Policy Analysis

The Need for Whole-ecosystem Experiments

By Scott Higgins on November 14, 2014

Why do you need to conduct experiments on a whole lake? Why not just use test tubes and aquariums in the lab?

IISD-ELA Research Scientist Scott Higgins answers these questions and explains the concept of whole-ecosystem research.

Whole-ecosystem experiments are especially useful because they take into account the vast complexity of interactions between the natural environment and the large numbers of species present in most ecosystems. Experiments done in the laboratory are very useful, but often do not scale well to the ecosystem level because they frequently include only one or a few species that one might find in nature.

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