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Research Abstracts Online
January - December 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Biological Sciences
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

PI: Eric Seabloom

Research in Community and Disease Ecology

In order to understand and predict the complex ecological responses to environmental changes such as nitrogen deposition and species invasions and extinctions occurring at a continental and global scale, there is an urgent need for large-scale experiments. The Nutrient Network, or NutNet ( is a collaborative network of over 70 scientists at more than 50 sites across North America, Europe, Australia, South America, Asia, and Africa. The NutNet is a uniquely global effort to gain a general understanding of the extent to which fertilization (e.g. nitrogen or phosphorus runoff, aerial nitrogen deposition) and consumers (e.g. introduced species) control plant communities and ecosystem services in grasslands around the world. The NutNet also provides an innovative networking environment that promotes global research collaborations that will advance our ability to predict ecosystem responses in the face of enormous global changes. In addition, the NutNet also serves to foster an inclusive research community of investigators around the world with a common research goal. The combined efforts of all NutNet participants will produce a replicated experimental infrastructure of unprecedented scope and will address pressing societal issues such as ecosystem responses to eutrophication. The researchers use MSI resources to run data-processing scripts and to host a MySQL database.

Other projects that are using MSI resources are a study on the effects of climate change on coastal-community vulnerability, management and analysis of environmental observatory data using the Kepler Scientific Workflow System, and predicting the effects of environmental change and host diversity on the dynamics of insect-vectored generalist pathogens.

Group Members

Elizabeth Borer, Faculty Collaborator
Angela Brandt, Graduate Student
Eric Lind, Research Associate