National Research Program (NRP)

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Welcome to the National Research Program

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The USGS National Research Program (NRP), part of the USGS Water Mission Area, conducts research to develop and disseminate science-based information and tools needed for a fundamental understanding of the processes that affect the availability, movement, and quality of the Nation’s water resources. Our science supports a wide range of policies and activities, including:

Science Topics:

  • Benthic Fluxes of Metals and Nutrients

    Benthic Fluxes of Metals and Nutrients: Jim Kuwabara and his colleagues use a USGS-patented device to quantify changes in the benthic (internal) sources of nutrients and toxic substances to various aquatic systems. This research supports the development of long-term management strategies for water quality in these ecosystems.

  • Biogeochemical Controls on Contaminant Degradation in Heterogeneous Near Surface Environments

    Biogeochemical Controls on Contaminant Degradation in Heterogeneous Near Surface Environments: Isabelle Cozzarelli's research is to investigate the impact of organic contaminants in aquifers and wetlands, requiring her and her colleagues to use field-based experimental approaches to look at reactions below land surface.

  • Mechanisms of Biological and Ecological Response in Disturbed Aquatic Ecosystems

    Mechanisms of Biological and Ecological Response in Disturbed Aquatic Ecosystems: Janet Thompson with a USGS field crew sampling the animal community in and under the aquatic vegetation of the San Francisco Estuary.

  • Plankton Dynamics in Tidal Estuaries

    Plankton Dynamics in Tidal Estuaries: Jim Cloern gives a tutorial on scientific writing and publishing for graduate students at the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India.

  • Environmental Tracers of Surface-Water/Ground-Water Exchanges

    Environmental Tracers of Surface-Water/Ground-Water Exchanges: James Constantz is the leading authority on the use of heat as a tracer to understand and quantify surface-water exchanges with groundwater, as well as a leading authority regarding the influence of temperature on hydrologic processes, including infiltration, evaporation and drainage.

Recent NRP Publications

Lucas, L.V., Cloern, J.E., Thompson, J.K., Stacey, M.T., Koseff, J.R., 2016, Bivalve grazing can shape phytoplankton communities: Front. Mar. Sci., v. 3. [get publication]

Maizel, D., Blum. J.S., Ferrero, M.A., Utturkar, S. M., Brown, S.D., Rosen, B.P., Oremland, R.O., 2016, Characterization of the extremely arsenic-resistantBrevibacterium linens strain AE038-8 isolated from contaminated groundwater in Tucuman, Argentina: International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 107, 147-153, doi:10.1016/j.ibiod.2015.11.022.

Han, L.F., and Plummer, L.N, 2016, A review of single-sample-based models and other approaches for radiocarbon dating of dissolved inorganic carbon in groundwater. Earth-Science Reviews 152, 119-142.

Bullen T. and Chadwick, O., 2016, Ca, Sr and Ba isotopes reveal the fate of soil nutrients along a tropical climosequence in Hawaii: Chemical Geology, 422, 25-45. [get publication]

Crawford, J. T., Loken, L. C., Stanley, E. H., Stets, E. G., Dornblaser, M. M., and Striegl, R. G., 2016, Basin scale controls on CO2 and CH4 emissions from the Upper Mississippi River, Geophysical Research Letters, 43, doi:10.1002/2015GL067599.

Meixner, T., Manning, A.H., Stonestrom, D.A., Allen, D.M., Ajami, H., Blasch, K.W., Brookfield, A.E., Castro, C.L., Clark, J.F., Gochis, D.J., Flint, A.L., Neff, K.L., Niraula, R., Rodell, M., Scanlon, B.R., Singha, K., and Walvoord, M.A., 2016, Implications of projected climate change for groundwater recharge in the western United States: Journal of Hydrology, v. 534, p. 124-138. [get publication]

Cloern, J.E., Barnard, P.L., Beller, E., Callaway, J.C., Grenier, J.L., Grosholz, E.D., Grossinger, R., Hieb, K., Hollibaugh, J.T., Knowles, N., Sutula, M., Veloz, S., Wasson, K., Whipple, A., 2016, Life on the Edge – California’s Estuaries, in Ecosystems of California: A Source Book, edited by Harold  Mooney and Erika Zavaleta, University of California Press, 359-387.

Fichot, C.G., Downing, B.D., Bergamaschi, B.A., Windham-Myers, L., Marvin-DiPasquale, M., Thompson, D.R., and Gierach, M.M., 2016, High-Resolution Remote Sensing of Water Quality in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary: Environ Sci Technol, v. 50, no. 2, p. 573-583. [get publication]

Varaljay, V. A., Satagopan, S., North, J. A., Witte, B., Dourado, M. N., Anantharaman, K., Arbing, M. A., McCann, S. H., Oremland, R. S., Banfield, J. F., Wrighton, K. C. and Tabita, F. R., 2016, Functional metagenomic selection of ribulose 1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase from uncultivated bacteria: Environ Microbiol. [get publication]

Cain, D.J., Croteau, M., Fuller, C.C., Ringwood, A.H., 2016, Dietary uptake of Cu sorbed to hydrous iron oxide is linked to cellular toxicity and feeding inhibition in a benthic grazer: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 50, 1552-1560. [get publication]

Ingebritsen, S.E., Bergfeld, D., Clor, L.E., and Evans, W.C., 2016, The Lassen hydrothermal system: American Mineralogist, v. 101, p. 343-354. [get publication]

Poulin, B. A., Aiken, G. R., Krabbenhoft. D. P., Nagy, K. L., Ryan, J. N., Manceau, A., 2016, Mercury transformation and release differs with depth and time in a contaminated riparian soil during simulated flooding: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 176, 118–138. [get publication]

Lewis, A.S., Huntington, T.G., Marvin-DiPasquale, M.C., and Amirbahman, A., 2016, Mercury remediation in wetland sediment using zero-valent iron and granular activated carbon: Environmental Pollution, v. 212, p. 366-373. [get publication]

Drexler, J.Z., Alpers, C.N., Neymark, L.A., Paces, J.B., Taylor, H.E., Fuller, C.C., 2016, A millennial-scale record of Hg and Pb contamination in peatlands of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta of California: Science of the Total Environment, 551–552, 738–751. [get publication]

Hurwitz, S., Clor, L.E., McCleskey, R.B., Nordstrom, D.K., Hunt, A.G., Evans, W.C., 2016, Dissolved gases in hydrothermal (phreatic) and geyser eruptions at Yellowstone National Park, USA: Geology, 44, 235–238. [get publication]

[View All NRP Publications]

Topical Research Teams

The National Research Program's topical research teams consist of small groups of scientists that cross the boundaries of historic USGS sub-disciplines, Branches, and Mission Areas. They often include scientists from outside agencies as well. These teams are formed to address potentially important issues for which there currently is limited activity in the Water Mission Area. Outcomes from the topical teams could identify new research directions and result in the formation of new collaborations and partnerships.

2014

Featured Science and Activities

Mark Schmeeckle Selected as Borland Lecturer in Hydraulics

USGS NRP Scientist Dr. Mark Schmeeckle.

NRP scientist Dr. Mark Schmeeckle has been selected by the Organizing Committee of Hydrology Days and the Borland Committee as the Borland Lecturer in Hydraulics for 2016. Dr. Schmeeckle's award will be presented at Hydrology Days 2016 at Colorado State University. Read more...

Langston Hughes Students Visit USGS National Center Labs

Middle school students visit the USGS Reston Microbiology Lab and the USGS Groundwater Dating Lab.

NRP scientists, Dr. Denise Akob, Dr. Karl Haase, and Dr. Adam Mumford, hosted tours of the USGS Reston Microbiology Lab and the USGS Groundwater Dating Lab for 18 middle school students as part of the White House’s My Brother's Keeper "Day at the Lab/African American Heritage Month" national events on February 29, 2016. The tours were featured in the March 4, 2016 edition of "This Week at Interior" (view the video) and the Fairfax Times (read the article)

The Fate of Sediment When Freshwater Meets Saltwater

Tidal freshwater swamp along the Pocomoke River in Maryland.

Two recent USGS investigations, have measured sedimentation rates along the barely perceptible slope of rivers as they empty into estuaries. The findings of these studies have important implications for the restoration of estuaries - for example, the Chesapeake Bay - and their resilience in the face of sea level rise. Read the press release

Marjorie Schulz: Soil Mottling Not in Wetlands Only

View of mottled pattern characteristic of rhizospheric processes.

USGS scientists led by Marjorie Schulz have shown that rhizospheric processes, acting over tens of thousands of years under upland prairie coastal terraces, orchestrate the redistribution of elements into distinct mottled patterns, with implications for pedogenesis, weathering of plant-essential nutrients, and carbon sequestration in deep soils. Read the article

2015 USEPA Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (STAA)

USGS NRP Scientist Mark Marvin-DiPasquale.

NRP Scientist Mark Marvin-DiPasquale, in collaboration with USGS scientists from the South Carolina Water Science Center, has received a Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (STAA) award from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The award recognizes the team's work on a package of three EPA modeling publications built on SANT-EPA collaboration at McTier Creek, SC. More details are available on the EPA STAA page.

Ronald Oremland Elected as AAAS Fellow

USGS NRP Scientist Ronald Oremland.

Dr. Ron Oremland was awarded the rank of Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The AAAS Council elects Fellows based on efforts that significantly advance science or that are scientifically or socially distinguished. Dr. Oremland was honored for his distinguished contributions and leadership in environmental microbiology. Read the announcement

James Cloern and Robert Striegl Announced as ASLO Sustaining Fellows

James Cloern and Robert Striegl of the USGS National Research Program have been selected as ASLO Sustaining Fellows in the Inaugural Class of 46 ASLO Fellows for sustained excellence in their contributions to ASLO and the aquatic sciences. The ASLO Fellows Program was established in 2015 to honor individuals who have advanced the aquatic sciences through their exceptional contributions to the benefit of the society and its publications, meetings, and other activities. Read the announcement

U.S. Rivers Show Few Signs of Improvement from Historic Nitrate Increases

Graph showing upward trend in nitrate concentrations in the Maumee River between 1945 and 1980.

During 1945 to 1980, nitrate levels in large U.S. rivers increased up to fivefold in intensively managed agricultural areas of the Midwest, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. In recent decades, nitrate changes have been smaller and levels have remained high in most of the rivers studied. Read the full press release or access the publication