Ecological Exposure Research
Protection of ecosystems is a fundamental component of EPA’s mission. Understanding exposures of ecosystems to environmental stressors is a critical part of assessing risks to ecosystem health. Environmental stressors can include chemical pollutants, microbes, and pathogens, physical agents such as land use, and processes such as alteration of wildlife habitat. EPA’s ecological exposure research focuses on understanding how ecosystems come into contact with pollutants or stressors, and how ecosystems, and the plant and animal life within them, respond to these exposures. This research informs decisions to support ecosystem protection and restoration by providing a sound biological foundation for ecological exposure science. Research is conducted at a variety of scales from molecular to ecosystem levels.