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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: Computer Simulation Modeling of Intermediate Trophic Levels for Across Trophic Level Systems Simulation of the Everglades/Big Cypress Region

Starting Date: 1997 Ending Date: 01/01/2004

Web Sites: ATLSS.ORG

Location: The Greater Everglades ecosystem

Funding Source: Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative

Principal Investigator: Michael S. Gaines, Department of Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124 Phone: 305-284-3974 e-mail:

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

Other Supporting Organizations: USGS/BRD, NPS, ACE, EPA

Associated Projects: Component of ATLSS Program

Overview & Status: This project has had the goal of developing models for key components of the Everglades landscape as part of the overall Across Trophic Level System Simulation. There are four principal products within 2003 tasks within this project:

Snail kite modeling: Version 1 of the snail kite model has been completed. It has been used to evaluate the effects of the different Restudy and ModWater scenarios on the snail kite. The model has been used to demonstrate that decreases in area available for foraging can have a major impact on nesting success.

Crocodile modeling and empirical work: A preliminary model of the crocodile population in part of their habitat has been developed. The empirical results to date are that hatchling crocodiles appear to increase in mass and behave normally both within the cooling canal system and in the surrounding freshwater habitats. We intend to repeat the radio-tracking work during the summer 2000 season to gain the needed replication to complete the proposed project.

Needs & Products: Three primary directions will be taken in 2003.

  • The snail kite model, EVERKITE (Version 2.0), has been developed and delivered to agency users. This model will be further tested against snail kite nesting data. The testing is leading to development of a new version, Version 3.0, is now being developed, which contains preference factors for particular Greater Everglades subregions. Data are also available now to validate the spatially explicit species index (SESI) model of the Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Version 1.0). This will be performed during the next year.
  • The American crocodile spatially explicit simulation model has been completed and is being used for research purposes. It will be reviewed and validated as far as possible for use as a Florida Bay performance measure.
  • A number of performance measures involving particular species have been adopted for evaluating the CERP implementation. To use these measures, habitat suitability models must be developed and validated. We are proposing further development of a model already initiated for the oak toad (Bufo quercicus) and testing in the marl prairies and pinelands of Everglades National Park (ENP). We are also proposing to develop and test habitat suitability indices for one or more small mammals that are native to ENP.

Application to Everglades Restoration: (1) Snail kite and fish landscape models used in C&SF Restudy assessments, (2) Snail kite and fish landscape models used in ModWaters Project design, (3) Wading bird, snail kite, and American crocodile models critical for implementing the Multi-Species Recovery Plan Wading bird, snail kite, American alligator, and American crocodile are all Specific Performance Measures.

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