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


NOTE: Dr. Turner does not plan to accept new graduate students for the 2015-16 academic year. We have a large group, and positions under current funding are full. An announcement will be posted here if any openings become available. Thank you for your interest.

New work on bark beetles and fire was featured in a NASA video and a 2014 news feature in Science .

New editions of Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice (Turner and Gardner) and Learning Landscape Ecology (Gergel and Turner) are in preparation!

CONGRATS to Dan Donato (postdoc 2010-12) on being named an Early Career Fellow (2014-2018) of the Ecological Society of America; Pete Blank (postdoc 2012-14) on his new position with the American Bird Conservancy; Brian Harvey for his 2015 Smith Conservation Research Fellowship, Wilberforce Fellowship in Conservation Science, and UW-Madison capstone TA award; and Amy Uhrin for Best Graduate Student Poster Presentation at the 2014 Fall Meeting of the Southeastern Estuarine Research Society.


Map showing current study site locations


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:

  • Fire, vegetation and ecosystem processes in Yellowstone National Park
  • Land-water interactions in north temperate landscapes
  • Landscape dynamics in the Southern Appalachian Mountains
  • Spatial synergies and tradeoffs among ecosystem services
  • Bioenergy crops and terrestrial wildlife
  • Tools and resources for landscape ecology

Contact Us

Dr. Monica G. Turner
Department of Zoology
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 Feb 6, 2015. Contact Jiangxiao Qiu (jqiu7@wisc.edu) for questions or concerns regarding the website.