Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Jennifer Rehage

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Rene Price

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committe member

Third Advisor's Name

Kevin Boswell

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committe member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Mark Cook

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


fish, ecology, movement, habitat, Everglades, water, birds, LILA, Telemetry

Date of Defense



Fish distribution patterns and seasonal habitat use play a key role in the food web dynamics of aquatic ecosystems, including the Florida Everglades. In this study I examined the fine scale habitat shifts and movements of spotted sunfish, Lepomis punctatus across varying seasons and hydrologic conditions using in-situ field enclosures and Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) systems. Data on fish use of three dominant Everglades marsh habitats and activity level were recorded continuously from January to August, 2015. Fish were more active and had the highest use of higher elevation habitats when water levels rose during an experimental reversal in mid-April. Fish activity was higher at increasing water levels relative to decreasing. Fish activity also varied with the rate of change, with the highest activity occurring during rapid increases in depth. Findings from this study provide insight on how fish response to changing water levels may affect foraging for wading birds, a key performance measure for Everglades restoration.





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