The Ecosystems Center

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

Spotlight On

Alaskan Tundra Research An Inspiration In The Classroom
Lawrence School 7th-grade science teacher Celeste Cruse traveled thousands of miles to the Arctic this summer for a hands-on research experience which she plans to bring back to the classroom. “I want to get these kids enthusiastic about science, to say, ‘You can go in a helicopter and see a herd of caribou,’” Ms. Cruse said. Ms. Cruse worked with Edward B. Rastetter, a senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory, and other scientists on the North Slope of Alaska at the Toolik Field Station. Projects included analyzing soil and plant samples from the tundra and recording the different insect and plant life at certain locations.

As the Arctic warms, scientists at this remote field station try to make sense of the changing environment
As Alaska's climate changes, almost every veteran researcher at Toolik Field Station, the Arctic research center just north of the Brooks Range, has a story about lightning. Linda Deegan, a senior scientist at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, was enjoying a beer by Toolik Lake when she saw her first strike. She remembers uttering an expletive when she saw it.

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.


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The Ecosystems Center
7 MBL Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543-1015
508-289-7496

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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.