Environmental Management

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 743–757 | Cite as

Importance of landscape heterogeneity to wood storks in Florida Everglades

  • D. Martin Fleming
  • Wilfried F. Wolff
  • Donald L. DeAngelis
Research

Abstract

Declines in populations of and reproductive success of wood storks and other wading birds have occurred in the Florida Everglades over the past several decades. These declines have been concurrent with major changes in the Everglades’ landscape characteristics. Among the plausible hypotheses that relate to landscape change are the following: (1) general loss of habitat; (2) heavy loss of specific habitat, namely, short-hydroperiod wetlands that provide high prey availability early in the breeding season; and (3) an increase in frequency of major drying out of the central slough areas, which can affect prey availability late in the breeding season.

These three hypotheses were compared using an individual-based model of wood stork (Mycteria americana) reproduction. This model simulated the behavior and energetics of each individual wood stork in a breeding colony on 15-min time intervals. Changes in water depth and prey availability occurred on daily time steps. Simulation results showed a threshold response in reproductive success to reduction of wetland heterogeneity. Model comparisons in which (1) only short-hydroperiod wetlands were removed and (2) wetlands of both long and short hydroperiods were removed showed that, for the same loss of total area, the specific habitat removal caused a much greater reduction in wood stork reproduction, indicating hypothesis 2 may be a more likely explanation than hypothesis 1. Reduction of initial prey availability in the central slough areas (simulating frequent drying; hypothesis 3) reduced fledging success by an average of more than 90% in the model.

