Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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Filter Total Items: 421
The South Platte River. USGS Water Science Center image.
November 29, 2016

Throughout the world, riparian habitats have been dramatically modified from their natural condition. Dams, non-native species and climate change are often principal drivers of these changes, via their alteration of water and sediment regimes that determine key resources for riparian plants....

The Bill Williams River in Arizona. USGS photo.
November 29, 2016

Because the underlying cause of riparian system alteration is often attributed to the effects of dams on flow regime, managing flow releases, particularly high flows, from dams is an often-advocated approach to river and riparian restoration. Our work has focused on understanding effects of managed high flow releases (a.k.a., pulse flows, controlled floods) from dams along rivers in the lower...

Extensive defoliation of tamarisk (orange/brown vegetation throughout mid-ground) along the Virgin River, Arizona, 2009.
November 28, 2016

Beginning in the early twentieth century, non-native trees and shrubs, including tamarisk (also commonly known as saltcedar) and Russian-olive, were introduced to the United States for use as ornamental plants and in erosion-control plantings. These plants spread extensively, becoming the third and fourth most frequently occurring woody riparian plants in the American West.

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The unregulated Santa Maria River in west-central Arizona.
November 28, 2016

The foundation for applying science to river and riparian restoration contexts lies in a basic understanding of the factors that drive riparian vegetation dynamics. Much of our research is focused on clarifying relationships between streamflow, fluvial geomorphology, and riparian vegetation, including various feedbacks.

USGS WERC Davis Field Station
November 8, 2016

Established to conduct research on the effects of contaminants on wildlife in the region of the San Francisco Bay-Delta and Central Valley of California, the Davis Field Station now has studies from the Alaskan coast to the Mexican border and from the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific Ocean. The field station maintains emphasis on contaminant issues but has expanded its capabilities to include...

A photo of ochre seastars clinging to a rock face.
November 8, 2016

The Santa Barbara Channel area extends from the steep Santa Ynez Mountains on the north to the Channel Islands and adjacent continental shelf on the south and from Point Conception east to the Hueneme submarine canyon. This dynamic landscape, characterized by diverse ecosystems and both urban and rural populations, faces increasing environmental stress due to development,...

Backpack electrofishing crew at Pinecrest Gardens
November 1, 2016

November 1 - 2, 2016 – Eight teams of fishery biologists from the US Geological Survey (USGS), US Fish and Wildlife Service - Peninsular Florida Fisheries Office and Welaka National Fish Hatchery (USFWS), the National Park Service (NPS), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida International University (FIU), and Zoo Miami sampled 20 sites for non-native...

This is the Adobe Town Wilderness Study Area in Southwest Wyoming.
October 28, 2016

Applied research and integrated regional assessments emphasize spatially explicit analyses of ecosystem components affected by energy development and land-use change in the western United States. Topics include sagebrush-steppe ecology; sagebrush habitat assessments; the effets of human activities (including energy development, transportation, and recreation) on habitats...

Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) Logo
October 27, 2016

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) addresses effects of land-use and climate changes on Southwest Wyoming’s natural resources. In partnership with twelve Federal, State, and local natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations– FORT and ten other USGS centers are conducting dozens of integrated science projects to assess the status of Southwest...

Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) Logo
October 27, 2016

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) addresses effects of land-use and climate changes on Southwest Wyoming’s natural resources. In partnership with twelve Federal, State, and local natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations– FORT and ten other USGS centers are conducting dozens of integrated science projects to assess the status of Southwest...

Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) Logo
October 27, 2016

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) addresses effects of land-use and climate changes on Southwest Wyoming’s natural resources. In partnership with twelve Federal, State, and local natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations– FORT and ten other USGS centers are conducting dozens of integrated science projects to assess the status of Southwest...

Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) Logo
October 27, 2016

The Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI) addresses effects of land-use and climate changes on Southwest Wyoming’s natural resources. In partnership with twelve Federal, State, and local natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations– FORT and ten other USGS centers are conducting dozens of integrated science projects to assess the status of Southwest...

