Service modeling and service composition are software architecture paradigms that have been used extensively in web services where there is an abundance of resources. They mainly capture the idea that advanced functionality can be realized by combining a set of primitive services provided by the system. Many efforts in web services domain focused on detecting the initial composition, which is then followed for the rest of service operation. In sensor networks, however, communication among nodes is error-prone and unreliable, while sensor nodes have constrained resources. This dynamic environment requires a continuous adaptation of the composition of a complex service. In this paper, we first propose a graph-based formulation for modeling sensor services that maps to the operational model of sensor networks and is amenable to analysis. Based on this model, we formulate the process of sensor service composition as a cost-optimization problem and show that it is NP-complete. Two heuristic methods are proposed to solve the composition problem: the top-down and the bottom-up approaches. We discuss centralized and distributed implementations of these methods. Finally, using ns-2 simulations, we evaluate the performance and overhead of our proposed methods. © 2008-2012 IEEE.