

Lowland boreal forest ecosystems in Alaska are dominated by wetlands comprised of a complex mosaic of fens, collapse-scar bogs, low shrub/scrub, and forests growing on elevated ice-rich permafrost soils. Thermokarst has affected the lowlands of the Tanana Flats in central Alaska for centuries, as thawing permafrost collapses forests that...

Lara, M.; Genet, Helene; McGuire, A. David; Euskirchen, Eugénie S.; Zhang, Yujin; Brown, Dana R. N.; Jorgenson, M.T.; Romanovsky, V.; Breen, Amy L.; Bolton, W.R.

Year Published: 2016

Differences in impacts of Hurricane Sandy on freshwater swamps on the Delmarva Peninsula, Mid−Atlantic Coast, USA

Hurricane wind and surge may have different influences on the subsequent composition of forests. During Hurricane Sandy, while damaging winds were highest near landfall in New Jersey, inundation occurred along the entire eastern seaboard from Georgia to Maine. In this study, a comparison of damage from salinity intrusion vs. wind/surge was...

Middleton, Beth A.
Middleton, B.A., 2016, Differences in impacts of Hurricane Sandy on freshwater swamps on the Delmarva Peninsula, Mid-Atlantic Coast, USA: Ecological Engineering, v. 87, p. 62-70, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2015.11.035.

Year Published: 2016

Ecosystem impacts of exotic annual invaders in the Genus Bromus

An understanding of the impacts of exotic plant species on ecosystems is necessary to justify and guide efforts to limit their spread, restore natives, and plan for conservation. Invasive annual grasses such as Bromus tectorum, B. rubens, B. hordeaceus, and B. diandrus (hereafter collectively referred to as Bromus)...

Germino, Matthew J.; Belnap, Jayne; Stark, John M.; Allen, Edith B.; Rau, Benjamin M.

Year Published: 2016

Resprouting and seeding hypotheses: A test of the gap-dependent model using resprouting and obligate seeding subspecies of Arctostaphylos

Ecological factors favoring either postfire resprouting or postfire obligate seeding in plants have received considerable attention recently. Three ecological models have been proposed to explain patterns of these two life history types. In this study, we test these three models using data from California chaparral. We take an innovative approach...

Keeley, Jon E.; Parker, V. Thomas; Vasey, Michael C.
Keeley, JE, VT Parker, MC Vasey. 2016. Resprouting and seeding hypotheses: a test of the gap-dependent model using resprouting and obligate seeding subspecies of Arctostaphylos. Plant Ecology. doi: 10.1007/s11258-015-0551-z

Year Published: 2016

Characterization of the putatively introduced red alga Acrochaetium secundatum (Acrochaetiales, Rhodophyta) growing epizoically on the pelage of southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis)

Ecological associations between epibionts (organisms that live on the surface of another living organism) and vertebrates have been documented in both marine and terrestrial environments, and may be opportunistic, commensal, or symbiotic (Lewin et al. 1981, Holmes 1985, Allen et al. 1993, Bledsoe et al. 2006, Pfaller et al. 2008, Suutari et al....

Bentall, Gena B.; Rosen, Barry H.; Kunz, Jessica M.; Miller, Melissa A.; Saunders, Gary W.; LaRoche, Nicole L.
Bentall, G.B., Rosen, B.H., Kunz, J.M., Miller, M.A., Saunders, G.W., and LaRoche, N.L., 2015, Characterization of the putatively introduced red alga Acrochaetium secundatum (Acrochaetiales, Rhodophyta) growing epizoically on the pelage of southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis): Marine Mammal Science, Early View, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mms.12275.

Year Published: 2016

Assessing models of speciation under different biogeographic scenarios; An empirical study using multi-locus and RNA-seq analyses

Evolutionary biology often seeks to decipher the drivers of speciation, and much debate persists over the relative importance of isolation and gene flow in the formation of new species. Genetic studies of closely related species can assess if gene flow was present during speciation, because signatures of past introgression often persist in the...

Edwards, Taylor; Tollis, Marc; Hsieh, PingHsun; Gutenkunst, Ryan N.; Liu, Zhen; Kusumi, Kenro; Culver, Melanie; Murphy, Robert W.

Year Published: 2016

Toward more realistic projections of soil carbon dynamics by Earth system models

Soil carbon (C) is a critical component of Earth system models (ESMs), and its diverse representations are a major source of the large spread across models in the terrestrial C sink from the third to fifth assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Improving soil C projections is of a high priority for Earth system...

Luo, Y.; Ahlström, Anders; Allison, Steven D.; Batjes, Niels H.; Brovkin, V.; Carvalhais, Nuno; Chappell, Adrian; Ciais, Philippe; Davidson, Eric A.; Finzi, Adien; Georgiou, Katerina; Guenet, Bertrand; Hararuk, Oleksandra; Harden, Jennifer; He, Yujie; Hopkins, Francesca; Jiang, L.; Koven, Charles; Jackson, Robert B.; Jones, Chris D.; Lara, M.; Liang, J.; McGuire, A. David; Parton, William; Peng, Changhui; Randerson, J.; Salazar, Alejandro; Sierra, Carlos A.; Smith, Matthew J.; Tian, Hanqin; Todd-Brown, Katherine E. O; Torn, Margaret S.; van Groenigen, Kees Jan; Wang, Ying; West, Tristram O.; Wei, Yaxing; Wieder, William R.; Xia, Jianyang; Xu, Xia; Xu, Xiaofeng; Zhou, T.

