From the Everglades to tropical rainforests, ecosystems exist as a balance of many species and nonliving phenomena. Processes and changes may be hard to notice at a given moment, but they are always occurring, and over time they affect all plants, animals and people. There are many ways to take a snapshot of an ecosystem, and our researchers are experienced in a variety of methods ranging from up-close to orbital.

In-person studies take our researchers to South American sites including in French Guiana, Brazil and Peru, to sample tree bark and leaves and catch insects for surveys. We also identify new amphibian species and track populations as they suffer and rebound from disease. Plant exploitation and trafficking also draw our experts’ attention, as we explore ways to satisfy demand or plants without wiping out threatened species.

Remote sensing projects give us a large-scale view of ecosystems. Our Everglades work includes the evaluation of aerial and satellite data such as photos and LiDAR laser scans, developing methods for identifying plant distribution from the sky. Improving scientists’ access to hard-to-reach ecosystems makes it easier to observe and protect them.

Students, Volunteers and Community Members: Get Involved 

Featured Projects

  • Alleviating Plant Blindness

    Plant blindness may impact us and we may not even know it. Our scientists are working to ensure that no one is blind to the importance of plants.

  • Trees of FIU

    Our researchers are working to inventory and classify the trees of the FIU campuses.

  • Luquillo LTER

    Our scientists study the long-term effects of natural and human disturbances on tropical forests and streams in Puerto Rico's Luquillo Forest.

Related Programs & Centers

Our ongoing educational, research and community initiatives are organized within thematic programs and centers which bring together experts from across the Institute of Environment.

  • Agroecology Program

    Our Agroecology Program focuses on issues in agriculture at the farm, community and regional landscape level. Our scientists explore broad spatial agricultural issues including regional water allocation conflicts, urban-rural conflicts, community foodsheds, and geospatial analysis of agricultural resources and system impacts.

  • International Center for Tropical Botany at The Kampong

    Our International Center for Tropical Botany focuses on the importance of terrestrial ecosystems. From endangered species to complex ecosystems, we study the diversity of life at multiple levels in order to better understand and protect it.