The University of Florida Land Use and Environmental Change Institute (LUECI) facilitates interdisciplinary research and teaching on complex interactions among climate, humans, and the environment. Primary participating departments include Geological Sciences, Geography, and Anthropology. LUECI-related research is conducted in two laboratories. The Florida Institute of Paleoenvironmental Research (FLIPER) laboratory is used for study of sediment cores from lakes, oceans, and wetlands. A Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) laboratory is used to study Land Use/Land Cover Change (LUCC) and long-term climate change. LUECI supports funded and unfunded basic and applied research on environmental changes caused by natural phenomena (e.g. climate, volcanic eruptions, fires) and human activities (e.g. deforestation, soil erosion, eutrophication, pollution, introduction of exotic biota). Two primary goals of LUECI are to: 1) advance interdisciplinary initiatives that build on the strengths of individual departments, and 2) promote graduate education and ensure that LUECI-affiliated graduate students have access to Center resources.
LUECI-related research is conducted in two newly established laboratory facilities. A modern GIS (Geographic Information System) and Remote Sensing laboratory containing a number of powerful workstations provides the core research facility for spatial analysis of data collected from Earth-observing remote sensing platforms and field studies. This technology facilitates study of both land use/land cover change and long-term climate change. The LUECI laboratories are open to all students and faculty who have interests in climate-environment-human interactions, and the centralized nature of these state-of-the-art facilities act to foster collaborative research among individuals from diverse disciplines.
The Florida Institute of Paleoenvironmental Research (FLIPER) is being developed in 2500 ft2 of renovated space in Williamson Hall (Geological Sciences). The laboratory is designed for comprehensive paleoenvironmental study of sediment cores from lake, wetland, and marine sites. The lab has a cold room for sediment core storage, and is equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation, including a Geotek Multi-Sensor Core Logger (MSCL) that measures magnetic susceptibility, p-wave velocity, and sediment density on intact cores, and can produce high-resolution digital images of sediment sections. The lab also possesses a Micromeritics Sedigraph for particle size analysis.
FLIPER benefited from consolidation of equipment previously housed in several University of Florida departments. Existing equipment and instruments include field gear (e.g., square-rod corers and Avon inflatable boats) for collection of lake sediment cores, UIC coulometers for total and inorganic carbon analysis, a Carlo-Erba NA 1500 analyzer for total carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur analyses, a Bran-Luebbe Autoanalyzer for total phosphorus and biogenic silica analysis, three EG & G Ortec well-type gamma detectors for 210Pb dating and environmental radiation measurements (e.g. 226Ra), a VG/Micromass Prism Series II mass spectrometer and Finnigan MAT 252 mass spectrometer for measurement of d18O, d13C, and d15N in carbonate and organic matter samples, and microscopes for picking microfossils. In a joint effort with the Soil and Water Sciences Department, LUECI will purchase a new Delta+ XL mass spectrometer and GC with interface that will enable measurement of compound-specific isotope ratios in sediment organic matter.