Research

SCALER: Scaling Consumers And Lotic Ecosystem Rates: Award #: 1064998 (http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1064998), $237,730, 10/01/2011 – 09/30/2016; Investigators: Rosemond (PI) and Kominoski (co-PI); Title: Collaborative Research: Stream Consumers and Lotic Ecosystem Rates (SCALER): Scaling from Centimeters to Continents; Program – Emerging Frontiers. Status. We successfully completed manipulative experiments and synoptic sampling at the Coweeta location in spring 2013. We have processed and analyzed much of the data collected in spring 2013. The experimental manipulations and synoptic sampling that we conducted at the Coweeta location in spring 2013 were of unprecedented scale in stream ecology. Development of the methods manual is a significant achievement that will be of use to other investigators. We are still in the process of data analyses.

We use cm- and reach-scale process measurements and consumer manipulation experiments to predict ecosystem characteristics of stream networks, and how do patterns of scaling compare across an array of North American biomes? Research will compare factors influencing scaling across widely divergent biomes. Mechanistic explanation of how ecological
measurements in streams can be scaled to watersheds will be provided, which is needed to understand both whole-system dynamics as well as to manage human impacts on entire watersheds. Management agencies and research networks (e.g., the National Ecological Observatory Network) typically make measurements or monitor across networks. Few of these networks are arranged with the idea of understanding how representative they are of processes occurring within watersheds, with the assumption that enough stations can be averaged to represent system properties. A nested design, such as employed here, is crucial for testing the ability to scale up within network measurements, and very few monitoring networks have an explicitly nested architecture. Education and outreach will be accomplished by providing managers results to help guide the placement of monitoring stations so that future measurements can be scaled up and used for broad scale comparisons.

Water Sustainability & Climate: Award #: 1204396 (http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1204396); $111,132, 09/01/2012 – 08/31/2016; Investigators: Kominoski (PI); Title: WSC- Category 3:Collaborative Research: Water Sustainability under Near-term Climate Change: A cross-regional analysis incorporating socio-ecological feedbacks and adaptations; Program – Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems. Status. We have begun integrating datasets for
climate, hydrology, ecology (fish), and human water-use trends from four target basins throughout the US Sunbelt. We have begun developing population occupancy models for fish species, collating interagency datasets for fishes in rivers throughout the US Sunbelt, and building a species trait matrix to group individual species by common traits to vulnerability to flow characteristics. We are in the process of building and QA/QC assessment of fish databases for target basins in Arizona, Texas, and Georgia.

We are building an interdisciplinary framework incorporating societal feedbacks and adaptations for freshwater sustainability under near-term change and growth.Downscaled streamflow projections linked mechanistically to fish community are used as covariates, to
provide estimates of reliability (persistence across the spectrum of flow extremes), resilience (adaptability to flow variation), vulnerability (∝ extinction) and covariation between persistence and the magnitude of low- and high-flow anomalies of native species in fish communities. Cross-regional synthesis of policies and media sources will identify adaptive strategies. The proposed research will promote incorporating near-term climate change information in water infrastructure planning for this rapidly growing region with distinct climate and ecological characteristics and limitations.

Everglades Ridge & Slough Ecosystem Metabolism: The Florida Everglades are the largest freshwater wetland landscape in North America, and one in three Floridians rely on it for municipal water. Current and continued efforts to restore freshwater flows to this vital and unique landscape provide us an opportunity to understand how seasonal variation in hydrology and organic matter transport influence whole ecosystem metabolism. We are continuously monitoring water quality (dissolved oxygen, temperature, nutrients) and organic matter transport dynamics in the ridge and slough habitat of the Central Everglades to determine benchmarks of ecosystem function that might be met through the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

Functional Implications of Ecological Regime Shifts in Coastal Wetland Ecosystems: Mangroves are currently migrating poleward along the Atlantic Coast of North America and  the Gulf of Mexico due to warmer winter temperatures and landward into freshwater marshes due to sea-level rise and storm surge.  Elsewhere around the world, mangroves are declining due to land-use change and species invasions.  Current research is investigating the structural and functional effects of changing vegetation regimes in coastal ecosystems (both freshwater and saltwater marshes) in Texas, Florida Everglades, and through an international collaboration along a latitudinal gradient in China.

Implications of Sea-Level Rise and Storm Surge on Carbon in Coastal Wetland Ecosystems: This collaborative research between FIU, South Florida Water Management District, and Everglades National Park investigates the potential differences in mechanistic pathways and response magnitudes of freshwater and oligohaline marsh ecosystems to salinity (stress) and phosphorus (subsidy). Ultimately, we are testing plant and microbial responses in both ecosystem types that could explain collapsing peat soils throughout the Everglades.

 

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