How is the fish on your dinner plate tied to agricultural fertilizer? Let’s use the ecosystem approach to think about the big picture. On land, nitrogen-rich fertilizer is applied to crops to stimulate production.
Change is underway at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. For over two decades, the Cary Institute has been at the forefront of ecological research. Now, in an effort to maximize the organization’s influence on environmental policy, it’s embracing solution-driven science and enhanced outreach.
As the Director of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), a Long Term Ecological Research project, I work with colleagues to reveal how watersheds can be used to understand interactions among social, biophysical, and built environments.
Simply defined, sustainability is ensuring that future generations have access to the resources that we enjoy today. It was the topic of a recent workshop at the Cary Institute, where over forty ecologists discussed the sustainability of biofuel, an emerging source of alternative energy.
On their journey toward the ocean, small streams carry materials from adjacent terrestrial ecosystems. For decades this capacity to transport salts, soils and organisms was viewed as the primary ecological function of streams.
We have passed a tipping point in the search for "carbon-neutral" energy sources, leading to an explosion of interest in the use of plant-derived ethanol and biodiesel as a replacement for fossil fuels.
Cary Institute scientists have provided leadership in acid rain research, but acid rain is not limited to our area—it occurs widely across the eastern United States, Europe, China, and other industrialized areas around the world.
While walking through the woods in the Hudson Valley, it is common to stumble upon the remnants of stone walls. Now mossy and overgrown, they date back to a time when agriculture dominated the landscape.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that hydroelectric power is an environmentally benign source of energy. It is renewable (unlike oil), doesn't generate noxious waste (unlike nuclear power), and wouldn't seem to produce harmful greenhouse gases (unlike coal).
The great American lawn is about as far from a natural ecosystem as one can get. These artificial landscapes require an inordinate amount of resources to keep them in the green and manicured condition Americans have come to expect.
When making decisions about how to navigate the world, many of us take cues from the people sharing our environment. If your neighbor departs on his morning commute carrying an umbrella, you might reconsider your choice of footwear. Similarly, overhearing your neighbor in a heated argument would probably thwart you from asking to borrow a cup of sugar or some pruning shears.
For over two decades, IES scientists have been paying close attention to conditions in the Hudson River. Through collaboration and perseverance, they have amassed world-class datasets on invasive species, aquatic food webs, and nutrient pollution. While this information is essential to effective management of the river, it is also a rich resource for educators who want to bring real ecology into the classroom.
Specific trails and roads on our 2,000 acre research campus have been designated for public access, and our grounds provide visitors with a unique opportunity to connect with nature and view local wildlife.