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The University of South Florida is now a member of the

Piedmont-South Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (PSAC-CESU)

South Florida - Caribbean Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (SFC-CESU)

Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units National Network

Travis Doering, Ph.D. and Lori Collins, Ph.D., Directors of the Alliance of Integrated Spatial Technologies in the USF College of Arts and Sciences, have successfully applied to the Piedmont-South Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (PSAC-CESU) and the South Florida - Caribbean Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (SFC-CESU) on behalf of the entire University of South Florida research community. Significant scientific and financial benefits are available to all USF faculty, researchers, and graduate students as a result of this membership.

Below is a brief introduction to the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESUs) and an outline of their objectives. An overview of the benefits of CESU membership is also presented. Finally, information regarding the PSAC-CESU and SFC-CESU is provided. Further descriptions and explanations are available at <> or <>, or you can contact Dr. Doering, the University of South Florida's technical representative to the PSAC-CESU or Dr. Collins the technical representative to the SFC-CESU.

The National Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit Network is composed of 17 cooperative research units that have been established to provide research, technical assistance, and education to resource and environmental managers. Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU), are named to signify their broad role as providers of research, technical assistance, and education to Federal land management, environmental and research agencies, and their potential partners.

Cooperative is a key term that emphasizes the relationship between the multiple federal agencies, universities, and non-government organizations that are partners in this program. Though they are called "ecosystem studies" units they cover work from Anthropology to Zoology. Ecosystem studies involve the biological, physical, social, and cultural sciences needed to address resource issues and interdisciplinary problem solving at multiple scales and in an ecosystem context. Resources encompass natural and cultural resources.


Federal land management, environmental and research agencies, along with the nation's universities, share several science-based goals in the 21st century: high-quality science, usable knowledge for resource managers, responsive technical assistance, continuing education, and cost-effective research programs. To enhance and facilitate collaboration, the objectives of this network are to:

  • Provide resource managers with high-quality scientific research, technical assistance, and education
  • Deliver research and technical assistance that is timely, relevant to resource managers, and needed to develop and implement sound adaptive management approaches
  • Ensure the independence and objectivity of research
  • Create and maintain effective partnerships among federal agencies and universities to share resources and expertise
  • Take full advantage of university resources while benefiting faculty and students;
  • Encourage professional development of federal scientists
  • Manage federal science resources efficiently
CESU Units Network

The concept builds upon several existing and successful models of federal government and university collaboration. Hence, it is an evolution of such partnerships, a complement to existing programs, and an innovation in the delivery of scientific services need ed by federal land management, environmental and research agencies.

Benefits of Membership in the CESU Network

A broadened scope of scientific services for federal agencies

In a real sense, a CESU expands the staff of a national park superintendent, forest supervisor, public lands manager, field scientist, or environmental administrator to include the entire complement of faculty, students, and others involved in a CESU and in the national CESU Network.

Research will be conducted at several scales appropriate to the participating agencies. CESUs can engage the full range of disciplines used by natural and cultural resource managers, from archeology to zoology. The biological, physical, social, and cultural sciences will be better integrated to provide interdisciplinary problem-solving skills.

Interagency cooperation is increased. Collaboration across federal departments and agencies is facilitated. With federal and university scientists working together within a university environment, the generation, synthesis, and use of scientific information is enhanced.

Increased technical assistance to resource managers

Resource managers of participating agencies will have a local CESU to draw on for basic technical assistance, education and training, planning support, and other needed services. They will have expanded, efficient, timely, and cost-effective access to universities (either a CESU host or partner institution). In addition, the CESU Network provides managers with specialized skills and assistance available from other CESUs across the country. Sharing of CESU expertise to meet managers' needs is encouraged through the CESU agreements, an active electronic network of communication, and the CESU Coordinating Council.

Additional scientific resources and opportunities for universities

Universities that become hosts or partners in a CESU benefit in several specific ways. The faculty is augmented by federal scientists that can facilitate, direct, or cooperate on research projects; serve on graduate student committees and as faculty advisors; contribute to scholarly activities; and teach in their areas of expertise. University faculty benefit by close professional collaboration with federal employees and increased opportunities for interdisciplinary, multi-agency research projects related to federal resource management issues.

Graduate students benefit from increased research, fieldwork, and employment opportunities; exposure to contemporary federal resource management issues; and additional faculty, courses, and seminars.

University research programs benefit from consistent and comprehensive agreements that provide for overhead costs, maximize opportunities for research, create a broadened scope of contacts with federal agencies, and offer a voice in establishing research agendas. Universities benefit from the overall CESU Network as it makes their unique skills and expertise easily accessible by resource managers throughout the country.

Increased diversity of research scientists and institutions

The science capability of federal agencies must be improved, and the cadre of federal scientists needs to diversify. CESUs include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Predominantly Hispanic Serving Institutions (PHSI), and Native American Tribal Colleges (NATC) as partners. Students at these institutions will be exposed to federal resource management issues and have increased access to research, fieldwork, and employment opportunities.

Throughout the CESU Network, rotating assignments for federal scientists, post-doctoral positions at host or partner universities, and sabbatical assignments for university faculty will be encouraged. The diversity of scientists and institutions involved in the CESU Network will strengthen the federal government's ability to conduct creative, innovative and significant science critical to federal resource management.

The University of South Florida is a member of the



Mission Statement

The Piedmont-South Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (PSAC-CESU) facilitates collaboration among university, non-governmental organization and federal agency partners to provide relevant research, education and technical assistance for stewardship of cultural and natural resources.

Federal Agency Partners : (Follow the link for complete contact information)

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • US Geological Survey - Biological Resources Division
  • National Park Service
  • USDA Forest Service
  • Agricultural Research Service
  • US Department of Defense (Installations and Environment)
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Host Institution: (Follow the link for contact information)

The University of Georgia, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

University Partners: (Follow the link for complete contact information)

  • Auburn University
  • Clemson University, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences
  • East Carolina University
  • Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University
  • North Carolina State University
  • North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University
  • Towson University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida, School of Natural Resources and Environment
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of South Florida

NGO partners: (Follow the link for complete contact information)

  • Audubon of Florida
  • Audubon of South Carolina
  • Audubon of North Carolina
  • Southern Forest Research Partnership

University of South Florida

    Dr. Travis F. Doering
    Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies
    Office of Research and Scholarship
    College of Arts and Sciences
    University of South Florida
    4202 East Fowler Avenue, SCA110
    Tampa, FL 33620-8100
    Phone: 813-974-0613
    Fax: 813-974-2778

Information regarding the South Florida - Caribbean CESU will be forthcoming.