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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.
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.
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.
Our scientists conduct research studies focused on geologic mapping, sampling and understanding of mineral and energy resources and studies of the geologic setting and processes to inform renewable energy development offshore.
We bring together multidisciplinary expertise focused on developing tools and models to improve understanding of how healthy ecosystems function as well as how they respond to environmental changes and human impacts including ecosystem restoration. Research studies address coral reef, coastal wetland, benthic habitat and groundwater resources.
Hydrologic restoration is one of several approaches to rehabilitate mangroves on a large-scale. USGS evaluates how solely restoring tidal hydrologic flows affect the recovery of mangroves in Florida.
As tidal freshwater forested wetlands - TFFWs - are influenced by salinty due to salt water intrusion, they may experience changes in plant community composition, growth, and productivity. Models are needed to predict vegetation community change or dieback, as well as changes in carbon sequestration and storage due to changing climate, drought, changes in freshwater discharge, elevated carbon...
Modeling Landscape-Scale Habitat Relations for Landbirds During Migration: Science Support for the Gulf Coast Joint Venture
USGS uses weather surveillance radar data and landscape-scale habitat metrics to model bird-habitat connections along the western coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
Tidal freshwater forested wetlands - TFFWs - can be found in the upper intertidal areas of many estuaries and act as a transition between coastal marshes and bottomland hardwood wetlands. However, it is because of their location that makes them vulnerable to sea-level rise, and they are constantly transitioning to different wetland types. USGS addresses how various processes are affected in...
USGS research in the Florida Everglades will provide information on how environmental conditions and disturbances impact carbon storage in mangrove systems.
Coastal wetlands provide valuable ecosystem services such as wave attenuation, surge reduction, carbon sequestration, wastewater treatment, and critical habitats for endangered fish and wildlife species. However, wetland loss threatens the capacity of coastal wetlands to provide these ecosystem services.
The Coastwise Reference Monitoring System was designed to monitor the effectiveness of restoration actions at individual sites, as well as across the entire Louisiana coast.
Mangroves will compete with salt marsh plants in transitional areas, and recent studies have documented the expansion of mangroves into marsh habitats. To better understand the plant community dynamics in this transition zone, USGS scientists are tracking vegeation changes over time in south Florida.
Crocodylus acutus (American Crocodile). Long distance juvenile movement
Crocodylus acutus (American Crocodile) is the most widely distributed New World crocodilian species with its range extending from Peru in the south to the southern tip of peninsular Florida in the north. Crocodylus acutus occupies primarily coastal brackish water habitat, however it also occurs in freshwater to hypersaline habitats (Thorbjarnarson...Crespo, Rafael; Beauchamp, Jeffrey S.; Mazzotti, Frank; Cherkiss, Michael S.
A spatial individual-based model predicting a great impact of copious sugar sources and resting sites on survival of Anopheles gambiae and malaria parasite transmission
BackgroundAgent-based modelling (ABM) has been used to simulate mosquito life cycles and to evaluate vector control applications. However, most models lack sugar-feeding and resting behaviours or are based on mathematical equations lacking individual level randomness and spatial components of mosquito life. Here, a spatial individual-based model (...Zhu, Lin; Qualls, Whitney A.; Marshall, John M; Arheart, Kris L.; DeAngelis, Donald L.; McManus, John W.; Traore, Sekou F.; Doumbia, Seydou; Schlein, Yosef; Muller, Gunter C.; Beier, John C.
Occupancy estimation for rare species using a spatially-adaptive sampling design
Summary 1. Spatially clustered populations create unique challenges for conservation monitoring programmes. Advances in methodology typically are focused on either the design or the modelling stage of the study but do not involve integration of both. 2. We integrate adaptive cluster sampling and spatial occupancy modelling by developing two models...Pacifici, Krishna; Reich, Brian J.; Dorazio, Robert; Conroy, Michael J.
