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Small mammal responses to wetland restoration in the Greater Everglades ecosystem

November 22, 2020

Wetlands have experienced dramatic losses in extent around the world, disrupting ecosystem function, habitat, and biodiversity. In Florida’s Greater Everglades, a massive restoration effort costing billions of dollars and spanning multiple decades is underway. As Everglades restoration is implemented in incremental projects, scientists and planners monitor the outcomes of projects. In this study, we evaluated the progress of a restoration project in the southwestern Everglades. We aimed to determine whether the presence and density of small mammals differed between areas with hydrologic restoration of the ecosystem and areas without restoration. Our three focal species were: marsh rice rat (Oryzomys palustris), hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus), and cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus). Using spatially explicit capture‐recapture models, we found greater densities of cotton mouse in restored habitat and lower densities of hispid cotton rat in sites with higher water levels. Additionally, we found an increase in the presence of the marsh rice rat in restored areas compared to unrestored, but captures were too low to reliably assess significance. Our study provides evidence that ongoing restoration in the southwestern Everglades is already impacting the small mammal community.

Publication Year 2021
Title Small mammal responses to wetland restoration in the Greater Everglades ecosystem
DOI 10.1111/rec.13332
Authors Stephanie Romanach, Laura D'Acunto, Julia Chapman, Matthew R Hanson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Restoration Ecology
Index ID 70216733
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center