Mission Areas


Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 421
Scientists collecting bat location data
December 20, 2016

The Challenge: Within the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV), forest managers may prescribe variable retention silvicultural treatments within bottomland hardwood forests on public lands to improve forest conditions (i.e., structural heterogeneity, species composition, and senescence) for priority wildlife species. This is referred to as wildlife-forestry silviculture. However, concerns have...

Citizen Scientists monitoring Avian populations in the Gulf Coast National Parks
December 20, 2016

The Challenge: Avian monitoring within the Gulf Coast Network of the National Park Service is challenged to provide valid quantitative data on bird populations within park boundaries with limited financial input. Thus, citizen science (volunteer) bird monitoring has been proposed to achieve reliable estimates of bird populations and to assess the effects of habitat change and temporal dynamics...

Trails in flat terrain with wet soils are also unsustainable
December 20, 2016

The Challenge: Achieving conservation objectives in protected natural areas requires the ability to sustain visitation while avoiding or minimizing adverse environmental impacts. Trails are an essential infrastructure component that limits resource impacts by concentrating use on hardened treads designed and maintained to sustain traffic. This is particularly challenging...

Researchers on cliff face investigating the effects of climbing on rare cliff plants.
December 20, 2016

The Challenge: The Potomac River Gorge, managed by the National Park Service in Virginia and Maryland, is a highly accessible protected natural area bordered by the intensively developed Washington metro region. The Gorge is biologically rich, with more than 400 occurrences of over 200 rare species. Potomac Gorge receives exceptionally heavy visitation, with nearly two...

A visitor on a steep informal trail
December 20, 2016

The Challenge: The proliferation and degradation of visitor-created “informal” trails in protected areas can be a vexing management issue for land managers. Formal trail systems never provide access to all locations required by visitors seeking to engage in a variety of appropriate recreational activities. Traveling off-trail may be necessary to engage in...

Estuarine water-quality monitoring
December 19, 2016

The Challenge: Estuaries in northeastern states are severely threatened by the adverse impacts of nutrient over-enrichment. USGS led the development of a vital-signs protocol to monitor estuarine nutrient status in northeastern National Parks, and monitoring has been operational in coastal parks from Massachusetts to Virginia since 2006. Monitoring results must be...

Eelgrass (Zostera marina)
December 19, 2016

The Challenge: Seagrasses are productive and important components of shallow coastal waters, and they have suffered extensive declines worldwide. Because seagrasses are directly in the path of watershed nutrient inputs, a major cause of habitat loss is coastal development and consequent water quality degradation. Improved approaches for detecting threats of nutrient...

Whooping Crane, Grus americana, given the Eastern Equine Encephalitis vaccination
December 19, 2016

The Challenge: In eastern North America there is a viral disease called Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE. This virus is transmitted among native bird species by the mosquito, Culiseta melanura, but does not cause disease in these passerine species. However, the virus is capable of causing severe disease or death in horses, some game bird species, humans and whooping...

Young Parent-reared Whooping Crane, Grus americana, being released
December 19, 2016

The Challenge: Whooping cranes have been successfully introduced using costume rearing techniques in either a direct autumn release or in an ultralight led migration from Wisconsin to Florida. In Florida, we have also released parent-reared whooping cranes. Not much is known about the learning that takes place in this K-selected species over the almost one year that...

BBS Observer along Hughesville, MD BBS route (Photo Credit: Heather Martley)
December 19, 2016

The Challenge: Many critical wildlife surveys, such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), are analyzed using complex hierarchical models. These models are generally multi-scale and contain random effects; the standard approaches to model selection and assessment of model fit are often inappropriate and no simple way exists to compare alternative models....

Black Duck, Anas rubripes, Breeding Range Map
December 19, 2016

The Challenge: Over the last half of the 20th century, the breeding range of American black duck (Anas rubripes) has contracted from central Canada and the Northeastern United States toward eastern Canada. This reduction in size of the breeding range has been reflected in a steady decline of black ducks counted during winter surveys, both the midwinter Waterfowl Survey...

Population Change and the BBS
December 19, 2016

The Challenge: Population status information is required for management of migratory bird populations, and structured decision making and adaptive anagement place additional emphasis on the need for rigorous survey designs and robust estimation methods. The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Christmas Bird Count (CBC) provide continent-scale information on ...

Filter Total Items: 56
USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

National Gap Analysis Program (GAP)

This site provides data and tools to help answer the question of how well we are protecting common plants and animals (GAP Analysis). Choose a state or the entire United States. Download data for land cover, species, protected areas and more or view online, using the interactive GAP Data Viewers.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

National Plants Database

Provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the United States and its territories.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Web Soil Survey (WSS)

Provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) — Wetlands Mapper

This tool produces and provides information on the characteristics, extent, and status of the Nation's wetlands and deepwater habitats and other wildlife habitats.

Imperiled snail data map
December 17, 2013

American Fisheries Society List of Freshwater Gastropods (Snails) from Canada and the United States

At this website, one can view lists of native freshwater snails by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of snails by political boundaries. Lists can be downloaded for use in reports or analyses. Data file last updated 12/17/2013.

Imperiled fish data map
April 25, 2013

The 2008 AFS Endangered Species Committee list of imperiled freshwater and diadromous fishes of North America

At this website, one can view lists of imperiled fishes by freshwater ecoregion, by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of imperiled fishes by ecoregions or political boundaries. Data file last updated 4/25/2013.

Imperiled crayfish data map
March 17, 2011

The 2007 AFS Endangered Species Committee list of common and imperiled freshwater crayfishes of the United States and Canada

At this website, one can view lists of crayfishes by freshwater ecoregion, by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of crayfishes by ecoregions or political boundaries. Data file last updated 3/17/2011.

Queen angelfish - Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands
September 9, 2010

Mangrove Secrets

The Sheltered Corals of Hurricane Hole, US Virgin Islands

Filter Total Items: 551
Year Published: 2016

A simple web-based tool to compare freshwater fish data collected using AFS standard methods

The American Fisheries Society (AFS) recently published Standard Methods for Sampling North American Freshwater Fishes. Enlisting the expertise of 284 scientists from 107 organizations throughout Canada, Mexico, and the United States, this text was developed to facilitate comparisons of fish data across regions or time. Here we describe...

Bonar, Scott A.; Mercado-Silva, Norman; Rahr, Matt; Torrey, Yuta T.; Cate, Averill

Year Published: 2016

Restored agricultural wetlands in Central Iowa: habitat quality and amphibian response

Amphibians are declining throughout the United States and worldwide due, partly, to habitat loss. Conservation practices on the landscape restore wetlands to denitrify tile drainage effluent and restore ecosystem services. Understanding how water quality, hydroperiod, predation, and disease affect amphibians in restored wetlands is central to...

Reeves, Rebecca A.; Pierce, Clay; Smalling, Kelly L. ; Klaver, Robert W.; Vandever, Mark W.; Battaglin, William A.; Muths, Erin L.
Reeves, R. A., C. L. Pierce, E. Muths., K. L. Smalling, R. W. Klaver, M. W. Vandever and W. A. Battaglin. 2015. Restored agricultural wetlands in central Iowa: habitat quality and amphibian response. Wetlands. DOI: 10.1007/s13157-015-0720-9

Year Published: 2016

Flexible risk metrics for identifying and monitoring conservation-priority species

Region-specific conservation programs should have objective, reliable metrics for species prioritization and progress evaluation that are customizable to the goals of a program, easy to comprehend and communicate, and standardized across time. Regional programs may have vastly different goals, spatial coverage, or management agendas, and one-size-...

Stanton, Jessica C.; Semmens, Brice X.; McKann, Patrick C.; Will, Tom; Thogmartin, Wayne E.
Stanton, J.C., Semmens, B.X., McKann, P.C., Will, T., Thogmartin, W.E. 2015. Flexible risk metrics for identifying and monitoring conservation-priority species. Ecological Indicators. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.10.020.

Year Published: 2016

Diagnostic and model dependent uncertainty of simulated Tibetan permafrost area

 We perform a land-surface model intercomparison to investigate how the simulation of permafrost area on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) varies among six modern stand-alone land-surface models (CLM4.5, CoLM, ISBA, JULES, LPJ-GUESS, UVic). We also examine the variability in simulated permafrost area and distribution introduced by five different...

Wang, A.; Moore, J.C.; Cui, Xingquan; Ji, D.; Li, Q.; Zhang, N.; Wang, C.; Zhang, S.; Lawrence, D.M.; McGuire, A.D.; Zhang, W.; Delire, C.; Koven, C.; Saito, K.; MacDougall, A.; Burke, E.; Decharme, B.

Year Published: 2016

Effects of wind-energy facilities on grassland bird distributions

The contribution of renewable energy to meet worldwide demand continues to grow. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable sectors, but new wind facilities are often placed in prime wildlife habitat. Long-term studies that incorporate a rigorous statistical design to evaluate the effects of wind facilities on wildlife are rare. We...

Shaffer, Jill A.; Buhl, Deb
Shaffer, J. A., and D. A. Buhl. 2015. Effects of wind-energy facilities on grassland bird distributions. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12569 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12569/abstract

Year Published: 2016

The influence of a severe reservoir drawdown on springtime zooplankton and larval fish assemblages in Red Willow Reservoir, Nebraska

Reservoirs can be dynamic systems, often prone to unpredictable and extreme water-level fluctuations, and can be environments where survival is difficult for zooplankton and larval fish. Although numerous studies have examined the effects of extreme reservoir drawdown on water quality, few have examined extreme drawdown on both abiotic and biotic...

DeBoer, Jason A.; Webber, Christa M.; Dixon, Taylor A.; Pope, Kevin L.

Year Published: 2016

Postnatal growth rates covary weakly with embryonic development rates and do not explain adult mortality probability among songbirds on four continents

Growth and development rates may result from genetic programming of intrinsic processes that yield correlated rates between life stages. These intrinsic rates are thought to affect adult mortality probability and longevity. However, if proximate extrinsic factors (e.g., temperature, food) influence development rates differently between stages and...

Martin, Thomas E.; Oteyza, Juan C.; Mitchell, Adam E.; Potticary, Ahva L.; Lloyd, P.

Year Published: 2016

Optimizing surveillance for South American origin influenza A viruses along the United States Gulf Coast through genomic characterization of isolates from blue-winged teal (Anas discors)

Relative to research focused on intercontinental viral exchange between Eurasia and North America, less attention has been directed towards understanding the redistribution of influenza A viruses (IAVs) by wild birds between North America and South America. In this study, we genomically characterized 45 viruses isolated from blue-winged teal (Anas...

Ramey, Andy M.; Walther, Patrick; Link, Paul Karl; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Wilcox, Benjamin R.; Newsome, George M.; Spackman, Erica; Brown, J.; Stallknecht, David E.
Ramey, A. M., P. Walther, P. Link, R. L. Poulson, B. R. Wilcox, G. M. Newsome, E. Spackman, J. D. Brown, and D. E. Stallknecht. 2014. Optimizing surveillance for South American origin influenza A viruses along the United States Gulf Coast through genomic characterization of isolates from Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors). Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, doi:10.1111/tbed.12244

Year Published: 2015

State-space modeling to support management of brucellosis in the Yellowstone bison population

The bison (Bison bison) of the Yellowstone ecosystem, USA, exemplify the difficulty of conserving large mammals that migrate across the boundaries of conservation areas. Bison are infected with brucellosis (Brucella abortus) and their seasonal movements can expose livestock to infection. Yellowstone National Park has embarked on a program of...

Hobbs, N. Thompson; Geremia, Chris; Treanor, John; Wallen, Rick; White, P.J.; Hooten, Mevin B.; Rhyan, Jack C.

Year Published: 2015

Seasonal cues of Arctic grayling movement in a small Arctic stream: the importance of surface water connectivity

In Arctic ecosystems, freshwater fish migrate seasonally between productive shallow water habitats that freeze in winter and deep overwinter refuge in rivers and lakes. How these movements relate to seasonal hydrology is not well understood. We used passive integrated transponder tags and stream wide antennae to track 1035 Arctic grayling in Crea...

Heim, Kurt C.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Whitman, Matthew S.; Arp, Christopher D.; Adams, Jeff; Falke, Jeffrey A.

Year Published: 2015

Toward a mechanistic understanding of human-induced rapid environmental change: A case study linking energy development, avian nest predation, and predators

Demographic consequences of human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC) have been widely documented for many populations. The mechanisms underlying such patterns, however, are rarely investigated and yet are critical to understand for effective conservation and management. We investigated the mechanisms underlying reduced avian nest survival...

Hethcoat, Matthew G.; Chalfoun, Anna D.

Year Published: 2015

Incorporating microbial dormancy dynamics into soil decomposition models to improve quantification of soil carbon dynamics of northern temperate forests

Soil carbon dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. Microbial-based decomposition models have seen much growth recently for quantifying this role, yet dormancy as a common strategy used by microorganisms has not usually been represented and tested in these models against field observations. Here we...

