Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Jennifer S. Rehage

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Joseph J. Parkos III

Third Advisor's Name

Hong Liu

Fourth Advisor's Name

Joel T. Heinen


fish community structure, Everglades, canals, connectivity, non-native species, novel environmental gradients

Date of Defense



Novel ecosystems emerge from alterations to historic abiotic regimes and contain new species combinations. Everglades canals offer an opportunity to understand the function of novel habitat for native and non-native fishes and how novel conditions in turn influence distribution, abundance and assembly patterns. I examined native and non-native fish assemblages collected across a gradient in novelty, defined by the loss of wetland connectivity and habitat complexity. As novelty increased, native species richness and abundance strongly declined, and the contribution of non-natives increased. Community structure vastly differed among canals and was strongly influenced by spatial factors and secondarily by hydrological factors. Natives and non-natives had opposing responses to key hydrologic and habitat parameters. This study represents the first comprehensive assessment of Everglades canal fishes, providing insight into the factors influencing native and non-native abundance and assembly patterns and contributing to our understanding of this novel but permanent habitat.





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