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.

Browse by Location


Date published: September 13, 2019

Fast Fire Facts from USGS


You’ve got questions about USGS fire science. We’ve got answers.

Date published: September 9, 2019

New Center Director at the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The U.S. Geological Survey has selected Sue Phillips as the new center director of the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center. FRESC is headquartered in Corvallis, Oregon, with research offices in Corvallis; Boise, Idaho; Seattle, Washington; and Olympic National Park in Port Angeles, Washington.

Date published: August 14, 2019

Rising Sea Levels Could Accelerate Florida Bay Mangrove Loss

USGS scientists look to the past to learn about the future of Florida mangroves


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Year Published: 2019

Anticoagulant rodenticides in Strix owls indicate widespread exposure in west coast forests

Exposure of nontarget wildlife to anticoagulant rodenticides (AR) is a global conservation concern typically centered around urban or agricultural areas. Recently, however, the illegal use of ARs in remote forests of California, USA, has exposed sensitive predators, including the federally threatened northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis...

Wiens, David; Dilione, Krista E.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Herring, Garth; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Gabriel, Mourad W.; Wengert, Greta; Simon, David C.

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Year Published: 2019

Reporting the limits of detection and quantification for environmental DNA assays

BackgroundEnvironmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is increasingly being used to detect the presence and relative abundance of rare species, especially invasive or imperiled aquatic species. The rapid progress in the eDNA field has resulted in numerous studies impacting conservation and management actions. However, standardization of eDNA methods and...

Klymus, Katy E.; Merkes, Christopher M.; Allison, Michael J.; Goldberg, Caren S.; Helbing, Caren C.; Hunter, Margaret; Jackson, Craig; Lance, Richard F.; Mangan, Anna M.; Monroe, Emy M.; Piaggio, Antoinette J.; Stokdyk, Joel P.; Wilson, Chris C.; Richter, Catherine A.

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Year Published: 2019

Putative mitochondrial sex determination in the Bivalvia: insights from a hybrid transcriptome assembly in freshwater mussels

Bivalves exhibit an astonishing diversity of sexual systems, with genetic and environmental determinants of sex, and possibly the only example of mitochondrial genes influencing sex determination pathways in animals. In contrast to all other animal species in which strict maternal inheritance (SMI) of mitochondria is the rule, bivalves possess a...

Capt, Charlotte; Renaut, Sebastien; Stewart, Donald; Johnson, Nathan; Breton, Sophie