Christopher B. Field

Stanford University

Primary Section: 63, Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Secondary Section: 64, Human Environmental Sciences
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2001)

Research Interests

Human impacts on the biosphere have become dominant features of the environment, fundamentally altering processes ranging from community structure to the cycles of carbon, nutrients, water, and energy. These impacts present vast challenges for understanding and management, but they also present unusual opportunities for investigations, using the human influences as probes for the mechanisms that underlie ecosystem processes. My research builds on these opportunities, linking studies from the plant to the global scale. Much of my work has focused on principles for extending ecological and physiological knowledge at the scale of the individual leaf or plant upward to the scale of the ecosystem or the globe. I have used these principles, especially concerning the control of plant growth by light, nutrients, and water, to describe the carbon cycle of the land and oceans, the way they have changed in the past, and the ways they are likely to change in the future. I test these theoretical results against observations, using manipulations to help formulate strategies that are relevant to the real world.

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