Mission Areas

Ecosystems

The USGS Ecosystems Mission Area, the biological research arm of the Department of the Interior (DOI), provides science to help America achieve sustainable management and conservation of its biological resources. This work is done within the broader mission of the USGS to serve the Nation with science that advances understanding of our natural resources and inform land and water stewardship.

Collaborative Conservation

Collaborative Conservation

What do gray wolves, manatees and bears have in common? They are just a few of the species that are part of important USGS research that informs U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decisions for endangered and threatened species.

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Outstanding in the Field

Outstanding in the Field

An Ecosystems Mission Area original podcast series that tells stories about our science, our adventures, and our efforts to better understand fish and wildlife and the ecosystems that support them.  

Ep 5 - GC Fish

Where's our Science?

Where

Find out where Ecosystems Science Centers, Field Stations, and Cooperative Research Units are located.

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News

Date published: December 18, 2019

The Other 364 Days of the Year: The Real Lives of Wild Reindeer

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. To learn more about how  these Arctic antler-bearers spend the other 364 days of the year,  we talked to USGS caribou  expert Dr. Layne Adams, who has studied these animals for more than 35 years.

Date published: December 9, 2019

Dr. Gary Fellers – Leader in Amphibian Conservation – Passes Away

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Dr. Gary Fellers, researcher emeritus with the U.S. Geological Survey, passed away last month after a 40-year career as an ecologist with the USGS Western Ecological Science Center and the National Park Service. He was a pioneer in herpetology – the study of amphibians and reptiles – and helped bring to light the worldwide decline of amphibians.

Date published: December 2, 2019

Yellowstone's migrating bison manipulate springtime green-up

On a typical June day in Yellowstone National Park, it’s not unusual to see hundreds of bison grazing in the Lamar Valley. The herds appear to aimlessly move back and forth through meadows threaded by a winding river, just passive figures in an idyllic scene. But as it turns out, that’s far from the full picture.

Attribution: Ecosystems

Publications

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Year Published: 2020

Kelp forest monitoring at Naval Base Ventura County, San Nicolas Island, California: Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, Fourth Annual Report

To assess and track changes to the rocky subtidal communities surrounding San Nicolas Island, the U.S. Navy entered into an agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2014 to conduct an ecological monitoring program at several sites around the island. Four permanent sites—Nav Fac 100, West End, Dutch Harbor, and Daytona 100—were...

Kenner, Michael C.; Tomoleoni, Joseph
Kenner, M.C., and Tomoleoni, J., 2020, Kelp forest monitoring at Naval Base Ventura County, San Nicolas Island, California: Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, Fourth Annual Report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1147, 76 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191147.

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Year Published: 2020

Distribution and abundance of Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) on the Middle San Luis Rey River, San Diego County, southern California—2019 data summary

We surveyed for Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus; vireo) along the San Luis Rey River, between College Boulevard in Oceanside and Interstate 15 in Fallbrook, California (middle San Luis Rey River), in 2019, and we surveyed and conducted nest monitoring for Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus; flycatcher) in a...

Allen, Lisa D.; Kus, Barbara E.
Allen, L.D. and Kus, B.E., 2020, Distribution and abundance of Least Bell’s Vireos (Vireo bellii pusillus) and Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) on the Middle San Luis Rey River, San Diego County, southern California—2019 data summary: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1122, 11 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1122.

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Year Published: 2020

Remnant hardwood forest mapping within the Upper Mississippi River Floodplain

Executive SummaryThe primary objective of the project was to locate previously unknown stands of mast-producing hardwood forest trees in the Upper Mississippi River floodplain using existing information. We located and mapped 399 previously unknown hardwood forest stands within the Mississippi River floodplain area of navigation pools 9, 10, and...

Hanson, Jenny L.; King, Rich; Hoy, Erin E.
Hanson, J.L., King, R., Hoy, E.E., 2019, Remnant hardwood forest mapping within the Upper Mississippi River Flood-plain: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1089, 10 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191089.