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U.S. Virgin Islands

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We conduct impartial, multi- and interdisciplinary research and monitoring on a large range of natural-resource issues that impact the quality of life of citizens and landscapes of the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean region.

News

Image shows USGS scientists in PFDs with an acoustic doppler sensor in a flooded river
May 31, 2018

No one has a crystal ball to foresee what will happen during the 2018 hurricane season that begins June 1, but NOAA forecasters say there’s a 75 percent chance this hurricane season will be at least as busy as a normal year, or busier.

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.

Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 6, 2017

 To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

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Coral head that looks like lettuce sits on sandy bottom in clear blue water and is surrounded by brightly colored fish.
Date Published: May 11, 2018
Status: Active

Coral Reef Project

Explore the fascinating undersea world of coral reefs. Learn how we map, monitor, and model coral reefs so we can better understand, protect, and preserve our Nation's reefs.

Contacts: Curt Storlazzi
Camera was positioned halfway in and out of water to show a coastal bluff with vegetation in background, coral reef underwater.
Date Published: May 11, 2018
Status: Active

Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change Impacts to Reefs

This study is part of the USGS Coral Reef Project.

Contacts: Curt Storlazzi
coral reef
Date Published: May 11, 2018
Status: Active

Coral Reef Facts

These facts about coral reefs are presented in conjunction with the USGS Coral Reef Project.

Contacts: Curt Storlazzi
Photo of Bird Bands in a Variety of Sizes and Types
Date Published: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Banding Laboratory

The Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) is an integrated scientific program established in 1920 supporting the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America.  This information is used to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations. Because birds are good indicators of the health of the environment, the...

Image: Flat Cays, U.S. Virgin Islands Coral Reef
Date Published: December 5, 2017
Status: Active

Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST)

The specific objectives of this project are to identify and describe the processes that are important in determining rates of coral-reef construction. How quickly the skeletons of calcifying organisms accumulate to form massive barrier-reef structure is determined by processes of both construction (how fast organisms grow and reproduce) and destruction (how fast reefs break down by mechanical...

a birder on a bridge looking at the birds
Date Published: July 26, 2016

HDgov: Multi-agency Website for Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

HDgov is an interactive and mobile-responsive online portal to interagency, academic, and non-government resources focused on the human dimensions of natural resource management. The web portal provides easy access to tools, publications, data, and methods that help ensure that the people side of natural resources is considered throughout the entire natural resource management process. The...

A crowd of people in a National Park.
Date Published: July 26, 2016

National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects

The National Park Service (NPS) manages the Nation’s most iconic destinations that attract millions of visitors from across the Nation and around the world. Trip-related spending by NPS visitors generates and supports a considerable amount of economic activity within park gateway communities. USGS economists collaborate with the National Park Service social science program to estimate NPS...

Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp
Date Published: July 21, 2016

North American Waterfowl Management Plan

The ultimate success of North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) depends on maintaining relevance to stakeholders and society. In order to be relevant, a first step is to better understand what people value in regard to waterfowl and their habitats. Without this information, NAWMP population, habitat, and people objectives may not reflect stakeholder and societal values; and management...

Coral Bleaching and Disease: Effects on Threatened Corals and Reefs
Date Published: April 17, 2016
Status: Active

Coral Bleaching and Disease: Effects on Threatened Corals and Reefs

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. 

homes damaged by hurricane Sandy on Fire Island, New York
Date Published: April 13, 2016

Understanding Coastal Change

Scientists perform a range of studies that document, assess, and model coastal change, risk, and vulnerability. Studies include historical shoreline change, the geologic structure and history of coastal regions, sediment supply and transport, sea-level rise, and how extreme storm events affect rates and impacts of coastal change.

Devastation of the coastal city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Date Published: April 13, 2016

Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events

We study the distribution and hazard potential of coastal and submarine events such as earthquakes and submarine landslides and associated tsunami potential, hurricane induced coastal inundation, extreme storms, sea-level rise and oil and gas spills. We also model development to help evaluate and forecast coastal hazard probability and occurrence.

