Nov. 17: Evenings at Whitney – Consequences of Climate Change for the Temperate-Tropical Ecotone
The Evenings at Whitney Lecture Series hosted by the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory returned on Nov. 17, 2016, at 7 p.m. with the program titled “Consequences of Climate Change for the Temperate-Tropical Ecotone.” Ilka Candy Feller, senior scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, talked about leveraging history to understand the present and predict the future for mangroves and salt marshes along the coast of Florida. The free lecture was presented at Lohman Auditorium located at 9505 Ocean Shore Blvd., on the Whitney Laboratory campus.
Mangroves are an important component of the environment. They provide many benefits, such as protecting coastlines from soil erosion, maintaining water quality by filtering pollutants, and creating a habitat for many animals, including those that are endangered. While mangroves are being threatened worldwide due to real estate development and other factors, mangroves along the Florida coast have been rapidly expanding northward. NASA satellite images from 1984 to 2011 show that the Florida mangrove population has doubled in the last 30 years. In this lecture, Feller talked about the possible reasons causing this expansion. She also shared the positive and negative impacts this has for mangroves and salt marshes in Florida.
Feller has worked for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center since 1995. She is an insect and plant ecologist and has been studying mangroves since 1975 when she first worked as a scientific illustrator on a Smithsonian mangrove project in Belize. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and doctorate in biology with an emphasis on mangroves and mangrove herbivores from Georgetown University.