Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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Filter Total Items: 421
A native Colorado bee on a yellow wildflower.
December 8, 2016

Beginning in 2012, the USGS collaborated with the USDA to assess the effectiveness of pollinator plantings and how alteration of landscapes has affected native pollinators and potentially contributed to their decline. The 2008 Farm Bill recognized contributions made by pollinators and made conservation of pollinator habitat a priority. The USGS is assessing native bee habitat,...

A hiker on the Lower White River Wilderness trail. BLM photo.
December 7, 2016

The National Park Service (NPS) preserves and protects more than 84 million acres of important historic, cultural, and natural resources across 401 sites for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Protected resources and landscapes managed by the National Park Service contribute to the societal welfare of the American public, reflected by ecosystem service values derived from their...

Blacklegged Ticks are Lyme Disease Carriers
December 5, 2016

The Challenge: Lyme disease, which is caused by a tick-transmitted spirochete, is the most common vector-borne disease in North America, with about 300,000 cases each year. Most cases occur in the northeastern and north central U.S., with relatively few in the south, even though the vector tick is present in all of these regions. The purpose of this research is to...

Measuring water velocities during historic low-flows
December 5, 2016

The Challenge: Ecologists have shown that many ecological processes in rivers, including organism growth, reproduction, survival and dispersal, are attuned to natural patterns of streamflow variability.  However, to predict how riverine biota will respond to flow alteration caused by, for example, water diversions and dam operations, ecologists need to understand the mechanisms through...

Scientist collecting stream data
December 5, 2016

The Challenge: The DOI WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) initiative is developing data and tools to help water managers identify current and future water shortages, for humans and for freshwater ecosystems. Fishes, for example, can decline in diversity and abundance when streamflow becomes too low, for too long.  However, ecologists find that effects...

A Burmese python coiled in the grass in the Everglades.
December 4, 2016

Invasive species are considered to be second only to habitat degradation in terms of negative impacts on the Earth’s ecosystems, and our scientists make up a significant proportion of the global expertise in the rapidly-growing problem of invasive reptiles....

Invasive Tamarisk or saltcedar as it is known, growing on the side of a river.
December 3, 2016

Due to high rates of disturbance and human activity, streamside or “riparian” areas are prone to colonization and spread of invasive plants. In the western United States, hundreds of thousands of riparian acres are occupied by the invasive shrubs/trees tamarisk and Russian olive, as well as numerous exotic herbaceous plants. Our work focuses on understanding the factors driving the...

Erosion along the Rio Puerco during the flood of 2006 following herbicide application to control saltcedar in 2003.
December 3, 2016

Formation of arroyos in the late 1800s greatly increased erosion across the southwestern United States. Since the 1930s, however, this erosion has decreased, partly because of bank stabilization by introduced saltcedar. With Isleta Pueblo Indian Nation, the Aquatic Systems Branch developed a new sediment dating method using saltcedar tree rings. We applied the method in a landmark study of...

Everglades National Park
December 2, 2016

The Daniel Beard Center in Everglades National Park provides the base for most of the field work done on the control of invasive reptiles by USGS Fort Collins Science Center staff. The team works in Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and other parts of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem focusing on, among other species of concern,...

A photo of the beach on Guam, by Bob Reed.
December 1, 2016

USGS scientists and staff associated with the Brown Treesnake Project are co-located at the Guam National Wildlife Refuge at the northern end of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean. Project staff work on developing and testing control tools for invasive brown treesnakes, as well as understanding their impacts on Guam's ecosystems. Project staff also lead the multi-agency Brown Treesnake...

Vegetation along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon
December 1, 2016

Riparian ecologists in the AS Branch study interactions among flow, channel change, and vegetation along rivers across the western United States and worldwide. Our work focuses on issues relevant to the management of water and public lands, including dam operation, climate change, invasive species, and ecological restoration. Investigations take place on a range of...

Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River, during the dam removal process. Photo credit: National Park Service
November 29, 2016

Dam removal is an approach to river restoration that is becoming increasingly common. In most cases, dam removal is driven by considerations other than river restoration like dam safety, but how dam removal affects aquatic and riparian systems is of great interest in many dam removals. My work in this area has had two areas of focus thus far: 1) studies of vegetation and geomorphic change...