Key words

Computer simulation Wood storks Wading birds Everglades Individual-based modeling Landscape heterogeneity 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Bancroft, G. T. 1989. Status and conservation of wading birds in the Everglades.American Birds 43:1258–1265.Google Scholar
  2. Bancroft, G. T., S. D. Jewell, and A. M. Strong. 1991. Foraging and nesting ecology of herons in the lower Everglades in relation to water conditions. Final report, N.A.S., Contract #202-M86-0254-R, South Florida Water Management District. West Palm Beach, Florida.Google Scholar
  3. Bennetts, R. E., M. W. Collopy, and J. A. Rodgers, Jr. 1994. The snail kite in the Florida Everglades: A food specialist in a changing environment.in S. Davis and J. Ogden (eds.), Everglades: The ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, Florida (in press).Google Scholar
  4. Browder, J. 1985. Relationship between pink shrimp production on the Tortugas grounds and water flow patterns in the Florida Everglades.Bulletin of Marine Science 37:839–856.Google Scholar
  5. Craighead, F. C. 1968. The role of the alligator in shaping plant communities and maintaining wildlife in the southern Everglades.Florida Nature 41(1 and 2):2–7, 69–74, 94.Google Scholar
  6. Collopy, N. W., and P. C. Frederick. 1986. Wading bird nesting success and foraging dispersion in Water Conservation Area 3A and Everglades National Park. 1986 Interim Report to US Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville, Florida.Google Scholar
  7. DeAngelis, D. L., and L. J. Gross (eds.). 1992. Individual-based models and concepts in ecology. Routledge, Chapman and Hall, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Fennema, R. J., C. C. Neidrauer, R. A. Johnson, W. A. Perkins, and T. K. MacVicar. 1994. A computer model to simulate natural south Florida hydrology.In S. Davis and J. Ogden (eds.), Everglades: The ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, Florida (in press).Google Scholar
  9. Fleming, D. M., J. Schortemeyer, W. Hoffman, and D. L. DeAngelis. 1994a. Colonial wading bird distribution and abundance in the pre- and post-drainage landscapes of the EvergladesOecologia (in review).Google Scholar
  10. Fleming, D. M., J. Shortemeyer, W. Hoffman, and D. L. DeAngelis. 1994b. Colonial wading bird reproduction in the pre- and post-drainage landscapes of the EvergladesOecologia (in review).Google Scholar
  11. Forman, R. T. T., and M. Godron. 1981. Patches and structural components for a landscape ecology.BioScience 31:733–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frederick, P. C., and M. W. Collopy. 1988. Reproductive ecology of wading birds in relation to water conditions in the Florida Everglades. Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Forestry Research and Conservation, University of Florida Technical Report No. 30, Gainesville, Florida.Google Scholar
  13. Harris, L. D. 1984. The fragmented forest: Island biogeography theory and the preservation of biotic diversity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 211 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Hoffman, J. S., D. Keyes, and J. G. Titus. 1983. Projecting future sea level rise. US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. EPA-230-09-007, 121 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Huston, M. A., D. L. DeAngelis, and W. M. Post. 1988. New computer models unify ecological theory.BioScience 38:682–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Johnson R. A., S. J. Connors, and J. Veriel. 1994. A review of the hydrologic changes in the southern Everglades from 1940 through 1992. National Park Service report, South Florida Natural Resources Center, Everglades National Park, Homestead, Florida (in preparation).Google Scholar
  17. Kahl, M. P. 1962. Bioenergetics and growth of nestling wood storks.Condor 64:169–183.Google Scholar
  18. Kushlan, J. A. 1979. Design and management of continental wildlife preserves: Lessons from the Everglades.Biological Conservation 15:281–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kushlan, J. A., and P. C. Frohring. 1986. The history of the southern Florida wood stork population.Wilson Bulletin 98:368–386.Google Scholar
  20. Kushlan, J. A., and D. A. White. 1977. Nesting wading bird populations in southern Florida. Florida Scientist 40:65–72.Google Scholar
  21. Kushlan, J. A., J. C. Ogden, and J. L. Tilmont. 1975. Relation of water level and fish availability to Wood Stork reproduction in the southern Everglades. US Geological Survey Open File Report 75-434, Tallahassee, Florida.Google Scholar
  22. Kushlan, J. A., P. C. Frohring, and D. Voorhees. 1984. History and status of wading birds in Everglades National Park. National Park Service report, South Florida Research Center, Everglades National Park, Homestead, Florida.Google Scholar
  23. Loftus, W. F., and A. M. Ecklund. 1994. Long-term dynamics of an Everglades small-fish assemblage.In S. Davis and J. Ogden (eds.), Everglades: The ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, Florida (in press).Google Scholar
  24. Loftus, W. F., R. A. Johnson, and G. H. Anderson. 1992. Ecological impacts of the reduction of groundwater levels in short-hydroperiod marshes of the Everglades. Pages 199–208in J. A. Standford and J. J. Simons (eds.) First international conference on ground water ecology. US Environmental Protection Agency. American Water Resources Association. Tampa, Florida.Google Scholar
  25. Lovelass, C. M. 1959. The Everglades deer herd, life history and management. Technical Bulletin No. 6, Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Tallahassee, 104 pp.Google Scholar
