Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in action at the Kilauea Volcano
Scientists are using UAS mounted sensors to help support monitoring and data acquisition needs at the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii.Learn More
10 Things You May Not Know About Our Coasts
Coasts provide many benefits to their inhabitants but are threatened by changing conditions. Scientists are working to understand the related impacts.Learn More
Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
Land Resource science is essential to improve understanding of past and present change; develop relevant forecasts; and identify those lands, resources, and communities most vulnerable to Earth system change processes.Our Science Strategy
The science of dating growth rings and history of live and fossil wood samples is called dendrochronology. This technique is valuable for conducting climate reconstructions where meteorological data is lacking and for detecting past disturbance events such as tropical storms and hurricanes.
As tropical storms and hurricanes move onshore and make landfall, wind and storm surge can be sufficiently high to damage built-infrastructure and natural systems, most notably coastal forests at the interface of land and sea.
Aerial Videography Overflights of Forest Cover and Impact from Hurricane Sandy along the Atlantic Coast, USA
High resolution imagery (aerial videography) was obtained of Hurricane Sandy to assess forest damage by documenting disturbed canopy and downed trees.
Detection of storm surge impacts on coastal marshes requires regional or broader mapping of surge flooding above and below the wetland canopy and estimation of abnormal change in wetland condition.
Joint Research on Water and Sedimentation Changes and Potential Impacts on Biodiversity along the Porsuk River, Turkey
The Porsuk River floodplain near Eskisehir, Turkey contains a large number of wetlands, which have been managed by humans for millennia.
Long-term Trends in Swamp Tree Growth across Drought and Salinity Gradients along the Northern Gulf Coast
This study will examine the potential effects of climate-change-induced sea level rise, drought and water extraction by examining tree growth patterns across the Gulf Coast, specifically targeting long-term research plots available in the North American Baldcypress Swamp Network (NABCSN) and the Suwannee River.
Climate Envelope Modeling for Evaluating Anticipated Effects of Climate Change on Threatened and Endangered Species
Modeling both potential changes in climate and responses of species and habitats can increase certainty in management decisions by helping managers to understand the range of possible species and habitat responses under different alternative futures. Climate envelope modeling is one type of modeling that can be useful in understanding species and habitat responses to climate change because it...
Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC) Climate Scenarios and Species Vulnerability Assessment
Peninsular Florida is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change in the United States. With complex socioeconomic and ecology dynamics and a large number of governing agencies involved in conservation planning, USGS worked to created an appropriate framework for landscape conservation cooperative-scale decision-making across current conservation planning agencies and jurisdictions...
Severe coral bleaching in 2005, followed by a disease outbreak, resulted in severe reef degradation in the US Virgin Islands; the amount of living coral cover at long-term monitoring sites decreased an average of 60%. With climate change, high seawater temperatures are expected to lead to more frequent bleaching episodes and possibly more disease outbreaks.
At the global-scale, macroclimatic drivers govern ecosystem structure and function in tidal saline wetlands (e.g., salt marshes, mangrove forests, salt flats). However, global reviews and models for these ecosystems typically do not directly include climatic drivers. The objective of this research is to examine and forecast the effects of macroclimatic drivers on wetland ecosystem structure...
Geographical Trends in Ecosystem Function and Biodiversity of Wetlands as a Surrogate for Climate Change
Extreme drought and temperature in the southeastern United States may become more frequent in the future, and any extreme shifts in climate condition are likely to have effects on wetland ecosystem function. USGS research predicts the effects of climate change by shifts in function and biodiversity across existing climate gradients in baldcypress swamps.
USGS aims to integrate biological and hydrological models to help develop management tools to deal with the projected ecological consequences of rising sea level in coastal south Florida.
Climate change and the eco-hydrology of fire: Will area burned increase in a warming western USA?
