Ecosystems Research

Ecological research is largely concerned with the system levels beyond that of the organism. An ecological community is all the animal and plant populations occupying a given area. The community (biotic) and the nonliving environment function (abiotic) together as an ecological system or “ecosystem” which is governed by principles such as population dynamics, competition, and energy and material cycling. Our understanding of ecology contributes to decisions about how natural resources are managed. Research to understand ecosystem use by humans has led to the development of sub-disciplines such as sustainable development, resilience theory, restoration ecology, and ecosystem services.

Ecological Stressors

Ecological Stressors are physical, chemical, and biological factors that impact the condition and integrity of ecosystems and can change the trajectories of species and ecosystems.


USGS research on wetlands spans the range from alpine lakes to salt marshes; and from the coastline of Alaska to Southeastern swamps.

The Arctic

USGS research on the Arctic.


Deserts host diverse and easily disturbed plant and animal communities.


USGS research in the oceans spans from species, populations, communities, habitats, and ecosystems, including understanding the natural conditions and influence of human disturbances.

Great Lakes

USGS research on Great Lakes