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Did You Know?

Did You Know... Reference on Site
that among all vectors, ticks have the distinction of transmitting the widest diversity of microbes that are harmful to humans? Ticks can harbor and transmit a wide diversity of pathogens simultaneously. Viruses, bacteria, and protozoan parasites are all transmitted by ticks. Most health problems in humans result from pathogens being transmitted to humans from ticks during blood meals.
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that emerging diseases like West Nile Virus that infect both wildlife and humans and that are actively transmitted between them require wildlife biologists to assist public health authorities? In the collaboration between wildlife scientists and epidemiologists, research on wildlife species addresses the ecological, physiological, and behavioral aspects of the disease in animals, providing insights into how wildlife species maintain and spread the disease to people.
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that autumnal die-offs, involving hundreds of migratory birds, occurred in Chesapeake Bay in 2001, 2004 and 2005? The most prominent events were at the Poplar Island Complex in proximity to brackish impoundments with algal blooms and elevated cyanobacteria counts (Anabaena spp.). Although avian botulism was documented as the cause of death of some individuals, recent evidence suggests that cyanobacteria toxin microcystin (MC) may play a role in the initiation of such botulism outbreaks.  More information...
that Patuxent Wildlife Research Center has a major role in the training of whooping crane chicks to fly behind an ultralight? Whoopers are trained to follow ultralight aircraft to learn a new migration route as the first step in establishing a new migratory flock of whoopers. The Class of 2006 will be the sixth group of young whooping cranes to take part in a project sponsored by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP), a coalition of public and private organizations that is reintroducing endangered whooping cranes in eastern North America, part of their historic range. More information...    Also see Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership and Operation Migration's web pages for further information.
that the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) Results and Analysis website is a source of information about distributions and population changes of North American birds? It is also a tool for learning about birds, with connections to the ID tips showing pictures of common North American birds and quizzes on bird distribution and identification. The primary objective of the BBS has been the estimation of population change for songbirds. However, the data have many potential uses, and investigators have used the data to address a variety of research and management objectives. More information...
that a laysan albatross ranks as the #1 oldest wild bird in North America: 50 years, 8 months? The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) maintains longevity records from bird banding information at this site: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBL/homepage/longvrec.htm   Here's the top ten.
that you can learn the breeding calls of frogs and toads in the eastern United States and that you can listen to the calls of species in your state by using the frog call lookup option? This is available on the Public Quiz of our Frog Call Quiz website at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/Frogquiz/index.cfm?fuseaction=publicQuiz.StartPublicQuiz and the frog call lookup option is found at: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/Frogquiz/index.cfm?fuseaction=main.lookup
that biologists use lice to identify cowbird hosts? The host specificity of avian lice (Phthiraptera) may be utilized by biologists to investigate the brood parasitism patterns of Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater). As nestlings, brood parasites have a unique opportunity to encounter lice that are typically host specific. More information...
that the Contaminant Exposure and Effects-Terrestrial Vertebrates database (CEE-TV) contains contaminant exposure and effects information for terrestrial vertebrates (birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles) that reside in estuarine and coastal habitats along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Coasts including Alaska and Hawaii and in the Great Lakes Region? Data is compiled through computerized searches of published literature, reviews of existing databases, and solicitation of unpublished reports from conservation agencies, private groups and universities. Currently, the CEE-TV database contains over 17,000 records containing ecotoxicological exposure and effects information on approximately 252,000 individuals representing over 450 species. More information...
that the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and the Canadian Wildlife Service's National Wildlife Research Centre to monitor the status and trends of North American bird populations? Following a rigorous protocol, BBS data are collected by thousands of dedicated participants along thousands of randomly established roadside routes throughout the continent. Professional BBS coordinators and data managers work closely with researchers and statisticians to compile and deliver these population data and population trend analyses on more than 400 bird species, for use by conservation managers, scientists, and the general public. More information...
that the whooping crane is an endangered species and why? Several factors have harmed whooping cranes.  The primary one is the loss of habitat.  Wetlands have been drained for agriculture.  Oil and gas development and the construction of intercoastal waterways for barge traffic are additional threats. More information...
that bird banding is an universal and indispensable technique for studying the movement, survival and behavior of birds? Bird banding is one of the most useful tools in the modern study of wild birds. Wild birds are captured and marked with a uniquely numbered band or ring placed on the leg. More information...
that earthworms help create the soil that supports life? Earthworms eat soil because it contains organic matter. Organic matter comes from living organisms. A banana peel, a tree root, a deceased armadillo - all of them decay and become part of the soil organic matter. More information...
that a male Baltimore Oriole can be told from other black and orange orioles by its completely black head? See other identification tips, life history information, and hear song of the Baltimore Oriole at http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i5070id.html.
that tadpoles typically are in specific aquatic habitats for longer periods than their adults, they sometimes are more difficult to find and nearly always more difficult to identify? A key for the tadpoles of the United States and Canada features a different format and approach to identifying frog larvae. More details of ontogenetic variation are included than in many keys, and more attention is paid to using characteristics of living tadpoles. A tutorial examines morphological traits, and color photographs are included to simplify the identification process. More information...
that a large beaver-like rodent called a Nutria has caused extensive marsh loss at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland? Nutria are large (8-18 lb) beaver-like rodents that are 5 to 10 times as large as our native muskrat and were accidentally introduced to Maryland in 1940's.
USGS scientists at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in partnership with the state of Maryland and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are working together to study the role of nutria in the extensive loss of marsh at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding state and private wetlands.
• Marsh loss was noticeable from photographs taken since the 1950's
• Loss of marsh has coincided with the increase of nutria population
• Nutria activity is directly contributing to marsh loss in Maryland
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that living organisms have long been used to monitor environmental contamination? The value of biota in monitoring programs relates to their characteristic of integrating contaminant exposure and effects over time and space. More Information...
that SET stands for Surface Elevation Table and is a portable mechanical leveling device for measuring the relative elevation of wetland sediments? The SET website is specifically designed to be a forum for researchers in wetland science who use or might use the device and to offer more information about the proper use of the SET and interpretation of its data. But we encourage anyone who wants to learn more about research techniques and their development to visit the site as well. More information...

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