Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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

Biological Survey Unit

Scientists and staff of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center stationed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) do research on the systematics and conservation of vertebrate species and curate and manage the North American collections of Amphibian, Reptile, Bird, and Mammal specimens and associated records.

Date published: February 15, 2018
Status: Active

Fish Passage

A major focus of USGS-LSC is the design and evaluation of state-of the-art upstream and downstream fish passage structures for hydropower facilities of different sizes and locations and for different fish species, including endangered sturgeons and Atlantic salmon. Performance, physiology, behavior and energetics of each fish species are tested in-house for each design.

Contacts: Alexander Haro
Date published: February 8, 2018
Status: Active

Louisiana Barrier Island Habitat Mapping and Change Assessment

Barrier islands provide numerous invaluable ecosystem goods and services including storm protection and erosion control for the mainland, habitat for fish and wildlife, salinity regulation in estuaries, carbon sequestration in marshes, recreation, and tourism. These islands are dynamic environments due to their position at the land-sea interface. Storms, wave energy, tides, currents, and...

Date published: February 7, 2018
Status: Active

Relative Sensitivity of Adult Mosquitoes and Butterflies to Adult Mosquito Control Pesticides

Mosquito control on Department of the Interior (DOI) managed lands is a resource management challenge. The pesticides used to control mosquitoes may also affect nontarget organisms whose conservation is one of the primary responsibilities of resource managers.

Date published: February 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory: Recent Accomplishments

The Challenge: Bird banding is indispensable for the study of bird movement, survival and behavior. The US Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) was established in 1920 and expanded into the current operation supporting the activities of approximately 1750 Master banders and more than 5200 sub-permittees. In collaboration with the Canadian Bird Banding Office, it jointly coordinates the North American...

Contacts: Bruce Peterjohn
Date published: January 26, 2018
Status: Active

Remote Sensing

USGS scientists are exploring new uses of remote sensing for monitoring and assessment.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 26, 2018
Status: Active

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are an innovative way to provide data for monitoring resources, especially in large-scale or remote landscapes. 

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 25, 2018
Status: Active

Arid and Semi-Arid Lands

The Status and Trends Program provides timely, quality science about arid and semi-arid lands to meet the needs of resource management  bureaus within Interior and other science and resource management organizations.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 25, 2018
Status: Active

Estuaries

In the 21st century, drivers such as sea level rise, extreme weather events, changes in the flow rate of rivers, and human development of coastal habitats will affect coastal landscapes and ecosystems across the region, including estuaries.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 25, 2018
Status: Active

Landscape Conservation

The USGS Status and Trends program develops information and tools used by our partners to assess, conserve, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 25, 2018
Status: Active

Habitat

Information about the status and trends of natural resources is required at a variety of spatial and temporal scales to detect changes that may signal degradation or improvement of natural systems, such as habitat, or to identify new or emerging conditions that signal the need for management action or further investigative research.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Date published: January 24, 2018
Status: Active

Natural Stressors

The status and trends of organisms, habitats and ecosystems is often controlled by environmental and anthropogenic stressors that have the potential to impact the health and productivity of lands and waters of management concern.

Contacts: Jake F Weltzin
Filter Total Items: 2,287
Year Published: 2017

Satellite-tagged osprey nearly sets longevity record and productivity response to initial captures

We equipped adult Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) from 24 nests in Oregon/Washington with satellite-tracked battery-powered radios, known as platform transmitter terminals (PTTs), in 1996–1999. These Ospreys from the lower Columbia River (river miles 76–286), and the Willamette Valley in western Oregon were part of a larger study of Osprey fall...

Henny, Charles J.; Martell, Mark S.
Henny, C.J., Martell, M., 2017, Satellite-tagged osprey nearly sets longevity record and productivity response to initial captures: Journal of Raptor Research, v. 51, no. 2, p. 180-183, https://doi.org/10.3356/JRR-16-71.1.

Year Published: 2017

Centennial-scale reductions in nitrogen availability in temperate forests of the United States

Forests cover 30% of the terrestrial Earth surface and are a major component of the global carbon (C) cycle. Humans have doubled the amount of global reactive nitrogen (N), increasing deposition of N onto forests worldwide. However, other global changes—especially climate change and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations—are increasing...

