FCE LTER Journal Articles


Controls on fish distribution and abundance in temporary wetlands


Our main goal was to determine if fish distribution and adundance in temporary wetlands were shaped primarily by large-scale (landscape) or small-scale (local) characteristics and to investigate the influence of cattle ranching on fish assemblages. A total of 24 temporary ponds were selected at the Kissimmee Prairie Sanctuary and the Mac- Arthur Agro-Ecology Research Center. Each wetland was sampled for fish using throw traps and dip nets during 1999. Landscape processes (connectivity to permanent water bodies) predominately influenced fish assemblages, although local processes (depth–hydroperiod) were also important. Furthermore, no colonizing species went locally extinct before wetlands began to dry. Our findings suggest that large-scale processes that influence colonization dynamics are of more importance than small-scale processes that influence extinction dynamics. Finally, hydrological changes (ditching) associated with agriculture (cattle ranching) have adversely affected temporary wetland fish assemblages by reducing wetland hydroperiods and connectivity.


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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