, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 211–214 | Cite as

Ecosystem Modeling for the 21st Century

  • Monica G. TurnerEmail author
  • Stephen R. Carpenter
20th Anniversary Paper

Why Focus on Ecosystem Modeling?

Models play crucial roles in science, and ecosystem ecology is no exception. Ecosystem modeling emerged in the 1970s as early analog and digital computers made it possible to simulate system dynamics, and coordinated research programs like the International Biological Program (IBP) funded teams of scientists to study whole ecosystems. Quantitative ecosystem models were initially developed to mimic nature, generate questions, complement field experiments and observations, assimilate data, and conduct experiments that were not possible in nature (McIntosh 1985, p. 213; Golley 1993). Models continue to serve these key roles in ecosystem ecology, allowing consequences of assumptions to be explored quantitatively; identifying sensitive states, fluxes, and feedbacks in ecosystems; and identifying where current understanding is incomplete. Today, the need to anticipate consequences of rapid anthropogenic environmental changes (for example, climate and land...


20th Anniversary Ecosystem Modeling Ecosystem Ecology International Biological Program Simulate System Dynamic 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Center for LimnologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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