The USGS Fort Collins Science Center has taken advantage of many opportunities to offer specialized services and create collaborative projects and facilities with partners and clients. Offsite, FORT scientists are collocated at two universities, a national monument, and a sister DOI agency, where they work on issues pertinent to those locations and partners. At FORT headquarters, our building shares a campus with several resource management agencies in U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the building itself (completed in 2002) was designed to provide an advanced and expandable computing infrastructure, different types of meeting areas, secure wireless connections, and ample, adaptable laboratory space. In 2010 we added high performance and high-throughput computing for conducting complicated data analyses. Taken together with our exceptional staff of federal, partner, and contract scientists and professionals, the Fort Collins Science Center and its field stations offer a variety of facilities and services largely unique to the USGS, all of which support novel research and expert collaborations that address diverse and complex science questions. The following paragraphs describe several of these facilities and services. Click on the linked title for more information about each.
At this field station within the Trust Species and Habitats branch of the Fort Collins Science Center (FORT), field station scientists conduct research on natural resource and wildlife issues with particular emphasis on Southwestern ecosystems. Co-located at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque, ALFS scientists have expertise on mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and arthropods, including state and federally listed species and species of special management concern in the region. They also conduct applied studies to address management issues related to ecosystem dynamics, species responses to natural and human-induced change, and the southwestern habitats that are important to these taxa. In addition, ALFS scientists partner with UNM in curating and managing the USGS Biological Surveys Collection, housed at UNM's Museum of Southwestern Biology.
The USGS Powell Center, housed at FORT, allows USGS researchers and their colleagues to convene as working groups to focus on complex earth system and natural resource questions. The exceptional technical support and facilities at FORT enable scientists to advance the state of knowledge through collaborative and interdisciplinary investigation. Powell Center Working Groups organize and synthesize scientific information that empowers researchers, resource managers, and policy makers to address important earth system science issues.
For many natural resource agencies, genetics has become increasingly important in the development of long-term management strategies, leading to a better understanding of species diversity, population dynamics and ecology, and future conservation and management needs. FORT operates a molecular genetic and systematics research facility, the Molecular Ecology Lab, to provide such genetics information. The Lab serves federal research and resource management agencies by developing scientifically rigorous research programs to help resolve many of today’s conservation biology and natural resource management issues. To investigate the relationship among species, populations, families, and individuals, the lab employs DNA sequencing of nuclear, mitochondrial, and chloroplast DNA and fragment analysis.
The Resource for Advanced Modeling (RAM) was formed at FORT to foster cooperative approaches for invasive species science that meet the urgent needs of land managers and the public. The RAM brings together groups of up to 20 remote sensing and climate forecasting experts, habitat modelers, field ecologists, and land managers in a synergistic working environment where they can collaborate on specific problems or particular species. The RAM facilitates coordination and synthesis of data and research from many sources for developing and running models to map current distributions and predict the spread of non-native plants, animals, and diseases.
FORT's Policy Analysis and Science Assistance Branch offers 2 courses in Negotiation Training. The basic course, "Negotiation Skills for Natural Resource Professionals: Building a Foundation," provides participants with the fundamental principles, skills, and techniques used in natural resource negotiation. The advanced course, "Strategies and Tactics for the Experienced Natural Resource Negotiator," presents participants with advanced principles, skills, and techniques used in natural resource negotiation.
An arm of the Information Science Branch, the Web Applications Team is a group of application software and systems specialists, programmers, business analysts, technical writers, and other IT specialists who design, develop, and deploy focused Web-based applications for natural resource scientists and managers. Clients and partners can use these products to efficiently collect, integrate, and report data on their science and management activities.