The FCE LTER Program began in 2000 as part of the LTER Network established in 1980 by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Based at FIU, the FCE LTER Program is operated by the Southeast Environmental Research Center and led by co-PIs E. Gaiser (Biology), M. Heithaus (Biology), R. Jaffé (Chemistry), L. Ogden (Anthropology) and R. Price (Earth & Environment). Core funding for the FCE LTER Program comes from NSF after critical panel evaluation and approval of 6 year renewal plans (2000-2006, $4.2M), (2006-2012, $4.92M), (2012-2018, $5.88M), with about $33M in additional funding leveraged from partner agencies, including the South Florida Water Management District, Everglades National Park, United States Geological Survey, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program examines the vulnerability of the Everglades wilderness to global climate change and coastal natural resource modification. By conducting persistent research in freshwater wetlands, mangrove swamps and the shallow seagrass communities of Florida Bay, the multi-disciplinary science of the FCE LTER Program employs powerful long-term datasets to determine how the amount and quality of freshwater flowing through the Everglades influences ecological processes in the coastal zone, including rehydration of the freshwater aquifer, which supplies the Everglades and Floridians with potable water, and carbon accretion, which buffers coastal systems from sea level rise and storm damage.