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About the Ecosystems Mission Area

The USGS is sought out by thousands of partners and stakeholders across the United States for our expertise in earth and biological science that supports public resources in wild and urban spaces, and all landscapes in-between. 

Discover Ecosystems graphic (top)
Discover Ecosystems graphic (top)

The Ecosystems Mission Area (EMA) is considered the biological research arm of the U.S. Department of Interior and provides science to help America achieve sustainable management and conservation of 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. 

The EMA is pleased to announce that as of September 4th, 2020, our mission area now includes components of the former Land Resources and Environmental Health Mission Areas. This alignment brings together related and complementary USGS science under one  umbrella. The EMA has also streamlined its existing programs, and our research portfolio now includes the following: 

  • The Species Management Research Program provides science that is used by managers, policy makers, and others for decisions that protect, conserve, and enhance healthy fish and wildlife populations across the United States and beyond.  
  • The Land Management Research Program conducts research to improve the effectiveness of land management and inform restoration of priority ecosystems on millions of acres including public lands such as National Parks, refuges, and other critical landscapes that support the biodiversity of fish, wildlife, and plant species, as well as thriving economies.
  • The Biological Threats Research Program delivers science to protect public safety, property, and ecosystems from invasive plants and animals and infectious fish and wildlife diseases that pose significant ecologic and economic threats to the resources of the United States. 
  • The Environmental Health Program (Toxic Substances Hydrology and Contaminant Biology) supports integrated natural science expertise and capabilities across the USGS related to environmental contaminants and pathogens. This science informs stakeholder decisions to manage fish and wildlife health and provides environmental exposure information to partners in public health.  
  • The National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers work directly with partners and stakeholders on regional issues related to climate impacts and adaptation strategies.
  • The Climate Research & Development program strives to advance the understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological components of the Earth system, the causes and consequences of climate and land use change, and the vulnerability and resilience of the Earth system to such changes.
  • The Cooperative Research Units meet the actionable science needs of cooperators, provide technical assistance, and develop the future workforce through graduate education/mentoring. The Coop Units are located on 40 universities in 38 states. They are called Coop Units because each cooperator plays a role in the staffing, funding and directing the units.