Environmental & Ecological Modeling

The earth has many ecosystems or communities of living things surviving together within a distinctive collection of geographical features and weather patterns.  These communities can be large and small, simple and complex, populous and sparse.  The living organisms within them interact and form relationships that serve to balance and check populations, are symbiotic, can be predatory and are competitive.  Scientists and other experts break down ecosystems and create a simplistic model to stand for the basic parts of these complex systems.  The field of expertise is called modeling and it is the study of how the pieces fit, whether there are patterns, and whether behavior can be predicted within the ecosystems.  Modeling is especially useful when trying to figure out what effect outside forces, like human activities, have on natural systems.

  • Groundwater assessment methodology Featured Article Groundwater assessment methodology Groundwater assessment methodology

    Groundwater assessment methodology is vital for understanding the relationship of aquifer dynamics to precipitation and to the characteristics of the land surface of the Earth.... More »

  • Amphidrome Featured Article Amphidrome Amphidrome

    An amphidrome is a stationary ocean point around which tides rotate in a counterclockwise (clockwise) sense in the northern (southern) hemisphere, i.e. the point about which the... More »

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Ecosystem Last Updated on 2014-09-24 22:46:28 An ecosystem is a community of organisms interacting with each other and with their environment such that energy is exchanged and system-level processes, such as the cycling of elements, emerge. The ecosystem is a core concept in Biology and Ecology, serving as the level of biological organization in which organisms interact simultaneously with each other and with their environment. As such, ecosystems are a level above that of the ecological community (organisms of different species interacting with each other) but are at a level below, or equal to, biomes and the biosphere. Essentially, biomes are regional ecosystems, and the biosphere is the largest of all possible ecosystems. Ecosystems include living organisms, the dead organic matter produced by them, the abiotic environment within which the organisms live and exchange elements (soils, water, atmosphere), and the interactions... More »
Astronomy of Christmas Last Updated on 2014-01-02 16:06:37 The astronomy of Christmas is chiefly centered around verifiable celestial events that occurred at or near the time of birth of Jesus. Astromers have expended considerable research on reconstructing movements of planets, stars and comets that could best explain Biblical accounts of the era. The Christian New Testament Gospel of Matthew, includes description of three "Maji" from the east who follow the Star of Bethlehem to the location where they find Jesus shortly after his birth. For example, the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 2, verse 1 of the New International Version of the Bible gives: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." Movements of celestial bodies in this era... More »
Complex Systems Last Updated on 2013-10-24 15:13:11 As Science has begun to ask where the enduring features of nature come from and how they work, the answer seems to be “complex systems”.  Every kind of thing and event seems to require them.  As the science has advanced, and as the modern problems of economies and environmental conflicts emerge, a new kind of science is emerging that requires being very openly exploratory, using all the tools and combining all the related perspectives of others, to develop complex knowledge systems matching the variety of the complex system problems they respond to. Systems are storms or “like storms” in many respects, complex distributed phenomena that may be either unexpectedly eventful or highly predictable.  There’s still a rather wide range of opinion within science as to what complex systems are, even whether they are made of information or... More »
Improving access to and use of earth science data Last Updated on 2013-10-22 23:34:26 USGS Helps Debut New Technology to Improve Access and Use of Earth Science Data Researchers investigating global issues now have an easy method for finding and using earth science data through a new technology developed by the Data Observation Network for Earth, or DataONE.   Understanding broad and complex environmental issues, for example climate change, increasingly relies on the discovery and analysis of massive datasets. But the amount of collected data—from historical field notes to real-time satellite data—means that researchers are now faced with an onslaught of options to locate and integrate information relevant to the issue at hand.  DataONE, a ten-institution team with several hundred Investigators, including researchers from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is addressing this data dilemma with a number of cyberinfrastructure and... More »
Refugia Last Updated on 2013-10-21 15:07:19 Refugia (singular Refugium) are geographical locations where natural environmental conditions have remained relatively constant or stable during times of great environmental change, such as eras of glacial advance and retreat. Refugia protect populations of geographically isolated organisms which may then re-colonize a region when the wider environment returns to levels within the organism's tolerance levels. This idea is commonly referred to as The Refugia Theory. Haffer (1969) first proposed the idea of refugia to explain the high diversity of Amazonian bird species seen today. Haffer (1969) proposed that the Amazon Basin paleoclimate experienced several warm, dry periods during episodes of continental glacier advance in the Pleistocene. These glacially driven periods led to the conversion of forest to savanna, which resulted in the isolation of small fragments of forest... More »