Working Groups

Upcoming Working Groups


We are currently accepting applications for our second working group that will be focused on one of three focal research themes - 'Understanding the roles of ecological evolutionary history and biodiversity on ecosystem responses to extreme storm events' until September 2, 2022. 

We will review applications and select members for the working group by early October 2022 and then coordinate our first virtual meeting to be in late fall 2022.  Virtual meetings occurring through winter 2022-2023 will culminate into a in-person meeting in Miami, FL in spring 2022 (aiming for March/April).

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Details on 'Evolutionary Ecology and Biodiversity' Working Group

Understanding how ecosystems respond to tropical cyclones likely depends on the biodiversity and evolutionary traits of affected communities. For example, species traits including dispersal ability, generation time, and functional differences among species likely impact their vulnerability, resistance, and resilience to hurricane impacts that further influence  ecosystem processes. Within this working group, we will quantify and evaluate these biological mechanisms to understand how they fit into the broader framework established in theme 1 (storm characteristics, antecedent conditions).  To achieve this, a key analytical goal of the working group will be to develop and analyze quantitative responses of individual-, species-, population-, function-  and community-level magnitude changes from baseline (i.e., effect size) and return time to baseline across a range of organisms and ecosystem types. 

Working group activities will be coordinated and facilitated by the HERS Steering Committee, including supporting i) travel for working group leads to attend one meeting, ii) exploration of datasets assembled by HERS-RCN, and iii) a platform for communication and data sharing.  Specific activities may include virtual meetings as well as hybrid (virtual/in-person) meetings as determined by the working group members.  Expected outcomes of the working group include peer-reviewed publications that provide conceptual advances on this topic and/or synthesize existing large-scale data products. For example, two products from our last workshop in 2019 include the publications “A Research Framework to Integrate Cross-Ecosystem Responses to Tropical Cyclones” (BioScience 2020 ) and “A general pattern of trade-offs between ecosystem resistance and resilience to tropical cyclones” (Science Advances 2022).

Objective: Work within this theme will identify the most important and sensitive (key) organism types (e.g., long-lived, semelparous, dispersal- and recruitment-limited) responsive to hurricane impacts (e.g., salinization, wind, flooding, storm surge sedimentation) for synthesis and for coordination and standardization of sampling and measurement methods. In addition, this theme will work in collaboration with the antecedent conditions and storm characteristics (Theme 1) group to adequately represent realistic impact patterns resulting in consequences for organismal vulnerability, resistance, resilience, and community structure. This will require us to: (1) Synthesize published or available responses of key organisms from coastal, estuarine, and marine ecosystems exposed to hurricanes; (2) Statistically analyze key organismal responses in relation to hypothesized fundamental drivers of antecedent conditions and storm characteristics (e.g., prior storm impacts, wind speed, rainfall, storm surge); and (3) Generate a community consensus of best practices for the measurement of key organisms and their responses.

Requirements:  Applicants must be able to commit to one year of time to working group activities including, but not limited to, monthly virtual discussions.  Priority will be given to workshop participants that have 1) expertise in relevant subject areas including evolutionary ecology, trait based ecology, and relevant community ecology themes (e.g. disturbance ecology, biodiversity ecosystem function research, etc); 2) expertise with working with large population and community datasets, 3) are studying recent major tropical cyclones, and 4) contribute in creating a diverse group of career stages, geographic regions, and research disciplines.  Familiarity with time-series analyses of abiotic and biotic (population and community) data that can be used in synthesis work is ideal but not a requirement for participation in this working group.

Our third working group will focus on 'feedbacks among natural and social-economic systems that confer resistance and resilience to tropical cyclones' and is tentatively planned for early spring 2023. 

Ongoing Working Groups 
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'Storm Characteristics & Antecedent Conditions' Working Group

Storms vary in their characteristics (wind speeds, track velocities, precipitation, and flooding), and the ecosystems they affect vary in their conditions or states preceding the storm.  This HERS working group, which came together in spring 2022, is brainstorming and forming investigations that will aid in understanding the relative influence of storm characteristics, antecedent conditions, and their interactions on holistic storm effects as a major step forward to developing a predictive science for tropical cyclone impacts on coastal ecosystems. More details and updates coming soon.