, Volume 34, Supplement 1, pp 135–146 | Cite as

Metacommunity Structure Along Resource and Disturbance Gradients in Everglades Wetlands

  • Eric R. Sokol
  • J. Matthew Hoch
  • Evelyn Gaiser
  • Joel C. Trexler
Hydrologic Restoration


We evaluated metacommunity hypotheses of landscape arrangement (indicative of dispersal limitation) and environmental gradients (hydroperiod and nutrients) in structuring macroinvertebrate and fish communities in the southern Everglades. We used samples collected at sites from the eastern boundary of the southern Everglades and from Shark River Slough, to evaluate the role of these factors in metacommunity structure. We used eigenfunction spatial analysis to model community structure among sites and distance-based redundancy analysis to partition the variability in communities between spatial and environmental filters. For most animal communities, hydrological parameters had a greater influence on structure than nutrient enrichment, however both had large effects. The influence of spatial effects indicative of dispersal limitation was weak and only periphyton infauna appeared to be limited by regional dispersal. At the landscape scale, communities were well-mixed, but strongly influenced by hydrology. Local-scale species dominance was influenced by water-permanence and nutrient enrichment. Nutrient enrichment is limited to water inflow points associated with canals, which may explain its impact in this data set. Hydroperiod and nutrient enrichment are controlled by water managers; our analysis indicates that the decisions they make have strong effects on the communities at the base of the Everglades food web.


Niche-based models Dispersal Metacommunity Community structure Community assembly Variation partitioning 



We thank Jeff Kline for his support of and assistance with this research, and Chris Cattano for assistance with graphics. The work was funded by Cooperative Agreement H5000060104, Task No. J5284060023, between FIU and the National Park Service. This material was developed in collaboration with the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under National Science Foundation Grant No. DBI-0620409. This research was conducted in accordance with FIU institutional animal care and use procedures and is contribution number 610 of the Southeast Environmental Research.

Supplementary material

13157_2013_413_MOESM1_ESM.doc (410 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 410 kb)
13157_2013_413_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (176 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 175 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric R. Sokol
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Matthew Hoch
    • 1
    • 3
  • Evelyn Gaiser
    • 1
  • Joel C. Trexler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological Science and Southeast Environmental Research CenterFlorida International UniversityNorth MiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  3. 3.Division of Math, Science, and TechnologyNova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA

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