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LTER Key Research Findings

Among the many research results from LTER sites, some findings stand out as being particularly important to achieve the LTER goal of providing information to conserve, protect, and manage the nation's ecosystems. Short descriptions of key findings at each site emphasize the importance of long-term data in understanding the pace and pattern of ecological change.

Communication to Policymakers (FCE LTER)
The Everglades is imbedded in a human-dominated landscape that is constantly changing in response to local and global environmental manipulations. Working with an inter-governmental task force, FCE has helped create a reporting system linking the causes and consequences of these dynamics and communicating the results in a transparent format accessible to a wide audience. This reporting system has...
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Food Webs (FCE LTER)
Determining the sources, fate, and transport of dead organic matter is an important aspect of understanding the linkages between freshwater and marine environments in estuaries such as the Everglades. Comparative work among aquatic sites in the LTER network has shown that the dissolved form of organic matter is abundant in the Everglades but less biologically available compared to other estuaries...
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Productivity Gradients in Mangroves (FCE LTER)
Mangrove forests in the Florida Everglades form an ecotone, which is a critical link between freshwater marshes and the marine environments of Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. These forested wetlands provide shoreline protection against storms, "nurseries" for shrimp, fish, and crabs, as well as habitat for several endangered and threatened species such as the American crocodile. FCE...
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Productivity Paradox (FCE LTER)
FCE researchers have found that productivity in the Everglades, and other limestone-based Carbbean wetlands, is dominated by extraordinarily productive algal mats, despite extreme nutrient limitation. This phenomenon has been called a "productivity paradox" (Gaiser et al. 2011). This production would be expected to support a large biomass of aquatic primary consumers but does not (Turner et al....
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Unique Nutrient Sources (FCE LTER)
FCE research has shown that the Everglades operates differently from other coastal ecosystems in that its estuaries that are "upside-down", with seawater supplying limiting nutrients landward, rather than the other way around. Collaborative research with Caribbean scientists, particularly those associated with Mexican LTER programs (MexLTER), has shown similar upside-down features in similar...
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