A. Keith Miles
- Community ecology
- Cumulative effects
- Invertebrate ecology
- Marine mammal ecology
- Nearshore marine ecology
- Ph.D., Wildlife Ecology, Oregon State University 1987
- M.S., Wildlife Biology, Oregon State University 1976
- B.S., Zoology, Howard University 1972
PROFESSIONAL AND HONORARY SOCIETIES AND SCIENCE ADVISORY COMMITTEES
- Ecological Society of America
- Estuarine Research Federation
- Northern California Chapter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
- Pacific Estuarine Research Society
- The Wildlife Society
- Research Biologist, USGS, Western Ecological Research Center, Jun 1997-present
- Graduate Faculty, Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California, Davis, Jan 1998-present
- Research Biologist, National Biological Service, Davis, California, Oct 1993-Jun 1997
- Research Biologist, USFWS, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, Maryland, Jul 1986-Oct 1993
Science and Products
In 2012, scientists noticed that nearly a third of polar bears sampled in a study in Alaska were suffering from hair loss and poor health. Drs. Lizabeth Bowen and A. Keith Miles of WERC used new technology to track down and identify the factors responsible for driving disease in Alaskan polar bears.
The Mojave desert tortoise is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act and faces threats from habitat loss, predators, and disease. Drs. Lizabeth Bowen and A. Keith Miles with WERC are designing new methods to determine the type and influence of stressors present in the environment for the tortoise and other wildlife.
Yukon Chinook salmon support a thriving fishery and local economies in parts of Alaska. However, the fish have declined to low numbers, prompting several disaster declarations by state and federal governments. Drs. A. Keith Miles and Lizabeth Bowen are examining possible links between increasing water temperatures and decreases in Chinook salmon populations of the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region.
Environmental stressors such as contaminants and disease can cause physiological imbalance in all types of wildlife. WERC’s Drs. Lizabeth Bowen and A. Keith Miles develop gene transcription profiles to detect organisms’ physiological responses to environmental stressors and provide resource managers with early warnings for potential effects on wildlife and ecosystem health.
WERC is headquartered on the campus of California State University Sacramento and is aptly known as the ‘center without walls.’ The Center's headquarters houses management and administrative staff that support the dispersed science structure of WERC scientists which are located at or near ecosystems aligned with their expertise and often co-located with or near DOI partners at field stations in California and Nevada bioregions.
Gene transcription patterns in response to low level petroleum contaminants in Mytilus trossulus from field sites and harbors in southcentral Alaska
The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill damaged a wide range of natural resources, including intertidal communities, and post-spill studies demonstrated acute and chronic exposure and injury to an array of species. Standard toxicological methods to evaluate petroleum contaminants have assessed tissue burdens, with fewer assays providing...Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Waters, Shannon C.; Bodkin, James L.; Lindeberg, Mandy; Esler, Daniel N.
Coupling gene-based and classic veterinary diagnostics improves interpretation of health and immune function in the Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)
The analysis of blood constituents is a widely used tool to aid in monitoring of animal health and disease. However, classic blood diagnostics (i.e. hematologic and plasma biochemical values) often do not provide sufficient information to determine the state of an animal’s health. Field studies on wild tortoises and other reptiles have had limited...Drake, Karla K.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lewison, Rebecca L.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Braun, Josephine; Waters, Shannon C.; Miles, A. Keith
Southern sea otter range expansion and habitat use in the Santa Barbara Channel, California
The re-colonization of the Santa Barbara channel by sea otters brings these ESA-listed marine mammals closer to active oil and gas production facilities, shipping lanes and naturally occurring oil and gas seeps. However, the degree to which sea otters may actually be affected by human-caused oil spills or exposure to natural oil seeps is currently...Tinker, M. Tim; Tomoleoni, Joseph; LaRoche, Nicole; Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Murray, Mike; Staedler, Michelle; Randell, Zachary
Negative impacts of invasive plants on conservation of sensitive desert wildlife
Habitat disturbance from development, resource extraction, off-road vehicle use, and energy development ranks highly among threats to desert systems worldwide. In the Mojave Desert, United States, these disturbances have promoted the establishment of nonnative plants, so that native grasses and forbs are now intermixed with, or have been replaced...Drake, K. Kristina; Bowen, Lizabeth; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Esque, Todd C.; Berger, Andrew J.; Custer, Nathan; Waters, Shannon C.; Johnson, Jay D.; Miles, A. Keith; Lewison, Rebecca L.
