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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Program: Place-Based Studies

Fiscal Year 2002 Project Summary Sheet


Project: American Alligator Distribution, Thermoregulation, and Biotic Potential Relative to Hydroperiod in the Everglades

Web Sites: www.fcsc.usgs.gov (see http://cars.er.usgs.gov/), sofia.usgs.gov

Location (Subregions & Counties): ARM Loxahatchee NWR (Palm Beach), WCA 3A (Broward), ENP (Dade).

Funding (Source): Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative (CESI), USGS Place-Based Studies

Principal Investigator(s): Kenneth G. Rice, USGS - Biological Resources Division: ken_g_rice@usgs.gov; H. Franklin Percival, USGS - Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Project Personnel: Matthew Chopp (MS student, UF), Brian Jeffrey (wildlife technician)

Supporting Organizations: University of Florida, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service

Associated / Linked Projects: Parameter Estimation and Population-based Simulation Modeling of American Alligator Populations in Support of ATLSS

Overview & Status: This study was designed to provide information on the natural history and population functioning of the American alligator in the Everglades for construction of an ATLSS American alligator population model and to investigate restoration needs and status of the alligator in the Everglades ecosystem. In Phase 1, we have completed a five year study on the home range, daily movement, habitat use, thermoregulation, and body temperature patterns of alligators in both Shark Slough, Everglades National Park, and in Water Conservation area 3A North. In Phase 2 of the project, we examined the community ecology of alligator holes associated with the telemetered animals. In Phase 3, we have further investigated the impacts of canals and decompartmentalization on alligator populations.

Needs & Products: In this final phase, we are continuing to provide parameter information to the ATLSS alligator population model. We are adding to our information concerning the impacts of canals on alligator populations with investigations into alligator production. Our final tasks are to synthesize the data from all Phases of the project into parameter estimates needed for ecological modeling and performance measure development.

Application to Everglades Restoration: (1) This study encompasses three of the critical projects for restoration of crocodilian populations determined by a meeting of over 40 biologists, managers, and administrators held in Homestead in December, 1998. (2) This study directly addresses the critical ecological pathways outlined in the Everglades Ridge & Slough Conceptual Ecosystem Model. (3) This study examines the effects of compartmentalization on wildlife populations discussed in several of the Conceptual Ecosystem Models. (4) In the Everglades Ridge & Slough Conceptual Ecosystem Model, a link between water management practices and reduced production and survival of alligators is proposed. This study addresses hypotheses concerning this proposed linkage. (5) This study addresses critical information needs such as restore ecosystem structure and function, recover populations of selected indicator species, and identification of ecological assessment indicators identified in South Florida Ecosystem Restoration: Scientific Information Needs. (6) We investigate the decline in numbers and shift in distribution of the American alligator identified as an Everglades National Park Major Issue. (7) Data from this study is being used to develop an ATLSS alligator population model for comparison of restoration alternatives during implementation.

Study Milestones

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Familiarity

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field Work

 

 

 

o

o

o

x

 

 

 

 

Data Analysis

 

 

 

 

o

o

o

o

o

 

 

Initial Reporting

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quality Assurance

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

Results Published

 

 

 

 

o

o

o

o

o

 

 

Synthesis

 

 

 

 

 

 

o

o

o

 

 

Note: "x" indicates task completed during quarter, and "o" indicates task planned, but not completed


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Last updated: 24 April, 2014 @ 12:45 PM (KP)