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Division of Environmental Biology

Ecosystem Science

Name Email Phone Room
Henry  L. Gholz (703) 292-8481  635  
Nancy  B. Grimm (703) 292-5377  675  
Richard  Inouye (703) 292-4974  635  
Matthew  D. Kane (703) 292-7186  635  
Timothy  K. Kratz (703) 292-7870  655  


PD 04-7381

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after October 4, 2021. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 22-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.




The Ecosystem Science Cluster supports projects within two programs (see descriptions below): the Ecosystem Studies Program and the Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LTER). Other relevant funding opportunities are listed below and on DEB Home (see link on left). 

The Ecosystem Studies Program supports investigations of whole-system ecological processes and relationships across a diversity of spatial and temporal (including paleo) scales in order to advance understanding of: 1) material and energy fluxes and transformations within and among ecosystems, 2) the relationships between structure, including complexity, and functioning of ecosystems, 3) ecosystem dynamics and trajectories of ecosystem development through time, and 4) linkages among ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales.

Research on natural, managed and disturbed ecosystems is supported, including terrestrial, freshwater, wetland, coastal (including salt marsh and mangrove), and human-dominated environments. Proposals may focus on areas such as: biogeochemical cycling and element budgets from local to global scales; roles of microbes in ecosystem functioning; primary productivity; stoichiometric relationships; climate-ecosystem feedbacks; energy and radiatively-active gas fluxes; relationships between diversity and ecosystem function; ecosystem services; and landscape dynamics.  Proposals may focus on the cycling of non-nutrient elements, but those specifically ecotoxicological in orientation, or without an explicit link to ecosystem processes, will not be considered. Ecosystem-oriented proposals that focus on coastal marine or deep ocean or Laurentian Great Lakes habitats are reviewed by the Biological Oceanography Program in the Division of Ocean Sciences. Studies of the structure of and linkages within food webs are reviewed by the Ecological Biology program, also in the Division of Environmental Biology.

Observational and manipulative approaches in field, mesocosm, and laboratory settings are supported, with the expectation that the research, whether hypothesis- or discovery-driven, have a strong conceptual foundation. Inter- and multi-disciplinary proposals that fall across traditional programmatic boundaries are welcomed and encouraged; the Ecosystem Studies Program often co-reviews proposals with related programs across the Foundation.  Proposals that incorporate quantitative or conceptual modeling efforts promoting integration and synthesis, or advancing ecosystem science through either the pursuit of new theoretical paradigms or novel modeling efforts, are encouraged. Proposals that, in whole or part, strive to develop new techniques can be supported when a compelling argument exists that there is the potential for a major advance in ecosystem research.  Projects that are potentially transformative -- that is, those that may change the conceptual basis of ecosystem science and have broad implications for future research -- are given particular priority. 

Unsolicited proposals to the Ecosystem Studies Program should be prepared as described in the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The Program also funds proposals submitted in response to the CAREER, RCN, LTREB and OPUS solicitations. 

The Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program supports fundamental ecological research that requires long time periods and large spatial scales at a coordinated network of more than two dozen field sites.  LTER is not currently soliciting proposals for new sites and does not accept unsolicited proposals.  For more information and announcements of opportunity, visit the LTER web page []. 



What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program