Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sections
Personal tools
You are here: Home Cooperative Member Organizations List Cooperative Research Units

Cooperative Research Units

The Cooperative Research Unit program was established in 1935 to enhance graduate education in fisheries and wildlife sciences and to facilitate research between natural resource agencies and universities on topics of mutual concern. Today, there are 40 Cooperative Research Units in 38 states. Each unit is a partnership among the U.S. Geological Survey, a State natural resource agency, a host university, and the Wildlife Management Institute. Staffed by Federal personnel, Cooperative Research Units conduct research on renewable natural resource questions, participate in the education of graduate students, provide technical assistance and consultation on natural resource issues, and provide continuing education for natural resource professionals.

Cooperative Research Units

Cooperative Research Units and the Appalachian LCC

There are 9 U.S. Geological Survey Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Research Units within the Appalachian LCC boundary that are conducting multi-scale and multi-species terrestrial and aquatic ecology research in the region, including trans-boundary projects involving multiple units and their cooperators. Current examples include Appalachian-wide research efforts seeking to understand the viability of the Allegheny woodrat, variable-density retention silviculture to improve cerulean warbler habitat, and environmental stressors to endangered freshwater mussels. The Coop Units and their personnel have taken an active role in helping the LCC develop a strong Science Needs Portfolio, including the identification of surrogate species and natural resource indicators for the region. Moreover, the LCC is helping the Coop Unit increase the effectiveness of their programs’ knowledge, development, and technology transfer to a wider array of federal, state, municipal, NGO and industry clients and information user-groups.

West Virginia Cooperative Research Unit

W. VA Coop UnitThe West Virginia Unit's research program is focused on environmental impacts at the species and ecosystem levels. Wildlife research projects focus on the effects of anthropogenic disturbances, particularly timber harvesting and energy extraction, on wildlife populations and their habitats. Fisheries research projects focus on contaminants, brook trout restoration and systematics and ecology of West Virginia fishes.

Active Projects:

Allegheny Woodrat: Identifying Strategies to Conserve a Declining Species
Hypotheses regarding the decline of this species focus on food resources (forest conditions), disease, and habitat isolation. We propose to use datasets from throughout the range of the species to test predictions from these hypotheses and to identify risk factors. This analysis using existing datasets will help quantify a structured decision analysis that can be used to guide habitat management or population restoration actions.
Cheat Lake Biomonitoring Study
The study includes the following nine research tasks: 
Fish biomonitoring downstream of Cheat Lake; Benthic macroinvertebrate resource biomonitoring downstream of Cheat Lake; Water quality biomonitoring downstream of Cheat Lake; Fish biomonitoring of Cheat Lake and Cheat embayments; Walleye population monitoring and stock assessment; Monitoring of adult walleye movement; Physical and chemical water quality characteristics of Cheat Lake; Aquatic vegetation mapping of Cheat Lake; Create a bathymetric map of Cheat Lake
Migration of silver phase and yellow phase American eels in relation to hydroelectric dams on the Shenadoah River
This study examines the upstream migration of eels in relation to eel specific fishways on dams of the Shenandoah River, and downstream migration of adult eels in relation to mortality caused by hydroelectric turbines.
Find more Active and Completed Projects here.

Pennsylvania Cooperative Research Unit

Pennsylvania Coop Unit The Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is a cooperative venture of university, federal and state agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The U.S. Geological Survey provides administrative and salary support for three full-time research biologists. The Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission provide annual base funding, which is used primarily to conduct research projects designed in conjunction with state agencies. The School of Forest Resources at Pennsylvania State University provides clerical staff and administrative support, as well as office, laboratory, and storage space for the Unit. Also, the Wildlife Management Institute and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are cooperators.

Active Projects:

Trans-boundary management and conservation: linking large-scale dynamics to ecological monitoring and management
Our overarching objective is to use freshwater stream fish populations as model systems to develop a framework and tools for addressing the inherent challenges in performing trans-boundary research and for linking large-scale dynamics to ecological monitoring and management.
Using North American BBS Data to Evaluate Potential Consequences of Energy Development and Other Land Use Changes on Bird Populations
Existing data from the Breeding Bird Survey, linked to USGS land-use data and other spatially-explicit databases, will be used to develop spatially-explicit models of bird species abundance and distribution in the Northeast Appalachian Region. These models for bird species will be used to predict the consequences of changes in land use due to urban development, climate change, and drilling in Marcellus shale on bird species abundance and distribution for specified time frames.
Nations Fish Habitat at Multiple Spatial Scales in a Rapidly Changing Climate
The purpose of this project is to determine what impacts projected future land use and climate changes might have on the condition of stream habitat to support self-sustaining brook trout populations.
Find more Active and Completed Projects here.

New York Cooperative Research Unit

New York Coop ImageThe New York Cooperative Research Unit pays particular attention to the resource problems and issues of the Northeastern States with New York as its focal point. Based at Cornell University in the Department of Natural Resources, we work cooperatively within a department structure, but with the option to transcend organizational lines when the need arises. Our efforts are directed not only at maintaining productive programs in our own areas of interest, but also in seeking funds for and coordinating the planning of other research and management faculty/staff at the University and within the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Northeast Regional Office. In accomplishing this we are aided by a select, high quality group of graduate students and research affiliates who understand science, people, and the need to grow and produce in their specialty.

Active Projects:

Density Estimation Of Fishers Using Non-Invasive Spatial Capture-Recapture Modeling
To estimate fisher density across the southern tier of New York, we are conducting a noninvasive, genetic spatially explicit capture-recapture study.
Allegheny Woodrat: Identifying Strategies To Conserve A Declining Species
Hypotheses regarding the decline of this species focus on food resources (forest conditions), disease, and habitat isolation. We propose to use datasets from throughout the range of the species to test predictions from these hypotheses and to identify risk factors. This analysis using existing datasets will help quantify a structured decision analysis that can be used to guide habitat management or population restoration actions. The results of the decision model will provide the foundation for a multi-state adaptive management program to maximize the effectiveness of ongoing management activities.
Population Status Of Carnivores
This project will develop models to evaluate population status of select carnivore species, using spatial capture-recapture methods.
Find more Active and Completed Projects here.

Georgia Cooperative Research Unit

Georgia Coop Unit ImageThe Georgia Unit conducts research on a variety of topics including broad areas of life history, population dynamics, ecology, and management of important game and non-game fish and wildlife through the region. Recent research has been in partnership with a variety of agencies including the GA Department of Natural Resources, GA Power Company, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Nemours Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Active Projects:

Time-series Analysis for Monitoring Indicator Species
This research project will involve analysis of priority data as identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servoce. An overarching research goal for this project is to advance time-series analysis for monitoring of important indicator species.
Responses of Targeted Herpetological Communities to Fire Management Practices in Pine-Oak Forests of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This project will investigate relationships between prescribed fire management and herptile community response in this area of the park. The investigation will rely on field sampling and predictive modeling approaches. The outcome of this study, along with a companion project on bird community associations with fire management, will help inform park managers about responses by forest fauna to the reintroduction of fire.
Multi-resolution Assessment of potential Climate Change Effects on Aquatic and Hydrologic Dynamics Part I: Estimating Ecological Change
The objective of this research is to develop tools that aquatic resource managers can use to predict the effects of climate-change and management actions on water availability and aquatic communities at local landscape-scales. We will model effects on aquatic biota at fine resolutions (i.e., stream networks), providing estimates of biological responses for alternative climate scenarios and potential management actions.
Find more Active and Completed Projects here.

For More Information

Visit the Cooperative Research Unit Program Headquarters Website or contact Staff.

Back to Top