February 6 2013

12:00 LSB 2320

Adam Wolf
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Princeton University

Global Change on the Emerald Planet


Earth is different from other planets - it has life. While Carl Sagan mused about the Big Blue Marble, more and more we come to understand that the strange history and ambiguous future of the planet hinges on its living green skin - ours is the Emerald Planet. The last 40 years has come a long way in helping understand the role of the biosphere on global processes, based on our understanding of individual leaves, but there remains deep uncertainties on ecological processes in the middle scale, from trees to food webs to ecosystems, to landscapes and beyond. This is the scale at which organismal fitness is realized and evolution unfolds, where there is a major role of ecology and evolutionary biology to play to understand how fortunes may be won or lost as global changes shift the balance between species. And on the Emerald Planet, as species change, so too do the functions and services provided by the ecosystems they constitute. Nevertheless, there remain significant obstacles to improving our understanding at this scale, not least because models of global change fail to understand ecosystems in a truly biological way, in part because it is a challenge to observe the phenomena we wish to understand. In my talk, I will describe a broad set of models, theories and observations I and colleagues have developed to monitor, understand, and predict the manifestations of global change at the ecosystem level.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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