Are Eastern Monarch Butterflies at Risk of Extinction?
Long-term declines in their overwintering populations are increasing the likelihood of extinction, according to a new study in Scientific ReportsRead more
Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
The Challenge: Research goals of this project are to develop models, statistical methods, sampling strategies and tools for inference about animal population status from survey data. Survey data are always subject to a number of observation processes that induce bias and error. In particular, inferences are based on spatial sampling – we can only ever sample a subset...
The Challenge: For decades, capture-recapture methods have been the cornerstone of ecological statistics as applied to population biology. While capture-recapture has become the standard sampling and analytical framework for the study of population processes (Williams, Nichols & Conroy 2002) it has advanced independent of and remained unconnected to the spatial structure of the...
The Challenge: Much of wildlife research consists of the description of variation in data. Some of the variation results from spatial and temporal change in populations, while some results from biologically irrelevant sampling variation induced by the process of data collection. Distinguishing relevant from irrelevant variation is the first task of statistical analysis, but...
The Challenge: Wildlife science and management are guided by data, and it is unquestionably the case that the greatest success occurs when good data are analyzed by good statistical methods....
The Challenge: Free-roaming cats (Felis catus) are nonnative predators of small mammals, songbirds and gamebirds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. They are also competitors of native predators and vectors for diseases to human and wildlife. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is authorized to remove cats from National Wildlife Refuges. Presently cat trapping on Refuge lands is conducted...
Biologists at USGS Patuxent, as well as cooperating agencies are constantly looking for new ways of answering questions about the status of animal populations and how animal populations change over time. To address these questions, data are collected on captures and or sightings of animals which can be used to estimate parameters which affect the population using legacy software. Over time,...
Natural resource agencies are challenged not only by climate change impacts on terrestrial and marine resources, but also by related effects on human communities that depend on these lands and waters. These effects include changes in economic activity, subsistence practices, demographic trends, human health, recreation, infrastructure, and community resilience. While there are many policy...
The Department of Interior (DOI) produces annual estimates of the economic contributions of DOI programs, activities, and services. USGS economists contribute to the annual analysis, and the USGS Information Science Branch has developed an interactive data visualization to display results: https://my.usgs.gov/doidv/.
Currently, 90 amphibian species are recognized in the Northeast, including 59 species in the Order Caudata (salamanders) and 31 species in the Order Anura (frogs and toads). Almost half of the amphibians in the Northeast are salamanders within the family Plethodontidae. Amphibians are found in all physiographic regions of the Northeast, from sea level to the heights of the Appalachian,...
The Challenge: In many National Parks organisms at high elevation are severely threatened and may be sensitive to changes in temperature and moisture gradients in the Appalachians, which may result in species extirpation in high elevation habitats. Many species are specifically adapted to the unusual conditions typical of high elevation sites; risks of...
There is a lack of knowledge and understanding of how widespread use of pesticides may affect bees as they move across a diverse agricultural landscape. Studies have shown there are impacts to honey bees due to exposure to pesticides including neonicotinoid insecticides and fungicides, but the effects of these compounds on native pollinators are largely unknown....
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 nonprofit organizations) for monitoring calling amphibian populations over much of the eastern and central United States. Initiated in 1997, in response to needs set forth by the Declining Amphibian...
Population trends and survival of nesting green sea turtles Chelonia mydas on Aves Island, Venezuela
Long-term demographic data are valuable for assessing the effect of anthropogenic impacts on endangered species and evaluating recovery programs. Using a 2-state open robust design model, we analyzed mark-recapture data from green turtles Chelonia mydas sighted between 1979 and 2009 on Aves Island, Venezuela, a rookery heavily impacted...Garcia-Cruz, Marco A.; Lampo, Margarita; Peñaloza, Claudia L.; Kendall, William; Solé, Genaro; Rodriguez-Clark, Kathryn M.
Depth of artificial Burrowing Owl burrows affects thermal suitability and occupancy
Many organizations have installed artificial burrows to help bolster local Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) populations. However, occupancy probability and reproductive success in artificial burrows varies within and among burrow installations. We evaluated the possibility that depth below ground might explain differences in occupancy...Nadeau, Christopher P.; Conway, Courtney J.; Rathbun, Nathan
Evaluation of a waistband for attaching external radiotransmitters to anurans
Radiotelemetry provides fine-scale temporal and spatial information about an individual's movements and habitat use; however, its use for monitoring amphibians has been restricted by transmitter mass and lack of suitable attachment techniques. We describe a novel waistband for attaching external radiotransmitters to anurans and evaluate the...Groff, Luke A.; Pitt, Amber L.; Baldwin, Robert F.; Calhoun, Aram J. K.; Loftin, Cyndy
Influence of habitat and intrinsic characteristics on survival of neonatal pronghorn
Increased understanding of the influence of habitat (e.g., composition, patch size) and intrinsic (e.g., age, birth mass) factors on survival of neonatal pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) is a prerequisite to successful management programs, particularly as they relate to population dynamics and the role of population models in adaptive species...Jacques, Christopher N.; Jenks, Jonathan A.; Grovenburg, Troy W.; Klaver, Robert W.
