Eric J. Ward’s research focuses on the links between empirical studies and modeling in physiological and ecosystem ecology. The interpretation of field research and its efficient incorporation into projections of ecosystem carbon and water cycling are critical to understanding ecosystem functions and services in a changing world. Dr. Ward’s current program addresses the effects of management and global change factors on carbon cycling in wetland ecosystems, with a focus on coastal wetlands of the SE United States. He works at a variety of field sites, ranging from freshwater floatant marsh to mangrove forests. He has contributed expertise in model-data synthesis to many collaborative efforts addressing ecosystem function in a changing world, such as the USGS LandCarbon National Assessment and the FLUXNET Wetland Synthesis for Methane.
Dr. Ward has been a collaborator in multiple large-scale ecosystem studies and experiments. Before USGS, he worked for Oak Ridge National Laboratory as part of the SPRUCE (Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments) experiment, which examined the effects of elevated carbon dioxide levels and whole ecosystem warming on a peatland forest in northern Minnesota. While a post-doctoral fellow at North Carolina State University, he worked on PINEMAP (Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation Project), a USDA Coordinated Agricultural Project that integrated research, extension, and education to adapt forest management approaches aimed at increasing forest resilience, sustainability and carbon sequestration over the coming decades. During his graduate studies at Duke University, Dr. Ward was part of the Duke FACE (Free Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment) study, which focused on the effects of rising carbon dioxide levels on forests.
Research interests: ecosystem ecology, ecophysiology, carbon cycling, ecohydrology, global change, ecosystem model-data integration