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


New work on bark beetles and fire was featured in Ecological Society of America press release and in a NASA video.

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

Congrats to our newest alums: Michelle Jackson, who successfully completed her PhD in December 2012, and Dan Donato (postdoc 2010-12), who started as a research scientist with the Washington DNR in January 2013.

Congrats to PhD student Brian Harvey on receiving two competitive research awards in 2012!


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 Novemeber 25, 2013. Contact whitby @ wisc.edu for questions or concerns regarding the website.