Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory

Dr. John Moore Lab

Dr. John Moore

John C. Moore

Professor and Head– Ecosystem Science and Sustainability
Director – Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory
Colorado State University
Ft. Collins, CO 80523

TELEPHONE Office: (970) 491-1796
FAX: (970) 491-1965

Curriculum Vitae



Our research interests are the in the fields of food web ecology, soil ecology, ecosystem ecology, mathematical/theoretical ecology, and the application of the theory of complex adaptive systems to the teaching and learning of environmental issues. We approach our work through a combination of empirical field and laboratory work and modelling.

Food Web and Soil Ecology

Patterns in the utilization of energy result from the trophic interactions among species, and that these patterns form the basis of ecosystem stability. Research in our lab integrates the latest work on community dynamics, ecosystem energetics, and stability of soil communities and in so doing attempt to dispel the categorization of the field into the separate subdisciplines of population, community, and ecosystem ecology. Food webs bring structure to the ecosystems of our planet by disentangling the complex networks of feeding relations between species ('who eats whom'). Understanding how stability emerges from complexity in such trophic networks, how robust these networks are, and what the consequences are for biodiversity and energy flow in ecosystems, touches on the most central problems in ecology. Our efforts focus on changes in food web structure and function in the following systems:

  • Arctic tundra in response to warming, changes in herbivory, and nutrient additions
  • Grasslands in response to altered precipitation and herbivory
  • Tropical Rainforests in response to different management strategies
  • Cave sediments in response to altered detritus inputs

Environmental Science Literacy

The concept of environmental literacy represents peoples’ understanding of the environment, their ability to think in a systems context, and engage in evidence-based decision-making - is critical to the development of sustainable strategies for social-ecological systems. Our lab conducts research on student learning and the effectiveness of teacher professional development models.

Current projects include the following:

  • NSF-funded Mathematics and Science Partnership – Environmental Literacy, Learning Progressions, and Cultural Relevancy
  • NASA-funded Climate Change Education

Recent News

September 2012
The B.S. in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability was approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

March 2012
John Moore is named a Zhijiang Visiting Professor of East China Normal University, Shanghai

August 2011
John Moore receives the Eugene Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education from the Ecological

July 2011
Our new Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability officially launched. John Moore is appointed as Department Head.