Ecological Modeling

  • image of Chesapeake Bay

    Digital Data: Imagery

  • national land cover data

    Digital Data: Land Cover

  • subestuary boundaries

    Digital Data: Sub-Watershed Boundaries with Land Cover Summaries

  • elevation and hydrology

    Digital Data: Elevation and Hydrology

  • impervious surface in pink

    Digital Data: Impervious Surface

Principal Investigator

The Ecological Modeling lab uses the quantitative tools of spatial analysis, mathematical modeling, and statistics to explore ecological questions in four general areas:

  • the factors controlling nutrient discharges from watersheds,
  • the role of wetlands in moderating nutrient transport,
  • the relationships between watershed characteristics and the ecological health of wetlands, streams, and estuaries.
  • carbon storage in coastal wetlands.

Our regional approach to these questions contributes to the discipline of landscape ecology, a developing science that integrates patterns, exchanges, and human impacts to understand and manage broad regions.  Many environmental issues cannot be understood by studying individual populations or ecosystems. Forest and wetlands mingle with agricultural and urban lands in complex patterns, and the pieces of this mosaic are linked by exchanges of organisms, materials and energy. People increasingly control both the spatial distributions of ecosystems and the exchanges among them.  A landscape perspective is needed to integrate human influences across ecosystems and to solve the pressing environmental issues arising from human impacts.

We collaborate strongly with other SERC researchers and with scientists at other institutions. This team approach helps advance basic scientific understanding and provide knowledge essential for effective environmental management.