Brian Fath


Brian Fath

Contact Info

Science Complex 5109


B.S. Physics & B.S. Aeronautics, Miami University
M.S. Environmental Science, Ohio State University
Ph.D. Ecology, University of Georgia

Areas of Expertise

Systems ecology, network analysis, sustainability, environmental assessment


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


Fath BD, Jørgensen SE. 2020. (Editors) Handbook of Environmental Management. 6 Volumes. 2nd edition. Taylor and Francis.

Nielsen, SN, Fath BD, Bastianoni S, Marques JC, Müller F, Patten BC, Ulanowicz RE, Tiezzi E, Jørgensen SE. 2020. A New Ecology: Systems perspective 2nd edition. Elsevier.

Fiscus DA, Fath BD. 2019. Foundations for Sustainability: A Coherent Framework of Life–Environment Relations. Academic Press. London.

Fath BD (Editor in Chief). 2018. Encyclopedia of Ecology 2nd edition. Elsevier, London. 4 Vol.

Journal Articles

Diwekar U, Amekudzi-Kennedy A, Bakshi B, Baumgartner R, Boumans R, Burger P, Cabezas H, Egler M, Farley J, Fath B, Gleason T, Huang Y, Karunanithi A, Khanna V, Mangan A, Mayer AL, Mukherjee R, Mullally G, Rico-Ramirez V, Shonnard D, Svanström M, Theis T. 2021. A perspective on the role of uncertainty in sustainability science and engineering. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 164, art. no. 105140, DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2020.105140

Cambardella C, Fath BD, Werdenigg A, Gulas C, Katzmair H. 2020. Assessing the Operationalization of Cultural Theory through Surveys Investigating the Social Aspects of Climate Change Policy Making. Weather, Climate, and Society. 12(4), 651–665.

Liang S, Yu Y, Kharrazi A, Fath BD, Feng C, Daigger GT, Chen S, Ma T,  Zhu B, Mi Z, Yang Z. 2020. Network resilience of phosphorus cycling in China has shifted by natural flows, fertilizer use and dietary transitions between 1600 and 2012. Nature Food. Vol 1, 365–375.

Kharrazi A, Yu Y, Jacob A, Vora N, Fath BD. 2020. Redundancy, Diversity, and Modularity in Network Resilience: Applications for International Trade and Implications for Public Policy. Current Research in Environmental Sustainability. In Press.

Cazzolla Gatti R, Koppl R, Fath BD, Kauffman S, Hordijk W, Ulanowicz RE. 2020. On the emergence of ecological and economic niches. Journal of Bioeconomics 22, 99–127.

Barton, M, Alberti M, Ames D, Atkinson J-A, Bales J, Burke E, Chen M, Diallo SY, Earn DJD, Fath B, Feng Z, Gibbons C, Hammond R, Heffernan J, Houser H, Hovmand PS, Kopainsky B, Mabry PL, Mair C, Meier P, Niles R, Nosek B, Osgood N, Pierce S, Polhill JG, Prosser L, Robinson E, Rosenzweig C, Sankaran S, Stange K, Tucker G. 2020. Call for transparency of COVID-19 models. Science 368(6490), 482-483. DOI: 10.1126/science.abb8637

Labanca N, Pereira ÂG, Watson M, Krieger K, Padovan D, Watts L, Moezzi M, Wallenborn G, Wright R, Laes E, Fath BD, Ruzzenenti F, De Moor T, Bauwens T, Mehta L.2020. Transforming innovation for decarbonisation? Insights from combining complex systems and social practice perspectives. Energy Research and Social Science, 65, art. no. 101452.

Chen S, Kharrazi A, Liang S, Fath BD, Lenzen M, Yan J. 2020. Advanced approaches and applications of energy footprints toward the promotion of global sustainability. Applied Energy, 261, art. no. 114415.

Zhang X, Zhang Y, Fath BD. 2020. Analysis of anthropogenic nitrogen and its influencing factors in Beijing. Journal of Cleaner Production, 244, art. no. 118780.

Saint-Béat B, Fath BD, Aubry C, Colombet J, Dinasquet J, Fortier L, Galindo V, Grondin P-L, Joux F, Lalande C, LeBlanc M, Raimbault P, Sime-Ngando T, Tremblay J-E, Vaulot D, Maps F, Babin M. 2020. Contrasting pelagic ecosystem functioning in eastern and western Baffin Bay revealed by trophic network modeling. Elementa, 8 (1), art. no. 1.

Sedighi E., Salmanmahiny A, Mirkarimi H, Daliri H, Fath B. 2019. Identification of key drivers of sustainable development in land use planning of Gorgan Township. Journal of Town and Country Planning, (in Persian). DOI:  10.22059/jtcp.2019.285863.670010

Vora N, Fath BD, Khanna V. 2019. A Systems Approach to Assess Trade Dependencies in U.S. Food-Energy-Water Nexus. Environmental Science and Technology. 53(18), 10941–10950.

Fath BD, Asmus H, Asmus R, Baird D, Borrett SR, de Jonge VN, Ludovisi A, Niquil N, Scharler UM, Schückel U, Wolff M. 2019. Ecological network analysis metrics: The need for an entire ecosystem approach in management and policy. Ocean and Coastal Management 174, 1-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2019.03.007

Fath BD, Fiscus DA, Goerner SJ, Berea A, Ulanowicz RE. 2019. Measuring regenerative economics: 10 principles and measures undergirding systemic economic health. Global Transitions 1, 15-27.

Chen S, Liu Z, Chen B, Zhu F, Fath BD, Liang S, Su M, Yang J. 2019. Dynamic Carbon Emission Linkages Across Boundaries. Earth's Future. DOI: 10.1029/2018EF000811

Wang S, Fath B, Chen B. 2019. Energy–water nexus under energy mix scenarios using input–output and ecological network analyses. Applied Energy 233-234, 827-839.

Li Z, Wang Z, Liu X, Fath BD, Liu X, Xu Y, Hutjes R, Kroeze C. 2019. Causal relationship in the interaction between land cover change and underlying surface climate in the grassland ecosystems in China. Science of the Total Environment 647, 1080-1087. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.401

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 105 Environmental Biology 
  • BIOL 306 Human Ecology and Sustainability 
  • ENVS 604 Ecosystem Ecology