Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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Ecosystems provides unbiased science, tools, and decision support to our Nation’s natural resource managers, with particular focus on the science needs of the Department of Interior bureaus to conserve species, lands, and priority ecosystems; fulfill treaty obligations; provide water for irrigation and human consumption; and manage mineral and energy resources.

USGS Pollinator Research

USGS Pollinator Research

Do you eat fruits and vegetables? What about nuts? If so, you can thank an insect pollinator, usually a honey bee. Honey bee populations are declining but USGS scientists are becoming honey bee helpers.

Find out more

Leaf to Landscape

Leaf to Landscape

USGS scientists have launched a new program using California's hotter drought as a forecaster for forest vulnerability worldwide.

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Where's our Science?

Where

Find out where Ecosystems Science Centers, Field Stations, and Cooperative Research Units are located.

Browse by Location

News

Prairie dog and SPV bait
December 13, 2017

About 70 percent of wild prairie dogs successfully ingested baits containing an oral sylvatic plague vaccine, or SPV, that were distributed throughout their habitats, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Eft stage of red-spotted newt
December 12, 2017

Amphibians—the big-eyed, swimming-crawling-jumping-climbing group of water and land animals that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and worm-like caecilians—are the world’s most endangered vertebrates. 

Mosquito, Aedes aegypti
December 7, 2017

Sharing isn’t always polite, judging by this EarthWord. 

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Female grizzly with cubs
Date Published: December 13, 2017
Status: Active

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) is an interdisciplinary group of scientists and biologists responsible for long-term monitoring and research efforts on grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The team was formed by the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 1973 as a direct result of controversy...

Moss-draped oak in the Columbia Bottomlands
Date Published: December 11, 2017
Status: Active

Three federal wildlife refuge complexes on the upper Texas coast include portions of the Columbia Bottomlands and other forests that are important for migratory birds and possibly bats: Texas Mid-Coast, Trinity River, and Chenier Plain.

Northern Parula. Photo by Michael Gray
Date Published: December 11, 2017
Status: Active

Knowing where migratory birds consistently stop to rest and forage is critical for conservation planning, particularly along the northern and western Gulf where there is increased interest in energy development.

Fish Passage Conte
Date Published: December 11, 2017
Status: Active

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.

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard USGS Obsservation Stations
Date Published: December 5, 2017
Status: Active

The USGS Southeast Regional Office has funded a cross-center collaboration between the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and the Texas Water Science Center for the development of the Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard. The objective of this effort is to expand the Texas Water Dashboard platform to include the coastal regions of the five Gulf states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and...

Wolf close up of eyes
Date Published: November 16, 2017
Status: Active

In 1995 and 1996, wolves were reintroduced into the Northern Rockies where they have since established and spread. Within Yellowstone National Park, one of the core protected release sites, the unmanaged population steadily increased to high densities, producing a large wolf population susceptible to infections such as canine parvovirus (CPV), canine distemper virus (CDV) and sarcoptic mange...

Elk on a feedground in Wyoming.
Date Published: November 16, 2017
Status: Active

Over the past 20 years, chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Wyoming has been spreading slowly outward from the southeastern corner of the state toward the Greater Yellowstone Area and Wyoming's elk feed grounds, where more than 24,000 elk are supplementally fed each winter.

Bighorn sheep close up
Date Published: November 16, 2017
Status: Active

Bighorn sheep populations are often impacted by outbreaks of pneumonia that are suspected to come from domestic sheep and goats.

Cattle Grazing at Sunset in Montana
Date Published: November 16, 2017
Status: Active

Researchers at the USGS are working on developing new quantitative methods to study disease dynamics in wildlife systems as well as systems at the wildlife-domestic-human interface. Much of our work focuses on how host population structure affects disease invasion, persistence and control in wildlife disease systems. We tackle these issues with a combination of simulation and statistical...

