Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology Lab: Dr. Paul Grogan

grassy landscape
Paul's lab mottos:
Quality transcends Quantity
Soil is not 'dirt'!
All components of nature have intrinsic value irrespective of their usefulness to humans1
Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution2... and very little in evolution makes sense except in the light of ecology3
Scale, scale, scale - it's the fundamental context that underlies all scientific understanding
The problem of relating patterns in phenomena across scales is the biggest conceptual challenge in ecology, in biology, and in all sciences
Studies showing lack of response or negative results do not necessarily mean that the focus phenomenon is unaffected - it could be that the sampling design and/or analytical methodology is inappropriate
Enjoy - It's later than you think
A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise5

Billions of tiny solar neutrino particles strike each square centimetre of the Earth's surface every second (e.g. your thumbnail), and they are so small that almost all pass through without hitting anything6
Maybe the experiment of making apes smarter is an evolutionary dead-end7
Maybe our greatest need now is not more knowledge, but more wisdom8
Carpe diem, but not at the expense of others - other days, and other people
May the interaction of compassion combined with wisdom grow deeply within me, and all beings

Ecosystem ecology is the study of species’ interactions with each other, and with their physical environment, all as parts of an integrated system.  It is a new and rapidly advancing branch of science that stresses the interconnected nature of our world.  Furthermore, humans and human activities are an inherent part of ecosystems, and therefore ecosystem-level ecological perspectives and methodologies are at the heart of much of the global change research agenda.  Researchers in ecosystem ecology are contributing fundamental science inputs into a wide range of current environmental issues including effects of changing land use and management practices, impacts of climate change and mitigation strategies, the functional significance of biodiversity, and assessments of sustainable resource use from both environmental and socio-economic perspectives.

Dr. Paul Grogan is Professor of Plant and Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology in the Department of Biology at Queen's University, and was awarded a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in the ecology of arctic ecosystems and their sensitivity to climate change (2003-2013).



  • Opportunities - M.Sc. and/or Ph.D. job posting (summer 2024). For more general information about graduate life and learning potential in the Department of Biology see the following video.
  • Climate change discourse myths that strongly influence personal behaviour.  My contribution to a climate change teach-in on March 21st, 2024 organized by Kyla Tienhaara, with Steven Moore, David McLaren, Joshua MeEvoy, Kesha Fevrier. Video - mine is the final talk and begins at 1.22:45 and is 17 minutes long) 
  • Baillie Teaching Award presentation (Spring 2023 Convocation video); Keynote address (PDF
  • What can Biology tell us about our Future 5.6? Public talk by Paul Grogan for the Queen's University Sustainable Living Series (hosted by Marlow Benson, April 13, 2023). Full talk video (~63 minutes).
  • The Biology of Sustainability - A few moments of video from my teaching in the final synthesis session of the 4th year seminar course BIOL 510 (Fall 2022) (introduction/explanatory context PDF).
  • Declare how you are limiting your environmental impact. Grogan, P., Buckeridge, K.M. and Priemé, A. 2021.  Nature (Correspondence) 596: 35. (PDF)
  • A reading of my favourite sustainability-related texts (contribution to the Queen's Society of Conservation Biology Sustainability week, March 2021); Video ~32 minutes; Podcast (audio only)
  • A mind-calming exercise ('This too shall pass'); Podcast (18 minutes)
  • What can biology tell us about our future? How ought we to live?  Final synthesis lecture BIOL 411 2021 (If I were ever asked to give a grand overview 'Last Lecture', this would probably be the best I could offer) Video ~66 minutes
  • Maybe some real good will come out of COVID-19. Free Inquiry, Oct/Nov 2020, pages 47-49 (PDF). 
  • The sustainability crisis: Maybe some real good will come out of COVID (my talk as part of MacDonald Institute's Astronomy on Tap science outreach to the public series hosted by Mark Richardson on June 5th 2020 that included talks by Drs. Troy Day and Tony Noble (video - mine is the final talk and begins at 1:28, and is ~37 minutes long) 
  • The Possible Learning and Teaching Benefits of Short Mind-Calming Exercises in Undergraduate Courses. Presentation at the Queen’s 2019 Showcase on Teaching and Learning (video ~10 minutes;  alternative video link
  • Kindness and Interconnectivity. Queen's library Fireside Discussion with Jackie Davies, Paul Grogan, Laura Cameron, and audience (14th February 2019) (WebsitePodcast ~80 minutes)
  • Mindfulness and Sustainability. Final class video (course synthesis) for BIOL510 course in 2016 (video; ~4 minutes)
  • Our Anthropocene Future - What can biology tell us? Grogan, P. Free Inquiry, February/March 2013. Vol. 32 (2):16-19. (PDF)   
  • Moments - A personal film on our relationship with the rest of nature (video; ~50 minutes) 

(Drawing by Katie Kwan)

1sensu Arne Naess, 2Dobzhansky; 3Begon, Harper and Townsend; 4sensu Levin; 5Aldo Leopold; 6Art McDonald; 7Ronald Wright, 8Robin Kimmerer

Last Updated: 13th June, 2024