CESI Research Project 99-11

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The Role of Aquatic Refuges in the Rockland Wetland Complex of
Southern Florida, in Relation to System Restoration
William F. Loftus, Joel C. Trexler, Jennifer S. Rehage, Shawn E. Liston & Kristine J. Dunker

Aquatic Refugia in the Everglades

Courtesy of Loftus & Trexler


Limestone depressions in the Everglades bedrock have long been thought to be important refuges for the survival of aquatic life during the dry season. In truth, the highly eroded surface of the Rocky Glades presents a diverse assemblage of aquatic habitats that seemingly play a much more diverse role in the natural history of Everglades life.

This five-year study documented the use of surface habitats, solution holes, and subterranean cavities by wildlife, and found that solution holes no longer functioned as refuges because of drainage. This exhaustive project provided data on the physical parameters of these habitats, as well as detailed information on habitat use by native and invasive species, movements of fish by radio tracking, detailed findings on the life history of the reclusive Miami cave crayfish, and implications for restoration.


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Contact the principal investigator directly with questions about this study.

Aquatic Refuges, CESI, Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative, Everglades National Park, Fishes, Joel Trexler, William Loftus, Jennifer Rehage, Rocky Glades, Solution Holes, Miami Cave Crayfish, Radio Tracking, Movement, Invasive Species

Last updated: June 1, 2021

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