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Ecosystem Science Group

Understanding terrestrial responses to environmental changes

The Ecosystem Science Group pursues fundamental research to develop an understanding of mechanisms of terrestrial response to environmental change at multiple scales for the projection of the fate and function of terrestrial ecosystems under current and alternate environments and atmospheres.

The Ecosystem Science Group conducts research on carbon, water and nutrient cycles of terrestrial ecosystems and their organisms (microbes to trees). Our research is intended to inform models of terrestrial feedbacks to the Earth climate system and how changes in ecosystem structure and land use alter those biogeochemical feedbacks. Our group designs, constructs and operates targeted, large-scale, field experiments to predict vulnerability of terrestrial ecological systems and their organisms to hypothesized changes in climate and atmospheric composition and how those responses might alter both the delivery of ecosystem goods and services to society. Our group also uses laboratory manipulations and analyses to understand fundamental biological processes important to organism growth and survival, and the functioning of ecosystem biogeochemical cycles.

Knowledge obtained from observations and experiments whether they be located in the field or laboratory are used to reduce or eliminate critical uncertainties, and to identify and fill gaps in the representation of fundamental processes within existing ecological models at multiple scales.