McLauchlan, Kendra K.; Gerhart, Laci M.; Battles, John J.; Craine, Joseph M.; Elmore, Andrew J.; Higuera, Phil E.; Mack, Michelle M; McNeil, Brendan E.; Nelson, David M.; Pederson, Neil; Perakis, Steven
McLauchlan, K.K., Gerhart, L.M., Battles, J., Craine, J.M., Elmore, A.J., Higuera, P.E., Mack, M.M., McNeil, B., Nelson, D.M., Pederson, N., Perakis, S.S., 2017, Centennial-scale reductions in nitrogen availability in temperate forests of the United States: Scientific Reports, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08170-z.

Year Published: 2017

Genetic differentiation and inferred dynamics of a hybrid zone between Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) and California Spotted Owls (S. o. occidentalis) in northern California

Genetic differentiation among Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) subspecies has been established in prior studies. These investigations also provided evidence for introgression and hybridization among taxa but were limited by a lack of samples from geographic regions where subspecies came into close contact. We analyzed new sets of samples from...

Miller, Mark P.; Mullins, Tom; Forsman, Eric D.; Haig, Susan M.
Miller, M.P., Mullins, T.D., Forsman, E.D., Haig, S.M., 2017, Genetic differentiation and inferred dynamics of a hybrid zone between Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) and California Spotted Owls (S. o. occidentalis) In Northern California: Ecology and Evolution, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3260.

Year Published: 2017

Dam removal: Listening in

Dam removal is widely used as an approach for river restoration in the United States. The increase in dam removals—particularly large dams—and associated dam-removal studies over the last few decades motivated a working group at the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis to review and synthesize available studies of dam removals...

Foley, Melissa M.; Bellmore, James; O'Connor, James E.; Duda, Jeff; East, Amy E.; Grant, Gordon G.; Anderson, Chauncey; Bountry, Jennifer A.; Collins, Mathias J.; Connolly, Patrick J.; Craig, Laura S.; Evans, James E.; Greene, Samantha; Magilligan, Francis J.; Magirl, Christopher S.; Major, Jon J.; Pess, George R.; Randle, Timothy J.; Shafroth, Patrick B.; Torgersen, Christian E.; Tullos, Desiree D.; Wilcox, Andrew C.
Foley, M.M., Bellmore, J.R., O'Connor, J.E., Duda, J.J., East, A.E., Grant, G.E., Anderson, C.W., Bountry, J.A., Collins, M.J., Connolly, P.J., Craig, L.S., Evans, J.E., Greene, S.L., Magilligan, F.J., Magirl, C.S., Major, J.J., Pess, G.R., Randle, T.J., Shafroth, P.B., Torgersen, C.E., Tullos, D., Wilcox, A.C. and Powell Center Dam Removal Working Group, available online 2017, Dam removal—listening in: Water Resources Research, doi:10.1002/2017WR020457

Year Published: 2017

Hierarchical population monitoring of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Nevada and California—Identifying populations for management at the appropriate spatial scale

Population ecologists have long recognized the importance of ecological scale in understanding processes that guide observed demographic patterns for wildlife species. However, directly incorporating spatial and temporal scale into monitoring strategies that detect whether trajectories are driven by local or regional factors is challenging and...

Coates, Peter S.; Prochazka, Brian G.; Ricca, Mark A.; Wann, Gregory T.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Hanser, Steven E.; Doherty, Kevin E.; O'Donnell, Michael S.; Edmunds, David R.; Espinosa, Shawn P.
Coates, P.S., Prochazka, B.G., Ricca, M.A., Wann, G.T., Aldridge, C.L., Hanser, S.E., Doherty, K.E., O’Donnell, M.S., Edmunds, D.R., and, Espinosa, S.P., 2017, Hierarchical population monitoring of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Nevada and California—Identifying populations for management at the appropriate spatial scale: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017-1089, 49 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171089.

Year Published: 2017

Vegetation map for the Hakalau Forest Unit of the Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex on the island of Hawai‘i

This vegetation map was produced to serve as an updated habitat base for management of natural resources of the Hakalau Forest Unit (HFU) of the Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex (Refuge) on the island of Hawai‘i. The map is based on a vegetation map originally produced as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Hawai‘i Forest Bird...

