Monday, May 23, 2011

The Inouye Database: An Interactive Bibliography of Pollination Publications

A new resource for pollinator and pollination research is now available online at  The Inouye Database contains almost 10,000 bibliographic citations from articles and books published from 1793 to the present. It includes some obscure works on pollination biology, flowering phenology, plant demography, and plant-animal interactions such as ant-plant mutualisms, nectar robbing, and animal-mediated pollination.

Dr. David W. Inouye, Professor,
Department of Biology,
University of Maryland.
Credit: Dr. David Inouye
Dr. Inouye sought the assistance of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), a program administered by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to take on task of making it available to the broader research community. The USGS-NBII agreed to Web enable the database and develop an administrative interface that would facilitate updates and maintenance.

As a living dataset that Dr. Inouye and other scientists will continue to contribute to, the Inouye Database is now accessible online and available for others to download in extensible markup language and tab delimited text–file formats.

The USGS-NBII plans to continue collaborating with Dr. Inouye on improvements to the database and welcomes feedback on the Web site and ideas for other potential applications for this type of dataset.

Friday, May 20, 2011

USGS Scientist Participates in Loudoun County, VA, Board of Supervisors Meeting

On June 6, Elizabeth Sellers, Manager – USGS Pollinator Project, will represent the group informally known as the “Bee Team” at a Loudoun County Board of Supervisors meeting. The meeting will be dedicated to recognizing the importance of pollinators (which include bees) as well as noting the state of Virginia’s declaration of National Pollinator Week (June 20-26). Ms. Sellers and the “Bee Team” are currently carrying out the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve Bee Inventory.  Objectives of the inventory include: (1) assess species diversity of this Loudoun County preserve; (2) evaluate the effectiveness of the sampling methodology; and (3) evaluate the feasibility of conducting this type of survey as a citizen science project. The survey was initiated in 2010 with help from Sam Droege of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Native Bee Lab. The survey will be completed in October 2011.

(Photo: A male Agapostomen splendens: A bee of sandy areas also known as the "sweat bee." Photographer: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cactus Moth Detection and Monitoring Network Grows in Size

Cactus moth is best known as a biocontrol species used in Australia and Africa. It entered the United States in the early 1990s and now poses a serious ecological threat to all 63 native flat pad prickly pear cacti (Opuntia spp.) in North America. It is also an economic threat to Mexico, where prickly pear cacti are grown as a fresh vegetable and livestock feed. The cactus moth is spreading westward in the southern United States naturally at a rate of about 100 miles annually. Invasive Species Information Node (ISIN) partners at Mississippi State University (MSU) cooperating with U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have established a National Cactus Moth Early Detection and Monitoring Network with an online presence. Victor Maddox (MSU) spent more than two weeks in June and July mapping cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) host plants between Los Angeles, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and southern Louisiana.

(Photo: comparison between the native moth Melitara and Cactoblastis cactus moth.  Courtesy of the National Cactus Moth Early Detection and Monitoring Network website; right: map displaying prickly pear locations and cactus Moth locations).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Invasive Species Information Node (ISIN) Partners at Mississippi State University Geosystems Research Institute, Study the Control of Invasive Parrotfeather (Myriophyllum aquaticum)

Parrotfeather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) is an invasive aquatic plant in the United States that has become a popular plant in the water garden industry. Parrotfeather is often overlooked as a nuisance until sizable populations are present which have proven themselves to be difficult to control using a variety of management techniques.  The USGS-NBII Program Invasive Species Information Node (ISIN) Partners at Mississippi State University Geosystems Research Institute John Madsen and his graduate student Ryan Wersal from Mississippi State University Geosystems Research Institute performed experiments which found that the most effective herbicides for parrotfeather control are diquat, 2,4-D, and triclopyr, with repeated applications. Their findings were published in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management.

(Photo: Parrotfeather is a native of the Amazon River in South America, but it has naturalized worldwide, especially in warmer climates. In the United States, the plant is found throughout the southern United States and northward along both coasts.Courtesy of Washington State Department of Ecology, Non-native Invasive Freshwater Plants website).

Friday, May 6, 2011

USGS to Host Inter-Agency Scientific & Technical Information Managers Meeting

On May 12, the USGS Biological Informatics Program, Core Science Systems Mission Area, will host a bimonthly meeting of the Inter-Agency Scientific and Technical Information (STI) Managers Group, CENDI. The meeting will take place in the Visitors' Center at USGS Headquarters in Reston, VA. CENDI consists of STI representatives from the major federal science agencies, the national libraries, and agencies involved in STI dissemination. CENDI members discuss common topics that stimulate more effective inter-agency cooperation. The morning session of the May 12 meeting will include a USGS Agency Showcase of information projects, as well as presentations from, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development.  Contact Annie Simpson for more information.

(Image: CENDI logo, from

Friday, April 22, 2011

USGS Celebrates Earth Day 2011

Earth Day was conceived more than 40 years ago in the wake of the horrific Santa Barbara oil spill. On the one year anniversary of yet another major marine oil-spill disaster, it is important for us to remember why paying attention to our planet is so important.  See what USGS Director Marcia McNutt has to say about how the USGS celebrates Earth Day every day: Studying What Matters: Director Marcia McNutt’s 2011 Earth Day Message

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vegetation Characterization Products Now Available for Bryce Canyon National Park

USGS-National Park Service (NPS) Vegetation Characterization Program (VCP) documentation for Bryce Canyon National Park has been completed and is available on the VCP Web site. Bryce Canyon National Park products include aerial photography - graphic of orthophoto mosaic, spatial orthophoto data, and flightline index; project report - photointerpretation key, vegetation descriptions, vegetation key, photos of map class, and accuracy assessment; field data - graphic of field plots, field database, physical descriptive for plots, species list for plots, and plot and AA photos; geospatial vegetation information - graphic of vegetation communities and geodatabase; accuracy assessment information - graphic of accuracy assessment points, and contingency matrix;  metadata, and a link to NPS information about Bryce Canyon National Park. The goal of the VCP is to classify and map the vegetation communities of National Parks that have a natural resource component. Complete documentation is currently available for one hundred nine park units and two U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge units. The VCP is managed by the USGS Center for Biological Informatics in cooperation with the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program. The USGS Vegetation Characterization effort includes the management and upkeep of the VCP protocols, Web-based access to the standards, and the Web-based access to NPS Vegetation Characterization program finished products.