Dr. Monica G.Turner
Department of Integrative Biology
University of Wisconsin
430 Lincoln Dr.
Madison, WI 53706
Ecosystem and
Landscape Ecology Lab


Now accepting applications for a PhD student and a post-graduate research intern. Join our lab for an opportunity to study forest ecosystem ecology in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, specifically nitrogen (N) cycling and postfire stand dynamics. Applications due Dec 1 (PhD student) and Dec 15 (Research intern)! Link to announcement.

Learn about our current research on how warming climate and increasing fire activity affect Yellowstone's forests.

Watch the mini-documentary on Yahara watershed research, "Changes and Choices in the Yahara," featuring Carly Ziter and Jiangxiao Qiu (Landscape Analyses video).

See Monica and our Yellowstone research featured on the ESA Centennial Video.

The 2nd edition of Learning landscape ecology: a practical guide to concepts and techniques (Gergel and Turner) is now available! Read a review published in Quarterly Review of Biology.

The 2nd edition of Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice (Turner and Gardner) is now available! Read a review published in Landscape Ecology and a review published in Ecology.

CONGRATS to Zak Ratajczak (Postdoc 2017-2020) who joined the faculty of Kansas State University, Nate Gill (Postdoc 2018-19) who joined the faculty at Texas Tech, Winslow Hansen (PhD 2018), who will join the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and Sarah Gergel (PhD 2000) who received the 2020 Distinguished Landscape Practitioner Award from IALE-NA. Congrats to Kristin Braziunas on completing her 2-yr term on the IALE-NA Executive Committee and being awarded a 2020-21 PEO Scholarship, and to Monica Turner for receiving the 2020 Eminent Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America and the 2021 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Sciences from the Franklin Institute.

WELCOME to Ojaswee Shrestha, joining our lab as a new graduate student in Fall 2020, and Harrison Bielski, who will do his honors thesis in our lab with a UW-Madison Hilldale Fellowship.


Map of current study site locations: Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, and the North Temperate Lakes LTER.


What is landscape ecology ?

Landscape ecology emphasizes the interaction between spatial pattern and ecological process–that is, the causes and consequences of spatial heterogeneity across a range of scales. Two important aspects of landscape ecology distinguish it from other sub-disciplines within ecology. First, landscape ecology explicitly addresses the importance of spatial configuration for ecological processes. Not only is landscape ecology concerned with how much there is of a particular component but also with how it is arranged. Second, landscape ecology often focuses upon spatial extents that are much larger than those traditionally studied in ecology. Landscape ecology offers new concepts, theory and methods that are revealing the importance of spatial patterning on the dynamics of interacting ecosystems.

What is ecosystem ecology?

Ecosystem ecology focuses on the flow of energy and matter through organisms and their environment. As such, it addresses pools, fluxes, and regulating factors. From ecosystem studies, ecology has gained an excellent understanding of the mechanisms underlying many processes and of temporal dynamics in function. However, understanding patterns, causes, and consequences of spatial heterogeneity in ecosystem function remains a frontier. Our emphasis has been on this intersection between ecosystem and landscape ecology.

Our research

Through collaborative research with other faculty (at UW and elsewhere) and researchers, postdoctoral associates, and both graduate and undergraduate students, we use field studies, spatial data and geographic information systems (GIS), and computer simulation modeling to examine the causes and consequences of spatial pattern in ecology. We are primarily a terrestrial ecology research group, but our work includes the interface between terrestrial and aquatic systems. Our research is united by a focus on interactions between patterns and processes while examining a diverse range of topics:

  • Abrupt change in ecological systems (ACES)
  • Fire, vegetation and ecosystem processes in Yellowstone National Park
  • Climate change and disturbance regimes
  • Land-water interactions in Wisconsin landscapes
  • Landscape sustainability and ecosystem services
  • Tools and resources for landscape ecology

Contact Us

Dr. Monica G. Turner
Department of Integrative Biology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
430 Lincoln Drive
Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Tel.: (608) 262-2592
Fax: 608-265-6320
turnermg @ wisc.edu

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Website last updated September 1, 2020. Contact Kristin Braziunas (braziunas@wisc.edu) for questions or concerns regarding the website.