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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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Find all required forms, instructions, and guidelines for submitting specimens to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC).
The negative effects of invasive Asian carp to the Nation’s waterways are far reaching and have potential to expand and intensify. USGS is delivering data, tools and technologies to partners to keep these invasive fish out of the Great Lakes and other aquatic ecosystems and control them where they occur in the Ohio River and Mississippi River Basins.
The Land Treatment Planning Tool provides a practical resource for managers who are planning restoration and rehabilitation actions on public lands. The tool generates a variety of spatial products while being user friendly for all levels of GIS expertise, even to those with little or no experience.
Marl prairie is the most diverse freshwater vegetation community in the Greater Everglades and provides the only suitable habitat for the federally endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow (CSSS; Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis).
EverSnail, developed in collaboration with the University of West Florida, is an age- and size-structured spatially-explicit landscape model of native apple snails (Pomacea paludosa).
Because the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a keystone species of the Everglades ecosystem, managers need a way to quantitatively assess the effects of alternative restoration scenarios on alligators.
The Northwestern Atlantic population of loggerhead sea turtles is one of the largest in the world. Genetic studies have divided this population into 5 management units including a genetically distinct group that nests throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM).
The USGS is incorporating different species and aquatic communities into statistical models to begin developing tools that quantify relationships between flow and total ecosystem services provided by river systems for human benefit.
USGS aquatic scientists develop and adapt new technologies and tools that increase the effectiveness, efficiency, safety, and accuracy of aquatic ecosystem management.
This site provides data and tools to help answer the question of how well we are protecting common plants and animals (GAP Analysis). Choose a state or the entire United States. Download data for land cover, species, protected areas and more or view online, using the interactive GAP Data Viewers.
This tool produces and provides information on the characteristics, extent, and status of the Nation's wetlands and deepwater habitats and other wildlife habitats.
At this website, one can view lists of native freshwater snails by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of snails by political boundaries. Lists can be downloaded for use in reports or analyses. Data file last updated 12/17/2013.
The 2008 AFS Endangered Species Committee list of imperiled freshwater and diadromous fishes of North America
At this website, one can view lists of imperiled fishes by freshwater ecoregion, by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of imperiled fishes by ecoregions or political boundaries. Data file last updated 4/25/2013.
The 2007 AFS Endangered Species Committee list of common and imperiled freshwater crayfishes of the United States and Canada
At this website, one can view lists of crayfishes by freshwater ecoregion, by state or province boundary, and plot distributions of crayfishes by ecoregions or political boundaries. Data file last updated 3/17/2011.
The National Wildlife Health Center, with help from partners and support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, organized “Lake Michigan Volunteer AMBLE – Avian Monitoring for Botulism Lakeshore Events” in 2011. The goal of AMBLE was to empower concerned citizens to monitor bird health and beach conditions along the Lake Michigan shoreline, thus increasing knowledge of avian botulism...
Use of created snags by cavity‐nesting birds across 25 years
Snags are important habitat features for many forest‐dwelling species, so reductions in the number of snags can lead to the loss of biodiversity in forest ecosystems. Intentional snag creation is often used in managed forests to mitigate the long‐term declines of naturally created snags, yet information regarding the use of snags by wildlife...Barry, Amy M.; Hagar, Joan; Rivers, James W.
Effects of experimental removal of Barred Owls on population demography of Northern Spotted Owls in Washington and Oregon—2017 progress report
Populations of Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina; hereinafter referred to as Spotted Owl) are declining throughout this subspecies’ geographic range. Evidence indicates that competition with invading populations of Barred Owls (S. varia) has contributed significantly to those declines. A pilot study in California showed that...Wiens, J. David; Dugger, Katie M.; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Dilione, Krista E.; Simon, David C.
MonitoringResources.org—Supporting coordinated and cost-effective natural resource monitoring across organizations
Natural resource managers who oversee the Nation’s resources require data to support informed decision-making at a variety of spatial and temporal scales that often cross typical jurisdictional boundaries such as states, agency regions, and watersheds. These data come from multiple agencies, programs, and sources, often with their own methods and...Bayer, Jennifer M.; Scully, Rebecca A.; Weltzin, Jake F.
Effects of the proposed California WaterFix North Delta Diversion on survival of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, northern California
The California Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation propose new water intake facilities on the Sacramento River in northern California that would convey some of the water for export to areas south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (hereinafter referred to as the Delta) through tunnels rather than through the Delta. The...Perry, Russell W.; Pope, Adam C.
Examining speed versus selection in connectivity models using elk migration as an example
ContextLandscape resistance is vital to connectivity modeling and frequently derived from resource selection functions (RSFs). RSFs estimate relative probability of use and tend to focus on understanding habitat preferences during slow, routine animal movements (e.g., foraging). Dispersal and migration, however, can produce rarer, faster movements...Brennan, Angela; Hanks, Ephraim M.; Merkle, Jerod A.; Cole, Eric K.; Dewey, Sarah R.; Courtemanch, Alyson B.; Cross, Paul C.
Ecological genomics predicts climate vulnerability in an endangered southwestern songbird
Few regions have been more severely impacted by climate change in the USA than the Desert Southwest. Here, we use ecological genomics to assess the potential for adaptation to rising global temperatures in a widespread songbird, the willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii), and find the endangered desert southwestern subspecies (E. t. extimus) most...Ruegg, Kristin; Bay, Rachael A.; Anderson, Eric C.; Saracco, James F.; Harrigan, Ryan J.; Whitfield, Mary J.; Paxton, Eben H.; Smith, Thomas B.
