The Ecosystems Center

Plum Island Estuary, Rowley, MA
Waquoit Bay, Falmouth, MA
Sargasso Sea, Bermuda
Toolik Field Station, North Slope, Alaska
Fazenda Tanguro, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA

Spotlight On

2015-2016 Ecosystems Center Report - Now Available (pdf)
The Ecosystems Center was founded four decades ago to investigate the structure and functioning of ecological systems and to predict their response to changing environmental conditions. At that time the changing global carbon cycle was just becoming recognized as an urgent environmental issue and became one of the focal points for research at the Center. The other part of the mission of the Ecosystems Center is to apply the knowledge we gain from our science to the preservation and management of natural resources, and to educate both future scientists and concerned citizens. Over the last 40 years, our education and outreach activities have continued to grow and we expect that our new affiliation with the University of Chicago will allow for further expansion.

This special issue on our 40th anniversary covers an 18 month period from January 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016.

On research funding and coastal change | UnderCurrent Productions
To really understand how an ecosystem is changing — such as a coastal salt marsh, coping with sea-level rise in a warming climate — ecologists need to study it not just for years, but decades. Long-term data is also indispensable for creating accurate models to predict future ecosystem change. In this video by Elise Hugus of UnderCurrent Productions, Anne Giblin of the MBL Ecosystems Center describes how decades of MBL research at the largest intact salt marsh in the northeastern United States is providing critical information on the impacts of climate change — information stakeholders need to protect the increasingly fragile coastline.

MBL study finds limited sign of soil adaptation to climate warming
While scientists and policy experts debate the impacts of global warming, the Earth’s soil is releasing roughly nine times more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than all human activities combined. This huge carbon flux from soil — due to the natural respiration of soil microbes and plant roots — begs one of the central questions in climate change science. As the global climate warms, will soil respiration rates increase, adding even more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and accelerating climate change?

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The Ecosystems Center
7 MBL Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543-1015

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Physical location of offices:
CV Starr Environmental Laboratory
11 Albatross Street
Woods Hole, MA

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Support Ecosystems Center science through the MBL's Annual Fund. All donors automatically become members of the MBL Associates.