Energy and Wildlife: Research


The USGS is evaluating how wind energy resources in California affect patterns of condors use and movement through various habitats.

California Condor Space-Use and Wind Resources

Condors and vultures comprise the only group of terrestrial vertebrates in the world that are obligate scavengers, and these species move widely to locate ephemeral, unpredictable, and patchily-distributed food resources. In this study, we used high-resolution GPS location data to quantify monthly home range size of the critically endangered California Condor Gymnogyps californianus throughout the annual cycle in California.

Related Recent Publications: An analysis of monthly home range size in the critically endangered California Condor Gymnogyps californianus

California Condor Movement Behavior and Habitat Use

We describe an efficient implementation of a 3D movement-based kernel density estimator for determining animal space use from discrete GPS measurements. This new method provides more accurate results, particularly for species that make large excursions in the vertical dimension. The downside of this approach is that it is much more computationally expensive than simpler, lower-dimensional models.

Related Publication: Efficient 3D Movement-Based Kernel Density Estimator and Application to Wildlife Ecology

Supercomputers Map Out Super Endangered Species — In 3-D

This work provides basic information for managing golden eagles in the context of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668d). The recent development of energy resources, such as wind, oil, gas, and solar, can potentially affect landscapes in ways that require changes in golden eagle management practices.

Related Recent Publications: Movement-Based Estimation and Visualization of Space Use in 3D for Wildlife Ecology and Conservation


Top Photo: California Condor. Photo courtesy of Susan Haig, USGS.