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

Glacier retreat in Glacier National Park, Montana

Currently, the volume of land ice on Earth is decreasing, driving consequential changes to global sea level and local stream habitat. Glacier retreat in Glacier National Park, Montana, U.S.A., is one example of land ice loss and glacier change. The U.S. Geological Survey Benchmark Glacier Project conducts glaciological research and collects field...

Florentine, Caitlyn
Florentine, C., 2019, Glacier retreat in Glacier National Park, Montana (ver. 1.1, December 2019): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2019–3068, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20193068.

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Year Published: 2019

Environmental and biological factors influence migratory Sea Lamprey catchability: Implications for tracking abundance in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus population trends in the Great Lakes are tracked by trapping migratory adults in tributaries and using mark and recapture techniques to estimate abundance. Understanding what environmental and biological factors influence Sea Lamprey capture in tributaries is crucial to developing efficient trapping methods and...

Lewandoski, Sean A; Bravener, Gale A; Hrodey, Peter J.; Miehls, Scott M.