Biomass production (i.e. growth) is the net gain of energy and materials over time. There is great diversity in such functions at most biological scales (cells to ecosystems), precluding robust models predicting growth. We quantify most of the 20-odd biogenic elements (elemental data from biosystems are indeed compositional) to gain a systems-level perspective of growth. We believe such information is necessary to utilize our detailed (though modular) understanding of elements at lower levels of biological organization to make predictions about higher order biology. We call this enterprise elemental biology. Elemental biology can be used to explore any biological phenomenon (including growth/productivity; our current focus) and has no taxonomic or disciplinary boundaries although we are setup to study freshwater ecosystems.

We are part of the Department of Integrative Biology at Oklahoma State University.