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.

Find out more

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 3 - CWD

Where's our Science?


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

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Year Published: 2019

Diel feeding behavior in a partially migrant Mysis population: A benthic-pelagic comparison

Populations that exhibit partial migration include migrants and non-migrants. For benthic-pelagic organisms that exhibit partial diel vertical migration (PDVM), migrants and non-migrants spend different amounts of time in benthic and pelagic foraging arenas over a diel cycle. For example, mysids exhibit PDVM and can feed on benthic and pelagic...

O'Malley, Brian; Stockwell, Jason D.

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Year Published: 2019

Improving population estimates of threatened spectacled eiders: Correcting aerial counts for visibility bias

Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1993, the Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri) population in western Alaska has since rebounded, prompting an assessment of their suitability for delisting. This assessment, however, is limited by aerial-based population estimates that are incompletely corrected for unobserved eiders....

Lewis, Tyler; Michael Swaim; Schmutz, Joel A.; Julian Fischer
Lewis TL, Swaim MA, Schmutz JA, Fischer JB (2019) Improving population estimates of threatened spectacled eiders: correcting aerial counts for visibility bias. Endang Species Res 39:191-206. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00959

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Year Published: 2019

First examination of diet items consumed by wild-caught black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) in the U.S.

Black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) were imported to the U.S. in the 1970s to control snails in aquaculture ponds and have since escaped from captivity. The increase in captures of wild fish has raised concerns of risk to native and imperiled unionid mussels given previous literature classified this species a molluscivore. We acquired black carp...

Poulton, Barry C.; Kroboth, Patrick; Aiken, George; Chapman, Duane C.; Bailey, J.; McMurray, Stephen E.; Faiman, John S.
Poulton, B.C., Kroboth, P.T., Bailey, J., George, A.E., McMurray, S.E., Faiman, J.S., and Chapman, D.C., 2019, First Examination of Diet Items Consumed by Wild-Caught Black Carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) in the U.S.: The American Midland Naturalist, v.182 n.1, p. 89-108