Examining Movement and Habitat Selection of Everglades Fishes in Response to Seasonal Water levels Thesis

thesis or dissertation chair

fiu authors

  • Hill, Gregory J

abstract

  • 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.

publication date

  • March 10, 2017

keywords

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

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)