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Systems ecology is concerned with the performance of an ecosystem as an integrated whole and how it coheres as a unit and how it changes or responds to stress and natural perturbations. Research at CBL focuses on the interactions of aquatic species with each other and their physical environment, including factors such as the movement of energy, water, chemicals and nutrients within and through ecosystems.
Professors Walter Boynton and Robert Ulanowicz have made significant contributions to aquatic systems ecology from different perspectives. Dr. Boynton has pursued understanding of the ecosystems within the Chesapeake Bay through extensive observation of processes, such as the production of organic matter, respiration, and the transport of materials within specific estuaries. Dr. Ulanowicz has elaborated the theories and tools of network analysis, using them to quantify the structure, function, and development of food webs in a variety of ecosystems. The common goal behind these approaches is knowledge of how complex ecosystems function as a whole and how they adapt to change.
Related research projects: