Key Largo, Florida, 2021

Hi, you’ve reached the homepage of the Kominoski Ecosystem Ecology Lab at Florida International University’s Department of Biological Sciences.

Our research explores various scales of organic matter processing along gradients of environmental drivers within and among ecosystems, testing two main questions:

  1. How do disturbances drive changes in autotrophic, heterotrophic, and net ecosystem productivity and carbon storage?
  2. How do disturbances interact with long-term environmental changes to affect ecosystem functions, specifically the loss, storage, and movement of carbon (energy) and nutrients within and among ecosystems?


Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/JohnKominoski

Archive (2014-2019)

2019 December: John participated in the NSF Reintegrating Biology Jumpstart in Atlanta, Georgia. Matt presented a poster at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, California. Andreina Contreras (REU 2019) was awarded an undergraduate research scholarship from the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) Multicultural Mentoring Program!

2019 November: Kominoski Lab was represented by 6 talks by collaborators at the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation meeting in Mobile, Alabama!  John served on an Academic Program Review for the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico.  John attended a Coastal Waters Future workshop at the University of Virginia.

2019 October: Lab alumnus Dr. Sean Charles had a paper accepted this month in Ecology on how range-expanding mangroves increase carbon allocation in coastal ecosystems! Andrea attended the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers (AERC) Annual Symposium Congressional Briefing in Washington, DC.

2019 September: Lab alumnus Dr. Sean Charles had a paper accepted this month in Estuaries and Coasts on peat collapse!

2019 August: John and Matt presented talks at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. 

2019 July: Research from the Kominoski Lab was presented at the Mangrove and Macrobenthos Meeting 5 in Singapore.

2019 May: John attended the LTER Science Council Meeting in Puerto Rico. Gonzalo completed his undergraduate thesis with the FIU Honors Program. Andreina Contreras started a REU through the FCE LTER and the FIU Coastal REU Site. 

2019 April: Gonzalo won the Best Student Presentation Award at the FIU Conference for Undergraduate Research for his Honors Thesis research on tracking municipal water tracers in Miami waterways!  John presented research from the Northeast Shark River Slough project at the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration meeting in Coral Springs, Florida. John co-led a hurricane synthesis workshop in Corpus Christi, Texas, involving 42 scientists from universities and agencies.

2019 February: Matt won the Best Student Presentation Award at the FIU Biology Student Symposium! John presented on Hurricane Harvey research during a special session at the ASLO 2019 Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

2019 January: Lab alumnus Dr. Ben Wilson had a paper accepted this month in Ecology!

2018 December: Dr. Mary Zeller is awarded FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Education Postdoctoral Fellowship!

2018 November: Dr. Dong Yoon Lee is hired as a staff scientist by the South Florida Water Management District!

2018 October: Lab alumna Dr. Shelby Servais had two papers accepted this month, one in Geoderma and the other in Wetlands!

2018 September: Lab alumnus Dr. Ben Wilson had a paper accepted this month in Ecological Applications

2018 August: Dr. Sean Charles and Dr. Shelby Servais graduated!   Ben and Shelby were awarded postdoctoral fellowships through the National Academies of Science Gulf Research Program!  KominoskiLab presented four talks at the ESA 2018 Meeting in New Orleans.  Long-term undergraduate researcher Marco Fernandez gave his first talk at a scientific meeting!

2018 June: Sean successfully defends his dissertation!  Dong YoonMatt, and John present at the ASLO 2018 Summer Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia. REU Alessandra Puig-Santana started an undergraduate research project testing salinity and root carbon loss rates.

2018 MayBen and Shelby successfully defend their dissertations!  

2018 April: John is awarded a three-year grant from the National Park Service to study how fire drives phosphorus cycling and wetland productivity in Everglades National Park! 

2018 MarchBen defended his dissertation, which was awarded FIU Dissertation of the Year!  Congratulations, Dr. Wilson!  John and Matt attended the UREx SRN All Hans Meeting in Tempe, Arizona.

2018 February: Ben Wilson (lab affiliate and collaborator) won the Best Student Presentation Award at the FIU Biology Student Symposium.  Daniel Arturo Saavedra Hortua arrived from Bremen University in Germany for a 6-week collaborative research stay in our lab.  He and his assistant are working on mangrove and seagrass carbon storage in Biscayne National Park.  John was awarded funding from the National Park Service to conduct research relating fire to phosphorus biogeochemical cycling in Everglades National Park.

2018 January:  Matt was awarded a fellowship from the Resilient Urban Latin America (RULA) International Research Experience for Students (IRES) – funded by the NSF – to spend two months working with collaborators on urban wetlands at the Universidad de Austral de Chile in Valdivia, Chile!

2017 December:  John was awarded NSF RAPID funding with colleagues from the FCE-LTER for research related to Hurricane Irma, which made a direct hit nearby our long-term coastal mangrove sites in the Everglades.  

2017 November:  Sean attended the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, presenting in a special session on saltwater intrusion and coastal change.

2017 September:  This month is for the record books.  All lab members and our collaborators are safe following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.  John was awarded NSF RAPID funding with colleagues from University of Houston and Texas A&M Galveston for research related to Hurricane Harvey, which made a direct hit on our Texas coastal mangrove plots.  

Shelby and Ben made headlines during King Tide sampling.

2017 August: Kominoski Lab presented 4 talks and 1 poster at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Our volunteers are amazing people. Lab volunteer Gabrielle (Gabby) Cabral started graduate school at University of Miami Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and received a $15,000 scholarship from the Lyford Cay Foundation! Lab volunteer Priscilla Brown received a $2,000 scholarship from FIU’s Tropical Conservation Institute! Former lab volunteer Alexis Ramos is pursuing his MSc at the University of Georgia, and has two recent publications — in the journals Cell and PLOS Genetics!  Go Gabby, Go Priscilla, Go Alexis! Wow!

2017 July: A slug of recently accepted papers came out this month.  Check out our Publications page!  Sean Charles was awarded the FIU Dissertation Year Fellowship! Congratulations, Sean!

Kominoski Lab participated in the 29th year of the Interdisciplinary Field Program. Check out the details of this incredible program here.

Undergraduate researchers stormed the lab and field this month. The long-awaited wetland burning occurred at Archbold Biological Station, and Marco Fernandez started final data collection, analysis, and writing of his first-authored manuscript on the topic! REU Daniel Read did a field sampling brigade to collect and then analyze different water sources for dissolved organic carbon concentration and complexity. He also helped set up a meta-analysis of 

2017 June: Lab visitor Lu Zhai successfully defended his dissertation, earning his Ph.D. with Dr. Leo Sternberg of University of Miami.  Dr. Zhai has started a postdoctoral research associate position at FIU in the Institute of Water and the Environment/Southeast Environmental Research Center with Dr. Jay Sah! Congratulations, y’all!  Kominoski Lab presented 4 talks at the Society for Freshwater Science meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina.

2017 May: Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr. Dong Yoon Lee joins our lab!  He brings with him extensive research experience in coastal and marine ecology.  Welcome Dong YoonJohn attended the LTER Science Council meeting at Hubbard Brook LTER in New Hampshire.

2017 April: John attends a saltwater intrusion workshop at theNational Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in Annapolis, MD.  Welcome summer 2017 REUs Suzy Roebling (wetland freshwater restoration project) and Daniel Read (stormwater chemistry and source tracking project)!  Shelby and John presented research at the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration meeting in Coral Springs, FL. John visited Washington, D.C., to meet with the offices of Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to discuss the importance of public engagement and support of science, education, and human health. Kominoski Lab attended the Science March in various locations!

2017 March: John and Marco dig in the dirt at Archbold Biological Station in preparation for the burning season in late May.  Marco is awarded the prestigious FIU – Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program!  Congratulations Marco! Matt presents his research on urban flooding at the UREx SRN All Hands Meeting in New York City.  John presented a poster comparing saltwater intrusion effects on coastal carbon loss at the LTER MiniSymposium at the National Science Foundation.

