SS3.15 Physical Forcing and Pelagic-Benthic Interactions in Aquatic Systems
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2002
Time: 9:30:00 AM
Location: Oak Bay
 
ChildersDL, Wetland Ecosystems Ecology Lab, Florida International University, Miami, USA, childers@fiu.edu
Iwaniec, D, , Wetland Ecosystems Ecology Lab, Florida International Univ, Miami, USA, iwaniecd@fiu.edu
Leonard, L, , Dept.Earth Science, Univ. North Carolina – Wilmigton, Wilmington, USA, lynnl@uncwil.edu
Madden, C, , Everglades Dept., SFWMD, 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, USA, cmadden@sfwmd.gov
McVoy, C, , Everglades Dept., SFWMD, 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, USA, cmcvoy@sfwmd.gov
Noe, G, , Wetland Ecosystems Ecology Lab, Florida International Univ, Miami, USA, noeg@fiu.edu
Rondeau, D, , Wetland Ecosystems Ecology Lab, Florida International Univ, Miami, USA, rondeaud@fiu.edu
Rubio, G, , Wetland Ecosystems Ecology Lab, Florida International Univ, Miami, USA, rubiog@fiu.edu
Verdon, E, , Wetland Ecosystems Ecology Lab, Florida International Univ, Miami, USA, verdone@fiu.edu
 
AN LTER-BASED MULTIDISCIPLINARY INVESTIGATION OF HOW WATER FLOW AND SEDIMENT TRANSPORT RELATE TO WETLAND PROCESSES AND EVERGLADES RESTORATION
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Historical analyses suggest that advective movement of water and sediments through the “River of Grass” maintained the “corrugated” topography of the Everglades landscape. Drainage and compartmentalization of this landscape during the last century have reduced or eliminated water flow. In many areas, this has been accompanied by topographic homogenization and loss of plant community heterogeneity. We hypothesize that the advective transport of flocculent organic material (floc) links water flow, landscape maintenance, and vegetative pattern heterogeneity. Floc production is relatively slow, but appears to be greater that its decomposition rate. Without water flow, floc accumulates in deeper water habitats, reducing topographic relief and flow capacity. We are testing the hypothesis that increased water flow increases floc transport downstream, maintains deeper flow pathways (sloughs), and enhances landscape/topographic heterogeneity. Additionally, because the phosphorus content of floc is high (370-560 µgP gdw-1), we hypothesize that restored downstream floc transport will restore an important energy subsidy to oligotrophic estuaries. Sawgrass productivity data from Everglades regions with restored flow support this hypothesis. This coupling of physical and ecological studies of water flow may help shape Everglades Restoration efforts.