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Welcome to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Systematics program. With approximately 80% of the total systematics research in ARS, the Beltsville program is one of the largest in the world and one of the core strengths of the world’s largest agricultural research center.

Photo: A research scientist at the US National Parasite Collection selects specimens for study.

Systematics (often also called taxonomy) is the science which studies the diversity of life on earth and the relationships among organisms. One of the earliest of the “natural sciences”, systematists name and classify species so that we can understand their place in the world. Names provide the key to unlocking all the information that we have accumulated about an animal or plant. As you will see from the information on this site, not knowing exactly what species we are dealing with can have devastating consequences.

From this page you will be able to explore the research laboratories , view the outcome of our Systematics Summit meeting, find information about our scientists and their research, learn about the government’s role in systematics, find out about major issues that these programs deal with, read about our successes, and find links to other relevant literature on the science of systematics.

Return to top Photo credit: The J. Ralph Lichtenfels Collection, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory (APDL)

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