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
Taxonomy
Discovering, describing, and naming new species
Phylogeny
Elucidating relationships among organisms.
Classification
Naming groups of species according to their relationships.
Biogeography
Mapping geographical distributions of species in evolutionary and ecological time.
Biodiversity Informatics
Integrating, interpreting, and disseminating information.
Phylogeography
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
Bioinformatics
Knowledge derived from computer analysis of biological data.
Biosecurity
The protection of the economy, environment, and health of living things from diseases, pests and bioterrorism.
Bioterrorism
Terrorism using biological agents.
Genomic
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.
Morphology
The study of the form or structure of an organism.
Pathogens
Organisms that cause diseases
Systematics
The field of science dealing with the diversity of life and the relationships of life's component organisms.
Zoonotic
A disease that can be transmitted from animals to people or, more specifically, a disease that normally exists in animals but can infect humans.