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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.
Maculata applesnails (Pomacea maculata) are exotic freshwater snails that have been widely introduced along the Gulf of Mexico coast. The snails can significantly impact freshwater macrophytes and reduce the quality of water bodies.
Nutrias (Myocastor coypus) are an aquatic rodent imported from South America to the United States in the 1920-40’s for the fur farms. Since their original importation they have become established in the wild in many regions of the United States.
Maculata applesnails (Pomacea maculata) are exotic freshwater snails that have been widely introduced along the Gulf of Mexico coast. They can significantly impact freshwater macrophytes and reduce water quality.
The Molecular Ecology Laboratory applies genetic and genomic technologies to address a variety of complex questions and conservation issues facing the management of the Nation's fish and wildlife resources. Together with our partners, we design and implement studies to document genetic diversity and the distribution of genetic variation among individuals, populations, and species. Information...
Tropical storms and hurricanes wreak havoc with coastal forests where damage can vary with wind speed and approach from isolated treefalls to wide-area blowdowns of whole forests.
The Gulf sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi, has been listed as Threatened since 1991. Beginning in 1986, USGS has been investigating sturgeon population abundance and ecology throughout its range, but mostly in the Suwannee River.
Monitoring and Assessing Effects of the Picayune Strand Restoration Project (PSRP) on the Florida Manatee
Critical information predicting condition changes in manatee habitat resulting from the alteration of freshwater flows to estuaries is needed to develop the PSRP Detailed Design and PSRP Operations Plan components and complete consultation under the Endangered Species Act.
Seagrass Beds and Manatee Foraging Areas in the Ten Thousand Islands: Mapping and Characterizing by Incorporating Manatee GPS Tracking Data and Habitat Information
Turbid water conditions make the delineation and characterization of benthic habitats difficult by traditional in situ and remote sensing methods. Consequently, only a small fraction of this valuable resource has been mapped or characterized.
This project involves ongoing development of tools for the detection and capture of invasive reptiles in Florida, with an emphasis on Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) and Black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae). The goals are to reduce the risk of reptile invasions in high-value resources such as Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys, to access early detection methods of...
The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) is federal legislation enacted in 1990 designed to identify, prepare, and fund construction of coastal wetlands restoration projects.
Freshwater wetlands provide critical habitat for a diverse array of organisms, including many amphibians. Yet, under the threat of climate change, these habitats are among the most imperiled ecosystems on Earth.
Statistical Models for the Design and Analysis of Environmental DNA (eDNA) Surveys of Invasive and Imperiled Species
Detecting invasive species at low densities or prior to population establishment is critical for successful control and eradication. For example, Burmese pythons occupy thousands of square kilometers of mostly inaccessible habitats.
Effects of salinity and flooding on post-hurricane regeneration potential in coastal wetland vegetation
PREMISE OF THE STUDY: The nature of regeneration dynamics after hurricane flooding and salinity intrusion may play an important role in shaping coastal vegetation patterns. METHODS: The regeneration potentials of coastal species, types and gradients (wetland types from seaward to landward) were studied on the Delmarva Peninsula after Hurricane...Middleton, Beth A.
Book review: Black bass diversity: Multidisciplinary science for conservation
These proceedings are from the third symposium dedicated to management and conservation of black basses in the genus Micropterus. The first symposium was held in 1975 (R. H. Stroud and H. Clepper. Black Bass Biology and Management. Washington (DC): Sport Fishing Institute) followed 25 years later by Black Bass 2000 (D. P. Philipp and M. S. Ridgway...Jelks, Howard L.
Early life history and spatiotemporal changes in distribution of the rediscovered Suwannee moccasinshell Medionidus walkeri (Bivalvia: Unionidae)
Accurate distribution data are critical to the development of conservation and management strategies for imperiled species, particularly for narrow endemics with life history traits that make them vulnerable to extinction. Medionidus walkeri is a rare freshwater mussel endemic to the Suwannee River Basin in southeastern North America....Johnson, Nathan A.; Mcleod, John; Holcomb, Jordan; Rowe, Matthew T.; Williams, James D.
Broken connections of wetland cultural knowledge
As global agriculture intensifies, cultural knowledge of wetland utilization has eroded as natural resources become more stressed, and marginal farmers move away from the land. The excellent paper by Fawzi et al. (2016) documents a particularly poignant case of traditional knowledge loss among the Marsh Arab women of Iraq. Through interviews, the...Middleton, Beth A.
