Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

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Patuxent Wildlife Research Center--Goals

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center has chosen to focus on four scientific themes. These are each subdivided into several program areas, or work units, that reflect the Center's capabilities, historic roots, and forward-looking aspirations. Goals are set in each program area. These goals, scientific themes, and program areas fundamentally influence the development of projects, tasks, and other scientific activities.

Status and Trends of Biological Resources

  • Develop, coordinate, and manage selected national wildlife databases and related information transfer programs, through partnerships with contributors, users, and other stakeholders and through enhanced use of electronic media.
  • Improve analysis and interpretation of data on the status and trends of biological resources.
  • Provide national leadership in managing a national data center for wildlife populations and their habitats, particularly bird and amphibian populations including such programs as the Bird Banding Laboratory, Breeding Bird Survey and other data bases.
  • Continue to evaluate the taxonomy of the vertebrate fauna of the Americas, and to manage the national specimen collections of North American vertebrates.
  • Enhance programs to develop and apply bioindicators of stresses in natural environments, in order to assess and monitor anthropogenic changes.
  • Develop and maintain programs of research and monitoring on the Patuxent Research Refuge as a model of long-term ecological monitoring within a developed landscape.
  • Contribute to regional, national and international programs of population, landscape, and ecosystem monitoring and assessment, particularly the Virginia Barrier Islands Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) and national monitoring initiatives.

Effects of Ecological Processes and Human Impacts on Biological Resources

  • Improve understanding of how natural and man-altered environments function and how human-induced and natural stressors affect wildlife populations, ecosystems, and landscapes.
  • Provide scientific bases for conserving migratory bird populations and their habitats, especially neotropical migrants and declining species, and for innovative cross- boundary management strategies.
  • Provide leadership in Partners in Flight and monitoring of bird populations.
  • Provide scientific bases for managed migratory bird populations and their habitats, especially waterfowl, and for evaluating and testing adaptive management strategies for these resources.
  • Develop better understanding of and methods for minimizing negative effects of natural and human activities on biological resources.
  • Develop better understanding of the assessment of wetland functions, particularly at the landscape scale.
  • Develop better understanding of waterfowl habitat management, particularly on the landscape scale as part of the Joint Venture concept.
  • Develop better understanding of the ecology and management of biological resources at the landscape and ecosystem levels of integration.
  • Develop better understanding of the impact of introduced species on populations, communities, ecosystems, and cultural landscapes.
  • Further develop an understanding of the fate and effects of contaminants in the environment and associated risks to ecological and human systems.
  • Continue the long term contributions of information and technical assistance by the Center to international wildlife conservation, particularly focused on wetlands, migratory birds, endangered species, and pest species.

Restoration and Maintenance of Sustainable Ecological Systems

  • Provide scientific bases for restoring and maintaining species, habitats, and ecosystems that are endangered or are at risk of becoming endangered.
  • Contribute to providing the scientific basis for sustainable management of the living resources of the Chesapeake Bay in partnership with other Federal, State, and non- government agencies.
  • Provide scientific understanding of coastal dynamics, particularly related to wetland and beach ecosystems, and DOI trust species that depend on these environments.
  • Provide scientific bases for management of wetlands, especially restoration and maintenance of wetlands as habitat for migratory waterbirds and other species.
  • Provide scientific bases for management of biological resources on Federal lands through enhanced partnerships with National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges, and provide technical assistance in their efforts to manage biological resources.
  • Develop better understanding and enhanced analytical tools for the statistical analysis and modeling of biological processes and how human actions affect these processes, especially for risk assessments.

Management and Transfer of Natural Resources Information and Technology

  • Develop and implement improved methods for managing and disseminating biological resource research and monitoring information to users, especially through the use of electronic media.
  • Develop and implement improved methods for managing and disseminating contaminant research and monitoring information to users, especially through the use of electronic media.
  • Develop and implement improved methods for managing and disseminating relevant research and monitoring information to DOI and other managers, especially through the use of electronic media.

An additional Center Theme: Scientific Program Support and Operations encompasses the Center's activities in providing the day-to-day infrastructure needed to operate Center facilities and support the scientific program to accomplish its scientific mission and vision.

Scientific Program Support and Operations

  • Provide leadership for Center and its science programs by empowering the Center's staff to accomplish its mission and goals, assure effective and efficient use of resources in all operations, accomplish diversity and personnel development goals of the Center, Division, and Agency, and represent Center interests to internal and external constituencies.
  • Provide leadership to science programs that insures that scientific activities are of highest possible quality, relevance, and scientific value and are conducted with high standards of scientific integrity.
  • Develop a model peer review system to ensure that all Center science meets agency review requirements; conduct objective and timely Research Grade Evaluation Panels to properly classify and grade all scientists, operate a state- of-the art awards program that identifies, recognizes, and rewards science employees who make significant achievements.
  • Develop a "virtual" Center that networks scientists and support staff, physically dispersed in the most effective way to enhance scientific productivity, effectiveness, and information transfer.
  • Provide leadership in developing and improving communication linkage with external constituencies, determine improved means of assessing and meeting the research needs of the Department of the Interior and other partners, and implement improved delivery of scientific information to users.
  • Develop effective working partnerships with regional, national, and international scientific and natural resource organizations to increase operational effectiveness and research productivity.
  • Provide administrative and operational support for science programs of the Center in ways that enhance its scientific productivity while achieving increased cost efficiency and effectiveness, especially through use of electronic tools.
  • Maintain the facilities and physical plant of the Center to enhance scientific productivity while achieving increased cost efficiency.
  • Support the goals of the Patuxent Research Refuge operations to assure the wise management of Refuge lands for future generations.
  • Provide state-of-the-art information technology support to enhance scientific productivity, operational efficiency, and transfer of information to users.

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