Elk on a feedground in Wyoming.
Date Published: November 16, 2017
Status: Active

Brucellosis is a nationally and internationally regulated disease of livestock with significant consequences for animal health, public health, and international trade.

Black and white Tegu lizard in the Florida Everglades grass.
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Find out more about invasive species in the Everglades such as the burmese python and black and white tegus.

Head-on view of a male mouflon staring directly back at the camera
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Find out more about invasive species in the Pacific islands such as brown treesnake, invasive mammals (mouflon, feral pigs, rats, and mongoose), plants, ants, and yellowjacket wasps.

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Gulf of Mexico Dashboard Real-time Stream Data with Live Storm Radar
December 11, 2017

Gulf of Mexico Dashboard

The USGS Southeast Regional Office has funded a cross-center collaboration between the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and the Texas Water Science Center for the development of the Gulf of Mexico Water Dashboard. 

Image: Stranded Sea Otters Offer Valuable Data
November 21, 2017

Annual California sea otter stranding data

The California Sea Otter Stranding Network is part of the USGS effort to monitor southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) and provide data to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since 1985, stranded otters from throughout their California coastal range have been collected and analyzed to inform resource management on recovery and conservation of the species.

Graphic of the Guide to Plants of Louisiana Website
October 31, 2017

Guide to the Plants of Louisiana

This guide to the vascular plants of Louisiana includes a database of plant characters, a search engine and plant images. Photographs include images of leaves, fruit, flower, stem, bark and other key identification features. Information about plants can be accessed by searching plant lists either by scientific name or common name.

area map
October 30, 2017

Movement Maps for Suisun Marsh Waterfowl and Waterbird Studies

Suisun Marsh is a critical habitat for wintering and breeding waterbirds in California. USGS is working with the California DWR to examine the trends in bird decline and to assess the habitat factors driving long-term survival of waterfowl, rails, and other birds in this important area.

The Little Missouri River, flood plain
October 17, 2017

Shapefiles and Historical Aerial Photographs, Little Missouri River, 1939-2003

The data archive contains the aerial photographs and channel delineations used in our analysis. The images have been geo-referenced to the 1995 digital orthophoto quarter quadrangles as described by Miller and Friedman (2009). The channel delineations for all photo years (including 2003) and the delineation of the outer flood-plain boundary are stored as shapefiles.

Long-tailed duck swimming
August 7, 2017

Atypical Feeding Behavior of Long-tailed Ducks in the Wake of a Commercial Fishing Boat while Clamming

Data represents analyses of gizzard and gullet (esophagus and proventriculus) of nine ducks using traditional techniques

An Online Database for IHN Virus
July 27, 2017

An Online Database for IHN Virus in Pacific Salmonid Fish: MEAP-IHNV

The Molecular Epidemiology of Aquatic Pathogens (MEAP)-IHNV Database

The MEAP-IHNV database provides access to detailed data for anyone interested in IHNV molecular epidemiology, such as fish health professionals, fish culture facility managers, and academic researchers.

New England Salt Marsh
July 12, 2017

Development of a Multimetric Index for Integrated Assessment of Salt Marsh Ecosystem Condition

This dataset is comprised of eight files related to salt marsh monitoring data or measures of of human disturbance (i.e. human impacts in terms of physical, chemical, and land-use stressors) collected at 33 marsh study units (MSUs) in five National Parks within the NPS Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN) along the NE coast of the US.

USGS
July 11, 2017

Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012

Germaine, S.S., Carter, S.K., Ignizio, D.A., and Freeman, A.T., 2017, Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7BR8QDD. DOI: 10.5066/F7BR8QDD

Janet Ruth releasing a color-banded male Grasshopper Sparrow. Photo by Noel Snyder.
July 6, 2017

Life history attributes data for Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) in Arizona 2013

The Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) occurs in the desert and plains grasslands of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Sonora, Mexico. This data was produced as part of the first intensive study of its life history and breeding ecology, providing baseline data and facilitating comparisons with other North American Grasshopper Sparrow subspecies.

