Showing posts from 2015

Diatom of the month - December 2015: Tursiocola ziemanii

by Luca Marazzi* ‘Who’ is it? Tursiocola ziemanii is one of three new species described by FIU’s Dr. Thomas Frankovich and colleagues in a recent paper in Phytotaxa , a journal dedicated to the publication of discoveries on the taxonomy of plants, algae, mosses, lichens and fungi. The name was chosen to honor Dr. Joseph C. Zieman (1943–), in recognition of his generous support of diatom research in, and contributions to our understanding of, Florida Bay. A manatee in South Florida. Source : Scalebars: a. 5 µm; b)10 µm; Length Range : 20-61 µm;                           Width Range : 2.4-5.2 µm; Striae in 10 µm : 22-25 Scanning electron microscopy photos of Tursiocola ziemanii in a) valve or face view and b) girdle or lateral view . Source : Frankovich et al. (2015

Diatom of the month - November 2015: Encyonema evergladianum

by Luca Marazzi* ‘Who’ is it? Encyonema evergladianum  is a diatom living attached to various substrates, but is also able to move, if it needs to. It was originally described in 1997 by Krammer from samples collected in the Florida Everglades, USA .                   Scalebar = 10 µm     Scalebar = 5 µm   Encyonema evergladianum   (Length range : 16-33 µm; Width Range: 4-6 µm; Striae in 10 µm: 20-22) Where does it live? This beautiful diatom lives in the Everglades periphyton mats,  characteristic multi-color ‘biological carpets’ inhabited by bacteria, fungi and, importantly, by algae attached to soil and plants that feed all sorts of critters. These are in turn eaten by fish that, as we know, become food for birds and for humans too. Nine mile pond .                                            Calcareous periphyton mat .     In the interior Everglades, these mats have a top calcium carbonate (CaCO 3 ) layer produced by cyanobacteria ( Gaiser

Marsh Madness 2015: Recap

I know it's been a long time coming, but the Final Four write-up never did get "published" (clicked the wrong button and subsequently became distracted), and the Final Two never got 'writ. This is in large part because the Red Mangrove vs. Periphyton quarterfinal matchup was happening at spatial and temporal scales that exceeded the time limitation of "March." But I also know so many of you have been waiting on tenterhooks for the past six months, so I'm happy to finally report the results of Marsh Madness.

Marsh Madness 2015: Elite Ate

Instant replay still While the NCAA final may be over, the long time scale of function in the Everglades means we're just begining the Elite Ate. In the last round , the alligator trumped the spoonbill and the ibis blew away the crocodile. The feral cat continued its siege on the 'Glades, shutting out the once-feared Brazilian pepper.The island apple snail held on against water hyacinth. Floc flopped against sawgrass, the alligator flea forced down the dragonfly, and the mosquito took down the no-see-um. HOWEVER, one match continues in a battle beyond our one-week time scale. Periphyton (3) and Red mangroves (2) remain locked in a vicious tredecuple overtime (i.e. the votes were tied, and I know no one would believe me if periphyton won the coin toss). THEREFORE, this Swamp Sixteen battle rages on, and we need YOUR votes to decide who goes on to face the lean, green, fighting machine of sawgrass. WHO will it be? MORE CAPS FOR THE SAKE OF IT. Periphyton sweaters seem t

Writtens in a Word Cloud

This past week I took my comprehensive exams at Florida International University .  I basically spent five straight days answering questions that my dissertation committee prepared for me.  I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions.  I was excited to show all I have learned and enjoyed the challenging open-ended questions. At the same time it was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.  Any ecologist would agree, sitting inside for five straight days is depressing especially when you live in Florida and every day is perfect.  Staying motivated was nearly impossible. I started out strong but by the last day it took every ounce of self control to stay at my computer and finish my last exam.  I knew I was close to the end but the exams wear you down and push you past the edge of your knowledge. I spent six weeks studying for my exams. I started without much strategy, frantically reading every paper that related to my committee's topics.  I felt overwhelmed and kne

Marsh Madness 2015: Swamp Sixteen

A bit behind schedule due to "rain delays" in the sawgrass fields of play (i.e. I'm just now getting to it. Not sure if it's actually rained out in the 'Glades the past two days. We'll just assume it has). Anywho, the Round of 32 is done and gone, and with only 2 voters many of these matches came down to a coin toss game of chance. You have your bracket below for SWAMP Sixteen. A review of the matchups:

MARSH Madness 2015: Round of 32

Well! Round 1 is over, and we had some upsets, a couple of blow-outs, and quite a few expected wins. Apparently, primary producers are rather dependable: nothing all that exciting going on in that group. But some things of note elsewhere. Exactly what happened. As few would have denied (except for me. Too much CERP sampling has biased me towards the little man), the alligator trounced the marsh killifish; the panther consumed the woodrat; sawgrass dominated love vine; and the mosquito swarmed the deer fly. The lobate lac scale was absolutely embarrassed by the Mayan cichlid (West Virginia/Kentucky style). BUT we also had some surprise victories: the largemouth bass was fish food for the ibis (some UM fans voting?! And not enough Rehage labbers!), the upside-down jellyfish out-charisma-ed the apple snail, the green iguana mangled the Melaleuca (apparently there's still some bitterness towards Melaleuca out there), and it took a come-from-behind victory for the crocodile to dig

MARSH Madness 2015: Round of 64

I hope all your brackets are ready because it's game time for the Round of 64! If you're running a bit behind and need some input on how to fill out your bracket: basically, just choose whichever organism you think has a greater effect on the Everglades in the head-to-head matchups. Once you determine who wins the first two matches, you'll then choose which organism out of those two teams wins in the next round, etc. You can determine winners based on a cost-benefit analysis that isn't necessarily limited by the two organisms' real-life interactions... or you can be more partial and pick your favorite.

MARSH Madness 2015

With the NCAA basketball tournament and "bracketology" in full swing, I figured we should see how the Everglades would match up in a tournament of champions: MarSh Madness! I admit that this is inspired by the brilliant Mammal March Madness , and it in no way compares to the breadth and depth with which those folks are simulating a mammal combat competition of probabilities! But let's just throw out a bracket of our favorite Everglades inhabitants.

Everglades Songs: If the skeeters don't get him then the gators will

The end of low-mosquito camping season is nigh, and that's got me thinking about campfires and - a natural progression - campfire songs . And what better songs to sing in the Everglades than songs about the Everglades? In this series of posts I'll introduce you to some of my favorites, starting with: "Everglades" by The Kingston Trio:

Algae Met a Bear: Algae where you'd least expect them!

Polar bear! In the EVERGLADES?!?! So how many of you know the poem "Algy"? " Algy met a bear. The bear met Algy. The bear was bulgy. The bulge was Algy ."

Measuring Soil Microbial Extracellular Enzyme Potential

Watch the process of loading microplates to measure soil microbial  extracellular enzyme potential!! This blog has been brought to you by Shelby Servais, FIU graduate student in The Kominoski Lab .