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Water
/data-tools/national-water-information-system-nwis

National Water Information System (NWIS)

Application screenshot thumbnail
September 1, 2017

The National Water Information System (NWIS) web application provides access to surface-water, groundwater, water-quality, and water-use data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites across all 50 states.

Real-time Data
/data-tools/national-water-information-system-nwis-mapper-0

National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper

NWIS-Mapper thumbnail image
August 30, 2017

The National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper provides access to water-resources data at over 1.5 million sites across the U.S., including current and historical data. Users can search by site type, data type, site number, or place.

GIS Data
/data-tools/structures-data

Structures Data

Structure datasets for the nation from The National Map
April 20, 2016

USGS data portray selected structures data, including the location and characteristics of manmade facilities. Characteristics consist of a structure's physical form (footprint), function, name, location, and detailed information about the structure. The types of structures collected are largely determined by the needs of the disaster planning and response and homeland security organizations.

GIS Data
/data-tools/boundaries

Boundaries Data

Boundaries datasets for the nation from The National Map.
April 19, 2016

Boundaries data or governmental units represent major civil areas including states, counties, Federal, and Native American lands, and incorporated places such as cities and towns.

GIS Data
/data-tools/hydrography-data

Hydrography Data

Illustration related to the the river corridor
April 19, 2016

The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) are used to portray surface water on The National Map.

GIS Data
/data-tools/united-states-interagency-elevation-inventory-usiei

The United States Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI)

3D Lidar Point Cloud Image of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge
April 19, 2016

The USIEI is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. The project is a collaborative effort of the USGS and NOAA with contributions from other federal agencies. The inventory supports the 3D Elevation Program and the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping effort. This resource is updated in Spring and Fall.

GIS Data
/data-tools/elevation-data

Elevation Data

Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
April 19, 2016

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of lidar point clouds (LPC), standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

GIS Data
/data-tools/orthoimagery

Orthoimagery Data

Orthoimagery of Augusta Ga
April 12, 2016

Orthoimagery data typically are high resolution aerial images that combine the visual attributes of an aerial photograph with the spatial accuracy and reliability of a planimetric map. The National Map offers public domain, 1-meter orthoimagery for the conterminous United States with many urban areas and other locations at 2-foot or finer resolution.

GIS Data
/data-tools/national-map-small-scale-collection

The National Map Small-Scale Collection

Small Scale Collection USA
April 12, 2016

The National Map offers a collection of small-scale datasets, most of which are at 1:1,000,000. The National Map publishes two data collections at one million-scale: one for Global Map users and one for National Map users. In terms of vector geometry, the lines, points, and areas in these data collections are identical. The difference is in the attributes assigned to these features.

Science Datasets
/data-tools/science-data-integration-and-delivery-0

Science Data Integration and Delivery

Gaging station on the Tanana River at Nenana, Alaska
March 10, 2016

Consistent synthesis, integration, storage, and availability of fundamental data is critical to meeting the needs of USGS Science. We develop databases for hydrography, topography, invasive species, water resources, and many other datasets utilized by resource managers.

Other
/data-tools/mangrove-secrets

Mangrove Secrets

Queen angelfish - Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands
September 9, 2010

The Sheltered Corals of Hurricane Hole, US Virgin Islands

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Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
April 19, 2016

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

Map shows color-coded seafloor character offshore of Monterey, California
March 7, 2016

This portal is a “go to” source for maps related to ocean and coastal mapping. Information is organized by geography or region, by theme, and by the year data was published.

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Year Published: 2017

Resident areas and migrations of female green turtles nesting at Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Satellite tracking in marine turtle studies can reveal much about their spatial use of breeding areas, migration zones, and foraging sites. We assessed spatial habitat-use patterns of 10 adult female green turtles (Chelonia mydas) nesting at Buck Island Reef National Monument, U.S. Virgin Islands (BIRNM) from 2011 – 2014. Turtles ranged in size...

