Research in the Ecology Branch focuses on characterizing and understanding the exposure and response of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems to habitat alteration. Research is focused on the population, community, and ecosystem levels of biological organization. Scientific expertise includes behavior, botany, ecology, toxicology, physiology, and risk assessment.
The Ecology Branch has both laboratory and field capabilities that are frequently deployed through integrated field and laboratory studies across a wide range of habitats throughout the world. These integrated, multidisciplinary studies are conducted in conjunction with investigations conducted in experimental ecosystems including constructed streams, ponds, and greenhouse facilities located at CERC.
Areas of emphasis include ecological evaluations of chemical substances resulting from agricultural, industrial and mineral extraction activities; on-site assessment of habitats disturbed by multiple stressors; invasive species ecology and mitigation; endangered species ecology and recovery; climate change; fire ecology and management; ecological risk assessments; and monitoring. Research is focused on both system response as well as ecological resistance, resiliency and recovery processes. The results of these studies are used to add to our basic understanding of natural and altered ecosystems, and are applied in the emerging fields of adaptive management and restoration ecology.