Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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Filter Total Items: 566
Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

Conservation of Rare Vegetation Communities of the Atlantic Coastal Barrier Islands

The Challenge: A synthesis of the role of disturbance, in all of its manifestations, on the establishment and development of the American Holly forest is required to guide future conservation measures. Because many forest fragments have already endured >30 years of chronic deer herbivory, a legitimate question of how much more impact by deer can be tolerated and still conserve the essential...

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

Development of a Multimetric Index for Integrated Assessment of Salt Marsh Condition in the Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network

The Challenge: The integrity and sustainability of salt marshes in National Park units of the Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN) are severely threatened by human activities. These marshes provide critical fish and wildlife habitat and essential ecosystem services in the northeastern coastal zone, and are a high priority for NCBN Vital Signs monitoring. Biennial monitoring of nekton (...

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

Recovery of Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in Casco Bay, Maine, Following Destruction by European Green Crabs

The Challenge:  Eelgrass provides essential functions to the ecology and economy of Maine’s coastal zone. When over half the eelgrass in Casco Bay, Maine, disappeared between 2012 and 2013, USGS experimental evidence identified disturbance from invasive European green crabs as the leading cause. Loss of vegetation is expected to precipitate a range of impacts, including reduced fish and...

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Seaduck Challenge Study

The Challenge: The susceptibility and pathogenesis of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) has not been characterized in numerous duck species, especially diving ducks (genera Melanitta, Aythya, and Oxyura), some of which migrate across the continental US. The few studies available (on Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula) suggest that they may shed high amounts of virus, but it is unclear...

Date published: March 14, 2018
Status: Active

Integrating Estuarine Water-Quality Data in Northeastern National Parks

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 synthesized and interpreted...

Date published: March 14, 2018
Status: Active

Variation in Nitrogen Isotope Ratios of Eelgrass to Detect Trends in Estuarine Nutrient Status

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 enrichment are paramount to...

Date published: March 14, 2018
Status: Active

American Black Duck and Threat of Avian Influenza

The Challenge: The genomic revolution is giving wildlife biologists new tools to assess the role of wildlife in spreading diseases that affect human populations.   Peptide arrays are a high throughput technology that gives unprecedented breadth and depth of information about the immune system.  We are using peptide arrays to assess the immune responses of Chesapeake Bay waterfowl to avian...

Date published: March 14, 2018
Status: Active

Disease Resistance of Wildlife Species: how the immune system evolves and adapts

The Challenge: In an era when emerging infectious diseases are steadily increasing, human populations are exposed to virulent new pathogens.  Insight into the human system can be gained from understanding the variety of immune adaptations of wildlife species.  The vertebrate immune system is not static.  Rather, it involves in response to the environment.

Date published: March 14, 2018
Status: Active

Sustainably Designed Trails: Recent Recreation Ecology Findings on Design Factors Affecting Soil Loss

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 when visitation is...

Contacts: Jeff Marion, Ph.D., Dr. Jeremy Wimpey, Dr. Chris Carr, Dr. Yu-Fai Leung
Date published: March 14, 2018
Status: Active

Shoreline Changes and Impacts to Natural Resources in Chesapeake Bay

The Challenge: Climate change and sea level rise are expected to affect many miles of shoreline in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast in the coming years. In this scenario, federal and state agencies need to make more detailed assessments of how different watersheds and shoreline types might influence an array of ecosystem functions and components. Recently, most states...

Date published: March 13, 2018
Status: Active

A Vaccination Program to Protect Endangered Whooping Cranes from Encephalitis Virus

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 cranes. In the fall of...

Date published: March 13, 2018
Status: Active

Use of Structured Decision Making to Optimize Salt Marsh Management Decisions at Northeastern National Wildlife Refuges

The Challenge: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) needs tools to inform decisions regarding the management and restoration of salt marsh ecosystems on northeastern National Wildlife Refuges. Previously, we developed a structured decision making (SDM) framework for optimizing refuge management decisions. This SDM framework served as the foundation for FWS to implement a consistent...

Filter Total Items: 69
Date published: March 4, 2016

Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)

Find the scientific names of species by their popular names or vice-versa.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: 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.

Date published: 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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: March 4, 2016

Web Soil Survey (WSS)

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

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: 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.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: 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.

Date published: 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.

Date published: 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.

Date published: September 9, 2010

Mangrove Secrets

The Sheltered Corals of Hurricane Hole, US Virgin Islands

Filter Total Items: 2,287
Year Published: 2017

Interactions among invasive plants: Lessons from Hawai‘i

Most ecosystems have multiple-plant invaders rather than single-plant invaders, yet ecological studies and management actions focus largely on single invader species. There is a need for general principles regarding invader interactions across varying environmental conditions, so that secondary invasions can be anticipated and managers can...

D'Antonio, Carla M.; Ostertag, Rebecca; Cordell, Susan; Yelenik, Stephanie G.
D’Antonio, C. M., R. Ostertag, S. Cordell, and S. Yelenik. 2017. Interactions among invasive plants: lessons from Hawai‘i. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 48:521–541. Available: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110316-022620

Year Published: 2017

Feral goats and sheep

No abstract available.

Pitt, William C.; Beasley, James; Witmer, Gary W.; Hess, Steve; Van Vuren, Dirk H.; Witmer, Gary W.
Hess, S. C., D. H. Van Vuren, and G. W. Witmer. 2017. Feral goats and sheep. Pages 287–307 in W. C. Pitt, J. Beasley, and G. W. Witmer, editors. Ecology and Management of Terrestrial Vertebrate Invasive Species in the United States. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Year Published: 2017

Monitoring Hawaiian biodiversity: Pilot study to assess changes to forest birds and their habitat

Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the variety and abundance of species in a defined area, and is one of the oldest and most basic descriptions of biological communities. Understanding how populations and communities are structured and change over space and time in response to internal and external forces is a management priority. Effective...

Gorresen, P. Marcos; Camp, Richard J.; Gaudioso, Jacqueline; Brinck, Kevin W.; Berkowitz, Paul; Jacobi, James D.

Year Published: 2017

No evidence of critical slowing down in two endangered Hawaiian honeycreepers

There is debate about the current population trends and predicted short-term fates of the endangered forest birds, Hawai`i Creeper (Loxops mana) and Hawai`i `Ākepa (L. coccineus). Using long-term population size estimates, some studies report forest bird populations as stable or increasing, while other studies report signs of population...

Rozek, Jessica C.; Camp, Richard J.; Reed, J. Michael
Rozek, J. C., R. J. Camp, and J. M. Reed. 2017. No evidence of critical slowing down in two endangered Hawaiian honeycreepers. PLOS ONE 12:e0187518. Available: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0187518

Year Published: 2017

Assessing the potential of translocating vulnerable forest birds by searching for novel and enduring climatic ranges

Hawaiian forest birds are imperiled, with fewer than half the original >40 species remaining extant. Recent studies document ongoing rapid population decline and pro- ject complete climate-based range losses for the critically endangered Kaua’i endemics ‘akeke’e (Loxops caeruleirostris) and ‘akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi) by end-of-century due to...

Fortini, Lucas B.; Kaiser, Lauren R.; Vorsino, Adam E.; Paxton, Eben H.; Jacobi, James D.
Fortini, L. B., L. R. Kaiser, A. E. Vorsino, E. H. Paxton, and J. D. Jacobi. 2017. Assessing the potential of translocating vulnerable forest birds by searching for novel and enduring climatic ranges. Ecology and Evolution 7:9119–9130. Available: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.3451/full

Year Published: 2017

Summer and winter space use and home range characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in eastern North America

Movement behavior and its relationship to habitat provide critical information toward understanding the effects of changing environments on birds. The eastern North American population of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) is a genetically distinct and small population of conservation concern. To evaluate the potential responses of this population...

Miller, Tricia A.; Brooks, Robert P.; Lanzone, Michael J.; Cooper, Jeff; O'Malley, Kieran; Brandes, David; Duerr, Adam E.; Katzner, Todd
Miller, T.A., Brooks, R.P., Lanzone, M.J., Cooper, J., O'Malley, K., Brandes, D., Duerr, A.E., Katzner, T.E., 2017, Summer and winter space use and home range characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in eastern North America: The Condor, v. 119, no. 4, p. 697-719, https://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-16-154.1.

Year Published: 2017

Patterns of spatial distribution of golden eagles across North America: How do they fit into existing landscape-scale mapping systems?

Conserving wide-ranging animals requires knowledge about their year-round movements and resource use. Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) exhibit a wide range of movement patterns across North America. We combined tracking data from 571 Golden Eagles from multiple independent satellite-telemetry projects from North America to provide a comprehensive...

