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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.
With high numbers of manatees using the Florida Power and Light power plant warm water refuge during winter, their impact on the seagrass beds in the Indian River Lagoon is considered an important indicator of the long-term capacity of the area to support the manatees. USGS is working with partners to investigate the spatial extent and intensity of manatee use of seagrass beds in the...
At the poleward marsh-mangrove ecotone, mangrove abundance and coverage is winter temperature-sensitive in that it oscillates in response to the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of extreme winter temperatures. Future winter climate change is expected to facilitate poleward mangrove range expansion at the expense of salt marshes in Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Florida. ...
More than half of contiguous U.S. coastal wetlands are located along the Gulf of Mexico coast. These highly-productive wetlands support many ecosystem goods and services and fish and wildlife habitat. Historically, coastal wetlands have adapted to sea-level changes via lateral and vertical movement on the landscape. As sea levels rise in the future, coastal wetlands will adapt and migrate...
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...
Freshwater mussels are considered the most imperiled group of animals in the United States. These animals provide valuable ecological services by filtering water, sequestering nutrients, and providing forage for migratory birds, small mammals, and turtles. They also have a unique and complex life cycle that makes them especially vulnerable to human disturbances. It includes a parasitic larval...
The Conasauga River in northwest Georgia and southeast Tennessee harbors the majority of mussel diversity still found in the Georgia portion of the Upper Coosa Basin. While the Conasauga historically supported at least 44 mussel species, only about 20 species remain. ...
The Mississippi barrier islands are dynamic coastal landforms that are the first line of defense between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi mainland coast. These islands are experiencing changes in structure (land area and habitat) and geomorphic processes (erosion and accretion) due to frequent intense storms, relative rise in sea level, and changes in sediment supply. A long-...
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. ...
Dauphin Island, Alabama, is the only barrier island providing protection to much of Alabama's coastal natural resources. Severely impacted by repeated extreme events, like Hurricane Katrina and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, USGS and partners are conducting a joint study to evaluate the feasibility of certain alternatives to increase resiliency and sustainability of the island. ...
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....
The invasive grass carp and black carp are artificially spawned to produce triploids, which means they have three sets of chromosomes and are sterile. WARC scientists invented an early ploidy prediction process for produced fry, and a post-mortem assessment method for carp caught either in the wild or sold and hauled live to other states. ...
Mangrove forests have migrated inland over the past few decades at many locations along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. This expansion has been attributed to factors associated with climate change, such as increased salinity resulting from sea-level rise and longer intervals between winter freezes, which can kill cold-intolerant mangrove species. ...
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.
Insights into methane dynamics from analysis of authigenic carbonates and chemosynthetic mussels at newly-discovered Atlantic Margin seeps
The recent discovery of active methane venting along the US northern and mid-Atlantic margin represents a new source of global methane not previously accounted for in carbon budgets from this region. However, uncertainty remains as to the origin and history of methane seepage along this tectonically inactive passive margin. Here we present the...Prouty, Nancy G.; Sahy, Diana; Ruppel, Carolyn D.; Roark, E. Brendan; Condon, Dan; Brooke, Sandra; Ross, Steve W.; Demopoulos, Amanda
Small but tough: What can ecophysiology of croaking gourami Trichopsis vittatus (Cuvier 1831) tell us about invasiveness of non-native fishes in Florida?
Trichopsis vittata (Cuvier, 1831) is a small, freshwater gourami (Fam: Osphronemidae) native to southeast Asia. It was first detected in Florida in the 1970s and seems to have persisted for decades in a small area. In this study, we documented T. vittata’s ecophysiological tolerances (salinity and low-temperature) and qualitatively...Schofield, Pam; Schulte, Jessica
Somatic growth dynamics of West Atlantic hawksbill sea turtles: a spatio-temporal perspective
Somatic growth dynamics are an integrated response to environmental conditions. Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are long-lived, major consumers in coral reef habitats that move over broad geographic areas (hundreds to thousands of kilometers). We evaluated spatio-temporal effects on hawksbill growth dynamics over a 33-yr period and...Bjorndal, Karen A.; Chaloupka, Milani; Saba, Vincent S.; Diez, Carlos E.; van Dam, Robert P.; Krueger, Barry H.; Horrocks, Julia A.; Santos, Armando J.B.; Bellini, Cláudio; Marcovaldi, Maria A.G.; Nava, Mabel; Willis, Sue; Godley, Brendan J.; Gore, Shannon; Hawkes, Lucy A.; McGowan, Andrew; Witt, Matthew J.; Stringell, Thomas B.; Sanghera, Amdeep; Richardson, Peter B.; Broderick, Annette C.; Phillips, Quinton; Calosso, Marta C.; Claydon, John A.B.; Blumenthal, Janice; Moncada, Felix; Nodarse, Gonzalo; Medina, Yosvani; Dunbar, Stephen G.; Wood, Lawrence D.; Lagueux, Cynthia J.; Campbell, Cathi L.; Meylan, Anne B.; Meylan, Peter A.; Burns Perez, Virginia R.; Coleman, Robin A.; Strindberg, Samantha; Guzmán-H, Vicente; Hart, Kristen M.; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Hillis-Starr, Zandy; Lundgren, Ian; Boulon, Ralf H.; Connett, Stephen; Outerbridge, Mark E.; Bolten, Alan B.
