Due to a lapse in appropriations, the majority of USGS websites may not be up to date and may not reflect current conditions. Websites displaying real-time data, such as Earthquake and Water and information needed for public health and safety will be updated with limited support. Additionally, USGS will not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted. For more information, please see www.doi.gov/shutdown
- Behavioral ecology of vertebrates
- Conservation biology
- Cumulative effects
- Desert Ecology
- Environmental impacts
- Invasive species ecology
- Monitoring methodology
- Natural areas and preserves
- Population biology
- Species/Population management
- Threatened and endangered species
- Ph.D., Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 1972
- M.A., Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 1968
- B.A., Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 1964
PROFESSIONAL AND HONORARY SOCIETIES AND SCIENCE ADVISORY COMMITTEES
- American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
- Ecological Society of America
- Herpetologists' League
- Research Society of America, Sigma Xi
- Society for Conservation Biology
- Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
- Southern California Academy of Sciences
- Research Wildlife Biologist, Station Mgr., USGS, Western Ecological Science Center, Box Springs Field Station, Riverside, CA, Feb 1997-Present
- Research Wildlife Biologist, USGS, Western Ecological Science Center, Riverside Field Station, Riverside, CA, Nov 1993-Feb 1997
- Staff Supervisor and Research Scientist, Research Branch, Desert Biology US Bureau of Land Management, Riverside, CA, 1988-1993
- Leader: Desert Tortoise Res. & Monitoring Prog., US Bureau of Land Mgt., Riverside, CA, 1983-1988
- Coordinator: Research, Studies, and Monitoring, US Bureau of Land Management, Riverside, CA, 1980-1983
- Staff Leader for Wildlife, CA Desert Plan Prog., US Bureau of Land Management, Riverside, CA, 1974-1980
Science and Products
As resource managers balance the needs of humans and wildlife, WERC’s Dr. Berry provides the necessary science to inform decisions on shared lands. Visit the “Science” tab to delve into specific projects.
The deserts of the Southwest are under increasing pressure from growing human communities. The spread of cities, agricultural fields, grazing livestock, power plants, and other forms of human development in the past and present have affected the region’s natural resources, including its wildlife. WERC’s Dr. Kristin Berry is studying the response of threatened desert tortoises to changing...
WERC wildlife biologist Dr. Kristin Berry has more than forty years of experience studying Agassiz’s desert tortoise. As the lead on several USGS projects, Dr. Berry continues to lend her expertise to investigating the status, genetics, and behavior of Agassiz’s tortoise populations in the Mojave Desert.
Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) was listed as threatened in 1990 under the Endangered Species Act. WERC’s Dr. Kristin Berry leads studies on the cause of diseases in populations of Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise across the Mojave and western Sonoran deserts in southern California.
Deserts in the southwestern United States are experiencing rapid changes due to human activities. The growth of human populations and development of cities and towns affect adjacent rare, threatened, and endangered species and their associated ecosystems in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, and western Arizona.
Crowding affects health, growth, and behavior in headstart pens for Agassiz's desert tortoise
Worldwide, scientists have headstarted threatened and endangered reptiles to augment depleted populations. Not all efforts have been successful. For the threatened Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), one challenge to recovery is poor recruitment of juveniles into adult populations, and this is being addressed through headstart programs...Mack, Jeremy S.; Schneider, Heather E.; Berry, Kristin H.
Gopherus agassizii (Mohave Desert Tortoise). Probable rattlesnake envenomation
No abstract available.Berry, Kristin H.; Shields, Timothy A.; Jacobson, Elliott R.
Enhancing and restoring habitat for the desert tortoise
Habitat has changed unfavorably during the past 150 y for the desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii, a federally threatened species with declining populations in the Mojave Desert and western Sonoran Desert. To support recovery efforts, we synthesized published information on relationships of desert tortoises with three habitat features (cover sites...Abella, Scott R.; Berry, Kristin H.
Desert tortoise annotated bibliography, 1991-2015
Introduction Agassiz’s desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, was considered a single species for 150 years after its discovery by James Cooper (1861), with a geographic range extending from southeastern California, southern Nevada, and southwestern Utah southward into northern Sinaloa, Mexico (Murphy and others, 2011). What was once G....Berry, Kristin H.; Lyren, Lisa M.; Mack, Jeremy S.; Brand, L. Arriana; Wood, Dustin A.