Filter Total Items: 551
Year Published: 2015

Recent Arctic tundra fire initiates widespread thermokarst development

Fire-induced permafrost degradation is well documented in boreal forests, but the role of fires in initiating thermokarst development in Arctic tundra is less well understood. Here we show that Arctic tundra fires may induce widespread thaw subsidence of permafrost terrain in the first seven years following the disturbance. Quantitative analysis...

Jones, Benjamin M.; Grosse, Guido; Arp, Christopher D.; Miller, Eric K.; Liu, Lingli; Hayes, Daniel J.; Larsen, Christopher F.

Year Published: 2015

Woodland salamander responses to a shelterwood harvest-prescribed burn silvicultural treatment within Appalachian mixed-oak forests

Forest management practices that mimic natural canopy disturbances, including prescribed fire and timber harvests, may reduce competition and facilitate establishment of favorable vegetative species within various ecosystems. Fire suppression in the central Appalachian region for almost a century has contributed to a transition from oak-dominated...

Ford, W. Mark; Mahoney, Kathleen R.; Russell, Kevin R.; Rodrigue, Jane L.; Riddle, Jason D.; Schuler, Thomas M.; Adams, Mary Beth
Mahoney, K. R., K. R. Russell, W. M. Ford, J. L. Rodrque, J. D. Riddle, T. M. Schuler, M. B. Adams. 2016. Woodland salamander responses to a shelterwood harvest-prescribed burn silvicultural treatment within Appalachian mixed-oak forests. Forest Ecology and Management 359: 277-285. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2015.09.042

Year Published: 2015

The rapid return of marine-derived nutrients to a freshwater food web following dam removal

Dam removal is increasingly being recognized as a viable river restoration action. Although the main beneficiaries of restored connectivity are often migratory fish populations, little is known regarding recovery of other parts of the freshwater food web, particularly terrestrial components. We measured stable isotopes in key components to the...

Tonra, Christopher M; Sager-Fradkin, Kimberly A.; Morley, Sarah A; Duda, Jeff; Marra, Peter P.

Year Published: 2015

Ultraviolet vision may be widespread in bats

Insectivorous bats are well known for their abilities to find and pursue flying insect prey at close range using echolocation, but they also rely heavily on vision. For example, at night bats use vision to orient across landscapes, avoid large obstacles, and locate roosts. Although lacking sharp visual acuity, the eyes of bats evolved to function...

Gorresen, P. Marcos; Cryan, Paul; Dalton, David C.; Wolf, Sandy; Bonaccorso, Frank
Gorresen, P.M., P.M. Cryan, D.C. Dalton, S. Wolf, and F.J. Bonaccorso. 2015. Ultraviolet vision may be widespread in bats. Acta Chiropterologica, 17: 193-198.

Year Published: 2015

Will a warmer and wetter future cause extinction of native Hawaiian forest birds?

Isolation of the Hawaiian archipelago produced a highly endemic and unique avifauna. Avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum), an introduced mosquito-borne pathogen, is a primary cause of extinctions and declines of these endemic honeycreepers. Our research assesses how global climate change will affect future malaria risk and native bird populations....

Liao, Wei; Timm, Oliver Elison; Zhang, Chunxi; Atkinson, Carter T.; LaPointe, Dennis; Samuel, Michael D.

Year Published: 2015

Fire patterns in the range of the greater sage-grouse, 1984-2013 — Implications for conservation and management

Fire ranks among the top three threats to the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) throughout its range, and among the top two threats in the western part of its range. The national research strategy for this species and the recent U.S. Department of the Interior Secretarial Order 3336 call for science-based threats assessment of fire...

Brooks, Matthew L.; Matchett, John R.; Shinneman, Douglas J.; Coates, Peter S.
Brooks, M.L., Matchett, J.R., Shinneman, D.J., and Coates, P.S., 2015, Fire patterns in the range of greater sage-grouse, 1984–2013—Implications for conservation and management: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1167, 66 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151167.

