Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

Department of Biological Sciences



Brian Fath


Office:   Smith Hall, Room No.273
Phone:   410-704-2535
Fax:   410-704-2405
Web site:


Brian Fath, Ph.D.
Research Interest:

The goal of my research is to understand better Sustainability Science, which I address using three different approaches: network analysis, integrated environmental assessment, and complex systems science. Sustainability Science is a critically important area that encompasses a broad range of research interests including ecosystem services, biodiversity, natural resources, human cultures, and specific environments. I use network analysis to investigate thermodynamic sustainability indicators. These indicators are often referred to as ecological goal functions, which are used to describe the direction of development that ecosystem properties such as energy or exergy flow, biomass production, or respiration undergo during succession. These metrics help understand the overall behavior and health of that system and its response due to perturbations. A main advantage to using network analysis is the ability to view the ecosystem as a connected web of interactions. I like to think that it is a more holistic approach because it considers the behavior of individual compartments as embedded in a larger network of interactions. I am also interested in how ecosystems interact with human systems and vice versa. Integrated environmental assessment is an interdisciplinary and social process linking knowledge and action in public policy aimed at identifying and analyzing interactions of natural and human processes which determine both the current and future states of environmental quality.

Recent Publications:

Chen S, Chen B, Fath BD. 2015. Assessing the cumulative environmental impact of hydropower construction on river systems based on energy network model. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42, 78–92.

Fath BD. 2014. Quantifying Economic and Ecological Sustainability. Ocean and Coastal Management In Press.

Dean CA, Fath BD, Chen B. 2014. Indicators for an Expanded Business Operations Model for evaluating Eco-smart Corporate Communities. Ecological Indicators 137–148.

Zhang Y, Zheng H, Fath BD. 2014. Analysis of the energy metabolism of urban socioeconomic sectors and the associated carbon footprints: Model development and a case study for Beijing. Energy Policy. In Press.

Fath BD. 2014. Sustainable systems promote wholeness-extending transformations: The contributions of systems thinking. Ecological Modelling 293, 42–48.

McNerney J, Fath BD, Silverberg G. 2013. Network structure of inter-industry flows. Physica A 392(24), 6427–6441.

Jørgensen SE, Fath BD. 2011. Fundamentals of Ecological Modelling: Applications in environmental management and research, 4th edition. Elsevier.

Seppelt R, Fath BD, Burkhard B, Fisher J, Grêt-Regamey A, Lautenbach S, Pert P, Hotes S, Spangenberg J, Verburg P, Van Oudenhoven, A. Form follows function? Proposing a blueprint for ecosystem service assessment studies based on reviews and case studies. Ecological Indicators. In press.

Burkhard B, Fath BD, Müller F. 2011. Adapting the adaptive cycle: Hypotheses
on the development of ecosystem properties and services. Ecological Modelling. 222, 2878-2890.

Chen S, Fath BD, Chen B. 2011. Information-based Network Environ Analysis: A system perspective for ecological risk assessment. Ecological Indicators. 11, 1664–1672.






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