© 2009

Enclosed Experimental Ecosystems and Scale

Tools for Understanding and Managing Coastal Ecosystems

  • John E. Petersen
  • Victor S. Kennedy
  • William C. Dennison
  • W. Michael Kemp

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. J.E. Petersen, W.M. Kemp, V.S. Kennedy, W.C. Dennison, P. Kangas
    Pages 1-41
  3. J.E. Petersen, W.M. Kemp, V.S. Kennedy, W.C. Dennison, P. Kangas
    Pages 43-131
  4. J.E. Petersen, W.M. Kemp, V.S. Kennedy, W.C. Dennison, P. Kangas
    Pages 133-170
  5. J.E. Petersen, W.M. Kemp, V.S. Kennedy, W.C. Dennison, P. Kangas
    Pages 171-215
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 217-221

About this book


The environmental challenges now facing humanity, ranging from climate change to urbanization to invasive species to agricultural and industrial pollutants are particularly acute in the coastal zone. Research in this region and in other aquatic ecosystems is complicated by interactions that occur over broad scales of time, space, and ecological complexity. Enclosed experimental ecosystems (mesocosms and microcosms) have become critical research tools because they provide a degree of control not achievable through field experiments. Yet to date, techniques for systematically extrapolating results from small-scale experimental ecosystems to larger, more open, more biodiverse, and more heterogeneous ecosystems in nature have not been well developed. This book is designed to provide scientists, resource managers and students with a comprehensive and practical guide and reference for improving the design and interpretation of research conducted in experimental ecosystems.


Marsh Sediment aquatic coastal ecology ecosystem enclosed ecosystem environment estuarine estuary experimental ecosystem mesocosm microcosm scale temperature

Editors and affiliations

  • John E. Petersen
    • 1
  • Victor S. Kennedy
    • 2
  • William C. Dennison
    • 3
  • W. Michael Kemp
    • 4
  1. 1.Lewis Center for Environmental StudiesOberlin CollegeOberlinU.S.A.
  2. 2.Center Environmental ScienceUniversity of MarylandCambridgeU.S.A.
  3. 3.Center for Environmental ScienceUniversity of MarylandCambridgeU.S.A.
  4. 4.Center Environmental ScienceUniversity of MarylandCambridgeU.S.A.

Bibliographic information


From the reviews:

"This gem of a book deals with both experimentation and theory as applied to the ecology of coastal systems, covering broad scales of space, time, and complexity. … The work’s prose is succinct and clear, and the figures are abundant and beautifully rendered with lots of color. This comprehensive, practical guide will be valuable to students and researchers who are studying or managing coastal ecosystems. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections." (P. R. Pinet, Choice, Vol. 47 (1), September, 2009)

“It provides a nice practical guide for mesocosm users, and would thus be a worth-while purchase for ecologists planning mesocosm experiments, especially in temperate coastal systems. … offers plenty of material to interest even the most seasoned mesocosm user. … The use of nontechnical language, lucid illustrations, and a summary style render the volume imminently readable for levels ranging from keen undergraduates planning to honors project to experienced professional ecologists.” (John N. Griffin and Brian R. Silliman, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85 (3), September, 2010)