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The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Environmental Biology (DEB) Subactivity is $99.77 million, a decrease of $2.72 million, or 2.7 percent, from the FY 2002 Current Plan of $102.49 million.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2001

FY 2002
Current Plan

FY 2003




Environmental Biology Research Projects






Total, Environmental Biology






The Environmental Biology Subactivity supports fundamental research on the origins, functions, relationships, interactions, and evolutionary history of populations, species, communities, and ecosystems. Studies can be conducted in any natural or human-impacted biotic system of the world, and can address the genealogical relationships among plants, animals, and microbes; the flux of energy and materials that sustain or degrade ecological communities; and the principles or rules by which species function in ecosystems and evolve through time. National activities supported include the Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the network of Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites.

In FY 2003, activities in the DEB Subactivity are decreased by $2.72 million. This reflects the restructuring of the BIO budget structure to establish the new Emerging Frontiers Subactivity, which was established as an incubator for evolving multidisciplinary research and networking activities. Within the budget request, DEB will include support for:

  • Genomics: Major activities supported by DEB utilize approaches and tools developed through the genomics revolution. Topics include the magnitude and role of biodiversity, both at the genetic and organismal level, on ecosystem processes; evolution and development; microbial ecology, the impacts of climate change on living organisms and ecological systems; and the origin and diversification of life forms.

    Example: A massive interdisciplinary collecting enterprise is taking place in Gaoligongshan, in southwestern Yunnan, China, a biodiversity hotspot. Plants, fungi, arthropods, diatoms, and vertebrates will be collected, described, and made available for future study. A large number of cooperating specialists will be involved, and collaboration with Chinese colleagues and other institutions (Edinburgh, Missouri Botanic Garden, Harvard) has been established. Database compilation and analysis, and GIS mapping are planned. Theis study is important for the data that will be generated will provide fundamental knowledge about species distributions and evolutionary origins, as well as critical information needed for the conservation efforts. to follow, and for In addition, new the international collaborations that will be established.

  • Systems Biology: Other areas take advantage of recent advances in computation, mathematics and modeling techniques to address biological complexity. Research areas include modeling ecosystem dynamics in real time, computational biology, and conservation biology and restoration ecology. Basic research in ecology and evolution is sustained through disciplinary programs, all of which are undergoing long-term transformation as they incorporate new methods and tools from genomics, computer science, and mathematics. The acquisition and analysis of very large environmental datasets; organismal data from field studies and natural history collections; and molecular data from genomic sequencing all require new integrative approaches and skills.

    Example: A study will examine the impact of the introduction of non-native species as biocontrol agents on non-target species, and on human health. The gallfly was introduced to Montana to control invasive knapweed. The larvae within the galls serve as an important food source for deer mice over winter, and this additional food source may cause increases in the mouse populations. In Montana, deer mice are the primary vectors for the Hantavirus, a potentially fatal human disease. Rapid execution of tThis research may aid in the management and prevention of the spread of Hantavirus, and will further alert us to the impacts of non-native biocontrol agents on native species and communities. SeveralThese types of long- term and large-scale ecological studies are helping scientists to begin to understand the importance of complexity in biological systems and the interface between biodiversity and ecosystem functions.


  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


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National Science Foundation Summary of FY 2003 Budget Request to Congress NSF Logo