Can We Make Wind Power Compatible with Wildlife?
This story is a case study on wind energy and bats in Hawaii that communicates the impact and value of USGS science to people and the environment.See the story
Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
Dr. Nathan Stephenson and colleagues seek to determine what changes are occurring in forests, why they are occurring, and what they mean. For example, they have documented a long-term, apparently climatically-induced increase of tree mortality rates in otherwise undisturbed old forests across the western U.S., implying that these forests could become net sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide...
The southwestern desert region is home to many sensitive species. Species are at-risk due to past, present, and future changes to the landscape. WERC’s Dr. Todd Esque, field researchers, and collaborators are using models, monitoring plans, and decision-support tools to provide land managers with the resources they need to answer questions about how environmental change influences plants,...
Sea otters are crucial indicators of the health of our nearshore waters and coastal resources, from kelp forests to fisheries. What clues does the sea otter's decline hold for our knowledge of ecosystem and global change? WERC's Dr. Tim Tinker and U.S. and Canadian researchers have teamed together to investigate.
Relevance to USGS Missions:
This research project has direct...
The California Sea Otter Stranding Network is part of the USGS effort to monitor southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) and provide data to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. WERC's Brian Hatfield and Dr. Tim Tinker works with multiple institutions and partners to report, recover, and examine stranded sea otters. In addition, instructions on how to report a stranded sea otter are...
Western U.S. wetlands provide critical habitat for wintering and breeding waterfowl in California. WERC's Dr. Josh Ackerman is working toward collecting data to understand factors influencing duck nest success, to improve and restore breeding habitat for resident duck populations in California, and understand composition of predator communities. To learn more about how USGS WERC is...
WERC's Dr. Amy Vandergast and colleagues merge genetic data with mapping and modeling tools to inform biodiversity conservation efforts. They define evolutionary significant units within species, reveal evolutionary mechanisms responsible for diversification, and identify regions with high genetic diversity for protection.
Surface disturbances ranging from military training, recreation, energy exploration and development, and wildfires impact a large majority of federal lands in the western US, but the ecological and economic impacts are poorly understood. Explore this webpage to learn how Dr. Lesley DeFalco and her research team are currently evaluating and refining conventional approaches for post-fire...
There is a growing consensus among resource managers to use native plant materials for ecological restoration of degraded drylands. Some plant species may be suitable for re-introduction across broad environmental gradients. Other species may fail under narrower conditions, or their re-introduction may have genetic consequences for local ecotypes, particularly when adapting to future climate...
Dr. Amy Vandergast and team develop genetic approaches for species detection, individual mark recapture, and studying ecological associations (such as predator/prey relationships). These techniques often increase monitoring effectiveness and efficiency when replacing or combining with standard field methodologies.
Estuaries and healthy coastal habitats are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth. They provide a variety of benefits, including habitat and food for fish and wildlife, flood and erosion protection, improved water quality, increased carbon sequestration, as well as beautiful scenery and opportunities for recreation. Along the U.S. Pacific Coast, both the San Francisco Bay estuary and...
WERC's Dr. Tim Tinker colloborates with other research scientists to conduct annual population surveys of the southern sea otter -- a federally listed threatened species. In coordination with the California Department of Fish and Game and other institutions, ongoing surveys and research continues to inform the southern sea otter recovery plan for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and...
Dr. Tim Tinker and his team of researchers are developing and utilizing a variety of methodological and analytical tools to understand the causes of biological and ecological trends in sea otter populations, and to predict the ecological consequences of management practices on these populations and their ecosystems.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, A. David; Liu, Yaling; Wang, Gangsheng; Gu, Lianhong
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.
Early Detection Monitoring May Not Be Sufficient for Invasive Mussels in the Columbia River Basin
The Fish Slam event discovered two nonnative fish species never seen before in Big Cypress National Preserve.
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.
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.
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.
Approximately 500 Puaiohi exist in the wild, all on Kauai
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, bringing relatively early ‘signs of spring’ to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.