Showing posts from March, 2017

Undergraduate ReSEArch: Seagrasses in Florida Bay

Post by Kai Lopez

ecosystem services, such as vital nursery habitat for many fish species, sediment stabilization, and increased water quality, in addition to providing food to turtles and manatees. As an undergraduate technician in the Seagrass Ecosystems Research Lab (SERL), I have had the opportunity to get up close and personal with Florida Bay seagrasses.  From fleeing smacks of jellyfish to almost being swallowed by liquid sediments in a canal, the adventure never stops in the seagrass lab. One time I even got to go mano-a-mano with a stone crab bigger than my head over a tidbit. But don’t get the wrong idea, everyone here in the seagrass lab has spent days engrossed in the monotonous work of scraping seagrass as well. As a wise man once said “Seagrass never sleeps!"  My research focuses on how productivity of one seagrass species has been changing over time and what role salinity may play. This may give insights into how CERP (the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan) ma…

Diatom of the month: March 2017 - Mastogloia pseudosmithii

by Sylvia Lee, FIU & Periphyton lab alumna

Did you know that March 19 is Taxonomist Appreciation Day?

Fig. 1. Cartoon on what taxonomy is.Image credit: BuzzHootRoor from
Taxonomy is the study of organisms and their classification (or in more witty/punny terms in the image above, “how you phylum”). Recognizing and putting names to organisms may come easy to some natural-born naturalists, but taxonomy can be a challenging task requiring specialized knowledge. This is especially true for groups with many species, such as diatoms. Species identification may not seem like an important skill, but it can be thought of as an essential part of “ecoliteracy.” It is difficult to care about something if you do not know its name, and it can even become extinct without your knowledge.
As part of my Ph.D. research, I was able to do an in depth study of some of the diatoms in the Everglades, and described them as new specie…

The Carbonate Flow

Post by: Chris Lopes

The interest for my research began far from the boundaries of FCE. Swimming through the glistening waters off the Florida Keys in the reef tract, I saw a system that was teaming with life and full of surprises. As I grew older and gained exposure on the status of the reefs, it became clear that the surprises will not be as pleasant if we proceed with business as usual. As soon as I gained access to web of science in high school, I was digging and searching through the literature to better understand the dynamics systems of coral reefs. I wanted to know everything from what composed the communities to what was affecting the ecosystem form and function. It became clear that coral reefs and adjacent systems are changing and we are leaving our fingerprints on the gas handle.

As my exposure to science increased during my undergrad, global climate change was a paradigm that had shifted and was now in full effect. I remember a line that was used to describe environmental …