Southwest Biological Science Center

Home

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

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.

Rectangle plots in a dryland landscape containing different restoration treatments.
August 23, 2017

Northern Arizona University published an article that referenced SBSC’s Restoration Assessment & Monitoring Program for the Southwest (RAMPS) program. RAMPS is a program that scientifically tests and explores restoration approaches in the arid Southwest.

Publications

Year Published: 2017

Fine-resolution repeat topographic surveying of dryland landscapes using UAS-based structure-from-motion photogrammetry: Assessing accuracy and precision against traditional ground-based erosion measurements

Structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry from unmanned aerial system (UAS) imagery is an emerging tool for repeat topographic surveying of dryland erosion. These methods are particularly appealing due to the ability to cover large landscapes compared to field methods and at reduced costs and finer spatial resolution compared to airborne laser...

Gillian, Jeffrey K.; Karl, Jason W.; Elaksher, Ahmed; Duniway, Michael C.
Gillan, J.K., Karl, J.W., Elaksher, A., and Duniway, M.C., 2017, Fine-resolution repeat topographic surveying of dryland landscapes using UAS-based structure-from-motion photogrammetry—Assessing accuracy and precision against traditional ground-based erosion measurements: Remote Sensing, v. 9, no. 5, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/rs9050437.

Year Published: 2017

Improving predictions of tropical forest response to climate change through integration of field studies and ecosystem modeling

Tropical forests play a critical role in carbon and water cycles at a global scale. Rapid climate change is anticipated in tropical regions over the coming decades and, under a warmer and drier climate, tropical forests are likely to be net sources of carbon rather than sinks. However, our understanding of tropical forest response and feedback to...

Feng, Xiaohui; Uriarte, María; González, Grizelle; Reed, Sasha C.; Thompson, J.; Zimmerman, Jess K.; Murphy, Lora
Feng, X., Uriarte, M., Gonzalez, G., Reed, S., Thompson, J., Zimmerman, J.K., and Murphy, L., 2017, Improving predictions of tropical forest response to climate change through integration of field studies and ecosystem modeling: Global Change Biology, v. (online), http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1111/gcb.13863.

Year Published: 2017

Maximizing establishment and survivorship of field-collected and greenhouse-cultivated biocrusts in a semi-cold desert

AimsBiological soil crusts (biocrusts) are soil-surface communities in drylands, dominated by cyanobacteria, mosses, and lichens. They provide key ecosystem functions by increasing soil stability and influencing soil hydrologic, nutrient, and carbon cycles. Because of this, methods to reestablish biocrusts in damaged drylands are needed. Here we...

Antoninka, Anita; Bowker, Matthew A.; Chuckran, Peter; Barger, Nicole N.; Reed, Sasha C.; Belnap, Jayne
Antoninka, A., Bowker, M.A., Chuckran, P., Barger, N.N., Reed, S., and Belnap, J., 2017, Maximizing establishment and survivorship of field-collected and greenhouse-cultivated biocrusts in a semi-cold desert: Plant and Soil, v. (online), http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11104-017-3300-3.