Welcome to The Kominoski Lab


Hi, you’ve reached the homepage of the Kominoski lab group at Florida International University’s Department of Biological Sciences.

Our research explores various scales of organic matter processing along gradients of environmental drivers within and among ecosystems, testing two main questions:

  1. How does spatial and temporal availability of organic matter and nutrients drive autotrophic, heterotrophic, and net ecosystem productivity?
  2. How do abiotic and biotic drivers and responses to environmental changes affect ecosystem functions, specifically the loss, storage, and movement of carbon (energy) within and among ecosystems?



2016 August:  Kominoski Lab represented at the Ecological Society of America meeting.  Nine papers were presented, one special session led.

2016 July:  Sean and John presented papers at the Mangrove & Macrobenthos Meeting.

2016 June:  John gave an invited talk at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology & Oceanography meeting.

2016 May:  Kristina Morales presents her REU research at the 2016 Society of Wetland Scientists Meeting (SWS).  Sean presented a webinar for SWS on plant community shifts and carbon storage in the Gulf of Mexico.  John led two special sessions and presented at the Society for Freshwater Science meeting (S08 Hydroclimatic Extremes; S24 Scale & Ecosystem Functions).  Hanna Campen joins our lab for summer 2016 from Kiel, Germany!  Marco Fernandez (REU 2016) begins summer research on salinity and phosphorus in brackish water peat soils!  Teresa Casal and Cathy Laroche begin RETs for summer 2016!

2016 April:  Ximena and Matt join the lab!  Welcome, y’all!  Both will be expanding research in urban ecosystems through the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (URExSRN) & FIU’s new Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment (CAChE).

2016 March: Shelby is awarded 1st place poster at the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER All Scientists Meeting.  Congratulations to her for excellent research and hard work!

2016 February: Sean & Shelby are awarded 1st and 3rd best oral presentations at the FIU Biology Student Symposium!  Sean is awarded a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant!

2016 January: Kominoski Lab hosts Dr. Jim Elser for FIU’s Glaser Distinguished Seminar Series

2015 December: Kristina Morales (REU 2015) was awarded an undergraduate research scholarship from the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) Multicultural Mentoring Program!

2015 October: Sean was awarded $20,000 from the Everglades Foundation for his proposal to test effects of plant composition and age on above and belowground carbon storage in coastal wetlands!

2015 September: FCE-LTER was represented by more than 20 scientists, including 8 graduate students at the 2015 LTER All-Scientists’ Meeting in Estes Park, CO. FCE-LTER PIs, collaborators, and students led 7 working groups!

2015 August:  FCE-LTER graduate students led a successful organized oral session on the effects of saltwater intrusion on carbon loss in coastal wetlands at the Centennial Ecological Society of America Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

2015 June/July: Summer field work and projects are rolling onward. Salinity x phosphorus response surface experiment begins!

2015 May: Sean presented an invited talk for a special session on riparian and wetland species composition changes at the Society of Wetland Scientists meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. Kristina Morales joins our lab with a NSF-supported REU.  Welcome KristinaJohn presented two papers at the Society for Freshwater Science meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

2015 April: Shelby presented at the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration co nference in Coral Springs, Florida.

2015 March/April:  Shelby and Sean pass their written and oral comprehensive exams! Congratulations, scholars!  FCE LTER Mid-Term Review was a success!

2015 February: Salinity x phosphorus mesocosm experiments begin.

2015 January: We will begin a multi-year experiment manipulating salinity and phosphorus in wetlands mesocosms to assess stress-subsidy responses in plants, periphyton, and soil microbial communities that affect net carbon storage. John is working on two preliminary proposals for NSF DEB Ecosystems cluster. Shelby was awarded “2015 Student of the Year” from the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER program! 

2014 December: Shelby was selected to participate in a ecosystem ecology short course at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies held this January. http://www.caryinstitute.org/students/graduate-opportunities/FEE.  Her work with Sean completed year one of field work in Texas with some interesting results linking differences in organic carbon breakdown at multiple spatial scales to organic matter quality and vegetation density in coastal marsh-mangrove ecosystems.  John and collaborators submitted a NSF SAVI (Science Across Virtual Institutes) proposal to broaden our current WSC (Water Sustainability and Climate) project to international collaborators and target basins.  Two field technicians joined the lab to work on our upcoming salinity and phosphorus experiment in sawgrass wetlands.  Welcome Mike and Michelle!

2014 November: John was invited to present at the Second International Symposium for Sustainability, Institute for Sustainable Sciences and Development, Hiroshima University.  Shelby submitted a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Proposal, and initiated the root breakdown component of the Peat Collapse project.  Sean is setting up field sites for marsh-mangrove gradient studies in the Ten Thousand Islands, and preparing for field work in Port Aransas, Texas.  Collaborator and short-term lab alumnus, Aingeru Martinez will be presenting our work on Eucalyptus dissolved organic matter and metabolic responses in freshwater biofilms at the 2015 ASLO meeting in Granada, Spain.

2014 October: The Peat Collapse project started dosing seawater in freshwater and oligohaline wetlands of the Everglades.  John, Shelby, Alexis, and colleagues collected many roots for breakdown and enzymatic measures associated with seawater dosing.  Sean and John visited marsh-mangrove warming plots of colleagues working at Kennedy Space Center.

2014 September: Field and lab work continues.  John finished up field work with the SCALER project. Sean and Shelby, along with several other FIU graduate students, submitted a proposal for an organized oral session at the ESA Centennial Meeting.

2014 August: Installation of oligohaline mesocosms in Everglades National Park completed by a team of sweaty, bug-chewed, dedicated scientists!  Sean and Shelby had their first committee meetings, and both are off to an impressive start!  John visited Archbold Biological Station to establish a long-term research plan for research in temporary wetlands of the Florida scrub.  John became a Co-PI for the Florida Coastal Everglades LTERClasses begin at FIU.  John is offering for the first time a class on science writing.  BSC 6936: Communicating Science.  Interesting fact: actor Alan Alda is a science communication advocate!

2014 July: Sean and Shelby submitted grant proposals to The Everglades Foundation Fellowship program.  Good luck to both of them!  John visited colleagues at Xiamen University, Fujian Province, China.  John gave two seminars, one based on lab research, another on scientific writing.  Field sites in Zhangjiang and Zhanjiang estuaries were visited and future collaborations were discussed.  John submitted an NSF CAREER award proposal and a collaborative proposal to the NSF DEB Ecosystems cluster.

2014 June: Summer field work begins.  Sean visited field sites in Texas to recover samples and collect additional data in mangrove removal plots.  Shelby started field work testing soil microbial enzyme responses to salinity and phosphorus in Key Largo and in Everglades National Park.

2014 May: The Kominoski Lab had 4 presentations at the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Portland, Oregon.  Shelby was awarded a travel grant from Society for Freshwater Science for the best poster at the 2013 meeting.  REU, Julio Pachon was awarded a Society of Wetland Scientists Undergraduate Diversity Award.  Congratulations, Julio and Shelby!

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