December 2, 2016
Through the multi-agency Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium, a team of six USGS physical scientists, biologists, hydrologists and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operators, travelled to the Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific Ocean between October 13 and November 3 to collect high resolution aerial data of the flora, fauna and hydrological resources of the Atoll utilizing small UAS with multiple onboard sensors. Joe Adams, a UAS operator from the USGS National Unmanned Aircraft System Project Office, assisted in collecting visible, thermal and multi-spectral data that is being used as proof-of-concept methodology for the development of three-dimensional surface models, vegetation maps, monitoring of sea turtles, manta rays, sharks and other marine and terrestrial biota, as well as to investigate techniques for collecting aerial information to better understand surface and lagoon hydrology while operating in a very remote tropical environment. (Larger view of icon)
November 28, 2016
Defining ecosystem assets for natural capital accounting
By Lars Hein, Ken Bagstad (GECSC), Bram Edens, Carl Obst, Rixt de Jong, and Jan Peter Lesschen. Published in PLOS ONE.
Concepts to understand how ecosystem services are provided and used are often unclear, and are particularly needed to meet emerging standards for natural capital accounting. This paper argues for an expansion of how ecosystem assets are defined, particularly their capacity and capability to supply ecosystem services, as well as the potential supply of ecosystem services. Capacity relates to sustainable use levels of multiple ecosystem services, capability involves prioritizing the use of one ecosystem service over a basket of services, and potential supply considers the ability of ecosystems to generate services regardless of demand for these services. The revised definitions presented here are grounded in the ecosystem services and accounting literature, and illustrate and compare the concepts of flow, capacity, capability, and potential supply with a range of conceptual and real-world examples drawn from case studies in Europe and North America.
November 22, 2016
Probing the volcanic-plutonic connection and the genesis of crystal-rich rhyolite in a deeply dissected supervolcano in the Nevada Great Basin: Source of the late Eocene Caetano Tuff
By Kathryn Watts, David John, Joe Colgan (GECSC), Christopher Henry, Ilya Bindeman, and Axel Schmitt. Published in the Journal of Petrology.
The Caetano caldera in north-central Nevada offers an extraordinarily complete record caldera magmatism exposed in tilted fault blocks that allow direct study of volcanic and plutonic rocks at deep levels within the caldera system. Integrating whole-rock geochemistry, mineral chemistry, isotope geochemistry and geochronology with field studies and geologic mapping, this study defines the petrologic evolution of the magmatic system that sourced the vast Caetano Tuff. This study adds to our understanding how large volumes of silicic magma are assembled and what causes them to erupt as "supervolcanoes."