Year Published: 2015

Long-term effects of wildfire on greater sage-grouse - integrating population and ecosystem concepts for management in the Great Basin

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereinafter, sage-grouse) are a sagebrush obligate species that has declined concomitantly with the loss and fragmentation of sagebrush ecosystems across most of its geographical range. The species currently is listed as a candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)....

Coates, Peter S.; Ricca, Mark A.; Prochazka, Brian G.; Doherty, Kevin E.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Casazza, Michael L.
Coates, P.S., Ricca, M.A., Prochazka, B.G., Doherty, K.E., Brooks, M.L., and Casazza, M.L., 2015, Long-term effects of wildfire on greater sage-grouse—Integrating population and ecosystem concepts for management in the Great Basin: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1165, 42 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151165.

Year Published: 2015

Legacy effects of wildfire on stream thermal regimes and rainbow trout ecology: an integrated analysis of observation and individual-based models

Management of aquatic resources in fire-prone areas requires understanding of fish species’ responses to wildfire and of the intermediate- and long-term consequences of these disturbances. We examined Rainbow Trout populations in 9 headwater streams 10 y after a major wildfire: 3 with no history of severe wildfire in the watershed (unburned...

Rosenberger, Amanda E.; Dunham, Jason B.; Neuswanger, Jason R.; Railsback, Steven F.

Year Published: 2015

Chronicling long-term predator responses to a shifting forage base in Chesapeake Bay: an energetics approach

The population of Striped Bass Morone saxatilis in Chesapeake Bay has increased significantly since the 1980s because of management efforts while the relative abundance of some key prey fish has declined since the 1970s. We examined the trophic interactions and prey consumption patterns of Striped Bass in Chesapeake Bay to determine how...

Overton, Anthony S.; Griffin, Jennifer C.; Margraf, F. Joseph; May, Eric B.; Hartman, Kyle J.

Year Published: 2015

Seasonally-dynamic presence-only species distribution models for a cryptic migratory bat impacted by wind energy development

Understanding seasonal distribution and movement patterns of animals that migrate long distances is an essential part of monitoring and conserving their populations. Compared to migratory birds and other more conspicuous migrants, we know very little about the movement patterns of many migratory bats. Hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus), a cryptic,...

Hayes, Mark A.; Cryan, Paul M.; Wunder, Michael B.
Hayes, M.A., P.M. Cryan, and M.B. Wunder. 2015. Seasonally-dynamic presence-only species distribution models for a cryptic migratory bat impacted by wind energy development. PLoS ONE 10: e0132599

Year Published: 2015

Landscape-scale distribution and density of raptor populations wintering in anthropogenic-dominated desert landscapes

Anthropogenic development has great potential to affect fragile desert environments. Large-scale development of renewable energy infrastructure is planned for many desert ecosystems. Development plans should account for anthropogenic effects to distributions and abundance of rare or sensitive wildlife; however, baseline data on abundance and...

Duerr, Adam E.; Miller, Tricia A.; Cornell Duerr, Kerri L; Lanzone, Michael J; Fesnock, Amy; Katzner, Todd E.

Year Published: 2015

Estimating the short-term recovery potential of little brown bats in the eastern United States in the face of White-nose syndrome

White-nose syndrome (WNS) was first detected in North American bats in New York in 2006. Since that time WNS has spread throughout the northeastern United States, southeastern Canada, and southwest across Pennsylvania and as far west as Missouri. Suspect WNS cases have been identified in Minnesota and Iowa, and the causative agent of WNS (...