Ecosystems science: Genes to landscapes
Bountiful fisheries, healthy and resilient wildlife, flourishing forests and vibrant grasslands are coveted resources that benefit all Americans. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) science supports the conservation and management of the Nation’s fish and wildlife, and the landscapes they inhabit. Our biological resources—ecosystems and the wild things...
Characterization of Plasmodium relictum, a cosmopolitan agent of avian malaria
BackgroundMicroscopic research has shown that Plasmodium relictum is the most common agent of avian malaria. Recent molecular studies confirmed this conclusion and identified several mtDNA lineages, suggesting the existence of significant intra-species genetic variation or cryptic speciation. Most identified lineages have a broad range...Valkiunas, Gediminas; Ilgūnas, Mikas; Bukauskaitė, Dovilė; Fragner, Karin; Weissenböck, Herbert; Atkinson, Carter T.; Iezhova, Tatjana
Co‐occurrence dynamics of endangered Lower Keys marsh rabbits and free‐ranging domestic cats: Prey responses to an exotic predator removal program
The Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) is one of many endangered endemic species of the Florida Keys. The main threats are habitat loss and fragmentation from sea‐level rise, development, and habitat succession. Exotic predators such as free‐ranging domestic cats (Felis catus) pose an additional threat to these endangered small...Cove, Michael V.; Gardner, Beth; Simons, Theodore R.; O'Connell, Allan F.
Rivers are social–ecological systems: Time to integrate human dimensions into riverscape ecology and management
Incorporation of concepts from landscape ecology into understanding and managing riverine ecosystems has become widely known as riverscape ecology. Riverscape ecology emphasizes interactions among processes at different scales and their consequences for valued ecosystem components, such as riverine fishes. Past studies have focused strongly on...Dunham, Jason B.; Angermeier, Paul L.; Crausbay, Shelley D.; Cravens, Amanda; Gosnell, Hannah; McEvoy, Jamie; Moritz, Max A.; Raheem, Nejem; Sanford, Todd
Biology and impacts of Pacific Islands invasive species. 14. Sus scrofa the feral pig (Artiodactyla: Suidae)
Feral pigs (Sus scrofa L.) are perhaps the most abundant, widespread, and economically significant large introduced vertebrate across the Pacific island region. Unlike many other nonnative invasive species, feral pigs have both cultural and recreational importance in the region, complicating their management. Today, Pacific island feral pigs...Wehr, Nathaniel H. ; Hess, Steven C.; Litton, Creighton M.
Status and trends of adult Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) sucker populations in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, 2017
Executive SummaryData from a long-term capture-recapture program were used to assess the status and dynamics of populations of two long-lived, federally endangered catostomids in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon. Lost River suckers (LRS; Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (SNS; Chasmistes brevirostris) have been captured and tagged with passive...Hewitt, David A.; Janney, Eric C.; Hayes, Brian S.; Harris, Alta C.
This single-celled freshwater algae wasa collected as part of the first-ever study of the green algae family called desmids in Florida’s Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, in the northern Everglades. USGS biologist Barry H. Rosen, an expert on freshwater algae who leads the study, used a technique called differential interference microscopy to highlight the relief of...
The San Rafael grasslands are a diverse ecosystem in southern Arizona along the U.S./Mexico border region, a part of the Madrean Archipelago ecoregion. The USGS RAMPS program conducts collaborative...
American pika in the Northern Cascades. American pikas occupy talus slopes in mountain ecosystems throughout western North America.
Field crew install a Restoration Field Trial Network garden in the rangelands of Northern Arizona. Each garden in the network is examining seedlings and seeds in conjunction with restoration treatments to better...
Chart showing changes in vegetation density in the Mississippi River delta in Louisiana, May 2015-May 2016. From a USGS Open File Report published in July 2017 by co-authors Elijah Ramsey III and Amina Rangoonwala,
Curt Storlazzi of the USGS explains how the water cycle pulled him into oceanography, and how his personal interests parallel his profession.
If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Michigan, there would be enough food available for these particular species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
A new tool, which predicted the recent, rapid growth and continued spread of chronic wasting disease in deer, can help forecast and manage other costly biological threats to humans, animals and the environment, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.
Florida’s iconic manatee population is highly likely to endure for the next 100 years, so long as wildlife managers continue to protect the marine mammals and their habitat, a new study by the US Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has found.
Long distance flights in search of flowering trees threatens the Hawaiian Iiwi as climate change increases the distribution of avian diseases
We appreciate your interest in USGS' Sirenia Project. To help inform members of the media and public, we have provided relevant publications, reports, and websites.
Almost all of the turtles living in a southern California lake died following a large fire and years of drought, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report published in the journal Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems.
Understanding the Effects of Temperature on Diseases in Fish
Hybridization, or the interbreeding of species, is increasing between native and invasive trout across the northern Rocky Mountains, according to a study released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners.
Early Detection Monitoring May Not Be Sufficient for Invasive Mussels in the Columbia River Basin
The Fish Slam event discovered two nonnative fish species never seen before in Big Cypress National Preserve.
Unlike most animals, sea lampreys, an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes, could become male or female depending on how quickly they grow, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study published today.
U.S. Geological Survey scientist emeritus Chandler S. Robbins, whose heartfelt love of birds, quicksilver mind, boundless energy and sunny demeanor made him a major force in bird conservation in the U.S. and worldwide, died Monday, March 20 at the age of 98.