Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor's Name

Evelyn Gaiser

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

James Heffernan

Third Advisor's Name

Kenneth Feeley

Fourth Advisor's Name

Jennifer Richards

Keywords

Everglades, ridge, slough, vegetation communities, species composition, ordination, hydrologic regimes, topography, lags, alternative stable states

Date of Defense

10-18-2013

Abstract

The historic Everglades Ridge and Slough landscape maintained regularly spaced and elevated sawgrass ridges interspersed among exposed deeper-water sloughs; however, widespread but irregular hydrologic modification has degraded much of this landscape patterning. My study assessed the effects of hydrologic modification on vegetation community distinctness within the Ridge and Slough landscape through sampling species composition at fine-scales along a hydrologic gradient to measure the magnitude of segregation of species among patch types. The results show that vegetation community and topographic variation degradation is widespread, with distinctness differences proceeding and possibly being driven by topographic variation loss. Vegetation responses to past hydrologic regime modifications are likely affected by temporal lags; however, vegetation distinctness regeneration may also be hindered by a vegetatively homogeneous alternative stable state. Hydrologic regime restoration is critical for Ridge and Slough patterned landscape reestablishment, but management targets are complicated by vegetation response lags and possibly alternative stable states.

Identifier

FI13120912

Share

COinS