Mission Areas


Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 569
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...

Date published: March 13, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Influenza Surveillance in Waterfowl in the Atlantic Flyway

The Challenge: In December of 2014, a novel strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) caused an outbreak in poultry on the West coast of the United States. From there, the virus progressed steadily eastward, causing $3.3 billion in economic losses in addition to 50 million chickens or turkeys dying or being depopulated. While the primary mode of spread appears to be via the poultry...

Date published: March 13, 2018
Status: Active

Research and Management of Informal (Visitor-Created) Trails in Protected Areas

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 activities such as nature study,...

Contacts: Jeff Marion, Ph.D., Dr. Jeremy Wimpey, Dr. Chris Carr, Dr. Yu-Fai Leung
Date published: March 12, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Salt Marsh Management Along the Atlantic

The Challenge: A number of coastal states have been altering marshes for mosquito control since the early 1900s, but for the past four decades, changes have been made in the methods used to alter high-marsh environments. However, in most states, research and monitoring activities are still needed to inform the management methods employed. Although modern Open Marsh Water Management (OMWM)...

Date published: March 12, 2018
Status: Active

Pathogens in the Aquatic Environment – Waterfowl, Avian Influenza

The Challenge: Changes in aquatic ecosystems related to climate change phenomena or other anthropogenically based environmental stressors have significant impact on the dynamics of the host-pathogen-environment relationship, often with surprising results. Therefore, biosurveillance of the aquatic environment for pathogens of significance to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as to...

Date published: March 9, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Wild Bird Avian Influenza Program – Studies from Endemic Regions of Eurasia

The Challenge: Following outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Eurasia, many researchers have attempted to determine how this virus spreads across the landscape. Unfortunately, prior to this work, most studies on HPAI movements were based on virology data alone, and no information on host ecology. Beginning in 2007, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) and Western...

Date published: March 8, 2018
Status: Active

Tracking Domestic Ducks through the Market Chain in China via Telemetry

The Challenge: Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAI) of certain subtypes primarily infect poultry, causing disease outbreaks and negative socio-economic impacts on poultry farming depending on the characteristics of biosecurity and the virus strain. HPAI viruses seem to be adapted to artificial ecosystems including poultry farming, free-ranging duck production, and live bird markets...

Date published: March 7, 2018
Status: Active

An Eco-immunological Study of Chesapeake Bay Waterfowl

The Challenge: The health of the abundant waterfowl species of Chesapeake Bay has become a major concern due to the spread of Avian Influenza (AI) across North America and the role of waterfowl as a vector of AI. For decades, the health of the Bay’s waterfowl has been affected by the degradation of water quality and food supply due to industrial contaminants,agricultural run-off, pollution...

Date published: March 6, 2018
Status: Active

Alpine Wildlife and Snowpack Dynamics in the North Cascades

Mountain ecosystems are expected to change with continued reductions in annual snowpack that have been observed worldwide over the past half-century. Recent snow droughts in North America have been attributed to unusually warm temperatures that cause winter precipitation to fall as rain, rather than snow. Many species of alpine wildlife depend on snowpack for insulation from extreme cold and...

Date published: March 5, 2018
Status: Active

Disturbances and Stressors

Conservation and restoration of the sagebrush ecosystem is a major challenge. There are numerous threats to the ecosystem including increasing risk of wildfire, invasion by exotic annual grasses, expansion of conifer trees, development for agricultural use and energy extraction, and many other natural and human caused disturbances. Restoration of sagebrush habitat following a disturbance is...

Contacts: Steve Hanser
Filter Total Items: 2,287
Year Published: 2017

Ecosystem vs. community recovery 25 years after grass invasions and fire in a subtropical woodland

Despite a large body of research documenting invasive plant impacts, few studies have followed individual invaded sites over decades to observe how they change, and none have contrasted how compositional impacts from invasion compare to ecosystem-process impacts over a multi-decadal time-scale. Using direct measurements of plant density and...

D'Antonio, Carla M.; Yelenik, Stephanie G.; Mack, Michelle C.
D'Antonio, C. M., S. G. Yelenik, and M. C. Mack. 2017. Ecosystem vs. community recovery 25 years after grass invasions and fire in a subtropical woodland. Journal of Ecology 105:1462–1474.

Year Published: 2017

Defining ecological drought for the 21st century

No abstract available.

