Natural Ecosystems

Natural EcosystemsOur research focuses on understanding the functioning of Earth’s natural ecosystems from the Arctic tundra to the tropical rainforests, and everything in between. We study the goods and services that ecosystems provide and how humans are undermining the capacity of natural ecosystems to sustain the planet. Our research stresses the important processes and benefits we obtain from ecosystems such as climate regulation, provisioning of food, freshwater, fiber, and cultural services such as aesthetic and recreational value, and how land use and land cover change may be affecting these services at local-to-global scales. We study these processes using experimental and observational approaches as well as numerical modeling to investigate biophysical and biogeochemical processes and the interaction between ecosystems and the atmosphere, the soil, and the hydrology. Through our research we are addressing such questions as: How might climate or land use change affect ecosystem services through biophysical and biogeochemical processes? What are the patterns of carbon and nutrient dynamics in forest ecosystems? How might individual plant and microbial species influence elemental cycling processes? What role do natural ecosystems play in the regional to global hydrologic cycle?

Affiliated Faculty