FCE LTER Journal Articles


Segregation of Palaemonid Shrimp Along an Everglades Estuarine Gradient: Do Multiple Species Have Similar Trophic Function?


Variation in physical gradients and production along estuaries can alter species compositions. Spatiotemporal variation in abundance and distribution of palaemonid shrimp species was investigated in relation to seasonal freshwater inputs and salinity in the Shark River Estuary, Everglades National Park, Florida, USA. Using trapping techniques, multiple sites were sampled repeatedly extending from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico. Stable isotope analyses were also performed on a subset of samples. Five palaemonid species occurred in the samples: Palaemonetes paludosus (Gibbes, 1850), Palaemonetes pugio (Holthuis, 1949), Palaemonetes intermedius (Holthuis, 1949), Palaemon floridanus (Chace, 1942), and Leander paulensis(Ortmann, 1897). Overall, shrimp catches in traps doubled in the dry season. Catches in the upper estuary were dominated by P.paludosus, particularly in the wet season, while catch per unit effort at the most downstream and highest salinity sites were dominated by P. floridanus. At mid-estuary, several species co-occurred. δ15n analyses revealed that most species filled similar roles in the community, with the exception of P. paludosus, which shifted from enrichment in the dry season to depletion in the wet season as it expanded downstream in the estuary. Palaemonid δ13C values varied between sites and seasons, with shrimp in upstream sites being more depleted. These data suggest that changes in salinity regimes resulting from Everglades restoration efforts may result in species replacement, with potential implications for trophic dynamics.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DBI-0620409 and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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