Wildfire area is predicted to increase with global warming. Empirical statistical models and process-based simulations agree almost universally. The key relationship for this unanimity, observed at multiple spatial and temporal scales, is between drought and fire. Predictive models often focus on ecosystems in which this relationship appears to be...McKenzie, Donald; Littell, Jeremy
Comparing stream-specific to generalized temperature models to guide salmonid management in a changing climate
Global climate change is predicted to increase air and stream temperatures and alter thermal habitat suitability for growth and survival of coldwater fishes, including brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis), brown trout (Salmo trutta), and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). In a changing climate, accurate stream temperature modeling is increasingly...Andrew K. Carlson; William W. Taylor; Hartikainen, Kelsey M. ; Dana M. Infante; Beard, Douglas; Lynch, Abigail
Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems
The current impacts of humanity on nature are rapid and destructive, but species turnover and change have occurred throughout the history of life. Although there is much debate about the best approaches to take in conservation, ultimately, we need to permit or enhance the resilience of natural systems so that they can continue to adapt and...Barnosky, Anthony D.; Hadly, Elizabeth A.; Head, Jason; Gonzalez, Patrick; Polly, P. David; Lawing, A. Michelle; Eronen, Jussi T.; Ackerly, David D.; Alex, Ken; Biber, Eric; Blois, Jessica L.; Brashares, Justin; Ceballos, Gerardo; Davis, Edward; Dietl, Gregory P.; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Doremus, Holly; Fortelius, Mikael; Greene, Harry W.; Hellmann, Jessica; Hickler, Thomas; Jackson, Stephen T.; Kemp, Melissa; Koch, Paul L.; Kremen, Claire; Lindsey, Emily L.; Looy, Cindy; Marshall, Charles R.; Mendenhall, Chase; Mulch, Andreas; Mychajliw, Alexis M.; Nowak, Carsten; Ramakrishnan, Uma; Schnitzler, Jan; Das Shrestha, Kashish; Solari, Katherine; Stegner, Lynn; Stegner, M. Allison; Stenseth, Nils Chr.; Wake, Marvalee H.; Zhang, Zhibin
Tambora and the mackerel year: phenology and fisheries during an extreme climate event
Global warming has increased the frequency of extreme climate events, yet responses of biological and human communities are poorly understood, particularly for aquatic ecosystems and fisheries. Retrospective analysis of known outcomes may provide insights into the nature of adaptations and trajectory of subsequent conditions. We consider the 1815...Alexander, Karen E.; Leavenworth, William B.; Hall, Carolyn; Mattocks, Steven; Bittner, Steven M.; Klein, Emily; Staudinger, Michelle D.; Bryan, Alexander; Rosset, Julianne; Willis, Theodore V.; Carr, Benjamin H.; Jordaan, Adrian
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.
Ecosystem extent and fragmentation
One of the candidate essential biodiversity variable (EBV) groups described in the seminal paper by Pereira et al. (2014) concerns Ecosystem Structure. This EBV group is distinguished from another EBV group which encompasses aspects of Ecosystem Function. While the Ecosystem Function EBV treats ecosystem processes like nutrient cycling, primary...Sayre, Roger; Hansen, Matt
The role of fish in a globally changing food system
Though humans have been fishing for food since they first created tools to hunt, modern food systems are predominately terrestrial focused and fish are frequently overlooked. Yet, within the global food system, fish play an important role in meeting current and future food needs. Capture fisheries are the last large-scale “wild” food, and...Lynch, Abigail J.; MacMillan, J. Randy
Northeast and Midwest regional species and habitats at greatest risk and most vulnerable to climate impacts
The objectives of this Chapter are to describe climate change vulnerability, it’s components, the range of assessment methods being implemented regionally, and examples of training resources and tools. Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments (CCVAs) have already been conducted for numerous Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their...Staudinger, Michelle D.; Hilberg, Laura; Janowiak, Maria; Swanton, C.O.
Twitter predicts citation rates of ecological research
The relationship between traditional metrics of research impact (e.g., number of citations) and alternative metrics (altmetrics) such as Twitter activity are of great interest, but remain imprecisely quantified. We used generalized linear mixed modeling to estimate the relative effects of Twitter activity, journal impact factor, and time since...Peoples, Brandon K.; Midway, Stephen R.; Sackett, Dana K.; Lynch, Abigail; Cooney, Patrick B.
Managing climate change refugia for climate adaptation
Refugia have long been studied from paleontological and biogeographical perspectives to understand how populations persisted during past periods of unfavorable climate. Recently, researchers have applied the idea to contemporary landscapes to identify climate change refugia, here defined as areas relatively buffered from contemporary climate...Morelli, Toni L.; Jackson, Stephen T.
Multidecadal increases in the Yukon River Basin of chemical fluxes as indicators of changing flowpaths, groundwater, and permafrost
The Yukon River Basin, underlain by discontinuous permafrost, has experienced a warming climate over the last century that has altered air temperature, precipitation, and permafrost. We investigated a water chemistry database from 1982 to 2014 for the Yukon River and its major tributary, the Tanana River. Significant increases of Ca, Mg, and Na...Toohey, Ryan C; Herman-Mercer, Nicole M.; Schuster, Paul F.; Mutter, Edda A.; Koch, Joshua C.
