Ecosystem Ecology

The ecosystem is the base unit for supporting life, but an ecosystem goes beyond just the organisms that live in a place. Life depends on recycling resources among organisms and the environment they live in, between organic and inorganic forms. Ecosystem ecology studies these transformations and integrates across both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, pulling on fields as diverse as atmospheric chemistry, hydrology, soil science, physiology, and ecology.

What are the flows of energy and chemicals through the system? What controls the feedbacks between the biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem? How do the production and consumption of the atmospheric trace gases carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and others, regulate the planet’s climate?

Ecosystem scientists in EEMB work on a range of ecosystems; including the Arctic tundra of Northern Alaska and Greenland, the forests of Hawaii, the oak woodlands and chaparral of California, the kelp reefs off the Santa Barbara coast, and the open ocean. A major resource for ecosystem study is the UC Natural Reserve system which contains a wide range of ecosystem types that are accessible for experimental work.

Faculty

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Biological oceanography; ecology of marine gelatinous plankton; marine particulate matter and marine snow, biogeochemical cycling.

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Phytoplankton ecology and physiology; phytoplankton cell cycles; elemental cycling in surface ocean.

My research has mostly focused on how trophic interactions and productivity shape community organization across a variety of different ecosystems including coral reefs, rivers, tall grass prairies, and African savannas.

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Dr. Carlson's research interests are shaped by an interdisciplinary blend of marine microbial ecology, microbiology and ocean biogeochemistry.

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Research in my lab elucidates mechanisms controlling plant dominance and the conditions under which non-native plants have short versus long term community and ecosystem impacts.

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Marine biogeochemistry, ocean acidification, phytoplankton ecophysiology, marine calcification, inorganic carbon chemistry, genomics, shot-gun proteomics, genetic diversity.

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Parasite population and community ecology; marine ecology; crustacean biology.

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Prof. MacIntyre is internationally recognized for her studies of physical processes in aquatic ecosystems with emphasis on turbulence and its ecological consequences.

Understanding the ecology of communities and ecosystems in a rapidly changing world.

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John Melack is internationally recognized for making seminal contributions to our understanding of the ecological functioning of inland waters and their importance in the carbon cycle.

Behavioral ecology, social organization, community ecology, eco-evolutionary dynamics.

Marine microbiology, microbial ecology, nitrogen cycling

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Soil ecology; microbial controls of ecosystem processes; terrestrial biogeochemistry.

LIzzy Wilbanks

I am interested how microbial interactions and tightly-coupled biogeochemical cycles drive the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of populations, with a current focus on the bacteria and archaea of marine aggregates and biofilms.