Jacobi, James D.
Jacobi, J. D. 2017. Vegetation map for the Hakalau Forest Unit of the Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex on the island of Hawai‘i. Hawai`i Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report HCSU-TR042, University of Hawai'i at Hilo, Hilo, Hawai‘i. Available: http://hdl.handle.net/10790/3300.

Year Published: 2017

Altitudinal migration and the future of an iconic Hawaiian honeycreeper in response to climate change and management

Altitudinal movement by tropical birds to track seasonally variable resources can move them from protected areas to areas of increased vulnerability. In Hawaiʻi, historical reports suggest that many Hawaiian honeycreepers such as the ‘I‘iwi (Drepanis coccinea) once undertook seasonal migrations, but the existence of such movements today is unclear...

Guillaumet, Alban; Kuntz, Wendy A.; Samuel, Michael D.; Paxton, Eben H.
Guillaumet, A., W. A. Kuntz, M. D. Samuel, and E. H. Paxton. 2017. Altitudinal migration and the future of an iconic Hawaiian honeycreeper in response to climate change and management. Ecological Monographs 87:410–428. Available: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecm.1253/full

Year Published: 2017

Correlates of immune defenses in golden eagle nestlings

An individual's investment in constitutive immune defenses depends on both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. We examined how Leucocytozoon parasite presence, body condition (scaled mass), heterophil-to-lymphocyte (H:L) ratio, sex, and age affected immune defenses in golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) nestlings from three regions:...

MacColl, Elisabeth; Vanesky, Kris; Buck, Jeremy A.; Dudek, Benjamin; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Heath, Julie A.; Herring, Garth; Vennum, Chris; Downs, Cynthia J.
MacColl E, Vanesky K, Buck JA, et al. Correlates of immune defenses in golden eagle nestlings. J. Exp. Zool. 2017;00:1–11. https://doi.org/10.1002/jez.2081

Year Published: 2017

Recent stability of resident and migratory landbird populations in National Parks of the Pacific Northwest

Monitoring species in National Parks facilitates inference regarding effects of climate change on population dynamics because parks are relatively unaffected by other forms of anthropogenic disturbance. Even at early points in a monitoring program, identifying climate covariates of population density can suggest vulnerabilities to future change....

Ray, Chris; Saracco, James; Holmgren, Mandy; Wilkerson, Robert; Siegel, Rodney; Jenkins, Kurt J.; Ransom, Jason I.; Happe, Patricia J.; Boetsch, John; Huff, Mark
Ray, C., Saracco, J.F., Holmgren, A.L., Wilkerson, R.L., Siegel, R.B., Jenkins, K.J., Ransom, J.I., Happe, P.J., Boetsch, J.R., Huff, M.H., 2017, Recent stability of resident and migratory landbird populations in National Parks of the Pacific Northwest: Ecosphere, v. 8, no. 7, p. e01902, http://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1902.

Year Published: 2017

Potential impacts of sea level rise on native plant communities and associated cultural sites in coastal areas of the main Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian coastal vegetation is comprised of plant species that are adapted to growing in extremely harsh conditions (salt spray, wave wash, wind, and substrates with limited nutrients) found in this habitat zone. Prior to human colonization of Hawai‘i coastal vegetation extended as a continuous ring around each of the islands, broken only by...

Jacobi, James D.; Warshauer, Frederick R.
Jacobi, J. D., and F. R. Warshauer. 2017. Potential impacts of sea level rise on native plant communities and associated cultural sites in coastal areas of the main Hawaiian Islands. Final Report to Pacific Islands Climate Science Center. URL: http://piccc.net/project/impacts-of-sea-level-rise-on-native-plant-communities-in-coastal-areas-of-the-main-hawaiian-islands/.

Year Published: 2017

A multi-species synthesis of physiological mechanisms in drought-induced tree mortality

Widespread tree mortality associated with drought has been observed on all forested continents and global change is expected to exacerbate vegetation vulnerability. Forest mortality has implications for future biosphere–atmosphere interactions of carbon, water and energy balance, and is poorly represented in dynamic vegetation models. Reducing...

