Mission Areas


The Ecosystems Mission Area priority is to continue the important work of the Department of the Interior and the USGS, while also maintaining the health and safety of our employees and community.  Based on guidance from the White House, the CDC, and state and local authorities, we are shifting our operations to a virtual mode and have minimal staffing within our offices. 

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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.

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Date published: January 23, 2020

New Study Provides Insights for Detecting the Invasive Brown Treesnake

Research by the USGS and Dickinson College reveals why scientists fail to detect brown treesnakes at low densities

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.


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Year Published: 2020

Evaluation of water temperature effects on adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) behavior in the Yakima River, Washington, 2019

A study was conducted in the lower Yakima River, Washington, during June–October 2019 to evaluate water temperature effects on adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) behavior. A total of 60 sockeye salmon adults were tagged with radio transmitters and monitored during the study. Fourteen of the fish were collected and tagged at Prosser Dam in...

Kock, Tobias J.; Evans, Scott D.; Hansen, Amy C.; Ekstrom, Brian K.; Visser, Richard; Saluskin, Brian; Hoffarth, Paul
Kock, T.J., Evans., S.D., Hansen, A.C., Ekstrom, B.K., Visser, R., Saluskin, B., and Hoffarth, P., 2020, Evaluation of water temperature effects on adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) behavior in the Yakima River, Washington, 2019: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1033, 15 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201033.

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Year Published: 2020

Population and harvest dynamics of midcontinent sandhill cranes

Sandhill cranes (Antigone canadensis) inhabiting the midcontinent of North America have been hunted since the 1960s under management goals of maintaining abundance, retaining geographic distribution, and maximizing sustainable harvest. Some biologists have raised concerns regarding harvest sustainability because sandhill cranes have lower...

Pearse, Aaron T.; Sargeant, Glen A.; Krapu, Gary; Brandt, David A.

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Year Published: 2020

19-day-old greater sage-grouse chick killed by Great Basin gopher snake

Despite extensive range overlap between Great Basin gopher snakes (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) within sagebrush ecosystems, there are few documented predator–prey interactions between these species. Although gopher snakes have been observed preying on nests of other prairie grouse, studies...

McIntire, Sarah E; Rabon, Jordan C; Coates, Peter S.; Ricca, Mark A.; Johnson, Tracey N