Southwest Biological Science Center

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The Southwest Biological Science Center (SBSC) conducts quality, objective research on the lands and aquatic systems of the Southwest. This research can assist those who manage, conserve, and rehabilitate the arid regions of the nation. Click on SCIENCE in the sidebar to the left to explore SBSC science in more detail.

Terrestrial Dryland Ecology Branch

Terrestrial Dryland Ecology Branch

The Terrestrial Dryland Ecology (TDE) Branch of the SBSC studies the biology, ecology,and processes of semi-arid and arid lands (known as drylands). TDE researchers study plant-soil-water relationships and the wildlife found in drylands.

TDE Science

River Ecosystem Science Branch

River Ecosystem Science Branch

The River Ecosystem Science (RES) Branch of the SBSC, which includes the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC), studies the biology, ecology, and processes of the rivers in the Southwest.

RES (GCMRC) Science

News

Dryland agriculture in the Northwestern Great Plains ecoregion.
October 17, 2017

Future high temperature extremes and soil moisture conditions may cause some regions to become more suitable for rainfed, or non-irrigated, agriculture, while causing other areas to lose suitable farmland, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.  

A wildfire in a forest
September 7, 2017

A growing number of wildfire-burned areas throughout the western United States are expected to increase soil erosion rates within watersheds, causing more sediment to be present in downstream rivers and reservoirs, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Image: Burning Sagebrush
September 6, 2017

An examination of long-term data for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management finds that land treatments in the southwestern United States are increasingly large, expensive and related to fire and invasive species control.

Publications

Year Published: 2017

Variability in eddy sandbar dynamics during two decades of controlled flooding of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

Sandbars are iconic features of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S.A. Following completion of Glen Canyon Dam in 1963, sediment deficit conditions caused erosion of eddy sandbars throughout much of the 360 km study reach downstream from the dam. Controlled floods in 1996, 2004, and 2008 demonstrated that sand on the channel...

Mueller, Erich R.; Grams, Paul E.; Hazel, Joseph E.; Schmidt, John C.
Mueller, E.R., Grams, P.E., Hazel Jr., J.E., and Schmidt, J.C., 2017, in press, Variability in eddy sandbar dynamics during two decades of controlled flooding of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon: Sedimentary Geology, v. (online), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sedgeo.2017.11.007.

Year Published: 2017

Hatching success and predation of Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) eggs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Nest-site selection by most turtles affects the survival of females and their offspring. Although bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) do not typically leave their wetlands for nesting, nest-site selection can impact hatching success and hatchling survival. Between 1974 and 2012, we monitored the fates of 258 bog turtle eggs incubated in the field...

Zappalorti, Robert T.; Tutterow, Annalee M.; Pittman, Shannon E.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.
Zappalorti, R.T., Tutterow, A.L., Pittman, S.E., and Lovich, J.E., 2017, in press, Hatching success and predation of bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) eggs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Chelonian Conservation and Biology, v. (online), https://doi.org/10.2744/CCB-1237.1.

Year Published: 2017

Estimating disperser abundance using open population models that incorporate data from continuous detection PIT arrays

Autonomous passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag antenna systems continuously detect individually marked organisms at one or more fixed points over long time periods. Estimating abundance using data from autonomous antennae can be challenging, because these systems do not detect unmarked individuals. Here we pair PIT antennae data from a...

Dzul, Maria C.; Yackulic, Charles B.; Korman, Josh
Dzul, M.C., Yackulic, C.B., and Korman, J., 2017, Estimating disperser abundance using open population models that incorporate data from continuous detection PIT arrays: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, v. (online), https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2017-0304.