Brown, Jessi L.; Bedrosian, Bryan; Bell, Douglas A.; Braham, Melissa A.; Cooper, Jeff; Crandall, Ross H.; DiDonato, Joe; Domenech, Robert; Duerr, Adam E.; Katzner, Todd; Lanzone, Michael J.; LaPlante, David W.; McIntyre, Carol L.; Miller, Tricia A.; Murphy, Robert K.; Shreading, Adam; Slater, Steven J.; Smith, Jeff P.; Smith, Brian W.; Watson, James W.; Woodbridge, Brian
Brown, J.L., Bedrosian, B., Bell, D.A., Braham, M.A., Cooper, J., Crandall, R.H., DiDonato, J., Domenech, R., Duerr, A.E., Katzner, T.E., Lanzone, M.J., LaPlante, D.W., McIntyre, C.L., Miller, T.A., Murphy, R.K., Shreading, A., Slater, S., Smith, J.P., Smith, B.W., Watson, J.W., Woodbridge, B., 2017, Patterns of spatial distribution of golden eagles across North America- how do they fit into existing landscape-scale mapping systems?: Journal of Raptor Research, v. 51, no. 3, p. 197-215, https://doi.org/10.3356/JRR-16-72.1.

Year Published: 2017

Methodological considerations of terrestrial laser scanning for vegetation monitoring in the sagebrush steppe

Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) provides fast collection of high-definition structural information, making it a valuable field instrument to many monitoring applications. A weakness of TLS collections, especially in vegetation, is the occurrence of unsampled regions in point clouds where the sensor’s line-of-sight is blocked by intervening...

Anderson, Kyle E.; Glenn, Nancy; Spaete, Lucas; Shinneman, Douglas; Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert; McIlroy, Susan; Derryberry, DeWayne R.
Anderson, K.E., Glenn, N., Spaete, L.P., Shinneman, D.J., Pilliod, D.S., Arkle, R.S., McIlroy, S.K., Derryberry, D.R., 2017, Methodological considerations of terrestrial laser scanning for vegetation monitoring in the sagebrush steppe: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, v. 189, p. 578, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-017-6300-0.

Year Published: 2017

Methodological considerations regarding online extraction of water from soils for stable isotope determination

No abstract available.

Lazarus, Brynne E.; Germino, Matthew
Lazarus BE, Germino MJ. Methodological considerations regarding online extraction of water from soils for stable isotope determination. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2017;31:1677-1680.

Year Published: 2017

Lidar aboveground vegetation biomass estimates in shrublands: Prediction, uncertainties and application to coarser scales

Our study objectives were to model the aboveground biomass in a xeric shrub-steppe landscape with airborne light detection and ranging (Lidar) and explore the uncertainty associated with the models we created. We incorporated vegetation vertical structure information obtained from Lidar with ground-measured biomass data, allowing us to scale shrub...

Li, Aihua; Dhakal, Shital; Glenn, Nancy F.; Spaete, Luke P.; Shinneman, Douglas; Pilliod, David S.; Arkle, Robert; McIlroy, Susan
Li, A.; Dhakal, S.; Glenn, N.F.; Spaete, L.P.; Shinneman, D.J.; Pilliod, D.S.; Arkle, R.S.; McIlroy, S.K. Lidar Aboveground Vegetation Biomass Estimates in Shrublands: Prediction, Uncertainties and Application to Coarser Scales. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 903.

Year Published: 2017

Applying citizen-science data and mark-recapture models to estimate numbers of migrant golden eagles in an important bird area in eastern North America

Estimates of population abundance are important to wildlife management and conservation. However, it can be difficult to characterize the numbers of broadly distributed, low-density, and elusive bird species. Although Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are rare, difficult to detect, and broadly distributed, they are concentrated during their autumn...

Dennhardt, Andrew J.; Duerr, Adam E.; Brandes, David; Katzner, Todd
Dennhardt, A.J., Duerr, A.E., Brandes, D., Katzner, T.E., 2017, Applying citizen-science data and mark-recapture models to estimate numbers of migrant golden eagles in an important bird area in eastern North America: The Condor, v. 119, no. 4, p. 817-831, https://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-16-166.1.

Year Published: 2017

Monitoring eradication of European mouflon sheep from the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

European mouflon (Ovis gmelini musimon), the world's smallest wild sheep, have proliferated and degraded fragile native ecosystems in the Hawaiian Islands through browsing, bark stripping, and trampling, including native forests within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO). HAVO resource managers initiated ungulate control efforts in the 469 km2...

Judge, Seth; Hess, Steven C.; Faford, Jonathan K.; Pacheco, Dexter; Leopold, Christina
Judge, S. W., S. C. Hess, J. K. Faford, D. Pacheco, and C. R. Leopold. 2017. Monitoring eradication of European mouflon sheep from the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Pacific Science 71:425–436. Available: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.2984/71.4.3

Filter Total Items: 539
chart of vegetation change in the bird's foot delta
July 31, 2017

Changing vegetation in the Delta 2016-2017

Chart showing changes in vegetation density in the Mississippi River delta in Louisiana, May 2015-May 2016. From a USGS Open File Report published in July 2017 by co-authors Elijah Ramsey III and Amina Rangoonwala,

Mallard Duckling
July 26, 2017

Mallard Duckling from Suisun Marsh

This mallard duckling was captured in Suisun Marsh. USGS scientists are weighing, measuring and banding waterfowl to understand how they are using the marsh and for capture-recapture data. 

Retrieving waterfowl
July 24, 2017

Retrieving Waterfowl from a Trap in Suisun Marsh

Two WERC technicians walk back from a placed trap with hands full. 

Metolius River running through the Deschutes National Forest in Camp Sherman, Oregon
July 20, 2017

Metolius River, Smiling River Campground, Deschutes National Forest

Metolius River, Smiling River Campground, Deschutes National Forest

Photo of seeding experiment to improve restoration outcomes in the Southwest.
July 17, 2017

Seeding experiment to improve restoration outcomes in the Southwest.

USGS ecologists Molly McCormick (left) and Katie Laushman (right) conducting a seeding experiment that is a part of RAMPS, a new USGS-led initiative to improve restoration outcomes in the Southwest. Seedings such as these are...

Aerial view of southeast Louisiana coastal marshes
July 10, 2017

Louisiana's Coastal Wetland Loss Rate Continues to Slow

An aerial view of southeast Louisiana coastal marshes. 

Satellite images of the same marsh in 2008 and 2016
July 10, 2017

Restoration projects help some Louisiana coastal wetlands rebuild

Satellite images of the same wetland taken in 2008 and 2016 show a wetland restoration project has produced some gains in marsh area.

Map shows early wetland losses in red, recent losses in purple
July 10, 2017

Map shows early wetland losses in red, recent losses in purple

This map shows the historic trend in wetland losses, with early losses in red and the most recent ones in purple.

July 6, 2017

Wildlife on the Nevada National Security Site

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
June 30, 2017

Collecting Sturgeon Free Embryos

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
June 30, 2017

Preparing Swim Chambers

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
May 31, 2017

High stakes, big questions in marsh grass die-back

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...

Filter Total Items: 315
Date published: June 6, 2017

Scientists Discover New Species of Fijian Iguana

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, The National Trust of Fiji and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti have discovered a new species of banded iguana.

Date published: June 6, 2017

Increased Sea Ice Drift Puts Polar Bears on Faster Moving Treadmill

A new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wyoming found that increased westward ice drift in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas requires polar bears to expend more energy walking eastward on a faster moving “treadmill” of sea ice.  

Date published: June 6, 2017

USGS Bridging Generations with WWII Technology

On June 6, 1944, thousands of men rained down from the skies onto the battlegrounds of Normandy. After five grueling years of war that shook the globe, D-Day’s victory swept the Allied nations into a wave of celebration.

Date published: June 5, 2017

New USGS Science Plan Designed to Help Plan for Drought Effects on People, Communities, and Ecosystems

The U. S. Geological Survey is poised to bring a dynamic array of science and tools to help decision-makers manage and offset effects of increased drought across the United States, according to a drought plan report released today.

Date published: June 1, 2017

Alabama Survey Finds First Southeastern Bat with White-Nose Syndrome

Biologists have confirmed white-nose syndrome in the southeastern bat, or Myotis austroriparius, for the first time. The species joins eight other hibernating bat species in North America that are afflicted with the deadly bat fungal disease.

Date published: May 31, 2017

USGS Finds 28 Types of Cyanobacteria in Florida Algal Bloom

A new U.S. Geological Survey study that looked at the extensive harmful algal bloom that plagued Florida last year found far more types of cyanobacteria present than previously known.

Date published: May 25, 2017

Mapping Chesapeake's Future From Today's Land Use

USGS’ pixel-by-pixel land use forecasts offer essential road maps for restoration. 

Date published: May 15, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, April 2017 | Issue 5.4

Dr. Jim Winton Retires After Long Distinguished Career

Date published: May 10, 2017

Glaciers Rapidly Shrinking and Disappearing: 50 Years of Glacier Change in Montana

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.

Date published: May 3, 2017

Migrating mule deer track “green waves” of spring forage: study highlights importance of habitat corridors for migrating game and other species

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.

Date published: May 3, 2017

Wind Turbines Affect Behavior of Desert Tortoise Predators

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.