About Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)

IOS supports research aimed at improving our understanding of organisms as integrated units of biological organization.  The Division welcomes projects that employ diverse approaches to research addressing organismal-level questions. 

IOS particularly encourages research that:

  • is integrative and interdisciplinary
  • applies approaches that combine experimentation, computation, and modeling
  • leads to new conceptual and theoretical insights and testable predictions about integrated organismal properties, including the relationship between genotypes and phenotypes
  • integrates data across spatial/temporal/ biological scales
  • leads to transformative methods, tools and resources
  • seeks breakthroughs in the areas of phenotypic plasticity and organismal resilience

IOS Cluster Descriptions:

Behavioral Systems Cluster

Developmental Systems Cluster

Neural Systems Cluster

Physiological and Structural Systems Cluster

Plant Genome Research Program

Funding Opportunities Information:

To discover more information about IOS's programs, please click “Programs” in the left navigation bar.

For information about active IOS funding opportunities including cross-directorate and NSF-wide activities, please click "Funding" in the left navigation bar.

For “Dear Colleague Letters,” information about supplements, and BIO's guidance on data management plans, please click "Additional Resources" in the left navigation bar.

Contact Us:

General questions may be directed to IOS by phone at (703) 292-8420. Specific IOS staff may be contacted via individual email addresses found in the IOS staff directory.

IOS also encourages the community to engage with us through our blog, IOS InFocus: https://iosblog.nsfbio.com/.

Media Inquiries:

NSF Public Communications & Media Information: https://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp.

Media inquiries should be directed to the NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, Media Relations Team: (703) 292-7090 or media@nsf.gov.

Legislative Inquiries:

Legislative inquiries should be directed to the NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, Division of Legislative Affairs: (703) 292-8070 or Congressionalteam@nsf.gov.

If you're a new visitor to the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) website or just want a quick visual and textual summary of BIO areas of support, please visit the "About" page for the Directorate to access an interactive organization chart.


Home Page Image Credits: 

Images depict some of IOS’s research themes, spanning from small to large organisms and hot to cold environments

Learning & Memory: Neurons
Studies of different types of brain cells (color-coded images) in the mouse hippocampus reveal mechanisms of learning, memory, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Image Credit: T. Siapas/Caltech

Human Food Crops: Genome Map
A “synteny” map illustrates how genes in different chromosomes of soybean (outer circle) are related to each another (colored line connects different genome locations).
Image Credit: Scott Jackson, University of Georgia

High-speed Metabolism: Hummingbirds
Studies of hummingbirds are revealing how animals can rapidly convert food energy into fast motion.
Image Credit: Ken Jones, University of Toronto Scarborough

Developmental Biology
Developing embryos of a frog display extensive external gills oriented to obtain maximum oxygen.
Image Credit: Karen M. Warkentin, Boston University

Evolution of Life in Hot Environments: Bacteria
Scientists study these single-celled microorganisms from deep-sea hydrothermal vents to understand how life may have first evolved on Planet Earth.
Image Credit: Mark Amend, West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center, UAF

Food and Pollination: Bee on Plant
Research on honey bees provides insight into behavior and pollination, processes that have an essential role in food crop production and maintenance of diversity in native plant communities.
Image Credit: Jon Sullivan, PD Photo.org

Plant Behavior: Sunflowers
Sunflowers, shown in this image as all facing the same direction in response to sunlight (phototropism), are valuable study systems for analysis of plant metabolism and genome evolution.
Image Credit: Ben Blackman, UC Berkeley

Life in the Cold: Mammals
Investigations of Antarctic seals yield new insights into the physiological mechanisms of reproductive success in extreme-cold environments.
Image Credit: Zakhar V. Akulov