Populations of the non-native Burmese python have become established in the wild in southern Florida. ES students whose work in the Everglades, Big Cypress and other natural areas could bring them in contact with pythons got hands-on training to learn how to handle and capture these these large constrictors. Learn more >
Environmental Science graduate student Natasha Warraich (advisor Jeanette Wyneken) won first place in Marine Science at the 4th Annual Graduate Research Day in March 2013 and Matt Denton(advisor Jay Baldwin) won Second Place in the Environmental Science category.
At the Annual Environmental Science Retreat, Caitlin Bovery (advisor Jeanette Wyneken) won the first place award for the poster presentation of her thesis research, entitled "Spatial and temporal distributions of sea turtles within the Florida Current and surrounding waters and their implications for oceanic energy development." Jerilyn Ashworth's poster on her Directed independent Study Project, entitled "Restoration of a Critically Eroded Shoreline: A Case Study of Martin County's Bathtub Beach, Stuart, Florida" won first place in the non-thesis category.
ES graduate students Leo Calle and Rich Botta (advisor Dale Gawlik) presented their research on wading birds at the Florida Chapter of the Wildlife Society conference. ES undergraduate Sarah Cronell presented her research at FAU's Undergraduate Research Symposium in March, and undergraduate Samantha Sardes will be presenting her work on an invasive non-native Mimosa at the Annual Symposium of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council in May.
The ES Program sponsored a special workshop on "Bayesian Inference and Hierarchical Modeling" by Dr. Robert M. Dorazio, USGS. Researchers and students from throughout South Florida attended the two-day workshop at the Boca Raton Campus on the use of Bayesian statistical methodologies in analyses of biological data using the R statistical program
ES Master's student James Johnson was a winner in the calendar photo competition for the South Atlantic Chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists. Click here to see his photos for Feb and June in the SWS calendar.
FAU Biology and Environmental Science faculty Drs. Ed Proffitt and Donna Devlin spent three weeks in the People’s Republic of China at the invitation of Dr. Liao Baowen, sponsored by the Tropical Forestry Research Institute (TFRI) in Guangzhou, China. During the visit, they presented multiple seminars on restoration ecology and mangrove and salt marsh research at FAU. In addition, Dr. Proffitt gave a lecture on the use of structural equation modeling to analyze monitoring data. While there they visited Dr. Liao’s mangrove research sites at three distant locations including Hainan Island, the southernmost and most tropical part of the PRC, met with managers and government representatives and discussed future cooperative research ventures and proposals. In addition, they began planning for a potential exciting new FAU graduate student program which would provide funds for students to conduct a portion of their research at the TFRI. This trip was a follow-up to an earlier visit in 2008 by Dr. Liao and two of his post-docs to the Proffitt & Devlin lab and research sites in the Indian River Lagoon.
After displaying an impressive amount of dis-functionality, the House of Representatives came together last week and passed, with overwhelming bipartisan support, the 2013 Water Resources and Development Act . The House version of the Act authorizes $8 billion in water-related projects, of which 20% is directed to Everglades restoration. The House and Senate versions (authoring $12 billion in funding) still need to be reconciled, but given the strong bipartisan support that Everglades restoration has historically enjoyed, there is good reason to be optimistic.
Our ability to receive 20% of the funding for our nation's water-related projects underscores the uniqueness of the massive environmental project we have in our back yard. It is worth noting that in some ways the scenario we just saw unfold is not without precedent. The House of Representatives that led the 1990s government shutdown under Newt Gingrich also showed strong bipartisan support for Everglades restoration, at a time like today, where there was little bipartisan support for anything else.
The diverse faculty of the FAU Environmental Science Program does research that supports the restoration of the Everglades and its associated estuaries (Indian River Lagoon, Florida Bay, and Caloosahatchee). Our agency funding partners have noticed. Just a few of those faculty who have gotten funding for such research in recent years include Jay Baldwin, Brian Benscoter, Len Berry, Nate Dorn, Xavier Comas, Donna Devlin, Dale Gawlik, Dennis Hanisak, Colin Hughes, Marguerite Koch, Brian LaPointe, Bill Louda, Scott Markwith, Diana Mitsova, Greg O'corry-Crowe, Dianne Owen, Ed Proffitt, Bill Louda, Zhixiao Xie, Xing-Hai Zang. Many more of our faculty stand in a good position to secure future funding. Let's hope the positive things coming out of the federal government continue to play to our strengths.
ES Master's student Stevee Kennard (advisor Scott Markwith) successfully defended her thesis entitled "Spatio-Temporal Modeling of Seed Disperal and Aquatic Plant Community Restoration in the Kissimmee River" in March 2013.
