OOS 23-7
Understanding an iconic landscape through comparative international long-term ecological research

Wednesday, August 13, 2014: 10:10 AM
304/305, Sacramento Convention Center
Tiffany G. Troxler, Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Evelyn Gaiser, Department of Biology, Florida International University, Miami, FL

The US LTER in partnership with and leveraged by international contacts and collaborators cultivated through the International LTER (ILTER) Network and affiliated partners delivers key benefits to the US LTER community by: 1) leveraging international contacts developed through ILTER to expand the geographic, ecological and social scales for investigation, 2) broadening the platform to address new, high impact research questions and contributing to general ecological theory to explain ecosystem pattern and process, and 3) providing expanded science policy relevance.

 In the context of the FCE, earlier initiatives to pursue international collaborative research and develop partnerships across LTER Networks were motivated by understanding the ecology of FCE ecosystems because of observed commonalities in ecology (e.g. karst geology, community types, disturbance regimes; Rivera-Monroy et al. 2004) as well as a perceived uniqueness of the Everglades as compared to other wetland systems around the world (Noe et al. 2001). Some of these intiatives included the Caribbean Hurricane Network, research to advance hydrologic science in the Caribbean Basin (Stalker et al. 2009), specifically in Celestun and Sian Kaan, and comparative research on karstic wetland periphyton community and food web structure (Gaiser et al 2012, LaHee and Gaiser 2012). 


Furthermore, these global assessments and long-term trends in ecological systems across these large spatial gradients that are developed in international collaborations across LTER Networks broaden the relevance and impact of LTER science necessary to reduce uncertainties and predict change at a global scale. For example, these types of data, synthesized by teams of scientists working with the IPCC Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, are used to develop global GHG emission data disaggregated by, for example, climate, soil type, and management activity.  These data are then used in national inventories of GHG that contribute to national mitigation and emission reduction plans. Thus, leveraging collaborative research among LTER Networks to develop global assessments and syntheses will contribute to vital ecosystem research for addressing critical global policy issues, advance research and education beyond what could otherwise be accomplished and continue to engender globally-engaged US scientists.