Annual Meeting of the LTER Science Council to display diatom artwork by Florida artists group

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The Konza Prairie Biological Station is this week hosting the annual meeting of the Long-Term Ecological Research Network (LTER) Science Council, which includes representatives from 25 U.S. LTER sites.

 A first at this meeting, which runs May 12 - 16, 2014, will be the presentation of a special exhibit on diatoms of South Florida by the Tropical Botanic Artists collective of Miami, Florida. The exhibition features 17 portraits of diatoms found in the Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) LTER area, from Central Florida to Biscayne and Florida Bays.

The exhibit is the result of the collaboration by this group with Dr. Evelyn Gaiser, Professor at the Department of Biological Science & Southeast Environmental Research, Florida International University, and Principal Investigator for the FCE LTER. Dr. Gaiser will be representing FCE LTER at the Konza meeting.

By artistically depicting various genera of diatoms, the artists hope to increase public awareness about the importance of these microscopic, one-celled aquatic organisms to the global ecosystem. Diatoms are not only valuable indicators of changes that take place in the environment, but are also -- by providing food for a wide range of aquatic life -- responsible for 25 percent of global primary production of Oxygen (O2), more than produced by rain forests, and 40 percent of global O2 production, critical to support all animal life on the planet. Their importance in not only limited to the environment, since they also play a significant role in agriculture, industry and, as this exhibit shows, the arts, where their beauty and uniqueness have inspired artists in practically every branch of the arts.

The exhibit features 17 artists, who will display the South Florida diatoms in 12” x 12” frames: Margie Bauer, Kristi Bettendorf, Beverly Borland, Silvia Bota, Marjorie Brown, Marie Chaney, Jeanie Daniel Duck, Julio J. Figueroa, Bobbi Garber, Pauline A. Goldsmith, Leo Hernandez, Kathleen Konicek-Moran, Carol Ann Lane, Elsa Nadal, Laurie Richardson, Donna Torres, and Jedda Wong. 

The Tropical Botanic Artists collective was established in Miami, Florida, in 2006 to highlight the beauty of tropical plants through art. Its members come from all walks of life and each brings a unique viewpoint to his or her work. They share a love of the natural world and that fascination is reflected in their art.  They hope that viewers will take a moment to observe and enjoy the wonders of Nature and bring that enjoyment into everyday life.