The Everglades Foundation’s Science Team continues to achieve the highest level of quality in its research efforts. These efforts are pivotal as our science team advances sound and practical solutions to restoring the Everglades ecosystem.
On November 1, 2017, the Society for Restoration Ecology published a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Restoration Ecology, highlighting findings of The Everglades Foundation Science Department-led Synthesis of Everglades Restoration and Ecosystem Services (SERES) Project.
The SERES Project was a collaborative effort to synthesize existing Everglades scientific information, and forecast changes in the ecology, ecosystem services, and economic benefits under different restoration scenarios. Initiated in 2010, this synthesis effort was funded by the U.S. Department of Interior through the Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative with the goal of advancing restoration of the Everglades ecosystem.
At its core, the SERES Project was conceived as a way to address topics that have been hampering restoration since the passage of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) through co-production of knowledge based on new science, new modeling tools, and an understanding of the key science management questions.
In addition to The Everglades Foundation’s experts (Drs. Tom Van Lent, Melodie Naja and Stephen Davis), a core group of scientific experts from agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector contributed greatly to the long-term project. Among these experts, researchers from Florida International University (Drs. Evelyn Gaiser, Joel Trexler, Mike Ross and Jay Sah), University of Florida (Drs. Todd Osborne and Rena Borkhataria), Smith College (Dr. Paul Wetzel), Arizona State University (Dr. Dan Childers), U.S. Geological Survey (Drs. Jud Harvey, James Beerens and Jay Choi), and private consulting firms (Drs. Frank Marshall, Tom Lodge and Steven Davis), were essential in modeling and synthesizing information on hydrology, water quality, soil, habitats, fish and wading birds across the Everglades. An economist from Clemson University (Dr. Bobby McCormick) and a graphics artist from the University of Miami (Hiram Henriquez) were also essential in valuing restoration benefits and communicating project results in a non-technical, easy-to-understand fashion.
Communication of the SERES Project results has been a critical element of the project from its inception. While much of our work was based on technical modeling, data analysis and peer-reviewed science, communication of science must be at a level that managers can understand and implement into their decision-making process. As a result, a multi-faceted communications approach was followed, including distilled summaries of results and high-level infographs (please see the final SERES Report for multiple examples), and peer-reviewed publication of results (as exemplified by this special issue of Restoration Ecology). SERES Team experts have also presented their research at a variety of professional symposia, including the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) meetings held in Coral Springs, Florida, in 2015 and 2017.
This issue of Restoration Ecology showcasing the SERES Project will be available online without a subscription fee through the end of 2017.