Russell, Robin; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Erickson, Richard A.; Szymanski, Jennifer A.; Tinsley, Karl

Filter Total Items: 433
August 11, 2016
Permanent Site: C2 West Transect; Depth: 16.5 Meters (54.2 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.7 Kilometers (0.5 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.147841,-123.57663268; Site Description: One of our deepest sites. Substrate is all muddy sand. Seaweed is absent. Woody debris is present (1:18 seconds). The featherduster tubeworms that were abundant the previous...
August 11, 2016
Permanent Site: H1 East Transect; Depth: 5.7 Meters (18.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.1479177,-123.53472865; 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 10, 2016
Permanent Site: L1 West Transect; Depth: 11.1 Meters (36.5 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.3 Kilometers (1.4 Miles) west; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13957527,-123.59427175; Site Description: This transect is medium depth. The first 20 meters contains scattered boulders (0:17 seconds). Where there are no boulders, substrate is mainly fine sediment/sand/mud...
August 10, 2016
Permanent Site: H2 West Transect; Depth: 7.8 Meters (25.5 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.6 Kilometers (1.6 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15008216,-123.53277857; Site Description: This site is medium to shallow depth. Substrate is mainly gravel with some sand, cobble and an occasional boulder and has not changed since dam removal. Seaweed growth of...
August 10, 2016
Permanent Site: C2 East Transect; Depth: 16.1 Meters (52.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.7 Kilometers (0.4 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.147841,-123.57596074; Site Description: One of our deepest sites. Substrate is all muddy sand. Seaweed is absent. A very large pile of woody debris lying in an indentation in the sand is seen at 1:11 seconds...
August 9, 2016
Permanent Site: H2 East Transect; Depth: 8.1 Meters (26.6 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 2.6 Kilometers (1.6 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15008216,-123.53210661; Site Description: This site is medium to shallow depth. Substrate is mainly gravel with some sand, cobble and an occasional boulder and has not changed since dam removal. Seaweed growth of...
August 9, 2016
Permanent Site: A1 West Transect; Depth: 9.0 Meters (29.6 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 1.9 Kilometers (1.2 Miles) West; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.13870775, -123.586203; Site Description: Transect is in eastern part of Freshwater Bay. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud with patches of boulders. Seaweeds are common this year. Most noticeable change is the...
August 8, 2016
Permanent Site: C1 West Transect; Depth: Meters (Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.7 Kilometers (0.4 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14525225,-123.57361291; Site Description: Substrate is entirely sand. All seaweeds are absent. Woody debris is present (0:12, 1:49 seconds). Invertebrates are scarce and are almost exclusively the ornate tubeworm Diopatra...
August 8, 2016
Permanent Site: 4SP1 - East Transect; Depth: 5.2 Meters (17.0 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.8 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) East; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15257, -123.556704; Site Description: The site has converted from gravel/cobble substrate to all sand. Seaweed is completely absent.
August 8, 2016
Permanent Site: 4SP1 - West Transect; Depth: 6.1 Meters (19.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.8 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) East; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 3 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15257, -123.557376; Site Description: The site has converted from gravel/cobble substrate to all sand. Seaweed is completely absent.
August 8, 2016
Permanent Site: C1 East Transect; Depth: Meters (Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.7 Kilometers (0.4 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 5 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14525225,-123.57294101; Site Description: Substrate is entirely sand. All seaweeds are absent. Woody debris is present (0:26, seconds). Invertebrates are scarce and are almost exclusively the ornate tubeworm Diopatra ornata (...
Photo of USGS biologist preparing to release a reproductive female pallid sturgeon.
August 5, 2016
USGS Biologist Sabrina Davenport prepares to release a reproductive female pallid sturgeon.
Filter Total Items: 255
Wildfire
November 15, 2016

FORT Economist, Dr. James Meldrum, was one of several presenters at the "Understanding SW Colorado Resident's Perceptions of their Wildfire Risk" presentation on November 15, 2016 in Durango, Colorado on behalf of WiRe.

A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06.
November 1, 2016

True or False? People can catch white-nose syndrome from bats or the environment. 

USGS logo
October 3, 2016

As coastal development along the Gulf Coast continues to expand, tidal saline wetlands could have difficulty adjusting to rising sea levels.

Golden Eagle in flight
September 28, 2016

Roughly over a quarter of the golden eagles killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in Northern California from 2012-2014 were recent immigrants to the local population, according to research led by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

A sea otter female and large pup, counted during the range-wide survey, feed on kelp crabs.
September 19, 2016

SANTA CRUZ, California — The southern sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis, continues its climb toward recovery, according to the annual count released today by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners.