From September 9th to 14th, I was among a contingency of Everglades scientists that attended the Long-Term Ecological Research program’s All-Scientists Meeting (LTER ASM) in Estes Park, Colorado — home to the vast and scenic Rocky Mountain National Park. The LTER ASM is a triennial gathering of ecologists, social scientists, science educators, and science communicators from LTER sites from across the country.
An Elk grazes outside of Estes Park Center, the 2012 LTER ASM meeting venue in Rocky Mountain National Park. As of 2011, the elk population in Colorado is estimated around 264,000.
Taken from an elevation of about 12,000 feet above sea level, Rocky Mountain National Park made for a beautiful backdrop for the 2012 LTER ASM gathering.
The LTER program began in 1980 at the discretion of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and was designed as a national network “to conduct research on ecological issues that can last decades and span huge geographical areas.” Since its inception, the LTER network has expanded to ecosystems in the south Pacific and Antarctica.
I’ve been a collaborator at the Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) LTER site — based at Florida International University (FIU) — since its inception in 2001. FCE was recently notified of its success in getting its third, 6-year funding request (aka “FCE III”) approved. This next phase of NSF funding will focus on the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on the Everglades ecosystem and will support a continuation of experiments initiated by the Everglades Foundation in 2011 to understand how sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion will affect coastal mangrove wetlands in south Florida.
I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue working on these issues with colleagues from FIU, the South Florida Water Management District, and Everglades National Park.
To learn more about the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER site, visit: http://fcelter.fiu.edu
Visit the Long Term Ecological Research Network’s website here: http://www.lternet.edu
Stephen Davis is the Everglades Foundation’s Wetland Ecologist.