Ecological Dynamics

Graph with two time-series lines. Values start low, rapidly transition to higher values at the location of a vertical line, remain stead for 10 years, and then rapidly drop at the location of another vertical line. Image: Diaz & Ernest 2022

Inspired by trying to understand our group’s long-term study systems, a major focus of our work is studying the temporal dynamics of populations, communities, and ecosystems. Quantifying ecological dynamics is difficult and we are not just studying ecological change, we are also exploring new tools for studying ecological dynamics. Our hope is that by understanding the patterns that emerge as ecological system change, and the underlying operating processes, we will improve our ability to forecast future change.

We have a number of projects focused on understanding and predicting dynamics:

  • Studying changes in our Portal Project research site over the past 40 years
  • Analyses of large numbers of time-series datasets to look for general patterns
  • Developing theoretical frameworks for understanding how ecosystems change
  • Applying machine-learning approaches to quantifying patterns of ecological change