He, Yujie; Yang, Jinyan; Zhuang, Qianlai; Harden, Jennifer W.; McGuire, Anthony; Liu, Yaling; Wang, Gangsheng; Gu, Lianhong

Filter Total Items: 433
Alligator Telemetry Research in South Carolina
2016 (approx.)
Researchers have deployed 24 external GPS transmitters to male alligators in South Carolina. Alligators are territorial -- an individual’s movements may be influenced by other alligators in close proximity. Alligators are territorial -- an individual’s movements may be influenced by other alligators in close proximity.
Frosted flatwoods salamander
2016 (approx.)
Frosted flatwoods salamander in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
Chinese firebelly new
2016 (approx.)
A Chinese firebelly newt ( Cynops orientalis ), the first salamander species found to be infected with the spring viraemia of carp virus.
American Alligator
2016 (approx.)
South Carolina alligators occupy a patchwork of diverse habitats, including rivers, lakes, wooded swamps, tidal marshes, and impounded freshwater wetlands. As a mobile, opportunistic predator, alligators seasonally adjust their habitat use for feeding. For example, some Florida alligators venture into brackish water habitats to feed on nutrient-rich blue crabs during the wet season because...
Testing for Bsal
2016 (approx.)
Scientists sample a rough-skinned newt for the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans , or Bsal , at a pond near Portland, Oregon. Bsal is decimating wild salamander populations in Europe and could emerge in the U.S. through the captive amphibian trade.
Transmitters are programmed to acquire an alligator location once every three hours from April to the end of September each year
2016 (approx.)
Transmitters are programmed to acquire an alligator location once every three hours from April to the end of September each year.
Dissected bat guano pellet showing antennae, eyes, and body fragments of midges.
2016 (approx.)
Dissected guano pellet showing antennae, eyes, and body fragments of midges.
Alligator transmitter installation and recovery
2016 (approx.)
Alligator transmitter installation and recovery. Pictured: Abby Lawson, Thomas Rainwater, John Lane (Wofford College), and Erin Weeks (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources).
WorldCat holdings, OCLC, USGS Pubs Warehouse, Public Domain, Biodiversity Heritage Library
December 6, 2016
Student volunteers are trained to scan historic library materials. The materials can be complex, consisting of multiple parts.
Tufted Puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK
November 23, 2016
Tufted Puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK. Near Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska
November 17, 2016
Ecological Stressors: It's a Lot of 'WERC' "There's is no place like California" by A. Keith Miles, Center Director, USGS Western Ecological Research Center Highlights of the science of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center: Wildlife, drought, sea level rise Endangered species, species of concern Alternate energy, urbanization, species connectivity
October 10, 2016
The USGS field tested the use of a portable hand-held kit for the detection of the environmental DNA (eDNA) of Asian carps (bighead carp and silver carp) in water samples as part of on-going invasive species detection research. The goals of the USGS-led research are to develop a method and kit that can be used on-site to detect Asian carp eDNA within one hour. Developing portable, rapid and...
Filter Total Items: 255
April 4, 2017

Early Detection Monitoring May Not Be Sufficient for Invasive Mussels in the Columbia River Basin

Three non-native fish found in the Big Cypress
March 29, 2017

The Fish Slam event discovered two nonnative fish species never seen before in Big Cypress National Preserve.



Sea Lamprey Hammond Bay Biological Station
March 28, 2017

Unlike most animals, sea lampreys, an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes, could become male or female depending on how quickly they grow, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today.

Chandler Robbins bird watching
March 23, 2017

U.S. Geological Survey scientist emeritus Chandler S. Robbins, whose heartfelt love of birds, quicksilver mind, boundless energy and sunny demeanor made him a major force in bird conservation in the U.S. and worldwide, died Monday, March 20 at the age of 98.

Greater sage-grouse in Wyoming.
March 21, 2017

Effects of livestock grazing on greater sage-grouse populations can be positive or negative depending on the amount of grazing and when grazing occurs, according to research published today in Ecological Applications. The research was conducted by scientists from the United States Geological Survey, Colorado State University and Utah State University.

Duck with various brown colored feathers
March 15, 2017

Wild ducks and shorebirds do not appear to carry Newcastle disease viruses that sicken or kill poultry, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Image Placeholder
March 13, 2017

A new report by the USGS finds that although snow geese are increasing rapidly in northern Alaska, they are not having a negative effect on black brant. Brant are a goose species that shares its nesting habitat with snow geese.

Chris Huber
March 10, 2017

On March 7, 2017, economist Chris Huber presented at the High Altitude Re-vegetation Workshop and Central Rockies Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration 2017 Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

Scientist collecting samples in the Arctic Coastal Plain.
March 7, 2017

Despite recent changes to the growing season for plants in the Arctic, Alaska, caribou appear to have remained in sync with these changes over the last 30 years. 

A small bird with distinctive orange-brown feathers around its neck and blue feathers on head, sitting on a small shrub
March 2, 2017

Scientists can now predict which avian species are most sensitive to the increasingly dominant shrub habitat spreading across Alaska, a capability that will be useful for natural resource agencies in Alaska charged with managing these resources.