Edward B. Rastetter

Ed RastetterSenior Scientist

Tel: 508-289-7483 | Fax: 508-457-1548
E-mail: erastetter@mbl.edu

Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1986
B.S., University of Hawaii, 1976

Full CV

Simluated dynamics of plankton community

Simulated dynamics of a simple plankton community. Species 1 is a phytoplankton species, species 2 is a detritus feeder, species 3, 4, and 5 are herbivores, species 5 and 6 are carnivores, and species 8 is an omnivore. (Rastetter and Ågren 2002)

Research Statement

My research focuses on how ecosystems are regulated through the interactions among carbon, nutrient, energy, and water cycles and how this regulation maintains the life-support system of the Earth. The gatekeepers that undertake this regulation are the plants, animals, and microorganisms that make up ecosystems. These organisms themselves require carbon, nutrient, energy, and water from their environment in tightly constrained proportions and have evolved ways to balance their resource acquisition to meet their own metabolic needs. With many billions of organisms acting in concert, all acquiring carbon, nutrient, energy, and water from the environment in about the same proportions, the cycles of these resources become inextricably linked to one another. This tight linkage means that ecosystem responses to perturbations in one of the resource cycles are constrained by the dynamics of the other resource cycles and that perturbations will propagate from one resource cycle to all the others. I simulate these tightly coupled resource cycles using computer models and examine how ecosystems will respond to increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, changes in rainfall patterns, increases in man-made fertilizer use, and global warming. My work both relies upon data collected from observational and experimental studies in the field and provides the theoretical foundation for new field studies to help unravel the mechanisms underlying the global life-support system.

Publications of Interest

Rastetter, EB. 2017. Modeling for understanding v. modeling for numbers. Ecosystems 20:215-221.

Rastetter , EB, and JJ Vallino. 2015. Ecosystem's 80th and the Reemergence of Emergence. Ecosystems 18:735-739. DOI 10.1007/s10021-015-9893-6

Pearce, AR,  EB Rastetter, WB Bowden, MC Mack, Y Jiang, and BL Kwiatkowski. 2015. Recovery of arctic tundra from thermal erosion disturbance is constrained by nutrient accumulation: a modeling analysis. Ecological Applications 25:1271-1289.

Jiang, Y, EB Rastetter, AV Rocha, AR Pearce, BL Kwiatkowski, GR Shaver. 2015. Modeling Carbon-Nutrient interactions during the early recovery of tundra after fire.. Ecological Applications 25:1640-1652.

Rastetter, EB, R.D. Yanai, R.Q. Thomas, M.A. Vadeboncoeur, T.J. Fahey, M.C. Fisk, B.L. Kwiatkowski, and S.P. Hamburg. 2013. Recovery from Disturbance Requires Resynchronization of Ecosystem Nutrient Cycles.  Ecological Applications 23:621-642.

MEL model

The Multiple Element Limitation (MEL) model of carbon-nitrogen interactions in terrestrial ecosystems (Rastetter et al. 1997a, 2001, 2005)

Research Projects

NSF DEB-1637459: LTER: The Role of Biogeochemical and Community Openness in Governing Arctic Ecosystem Response to Climate Change and Disturbance (Arctic LTER website)

NSF DEB-1651722: Biogeochemical Responses to Variations in Climate and Disturbance in Terrestrial Ecosystems

DEB-1603560: Collaborative Research: Adding animals to the equation: linking observational, experimental and modeling approaches to assess herbivore impacts on carbon cycling in northern Alaska

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