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Project Summary Sheet

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

Fiscal Year 2003 Project Summary Report

Project: Development of Selected Model Components of an Across-Trophic-Level System Simulation (ATLSS) for the Wetland Systems of South Florida

Project Start Date: 1997 Project End Date: 04/30/2006

Web Sites: ATLSS.ORG

Location: The Greater Everglades ecosystem

Funding Source: Critical Ecosystems Studies Initiative

Principal Investigators: Louis J. Gross, The Institute for Environmental Modeling (TIEM), University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1610 Phone: 865-974-4295 e-mail:

Project Personnel: Donald L. DeAngelis, Phone: 305-284-1690 e-mail:

Other Supporting Organizations: USGS Place-Based Funding, NPS, ACE, EPA

Associated Projects: Component of ATLSS Program, SFWMD Hydrology and Environmental Modeling; USGS National Wetlands Research Center

Overview & Status: The ongoing goals in this project have been the following. 1) As part of the ATLSS Program combine biological and physical models using multiple approaches, including trophic system components at differing spatial and temporal scales, to estimate landscape-level responses of biotic systems to environmental changes. 2) Produce models capable of using detailed behavioral and physiological data and dynamically linking these with spatially-explicit abiotic information. 3) Produce models capable of generating testable hypotheses about trophic component responses to alternative possible anthropogenic influences. ATLSS provides a mechanism to evaluate the relative impacts of alternative hydrologic scenarios on various trophic components. The methodology to integrate components involves: 1) a landscape structure for dynamic communication between models; 2) a high resolution topography to estimate high resolution water depth across the landscape; and, 3) a variety of visualization tools to aid model development, validation, and comparison to field data.

Needs & Products: This project has demonstrated the capacity to carry out rapid forward-looking ecological assessments of alternative management plans by providing numerous linked models which project the impacts of hydrologic plans. Major needs are: The first task is to integrate vegetative succession models, started under earlier funding into the ATLSS SESI and SEIB models. The second is to provide up-to-date calibration and validations of the models, using the new South Florida Water Management Model (SFWMM) 2000 calibration runs. The third task is to complete the delivery of these models to agencies to allow model simulations to be performed independently by these agencies. In particular the estuarine fish model and crayfish SESI model, which are completed, will be tested and delivered to agencies. A fourth task is to use new information to improve the Florida panther model, PanTrack, and to apply this to questions concerning panther conservation (Science Objective 3004-4) The fifth task is to continue improvement of the estuarine fish model, in collaboration with Jerry Lorenz (Science Objective 3004-12). The sixth task is to complete new SESI models; roseate spoonbill and crocodile models, in collaboration with Jerry Lorenz and Frank Mazzotti, will be completed. The crayfish model (Science Objective 3004-5) will be expanded and improved. To make the use of ATLSS models easier by agencies, web-based user capability will be developed Science Objective 3004-6).

Application to Everglades Restoration: The ATLSS project links detailed biotic models with spatially-explicit abiotic data at regional extents, in order to provide a scientifically-defensible basis for regional planning that accounts for the complexity of biotic responses from individual-organism levels to that of communities. ATLSS models were applied extensively in analyzing Restudy and Mod Water plans. ATLSS results make up the majority of one of the two CDROMs which comprise the Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement of the Restudy. Publications about the ATLSS project appear in major refereed scientific journals, and ATLSS products are requested regularly by various agencies in South Florida including The South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Everglades National Park. The modeling protocols developed at the University of Tennessee are also being utilized by a variety of collaborators to develop other ATLSS models.

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