CESI Assessment Project 99-2


The Effect of Hydrological Patterns and Untimely, Breeding Season Flooding on the Numbers and Distribution of Wading Birds in Everglades National Park
Gareth J. Russell, Oron L. Bass, Jr. & Stuart L. Pimm

White Ibis Feeding
White Ibis Feeding

NPS Photo by Rodnay Cammauf


Wading birds are iconic symbols of the Florida Everglades. Over the course of millennia, the life cycles of these species have grown in sync with the seasonal fluctuations between wet and dry. For over a century, however, these populations have born silent witness to considerable changes in the area's natural hydrology-- often to their detriment.

This CESI-funded investigation examines the relationship between wading bird foraging success and hydrology. By using a set of regression models, the study finds that the "average" dissipation of surface water during the dry season seems optimal, while periodic disruptions of this drying process prove detrimental. It is suggested that the reduction or elimination of such "untimely" water discharges is important for population recovery.



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Final Report
(PDF, 1.5 MB)


Contact the principal investigator directly with questions about this study.

Everglades, National Park, Wading, Birds, Russell, Bass, Pimm, Distribution, CESI, Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative, Hydrology, Effects, Flooding

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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