Assessment of environmental DNA for detecting presence of imperiled aquatic amphibian species in isolated wetlands
Environmental DNA (eDNA) is an emerging tool that allows low-impact sampling for aquatic species by isolating DNA from water samples and screening for DNA sequences specific to species of interest. However, researchers have not tested this method in naturally acidic wetlands that provide breeding habitat for a number of imperiled species,...Mckee, Anna; Calhoun, Daniel L.; Barichivich, William J.; Spear, Stephen F.; Goldberg, Caren S.; Glenn, Travis C
Incorporating future change into current conservation planning: Evaluating tidal saline wetland migration along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast under alternative sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios
In this study, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, quantified the potential for landward migration of tidal saline wetlands along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast under alternative future sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios. Our analyses focused exclusively on tidal saline wetlands (that is,...Enwright, Nicholas M.; Griffith, Kereen T.; Osland, Michael J.
Defining conservation targets on a landscape-scale
Conservation planning, the process of deciding how to protect, conserve, enhance and(or) minimize loss of natural and cultural resources, is a fundamental process to achieve conservation success in a time of rapid environmental change. Conservation targets, the measurable expressions of desired resource conditions, are an important tool in...Benscoter, A.M.; Romañach, Stephanie; Brandt, Laura A.
Plant-plant interactions in a subtropical mangrove-to-marsh transition zone: effects of environmental drivers
Questions Does the presence of herbaceous vegetation affect the establishment success of mangrove tree species in the transition zone between subtropical coastal mangrove forests and marshes? How do plant–plant interactions in this transition zone respond to variation in two primary coastal environmental drivers? Location Subtropical...Howard, Rebecca J.; Krauss, Ken W.; Cormier, Nicole; Day, Richard H.; Biagas, Janelda M.; Allain, Larry K.
Habitat use patterns of the invasive red lionfish Pterois volitans: a comparison between mangrove and reef systems in San Salvador, Bahamas
The Indo-Pacific red lionfish Pterois volitans is widespread both in its native and its non-native habitats. The rapid invasion of this top predator has had a marked negative effect on fish populations in the Western Atlantic and the Caribbean. It is now well documented that lionfish are invading many tropical and sub-tropical habitats....Pimiento, Catalina; Nifong, James C.; Hunter, Margaret E.; Monaco, Eric; Silliman, Brian R.
Predicting ecological responses of the Florida Everglades to possible future climate scenarios: Introduction
Florida’s Everglades stretch from the headwaters of the Kissimmee River near Orlando to Florida Bay. Under natural conditions in this flat landscape, water flowed slowly downstream as broad, shallow sheet flow. The ecosystem is markedly different now, altered by nutrient pollution and construction of canals, levees, and water control structures...Aumen, Nicholas G.; Havens, Karl E; Best, G. Ronnie; Berry, Leonard
Wide-ranging phylogeographic structure of invasive red lionfish in the Western Atlantic and Greater Caribbean
The red lionfish (Pterois volitans) is an invasive predatory marine fish that has rapidly expanded its presence in the Western Hemisphere. We collected 214 invasive red lionfish samples from nine countries and territories, including seven unpublished locations. To more comprehensively evaluate connectivity, we compiled our d-loop sequence ...Butterfield, John S.; Díaz-Ferguson, Edgardo; Silliman, Brian R.; Saunders, Jonathan W.; Buddo, Dayne; Mignucci-Giannoni, Antonio A.; Searle, Linda; Allen, Aarin Conrad; Hunter, Margaret E.
Value of information in natural resource management: technical developments and application to pink-footed geese
The “value of information” (VOI) is a generic term for the increase in value resulting from better information to guide management, or alternatively, the value foregone under uncertainty about the impacts of management (Yokota and Thompson, Medical Decision Making 2004;24: 287). The value of information can be characterized...Williams, Byron K.; Johnson, Fred A.
Evaluating the piscicide rotenone as an option for eradication of invasive Mozambique tilapia in a Hawaiian brackish-water wetland complex
Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus were recently discovered in ‘Aimakapā Fishpond, a 12-hectare brackish-water wetland complex in Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, on the Island of Hawai’i. As a possible eradication method, we evaluated rotenone, a natural piscicide used in fish management and the active...Nico, Leo; Englund, Ronald A.; Jelks, Howard L.