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: 2018

The response of source-bordering aeolian dunefields to sediment-supply changes 1: Effects of wind variability and river-valley morphodynamics

Source-bordering dunefields (SBDs), which are primarily built and maintained with river-derived sediment, are found in many large river valleys and are currently impacted by changes in sediment supply due to climate change, land use changes, and river regulation. Despite their importance, a physically based, applied approach for quantifying the...

Sankey, Joel B.; Kasprak, Alan; Caster, Joshua; East, Amy; Fairley, Helen C.
Sankey, J.B., Kasprak, A., Caster, J.J., East, A.E., and Fairley, H., 2018, The response of source-bordering aeolian dunefields to sediment-supply changes 1--Effects of wind variability and river-valley morphodynamics: Aeolian Research, v. 32, p. 228-245, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2018.02.005.

Year Published: 2018

The response of source-bordering aeolian dunefields to sediment-supply changes 2: Controlled floods of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

In the Colorado River downstream of Glen Canyon Dam in the Grand Canyon, USA, controlled floods are used to resupply sediment to, and rebuild, river sandbars that have eroded severely over the past five decades owing to dam-induced changes in river flow and sediment supply. In this study, we examine whether controlled floods, can in turn resupply...

Sankey, Joel B.; Caster, Joshua; Kasprak, Alan; East, Amy
Sankey, J.B., Caster, J.J., Kasprak, A., and East, A.E., 2018, The response of source-bordering aeolian dunefields to sediment-supply changes 2--Controlled floods of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA: Aeolian Research, v. 32, p. 154-169, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2018.02.004.

Year Published: 2018

Convergent validity between willingness to pay elicitation methods: an application to Grand Canyon whitewater boaters

We directly compare trip willingness to pay (WTP) values between dichotomous choice contingent valuation (DCCV) and discrete choice experiment (DCE) stated preference surveys of private party Grand Canyon whitewater boaters. The consistency of DCCV and DCE estimates is debated in the literature, and this study contributes to the body of work...

Neher, Christopher; Bair, Lucas S.; Duffield, John; Patterson, David A.; Neher, Katherine
Neher, C., Bair, L.S., Duffield, J., Patterson, D., and Neher, K., 2018, Exploring convergent validity between willingness to pay elicitation methods—An application to Grand Canyon whitewater boaters: Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, v. (online), https://doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2018.1435411.