Archbold Biological Station
Biennial Report 1995-1996

P.O. Box 2057 Lake Placid, Florida 33862 USA
863-465-2571 FAX: 863-699-1927

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Archbold Biological Station’s focus on understanding ecological processes over long time periods, in the order of years and decades, fills something of a vacuum in the ecological research community. Long-term ecological data, like all fine vintages, mature with age, yet are worthy of frequent sampling. Many research activities at Archbold Biological Station in 1995-96 were dependent on decanting from such long-term datasets. This Biennial Report will emphasize the research role of some of these data, ranging from 30-year species genealogies to a 65-year history of fire patterns. Other studies initiated in 1995-96 are new ventures, particularly those examining the relationship of native biodiversity, water quality, and agro-economics at the MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center. The novel interdisciplinary approaches at the Ranch are highlighted here, but will be presented in more detail in a counterpart MAERC Report.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration. The self-contained infrastructure at Archbold Biological Station is its greatest facility--extensive protected lands, biotic diversity, access to long-term data, technical support, land management, and growing regional species collections--which together provide a most conducive research environment. Areas of research strength continue to be in population biology, conservation biology, chemical ecology, agro-ecology and emphasizing the relationship between species and ecosystem processes, especially fire. Recent interdisciplinary work includes studies of 1) plant dispersal and insect pollinators (Mark Deyrup and Eric Menges), 2) molecular ecology and metapopulation structure (Reed Bowman), 3) endocrinology and behavioral ecology (Steve Schoech), and 4) the influence of fire processes on species and communities across the landscape Glen Woolfenden,  John Fitzpatrick, Warren Abrahamson, and Eric Menges).

Expanding Regional Focus. In addition to our traditional emphasis on interdisciplinary research and understanding ecological phenomena over critical time-scales, this last two years has seen considerable expansion of the spatial components of the research. Geographic Information System (GIS) capabilities have become a truly unifying approach, integrating the spatial aspects of most data collected.  We have become a scientific hub for research activities on the Lake Wales Ridge, and on the ecosystems of the Kissimmee River Valley. This has fostered new and expanded opportunities for regionalization of our research, such as tracking landscape-scale demographic shifts in threatened and endangered species. Our programs on regional pattern analysis (e.g. genetic variation in plants, regional fire regimes, patterns of species dispersal) are helping to elucidate broad scale controls over ecological processes. It has allowed us to address regional simulation analysis for questions such as "how will given species in this region respond to altered landuse patterns;" this is critical information for our conservation partners.

Station Research Smposia. It is a measure of the sheer depth and breadth of research at Archbold Biological Station that we organized two separate symposia, one in May, 1995, and the next in September, 1996, to highlight all current research activities. The many local scientists and conservationists in attendance at these meetings indicated the critical role that research at Archbold Biological Station is seen to play in understanding how regional ecosystems functions. More importantly, it underlines how the scientific information we provide is being used to help protect and preserve these same ecosystems for future generations.

--Hilary M. Swain, Executive Director



blkball.gif (842 bytes) Lohrer, F.E . (Editor). 1998. Archbold Biological Station, Biennial Report 1995-1996. Archbold Biological Station, Lake Placid. 62 pp.
Archbold Biological Station, 1998 October
blkball.gif (842 bytes) Webmaster: Fred Lohrer.