Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)

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The Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) is a USGS Ecosystems Mission Area operation serving primarily California and Nevada. WERC scientists work closely with Federal, State, academic, and other collaborators to address a diverse array of high-profile topics. Topics include research on effects of wildfire, sea level rise, drought, energy development and more on federal Trust species.

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News

Collage of reptiles and amphibians affected by roads
May 17, 2018

In a new study, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists ranked more than 160 species and sub-species of reptiles and amphibians in terms of their vulnerability to vehicle strikes and habitat fragmentation from roadways. Their results are published in the journal Landscape Ecology.

Photo of USGS biological science tech Shannon Waters holding a salmon for release
April 13, 2018

WERC biological science technician Shannon Waters is part of a research team studying the effects of warming water temperatures on Chinook salmon. On Tuesday, April 3rd, she visited the California State University, Sacramento to talk to students and the interested public about the team's findings.

Young skunk with ear tag ID
March 20, 2018

It's the first day of spring! Don't be surprised if you see young skunks scampering around California's inland marshes with an ear tag ID and a lightweight GPS collar -- it's for science.

Publications

Year Published: 2018

Leaf to landscape responses of giant sequoia to hotter drought: An introduction and synthesis for the special section

Hotter droughts are becoming more common as climate change progresses, and they may already have caused instances of forest dieback on all forested continents. Learning from hotter droughts, including where on the landscape forests are more or less vulnerable to these events, is critical to help resource managers proactively prepare for the future...

Nydick, Koren R.; Stephenson, Nathan L.; Ambrose, Anthony R.; Asner, Gregory P.; Baxter, Wendy L.; Das, Adrian J.; Dawson, Todd E.; Martin, Roberta E.; Paz-Kagan, Tarin
Koren R. Nydick, Nathan L. Stephenson, Anthony R. Ambrose, Gregory P. Asner, Wendy L. Baxter, Adrian J. Das, Todd Dawson, Roberta E. Martin, Tarin Paz-Kagan, Leaf to landscape responses of giant sequoia to hotter drought: An introduction and synthesis for the special section, Forest Ecology and Management, Volumes 419–420, 2018, Pages 249-256, ISSN 0378-1127, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2018.03.028.

Year Published: 2018

Distribution and demography of San Francisco gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) at Mindego Ranch, Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, San Mateo County, California

San Francisco gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) are a subspecies of common gartersnakes endemic to the San Francisco Peninsula of northern California. Because of habitat loss and collection for the pet trade, San Francisco gartersnakes were listed as endangered under the precursor to the Federal Endangered Species Act. A population of...

Kim, Richard; Halstead, Brian J.; Wylie, Glenn D.; Casazza, Michael L.
Kim, R., Halstead, B.J., Wylie, G.D., and Casazza, M.L., 2018, Distribution and demography of San Francisco gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) at Mindego Ranch, Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, San Mateo County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1063, 80 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181063.

Year Published: 2018

Remote measurement of canopy water content in giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) during drought

California experienced severe drought from 2012 to 2016, and there were visible changes in the forest canopy throughout the State. In 2014, unprecedented foliage dieback was recorded in giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) trees in Sequoia National Park, in the southern California Sierra Nevada mountains. Although visible changes in sequoia...

Martin, Roberta E.; Asner, Gregory P.; Francis, Emily; Ambrose, Anthony; Baxter, Wendy; Das, Adrian J.; Vaughn, Nicolas R.; Paz-Kagan, Tarin; Dawson, Todd E.; Nydick, Koren R.; Stephenson, Nathan L.
Roberta E. Martin, Gregory P. Asner, Emily Francis, Anthony Ambrose, Wendy Baxter, Adrian J. Das, Nicolas R. Vaughn, Tarin Paz-Kagan, Todd Dawson, Koren Nydick, Nathan L. Stephenson, Remote measurement of canopy water content in giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) during drought, Forest Ecology and Management, Volumes 419–420, 2018, Pages 279-290, ISSN 0378-1127, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2017.12.002.