Crausbay, Shelley D.; Ramirez, Aaron R.; Carter, Shawn L.; Cross, Molly S.; Hall, Kimberly R.; Bathke, Deborah J.; Betancourt, Julio L.; Colt, Steve; Cravens, Amanda; Dalton, Melinda S.; Dunham, Jason B.; Hay, Lauren E.; Hayes, Michael J.; McEvoy, Jamie; McNutt, Chad A.; Moritz, Max A.; Nislow, Keith H.; Raheem, Nejem; Sanford, Todd
Crausbay, S.D., A.R. Ramirez, S.L. Carter, M.S. Cross, K.R. Hall, D.J. Bathke, J.L. Betancourt, S. Colt, A.E. Cravens, M.S. Dalton, J.B. Dunham, L.E. Hay, M.J. Hayes, J. McEvoy, C.A. McNutt, M.A. Moritz, K.H. Nislow, N. Raheem, and T. Sanford, 0: Defining ecological drought for the 21st century. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 0, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0292.1

Year Published: 2017

Biological and ecological science for Nevada—The Silver State

Nevada is rich in minerals, energy, rangelands, mountains, deserts, lakes, fish, and wildlife. Many enterprises critical to Nevada's economy are based on natural resources including solar energy, livestock production, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. Nevada is a national leader in both geothermal and solar utility-scale energy...

Attribution: Ecosystems
U.S. Geological Survey, 2017, Biological and ecological science for Nevada—The Silver State: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017-3075, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173075.

Year Published: 2017

Program MAMO: Models for avian management optimization-user guide

The following chapters describe the structure and code of MAMO, and walk the reader through running the different components of the program with sample data. This manual should be used alongside a computer running R, so that the reader can copy and paste code into R, observe the output, and follow along interactively. Taken together, chapters 2–4...

Guillaumet, Alban; Paxton, Eben H.
Guillaumet, A., and E. H. Paxton. 2017. Program MAMO: Models for avian management optimization-user guide. Hawai`i Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report HCSU-TR077, University of Hawai'i at Hilo, Hilo, Hawai‘i. Available: http://hdl.handle.net/10790/3312.

Year Published: 2017

The Conservation Efforts Database: Improving our knowledge of landscape conservation actions

The Conservation Efforts Database (CED) is a secure, cloud-based tool that can be used to document and track conservation actions across landscapes. A recently released factsheet describes this tool ahead of the rollout of CED version 2.0. The CED was developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USGS, and the Great Northern Landscape...

Heller, Matthew M.; Welty, Justin; Wiechman , Lief A.

Year Published: 2017

Shifts in an invasive rodent community favoring black rats (Rattus rattus) following restoration of native forest

One potential, unintended ecological consequence accompanying forest restoration is a shift in invasive animal populations, potentially impacting conservation targets. Eighteen years after initial restoration (ungulate exclusion, invasive plant control, and out planting native species) at a 4 ha site on Maui, Hawai'i, we compared invasive rodent...

Shiels, Aaron B.; Medeiros, Arthur C.; von Allmen, Erica I.
Shiels, A. B., A. C. Medeiros, and E. I. von Allmen. 2017. Shifts in an invasive rodent community favoring Black rats (Rattus rattus) following restoration of native forest. Restoration Ecology 25:759–767. Available: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rec.12494/full

Year Published: 2017

Spatial and temporal patterns in golden eagle diets in the western United States, with implications for conservation planning

Detailed information on diets and predatory ecology of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) is essential to prioritize prey species management and to develop landscape-specific conservation strategies, including mitigation of the effects of energy development across the western United States. We compiled published and unpublished data on Golden Eagle...

Bedrosian, Geoffrey; Watson, James W.; Steenhof, Karen; Kochert, Michael N.; Preston, Charles R.; Woodbridge, Brian; Williams, Gary E.; Keller, Kent R.; Crandall, Ross H.
Bedrosian, G., Watson, J.W., Steenhof, K., Kochert, M.N., Preston, C.R., Woodbridge, B., Williams, G.E., Keller, K.R., Crandall, R.H., 2017, Spatial and temporal patterns in golden eagle diets in the western United States, with implications for conservation planning: Journal of Raptor Research, v. 51, no. 3, p. 347-367, https://doi.org/10.3356/JRR-16-38.1.

Year Published: 2017

Skagit River coho salmon life history model—Users’ guide

Natural resource management is conducted in the context of multiple anthropogenic stressors and is further challenged owing to changing climate. Experiments to determine the effects of climate change on complex ecological systems are nearly impossible. However, using a simulation model to synthesize current understanding of key ecological...

Woodward, Andrea; Kirby, Grant; Morris, Scott
Woodward, Andrea, Kirby, Grant, and Morris, Scott, 2017, Skagit River coho salmon life history model—Users’ guide: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1125, 57 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171125.

