Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2007 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Mass balance as an organizing principle in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Groffman, Peter
Abstract: Analysis of mass or material balances has long been fundamental in ecosystem ecology and has been applied in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) since its inception. This approach allows for evaluation of whole ecosystem nutrient cycling function through evaluation of inputs and outputs, is ideal for comparison of different ecosystems and has been extensively used for evaluation of the effects of disturbance on ecosystem function. Mass balance analysis is also useful for bridging the gap between basic and applied science, providing data at a scale relevant to management of land for protection of receiving waters. In this talk I will review past, current and potential future mass balance work in BES. The mass balance approach has guided the search for nitrogen sources and sinks in our study watersheds, is critical to analysis of relationships between urban ecosystem structure and function and may be a platform for addessing questions about ecosystem resilience in the future.