Hart, Kristen M.; Iverson, Autumn; Benscoter, Allison M.; Fujisaki, Ikuko; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Pollock, Clayton; Lundgren, Ian; Hillis-Starr, Zandy
Hart, K.M., Iverson, A.R., Benscoter, A.M.L., Fujisaki, I., Cherkiss, M.S., Pollock, C., Lundgren, I., and Hillis-Starr, Z., 2017, Resident areas and migrations of female green turtles nesting at Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands: Endangered Species Research, v. 32, p. 89-101, https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00793.

Year Published: 2016

Disease prevalence and snail predation associated with swell-generated damage on the threatened coral, Acropora palmata (Lamarck)

Disturbances such as tropical storms cause coral mortality and reduce coral cover as a direct result of physical damage. Storms can be one of the most important disturbances in coral reef ecosystems, and it is crucial to understand their long-term impacts on coral populations. The primary objective of this study was to determine trends in disease...

Bright, Allan J.; Rogers, Caroline S.; Brandt, Marilyn E.; Muller, Erinn; Smith, Tyler B.
Bright, A.J., Rogers, C.S., Brandt, M.E., Muller, E., and Smith, T.B., 2016, Disease prevalence and snail predation associated with swell-generated damage on the threatened coral, Acropora palmate (Lamarck): Frontiers in Marine Science, v. 3, art. 00077, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2016.00077.

Year Published: 2013

Ecology of juvenile hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata) at Buck Island Reef National Monument, US Virgin Islands

Surveys of juvenile hawksbills around Buck Island Reef National Monument, US Virgin Islands from 1994 to 1999 revealed distributional patterns and resulted in a total of 75 individual hawksbill captures from all years; turtles ranged from 23.2 to 77.7 cm curved carapace length (CCL; mean 42.1 ± 12.3 cm SD). Juveniles...

Hart, Kristen M.; Sartain-Iverson, Autumn R.; Hillis-Starr, Zandy; Phillips, Brendalee; Mayor, Philippe A.; Roberson, Kimberly; Pemberton, Roy A.; Allen, Jason B.; Lundgren, Ian; Musick, Susanna

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September 30, 2017

USGS Hurricane Preparedness

Before a hurricane, USGS Scientists undertake a data collection effort of a grand scale. They install a temporary mobile network of sensors along the coasts to collect additional data on the intensity of storm surge, one of the most dangerous elements of a hurricane. This effort provides critical information that allows various USGS partners and emergency responders to make better informed...

Hurricane Irma satellite image
September 5, 2017

Hurricane Irma on the Move

Satellite Image of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017. Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project

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

As US models predicted Hurricane Joaquin washed out a road at Kitty Hawk, NC in 2015.
June 1, 2016

Hurricane erodes N.C. road

As US models predicted Hurricane Joaquin washed out a road at Kitty Hawk, NC in 2015.

A healthy coral reef at Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Island
December 31, 2015

Elkhorn coral anchors a healthy reef

Healthy Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) near unpopulated Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Islands. Elkhorn coral is one of many important reef-building species that create 3D structure on the seafloor. Coral reef structure provides habitat for marine life and helps break up waves as they approach the coastline.

Elkhorn coral has died and turned to rubble.
December 31, 2015

Corals die, turn to rubble

These Elkhorn corals (Acropora palmata) near Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Islands have died and collapsed into rubble. As coral reef structure degrades, valuable habitat for marine life is lost and nearby coastlines become more susceptible to storms, waves and erosion.

Image: Buffalo Trunkfish (Lactophrys trigonus)
March 6, 2010

Buffalo Trunkfish (Lactophrys trigonus)

The Buffalo Trunkfish (Lactophrys trigonus) is larger and less abundant than the Spotted and Smooth Trunkfishes seen frequently in the mangroves.

Brain corals, mangrove prop roots and squirrelfish
December 31, 2009

Corals and mangroves share clear waters

Sediment can smother corals, but Hurricane Hole has no sediment-bearing freshwater streams. Its clear waters are habitat for an entire community of marine life, including Montastrea corals and squirrelfish. Photo: Caroline Rogers, USGS, 2009

Queen angelfish - Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands
September 18, 2009

Queen angelfish - Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands

A queen angelfish peers through the safety of the mangrove roots across the rich colors and textures of corals, sponges, urchins, and algae. Queen angelfish feed almost exclusively on sponges, which are abundant in these mangroves.

