How are biological communities organized and functioning? How environmental change affects the communities functioning? These questions are at the heart of advances in the understanding of energy and matter flows on Earth. The Ecosystems Ecology is a branch of Ecology that has as object of study from the microbiota present in a minimal portion of soil to the highest level of terrestrial ecological organization, the biosphere. Understanding how energy flows from the conversion of solar rays by photosynthetic organisms to the dynamics of decomposition of their matter have been key issues for the Ecology of Ecosystems.
Today, the development of Ecosystem Ecology has profound social and economic implications by helping to understand how natural and managed ecosystems respond to environmental disturbances and changes. Such an understanding can help build more resilient and prepared societies for an environment in transition with more intense and frequent changes. This includes knowing and valuing the benefits of maintaining the integrity of ecosystems.
The Ecosystems Laboratory was created in 1994 as part of the Department of Ecology of the Institute of Biological Sciences (IB) of the University of Brasília (UnB). The laboratory has as research lines the ecology of tropical ecosystems and their responses to environmental changes at different scales. Studies include terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems with a focus on the Cerrado biome.