Another year draws to an end -- and another year of work by USGS biologists who monitor the status and trends of our nation's wildlife and natural resources.
Sometimes, painstaking research that take place season after season and year after year are necessary to understand the fundamental processes and major changes in our ecosystems.
These long-term status and trends projects can even span decades, and they paint a more comprehensive history of the health and condition of wildlife populations or natural habitats. Resource managers and public officials can then better understand how best to address these environmental changes.
At WERC, these projects include counting bat species around San Francisco
by listening to their unique calls, and monitoring an intriguing population growth of California gulls
. They include research on the threatened Mojave desert tortoise -- of which some individuals were tracked for 40 years!
To check out a list of status and trends projects at WERC, go to http://www.werc.usgs.gov/ResearchTopicPage.aspx?id=15
-- Ben Young Landis
Top: Bat populations can provide ecosystem services, such as preying on insect vectors of human diseases. Image credit: USGS.