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Ecosystems - Terrestrial, Freshwater, and Marine Ecosystems Program

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Welcome to the USGS Environments Program

People depend on services that natural ecosystems perform, including regulating climate, mitigating floods and drought, protecting shorelines from erosion, purifying air and water, detoxifying and decomposing wastes, and pollinating crops and natural vegetation.

Healthy ecosystems provide habitat for diverse fish and wildlife communities. Studies conducted by USGS Environments scientists describe factors that control ecosystem structure, function, condition, and the provision of goods and services. This information is used to predict future changes to ecosystems and to describe the results of management alternatives. USGS works closely with its partners in Department of Interior Bureau's and other resource management agencies to provide scientific information to meet management needs.

Ecosystem science is used to restore degraded landscapes and freshwater systems, sustain plants and animals, and find means to adapt management to global change.

National Contact
Matthew Andersen,, 703-648-4064

Ecosystems Science & Research Centers

Nearly all 17 Ecosystems Science & Research Centers conduct environments research. The following is not a comprehensive list.

Research Topics



Recent Highlights

SandyMonitoring Storm Tide and Flooding from Hurricane Sandy Along the Atlantic Coast of the United States - USGS deployed a temporary monitoring network of water-level and barometric pressure sensors at 224 locations along the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Maine to continuously record the timing, areal extent, and magnitude of hurricane storm tide and coastal flooding generated by Hurricane Sandy. These records were greatly supplemented by an extensive post-flood high-water mark (HWM) flagging and surveying campaign from November to December 2012 involving more than 950 HWMs. Both efforts were undertaken as part of a coordinated federal emergency response as outlined by the Stafford Act under a directed mission assignment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Read more >>

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday March 11 2015