Description: This talk will highlight long-term ecological, taxonomic, and restoration assessment studies of the unusual diatom flora inhabiting the expansive, thick calcareous benthic microbial mats of the Florida Everglades. Benthic diatom assemblages have been the focus of long-term studies due to their importance to Everglades food webs and well-measured, strong response to phosphorus availability and hydrologic change, the two targets of a massive effort to restore the hydrology and oligotrophic nature of the Everglades. We will provide an overview of the experimental and monitoring approaches used to document the Everglades diatom flora and its response to key environmental drivers. The structure of our growing diatom and environmental database will be described including taxonomic and ecological features of key taxa. We will explain the diatom-based approach to assessing effectiveness of restoration and its potential application in other carbonate wetlands.

Target audience: Scientists and others involved in diatom-based environmental assessment and wetland diatom taxonomy and ecology.