Environmental science is the focus of the Harte Lab. In Fall 2013 the group was comprised of 11 graduate students, a postdoctoral fellow, two visiting scholars from Europe, and Professor John Harte. Since 1979, weekly meetings have provided an ongoing forum for members and invited guests to present research in progress and receive vigorous feedback from the group.
Ecology and global change are the primary topics of research. Among the goals of Harte Lab research are: to characterize ecological feedbacks to climate change, to predict effects of global change on biodiversity, and to develop fundamental theory that predicts the structure of ecosystems across spatial scales.
In recent years, field studies have been carried out in alpine and subalpine habitats in the Colorado Rockies, the Sierra, and the Tibetan Plateau; grasslands and pine forest in Coastal California; agricultural land in sub-Saharan Africa; and forested habitat in Hawaii. Two particularly prominent ongoing activities are long-term climate manipulation experiments in the Rockies and the application of information theory to the construction of a widely applicable theory of the abundance, distribution, and energetics of species in ecosystems.
The policy implications of Harte Lab research are pursued by the group as well, often via interdisciplinary collaborations with economists, and, in collaboration with UCB’s School of Journalism, the communication of scientific findings to the general public has become a recent area of emphasis for some members of the Lab.