Literally billions of lives will be affected by climate change—but when? And how? Better understanding of changing ecosystems is both urgently needed and utterly dependent on long-term data. The Ecosystems Center at MBL was one of the first to organize around this topic 35 years ago, and leads the field today with established field stations ranging from the tropics to the poles, productive research programs, and active involvement with critical policy-making bodies. An infusion of funding will help the center retain and empower full-time scientists, who otherwise rely on a fluctuating pool of federal funding. In the meantime, unprecedented opportunities abound: the MBL’s Micro-Eco initiative, for example, builds on the mature science of microbial ecology, yet adds powerful new tools for understanding microbe communities.

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