FCE LTER Journal Articles


Estuarine productivity is highly dependent on the freshwater sources of the estuary. In Florida Bay, Taylor Slough was historically the main source of fresh water. Beginning in about 1960, and culminating with the completion of the South Dade Conveyance System in 1984, water management practice began to change the quantity and distribution of flow from Taylor Slough into Northeastern Florida Bay. These practices altered salinity and hydrologic parameters that had measurable negative impacts on vertebrate fauna and their habitats. Here, I review those impacts from published and unpublished literature and anecdotal observations. Almost all vertebrates covered in this review have shown some form of population decline since 1984; most of the studies implicate declines in food resources as the main stressor on their populations. My conclusion is that the diversion of fresh water resulted in an ecological cascade starting with hydrologic stresses on primary then secondary producers culminating in population declines at the top of the food web.


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Copyright © 2013 Springer.

The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13157-013-0377-1

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.