Growing up, Dr. Evelyn Gaiser spent summers by the water. Today, she’s an aquatic ecologist who studies long-term dynamics of ecosystems in response to environmental change. As the Endowed George Barley Eminent Scholars Chair and lead principal investigator of the Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research program, her research focuses on algal communities, particularly long-term change in lakes and wetlands around the world.
Her lab is aimed at creating a more resilient future for our freshwater. Goals of their research include identifying ways in which lakes and wetlands transform over long periods of time. There’s a particular focus on algae, especially diatoms, which produce 30% of the world’s oxygen, as they serve as indicators of ecosystem change and are at the base of aquatic food webs.
As a classically trained musician, she believes lakes write music and science is listening. She compiled 20 years of temperature data collected at Florida’s Lake Annie, and saw the data streams pouring in from sensors deployed in the lake looked like music notes to her. She translated the high-frequency lake data to musical compositions in order to better understand and describe changes. She discussed her findings in this TEDx talk.