Western Ecological Research Center (WERC)
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.
WERC science is driven forward by our scientists and staff.Research Scientists
Stories from the Field
Find out fun and interesting information uncovered from the field.Learn More
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.