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Edwin "Win" Everham, Ph.D.

Expert on hurricanes and other disturbances and their ecological impact | Florida Gulf Coast University


Edwin Everham is an expert in ecological modeling and restoration ecology.





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FGCU Founders Minute: Win Everham How water flows



Edwin "Win" Everham researches how ecosystems respond to disturbance events. These events include natural events like hurricanes, and ones caused by humans such as climate change and the introduction of invasive species. His work focuses on Southwest Florida, but encompasses a broad range of ecosystems.

He is currently exploring patterns of anuran communities through time in Southwest Florida as indicators of environmental change, monitoring interactions of the invasive Burmese python with the native eastern indigo snake, tracking the vectors of change in Lake Trafford following restoration dredging, analyzing the impact of mosquito control on non-target organisms, continuing work on the restoration of submerged aquatic vegetation in the Caloosahatchee River, and tracking long-term growth in multiple forest plots including mangroves in the region toward quantifying carbon dynamics.

Areas of Expertise (11)

Restoration Ecology

Hurricane Impacts on Ecosystems

Disturbance Ecology

Ecological Modeling

Ecological Monitoring

Impacts of Climate Change

Forest Fires

Sustainability Education

Urban Ecology

Wetland Ecosystems

Water Resources

Education (2)

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry: Ph.D., Environmental and Forest Biology 1996

Michigan Technological University: B.S., Community Ecology

Affiliations (10)

  • Association for Tropical Biology
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Exotic Plant Pest Control Council
  • Florida Academy of Sciences
  • Florida Association of Environmental Professionals
  • International Association for Landscape Ecology
  • International Society for Ecological Modeling
  • International Society of Tropical Ecology
  • Society for Ecological Restoration
  • Society for Conservation Biology

Selected Media Appearances (22)

Fort Myers aims to be a 15-Minute city as population increases

NBC2  tv


Win Everham talks about the environmental impacts if Fort Myers were to become a 15-Minute city.

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Alligator caught knocking on front door of Bonita Springs home

NBC2  tv


Win Everham explains why alligators search for deeper water in the winter.

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Where do alligators go when there's a hurricane?

Newsweek  online


Win Everham explains where alligators took cover from Hurricane Ian.

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Where do alligators go during a hurricane?

NBC2  tv


Win Everham and his team explains where alligators on campus went during Hurricane Ian.

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SWFL professors investigative connection between nature and hurricane protection

ABC Action News  tv


Win Everham explains how mangroves protected the landscape during Hurricane Ian.

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Hurricane Ian's ecological implications and United Way update

WGCU  radio


Win Everham discusses Hurricane Ian's ecological impact.

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FGCU students track gators living on school’s campus

NBC2  tv


Win Everham and his team tracks alligators on campus to learn how to better coexist with the reptiles.

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Climate change could impact mangroves ability to recover

NBC2  tv


Win Everham explains how climate change is impacting mangroves.

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Local teachers participate in FGCU "Wet Walk"

Fox 4  tv


Win Everham lead Lee County teachers on a "Wet Walk" and inspire new lessons in the classroom.

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FGCU clears 12 acres without proper Army Corps paperwork

Gulfshore Business  print


Win Everham explains environmental repercussions of clearing land.

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Toxic Bufo toads are back in SWFL

Fox 4  tv


Win Everham explains why bufo toads are harmful and invasive.

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More people opting for sustainable burials

NBC2  tv


Win Everham explains why people might be opting for sustainable burials.

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Fort Myers Yacht Basin residents worried about environmental impact

Fox 4  tv


Win Everham explains how development in the Fort Myers Yacht Basin could negatively impact the environment.

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FGCU celebrates its 25th year of education in Southwest Florida

Fox 4  tv


Founding faculty member, Win Everham, reminisces on his start at FGCU during the 25th anniversary celebration.

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FGCU students listen to frogs to monitor our water quality

Fox 4  tv


Win Everham talks about why frogs are a good indicator of the health of the environment.

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Study says Florida could need $75 billion in seawalls by 2040 because of climate change

NBC2  tv


Win Everham discusses the economic impact of climate change on cities in Southwest Florida.

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Frog calls tell researchers about the health of wetlands

NBC2  tv


Win Everham discusses the frog-related research (to monitor wetland health) he's been leading for more than 15 years.

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FGCU student is studying mangrove forests, our first line of defense against storm surge

NBC2  tv


Win Everham discusses the mangrove research underway by his graduate student.

