Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Jennifer S. Rehage

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Philip Stoddard

Third Advisor's Name

Joel Heinen

Keywords

Everglades, invasive species, range expansion, behavioral traits, fitness

Date of Defense

2011

Abstract

Invasive range expansion is correlated to life- history variation, boldness and dispersal behavior. The invasion of the African Jewelfish in Everglades National Park provides an opportunity to test life-history trait variation, boldness and dispersal behavior in the invasion success of this species.

My study examined variation in somatic traits, boldness, and dispersal of jewelfish across their invaded range. Life histories were examined on wild individuals. Boldness and dispersal were tested in outdoor experimental tanks. Tested populations from the invasion front have higher somatic traits, but they were not bolder than longer established populations.

Understanding the underlying mechanisms of invasions are key for the development of strategies looking to contain invaders and prevent their spread.

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