  26. Lovejoy, T. E., J. M. Rankin, R. O. Bierregaard, Jr., K. S. Brown, Jr., L. H. Emmoms, and M. E. Van der Voort. 1984. Ecosystem decay and Amazon forest remnants. Pages 69–117in M. H. Nitecki (ed.), Extinctions. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  27. Noss, R. F. 1987. Protecting natural areas in fragmented landscapes.National Area Journal 7:2–13.Google Scholar
  28. Ogden, J. C. 1978. Recent population trends of colonial wading birds on the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. Pages 135–153in A. Sprunt, IV, J. C. Ogden, and S. Winckler, (eds.), Wading birds. National Audobon Society Research Report 7, Tavernier, Florida.Google Scholar
  29. Ogden, J. C. 1994. A comparison of wading bird nesting colony dynamics, 1931–1948 and 1974–1989, as an indication of changes in ecosystem conditions in the southern Everglades.In S. Davis and J. C. Ogden, Everglades: The ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, Florida (in press).Google Scholar
  30. Ogden, J. C., and B. W. Patty. 1981. The recent status of the Wood Stork in Florida and Georgia.In R. R. Odom and J. W. Guthrie (eds), Proceedings of the nongame and endangered wildlife symposium. Georgia Department of Natural Resource, Fish and Game Division, Technical Bulletin, WL 5, Atlanta, Georgia.Google Scholar
  31. Ogden, J. C., H. K. Kale, III, and S. A. Nesbitt. 1980. The influence of annual variation in rainfall and water levels on nesting by Florida populations of wading birds.Transactions of the Linnean Society NY 9:115–126.Google Scholar
  32. Orians, G. H., and N. E. Pearson. 1979. On the theory of central place foraging. Pages 155–177in D. J. Horns, G. R. Stairs, and R. Mitchell (eds.), Analysis of ecological systems. Ohio State University Press, Columbus.Google Scholar
  33. Parker, G. G. 1974. Hydrology of the pre-drainage system of the Everglades in southern Florida. Pages 18–27in P.J. Gleason (ed.), Environments of south Florida: Present and past. Miami Geological Society Memoirs 2. Miami.Google Scholar
  34. Parker, G. G., G. E. Ferguson, and S. K. Love. 1955. Water resources of southeastern Florida, with special reference to the geology and ground water of the Miami area. US Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 1255. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  35. Pimm, S. L., and M. E. Gilpin. 1989. Theoretical issues in conservation biology. Pages 287–305in J. Roughgarden, R. M. May, and S. A. Levin (eds.), Perspectives in ecological theory. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  36. Powell, G. V. N. 1987. Habitat use by wading birds in a subtropical estuary: Implications of hydrography.Auk 104:740–749.Google Scholar
  37. Powell, G. V. N., R. D. Bjork, J. C. Ogden, R. T. Paul, W. B. Robertson, Jr., and A. H. Powell. 1989. An analysis of population trends in some Florida Bay wading birds.Wilson Bulletin 101:436–457.Google Scholar
  38. Quinn, J. F., C. van Riper, III, R. Karban, G. Robinson, and S. P. Harrison. 1985. Conservation strategies: Island biogeography and the design of nature reserves.Park Science 6:6–9.Google Scholar
  39. Robertson, W. B., Jr., and J. A. Kushlan. 1974. The south Florida avifauna. Pages 414–452in P. J. Gleason (ed.), Environments of South Florida: Present and past. Miami Geological Society Memoirs 2, Miami.Google Scholar
  40. Smith, T. and O. L. Bass. 1994. Landscape, white-tailed deer, and the distribution of Florida panthers in the Everglades.In S. Davis and J. Ogden (eds.), Everglades: The ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, Florida (in press).Google Scholar
  41. Smith, T. J., III, J. H. Hudson, M. B. Robblee, G. V. N. Powell, and P. J. Isdale. 1989. Freshwater flow from the Everglades to Florida Bay: An historical reconstruction based on fluorescent banding in the coralSolenastrea bournoni.Bulletin of Marine Science 44:274–290.Google Scholar
  42. Sykes, P. W. Jr. 1984. The range of the snail kite and its history in Florida.Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Science 29:211–264.Google Scholar
  43. Tabb, D. C., D. L. Dubrow, and R. B. Manning. 1962. The ecology of northern Florida Bay and adjacent estuaries.Florida State Board of Conservation, Technical Series 39:1–79.Google Scholar
  44. Wagner, J., and P. C. Rosendahl. 1985. An historical review and assessment of surface water delivery to the Shark River slough, Everglades National Park, 1940–1980. South Florida Research Center Draft Technical Report. Homestead, Florida.Google Scholar
  45. Walters, C. J., L. H. Gunderson, and C. S. Holling. 1992. Experimental policies for water management in the Everglades.Ecological Applications 2:189–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. White, P. S. 1987. Natural disturbance, patch dynamics, and landscape pattern in natural areas.Natural Areas Journal 7:14–22.Google Scholar
  47. Wilcove, D. S. 1987. From fragmentation to extinction.Natural Areas Journal 7:23–29.Google Scholar
  48. Wolff, W. F. 1994. An individual-oriented model of a wading bird nesting colony.Ecological Modeling (in press).Google Scholar
  49. Wright, S. J., and S. P. Hubbell. 1983. Stochastic extinction and reserve size: A focal species approach.Oikos 41:466–476.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Martin Fleming
    • 1
  • Wilfried F. Wolff
    • 2
  • Donald L. DeAngelis
    • 3
  1. 1.Everglades National Park Field StationNational Biological SurveyHomesteadUSA
  2. 2.Institut fuer Biotechnologie 3Forschungszentrum JuelichJuelichGermany
  3. 3.Environmental Sciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

Personalised recommendations