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Can an entire town run on solar?

PBS News Hour  


Win Everham discusses the sustainability issues surrounding the town of Babcock Ranch, Florida.

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These trees are being removed for new homes - and it's a good thing



Win Everham shows NBC2 through a melaleuca forest on the university campus.

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Our mighty palm trees

Fort Myers Florida Weekly  


Win Everham describes his study of sabal palms during Hurricane Charley in 2004.

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Preserving our waters



Win Everham appears in a documentary about the history of the Estero Bay Aquatic Reserve.

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Selected Event Appearances (6)

Factors affecting the restoration of (Vallisneria americana) in the Caloosahatchee River

Charlotte Harbor Watershed Summit: Showcasing Our Accomplishments. March 28-30, 2017  Punta Gorda, Florida

Content analysis of newspaper coverage of the Florida Panther (Puma concolor coryi) through time

Third Annual Corkscrew Watershed Science Forum. January 27, 2017  

Home range size and habitat use by the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) in South Florida: C- 44 Reservoir Site, Allapattah Flats, and Babcock Ranch

Third Annual Corkscrew Watershed Science Forum. January 27, 2017  Coral Springs, Florida

Impacts of aeration on deep and shallow wet detention ponds southwest Florida

StormCon: North American Surface Water Quality Conference. August 5, 2008  Orlando, Florida

Impact of wildfire on wetland and upland habitats restored from invasion of Melaleuca quinquenervia

The Annual Conference on Ecosystems Restoration and Creation. Hillsborough Community College. October, 2004  Tampa, Florida

The impact of Hurricane Hugo on the Luquillo Experimental Forest

Association for Tropical Biology Annual Meeting. August, 1992  Honolulu, Hawaii

Research Focus (1)

Disturbance Ecology

Everham's research focuses on examining the impacts of disturbance, including exotic invasions and anthropogenic activities, on the structure of ecosystems, measuring and monitoring change in and restoration of these ecosystems. He is interested in the technological interface between simulation modeling and geographical information systems and their applications toward understanding the impact of and recovery from disturbance and land use changes. Most recently his research includes exploring effective communication of environmental issues and solutions to a larger audience.

Selected Research Grants (5)

Picayune Strand Restoration Project (PSRP)

Area Aquatic Fauna Monitoring Services $70,200

2018 Co-PIs: David W. Ceilley and Shawn Clem, in collaboration with Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Johnson Engineering, Inc.

Measuring the fate and non-target impacts of Dibrom using aerial ultra low volume (ULV) spray technology in mangrove wetlands

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) $201,070

2013 Co PIs: D.W. Ceilley, T. El-Hefnawy, and Jonathan Hornby.

Lake Trafford: Monitoring and Management Plan

South Florida Water Management District $50,000

2011 Co-PIs Dave Ceilley and Serge Thomas.

Babcock Ranch Community baseline biological assessment: fish, herps, mammals

Kitson and Partners, Inc. $85,625

2008 Co-PI: D.W. Ceilley, P. Allman, B. Jackson, J. Jackson.

Bioavailability and sources of nutrients

City of Sanibel and Lee County Florida $769,083

2008 PI: A.N. Loh, co-PIs: D. Fugate, M. Parsons, D. Ceilley, and E. Milbrandt.

Selected Articles (5)

Terrestrial snake environmental DNA accumulation and degradation dynamics and its environmental application


Kucherenko, A., J. Herman, E. M. Everham III, and H. Urakawa

2018 There is an increasing need for effective biomonitoring tools that quantify patterns of habitat occupancy by reptile species. Environmental DNA (eDNA) has been regarded as an emerging tool to detect specific target species; however, the dynamics of accumulation and degradation of eDNA in terrestrial environments are poorly understood. This study determines the time required for terrestrial snakes to leave enough eDNA behind to become detectable (accumulation time) as well as its persistence (degradation time). By targeting mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I and 12S rRNA genes of Red Cornsnakes (Pantherophis guttatus) in a controlled laboratory setting, we found that eDNA can be detected 3.5 h after the snakes had contact with soil and for up to 6 d after their removal. Estimated accumulation rate of Pantherophis guttatus eDNA per gram of snake biomass per hour was 12.6 μg. We also evaluated the applicability of eDNA detection under field conditions by targeting the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene of a cryptic invasive species in South Florida, Burmese Pythons (Python bivittatus). Soil samples were derived from two groups of field sites: telemetry-monitored refugia (i.e., radiotelemetry evidence of python presence) and telemetry-absent refugia (i.e., no telemetry evidence, but monitored with a burrow camera at time of sample collection). We were able to detect the presence of python eDNA in 66.7% of the telemetry-monitored sites that fit within our laboratory-defined residence and degradation time window. Additionally, at the telemetry-absent sites, no eDNA from Burmese Pythons was detected and burrow cameras did not detect their presence. We concluded that eDNA technology using soil can be an effective detection tool for terrestrial snakes, particularly when used with other traditional tracking and sampling methods.