Year Published: 2017

Refining the cheatgrass–fire cycle in the Great Basin: Precipitation timing and fine fuel composition predict wildfire trends

Larger, more frequent wildfires in arid and semi-arid ecosystems have been associated with invasion by non-native annual grasses, yet a complete understanding of fine fuel development and subsequent wildfire trends is lacking. We investigated the complex relationships among weather, fine fuels, and fire in the Great Basin, USA. We first modeled...

Pilliod, David S.; Welty, Justin; Arkle, Robert
Pilliod DS, Welty JL, Arkle RS. Refining the cheatgrass–fire cycle in the Great Basin: Precipitation timing and fine fuel composition predict wildfire trends. Ecol Evol. 2017;00:1–26. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3414

Year Published: 2017

USGS microbiome research

Microbiomes are the communities of microorganisms (for example, bacteria, viruses, and fungi) that live on, in, and around people, plants, animals, soil, water, and the atmosphere. Microbiomes are active in the functioning of diverse ecosystems, for instance, by influencing water quality, nutrient acquisition 
and stress tolerance in plants, and...

Kellogg, Christina A.; Hopkins, M. Camille
Kellogg, C.A., and Hopkins, M.C., 2017, USGS microbiome research: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3074, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173074.

Year Published: 2017

The influence of soil resources and plant traits on invasion and restoration in a subtropical woodland

It has been shown in some cases that nitrogen (N) addition to soil will increase abundance of plant invaders because many invaders have traits that promote rapid growth in response to high resource supply. Similarly, it has been suggested, and sometimes shown, that decreasing soil N via carbon (C) additions can facilitate native species recovery....

Yelenik, Stephanie G.; D'Antonio, Carla M.; August-Schmidt, Elizabeth
Yelenik, S. G., C. M. D’Antonio, and E. August-Schmidt. 2017. The influence of soil resources and plant traits on invasion and restoration in a subtropical woodland. Plant Ecology 218:1149–1161. Available: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11258-017-0757-3

Year Published: 2017

Biogeographical variation of plumage coloration in the sexually dichromatic Hawai‘i ‘Amakihi (Chlorodrepanis virens)

Plumage coloration in birds can be of major importance to mate selection, social signaling, or predator avoidance. Variations in plumage coloration related to sex, age class, or seasons have been widely studied, but the effect of other factors such as climate is less known. In this study, we examine how carotenoid-based plumage coloration and...

Gaudioso-Levita, Jacqueline M.; Hart, Patrick J.; Lapointe, Dennis; Veillet, Anne; Sebastian-Gonzalez, Esther
Gaudioso-Levita, J. M., P. J. Hart, D. A. LaPointe, A. C. Veillet, and E. Sebastián-González. 2017. Biogeographical variation of plumage coloration in the sexually dichromatic Hawai‘i ‘Amakihi (Chlorodrepanis virens). Journal of Ornithology 158:955–964.

Filter Total Items: 539
Varied Chesapeake Bay landscapes
May 24, 2017

To Foresee Chesapeake Bay’s Future, Scientists Look to the Land

A montage of four Chesapeake Bay aerial photos. L-R: A waterfront residential community; row crops bordered by forest; Baltimore Harbor; piers and crab pots in a waterfront fishing community.

Attribution: Ecosystems, Northeast
An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle was recently observed in the Mojave Desert.
May 4, 2017

An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle

An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle was recently observed by USGS scientists and staff from The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in the Mojave Desert. Turtles of this population have rarely been seen since the late 1990s.

A cabin along Alaska's Arctic coast was recently washed into the ocean because the bluff it was sitting on eroded away.
May 3, 2017

Climate Change Impacts

From the Sound Waves Newletter article, "Erosion Doubles Along Part of Alaska's Arctic Coast — Cultural and Historical Sites Lost" at http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2009/05/research2.html

Scientist holding a laptop and equipment, standing in a green field.
April 30, 2017

Assessing Tallgrass Coastal Prairie in Southwest Louisiana

Vegetation assessments are part of an effort to produce seamless, consistent, and high resolution landcover data for the northern portion of the western gulf coastal plain. This geography was once dominated by tallgrass prairie and has undergone dramatic change with less than 1% of this natural habitat in existence.

Tallgrass prairie provides a suite of ecosystem services including...

Female scientist looking through microscope.
April 30, 2017

Examining Pallid Sturgeon Eggs

Biological science aid, Marlee Malmborg, examines and records the viability of pallid sturgeon eggs at the Columbia Environmental Research Center.

March 31, 2017

Establishing Forster's Tern Nesting Colonies

Scientists from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) are conducting a "social attraction" study for seabirds in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Historically, this region offered wetland habitats to local wildlife. With the introduction of industrial salt ponds and human development, however, much of this habitat was lost. Now, former salt ponds are...

