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A biological mechanism for enhanced wading bird foraging patches in seasonally-pulsed wetlands

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Date Issued:
2018
Abstract/Description:
In tropical wetlands, breeding wading birds rely on concentrations of aquatic fauna during the dry season to meet increased energetic demands. Wetland microtopography increases aquatic fauna concentration levels. Crocodilians modify the landscape creating deep-water refugia but their role as a mechanism for aquatic fauna concentration is unknown. I sampled alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) abundance and slough microtopography to examine correlation between the two measures. Despite increased microtopography in high alligator use sloughs, the differences were not significant. Using an in situ experimental approach, I quantified the magnitude, timing, and spatial extent of aquatic fauna concentrations within simulated alligator depressions and the surrounding marsh. Aquatic fauna density and biomass were greater within simulated depressions, thus enhancing wading bird foraging habitat. Further understanding the mechanisms creating microtopography, thus enhancing wading bird habitat, is critical to facilitate restoration and prevent declines of wading bird populations in seasonally pulsed wetlands worldwide.
Title: A biological mechanism for enhanced wading bird foraging patches in seasonally-pulsed wetlands.
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Name(s): Faughnan, Thomas J., author
Gawlik, Dale E., Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Center for Environmental Studies
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2018
Date Issued: 2018
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 104 p.
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In tropical wetlands, breeding wading birds rely on concentrations of aquatic fauna during the dry season to meet increased energetic demands. Wetland microtopography increases aquatic fauna concentration levels. Crocodilians modify the landscape creating deep-water refugia but their role as a mechanism for aquatic fauna concentration is unknown. I sampled alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) abundance and slough microtopography to examine correlation between the two measures. Despite increased microtopography in high alligator use sloughs, the differences were not significant. Using an in situ experimental approach, I quantified the magnitude, timing, and spatial extent of aquatic fauna concentrations within simulated alligator depressions and the surrounding marsh. Aquatic fauna density and biomass were greater within simulated depressions, thus enhancing wading bird foraging habitat. Further understanding the mechanisms creating microtopography, thus enhancing wading bird habitat, is critical to facilitate restoration and prevent declines of wading bird populations in seasonally pulsed wetlands worldwide.
Identifier: FA00013060 (IID)
Degree granted: Thesis (M.S.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2018.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Wading birds.
Wetland ecology.
American alligator.
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00013060
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Owner Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.