American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)
July 6, 2017

Standardization and Application of an Index of Community Integrity for Waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay

This data set is comprised of five files related to the modification and scoring of Index of Waterbird Community Integrity (IWCI) scores for all waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay. One Excel file (A) contains a list of 100+ Chesapeake waterbird species and their species attribute and IWCI scores.

North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)
April 27, 2017

North American Breeding Bird Survey Dataset 1966 - 2016, version 2016.0

The 1966-2016 North American Breeding Bird Survey dataset contains avian point count data for more than 700 North American bird taxa (species, races, and unidentified species groupings).  These data are collected annually during the breeding season, primarily June, along thousands of randomly established roadside survey routes in the United States and Canada.

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area map
October 30, 2017

Suisun Marsh is a critical habitat for wintering and breeding waterbirds in California. USGS is working with the California DWR to examine the trends in bird decline and to assess the habitat factors driving long-term survival of waterfowl, rails, and other birds in this important area.

WERC Locations
July 20, 2017

WERC headquarters, field stations, and sub-stations strategically located in or near California and Nevada bioregions, form the core of the WERC science program.

Brown bear (Ursus arctos) and Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)
February 15, 2017

In this Year in Review report, you will find details on staffing, vacancies, research funding, and other pertinent information. You will also see snapshots of Unit projects with information on how results have been or are being applied by cooperators. That is the essence of what we do: science that matter.

 

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

Multiple search functions: State, major drainage area (HUC2), drainage area (HUC6), drainage area (HUC8), Zebra Mussel Collections, and fact sheets.

Mule deer
February 1, 2016

The Cooperative Research Unit mission is our hallmark: meeting the actionable science needs of our cooperators, providing them technical guidance and assistance in interpreting and applying new advances in science, and developing the future workforce through graduate education and mentoring. 

WERC SOLAR map
September 2, 2014

Multiple large scale solar, wind, and geothermal energy development projects are currently proposed across the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the southwestern U.S., and these development needs are likely to continue or increase into the future. Agencies tasked with managing biological resources must understand the potential impacts in order to select appropriate sites and to mitigate effects. 

Extinct Taxa in States/Provinces of North America (2012)
April 22, 2012

Extinct Taxa in States/Provinces of North America (2012)

Extinct Taxa in Ecoregions of North America (2012)
April 22, 2012

Extinct Taxa in Ecoregions of North America (2012)

Numbered Ecoregions of North America (2008)
April 22, 2008

Numbered Ecoregions of North America (2008)

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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

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
Attribution: Ecosystems
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

U.S. Geological Survey sage-grouse and sagebrush ecosystem research annual report for 2017

The sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem extends across a large portion of the Western United States, and the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) is one of the iconic species of this ecosystem. Greater sage-grouse populations occur in 11 States and are dependent on relatively large expanses of sagebrush-dominated habitat. Sage-grouse...

Hanser, Steven E.
Hanser, S.E., ed., 2017, U.S. Geological Survey sage-grouse and sagebrush ecosystem research annual report for 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1436, 54 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1436.

Year Published: 2017

U.S. Geological Survey—Energy and wildlife research annual report for 2017

IntroductionTerrestrial and aquatic ecosystems provide valuable services to humans and are a source of clean water, energy, raw materials, and productive soils. The Nation’s food supply is more secure because of wildlife. For example, native pollinators enhance agricultural crops, and insect-eating bats provide pest control services worth billions...

Khalil, Mona
Attribution: Ecosystems
Khalil, Mona, ed., 2017, U.S. Geological Survey—Energy and wildlife research annual report for 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1435, 91 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1435.

Year Published: 2017

Biological and ecological science for Florida—The Sunshine State

Florida is rich in sunshine and other natural resources essential to the State's economy. More than 100 million tourists visit Florida's beaches, wetlands, forests, oceans, lakes, and streams where they generate billions of dollars and sustain more than a million jobs. Florida also provides habitat for several thousand freshwater and marine fish,...