Image: Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument
April 17, 2009

Hurricane Hole, Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument

Bird's-eye view of Hurricane Hole in Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, showing protected bays and coastlines fringed by mangroves.

Image: A Diversity of Corals Growing in the Mangroves Within Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument
March 21, 2009

A Diversity of Corals Growing in the Mangroves Within Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument

This photo shows a mangrove ecosystem that may be unique in the Caribbean in terms of the abundance and diversity of corals.

USGS scientists are collaborating with scientists at the University of the Virgin Islands to learn more about why these corals are thriving while coral cover on USVI reefs has declined by 60% from bleaching and disease.  With climate change, sea water temperatures...

Image: A Diversity of Corals Growing in the Mangroves Within Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument
March 21, 2009

A Diversity of Corals Growing in the Mangroves Within Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument

This photo shows a mangrove ecosystem that may be unique in the Caribbean in terms of the abundance and diversity of corals.

USGS scientists are collaborating with scientists at the University of the Virgin Islands to learn more about why these corals are thriving while coral cover on USVI reefs has declined by 60% from bleaching and disease.  With climate change, sea water temperatures...

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Image shows USGS scientists in PFDs with an acoustic doppler sensor in a flooded river
May 31, 2018

No one has a crystal ball to foresee what will happen during the 2018 hurricane season that begins June 1, but NOAA forecasters say there’s a 75 percent chance this hurricane season will be at least as busy as a normal year, or busier.

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.

Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 6, 2017

 To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

A healthy coral reef at Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Island
April 20, 2017

In the first ecosystem-wide study of changing sea depths at five large coral reef tracts in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawai’i, U.S. Geological Survey researchers found the sea floor is eroding in all five places, and the reefs cannot keep pace with sea level rise. As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion.

Catawba rhododendron blooming at Round Bald, NC
August 11, 2016

“From the mountains to the coast, the southeastern U.S. contains ecosystems that harbor incredible biodiversity. Many of those ecosystems are already highly at risk from urbanization and other human land-use change. Identifying the ecosystems at risk from climate change will help inform conservation and management to ensure we don’t lose that biodiversity.” (Jennifer Constanza, report author)

As US models predicted Hurricane Joaquin washed out a road at Kitty Hawk, NC in 2015.
June 1, 2016

New USGS models help predict storm effects on beaches

As the 2016 hurricane season opens, weather forecasters, emergency managers and coastal residents have access to tools developed by the U.S. Geological Survey that predict, more precisely than ever, where beach erosion and beachfront flooding will take place during hurricanes and other storms.

 

Map of the 48 contiguous states showing Microcystin concentrations
May 31, 2016

First-of-its-kind survey shows that algal toxins are found nationwide

USGS
December 1, 2015

A newly published, three-volume “Remote Sensing Handbook” is a comprehensive coverage of all remote sensing topics written by over 300 leading global experts.

Image:  Black-footed Albatross with Chick
September 23, 2015

Islands used by tropical seabirds are highly vulnerable to sea level rise according to a new study released today.

Image: USGS Documents 2015 Drought
September 8, 2015

U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic technicians are currently taking measurements from hundreds of streams and rivers across the western United States as part of a low flow study.

Crowdsourced Earthquake Warnings illustration
April 10, 2015

MENLO PARK, Calif.— Smartphones and other personal electronic devices could, in regions where they are in widespread use, function as early warning systems for large earthquakes according to newly reported research.

Crowdsourced Earthquake Warnings illustration
April 10, 2015

MENLO PARK, California — Los teléfonos móviles y otros dispositivos electrónicos personales podrían ayudar en las regiones donde se encuentran en uso generalizado, y pueden funcionar como sistemas de alerta para terremotos mayor según la nueva investigación científica recien publicada.

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