Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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Filter Total Items: 594
Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Vector-borne Disease Research

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 elucidate the ecological...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Forest Structure Resulting from ‘Wildlife Forestry Silviculture’

The Challenge: Management of bottomland forests using wildlife forestry silviculture is being undertaken to achieve desired forest conditions for priority silvicolous wildlife, such as Louisiana black bear, migratory birds, and resident game species. Wildlife forestry management results in forests that have more open canopies and increased understory vegetation yet exhibit heterogeneous...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Assessing Amphibian Disease Risk in the Northeast

The Challenge: Disease in amphibian populations can have a range of effects, from devastating declines following introduction of a novel pathogen to recurring breakout events on a landscape. Elucidating mechanisms underlying the effects of diseases on amphibian populations is crucial to help managers make appropriate decisions to achieve management goals for amphibians.

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Active

Spatiotemporal Exploratory Models: Deriving Spatial Waterfowl Inputs for Disease Risk Modeling

The Challenge: Disease risk modeling can be an important tool for identifying areas of high transmission risk within and between animal populations, allowing for strategic allocation of limited resources for disease surveillance and prevention. Acquiring a spatial understanding of the distributions of high risk populations is a critical first step in developing predictive disease transmission...

Date published: March 15, 2018
Status: Active

Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI): Understanding Amphibian Populations in the Northeastern United States

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,...

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...

Filter Total Items: 2,311
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

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

Filter Total Items: 545
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

...
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.

Frosted flatwoods salamander
December 31, 2016

Frosted flatwoods salamander

Frosted flatwoods salamander in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

Yosemite Toad
December 31, 2016

Yosemite Toad Vocalization

Amphibians’ permeable skin makes them incredibly sensitive to changes in their environment. Scientists and conservationists alike are using them as “sentinel species” that could provide early warnings of ecosystem change and stress affecting them and other organisms. Next time you are out, stop and listen. Do you hear them?
 

Sierran Treefrog
December 31, 2016

Sierran Treefrog Vocalization

Amphibians’ permeable skin makes them incredibly sensitive to changes in their environment. Scientists and conservationists alike are using them as “sentinel species” that could provide early warnings of ecosystem change and stress affecting them and other organisms. Next time you are out, stop and listen. Do you hear them?
 

Chinese firebelly new
December 31, 2016

Chinese Firebelly Newt

A Chinese firebelly newt (Cynops orientalis), the first salamander species found to be infected with the spring viraemia of carp virus.

 California Red-legged Frog
December 31, 2016

California Red-Legged Frog Vocalization

Amphibians’ permeable skin makes them incredibly sensitive to changes in their environment. Scientists and conservationists alike are using them as “sentinel species” that could provide early warnings of ecosystem change and stress affecting them and other organisms. Next time you are out, stop and listen. Do you hear them?
 

Chinese fire belly newt
December 31, 2016

Chinese Firebelly Newt

A Chinese firebelly newt (Cynops orientalis), the salamander species recently found to be infected with the spring viraemia of carp virus, or SVCV.

Testing for Bsal
December 31, 2016

Testing for Bsal

Scientists sample a rough-skinned newt for the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal, at a pond near Portland, Oregon. Bsal is decimating wild salamander populations in Europe and could emerge in the U.S. through the captive amphibian trade.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Filter Total Items: 332
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

Date published: March 29, 2017

USGS and Partners Team Up to Track Down Nonnative and Invasive Fishes in South Florida

The Fish Slam event discovered two nonnative fish species never seen before in Big Cypress National Preserve.

 

 

Date published: March 28, 2017

Sex-Shifting Fish: Growth Rate Could Determine Sea Lamprey Sex

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.

Date published: March 23, 2017

Chandler Robbins Inspired Generations of Scientists and Birders, 1918-2017

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.

Date published: March 21, 2017

Livestock grazing effects on sage-grouse: study identifies options to sustain ranching and help wildlife

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.