Kellie Carim, eDNA coordinator for the Genomics Center, collects and processes samples. (Photos by Michael Schwartz (left) and Katie Zarn, U.S. Forest Service)
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research profile.
The U.S. Forest Service has a long history as a leader in conservation genetics, and this recently took an exciting step forward with the launch of the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation.
The Forest Service’s wildlife genetics lab, which has been central to the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s conservation genetics program since 1998, has been reorganized and renamed to better reflect the scope of its work nationwide. The Center is a leading edge facility for advanced genomics research, nationally recognized, and works extensively with states, tribes, universities and private groups to address the management issues of over 60 fish and wildlife species. Read more »
A Limber Pine on the near barren landscape of the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve stands as a strong symbol of the power of one tree. (Photo by Robert Westover, U.S. Forest Service)
The first in a series of blogs honoring the United Nation’s 2015 International Day of Forests
Did you know that carbon dioxide, or CO2, is one of the main contributors to the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change?
And, did you know that one averaged-size tree – say a 30-footer – can store hundreds of pounds of CO2 over its lifetime and even longer if it’s used in building materials for a house or furniture? Read more »
The Eastern hellbender is the largest salamander in North America, reaching lengths of up to 24 inches. Hellbenders need clean streams with high water quality and silt-free streambeds to find their prey and avoid predators. (Copyright photo courtesy Freshwaters Illustrated/Dave Herasimtschuk)
Hiding beneath a pile of rocks in a clear mountain stream flowing from the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina lurks North America’s largest salamander, the Eastern hellbender. It is also locked in battle between its perilous decline and valiant struggle for survival.
Sediment from runoff, prescription and over-the-counter therapeutic and veterinary drugs, personal care products such as soaps, fragrances and cosmetics, other chemical pollutants, and the physical disturbance of its rocky lairs by unknowing recreationalists are all suspects contributing to the hellbender’s decline. Read more »
Musher Heidi Sutter and dog sled team approach the Sourdough checkpoint for a mandatory rest period during the Copper Basin 300 dog sled race. Federal agency land management volunteers met in Glenallen, population less than 500, to lend support for event success. (Photo courtesy of Photography on the Kenai/Robert Parsons)
Think Alaska in the winter: a large land canvas of powdery, granular or icy snow and days of often very, very cold weather.
With those conditions, it’s off to the races for some of the heartiest Alaskan sled dogs and volunteers like U.S. Forest Service employee Carol Teitzel, who works in the U.S. Forest Service Alaska Region and who lent her support to the excitement and challenge of this year’s Copper Basin 300 Sled Dog Race.
The 310-mile competition counts as a qualifying race for the nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod, the most popular dog sled race, and the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest, sometimes called the world’s toughest dog sled race. Read more »
Tim Fisher, a landowner in Baker County, Oregon, recently completed forest stand improvements on 232 acres of his land in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Like many woodland owners in eastern Oregon, Tim Fisher enjoys and appreciates the value wildlife brings to his 1,500-plus acres in Baker County.
“I love watching the elk up here,” he said as he drove his pickup truck up a steep dirt road on his property, a mountainous view surrounding him. “I come up here to watch them at sunrise, and it’s beautiful.”
Thanks to technical and financial assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and help from other agencies, Fisher is doing work on his land to make wildlife habitat even better — while also reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Read more »
Healthy seagrass meadows prevent erosion on coasts, store carbon, and provide marine animals with food and habitat. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency)
Just off Florida’s 8,000 miles of coastline and tidal areas, in shallow sunlit waters, over two million acres of seagrass meadows waft in the ocean currents.
Besides providing food and habitat for manatees, sea turtles, shellfish, and other animals, seagrasses protect coasts from erosion and store vast quantities of carbon dioxide.
“Seagrasses grow off the coast of many other U.S. states, including North Carolina and Virginia, as well as around the world,” said U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station scientist Zanethia Choice. “Globally, their economic value is nearly $4 trillion.” Read more »