2017 February: John attends a project meeting at ASU.  John attends a leadership workshop and presents long-term phosphorus data from the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER at the Association of the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography meeting in Honolulu, HI.

2017 January: John presents cross-site research on saltwater intrusion in coastal wetlands at the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER annual meeting in Athens, GA.

2016 December: Mangrove encroachment paper published in EcologyGlobal test of temperature dependence of litter breakdown rates published in Global Change Biology!

2016 October: Ximena is awarded Deering Estate Cultural and Ecological Field Station Ph.D. Fellowship!  John presents cross-site research on saltwater intrusion in coastal wetlands at the International LTER meeting in Kruger National Park, South Africa!

2016 September: John and colleague Evelyn Gaiser host distributed graduate course on ecological theory and long-term research.  More than 350 participants joined weekly during the fall semester.  John visits colleagues at University of Maryland and gives a seminar at the Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture.  John visited the National Science Foundation for the MacroSystems PI meeting.

2016 August:  Kominoski Lab represented at the Ecological Society of America meeting.  Nine papers were presented, one special session led.

2016 July:  Sean and John presented papers at the Mangrove & Macrobenthos Meeting.

2016 June:  John gave an invited talk at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology & Oceanography meeting.

2016 May:  Kristina Morales presents her REU research at the 2016 Society of Wetland Scientists Meeting (SWS).  Sean presented a webinar for SWS on plant community shifts and carbon storage in the Gulf of Mexico.  John attended the LTER Science Council meeting in Santa Barbara, CAS.  John led two special sessions and presented at the Society for Freshwater Science meeting (S08 Hydroclimatic Extremes; S24 Scale & Ecosystem Functions) and presented in a special session at the Association of the Sciences of Limnology & Oceanography meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Hanna Campen joins our lab for summer 2016 from Kiel, Germany!  Marco Fernandez (REU 2016) begins summer research on salinity and phosphorus in brackish water peat soils!  Teresa Casal and Cathy Laroche begin RETs for summer 2016!

2016 April:  Ximena and Matt join the lab!  Welcome, y’all!  Both will be expanding research in urban ecosystems through the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (URExSRN) & FIU’s new Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment (CAChE).

2016 March: Shelby is awarded 1st place poster at the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER All Scientists Meeting.  Congratulations to her for excellent research and hard work! John visits the National Science Foundation for the Water Sustainability & Climate PI meeting.

2016 February: Sean & Shelby are awarded 1st and 3rd best oral presentations at the FIU Biology Student Symposium!  Sean is awarded a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant!

2016 January: Kominoski Lab hosts Dr. Jim Elser for FIU’s Glaser Distinguished Seminar Series

2015 December: Kristina Morales (REU 2015) was awarded an undergraduate research scholarship from the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) Multicultural Mentoring Program!

2015 October: Sean was awarded $20,000 from the Everglades Foundation for his proposal to test effects of plant composition and age on above and belowground carbon storage in coastal wetlands!

2015 September: FCE-LTER was represented by more than 20 scientists, including 8 graduate students at the 2015 LTER All-Scientists’ Meeting in Estes Park, CO. FCE-LTER PIs, collaborators, and students led 7 working groups!

2015 August:  FCE-LTER graduate students led a successful organized oral session on the effects of saltwater intrusion on carbon loss in coastal wetlands at the Centennial Ecological Society of America Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

2015 June/July: Summer field work and projects are rolling onward. Salinity x phosphorus response surface experiment begins!

2015 May: Sean presented an invited talk for a special session on riparian and wetland species composition changes at the Society of Wetland Scientists meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. Kristina Morales joins our lab with a NSF-supported REU.  Welcome KristinaJohn presented two papers at the Society for Freshwater Science meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

2015 April: Shelby presented at the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration co nference in Coral Springs, Florida.