U.S. Geological Survey science strategy for highly pathogenic avian influenza in wildlife and the environment (2016–2020)
IntroductionThrough the Science Strategy for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Wildlife and the Environment, the USGS will assess avian influenza (AI) dynamics in an ecological context to inform decisions made by resource managers and policymakers from the local to national level. Through collection of unbiased scientific information on...Harris, M. Camille; Pearce, John M.; Prosser, Diann J.; White, C. LeAnn; Miles, A. Keith; Sleeman, Jonathan M.; Brand, Christopher J.; Cronin, James P.; De La Cruz, Susan; Densmore, Christine L.; Doyle, Thomas W.; Dusek, Robert J.; Fleskes, Joseph P.; Flint, Paul L.; Guala, Gerald F.; Hall, Jeffrey S.; Hubbard, Laura E.; Hunt, Randall J.; Ip, Hon S.; Katz, Rachel A.; Laurent, Kevin W.; Miller, Mark P.; Munn, Mark D.; Ramey, Andy M.; Richards, Kevin D.; Russell, Robin E.; Stokdyk, Joel P.; Takekawa, John Y.; Walsh, Daniel P.
Gene transcript profiling in sea otters post-Exxon Valdez oil spill: A tool for marine ecosystem health assessment
Using a panel of genes stimulated by oil exposure in a laboratory study, we evaluated gene transcription in blood leukocytes sampled from sea otters captured from 2006–2012 in western Prince William Sound (WPWS), Alaska, 17–23 years after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS). We compared WPWS sea otters to reference...Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Waters, Shannon C.; Bodkin, James L.
Impacts of introduced Rangifer on ecosystem processes of maritime tundra on subarctic islands
Introductions of mammalian herbivores to remote islands without predators provide a natural experiment to ask how temporal and spatial variation in herbivory intensity alter feedbacks between plant and soil processes. We investigated ecosystem effects resulting from introductions of Rangifer tarandus (hereafter “Rangifer”) to...Ricca, Mark; Miles, A. Keith; Van Vuren, Dirk H.; Eviner, Valerie T.
USGS role and response to highly pathogenic avian influenza
Avian influenza viruses are naturally occurring in wild birds such as ducks, geese, swans, and gulls. These viruses generally do not cause illness in wild birds, however, when spread to poultry they can be highly pathogenic and cause illness and death in backyard and commercial farms. Outbreaks may cause devastating agricultural economic losses...Harris, M. Camille; Miles, A. Keith; Pearce, John M.; Prosser, Diann J.; Sleeman, Jonathan M.; Whalen, Mary E.
Gene transcription in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from disparate populations
Polar bears in the Beaufort (SB) and Chukchi (CS) Seas experience different environments due primarily to a longer history of sea ice loss in the Beaufort Sea. Ecological differences have been identified as a possible reason for the generally poorer body condition and reproduction of Beaufort polar bears compared to those from the Chukchi, but the...Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Waters, Shannon C.; Meyerson, Randi; Rode, Karyn D.; Atwood, Todd C.
Enhanced biological processes associated with alopecia in polar bears (Ursus maritimus)
Populations of wildlife species worldwide experience incidents of mass morbidity and mortality. Primary or secondary drivers of these events may escape classical detection methods for identifying microbial insults, toxin exposure, or additional stressors. In 2012, 28% of polar bears sampled in a study in the southern Beaufort Sea region of Alaska...Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Stott, Jeffrey L.; Waters, Shannon C.; Atwood, Todd C.
Integrating gene transcription-based biomarkers to understand desert tortoise and ecosystem health
Tortoises are susceptible to a wide variety of environmental stressors, and the influence of human disturbances on health and survival of tortoises is difficult to detect. As an addition to current diagnostic methods for desert tortoises, we have developed the first leukocyte gene transcription biomarker panel for the desert tortoise (Gopherus...Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Drake, Karla K.; Waters, Shannon C.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.
Effects of fire on small mammal communities in frequent-fire forests in California
Fire is a natural, dynamic process that is integral to maintaining ecosystem function. The reintroduction of fire (e.g., prescribed fire, managed wildfire) is a critical management tool for protecting many frequent-fire forests against stand-replacing fires while restoring an essential ecological process. Understanding the effects of fire on...Roberts, Susan L.; Kelt, Douglas A.; Van Wagtendonk, Jan W.; Miles, A. Keith; Meyer, Marc D.
Ecological Stressors: It's a Lot of 'WERC'
"There's is no place like California" by A. Keith Miles, Center Director, USGS Western Ecological Research Center
Highlights of the science of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center:
- Wildlife, drought, sea level rise
- Endangered species, species of concern
- Alternate energy, urbanization, species connectivity