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Ecosystem Processes

Advancing mechanistic understanding of Earth’s vital and changing ecosystems

The Ecosystem Processes Group advances mechanistic understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of Earth’s vital and changing ecosystems by using unprecedented ecosystem-scale manipulation experiments, observations, and integrated modeling. A whole-ecosystem approach is taken to provide a complete picture of ecosystem processes. A long-history of world-class manipulation experiments, like the ongoing SPRUCE experiment, has resulted in some of the most detailed studies of ecosystems and their responses to environmental change to date. Integrating mathematical models with the broad range of data collected at these experiments provides an approach to the scientific method in ecosystem ecology that is entirely quantitative. We cultivate scientific collaborations across the nation and the world to inform the most comprehensive understanding of the complexity of ecosystems. Our goal is mechanistic understanding of coupled carbon, water, and nutrient cycling within and across ecosystems. 

Collectively, we study the response of peatlands to warming, ecosystem responses to increasing atmospheric CO2, photosynthesis and solar induced fluorescence, plant and soil water dynamics, soil processes, model complexity and process representation, and the link between structure and function.