Toward a national, sustained U.S. ecosystem assessment
The massive investment of resources devoted to monitoring and assessment of economic and societal indicators in the United States is neither matched by nor linked to efforts to monitor and assess the ecosystem services and biodiversity that support economic and social well-being. Although national-scale assessments of biodiversity (1) and...Jackson, Stephen T.; Duke, Clifford S.; Hampton, Stephanie E.; Jacobs, Katharine L.; Joppa, Lucas N.; Kassam, Karim-Aly S. K.; Mooney, Harold A.; Ogden, Laura A.; Ruckelshaus, Mary; Shogren, Jason F.
Mike Wulder with Canada's Forest Service talks about the value Landsat images have for mapping and monitoring Canada's forested areas.
At least 300 active volcanoes dot the Kamchatka Peninsula, which lies along the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire. Landsat 8 caught this plume of ash and smoke streaming from one of these volcanooes--Klyuchevskaya--on January 10, 2018.
John Schott with the Rochester Institute of Technology discusses using Landsat Data over the years, and how its Thermal data tracks temperature changes in water bodies.
If you like being connected to the world everywhere you go with a smartphone or other device, then you have a desolate salt flat in northern Chile to thank.
After a month, the wildfires of Southern California are nearly contained. Landsat 8 imagery shows the dramatic burn scars left behind.
At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.
This image of the Ross Archipelago near the McMurdo Station in Antarctica was acquired January 1, 2018, by Landsat 8, almost exactly a decade after USGS and NASA officials signed off on a Landsat Data Distribution Policy that made Landsat images free to the public.
The sediment trap mooring deployed in the Gulf of Mexico (27.5 ºN, 90.3 ºW) at 700 meters water depth from 2008-2018. It is programmed to rotate every 7-14 days throughout the year, resulting in a weekly to bi-weekly resolution time series of sinking particle flux.
Landsat Collections: Providing a Stable Environmental Record for Time Series Analysis
This video introduces the new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Collection 1 inventory structure. Collection 1 required the reprocessing of all archived Landsat data to achieve radiometric and geometric consistency of Level-1 products through time and across all Landsat sensors. This video explains...
Example of lidar-derived metric products of canopy structure. A) Image showing an area characterized by varied forest strands. (Red box shows from where profile data in E area taken.) B) Lidar-derived maximum canopy height. C) Lidar-derived height of low- to medium-height vegetation beneath the overstory canopy. D) Density of vegetation at 2-4 m within the canopy. Note how spatial patterns...
Landscape view of an un-named glacier off the Sargent Icefield, directly across from Wolverine Glacier, above the Nellie Juan River, in Alaska. Taken during a visit to a wolverine glacier field site as part of a study to examine how alpine areas are changing as temperatures rise in Alaska.
A profile view from the normalized point cloud in Superior National Forest, notice the flattened ground surface. Points are colored by elevation.
The 3DR Solo with GoPro Hero4 camera and gimbal. Coming to a survey area near you soon. Photo credit: Shawn Harrison, USGS. This photo was taken during USGS unmanned aerial systems (drone) pilot training. Two training sessions were held - one in February-March 2017 in Santa Cruz, California and the second in April 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. This photo originally was...
A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners has identified situations and conditions where some animals display behavioral flexibility – the ability to rapidly change behavior in response to short – or long-term environmental changes such as climate variability.
What would it take to produce a billion tons of biomass for fuel production?
For the Swinomish people of northwestern Washington, water is life. But this symbiotic relationship between man and nature has been disrupted, and increasingly threatened, by sea-level rise and changes in Northwestern storm and rainfall patterns.
New USGS Science Plan Designed to Help Plan for Drought Effects on People, Communities, and Ecosystems
The U. S. Geological Survey is poised to bring a dynamic array of science and tools to help decision-makers manage and offset effects of increased drought across the United States, according to a drought plan report released today.
The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University.
Migrating mule deer track “green waves” of spring forage: study highlights importance of habitat corridors for migrating game and other species
Migratory mule deer in Wyoming closely time their movements to track the spring green-up, providing evidence of an underappreciated foraging benefit of migration, according to a study by University of Wyoming and U.S. Geological Survey scientists at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
The world’s oceans are vital to life on Earth. They provide food, moderate the climate, water the land, and drive the local and global economy. But the living conditions and resources in the enormous water masses of the open ocean have been mostly unknown and unmapped.