Adams, Henry D.; Zeppel, Melanie; Anderegg, William R.L.; Hartmann, Henrik; Landhäusser, Simon M.; Tissue, David T.; Huxman, Travis E.; Hudson, Patrick J.; Franz, Trenton E.; Allen, Craig D.; Anderegg, Leander D. L.; Barron-Gafford, Greg A.; Beerling, David; Breshears, David D.; Brodribb, Timothy J.; Bugmann, Harald; Cobb, Richard C.; Collins, Adam D.; Dickman, L. Turin; Duan, Honglang; Ewers, Brent E.; Galiano, Lucia; Galvez, David A.; Garcia-Forner, Núria; Gaylord, Monica L.; Germino, Matthew J.; Gessler, Arthur; Hacke, Uwe G.; Hakamada, Rodrigo; Hector, Andy; Jenkins, Michael W.; Kane, Jeffrey M.; Kolb, Thomas E.; Law, Darin J.; Lewis, James D.; Limousin, Jean-Marc; Love, David; Macalady, Alison K.; Martinez-Vilalta, Jordi; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Mitchell, Patrick J.; Muss, Jordan D.; O'Brien, Michael J.; O'Grady, Anthony P.; Pangle, Robert E.; Pinkard, Elizabeth A.; Piper, Frida I.; Plaut, Jennifer; Pockman, William T.; Quirk, Joe; Reinhardt, Keith; Ripullone, Francesco; Ryan, Michael G.; Sala, Anna; Sevanto, Sanna; Sperry, John S.; Vargas, Rodrigo; Vennetier, Michel; Way, Danielle A.; Wu, Chonggang; Yepez, Enrico A.; McDowell, Nate G.
Adams, H.D., Zeppel, M.J.B., Anderegg, W.R.L. et al. (59 more authors) (2017) A multi-species synthesis of physiological mechanisms in drought-induced tree mortality. Nature Ecology and Evolution. (In Press)

Year Published: 2017

At a global scale, do climate change threatened species also face a greater number of non-climatic threats?

For many species the threats of climate change occur in a context of multiple existing threats. Given the current focus of global change ecology in identifying and understanding species vulnerable to climate change, we performed a global analysis to characterize the multi-threat context for species threatened by climate change. Utilizing 30,053...

Fortini, Lucas B.; Dye, Kaipo
Fortini, L. B., and K. Dye. 2017. At a global scale, do climate change threatened species also face a greater number of non-climatic threats? Global Ecology and Conservation 11:207-212. Available: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2017.06.006

Filter Total Items: 539
Golden Eagle
December 31, 2016

Golden eagle fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) backpack

Reports of golden eagle mortality linked to wind energy facilities are cause for concern especially when coupled with the knowledge that golden eagles move great distances between breeding and wintering areas. Mortalities at a particular wind energy facility can consequently affect breeding populations of golden eagles at local and continent-wide scales. Information is needed to understand the...

WorldCat holdings, OCLC, USGS Pubs Warehouse, Public Domain, Biodiversity Heritage Library
December 6, 2016

A student volunteer scans historic USGS library material

Student volunteers are trained to scan historic library materials. The materials can be complex, consisting of multiple parts.

Tufted Puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK
November 23, 2016

Tufted Puffin, near Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Tufted Puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK. Near Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska

November 17, 2016

2016 November Evening Public Lecture — Ecological Stressors

Ecological Stressors: It's a Lot of 'WERC'
"There's is no place like California" by A. Keith Miles, Center Director, USGS Western Ecological Research Center

Highlights of the science of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center: 

  • Wildlife, drought, sea level rise
  • Endangered species, species of concern
  • Alternate energy, urbanization, species
  • ...
Invasive black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae).
October 26, 2016

Invasive black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae).

Invasive black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae). USGS is working on development of tools for the detection and capture of invasive reptiles in Florida.

October 10, 2016

Detecting Invasive Species in the Field: Portable eDNA Screening Tool

The USGS field tested the use of a portable hand-held kit for the detection of the environmental DNA (eDNA) of Asian carps (bighead carp and silver carp) in water samples as part of on-going invasive species detection research. The goals of the USGS-led research are to develop a method and kit that can be used on-site to detect Asian carp eDNA within one hour. Developing portable, rapid and...

