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 2-Citizen Science

Where's our Science?


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

Browse by Location


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Year Published: 2019

State of lake ecosystem conference sub Indicator: Prey fish

Overall Assessment Status: Fair Trends 10-Year Trend: Unchanging Long-term Trend (1973-2017): Undetermined Rationale: Great Lakes prey fish community status remains ”Fair” based on diversity and percent native species, but individual lake status varied. Both diversity and percent native metrics were classified as “Good” in Lake Superior, but “...

Weidel, Brian C.
Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2017. State of the Great Lakes 2017 Technical Report. Cat. No. En161‐3/1E‐PDF. EPA 905‐R‐17‐001. Available at binational.net.

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Year Published: 2019

Rapid broad-scale ecosystem changes and their consequences for biodiversity

(Bradford) INTRODUCTION Biodiversity contributes to and depends on ecosystem structure and associated function. Ecosystem structure, such as the amount and type of tree cover, influences fundamental abiotic variables such as near-ground incoming solar radiation (e.g., Royer et al. 2011), which in turn affects species and associated biodiversity...

Breshears, David D.; Field, Jason P.; Law, Darin J.; Villegas, Juan C.; Allen, Craig D.; Cobb, Neil S.; Bradford, John B.
Breshears, D.D., Field, J.P., Law, D.J., Villegas, J.C., Allen, C.D., Cobb, N.S., and Bradford, J.B., 2019, Rapid broad-scale ecosystem changes and their consequences for biodiversity, in Lovejoy, T.E., and Lee, H., eds., Biodiversity and climate change--Transforming the biosphere: New Haven, Yale University Press, p. 80-90.

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Year Published: 2019

Monitoring protocol development and assessment for narrowly endemic toads in Nevada, 2018

Several species and subspecies of toads are endemic to small spring systems in the Great Basin, and their restricted ranges and habitat extent make them vulnerable to environmental perturbations. Very little is known about several of these toad populations, so a group of stakeholders including the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife...

Halstead, Brian J.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Duarte, Adam; Rose, Jonathan P.; Urquhart, Kris; Mellison, Chad; Guadalupe, Kevin; Cota, Melanie; Van Horne, Rachel; Killion, Alexa; Ruehling, Kelsey
Halstead, B.J., Kleeman, P.M., Duarte, A., Rose, J.P., Urquhart, K., Mellison, C., Guadalupe, K., Cota, M., Van Horne, R., Killion, A., and Ruehling, K., 2019, Monitoring protocol development and assessment for narrowly endemic toads in Nevada, 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1067, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191067.