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Ecosystems - Terrestrial, Freshwater, and Marine Environments

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Welcome to the USGS Environments Program

The  ecosystems that surround us provide great benefits to society such as supporting fish and wildlife populations, regulating climate, mitigating floods and drought, protecting shorelines from erosion, providing drinking water, and storing carbon. USGS scientists are researching how environments function, can be sustained, respond to change, and can be restored.

As we learn more about the environments around us, our predictions of how ecosystems will respond to changes will improve. . Because of the environment’s complexity, we work closely with our partners, within the Department of the Interior to understand how we can mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change such as droughts, shifts in species ranges, sea-level rise, and changes in wildfires.

For more information about the USGS Environments Program, contact

Lianne Ball, Science Adviser
Ph: (703) 648-4028





Ecosystems Science & Research Centers

Deserts host diverse and easily disturbed plant and animal communities.

Montane environments are not as isolated from environmental stressors as they once seemed.

Forest ecosystems are undergoing large shifts due to climatic changes.




Both the ocean and coastal ecosystems are experiencing changes.

Wetlands are important buffers for coastal and fluvial environments.

One percent of original grasslands remain.

Environmental Stressors

Urban Expansion

Priority Ecosystems Science Projects



Stressors to ecosystems range from drainage of wetlands to accumulation of contaminants.

Loss of habitat and species accompanies urban expansion.

Focused ecosystem research and restoration




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Page Last Modified: Friday August 21 2015