Attribution: Ecosystems
U.S. Geological Survey, 2017, Biological and ecological science for Florida—The Sunshine State: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017-3066, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173066.

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; 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

Biological and ecological science for Montana—The Treasure State

Montana is rich in minerals, energy, and soils, as well as prairies, forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, fish, and wildlife. Many enterprises that drive the economy are based on natural resources, including tourism, hunting, fishing, agriculture, and energy development. The outdoor-recreation economy alone supports 64,000 Montana jobs and generates...

U.S. Geological Survey, 2017, Biological and ecological science for Montana—The Treasure State: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017-3052, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173052.

Year Published: 2017

Response of bird community structure to habitat management in piñon-juniper woodland-sagebrush ecotones

Piñon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands have been expanding their range across the intermountain western United States into landscapes dominated by sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) shrublands. Management actions using prescribed fire and mechanical cutting to reduce woodland cover and control expansion provided opportunities to...

Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steve; Grace, James B.; Hollenbeck, Jeff P.; Leu, Matthias
Knick, S.T., Hanser, S.E., Grace, J.B., Hollenbeck, J.P., Leu, M., 2017, Responses of bird community structure to habitat management in piñon-juniper woodland-sagebrush ecotones: Forest Ecology and Management, v. 400, p. 256-268

Year Published: 2017

USGS integrated drought science

Project Need and OverviewDrought poses a serious threat to the resilience of human communities and ecosystems in the United States (Easterling and others, 2000). Over the past several years, many regions have experienced extreme drought conditions, fueled by prolonged periods of reduced precipitation and exceptionally warm temperatures. Extreme...

Ostroff, Andrea C.; Muhlfeld, Clint C.; Lambert, Patrick M.; Booth, Nathaniel L.; Carter, Shawn L.; Stoker, Jason M.; Focazio, Michael J.
Attribution: Ecosystems
Ostroff, A.C., Muhlfeld, C.C., Lambert, P.M., Booth, N.L., Carter, S.L., Stoker, J.M., and Focazio, M.J., 2017, USGS integrated drought science: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1430, 24 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1430.

Year Published: 2017

Science framework for conservation and restoration of the sagebrush biome: Linking the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy to long-term strategic conservation actions, Part 1. Science basis and applications

The Science Framework is intended to link the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy with long-term strategic conservation actions in the sagebrush biome. The Science Framework provides a multiscale approach for prioritizing areas for management and determining effective management strategies within the...

Chambers, Jeanne C.; Beck, Jeffrey L.; Bradford, John B.; Bybee, Jared; Campbell, Steve; Carlson, John; Christiansen, Thomas J; Clause, Karen J.; Collins, Gail; Crist, Michele R.; Dinkins, Jonathan B.; Doherty, Kevin E; Edwards, Fred; Espinosa, Shawn; Griffin, Kathleen A.; Griffin, Paul; Haas, Jessica R.; Hanser, Steve; Havlina, Douglas W.; Henke, Kenneth F.; Hennig, Jacob D.; Joyce, Linda A; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Kulpa, Sarah M; Kurth, Laurie L; Maestas, Jeremy D; Manning, Mary; Mayer, Kenneth E. ; Mealor, Brian A.; McCarthy, Clinton; Pellant, Mike; Perea, Marco A.; Prentice, Karen L.; Pyke, David A.; Wiechman , Lief A. ; Wuenschel, Amarina
Chambers, J.C.; Beck, J.L.; Bradford, J.B.; Bybee, J.; Campbell, S.; Carlson, J.; Christiansen, T.J.; Clause, K.J.; Collins, G.; Crist, M.R.; Dinkins, J.B.; Doherty, K.E.; Edwards, F.; Espinosa, S.; Griffin, K.A.; Griffin, P.; Haas, J.R.; Hanser, S.E.; Havlina, D.W.; Henke, K.F.; Hennig, J.D.; Joyce, L.A.; Kilkenny, F.M.; Kulpa, S.M.; Kurth, L.L.; Maestas, J.D.; Manning, M.; Mayer, K.E.; Mealor, B.A.; McCarthy, C.; Pellant, M.; Perea, M.A.; Prentice, K.L.; Pyke, D.A.; Wiechman, L.A.; Wuenschel, A. 2017. Science framework for conservation and restoration of the sagebrush biome: Linking the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy to long-term strategic conservation actions. Part 1. Science basis and applications. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-360. Fort Collins, CO: U.S Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 213 p.

