projects > spatial and age-structured population model of the american crocodile for comparisons of cerp restoration alternatives
Spatial and Age-Structured Population Model of the American Crocodile for Comparisons of CERP Restoration Alternatives
Restoration efforts in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) will likely cause changes to salinity levels throughout the habitat of the American crocodile. Changes in salinity were seen after previous hydrologic changes in the area, when reduced freshwater flow was associated with increased salinity levels in Florida Bay estuaries, including one of the core nesting areas of the American crocodile. Large crocodiles are not significantly affected by high salinity, but previous work has shown that high salinity levels may reduce survival of hatchlings and juveniles. The detrimental effects of high salinity on hatchling and juvenile crocodiles has led to the hypothesis that increased freshwater flow to the estuaries will increase the animals' distribution, abundance, and growth.
To adequately understand crocodile populations and model population growth, existing data must be assembled and model parameters estimated. A simulation model can then be constructed and validated both with existing data and through expert opinion. A crocodile population model to simulate the south Florida ecosystem under varying management strategies is vital to evaluating and assessing restoration success under CERP.
The objectives of this project are to: