Mission Areas

Ecosystems

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The Ecosystems Mission Area provides impartial science information and tools to the Nation’s natural resource managers, with particular focus on the science needs of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and DOI bureaus to manage species, lands and priority ecosystems; fulfill treaty obligations; respond to and reduce threats to natural resources; and manage mineral and energy resources.

Scientists with the Ecosystem Mission Area can be found working across the Nation to provide fish, wildlife, and habitat science support to natural resource managers. Our sixteen Ecosystem Science Centers provide unique scientific capabilities to support the management and conservation of our Nation’s biological resources.

  

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Filter Total Items: 633
Date published: April 16, 2016

GIS and Custom Application Support for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

 The scientists at the Wetland and Aquatic Science Center (WARC) have provided coastal restoration project managers and decision makers with GIS planning, database and custom application capacity since 1992. The scope and complexity of this support has increased over the years and has resulted in the development of a comprehensive geospatial and advanced application teams that provide decision...

Date published: April 16, 2016

Spatial Analysis Support for Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (Breaux Bill) Planning Activities

WARC first implemented geographic information systems (GIS) in 1980 to help monitor the nature and extent of wetland habitat changes. The center continues to use GIS, remote sensing, and other computer based technologies to address a wide range of natural resource related issues. 

Date published: April 16, 2016

Adaptive Regulation of Waterfowl Harvests Using Incomplete Survey Information

The 2011 (Draft) Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Migratory Bird Hunting (EIS) offers four alternatives concerning the timing of the regulatory process for setting waterfowl hunting seasons. The no-change alternative involves a process by which most proposals for hunting seasons are developed in response to survey information that becomes available in early summer, such as...

Date published: April 16, 2016
Status: Active

Visual Guide to Louisiana Plants: A Web Based Searchable Plant Database and Photo Gallery of the Plants of Louisiana

Quality photographs of plant species are rare on the internet, often difficult to find, and are generally copyrighted, preventing them from being used by government agencies and non-government organizations, academics and the general public.

Date published: April 15, 2016

NRDA: Deepwater ROV Sampling to Assess Potential Impacts to Hardbottom Coral Communities and Associates from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The MC252 oil spill introduced hydrocarbons, dispersants, and drilling muds into the Gulf of Mexico, potentially adversely affecting the seafloor environment surrounding the spill site. 

Date published: April 15, 2016

USGS DISCOVRE: Benthic Ecology, Trophodynamics, and Ecosystem Connectivity – Lophelia II: Continuing Ecological Research on Deep-Sea Corals and Deep Reef Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico

Deep-sea coral habitats are complex ecosystems at the landscape and local level. While these systems may harbor substantial levels of biodiversity, they remain inadequately investigated.

Date published: April 15, 2016

Ecosystem Development After Wetland Restoration and Creation

Wetland restoration and creation efforts are increasingly proposed as means to compensate for wetland losses. To address the need for evaluating the development of ecosystem structure and function in restored and created wetlands, USGS compared created tidal wetlands sites to natural mangrove wetlands in Tampa Bay, Florida. 

Date published: April 15, 2016

Morphology Modeling in Support of the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan

In support of Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan, USGS WARC scientists have developed a spatially explicit wetland morphology model and coupled it with other predictive models to help predict the effects of protection and restoration projects. 

Date published: April 14, 2016

Geographic Information and Technical Support

USGS WARC first implemented geographic information systems (GIS) in 1980 to assist in monitoring the nature and extent of wetland habitat changes. Today, geographers and support staff create, maintain, and use geospatial data to analyze restoration efforts in Louisiana. 

Date published: April 14, 2016

Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Ecosystem Restoration Program – Adaptive Management and Monitoring Planning and Implementation Support

Adaptive management (AM) is an iterative science-based process that accepts uncertainties in ecological systems and uses best available science and technology such as research, modeling, experimentation, monitoring and evaluation to address uncertainties. 

Contacts: Michelle Meyers
Date published: April 14, 2016
Status: Completed

WaterSMART: Improving Tools for Assessing and Forecasting Ecological Responses to Hydrologic Alteration

WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) is a program of the Department of the Interior that focuses on improving water conservation and helping water-resource managers make sound decisions about water use.

Date published: April 11, 2016
Status: Active

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) Program

Welcome to the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) information resource for the United States Geological Survey. Located at Gainesville, Florida, this site has been established as a central repository for spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of introduced aquatic species. The program provides scientific reports, online/realtime queries, spatial data sets, distribution maps, and general...

Filter Total Items: 2,384
Year Published: 2015

Do open access data policies inhibit innovation?

There has been a great deal of attention paid recently to the idea of data sharing (Van Noorden 2014, Beardsley 2015, Nature Publishing Group2015, www.copdess.com). However, the vast majority of these arguments are in agreement and present as fait accompli the idea that data are a public good and that therefore, once...

Katzner, Todd E.

Year Published: 2015

Efforts to eradicate yellow crazy ants on Johnston Atoll: Results from Crazy Ant Strike Team IX, December 2014-June 2015

The ecologically destructive yellow crazy ant (YCA; Anoplolepis gracilipes) was first detected on Johnston Atoll in January 2010. Within eight months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had mobilized its first crazy ant strike team (CAST), a group of biologists dedicated to testing and identifying insecticidal baits to be used to eradicate the ant...

Banko, Paul C.; Peck, Robert W.; Donmoyer, Kevin; Kropidlowski, Stephan; Pollock, Amanda
Peck, Robert W., P. C. Banko, K. Donmoyer, S. Kropidlowski and A. Pollock. 2015. Efforts to eradicate yellow crazy ants on Johnston Atoll: Results from Crazy Ant Strike Team IX, December 2014-June 2015. Hawaii Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report HCSU-067. Hawai`i Cooperative Studies Unit, University of Hawai`i at Hilo.

Year Published: 2015

Polymorphic mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) in a coastal riverscape: size class assemblages, distribution, and habitat associations

We compared the assemblage structure, spatial distributions, and habitat associations of mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) morphotypes and size classes. We hypothesised that morphotypes would have different spatial distributions and would be associated with different habitat features based on feeding behaviour and diet. Spatially...

Starr, James C.; Torgersen, Christian E.
Starr, J.C., Torgersen, C.E., 2015, Polymorphic mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) in a coastal riverscape- Size class assemblages, distribution, and habitat associations: Ecology of Freshwater Fish, v. 24, no. 4, p. 505-518.

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

Molecular tracing of confiscated pangolin scales for conservation and illegal trade monitoring in Southeast Asia

Despite being protected by both international and national regulations, pangolins are threatened by illegal trade. Here we report mitochondrial DNA identification and haplotype richness estimation, using 239 pangolin scale samples from two confiscations in Hong Kong. We found a total of 13 genetically distinct cytochrome c oxidase I (COI)...

Zhang, Huarong; Miller, Mark P.; Yang, Feng; Chan, Hon Ki; Gaubert, Philippe; Ades, Gary; Fischer, Gunter A.
Zhang, H., Miller, M.P., Yang, F., Chan, H., Gaubert, P., Ades, G., Fischer, G.A., 2015, Molecular tracing of confiscated pangolin scales for conservation and illegal trade monitoring in Southeast Asia: Global Ecology and Conservation, v. 4, no. 2015, p. 414-422.

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

Challenges of establishing big sgebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in rangeland restoration: effects of herbicide, mowing, whole-community seeding, and sagebrush seed sources

The loss of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) on sites disturbed by fire has motivated restoration seeding and planting efforts. However, the resulting sagebrush establishment is often lower than desired, especially in dry areas. Sagebrush establishment may be increased by addressing factors such as seed source and condition or management...

Brabec, Martha M.; Germino, Matthew J.; Shinneman, Douglas J.; Pilliod, David S.; McIlroy, Susan K.; Arkle, Robert S.
Brabec, M.M., M.J. Germino, D.J. Shinneman, D.S. Pilliod, S.K. McIlroy, and R.S. Arkle. 2015. Challenges of Establishing Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in 3 Rangeland Restoration: Effects of Herbicide, Mowing, 4 Whole-Community Seeding, and Sagebrush Seed Sources. Rangeland Ecology and Management: 68(5):432-435.

Year Published: 2015

Range-wide network of priority areas for greater sage-grouse - a design for conserving connected distributions or isolating individual zoos?

The network of areas delineated in 11 Western States for prioritizing management of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) represents a grand experiment in conservation biology and reserve design. We used centrality metrics from social network theory to gain insights into how this priority area network might function. The network was...

Crist, Michele R.; Knick, Steven T.; Hanser, Steven E.
Crist, M.R., Knick, S.T., and Hanser, S.E., 2015, Range-wide network of priority areas for greater sage-grouse—A design for conserving connected distributions or isolating individual zoos?: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1158, 34 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/20151158.

Year Published: 2015

Book review: Mosquito eradication: The story of killing Campto

In 1826, the paradise that was the Hawaiian Islands was changed forever when the first mosquito species was accidentally introduced to the island of Maui. Though it has not lived up to its potential as a vector of human disease in the islands, Culex quinquefasciatus and the avian pathogens it transmits laid waste to...

Lapointe, Dennis
LaPointe, Dennis. 2015. Book review of Mosquito Eradication: The Story of Killing Campto. American Entomologist, 61: 192-192.

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

Filter Total Items: 621
USGS scientist Dave Brandt holds a captured whooping crane .
December 6, 2011

USGS scientist holds a captured whooping crane.

USGS scientist Dave Brandt holds a captured whooping crane while Dr. Barry Hartup with the International Crane Foundation assesses the bird's health before marking.

Pit tagging a fish
September 12, 2011

Pit tagging a fish

USGS scientist Robert Al-Chokhachy places a pit tag in a trout to track movement.

August 22, 2011

D1 East Transect – 2011

Permanent Site: D1 East Transect; Depth: 9.4 Meters (30.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.2 Kilometers (0.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15115998,-123.56734404; Site Description: This site is right off the mouth of the river. Substrate is mainly gravel with some sand. Seaweed is abundant, especially the perennial seaweed

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August 22, 2011

D1 West Transect – 2011

Permanent Site: D1 West Transect; Depth: 10.3 Meters (33.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.2 Kilometers (0.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15115998,-123.56801602; Site Description: This site is right off the mouth of the river. Substrate is mainly gravel with some sand. Seaweed is abundant. Bull kelp Nereocystis luetkeana (0:09, 0:

...
August 21, 2011

4SP1 East Transect – 2011

Permanent Site: 4SP1 - East Transect; Depth: 6.1 Meters (19.9 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.8 Kilometers (0.5 Miles) East; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15257, -123.556704; Site Description: Predominantly a high current site with gravel/cobble substrate covered in seaweeds. The tall, stalked seaweed seen in the video is the perennial

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August 20, 2011

C2 West Transect – 2011

Permanent Site: C2 West Transect; Depth: 16.8 Meters (Feet 55.2); Distance from river mouth: 0.7 Kilometers (0.5 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.147841,-123.57663268; Site Description: Mainly sand with small amounts of gravel. One of our deepest sites. Mainly sand with small amounts of gravel. Red and brown seaweeds are abundant but grow

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August 20, 2011

C2 East Transect – 2011

Permanent Site: C2 East Transect; Depth: 16.5 Meters (Feet 54); Distance from river mouth: 0.7 Kilometers (0.4 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.147841,-123.57596074; Site Description: One of our deepest sites. Mainly sand with small amounts of gravel. Numerous species of seaweeds are present throughout entire transect but growth is

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August 19, 2011

H1 West Transect – 2011

Permanent Site: H1 West Transect; Depth: 5.9 Meters (Feet 19.4); Distance from river mouth: 2.4 Kilometers (1.5 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14803012,-123.53535558; 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 mainly

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August 19, 2011

D2 East Transect – 2011

Permanent Site: D2 East Transect; Depth: 12.1 Meters (39.8 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.3 Kilometers (0.2 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15233001,-123.56829403; Site Description: This site is right off the mouth of the river. Substrate is mainly gravel with some sand. Seaweed is abundant. Bull kelp Nereocystis luetkeana (1:26, 1:

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August 19, 2011

D2 West Transect – 2011

Permanent Site: D2 West Transect; Depth: 12.6 Meters (41.3 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 0.3 Kilometers (0.2 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.15233001,-123.56896603; Site Description: This site is right off the mouth of the river. Substrate is mainly gravel with some sand. Seaweed is abundant. Bull kelp Nereocystis luetkeana (0:10, 1:

...
August 18, 2011

GP1 West Transect — 2011

Permanent Control Site: GP1 West Transect; Depth: 7.8 Meters (25.7 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 19.0 Kilometers (11.8 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.11852521,-123.31605203; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Depth is medium-shallow. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding

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August 18, 2011

GP2 West Transect – 2011

Permanent Control Site: GP2 West Transect; Depth: 13.1 Meters (43 Feet); Distance from river mouth: 18.8 Kilometers (11.6 Miles) east; Pre/Post Dam Removal: 1 month pre-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.12781102,-123.31645664; Site Description: This site was established as the eastern control. Substrate is mainly a gravel/sand/cobble mixture surrounding boulders (1:05 seconds).

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