Filter Total Items: 551
Year Published: 2015

Taxonomic characterization of honey bee (Apis mellifera) pollen foraging based on non-overlapping paired-end sequencing of nuclear ribosomal loci

Identifying plant taxa that honey bees (Apis mellifera) forage upon is of great apicultural interest, but traditional methods are labor intensive and may lack resolution. Here we evaluate a high-throughput genetic barcoding approach to characterize trap-collected pollen from multiple North Dakota apiaries across multiple years. We used the...

Cornman, Robert S.; Otto, Clint R.; Iwanowicz, Deborah; Pettis, Jeffery S
Cornman, R Scott; Otto, Clint RV; Iwanowicz, Deborah; Pettis, Jeffery S. Taxonomic Characterization of Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Pollen Foraging Based on Non-Overlapping Paired-End Sequencing of Nuclear Ribosomal Loci. PLoS One 10.12: e0145365

Year Published: 2015

Functional response of ungulate browsers in disturbed eastern hemlock forests

Ungulate browsing in predator depleted North American landscapes is believed to be causing widespread tree recruitment failures. However, canopy disturbances and variations in ungulate densities are sources of heterogeneity that can buffer ecosystems against herbivory. Relatively little is known about the functional response (the rate of...

Destefano, Stephen

Year Published: 2015

Occupancy estimation for rare species using a spatially-adaptive sampling design

Summary 1. Spatially clustered populations create unique challenges for conservation monitoring programmes. Advances in methodology typically are focused on either the design or the modelling stage of the study but do not involve integration of both. 2. We integrate adaptive cluster sampling and spatial occupancy modelling by developing two models...

Pacifici, Krishna; Reich, Brian J; Dorazio, Robert; Conroy, Michael J.
Pacifici, K., Reich, B.J., Dorazio, R.M., and Conroy, M.J., 2015, Occupancy estimation for rare species using a spatially-adaptive sampling design: Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Early View, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12499.

Year Published: 2015

A framework for decision points to trigger adaptive management actions in long-term incidental take permits

Introduction The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has begun to issue incidental take permits (ITPs) to wind power companies to allow limited take of bird and bat species that are protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (Huso and others, 2015). Expected take rates...

Dalthorp, Daniel; Huso, Manuela
Dalthorp, Daniel, and Huso, Manuela, 2015, A framework for decision points to trigger adaptive management actions in long-term incidental take permits: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1227, 88 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151227.

Year Published: 2015

Assessment of model estimates of land-atmosphere CO2 exchange across northern Eurasia

A warming climate is altering land-atmosphere exchanges of carbon, with a potential for increased vegetation productivity as well as the mobilization of permafrost soil carbon stores. Here we investigate land-atmosphere carbon dioxide (CO2) cycling through analysis of net ecosystem productivity (NEP) and its component fluxes of gross primary...

Rawlins, M.A.; McGuire, A.D.; Kimball, J.S.; Dass, P.; Lawrence, D.; Burke, E.; Chen, X.; Delire, C.; Koven, C.; MacDougall, A.; Peng, S.; Rinke, A.; Saito, K.; Zhang, W.; Alkama, R.; Bohn, T. J.; Ciais, P.; Decharme, B.; Gouttevin, I.; Hajima, T.; Ji, D.; Krinner, G.; Lettenmaier, D.P.; Miller, P.; Moore, J.C.; Smith, B.; Sueyoshi, T.

Year Published: 2015

Fire effects on aquatic ecosystems: an assessment of the current state of the science

Fire is a prevalent feature of many landscapes and has numerous and complex effects on geological, hydrological, ecological, and economic systems. In some regions, the frequency and intensity of wildfire have increased in recent years and are projected to escalate with predicted climatic and landuse changes. In addition, prescribed burns continue...

Rebecca J. Bixby; Scott D. Cooper; Gresswell, Bob; Lee E. Brown; Clifford N. Dahm; Kathleen A. Dwire
Bixby, R.J., S.D. Cooper, R.E. Gresswell, L.E. Brown, C.N. Dahm, and K.A. Dwire. 2015. Fire effects on aquatic ecosystems: an assessment of the current state of the science. Freshwater Science 34:1340-1350.

Year Published: 2015

Predicting spatial distribution of postfire debris flows and potential consequences for native trout in headwater streams

Habitat fragmentation and degradation and invasion of nonnative species have restricted the distribution of native trout. Many trout populations are limited to headwater streams where negative effects of predicted climate change, including reduced stream flow and increased risk of catastrophic fires, may further jeopardize their persistence....

Sedell, Edwin R; Gresswell, Bob; McMahon, Thomas E.
Sedell, E.R., R.E. Gresswell, and T.E. McMahon. 2015. Predicting spatial distribution of postfire debris flows and potential consequences for native trout in headwater streams. Freshwater Science 34:1558-1570.

Year Published: 2015

Quantifying the adaptive cycle

The adaptive cycle was proposed as a conceptual model to portray patterns of change in complex systems. Despite the model having potential for elucidating change across systems, it has been used mainly as a metaphor, describing system dynamics qualitatively. We use a quantitative approach for testing premises (reorganisation, conservatism,...

Angeler, David G.; Allen, Craig R.; Garmestani, Ahjond S.; Gunderson, Lance H.; Hjerne, Olle; Winder, Monika

Year Published: 2015

Dim ultraviolet light as a means of deterring activity by the Hawaiian hoary bat Lasiurus cinereus semotus

Widespread bat fatalities at industrial wind turbines are a conservation issue with the potential to inhibit efficient use of an abundant source of energy. Bat fatalities can be reduced by altering turbine operations, but such curtailment decreases turbine efficiency. If additional ways of reducing bat fatalities at wind turbines were available...

Gorresen, P. Marcos; Cryan, Paul M.; Dalton, David C.; Wolf, Sandy; Johnson, Jessica A.; Todd, Christopher M.; Bonaccorso, Frank J.
Gorresen, P.M., P.M. Cryan, D. Dalton, J. Johnson, C. Todd, S. Wolf, and F.J. Bonaccorso. 2015. Dim ultraviolet light as a means of deterring activity by the Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus). Endangered Species Research 28:249-257.

Year Published: 2015

Shaping species with ephemeral boundaries: The distribution and genetic structure of desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) in the Sonoran Desert region

Aim We examine the role biogeographical features played in the evolution of Morafka's desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) and test the hypothesis that G. morafkai maintains genetically distinct lineages associated with different Sonoran Desert biomes. Increased knowledge of the past and present distribution of the Sonoran Desert...

Edwards, Taylor; Vaughn, Mercy; Rosen, Philip C.; Torres, Ma. Cristina Melendez; Karl, Alice E.; Culver, Melanie; Murphy, Robert W.

Year Published: 2015

Incorporating future change into current conservation planning: Evaluating tidal saline wetland migration along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast under alternative sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios

In this study, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, quantified the potential for landward migration of tidal saline wetlands along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast under alternative future sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios. Our analyses focused exclusively on tidal saline wetlands (that is,...

Enwright, Nicholas M.; Griffith, Kereen T.; Osland, Michael J.
Enwright, N.M., Griffith, K.T., and Osland, M.J., 2015, Incorporating future change into current conservation planning—Evaluating tidal saline wetland migration along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast under alternative sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 969, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds969.

Year Published: 2015

Fire activity as a function of fire–weather seasonal severity and antecedent climate across spatial scales in southern Europe and Pacific western USA

Climate has a strong influence on fire activity, varying across time and space. We analyzed the relationships between fire–weather conditions during the main fire season and antecedent water-balance conditions and fires in two Mediterranean-type regions with contrasted management histories: five southern countries of the European Union (...

Urbieta, Itziar R.; Zavala, Gonzalo; Bedia, Joaquin; Gutierrez, Jose M.; San Miguel-Ayanz, Jesus; Camia, Andrea; Keeley, Jon E.; Moreno, Jose M.
Urbieta, IR, G Zavala, J Bedia, JM Gutierrez, JS Miguel-Ayanz, A Camia, JE Keeley, JM Moreno. 2015. Fire activity as a function of fire–weather seasonal severity and antecedent climate across spatial scales in southern Europe and Pacific western USA. Environmental Research Letters 10(11): 114031. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/11/114013

Filter Total Items: 433
August 25, 2016
Permanent Site: E2 East Transect; Depth: 14.3 Meters (46.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.9 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15653002,-123.56130401; Site Description: This is one of our deeper sites. Substrate is mainly gravel/cobble with an occasional boulder. A few brown acid kelps (Desmarestia spp. at 0:06 seconds) and red seaweeds...
August 24, 2016
Permanent Site: J1 West Transect; Depth: 9.8 Meters (32.3 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 6.6 Kilometers (4.1 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13607725,-123.48002186; Site Description: This site is medium depth. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand mixture. Both red (0:25 seconds) and brown seaweed growth is dense and appears to be at pre-dam removal levels...
August 24, 2016
Permanent Site: D2 West Transect; Depth: 12.8 Meters (41.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.3 Kilometers (0.2 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal Lat/Long: 48.15233001,-123.56896603; Site Description: This site is right off the mouth of the river. Substrate is mainly gravel with some cobble. Dead clam shells are scattered everywhere (2:14 seconds). Small woody debris is...
August 23, 2016
Permanent Control Site: GP2 East Transect; Depth: 13.2 Meters (43.4 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 18.8 Kilometers (11.7 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.12781102,-123.31645664; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Substrate is mainly a gravel sand mixture. A few large boulders are located off transect. This year red...
August 23, 2016
Permanent Control Site: GP1 West Transect; Depth: 7.9 m (25.9 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.11852521,-123.31605203; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding numerous large boulders. Red...
August 23, 2016
Permanent Control Site: GP2 West Transect; Depth: 13.0 Meters (42.6 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 18.8 Kilometers (11.6 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.12781102,-123.31712832; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding boulders. This year red seaweed was absent and...
August 23, 2016
Golden eagles can be killed by colliding with a number of human-made objects, including wind turbines. USGS research wildlife biologist Todd Katzner describes his studies of golden eagle flight. This research is being done to model flight behavior which might help managers understand how placement of wind turbines might pose significant risks to golden eagles.
August 23, 2016
Permanent Control Site: GP1 East Transect; Depth: 7.5 m (24.7 feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long:; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding numerous large boulders. Red (1:34 seconds) and brown...
August 12, 2016
Permanent Site: H1 West Transect; Depth: 5.7 Meters (18.7 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14803012,-123.53535558; Site Description: This is a shallow site and one of the farthest removed from the effects of the sediment plume outside of the control sites. Substrate is still mainly gravel with some sand...
August 11, 2016
Permanent Site: A2 West Transect; Depth: 13.2 Meters (43.2 Feet); Distance from river mouth: Kilometers 1.8 (1.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14130295, -123.5883331; Site Description: One of our deeper sites at over 40 feet. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud with scattered boulders. Seaweeds are still sparse and mainly acid kelp Desmarestia (0:30, 1:00,...
Filter Total Items: 255
Aerial view of the caldera of Mt Tambora, island of Sumbawa, Indonesia.
January 18, 2017

Hundreds of articles have been written about the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, at Indonesia’s Mt. Tambora just over 200 years ago. But for a small group of New England-based researchers, one more Tambora story needed to be told, one related to its catastrophic effects in the Gulf of Maine that may carry lessons for intertwined human-natural systems facing climate change today.

Fairfax County Public Schools Secondary Transition to Employment student volunteers
December 22, 2016

"It’s a grand slam for all involved,” said Dawn Childs, USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units.  “Recent high school graduates with special needs get real-world experience while helping USGS scientists on projects ranging from grizzly bears and energy to historic documents and bird migration. And a school system gets to successfully train students to enter the workforce."

USGS scientist placing a tracking collar on a caribou.
December 19, 2016

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer and caribou are large, cold-adapted, herding herbivores related to deer, elk and moose.

To learn more about how these arctic antler-bearers spend the other 364 days of the year, we talked to USGS caribou expert Dr. Layne Adams, who has studied these animals for more than 30 years.

Sunrise over a wetland habitat
December 12, 2016

Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative Launches Coastal Wetland Decision Support Tools

American mistletoe fruit and flowers
December 12, 2016

Perhaps some of you have already experienced a sweet smooch or two under the holiday mistletoe, enjoying this fairly old kissing ritual for people. While figuring prominently in ancient lore, mistletoe is important in other vital ways: it provides essential food, cover and nesting sites for an amazing number of critters. In fact, some animals couldn’t even survive without mistletoe.

A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06.
November 22, 2016

True or false? People are the leading cause of wildfires in the United States.

A strutting wild male turkey
November 17, 2016

A group of turkeys is referred to as either a rafter or a gang.  So this Thanksgiving, when celebrating with your own gang, remember the turkey as more than just the main course, but, as Benjamin Franklin said so many years ago, as a noble fowl of American tradition.

A meltwater stonefly larva (Lednia tumana) sits on a cobbled snow fed stream in Glacier National Park.
November 16, 2016

West Glacier, Mont. – Two rare alpine insects – native to the northern Rocky Mountains and dependent on cold waters of glacier and snowmelt-fed alpine streams – are imperiled due to climate warming induced glacier and snow loss according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners.

A group of Brook Trout swim through a stream.
November 16, 2016

A new USGS study shows non-native Brown Trout can place a burden on native Brook Trout under the increased water temperatures climate change can cause.