March 30, 2017

2017 March Public Lecture—Brown Bears, Sea Otters, and Seals, Oh My!

Brown Bears, Sea Otters, and Seals, Oh My!
Unexpected interactions on the Katmai Coast
by Grant Hilderbrand, Chief of the Marine Ecosystems Office, USGS Alaska Science Center

  • Highlights of ongoing research on brown bears on the coast of the Katmai National Park
  • Observations from video collars deployed on brown bears
  • Implications for
  • ...
Three sailfin catfish found in the Big Cypress National Preserve
March 23, 2017

Sailfin catfishes discovered in Big Cypress

The sailfin catfish is one of 13 species of nonnative fish that biologists discovered during the Fish Slam in Big Cypress National Preserve, March 23, 2017.


Pike killifish found in Big Cypress
March 23, 2017

Non-native pike killifish from the Big Cypress

The pike killifish, native to Mexico and Central America, was one of 13 nonnative fish species that biologists discovered during the two-day Fish Slam in Big Cypress National Preserve, March 22 and 23, 2017.


Expressing lamprey feces
March 6, 2017

Expressing lamprey feces

USGS scientist Nick Johnson isn’t afraid to get dirty. Here he is expressing green feces from a parasitic sea lamprey. DNA in the feces may help USGS scientists discover the identity of sea lamprey’s last meal. 

In UV light an alga from the desmid family looks like a snowflake chain
February 28, 2017

A snowflake chain? Nope. A one-celled green alga.

The desmid family of single-celled green algae are never found in abundance, says USGS biologist Barry Rosen. They inhabit the soft, slightly acidic water of wetlands that depend on rainwater, like Florida’s Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. They don’t “bloom” en masse, but their presence is an indicator of good water quality. Rosen’s research is likely to facilitate...

Canada lynx
February 1, 2017

Canada lynx

Bear predation on salmon can be high in many Alaskan rivers.  Brown bears Ursus arctos and Chum Salmon Oncorhynchus keta are managed concurrently in McNeil River State Game Sanctuary by Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game to benefit the salmon, bears, commercial fishers, and provide unparalleled close-up bear viewing and photography opportunities for the public.

Filter Total Items: 315
Date published: May 2, 2017

Wildlife Recovery Following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill was Highly Variable Across Species

Thanks to a quarter-century of research and monitoring, scientists now know how different wildlife species were injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and how long it took for populations to recover.

Date published: May 1, 2017

Avian Flu Testing of Wild Ducks Informs Biosecurity and Can Reduce Economic Loss

Ducks in North America can be carriers of avian influenza viruses similar to those found in a 2016 outbreak in Indiana that led to the losses of hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys, according to a recent study.

Date published: April 27, 2017

Billions More Milkweeds Needed to Restore Monarchs

As many as 1.8 billion additional stems of milkweed plants may be needed in North America to return imperiled monarch butterflies to a sustainable population size, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: April 26, 2017

Asian Carp Would Have Adequate Food to Survive in Lake Michigan

If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Michigan, there would be enough food available for these particular species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: April 18, 2017

Deadly Deer Disease Expected to Grow Rapidly and Spread in Wisconsin

A new tool, which predicted the recent, rapid growth and continued spread of chronic wasting disease in deer, can help forecast and manage other costly biological threats to humans, animals and the environment, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: April 11, 2017

Florida Manatees Likely to Persist For At Least 100 Years—US Geological Survey  

Florida’s iconic manatee population is highly likely to endure for the next 100 years, so long as wildlife managers continue to protect the marine mammals and their habitat, a new study by the US Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has found.

Date published: April 11, 2017

Scientists Evaluate Ways to Save Hawaiian Honeycreeper

Long distance flights in search of flowering trees threatens the Hawaiian Iiwi as climate change increases the distribution of avian diseases

Date published: April 11, 2017

Media Inquiries on USGS Manatee Research

We appreciate your interest in USGS' Sirenia Project. To help inform members of the media and public, we have provided relevant publications, reports, and websites. 

Date published: April 10, 2017

Turtles Die in Southern California Lake Following Drought and Fire

Almost all of the turtles living in a southern California lake died following a large fire and years of drought, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report published in the journal Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems.

Date published: April 6, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, March 2016 | Issue 4.3

Understanding the Effects of Temperature on Diseases in Fish

Date published: April 4, 2017

Hybridization between Native and Invasive Trout is Increasing in the West

Hybridization, or the interbreeding of species, is increasing between native and invasive trout across the northern Rocky Mountains, according to a study released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners.

Date published: April 4, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, March 2017 | Issue 5.3

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