The Periphyton Group is a research team at the Southeast Environmental Research Center at Florida International University. Periphyton is a community of algae, fungi, microbes and associated plants and animals that grow in shallow water habitats. Much of our work focuses on calcareous periphyton communities of the Everglades and other shallow carbonate wetlands of the Caribbean. In these habitats, periphyton forms prolific mats that cover most surfaces, including the limestone substrate and submersed plants. By investigating the taxonomic composition and ecology of the organisms inhabiting periphyton communities, we are learning how they influence water chemistry and nutrient cycling, soil accretion and plant and consumer community structure. The tight links between algal assemblages and their surrounding environment allow us to infer long and short-term alterations in environmental conditions resulting from climatic and anthropogenic changes.