Bioelectrical impedance analysis: A new tool for assessing fish condition
Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is commonly used in human health and nutrition fields but has only recently been considered as a potential tool for assessing fish condition. Once BIA is calibrated, it estimates fat/moisture levels and energy content without the need to kill fish. Despite the promise held by BIA, published studies have been...Hartman, Kyle J.; Margraf, F. Joseph; Hafs, Andrew W.; Cox, M. Keith
Crocodylus acutus (American Crocodile). Long distance juvenile movement
Crocodylus acutus (American Crocodile) is the most widely distributed New World crocodilian species with its range extending from Peru in the south to the southern tip of peninsular Florida in the north. Crocodylus acutus occupies primarily coastal brackish water habitat, however it also occurs in freshwater to hypersaline habitats (Thorbjarnarson...Crespo, Rafael; Beauchamp, Jeffrey S.; Mazzotti, Frank; Cherkiss, Michael S.
Sympatric cattle grazing and desert bighorn sheep foraging
Foraging behavior affects animal fitness and is largely dictated by the resources available to an animal. Understanding factors that affect forage resources is important for conservation and management of wildlife. Cattle sympatry is proposed to limit desert bighorn population performance, but few studies have quantified the effect of cattle...Garrison, Kyle R.; Cain, James W.; Rominger, Eric M.; Goldstein, Elise J.
Assessing gull abundance and food availability in urban parking lots
Feeding birds is a common activity throughout the world; yet, little is known about the extent of feeding gulls in urban areas. We monitored 8 parking lots in central Massachusetts, USA, during the fall and winter of 2011 to 2013 in 4 monitoring sessions to document the number of gulls present, the frequency of human–gull feeding...Clark, Daniel E.; Whitney, Jillian J.; MacKenzie, Kenneth G.; Koenen, Kiana K. G.; DeStefano, Stephen
First satellite tracks of the Endangered black-capped petrel
The black-capped petrel Pterodroma hasitata is an endangered seabird with fewer than 2000 breeding pairs restricted to a few breeding sites in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. To date, use areas at sea have been determined entirely from vessel-based surveys and opportunistic sightings and, as such, spatial and temporal gaps in our...Jodice, Patrick G.; Ronconi, Robert A.; Rupp, Ernst; Wallace, George E.; Satgé, Yvan
Effects of drought and fire on bird communities of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Executive Summary The U.S. Government created the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (Kofa NWR) in 1939 in response to a citizen campaign to improve desert bighorn sheep populations in Arizona. The Kofa NWR is mountainous and remote, and its management by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) keeps anthropogenic disturbance levels low. As such,...McCreedy, Chris; van Riper, Charles; Esque, Todd C.; Darrah, Abigail J.
Water quality trends in the Blackwater River watershed, West Virginia
An understanding of historic and current water quality is needed to manage and improve aquatic communities within the Blackwater River watershed, WV. The Blackwater River, which historically offered an excellent Salvelinus fontinalis (Brook Trout) fishery, has been affected by logging, coal mining, use of off-road vehicles, and land...Smith, Jessica; Welsh, Stuart; Anderson, James T.; Fortney, Ronald H.
Detection probabilities of electrofishing, hoop nets, and benthic trawls for fishes in two western North American rivers
Research comparing different sampling techniques helps improve the efficiency and efficacy of sampling efforts. We compared the effectiveness of three sampling techniques (small-mesh hoop nets, benthic trawls, boat-mounted electrofishing) for 30 species in the Green (WY, USA) and Kootenai (ID, USA) rivers by estimating conditional detection...Smith, Christopher D.; Quist, Michael C.; Hardy, Ryan S.
A new study published in Global Change Biology this week compares analytical frameworks for conducting ecological climate change impact assessments.
On Thursday, February 23, 2017 Lance Everette (Fort Collins Science Center) and John Faundeen (EROS Data Center) presented an overview of the USGS Legacy Data Inventory and Reporting System (LDIRS) and the challenges of preserving USGS legacy data.
In Memoriam — William Toshio Yasutake, 1922–2016
Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C. This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, already bringing surprising signs of spring to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.
The sagebrush ecosystem in the western U.S is one of the largest ecosystems in North America, but it is also threatened from wildfire and invasive plants. “Restoration of these unique ecosystems will help sustain wildlife and livelihoods throughout the West," said David Pyke, the USGS ecologist and lead author of the final installment of a three-part sagebrush restoration handbook.
Olfactory Cues Provide Insight into Lamprey Behavior and Physiology
New research shows how river diversions may change water quality in estuaries.
A new study analyzes the genetic diversity and population structure of the California Ridgway’s rail, Rallus obsoletus, a state and federally-listed endangered bird. The results demonstrate that the so-called “rails” are experiencing negative genetic effects following more than a century of salt marsh habitat loss from agriculture, commercial salt production and urban development.
The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.
Changes in rainfall and temperature are predicted to transform wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world within the century, a new study from the USGS and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley concludes.
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that current conservation planning efforts for waterbird habitat in the Central Valley can likely compensate for habitat loss through the middle of the century.
The U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Land Management today released a collaborative report with new information and tools to support effective management of millions of acres of BLM public lands. The report underscores the value of a landscape approach to management, and shows that the BLM manages some of the largest areas of intact public lands in the west.