Brian D. Fath, Ph.D.


Department of Biological Sciences
Towson University
Towson, MD 21252 USA

Office: 273 Smith Hall
Phone: 410-704-2535
Fax: 410-704-2405
Email: bfath(at)

Areas of Specialization:
  Systems Ecology, Network Analysis,
  Ecosystem Ecology, Sustainability,
  Integrated Environmental Assessment.

Editor-in-Chief, Ecological Modelling Journal.

Research Scholar, Advanced Systems Analysis Program, IIASA,  Austria.

Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Environmental Sciences, Parthenope University of Naples, Italy. 2012.

President, North American Chapter of the International Society for Ecological Modelling



Towson University, Towson, Maryland. 2001–present.
  BIOL 105: Environmental Biology
  BIOL 204: Education and Career Planning for the Biologist
  BIOL 306: Human Ecology and Sustainability
  BIOL 486: Senior Biology Seminar
  BIOL 491: Independent Study in Biology
  BIOL 797: Graduate Seminar
  ENVS 471: Independent Study in Environmental Science
  ENVS 482: Environmental Research
  ENVS 491: Environmental Science Senior Seminar
  ENVS 604: Ecosystem Ecology 
  ENVS 798: Environmental Practicum
  ENVS 897/898: Environmental Thesis
  HONR 497: Honors Independent Investigation
  IDNM 315: Networks: Science of Connections

Invited International Courses
China, Beijing Normal University Ecological Network Analysis
China, Tsinghua University Systems Ecology and Ecological Network Analysis
Croatia, University of Zagreb Environmental Biology
Denmark, University of Copenhagen Ecosystem Modelling
Germany, University of Kiel Ecosystem Theory
France, Iremer, Sete Economic & ecological networks
Portugal, University of Coimbra Environmental Management
Russia, Moscow State University Economic Growth: Modelling Dimensions

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.

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in these areas and are considering the graduate program at Towson University.

I have also worked each summer since 2002 in the Advanced Systems Analysis Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria (photo).  IIASA is a leading international research institute focusing on inter-disciplinary scientific studies on environmental, economic, technological and social issues in the context of human dimensions of global change.


SELECT RECENT PUBLICATIONS (Reprints are available upon request).

Jørgensen SE, Fath BD, Nielsen SN, Pulselli F, Fiscus D, Bastianoni S. 2015. Flourishing Within Limits to Growth: Following nature’s way. Earthscan Publisher.

Listen to a podcast interview about the book here which aired on University of Michigan radio: Environmental News, Views, and Grooves (recoreded Oct. 9, 2015)

Blog article at IIASA can be found here

Website for the Club of Siena is here



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

Jørgensen SE, Fath BD, Bastianoni S, Marques JC, Müller F, Nielsen SN, Patten BC, Tiezzi E, Ulanowicz RE. 2007. Systems Ecology: A new perspective.  Elsevier. 275 pp.

A New Ecology

Häyhä T, Franzese PP, Paletto A, Fath BD. 2015. Assessing the cumulative environmental impact of hydropower construction on river systems based on energy network model. Mapping, assessing and valuing ecosystem services in Alpine forests. Ecosystem Services. 14, 12–23.

Fath BD, Dean CA, Katzmair H. 2015. Navigating the adaptive cycle: an approach to managing the resilience of social systems. Ecology and Society. 20 (2), 24.

Fath BD. 2015. Quantifying Economic and Ecological Sustainability. Ocean and Coastal Management 108, 13–19.

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

Zhang Y, Zheng H, Fath BD, Liu H, Yang Z, Liu G, Su M. 2014. Ecological network analysis of an urban metabolic system based on input-output tables: Model development and case study for Beijing. Science of the Total Environment 468, 642–653.

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Family Photos

Last Updated October 15, 2015