Environmental Impacts of Agriculture Expansion in Amazon

November 26th, 2013 @
A decade ago, Brazil was losing an area of rainforest about the size of Massachusetts each year to cattle pasture and croplands. Recently, deforestation has slowed because agriculture is intensifying and allowing farmers to produce more crops on the same land. Nowhere is this more evident than in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, where large soybean farms now stretch to the horizon across an area almost the size of Maine. More >>

Staying Alive in the High and Dry: How Plants in Arid Lands Gain Nutrients to Survive

November 12th, 2013 @
The vast sagebrush landscapes of the western United States are one of the largest ecosystems in North America. Long, cold winters and hot, dry summers characterize these cold desert ecosystems and create bone-dry soils during seasonal droughts. New research published this week from MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) senior scientist Zoe Cardon, John Stark (Utah State University), and their two former students, sheds light on how desert plants gain nutrients they desperately need—even in the driest circumstances. More >>

Brown Students Visit WBNERR

November 11th, 2013 @
Brown students visit research the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve as part of the annual Brown-MBL Partnership Retreat on November 8. Students visited a salt marsh where Ecosystems Center Assistant Scientist Jim Tang studies how sea level rise will alter marsh carbon storage and emissions of greenhouse gases. Ecosystems Center Research Assistant Jordan Mora led the tour.

Renovations Begin at Marshview Field Station

November 5th, 2013 @

The Ecosystems Center was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Field Station and Marine Laboratory renovation grant to improve our Marshview Field Station which is the field site of the Plum Island Estuary Long Term Ecological Research (PIE-LTER) project located on the Parker River in Newburyport, MA. The $344,000 grant led by senior scientist Anne Giblin will provide key infrastructure improvements to the field station that will increase its laboratory capacity and provide modern field lab facilities as well as make key improvements in the barn to accommodate the PIE-LTER internet server.

History of the Field Station
The MBL began research in the watersheds and estuaries around Plum Island Sound in 1992 and became an LTER site in 1998. From 1994-2003 the PIE-LTER operated solely out of a very small space in Rowley rented from the Essex County Greenbelt. This space consisted of a small house with 2 bedrooms and a small basement area that is mostly used for storage of equipment. The 2001 NSF-LTER review team felt these facilities were inadequate and strongly recommended that the PIE-LTER procure additional facilities to support the research program. In response, the Marshview Farm was acquired and established as the Marshview Field Station by the MBL in 2003. The 2007 review team felt that the “expansion of the originally constrained scientific and logistical facilities have been effectively addressed through the purchase of the Marshview Farm which will meet most of their future field support needs if further alterations and upgrading of both the house and the adjoining barn facilities can be accomplished.” We now have the funds necessary to make these key infrastructure improvements so that our facilities can accommodate our increasing research portfolio.