Understanding the ecology of communities and ecosystems in a rapidly changing world. In the McCauley Lab we use a diverse suite of methods to answer pressing questions in community and ecosystem ecology. Research in the lab is directed at understanding how community structure influences ecosystem dynamics, in determining how ecosystems are interactively and energetically coupled to one another, and quantifying how humans perturb these dynamics and shape patterns of biodiversity. We engage these questions using tools from the disciplines of community ecology, biogeochemistry, spatial analysis, ecological modeling, conservation biology, and anthropology. An important aim of research in the McCauley Lab is to generate results that both advance the pure science of ecology and that can be of practical service to decision makers responsible for shaping the future of our environment. We conduct research in a variety of ecological contexts (e.g. coral reefs, tropical savannas, Californian ecosystems) pursuing the philosophy that first principles in ecology can be most effectively derived via observation of pattern and process in diverse settings.