National Research Program (NRP)

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Welcome to the National Research Program

On this page: Recent Publications | Topical Research Teams | Featured Science

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:

  • Hydrologic Studies of Heat and Mass Transport

    Hydrologic Studies of Heat and Mass Transport: Steve Ingebritsen’s research focuses on hydrothermal systems in volcanic terranes. Changes in the hydrothermal system can signal intrusive events and otherwise reveal some of the physical processes surrounding volcanic unrest.

  • Hydrogeology of Lakes, Wetlands and Streams

    Hydrogeology of Lakes, Wetlands and Streams: Don Rosenberry investigates the spatial and temporal variability of exchange between groundwater and surface water in response to changes in the geometry and hydrogeologic properties of this interface that are driven by episodic and sustained fluvial and hydrologic events.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Aqueous Crystal Growth and Dissolution Kinetics

    Aqueous Crystal Growth and Dissolution Kinetics: Mike Reddy uses techniques of low-temperature geochemistry to interpret and characterize chemical processes occurring in surface water and ground water. In this image, Hot Springs at the Needles Area of Pyramid Lake, NV shows active calcium carbonate precipitation.

Recent NRP Publications

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]

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]

Nilsen, E.B., Rosenbauer, R.J., Fuller, C.C.,  Jaffe, B.J., 2015. Sedimentary organic biomarkers suggest detrimental effects of PAHs on estuarine microbial biomass during the 20th century in San Francisco Bay, CA, USA.  Chemosphere v. 119, p. 961-970 (doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.08.053)

Lucas, L.V. 2015. "Time scales." In: Encyclopedia of Estuaries, M.J. Kennish (Ed.). Springer, 760 pp. ISBN 978-94-017-8801-4

Campbell, K. M., Gallegos, T. J., Landa, E. R. (2015) Biogeochemical aspects of uranium mining, milling, and remediation. Applied Geochemistry 57: 206-235.

Nelson, J.M., McDonald, R.R., Kinzel, P.J., and Legleiter, C.J., in press, Using computational models to improve remotely sensed estimates of river bathymetry, J. Sediment Research.

Nelson, J.M., McDonald, R.R., Shimizu, Y., Kimura, I., Nabi, M., and Asahi, K., in press, Modeling flow, sediment transport, and morphodynamics in rivers, Chapter 18, p 1-39, in Tools in Geomorphology, 2nd Ed., eds. M. Kondolph and H. Piegay, Wiley and Sons, Chichester, 575 pp.

Burns, E.R., Williams, C.F., Ingebritsen, S.E., Voss, C.I., Spane, F.A., and DeAngelo, J., 2015, Understanding heat and groundwater flow through continental flood basalt provinces: Insights gained from alternative models of permeability/depth relationships for the Columbia Plateau, USA: Geofluids, v. 15, p. 120-138,doi:10.1111/gfl.12095.

Johnson, W.P., Swanson, N., Black, B., Rudd, A., Carling, G., Fernandez, D.P., Luft, J., Van Leeuwen, J., and Marvin-DiPasquale, M., 2015, Total- and methyl-mercury concentrations and methylation rates across the freshwater to hypersaline continuum of the Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA: Science of The Total Environment, v. 511, p. 489-500.

[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.

2015

(Planned)

2014

Featured Science and Activities

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

Ancient Permafrost Quickly Transforms to Carbon Dioxide upon Thaw

General view of a 35-meter-high riverbank  along the Itkillik River in northern Alaska. Copyright-free photo courtesy Mikhail Kanevskiy; University of Alaska Fairbanks, Institute of Northern Engineering.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and key academic partners have quantified how rapidly ancient permafrost decomposes upon thawing and how much carbon dioxide is produced in the process. Huge stores of organic carbon in permafrost soils are currently isolated from the modern day carbon cycle. However, if thawed, this massive carbon reservoir could decompose and be emitted as the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane. Read the full press release or access the publication

Storms after Wildfire Lead to Impaired Water Quality

USGS NRP Scientist Sheila Murphy

USGS scientists led by research hydrologist Sheila Murphy collected extensive streamflow and water-quality data for three years after the Fourmile Canyon Fire, Colo., and correlated the results with data from a high-density rain gage network. They found that hydrologic and water-quality responses downstream of a burned area were primarily driven by small, brief convective storms that had relatively high, but not unusual, rainfall intensity. Read the full press release or the Climate Progress interview

John Nimmo Receives Soil Science Society of America Fellow Award

USGS NRP Scientist John Nimmo

John Nimmo has received the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Fellow Award, the highest recognition bestowed by the SSSA. Dr. Nimmo’s publications have made major advances in the measurement, estimation, and understanding of soil hydraulic processes and properties. He also pioneered the use of centrifugal force for accurate hydraulic-property measurements at low water contents.

Dallas Hudson: Heeding Nature's Call with One-Lake Study

USGS NRP Scientist Dallas Hudson

Dallas Hudson has studied northern pike in Minnesota to determine how quickly they grow and how they respond to angling pressure. Read the full article