2015 March/April:  Shelby and Sean pass their written and oral comprehensive exams! Congratulations, scholars!  FCE LTER Mid-Term Review was a success!

2015 February: Salinity x phosphorus mesocosm experiments begin.

2015 January: We will begin a multi-year experiment manipulating salinity and phosphorus in wetlands mesocosms to assess stress-subsidy responses in plants, periphyton, and soil microbial communities that affect net carbon storage. John is working on two preliminary proposals for NSF DEB Ecosystems cluster. Shelby was awarded “2015 Student of the Year” from the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER program! 

2014 December: Shelby was selected to participate in a ecosystem ecology short course at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies held this January. http://www.caryinstitute.org/students/graduate-opportunities/FEE.  Her work with Sean completed year one of field work in Texas with some interesting results linking differences in organic carbon breakdown at multiple spatial scales to organic matter quality and vegetation density in coastal marsh-mangrove ecosystems.  John and collaborators submitted a NSF SAVI (Science Across Virtual Institutes) proposal to broaden our current WSC (Water Sustainability and Climate) project to international collaborators and target basins.  Two field technicians joined the lab to work on our upcoming salinity and phosphorus experiment in sawgrass wetlands.  Welcome Mike and Michelle!

2014 November: John was invited to present at the Second International Symposium for Sustainability, Institute for Sustainable Sciences and Development, Hiroshima University.  Shelby submitted a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Proposal, and initiated the root breakdown component of the Peat Collapse project.  Sean is setting up field sites for marsh-mangrove gradient studies in the Ten Thousand Islands, and preparing for field work in Port Aransas, Texas.  Collaborator and short-term lab alumnus, Aingeru Martinez will be presenting our work on Eucalyptus dissolved organic matter and metabolic responses in freshwater biofilms at the 2015 ASLO meeting in Granada, Spain.

2014 October: The Peat Collapse project started dosing seawater in freshwater and oligohaline wetlands of the Everglades.  John, Shelby, Alexis, and colleagues collected many roots for breakdown and enzymatic measures associated with seawater dosing.  Sean and John visited marsh-mangrove warming plots of colleagues working at Kennedy Space Center.

2014 September: Field and lab work continues.  John finished up field work with the SCALER project. Sean and Shelby, along with several other FIU graduate students, submitted a proposal for an organized oral session at the ESA Centennial Meeting.

2014 August: Installation of oligohaline mesocosms in Everglades National Park completed by a team of sweaty, bug-chewed, dedicated scientists!  Sean and Shelby had their first committee meetings, and both are off to an impressive start!  John visited Archbold Biological Station to establish a long-term research plan for research in temporary wetlands of the Florida scrub.  John became a Co-PI for the Florida Coastal Everglades LTERClasses begin at FIU.  John is offering for the first time a class on science writing.  BSC 6936: Communicating Science.  Interesting fact: actor Alan Alda is a science communication advocate!

2014 July: Sean and Shelby submitted grant proposals to The Everglades Foundation Fellowship program.  Good luck to both of them!  John visited colleagues at Xiamen University, Fujian Province, China.  John gave two seminars, one based on lab research, another on scientific writing.  Field sites in Zhangjiang and Zhanjiang estuaries were visited and future collaborations were discussed.  John submitted an NSF CAREER award proposal and a collaborative proposal to the NSF DEB Ecosystems cluster.

2014 June: Summer field work begins.  Sean visited field sites in Texas to recover samples and collect additional data in mangrove removal plots.  Shelby started field work testing soil microbial enzyme responses to salinity and phosphorus in Key Largo and in Everglades National Park.

2014 May: The Kominoski Lab had 4 presentations at the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Portland, Oregon.  Shelby was awarded a travel grant from Society for Freshwater Science for the best poster at the 2013 meeting.  REU, Julio Pachon was awarded a Society of Wetland Scientists Undergraduate Diversity Award.  Congratulations, Julio and Shelby!

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