Natural Ecosystems

Living organisms—plants, microbes, fungi, animals and people—form the basis of a multitude of ecosystems, and these ecosystems considerably influence the exchanges of energy, water, carbon, nitrogen and other elements within and between the Earth's atmosphere, hydrosphere (e.g. oceans, rivers and lakes), cryosphere (e.g. permafrost, snow and ice) and lithosphere (e.g. soils, mountains and seabed).

Our ability to deliver credible, model-based predictions and insights is supported by our research that advances the collection, analyses and application of observations. As new sources of information from satellites, field campaigns and next-generation observational networks become available, we develop our models with greater detail and conduct more extensive evaluations to improve their fidelity.

Through numerical experimentation with these ecosystem models, we can provide more reliable predictions of the natural system’s response (e.g. trace-gas sink or source) and resiliency (e.g. in response to shifts in extreme events) to a changing world.


Joint Program Reprint, Journal Article
Monier, E., D. Kicklighter, A. Sokolov, Q. Zhuang, I. Sokolik, R. Lawford, M. Kappas, S. Paltsev and P. Groisman (2017). Environmental Research Letters, 12(8): 083001 (doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa7aae) [PDF]
Journal Article
Meredith, L.K., R. Commane, T.F. Keenan, S.T. Klosterman, J.W. Munger, P.H. Templer, J. Tang, S.C. Wofsy and R.G. Prinn (2016). Global Change Biology, 23(2): 906-919
Joint Program Report
Xu, L., R.D. Pyles, K.T. Paw U, S.-H. Chen, E. Monier and M. Falk (2016). Joint Program Report Series Report 298, July, 24 p. [PDF]

News + Media

Research Projects


Administration, Faculty
CGCS; Joint Program
Research staff
Joint Program; Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences
Marine Biological Laboratory; Joint Program
Research staff
CGCS; Joint Program