Ecosystem and Restoration Science

walt boynton on jug bayIn the early years of ecosystem research at Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, our ecologists focused much attention on the nearby waters of the Chesapeake Bay, investigating causes for the Bay's deterioration and advising policy makers in formulating responses to it. For instance, research centering on nutrient-based ecology in the 1970s revealed the affects of excess nutrients throughout the Bay ecosystem, and these findings led to the development of new regional policies.

Today, this heritage of research and advisory services continues, but ecological research at CBL now reaches a wider world; it also spans a broader continuum, including molecular, organismal, community, and systems ecology. Whereas one of our scientists has used network analysis to assess ecosystems as large as the Baltic Sea, others have studied the roles benthic species play in the geochemical processes of estuaries and oceans. These various levels of research all contribute to a greater understanding of the complex factors influencing the components of coastal and aquatic systems, the mechanisms of global diversity, and the responses of ecosystems to natural and man-made changes.

One of the strengths of the ecology group is its diversity. Faculty members hail from ecological, engineering, and oceanographic backgrounds. While some faculty are involved primarily in scientific discovery, others are addressing environmental issues. For example, in the area of ecological restoration, cost-benefit and cost-risk analysis are used in conjunction with environmental science to help agencies and organizations develop environmentally sound restoration plans.

Learn more about CBL's Ecosystem and Restoration Ecology Research Programs: