1995-1997- Acting Leader, South Florida/Carribean Ecosystem Research Team, Florida Carribean Science Center


Responsibilities included:

Planning, directing, and administrating a newly emerging ecosystem level research effort focused on providing scientific information in support of the conservation, management, and restoration of the South Florida Ecosystem. The position required supervising 9 scientists, 3 technicians, numerous graduate students, and volunteers involved in projects ranging from species biology to the ecology of landscapes, including the development of predictive modelling capabilities for application to natural resource conservation and ecological restoration, the Across Trophic Levels Simulation Systems (ATLSS). The position required close integration, collaboration, and coordination with numerous cooperators, including the scientific and management staffs of other agencies, as well as participating faculties of seven universities. I decided priorities, allocated resources, supervised activities, and monitored progress and scientific productivity of the individual scientists within the team. I made numerous briefings to the directorate of NBS and USGS detailing research progress; providing explanations of the ATLSS modelling effort; and articulating research needs for support of the restoration effort. The budget of the Team increased by a factor of approximately 5 times under my leadership.

This position was in addition to my appointment as National Biological Service (BRD-later) representative to the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Initiative. I served on the Science Subgroup, providing scientific information for defining the system, the objectives of the restoration, and criteria for success. I functioned within several ad hoc teams assessing scientific information sources and gaps relevant to the restoration effort and made recommendations for studies to fill the gaps. In addition I served on the steering committee for USGS Ecosystems Studies for South Florida, determining research priorities, evaluating on-going research programs and projects, and screening and reviewing proposals for additional research in South Florida. I received a special achievement award for providing scientific leadership and major authorship of the various documents that both set the framework for the restoration and information needs to support it (see Technical Reports section below). I additionally worked directly with the Executive Director of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration authoring language in the FY 96 and 97 Budget Bills that resulted in the addition of $5 million in the 96 budget and $7 million in FY 97 to support specific restoration research efforts by Department of Interior.

In addition to these activities, I maintained my personal research program and faculty appointments at the University of Florida and University of Miami, personally directing eight graduate students as principal investigator on the following projects, initiated prior to 1995: 1) a landscape-level project determining the ecological impacts of the hydrological manipulations of wetlands within the Okefenokee Swamp, 2) the population ecology of the Snail Kite, 3), development of a simulation model predicting the effects of fire on the tree islands complex of the northern Everglades, 4) investigation of the effect of impoundment on the tree island landscape of Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and 5) the distribution, production and habitat preference of the fish of the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.