Map of Florida Coastal Everglades LTER sites
Click on a site for detailed site information.
Established in 2000, the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-term Ecological Research
(FCE-LTER) project is part of the national LTER network created by the National Science Foundation
in 1980 to support research on long-term ecological phenomena in the United States. Comprising 28
sites, the LTER network
is a collaboration of
over 1,800 scientists and students who are investigating ecological processes over long time scales
and broad spatial scales. The FCE LTER program is based at Florida
and includes over 150 senior scientists, students, and staff from over 30 institutional partners
other universities, local, state, and federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations.
The FCE LTER program examines how global climate change and shifting approaches to water
management impact the Florida Everglades and the 9 million residents in the region. By conducting
persistent research in freshwater wetlands, mangrove swamps and shallow seagrass communities along
two major drainage basins of the 2,358-m2
Everglades National Park, the FCE LTER employs powerful
long-term datasets to determine how the amount and quality of freshwater flowing through the
Everglades influences ecological processes. These key processes include rehydration of the
freshwater aquifer, which supplies the Everglades and Floridians with potable water, and carbon
accretion, which buffers coastal systems from sea level rise and storm damage. Coupled
socio-economic studies help reveal how decisions about Everglades restoration are made, and agency
partnerships are fostered for conveyance of science into restoration policy.
The FCE LTER program is in its third phase of research (2013-2018). In Phase I (2000-2006), the
program established a long-term platform for research and collaboration in the Everglades community,
focusing on key ecosystem processes in the estuarine ecotone, the region where freshwater mixes with
saltwater and the grassy marshes give way to mangrove forests. In Phase II (2007-2012), the program
expanded studies on how changes in freshwater flow brought about by restoration activities impact
ecosystem processes in the coastal zone. This interest in freshwater restoration outcomes is
sustained in Phase III, but with added explorations of the importance of sea level rise in
controlling long-term ecosystem dynamics in this important coastal region.