Science lab

Integrated Systems Ecology

Marine ecosystems and fisheries are complex systems, shaped by a mix of oceanographic, biological, socio-economic, and institutional components.

Climate change is an important influence on these complex systems and a key consideration in much of our research. Our lab distills complex ocean data to understand how the mix of these components affects the ecosystem, fisheries, and coastal communities. We apply ecosystem research to support conservation planning for species of concern, such as Atlantic salmon, and climate adaptation in marine fisheries, including Maine’s lobster fishery.

We aim to:

  • Develop climate-resilient conservation and management strategies.
  • Provide the information stakeholders need to sustain fish populations and fisheries in changing ecosystems.
  • Work closely with fishing industry participants, managers, planners, and other stakeholders to achieve ecological and socio-economic goals.

Lab Team

Our Methods

By taking an integrative and holistic approach, our lab makes understanding complex ocean interactions manageable.

We use data from multiple sources that represent how ocean conditions, fish populations, and marine fisheries have changed over time. We conduct statistical analyses to understand relationships among different components of the ecosystem and develop models to predict future population, community, or fishery characteristics given observed or projected ecosystem conditions. Understanding how multiple components of the ecosystem interact to shape outcomes requires interdisciplinary collaboration, and we routinely work with climate scientists, oceanographers, ecologists, economists, social scientists, fishermen, and other stakeholders in our research.

  • Statistical analyses
  • Ecosystem modeling
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Data management and synthesis

Research Lab Projects

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Research Scientist Dr. Kathy Mills explains ecosystem modeling — one of her lab's most important tools.

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