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


Prospective PhD students: Join our lab for an opportunity to study resilience, abrupt change, and sustainability in western forests (US Northern Rockies) or agricultural/urban landscapes in the Upper Midwest. Applications due Dec 1! Link to announcement.

Learn about our new research on Abrupt Change in Ecological Systems (ACES).

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.

Learn about our summer Yellowstone research plans, "Forests and Fires: Lessons from Yellowstone," featured in the Wisconsin State Journal.

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

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.

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

CONGRATS to Winslow Hansen, Amy Uhrin, and Carly Ziter, our three most recent alumni on completing their PhDs (2018) and defending within the same week. Congrats also to Kristin Braziunas, who was recently elected to a 2-yr term as a graduate student member of the US-IALE Executive Committee.

WELCOME to Nate Gill, who completed his PhD at Clark University (2018) and joined our Yellowstone research team as a Guyer Postdoctoral Fellow.


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:

  • 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 October 2, 2018. Contact Kristin Braziunas (braziunas@wisc.edu) for questions or concerns regarding the website.