Predicting Fish Responses to Future Hydrology: Integrating Behavioral and Population-Scale Processes Within a Landscape Context

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 9:00 AM
Marriott Ballroom C (The Marriott Little Rock)
Joseph J. Parkos III , Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Christopher Catano , Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International University, North Miami, FL
Joel C. Trexler , Department of Biology, Florida International University, North Miami, FL
Reliably predicting fish response to environmental change requires integrating processes operating at different scales of space and time.  We used monitoring data to build a model linking largemouth bass abundance to hydrology and then evaluated the implications of several scenarios of water management in the Florida Everglades for largemouth bass abundance.  Relative effect of different hydrology scenarios was influenced by landscape position.  Our field research on spatial ecology of fishes in the Florida Everglades provided further insight into the biology underlying the response to hydrology that we are attempting to capture in our model.  We found that spatial position within the landscape influenced patterns of drought disturbance and use of natural refuge habitats during periods of low water.  We also measured limits to population resilience as disturbance frequency increased.  Influence of canals on abundance was not addressed in our evaluation scenarios because function of canals in ecology of Everglades fishes is not well known.  Using radio telemetry, we found that spatial scale of connectivity between canals and marshes resulted from an interaction between fish movement and landscape structure.  We seek to improve our predictions by integrating mechanistic effects of behavior and landscape on population and community responses to environmental change.