This month, the famously flat, sprawling River of Grass met the towering peaks of the Colorado Rockies. Over four days in September, Everglades Foundation Wetland Ecologist Dr. Stephen Davis and other top scientists gathered at Rocky Mountain National Park to discuss long-term trends in the health of diverse ecosystems such as forest, grasslands, deserts and wetlands like the Everglades.
The triennial Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) meeting brings together a network of top ecologists from around the world to examine ecological issues that can last decades and span vast geographical areas.
Dr. Evelyn Gaiser, Director of the Florida Coastal Everglade LTER site, chose Dr. Davis to represent the Everglades in the two-part session, “Resistance, resilience, and vulnerability to high-energy storms: A gradient perspective.” Dr. Davis led the development of a model to explain the complex interactions between multiple disturbances like hurricanes, drought and fire.
“Since our Everglades LTER started in 2001, Steve’s work has been essential to understanding how coastal Everglades wetlands respond to changes in freshwater flow and large-scale disturbances such as hurricanes,” said Gaiser. “His current work, which is focused on understanding how flow restoration and sea level rise will shape the Everglades, is critical to the continued success of our long-term project.”
As one of the world’s largest and most diverse wetland ecosystems in the world, analyzing and understanding long-term ecological trends that affect America’s Everglades is critical to protecting this national treasure today and for generations to come.