What is ecosystem science?

Ecosystem science includes any science that contributes to our understanding and management of ecosystems. It is a mixing space between disciplines and crosses terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, marine, and atmospheric ecosystems; including both natural and managed landscapes.

There are many people and organisations that are involved in ecosystem science in Australia, including:

  • universities
  • public research and environmental management agencies at both state/territory and Commonwealth level
  • traditional owners
  • private industry
  • regional groups such as catchment management authorities or NRM boards
  • NGOs
  • community groups

A strong and sustainable Australian ecosystem science enterprise is vital for understanding and securing our ecosystems in the face of current and future challenges.

You can read more about ecosystem science in Australia in Foundations for the future.

 

View the video below to see one researcher's perspective on ecosystem science:

 

Disciplines

Ecosystem science draws on a large number of discipines, some of which are shown here:

 

When asked 'What discipline areas do you think are relevant to the Ecosystem Science Long-Term Plan? ', attendees at our first Long-Term Plan workshop identified a list of more than 60 discipline areas! This list* shows the diversity of disciplines and perspectives associated with ecosystem science:

Atmospheric sciences 
Atmospheric chemistry
Biogeochemistry 
Biogeography
Biodiversity
Biology
Botany
Carbon science
Climatology 
Conservation
Coral reef sciences
Earth System science 
Ecology  (and all of its variants including: Behavioural Ecology, Community Ecology, Disturbance ecology, Ecological Physiology, Ecological Applications, Freshwater Ecology, Functional ecology, Landscape ecology, Marine and Estuarine Ecology, Molecular ecology, Palaeoecology, Population Ecology, Terrestrial Ecology, Wetland ecology, Wildlife disease ecology)
Economics
Ecosystem dynamics
Entomology
Environmental Geoscience
Environmental Health
Environmental Science
Environmental Management
Evolution
Fisheries
Forestry
Future casting
Genetics
Geochemistry 
Geoengineering
Geography (and all of its variants)
Geology (and all of its variants) 
Geomorphology
Geospatial analysis
Hydrology  (and all of its variants) 
Information technology 
Land surface modelling
Landscape systems
Limnology
Management (wildlife and ecosystem)
Marine Ichthyology
Marine and coastal studies
Marine science
Marine systems
Meteorology
Microbiology
Mitigation science
Monitoring
Mycology
Nutrient cycling
Oceanography (Physical and biological)
Pedology 
Phylogeography
Plant Science (Terrestrial and aquatic, plant physiology)
Political science 
Rangelands
Range of different survey techniques (wildlife and ecosystem)
Remote sensing
Satellite communications 
Sedimentology 
Species and climate change
Sociology 
Soil Sciences
Statistics/Mathematics
Vegetation science
Zoology

*Think there's something that should be added to this list? Email us.