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Ten Years of the Southwest Florida Frog Monitoring Network: Natural Variation and Human-driven Changes

Florida Scientist

Everham III, E.M., D.W. Ceilley, D.A. Croshaw, J. Firth, C.W. Gunnels IV, D.D. Hanson, S. Mariolan, R.J. Spear, B. Thomas, D.E. Van Norman, B.M. Whitmore, and J.R. Cassani

2013 The Southwest Florida Frog Monitoring Network was established in 2000 to collect long-term data on frog communities of the region. Routes of 10-12 stops were monitored monthly during the rainy season (June–September). Data on all frog calls during a three minute period were recorded using a three-level intensity code. We report results from the first ten years of monitoring to examine broad trends in the frog populations of southwest Florida. We explored the abundance of all frog species, as reflected by calling intensity, to elucidate potential factors that may influence long-term changes in frog populations and communities. These factors may include: natural variations of frog populations, disappearing and altered habitats through local and global human actions, landscape context, and the impacts of invasive species. At a regional scale, it appears that most frog species are maintaining natural variations in calling levels among years, suggesting that frogs are responding to annual variation and not regional or global changes. Use of behavioral indicators, such as calling intensity of frogs, may provide understanding of the environmental implications of altered hydroperiods and other landscape perturbations in our watershed and possibly some positive responses to restoration efforts.

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The Campus Ecosystem Model: Teaching Students Environmental Stewardship

Journal of College Science Teaching

Tolley, S.G., M.R. McDonald, E.M. Everham III, and M. Savarese

2002 Interdisciplinary teaching, research experience, and active, collaborative strategies have all been identified as practices highly favorable to the learning process. By using the university campus as the focus for the study of the entire watershed within which it is situated, the Campus Ecosystem Model presents a context for incorporating these pedagogical elements into a useful framework for undergraduate science education.

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Hurricanes, crown fires, and volcanoes: a comparison among large-scale disturbances


Turner, M.G., V.H. Dale, and E.M. Everham III

1997 T he importance of natural disturbances in shaping landscapes and influencing ecosystems is now well recognized in ecology (e.g., Pickett and White 1985, Turner 1987, White 1979). Disturbance can be defined generally as any relatively discrete event in time that disrupts ecosystem, community, or population structure and changes resource or substrate availability or the physical environment (White and Pickett 1985). In recent years, ecologists have learned a great deal about the dynamics and effects of relatively small, frequent disturbances.

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Forest damage and recovery from catastrophic wind

Botanical Review

Everham, E.M., III, and N.V.L. Brokaw

1996 The literature on the effects of catastrophic wind disturbance (windstorms, gales, cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes) on forest vegetation is reviewed to examine factors controlling the severity of damage and the dynamics of recovery. Wind damage has been quantified in a variety of ways that lead to differing conclusions regarding severity of disturbance. Measuring damage as structural loss (percent stems damaged) and as compositional loss (percent stems dead) is suggested as a standard for quantifying severity. Catastrophic wind produces a range of gaps from the size caused by individual treefalls to much larger areas. The spatial pattern of damage is influenced by both biotic and abiotic factors. Biotic factors that influence severity of damage include stem size, species, stand conditions (canopy structure, density), and the presence of pathogens. Abiotic factors that influence severity of damage include the intensity of the wind, previous disturbance, topography, and soil characteristics. Recovery from catastrophic wind disturbance follows one of four paths: regrowth, recruitment, release, or repression. The path of recovery for a given site is controlled both by the severity of disturbance and by environmental gradients of resources. Recovery is influenced also by frequency of wind disturbance, which varies across geographical regions. To develop robust theories regarding catastrophic wind disturbance, the relative roles of different abiotic and biotic factors in controlling the patterns of severity of damage must be determined. These patterns of severity and environmental gradients must then be tied to long-term dynamics of recovery.

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