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:

  • Biogeochemical Controls on Contaminant Degradation in Heterogeneous Near Surface Environments

    Biogeochemical Controls on Contaminant Degradation in Heterogeneous Near Surface Environments: Denise Akob uses microbiology, molecular biology, and biogeochemistry to understand the role of microorganisms in both contaminated and pristine ecosystems.

  • Stable Isotope Tracing of Metals in Aquatic Ecosystems

    Stable Isotope Tracing of Metals in Aquatic Ecosystems: Marie Croteau studies the linkages between contaminant bioavailability and toxicity in aquatic organisms exposed to metals, including colloidal metals and engineered nanoparticles. This is a SEM image of benthic diatoms (Nitzschia palea) and zinc oxide nanoparticles.

  • Wetland Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry

    Wetland Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry: Greg Noe's research seeks to understand the fundamental controls on how wetlands influence water quality by quantifying the interactive influences of hydrology, geomorphology, climate, and biology on nitrogen and phosphorus biogeochemistry in fluvial ecosystems.

  • Transport Phenomena in Fractured Rock

    Transport Phenomena in Fractured Rock: Allen Shapiro studies the complex environment of fractured rock aquifers in order to characterize water supplies and understand the fate and transport of groundwater contaminants. Areas that benefit from his research include groundwater remediation, as well as the design of roads, tunnels, dams, and other engineered structures.

  • 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.

Recent NRP Publications

Lucas, L.V. 2016 (published online 2015). “Timescale.” In: Encyclopedia of Estuaries, M.J. Kennish (Ed.). Springer Netherlands, pp 712-713. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-8801-4_199

Nelson, J.M., McDonald, R.R., Shimizu, Y., Kimura, I., Nabi, M., and Asahi, K., 2016, Modeling flow, sediment transport and morphodynamics in rivers, in: Tools in Geomorphology, Kondolf, M., and Piegay, H., Eds, Wiley and Sons, Chichester, 412-441.

Cozzarelli, I. M., Schreiber, M. E., Erickson, M. L. and Ziegler, B. A. (2016), Arsenic Cycling in Hydrocarbon Plumes: Secondary Effects of Natural Attenuation. Groundwater. 54 (1), p. 35-45, doi: 10.1111/gwat.12316

Moody, J. A., Ebel, B. A., Nyman, P., Martin, D. A., Stoof, C. R., and McKinley, R., 2016, Relations between soil hydraulic properties and burn severity: International Journal of Wildland Fire, 25, 279–293.

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.

Lucas, L.V. 2016 (published online 2015). “Age.” In: Encyclopedia of Estuaries, M.J. Kennish (Ed.). Springer Netherlands, pp 3-4. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-8801-4_200

Lucas, L.V. 2016 (published online 2015). “Residence time.” In: Encyclopedia of Estuaries, M.J. Kennish (Ed.). Springer Netherlands, pp 502-503. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-8801-4_198

Nelson, J.M., Shimizu, Y., Abe, T., Asahi, K., Gamou, M., Inoue, T., Iwasaki, T., Kakinuma, T., Kawamura, S., Kimura, I., Kyuka, T., McDonald, R.R., Nabi, M., Nakatsugawa, M., Simoes, F., Takebayashi, H., and Watanabe, Y., 2016, The international river interface cooperative: Public domain flow and morphodynamics software for education and applications: Advances in Water Resources, 93, 62-74

Masoner, J. R., Kolpin, D. W., Furlong, E. T., Cozzarelli, I. M. and Gray, J. L., 2016. Landfill leachate as a mirror of today’s disposable society: Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern in final leachate from landfills in the conterminous United States. Environ Toxicol Chem. Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 906–918, doi:10.1002/etc.3219

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.

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.

Jepsen, S.M., Walvoord, M.A., Voss, C.I., and Rover, J. (2016) Effect of permafrost thaw on the dynamics of lakes recharged by ice-jam floods: case study of Yukon Flats, Alaska, Hydrological Processes, doi:10.1002/hyp.10756

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.

[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.


Featured Science and Activities

James Cloern and Judson Harvey Selected as AGU Fellows

James Cloern and Judson Harvey of the USGS National Research Program have been selected selected into the 2016 class of AGU Fellows. This special honor acknowledges Fellows for their remarkable contributions to their research fields, exceptional knowledge, and visionary leadership. Only 0.1% of AGU membership receives this recognition in any given year. Read the announcement

Ron Oremland Selected as AGU Ocean Sciences and Biogeosciences William and Carelyn Reeburgh Lecturer

USGS NRP Scientist Dr. Ron Oremland.

Dr. Ron Oremland was selected as the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Ocean Sciences and Biogeosciences William and Carelyn Reeburgh lecturer for the Autumn 2016 Meeting. The AGU Ocean Sciences Honors and Awards Committee selected Ron based on his "outstanding leadership in microbial biogeochemistry". Ron is the first awardee of this new honor selected by Ocean Sciences. Read more about the lectureship

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