Beached boats and bare trees in Hurricane Hole
September 30, 2016

Irma leaves beached boats and broken trees in Huricane Hole

Boat owners sought protection for their vessels in sheltered Hurricane Hole, but Hurricane Irma sunk and beached many boats, likely damaging corals. Photo: Caroline Rogers, USGS, 2017

Photo of USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examining instrumentation to measure photosynthetic rates of biocrusts.
September 29, 2016

USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examines instruments to measure biocrust

USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examines instrumentation to measure photosynthetic rates of biocrusts.

Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight, according to a new USGS study. 

Photo of outdoor testing plots where biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time.
September 26, 2016

Biocrust outdoor testing plots

USGS scientists created outdoor testing plots where large squares of biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time. Researchers not only looked at how the biocrusts responded, but also measured the amount of energy that the different biocrust communities reflected back into the atmosphere relative to how much energy came in from the sun.

Arid and...

Photo of Biocrust outdoor testing plots
September 26, 2016

Biocrust outdoor testing plots

USGS scientists created outdoor testing plots where large squares of biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time. Researchers not only looked at how the biocrusts responded, but also measured the amount of energy that the different biocrust communities reflected back into the atmosphere relative to how much energy came in from the sun.

Arid and...

Photo of USGS scientist Sasha Reed studying outdoor biocrust testing sites
September 26, 2016

USGS scientist Sasha Reed studys outdoor biocrust testing sites

USGS scientist Sasha Reed studies sites where different climate conditions are being mimicked to determine effect on biocrusts.

Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight, according to a new USGS...

Filter Total Items: 315
Date published: February 14, 2017

Handbook for sagebrush steppe restoration techniques can help sustain wildlife and western ecosystems

The sagebrush ecosystem in the western U.S is one of the largest ecosystems in North America, but it is also threatened from wildfire and invasive plants. “Restoration of these unique ecosystems will help sustain wildlife and livelihoods throughout the West," said David Pyke, the USGS ecologist and lead author of the final installment of a three-part sagebrush restoration handbook. 

Date published: February 13, 2017

Western Fisheries Science News, January 2017 | Issue 5.1

Olfactory Cues Provide Insight into Lamprey Behavior and Physiology

Date published: February 8, 2017

Bigger May Not Be Better When It Comes to Mississippi River Diversions

New research shows how river diversions may change water quality in estuaries. 

Date published: February 2, 2017

A Century of Habitat Loss Affects Genetics of Endangered Bird

A new study analyzes the genetic diversity and population structure of the California Ridgway’s rail, Rallus obsoletus, a state and federally-listed endangered bird. The results demonstrate that the so-called “rails” are experiencing negative genetic effects following more than a century of salt marsh habitat loss from agriculture, commercial salt production and urban development.

Date published: February 1, 2017

Christian Zimmerman to Lead Studies as New Director of the Alaska Science Center

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.

Date published: January 25, 2017

Changes in Rainfall, Temperature Expected to Transform Coastal Wetlands This Century

Changes in rainfall and temperature are predicted to transform wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world within the century, a new study from the USGS and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley concludes.

Date published: January 24, 2017

Current Conservation Efforts May Not Be Enough for California’s Central Valley Waterbirds

A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that current conservation planning efforts for waterbird habitat in the Central Valley can likely compensate for habitat loss through the middle of the century.

Date published: January 19, 2017

Managing 246 million acres: new science-based tools support Bureau of Land Management’s landscape approach

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Land Management today released a collaborative report with new information and tools to support effective management of millions of acres of BLM public lands.  The report underscores the value of a landscape approach to management, and shows that the BLM manages some of the largest areas of intact public lands in the west. 

Date published: January 18, 2017

New England’s 1816 “Mackerel Year,” Volcanoes and Climate Change Today

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.

Date published: December 27, 2016

Western Fisheries Science News, November 2016 | Issue 4.11

Internship Supports Youth, Tribes, and Fish

Date published: December 22, 2016

A Grand Slam for Students, Schools and Science

"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."