Understanding ecosystem dynamics

© Michel Gunther / WWF

Core processes of ecosystems

Ecosystems offer many services, including carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling and hydrological services. Processes such as these form the core of ecosystem dynamics and are vital ecosystem services to mankind. Carbon sequestration is very important to mitigate the effects of climate change, while nutrient cycling provides healthy soils and ecosystems and feeds into global geochemical cycles. Fresh water habitats provide drinking water and food, and play a role in global hydrological cycles. Thorough knowledge on how these processes work is needed to develop sustainable methods for ecosystem management.

Carbon, nutrients and water

Within the Academy we use our expertise to focus on the abovementioned processes. We investigate carbon storage and sequestration in oceans and terrestrial systems, ranging from small scale physiological to large scale ecological processes, with special attention to climate change and rising CO2 levels. Much of our research focuses on nutrient cycling in soils, especially in relation to the carbon and nitrogen cycles, and how this affects the dynamics of ecosystems and global cycles. Last but not least, in fresh water habitats, such as wetlands, deltas and riparian zones, we study the provisioning of services, the role of hydrology and vegetation, and the interaction with soil processes.

What are the effects of climate and habitat change on carbon sequestration in vegetation and soils?