About the Profession

Systematics, or the scientific study of biological diversity, provides a cornerstone for the agricultural, biological, and environmental security of the U.S. by providing accurate detection and identification of invasive pests, parasites, and pathogens along with knowledge of their origins and movements.

Systematic biologists predict the behavior and provide accurate detection and identification of new pests, pathogens, and parasites; distinguish invasive organisms from morphologically identical native species; create the biological reference collections needed to recognize invasive species; educate the public and other scientists about invasive species; and contribute knowledge needed to develop control strategies to manage outbreaks of invasive species.

Systematics Integrates the Following Scientific Disciplines
Discovering, describing, and naming new species
Elucidating relationships among organisms.
Naming groups of species according to their relationships.
Mapping geographical distributions of species in evolutionary and ecological time.
Biodiversity Informatics
Integrating, interpreting, and disseminating information.
Examining relationships and global distribution within and among species.
Population Genetics
Defining genetic relationships among populations within a species
Landscape Genetics
Assessing population structure across the landscape.

Glossary of Scientific Terms
Knowledge derived from computer analysis of biological data.
The protection of the economy, environment, and health of living things from diseases, pests and bioterrorism.
Terrorism using biological agents.
Pertaining to the genome, all of the genetic information possessed by any organism.
Interactive keys
An interactive computer program in which the user enters characteristics of the specimen in order to determine its identity
Invasive Species
Plants, animals, and microorganisms whose introduction or spread threatens human and animal health, agricultural and environmental security, or the economy.
The study of the form or structure of an organism.
Organisms that cause diseases
The field of science dealing with the diversity of life and the relationships of life's component organisms.
A disease that can be transmitted from animals to people or, more specifically, a disease that normally exists in animals but can infect humans.