Barriers to and opportunities for landward migration of coastal wetlands with sea-level rise
In the 21st century, accelerated sea-level rise and continued coastal development are expected to greatly alter coastal landscapes across the globe. Historically, many coastal ecosystems have responded to sea-level fluctuations via horizontal and vertical movement on the landscape. However, anthropogenic activities, including urbanization and the...Enwright, Nicholas M.; Griffith, Kereen T.; Osland, Michael J.
Effects of diffusion on total biomass in heterogeneous continuous and discrete-patch systems
Theoretical models of populations on a system of two connected patches previously have shown that when the two patches differ in maximum growth rate and carrying capacity, and in the limit of high diffusion, conditions exist for which the total population size at equilibrium exceeds that of the ideal free distribution, which predicts that the...DeAngelis, Donald L.; Ming Ni, Wei; Zhang, Bo
The structure and composition of Holocene coral reefs in the Middle Florida Keys
The Florida Keys reef tract (FKRT) is the largest coral-reef ecosystem in the continental United States. The modern FKRT extends for 362 kilometers along the coast of South Florida from Dry Tortugas National Park in the southwest, through the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), to Fowey Rocks reef in Biscayne National Park in the...Toth, Lauren T.; Stathakopoulos, Anastasios; Kuffner, Ilsa B.
Spatial and temporal variability in estuary habitat use by American alligators
Estuarine habitat occupied by Alligator mississippiensis, a primarily freshwater species, is spatially and temporally heterogeneous largely due to a salinity gradient that fluctuates. Using long-term night light survey data, we examined seasonal patterns in alligators’ habitat use by size classes in midstream and downstream estuary...Fujisaki, Ikuko; Hart, Kristen M.; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Beauchamp, Jeffrey S.; Jeffery, Brian M.; Brandt, Laura A.
Can you hear me now? Range-testing a submerged passive acoustic receiver array in a Caribbean coral reef habitat
Submerged passive acoustic technology allows researchers to investigate spatial and temporal movement patterns of many marine and freshwater species. The technology uses receivers to detect and record acoustic transmissions emitted from tags attached to an individual. Acoustic signal strength naturally attenuates over distance, but numerous...Selby, Thomas H.; Hart, Kristen M.; Fujisaki, Ikuko; Smith, Brian J.; Pollock, Clayton J; Hillis-Star, Zandy M; Lundgren, Ian; Oli, Madan K.
Betrayal: radio-tagged Burmese pythons reveal locations of conspecifics in Everglades National Park
The “Judas” technique is based on the idea that a radio-tagged individual can be used to “betray” conspecifics during the course of its routine social behavior. The Burmese python (Python bivittatus) is an invasive constrictor in southern Florida, and few methods are available for its control. Pythons are normally solitary...Smith, Brian J.; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Hart, Kristen M.; Rochford, Michael R.; Selby, Thomas H.; Snow, Ray W; Mazzotti, Frank J.
Processes contributing to resilience of coastal wetlands to sea-level rise
The objectives of this study were to identify processes that contribute to resilience of coastal wetlands subject to rising sea levels and to determine whether the relative contribution of these processes varies across different wetland community types. We assessed the resilience of wetlands to sea-level rise along a transitional gradient from...Stagg, Camille L.; Krauss, Ken W.; Cahoon, Donald R.; Cormier, Nicole; Conner, William H.; Swarzenski, Christopher M.
Using Cape Sable seaside sparrow distribution data for water management decision support
The Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis; hereafter sparrow) is endemic to south Florida and a key indicator species of marl prairie, the most diverse freshwater community in the Florida Everglades. Marl prairie habitat is shaped by intermediate levels of disturbances such as flooding, drying, and fire, which maintain...Beerens, James M.; Romañach, Stephanie
Scientists used a core from this Massive Starlet (Siderastrea siderea) coral colony in Dry Tortugas National Park to reconstruct ocean temperatures going back to 1837. Photo: USGS
Oblique aerial photograph near Rodanthe, North Carolina, looking south along the coast on August 30, 2011, three days after landfall of Hurricane Irene.
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
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists collecting bed-sediment samples from Suwanee Creek, Gwinnett County, Georgia, on May 23, 2007.