Component greenhouse gas fluxes and radiative balance from two deltaic marshes in Louisiana: Pairing chamber techniques and eddy covariance
Coastal marshes take up atmospheric CO2 while emitting CO2, CH4, and N2O. This ability to sequester carbon (C) is much greater for wetlands on a per-area basis than from most ecosystems, facilitating scientific, political, and economic interest in their value as greenhouse gas sinks. However, the greenhouse gas balance of Gulf of Mexico...Krauss, Ken W.; Holm, Guerry O.; Perez, Brian C.; McWhorter, David E.; Cormier, Nicole; Moss, Rebecca; Johnson, Darren; Neubauer, Scott C; Raynie, Richard C
Salt marsh-mangrove ecotones: using structural gradients to investigate the effects of woody plant encroachment on plant-soil interactions and ecosystem carbon pools
Changing winter climate extremes are expected to result in the poleward migration of mangrove forests at the expense of salt marshes. Although mangroves and marshes are both highly valued ecosystems, the ecological implications of mangrove expansion have not been fully investigated. Here, we examined the effects of mangrove expansion on below-...Yando, Erik S.; Osland, Michael J.; Willis, Jonathan M; Day, Richard H.; Krauss, Ken W.; Hester, Mark W.
Tidal saline wetland regeneration of sentinel vegetation types in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: An overview
Tidal saline wetlands in the Northern Gulf of Mexico (NGoM) are dynamic and frequently disturbed systems that provide myriad ecosystem services. For these services to be sustained, dominant macrophytes must continuously recolonize and establish after disturbance. Macrophytes accomplish this regeneration through combinations of vegetative...Jones, Scott F; Stagg, Camille L.; Krauss, Ken W.; Hester, Mark W.
The effects of large beach debris on nesting sea turtles
A field experiment was conducted to understand the effects of large beach debris on sea turtle nesting behavior as well as the effectiveness of large debris removal for habitat restoration. Large natural and anthropogenic debris were removed from one of three sections of a sea turtle nesting beach and distributions of nests and false crawls (non-...Fujisaki, Ikuko; Lamont, Margaret M.
Modeling suitable habitat of invasive red lionfish Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758) in North and South America’s coastal waters
We used two common correlative species-distribution models to predict suitable habitat of invasive red lionfish Pterois volitans (Linnaeus, 1758) in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans. The Generalized Linear Model (GLM) and the Maximum Entropy (Maxent) model were applied using the Software for Assisted Habitat Modeling. We compared...Evangelista, Paul H.; Young, Nicholas E.; Schofield, Pamela J.; Jarnevich, Catherine S.
Hydrothermal vents and methane seeps: Rethinking the sphere of influence
Although initially viewed as oases within a barren deep ocean, hydrothermal vent and methane seep communities are now recognized to interact with surrounding ecosystems on the sea floor and in the water column, and to affect global geochemical cycles. The importance of understanding these interactions is growing as the potential rises for...Levin, Lisa A.; Baco, Amy; Bowden, David; Colaco, Ana; Cordes, Erik E.; Cunha, Marina; Demopoulos, Amanda; Gobin, Judith; Grupe, Ben; Le, Jennifer; Metaxas, Anna; Netburn, Amanda; Rouse, Greg; Thurber, Andrew; Tunnicliffe, Verena; Van Dover, Cindy L.; Vanreusel, Ann; Watling, Les
Drivers of barotropic and baroclinic exchange through an estuarine navigation channel in the Mississippi River Delta Plain
Estuarine navigation channels have long been recognized as conduits for saltwater intrusion into coastal wetlands. Salt flux decomposition and time series measurements of velocity and salinity were used to examine salt flux components and drivers of baroclinic and barotropic exchange in the Houma Navigation Channel, an estuarine channel located in...Snedden, Gregg
Spatially explicit control of invasive species using a reaction-diffusion model
Invasive species, which can be responsible for severe economic and environmental damages, must often be managed over a wide area with limited resources, and the optimal allocation of effort in space and time can be challenging. If the spatial range of the invasive species is large, control actions might be applied only on some parcels of land, for...Bonneau, Mathieu; Johnson, Fred A.; Romagosa, Christina M.