Gopherus agassizii (Agassiz's Desert Tortoise). Attempted predation.
No abstract available.Spenceley, Ashley; Mack, Jeremy S.; Berry, Kristin H.
Factors affecting the thermal environment of Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) cover sites in the Central Mojave Desert during periods of temperature extremes
Agassiz's Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) spend >95% of their lives underground in cover sites that serve as thermal buffers from temperatures, which can fluctuate >40°C on a daily and seasonal basis. We monitored temperatures at 30 active tortoise cover sites within the Soda Mountains, San Bernardino County, California, from...Mack, Jeremy S.; Berry, Kristin H.; Miller, David M.; Carlson, Andrea S.
Bidirectional recovery patterns of Mojave Desert vegetation in an aqueduct pipeline corridor after 36 years: II. Annual plants
We studied recovery of winter annual plants in a 97-m wide disturbed aqueduct corridor in the Mojave Desert 36 years after construction. We established plots at 0, 20, and 40 m from the road verge at the corridor center and at 100 m in undisturbed vegetation. We recorded 47 annual species, of which 41 were native and six were exotic....Berry, Kristin H.; Mack, Jeremy S.; Weigand, James F.; Gowan, Timothy A.; LaBerteaux, Denise
Bidirectional recovery patterns of Mojave Desert vegetation in an aqueduct pipeline corridor after 36 years: I. Perennial shrubs and grasses
We studied recovery of 21 perennial plant species along a severely disturbed aqueduct corridor in a Larrea tridentata-Ambrosia dumosa plant alliance in the Mojave Desert 36 years after construction. The 97-m wide corridor contained a central dirt road and buried aqueduct pipeline. We established transects at 0 m (road verge), 20...Berry, Kristin H.; Weigand, James F.; Gowan, Timothy A.; Mack, Jeremy S.
Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) are selective herbivores that track the flowering phenology of their preferred food plants
Previous studies of desert tortoise foraging ecology in the western Mojave Desert suggest that these animals are selective herbivores, which alter their diet according to the temporal availability of preferred food plants. These studies, however, did not estimate availability of potential food plants by taking into account the spatial and temporal...Jennings, Bryan W.; Berry, Kristin H.
Testing taxon tenacity of tortoises: evidence for a geographical selection gradient at a secondary contact zone
We examined a secondary contact zone between two species of desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii and G. morafkai. The taxa were isolated from a common ancestor during the formation of the Colorado River (4-8 mya) and are a classic example of allopatric speciation. However, an anomalous population of G. agassizii comes into secondary contact with G...Edwards, Taylor; Berry, Kristin H.; Inman, Richard D.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Jones, Cristina A.; Culver, Melanie
Mycoplasma agassizii in Morafka's desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) in Mexico
We conducted health evaluations of 69 wild and 22 captive Morafka's desert tortoises (Gopherus morafkai) in Mexico between 2005 and 2008. The wild tortoises were from 11 sites in the states of Sonora and Sinaloa, and the captive tortoises were from the state-managed Centro Ecológico de Sonora Zoo in Hermosillo and a private residence in the...Berry, Kristin H.; Brown, Mary B.; Vaughn, Mercy; Gowan, Timothy A.; Hasskamp, Mary Ann; Torres, Ma. Cristina Melendez
Models of invasion and establishment of African Mustard (Brassica tournefortii)
Introduced exotic plants can drive ecosystem change. We studied invasion and establishment ofBrassica tournefortii (African mustard), a noxious weed, in the Chemehuevi Valley, western Sonoran Desert, California. We used long-term data sets of photographs, transects for biomass of annual plants, and densities of African mustard collected at...Berry, Kristin H.; Gowan, Timothy A.; Miller, David M.; Brooks, Matthew L.
"The Heat is On: Desert Tortoises and Survival" is a thirty minute television program exploring the world of the Mojave Desert Tortoise. It highlights the USGS research program on the Desert Tortoise and the role of that research in managing desert environments to allow the species to recover and escape the threat of extinction. The program was originally released on...