The Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa State University, and Wildlife Management Institute. The Unit was established in 1932 largely on the efforts of conservationist and political cartoonist Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling. Since that time, and with the authorization of the Cooperative Units Act by Congress in 1960, Coop. Units are now established at land grant universities in 40 states.
The Unit provides administrative support and guidance for cooperative programs of research and education relating to fisheries and wildlife biology and management and to natural resource conservation. In addition to graduate education and research, the Unit provides technical assistance to its cooperators and to the public through lectures, workshops, conferences and publications. The Unit is housed by and administratively associated with the Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management (NREM) and the College of Agriculture. Unit scientists are members of the graduate faculty of Iowa State University and actively participate in NREM, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Environmental Science graduate programs.
Most research projects of the Unit are field oriented and conducted by graduate students in close cooperation with Unit, university, and agency biologists. Graduate work leading to both masters and doctoral degrees is supported through the Unit.