Year Published: 2017

Macroclimatic change expected to transform coastal wetland ecosystems this century

Coastal wetlands, existing at the interface between land and sea, are highly vulnerable to climate change. Macroclimate (for example, temperature and precipitation regimes) greatly influences coastal wetland ecosystem structure and function. However, research on climate change impacts in coastal wetlands has concentrated primarily on sea-level...

Gabler, Christopher A.; Osland, Michael J.; Grace, James B.; Stagg, Camille L.; Day, Richard H.; Hartley, Stephen B.; Enwright, Nicholas M.; From, Andrew; McCoy, Meagan L.; McLeod, Jennie L.
Gabler, C.A., Osland, M.J., Grace, J.B., Stagg, C.L., Day, R.H., Hartley, S.B., Enwright, N.M., From, A.S., McCoy, M.L., and McLeod, J.L., 2017, Macroclimatic change expected to transform coastal wetland ecosystems this century: Nature Climate Change, Advanced Online, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3203.

Year Published: 2017

Range-wide connectivity of priority areas for Greater Sage-Grouse: Implications for long-term conservation from graph theory

The delineation of priority areas in western North America for managing Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) represents a broad-scale experiment in conservation biology. The strategy of limiting spatial disturbance and focusing conservation actions within delineated areas may benefit the greatest proportion of Greater Sage-Grouse....

Crist, Michele R.; Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steven E.
Crist, M.R., Knick, S.T., Hanser, S.E., 2017, Range-wide connectivity of priority areas for Greater Sage-Grouse- Implications for long-term conservation from graph theory: Condor, v. 119, no. 1, p. 44-57, http://dx.doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-16-60.1.

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USGS
January 23, 2017

Estimates patch occupancy rates and related parameters.

USGS
July 14, 2016

fatalityCMR - capture-recapture software to correct raw counts of wildlife fatalities using trial experiments for carcass detecition probability and persistence time. Version 3.0

Colorado State University Logo
May 2, 2016

A suite of software tools and models developed by Colorado State University and the USGS Colorado Cooperative Fish And Wildlife Research Unit.

University of Vermont Logo
May 2, 2016

Tools for automated acoustic monitoring of nature.

FITS Logo
May 2, 2016

Software from the American Fisheries Society

Oregon State University Logo
May 2, 2016

FW599: An introduction to data management and R for Fisheries and Wildlife applications--- a lighthearted look

InVEST logo
May 2, 2016

The InVEST tool allows researchers to evaluate relationships between land management actions and wild bee populations.

USGS visual identity - green
January 1, 1999

CloseTest is a Windows program for testing capture-recapture data

Filter Total Items: 458
USGS
2017 (approx.)
Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area.
Emperor geese standing near the shoreline on Kodiak Island
2017 (approx.)
Emperor geese gathered near the shoreline on Kodiak Island.
USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag.
2017 (approx.)
USGS scientist Sarah Fitzgerald holds a surf scoter that has been fitted with a satellite tag that works by transmitting the location of the birds to satellites that are orbiting the Earth. (Jonathan Fiely, USGS)
Measuring sea urchins 1
2017 (approx.)
When it comes to collecting data, sometimes scientists have to look beneath the surface. Here, USGS scientists count and measure sea urchins to better understand the species' demographics off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. This information will help managers best respond to urchin die-offs, should they occur in the future.
USGS
2017 (approx.)
Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area.
Sea Lamprey Larvae in Electrofishing Basket
2017 (approx.)
This image shows sea lamprey in their larvae phase. Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. S ea lamprey s are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.
Monarch on hairy puccoon
2017 (approx.)
A monarch butterfly on a hairy puccoon plant.
Commercial poultry
2017 (approx.)
Some avian influenza, or bird flu, viruses that are able to enter North America from other continents through migrating birds can be deadly to poultry and can infect waterfowl populations.
Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background
2017 (approx.)
This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase. Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. S ea lamprey s are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.
Sea turtle
2017 (approx.)
Green sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered throughout their range. (Credit: Thierry Work, USGS)
Alligator Hatchlings
2017 (approx.)
Crocodilians are one of the few reptile taxa that exhibit parental care. In alligators, following nest construction, females stay nearby in a guard hole, and are known to defend their nests against predators or other intruders. At the end of the 60-day incubation period, alligator hatchlings will vocalize from within the egg, to signal to the mother that they are ready to hatch. At hatch, female...
Clustered southeastern bats
2017 (approx.)
This photo shows clustered southeastern bats, or Myotis austroriparius. As of June 2017, the species joins eight other hibernating bat species in North America that are afflicted with the deadly bat fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome.
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Prairie dog and SPV bait
December 13, 2017

About 70 percent of wild prairie dogs successfully ingested baits containing an oral sylvatic plague vaccine, or SPV, that were distributed throughout their habitats, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Eft stage of red-spotted newt
December 12, 2017

Amphibians—the big-eyed, swimming-crawling-jumping-climbing group of water and land animals that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and worm-like caecilians—are the world’s most endangered vertebrates. 

Blue-winged teal in Texas with an inset that shows the avian influenza virus
December 4, 2017

Some avian influenza, or bird flu, viruses that are able to enter North America from other continents through migrating birds can be deadly to poultry and can infect waterfowl populations, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

Image: USGS Science Aids Manatees
November 24, 2017

It may be hard to believe the legend that sailors long-at-sea once considered manatees to be mermaids. The manatee nickname – the “Sea Cow” – which comes from the herbivores’ affinity for grazing on vegetation and their slow, ambling way just makes more sense. But a U.S. Geological Survey video reveals that while they may be cow-like, they also have more than a bit of the magical mermaid to them.

California condor soaring
November 6, 2017

Scavenging birds are at risk of lead poisoning from consuming carcasses of animals killed with lead ammunition. Methods to identify lead exposure typically require capturing an animal to collect a blood sample; however, USGS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers sought to design a less costly, noninvasive behavioral test to identify lead exposure in California condors.

Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands
October 25, 2017

Coral reef expert Caroline Rogers was the only USGS employee in the Virgin Islands when the Category 5 storm hit.

WERC surveying sea otters
September 29, 2017

According to data released Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners, the three-year average of the total counts of southern sea otters was down from last year’s high, although it still exceeded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting threshold for a second straight year.

Dr. Barry Grand, USGS Cooperative Research Unit Supervisor
September 27, 2017

USGS scientist James “Barry” Grand, Ph.D., has been named a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion (Region 7) for his exemplary long-term research on two formerly threatened species, the spectacled eider and Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders.

Tadpole with SPI
September 19, 2017

A deadly amphibian disease called severe Perkinsea infections, or SPI, is the cause of many large-scale frog die-offs in the United States, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey

Ecosystems provides scientific information and decision support to meet Interior’s shared responsibility to manage land and species, fulfill treaty obligations, develop energy and mineral resources on Interior lands, and supply water for irrigation and other human needs. Our main Interior Department partners are listed below. Additional partners are listed throughout our web pages.

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