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Ecosystems are principal components of research on environmental change. Observational and modeling research on ecosystems at the global scale, however, has lagged behind their counterparts for oceanic and atmospheric systems, largely because the unique challenges associated with the tremendous diversity and complexity of ecosystems.

Building a successful, integrated model of the global change in the Earth system requires a reliable model of ecosystem dynamics, in combination with accurate environmental and ecological data to support and validate the model. In the Ecosystem Change Research Program (ECRP), we investigate how ecosystem processes influence global scale environmental/climatic changes such as those associated with global warming. We also seek to identify and model, with improved accuracy, the mechanisms through which global environmental/climatic change influences ecosystems.

We have achieved several major goals, including development of Sim-CYCLE to model the effects of atmospheric/environmental changes on global/terrestrial scale production and carbon budget in the ecosystem. We also developed a Pipe-Tree Model to simulate the effects of environmental/climatic change on the growth of individual trees.

In addition, we made new advances in understanding and modeling of the spatial distribution and dynamics of vegetation and snow on land, and phytoplankton and CO2 exchange in the ocean through analysis of terrestrial and oceanic observational data.

We will continue to direct our research toward achieving further progress in the topics described above. In addition, we plan to construct an integrated model of Earth system dynamics through cross-cutting research between groups and between programs.

Terrestrial Ecosystem Model Group
Ecosystem Spatial Observation and Modeling Group
Marine Ecosystem Model Group
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