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Peter M. Groffman

Ecological Homogenization and Alternative Futures for Urban America

Expansion of urban, suburban and exurban land in the United States over the past several decades has led to neighborhoods in very different parts of the country featuring patterns of roads, residential lots, commercial areas and aquatic features that are more similar to each other than the native ecosystems they replaced. In research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)‘s Macrosystems Biology program, we have explored the effects of such urban homogenization on plant biodiversity, soil and nutrient processing, microclimate and hydrography six cities across the United States and at the continental scale. In current research we are exploring alternative futures for this “American Residential Macrosystem” exploring factors driving change versus stability in this system and the ecological implications of futures focused on changing usage of water and chemicals and efforts to increase biological diversity.

Peter M. Groffman is a Professor at the City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center and Brooklyn College Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. He has research interests in ecosystem, soil, landscape and microbial ecology, with a focus on carbon and nitrogen dynamics. Groffman is chair of the Science Council of the U.S. National Science Foundation funded Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network and a participant in LTER projects in Baltimore (urban) and New Hampshire (northern hardwood forests). Specific recent research efforts include studies of nitrogen dynamics in urban watersheds, lawns, riparian zones and forests, winter climate change effects on nutrient cycling in forests, calcium/nitrogen/carbon interactions in forests, and the effects of exotic earthworm invasion on soil nitrogen and carbon cycling. Groffman was a Convening Lead Author for the 2013 U.S. National Climate Assessment Chapter on Ecosystems, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and a lead author for the Second (Wetlands) and Third (North America) Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Program on Climate Change (IPCC).

Meeting Details

Date & Time:
Tuesday, March 05, 2019 , 6:00pm