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Welcome to the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. From our beginnings as a grasslands lab to the world class ecosystem research institute we are today, the laboratory's mission “to develop a better understanding of the natural world and how we as members of that system interact within it” remains unchanged.
This true interdisciplinary approach has enabled our researchers to penetrate the complexities of ecosystems by linking the dynamics of soil, plant and animal life, and the atmosphere. Only through a clear understanding of how these elements are interrelated will we be able to devise management strategies that will ensure the long-term viability of our earth.
Within the larger body of research at NREL, four concentrated research programs, an advanced analytical laboratory, and a specialized UV-B unit are the central focus of our ecological exploration.
-- NREL Director John Moore
We try to make sense of complex ecological systems, and to use these insights to help ensure future conditions that aren’t too bad. The idea of “sustaining” is older than the idea of “ecological systems,” and sustainability may or may not be a good fit for complex, dynamic systems. Lily Tomlin once said, “Maybe if we started listening to history, it wouldn’t have to keep repeating itself.” It’s not clear that we should expect dynamic ecological systems to show stable conditions, nor stable cycles. Throw in human systems that clearly are not constant or consistent in interactions with ecosystems, and perhaps wise people would shy from prediction and beliefs in sustainability. But maybe, just maybe…
This semester’s seminar series will explore ideas of dynamics in complex ecological systems, and how ideas of sustainability might help or hinder our hopes for the future.
Fridays, 11:00 AM - 12 Noon
A302-304, Third Floor, Natural and Environmental Sciences Building
Click on NREL/ESS Fall 2014 Seminar Series link for a detailed schedule.