Mission Areas


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?


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

Browse by Location


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
Date published: October 30, 2019


Keep up to speed with the latest USGS deep-sea research cruise with this seafloor syntax.


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Year Published: 2020

Using integrated population models for insights into monitoring programs: An application using pink-footed geese

Development of integrated population models (IPMs) assume the absence of systematic bias in monitoring programs, yet many potential sources of systematic bias in monitoring data exist (e.g., under-counts of abundance). By integrating multiple sources of data, we can assess whether various sources of monitoring data provide consistent inferences...

Johnson, Fred; Zimmerman, Guthrie S.; Jensen, Gitte H.; Clausen, Kevin K.; Frederiksen, Morten; Madsen, Jesper

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Year Published: 2019

Exposure and potential effects of pesticides and pharmaceuticals in protected streams of the US National Park Service southeast Region

Globally protected areas offer refugia for a broad range of taxa including threatened and endangered species. The United States National Park Service (NPS) manages public lands to preserve biodiversity, but increasing park visitation and development of surrounding landscapes increase exposure to and effects from bioactive contaminants. The risk (...

Bradley, Paul; Romanok, Kristin; Duncan, Jeffrey R.; Battaglin, William; Clark, Jimmy; Hladik, Michelle; Huffman, Bradley; Iwanowicz, Luke; Journey, Celeste; Smalling, Kelly

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Year Published: 2019

Evaluating legacy effects of hyperabundant white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in forested stands of Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks, New York

Executive SummaryWhite-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are among the most impactful herbivores in the eastern United States. Legacy forest effects, those accrued from intense herbivory over time, manifest as low seedling regeneration, high cover of plant species that are infrequently browsed by deer, presence or expansion of nonnative or...

Kilheffer, Chellby R.; Underwood, H. Brian; Donald J. Leopold; Rachel Guerrieri
Kilheffer, C.R., Underwood, H.B., Leopold, D.J., and Guerrieri, R., 2019, Evaluating legacy effects of hyperabundant white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in forested stands of Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks, New York: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1116, 36 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191116.