ES Master's student Lisa Vlaming(advisor Brian LaPointe) successfully defend her thesis entitled "Comparative Ecophysiology of Bloom-forming Macroalgae in the Indian River Lagoon, FL" in March 2013.
ES Master's student James Johnson (advisor Brian Bensoter) successfully defend his thesis entitled "Estimating the Vulnerability of Everglades Peat to Combustion" in November 2012.
ES Master's student Garren Mezza (advisor Scott Markwith) successfully defend his thesis entitled "Analysis of Kissimmee River Floodpasin Seed Disperal for Vegetation Community Restoration" in November, 2012.
ES Master's student Courtney Kehler (advisor Brian LaPointe)successfully defend her thesis entitled "Phosphorus Limitation in Reef Macroalgae of South Florida" in November, 2012.
The FAU Chapter of the undergraduate student group, SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity & Sustainability) hosted theThird Annual Bioblitz at the FAU Ecological Preserve on April 14, 2013, as part of the SEEDS National Coordinated Bioblitz. Undergraduate and graduate ES students helped in data collection and led educational tours of the "Tortuga Trail" through the FAU Preserve.
Environmental Science graduate student Carrie Boudreau(advisor Tara Root) won second place in the 8th Annual College of Science Graduate Research Day in 2012 for her work on surrogate technologies for estimating suspended sediment concentrations.
FAU graduate and undergraduate students also presented their research at the Florida Chapter of the Wildlive Society conference. The meeting was co-hosted by theFlorida Exotic Pest Plant Counciland featured a symposium on Invasive Wildlife, a plenary session on Invasive Species Policy, oral and poster presentations, field trips, and workshops.
Jessica Klassan (advisor ES Director, Dale Gawlik) won the award for best student presentation at the FWS/FLEPPC conference for her work on prey availability and foraging strategies of wading birds in the Everglades. Other students presenting at the conference included Jennifer Chastant and Leo Calle (advisor Dale Gawlik) and Samantha Sardes (advisors Dianne Owen, Xing-Hai Zhang).
ES Master's student Elizabeth Salewski (advisor Ed Proffitt) successfully defended her thesis entitled "Effects fo Freshwater Discharges and Habitat Architecture on Oyster Reef Community Development and Diversity" on June 29, 2012.
ES Master's student Jacob Bransky (advisor Nate Dorn) successfully defend his thesis entitled "Diet Variation and the Consumptive Effects of Native Centrarchids on Benthic Macroinvertebrates in Wetlands" on July 6, 2012.
FAU gradutate and undergraduate students working with Environmental Science faculty have won state and regional recognition in 2011 for their outstanding work.
Hilde Zenil (advisor Ed Proffitt ) won the Outstanding Graduate Student Poster Paper at the Florida Academy of Sciences for her cutting edge research on the use of acoustics to monitor oyster reef restoration.
Bryan Botson (advisor Dale Gawlik) won the best student paper at the Florida Chapter of the Wildlife Society conference for his large scale work on aquatic prey communities in the Everglades.
Undergraduates Liz Barraco, Jasmine Coyle, and Kelsey Crane won second place in the Sustainable Communities Earth Day competition sponsored by the Weppner Center for Civic Engagement. Working with ES faculty (Evelyn Frazier, Dianne Owen) and FAU student organizations (SEEDS, Mission Green) they inaugurated a new nature trail and developed educational activities for "The Living Learning Laboratory" at the FAU Preserve on the Boca Raton campus.
Students and faculty in the Environmental Science Program presented their research at the 2010 GEER Policy, Planning and Science Conference, “The Greater Everglades: A Living Laboratory of Change”.
The GEER is a forum that brings together private, public and tribal decision makers, engineers, planners, resource managers, and scientists to share their knowledge and challenges concerning restoration of the Greater Everglades. Presentations by ES Students and Faculty ranged from "Biogenic Gas Dynamics in Peat Soils" to "Anthropogenic Resource Utilization in the Diet of the Sacred Ibis.
Several students and faculty presented work that was supported by grants from the FAU Environmental Science Everglades Fellowship Initiative, funded by the National Park Service.
FAU students are working with managers at Evergaldes National Park on the Chekika Island Restoration Project, with funding from the Environmental Science Program and the Department of Biological Sciences.
Before Chekika Island became part of Everglades National Park in 1991, many invasive exotic trees and vines were introduced that continue to threaten native habitats. As part of the Chekika project, FAU students are helping to restore the site by removing invasive exotic plants and re-establishing the native plant communities that are home to birds, mammals, reptiles and rare butterfly species such as the Red Admiral and the Tropical Buckeye.