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Modeling fish dynamics and effects of stress in a hydrologically pulsed ecosystem

January 1, 1997

Many wetlands undergo seasonal cycles in precipitation and water depth.This environmental seasonality is echoed in patterns of production of fishbiomass, which, in turn, influence the phenology of other components of thefood web, including wading birds. Human activities, such as drainage orother alterations of the hydrology, can exacerbate these natural cycles andresult in detrimental stresses on fish production and the higher trophic levels dependent on this production. In this paper we model theseasonal pattern of fish production in a freshwater marsh, with specialreference to the Everglades/Big Cypress region of southern Florida.The model illustrates the temporal pattern of production through theyear, which can result in very high densities of fish at the end of ahydroperiod (period of flooding), aswell as the importance of ponds and other deep depressions, both as refugia and sinks during dry periods. The model predicts that: (1) there is an effective threshold in the length of the hydroperiod that must beexceeded for high fish-population densities to be produced, (2) large,piscivorous fishes do not appear tohave a major impact on smaller fishes in the marsh habitat, and (3) therecovery of small-fish populations in the marsh following a major droughtmay require up to a year. The last of these results is relevant toassessing anthropogenic impacts on marsh production, as these effectsmay increase the severity and frequency of droughts.

Publication Year 1997
Title Modeling fish dynamics and effects of stress in a hydrologically pulsed ecosystem
DOI 10.1023/A:1008228706210
Authors Donald L. DeAngelis, William F. Loftus, Joel C. Trexler, Robert E. Ulanowicz
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery
Index ID 70162656
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southeast Ecological Science Center