National Research Program (NRP)

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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.

  • Ecohydrology of Arid Lands

    Ecohydrology of Arid Lands: Julio Betancourt studies how climate variability affects terrestrial ecosystems. Here Julio is sampling and analyzing fossil rodent middens preserved in caves and rock shelters along remote cliffsides to reconstruct vegetation dynamics over the past 50,000 years in arid North and South America.

  • Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Systems

    Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Systems: Bill Evans demonstrates proper use of a ring stand and graduated cylinder to collect gas from an Alaskan mud volcano. This feature was dormant for decades before "erupting" carbon dioxide gas in the late 1990s.

  • 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.

  • Stable Isotope Fractionation in Hydrologic Processes

    Stable Isotope Fractionation in Hydrologic Processes : T. B. Coplen prepares gas samples on a glass high vacuum line in the Reston Stable Isotope Laboratory. In this laboratory, samples are analyzed for hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur isotopic composition for biological, hydrological, environmental, and forensic science applications.

Recent NRP Publications

Zlotnik, V.A., Ward, A., Harvey, J.W., Lautz, L.K., Rosenberry, D.O., and Brunner, P., 2017, Ch. 9. Groundwater-surface water interactions, in Cushman, J. and Tartakovsky, D., eds., The Handbook of Groundwater Engineering, Third Edition, CRC Press, Boca Raton, p. 237-288.

Cozzarelli, I.M., Skalak, K.J., Kent, D.B., Engle, M.A., Benthem, A., Mumford, A.C., Haase, K., Farag, A., Harper, D., Nagel, S.C., Iwanowicz, L.R., Orem, W.H., Akob, D.M., Jaeschke, J.B., Galloway, J., Kohler, M., Stoliker, D.L., Jolly, G.D., 2017, Environmental signatures and effects of an oil and gas wastewater spill in the Williston Basin, North Dakota, Science of The Total Environment, v. 579, p. 1781-1793. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.157

Böhlke, J.K., Mroczkowski, S.J., Sturchio, N.C., Heraty, L.J., Richman, K.W., Sullivan, D.B., Griffith, K.N., Gu, B., and Hatzinger, P.B., 2017, Stable isotope analyses of oxygen (18O:17O:16O) and chlorine (37Cl:35Cl) in perchlorate: Reference materials, methods, calibrations, and interferences. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, v. 31, p. 85-110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rcm.7751

Smith, R.L., Kent, D.B., Repert, D.A., and Böhlke, J.K., 2017, Anoxic nitrate reduction coupled with iron oxidation and attenuation of dissolved arsenic and phosphate in a sand and gravel aquifer. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 196, p. 102–120. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2016.09.025

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 http://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/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. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781118648551.ch18

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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF14062

Chase, K.J. Haj, A.E. Regan, R.S. and Viger, R.J., 2016, Potential effects of climate change on streamflow for seven watersheds in eastern and central Montana, Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, Volume 7, September 2016, Pages 69-81, ISSN 2214-5818. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrh.2016.06.001

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. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2016.00014

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 http://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/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 http://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/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 https://dx.doi.org//10.1016/j.advwatres.2015.09.017

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 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/etc.3219/full

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.

[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

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