Filter Total Items: 453
Map shows early wetland losses in red, recent losses in purple
July 10, 2017
This map shows the historic trend in wetland losses, with early losses in red and the most recent ones in purple.
Satellite images of the same marsh in 2008 and 2016
2017 (approx.)
Satellite images of the same wetland taken in 2008 and 2016 show a wetland restoration project has produced some gains in marsh area.
July 6, 2017
Mountain lions, desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, and a variety of other wildlife live on and pass through the Nevada National Security Site each day. It’s a highly restricted area that is free of hunting and has surprisingly pristine areas.This 22-minute program highlights an extraordinary study on how mountain lions interact with their prey. It shows how the scientists use helicopters and...
Woman leaning over collecting sturgeon free embryos outside
2017 (approx.)
A biological science technician collects pallid sturgeon free embryos from the sampling nets in the experimental streams at the Columbia Environmental Research Center.
A female scientists overlooks swimming chambers for pallid sturgeon
2017 (approx.)
A biological science technician prepares the swim chambers to assess the swimming abilities of young pallid sturgeon.
Phragmites under stress in Pass A Loutre, Louisiana
2017 (approx.)
Brown patches and brown stems show stress in this phagmites (roseau cane) stand in Pass A Loutre Wildlife Management Area, a tract of state-owned land in Louisiana's bird foot delta, where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico. An ongoing phragmites was first discovered in spring 2017 and blamed on an invasive scale insect from Asia. But a new USGS report, based on satellite imaging and...
Varied Chesapeake Bay landscapes
May 24, 2017
A montage of four Chesapeake Bay aerial photos. L-R: A waterfront residential community; row crops bordered by forest; Baltimore Harbor; piers and crab pots in a waterfront fishing community.
An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle was recently observed in the Mojave Desert.
May 4, 2017
An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle was recently observed by USGS scientists and staff from The Living Desert Zoo and Garden s in the Mojave Desert. Turtles of this population have rarely been seen since the late 1990s.
A cabin along Alaska's Arctic coast was recently washed into the ocean because the bluff it was sitting on eroded away.
2017 (approx.)
From the Sound Waves Newletter article, "Erosion Doubles Along Part of Alaska's Arctic Coast — Cultural and Historical Sites Lost" at http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2009/05/research2.html
Scientist holding a laptop and equipment, standing in a green field.
2017 (approx.)
Vegetation assessments are part of an effort to produce seamless, consistent, and high resolution landcover data for the northern portion of the western gulf coastal plain. This geography was once dominated by tallgrass prairie and has undergone dramatic change with less than 1% of this natural habitat in existence. Tallgrass prairie provides a suite of ecosystem services including enhancing...
Female scientist looking through microscope.
2017 (approx.)
Biological science aid, Marlee Malmborg, examines and records the viability of pallid sturgeon eggs at the Columbia Environmental Research Center.
2017 (approx.)
Scientists from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) are conducting a "social attraction" study for seabirds in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Historically, this region offered wetland habitats to local wildlife. With the introduction of industrial salt ponds and human development, however, much of this habitat was lost. Now, former salt ponds are being...
Filter Total Items: 293
This image shows the perimeter of Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park in 1966,1998, 2005, and 2015.
May 10, 2017

The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University.

A radio-tracked adult desert tortoise basks in the sun among the wind turbines at a wind energy facility
May 3, 2017

How a wind energy facility is designed can influence the behavior of animal predators and their prey, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Image: A Mule Deer Released After Being Radio-Collared
May 3, 2017

Migratory mule deer in Wyoming closely time their movements to track the spring green-up, providing evidence of an underappreciated foraging benefit of migration, according to a study by University of Wyoming and U.S. Geological Survey scientists at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

Sea otter in kelp.
May 2, 2017

Thanks to a quarter-century of research and monitoring, scientists now know how different wildlife species were injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and how long it took for populations to recover.

Photo of a duck floating in the water.
May 1, 2017

Ducks in North America can be carriers of avian influenza viruses similar to those found in a 2016 outbreak in Indiana that led to the losses of hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys, according to a recent study.

Image: Monarch Male Close-Up
April 27, 2017

As many as 1.8 billion additional stems of milkweed plants may be needed in North America to return imperiled monarch butterflies to a sustainable population size, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

Jumping Silver Carp
April 26, 2017

If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Michigan, there would be enough food available for these particular species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Image shows a male white-tailed deer facing to the left of the image.
April 18, 2017

A new tool, which predicted the recent, rapid growth and continued spread of chronic wasting disease in deer, can help forecast and manage other costly biological threats to humans, animals and the environment, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

American Alligator and Burmese Python in a Struggle
April 13, 2017

Dr. Bryan Falk (USGS Research Fellow based in Everglades National Park) briefed U.S. Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart (Florida 25th district, which includes Big Cypress National Preserve and a portion of Everglades National Park) on invasive species issues. 

A Manatee swimming in Florida waters.
April 11, 2017

Florida’s iconic manatee population is highly likely to endure for the next 100 years, so long as wildlife managers continue to protect the marine mammals and their habitat, a new study by the US Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has found.