Ecosystems

Programs

The Ecosystems Mission Area provides impartial science information and tools to the Nation’s natural resource managers, with particular focus on the science needs of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and DOI bureaus to manage species, lands and priority ecosystems; fulfill treaty obligations; respond to and reduce threats to natural resources; and manage mineral and energy resources.

EMA Animal Welfare Assurance website

Climate Adaptation Science Centers

From the expansion of invasive species to wildfire, from drought to sea-level rise, changes in climate have created new and evolving challenges for our nation’s resource managers and communities. Our science helps managers of fish, wildlife, and ecosystems understand these impacts and strategically adapt to changing conditions. 

Contaminant Biology Program

Science centers and scientists supported by the Contaminant Biology Program develop and apply advanced laboratory methods, field investigations, and modeling capabilities to understand toxicity and effects of environmental contaminant and pathogen exposure. They are integrated with science centers and scientists supported by the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program who determine sources, movement, and exposure pathways of contaminants in the environment.

Cooperative Research Units

Established in 1935, our mission is our hallmark: meet the actionable science needs of our 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. 

Energy & Wildlife

Energy development is booming across the United States, helping to secure plentiful energy to meet our nation’s needs.  Yet energy generation can sometimes have adverse effects on ecosystems and wildlife. USGS scientists are studying the effects of energy infrastructure on wildlife, and are working to develop the technical and management options that can reduce risks to wildlife and industry.

Environments Program

USGS Environments Program scientists conduct research for the restoration and management of 500 million acres managed by DOI. Scientists work in estuaries, coastlines, deserts, grasslands, rivers and forests from Alaska to Florida to predict how systems respond to change, evaluate restoration, improve habitat for biodiversity and provide services including clean water, food, and storm protection.

Fish & Wildlife Disease

USGS is the lead Federal agency for wildlife disease research and surveillance. Our wildlife health capabilities provide research, information, and technical assistance needed to manage wildlife through disease events. Congress and our partners rely on our science to make informed decisions about fish and wildlife disease policy, planning and management.

Fisheries Program

Our fisheries researchers are world-class scientists. They conduct cutting-edge research to provide fisheries resource managers the scientific information they need to protect, restore, and enhance our Nation’s fisheries and their habitats.

Invasive Species Program

More than 6,500 nonindigenous species are now established in the United States, posing risks to native plants, animals, microorganisms, valued ecosystems, and human and wildlife health. In fact, the current annual environmental, economic, and health-related costs of invasive species exceed those of all other natural disasters combined.

Land Change Science Program

Changes in the environment, land use, and climate can have significant impacts on our Nation’s economy, natural resources, infrastructure, and water, food, and energy security. To strengthen our Nation’s ability to respond and adapt to these stressors, the USGS Land Change Science Program conducts research to improve understanding of rates, causes, and consequences of climate and land use change.

Sage-grouse & Sagebrush Ecosystem

USGS has been a leader in sagebrush ecosystem research and continues to meet the priority science needs of management agencies. We bring a diversity of expertise and capabilities to address a wide variety of science needs at multiple spatial scales and are committed to providing high quality science to our management partners.

Status and Trends Program

To protect, conserve, and restore the living resources—plants, animals, habitats, ecosystems—entrusted to their care, land and resource managers must understand the condition, or status (e.g., abundance, distribution, productivity, health), of those resources as well as their trends (i.e., how these variables change over time).

Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

Science Centers and scientists suported by theToxic Substances Hydrology Program develop and apply advanced analytical methods, field investigations, laboratory studies, and modeling capabilities to understand sources, movement, and exposure pathways of chemical and microbial contaminants in the environment. They are integrated with science centers and scientists supported by the Contaminant Biology Program who then determine the toxicity and effects of contaminants.

Wildlife Program

We provide rigorous and unbiased information on migratory birds, terrestrial and marine mammals, amphibians and reptiles, terrestrial plants, threatened and endangered species, wildlife disease, and on wildlife issues resulting from human activities. Our science contributes toward a more complete understanding of the Nation’s ecosystems and landscapes.