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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

The Real Snowbirds Of South Florida: Using Citizen Science To Assess The Ranges Of South Florida's Overwintering Birdsh, Alexander V. Levine Jun 2018

The Real Snowbirds Of South Florida: Using Citizen Science To Assess The Ranges Of South Florida's Overwintering Birdsh, Alexander V. Levine

FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations

The overwintering ranges of North American bird populations are shifting and the winter ranges of south Florida’s landbirds remain understudied. Expert-drawn range maps used for scientific studies and environmental public policy could therefore be depicting inaccurate ranges for many migratory birds. This study used citizen science data from eBird (2001–2017) to evaluate patterns in overwintering avian species richness and identify discrepanciesin expert-drawn species range maps for overwintering passerines in south Florida. Most of Florida’s overwintering bird species were sighted in south Florida. Of the species observed there between 2001 and 2017, 66% had range map discrepancies. Fifteen ...


Using Introduced Species Of Anolis Lizards To Test Adaptive Radiation Theory, James T. Stroud Mar 2018

Using Introduced Species Of Anolis Lizards To Test Adaptive Radiation Theory, James T. Stroud

FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Adaptive radiation – the proliferation of species from a single ancestor and diversification into many ecologically different forms – has long been heralded as an important process in the generation of phenotypic diversity. However, the early stages of adaptive radiation are notoriously elusive to observe and study. In this dissertation, I capitalize on communities of introduced non-native Anolis lizards as analogues of early stage adaptive radiations. In Chapter II, I begin by reviewing the concept of “ecological opportunity” – a classic hypothesis put forward as a potential key to understanding when and how adaptive radiation occurs. In Chapter III, I investigate the mechanisms ...


Examining Movement And Habitat Selection Of Everglades Fishes In Response To Seasonal Water Levels, Gregory J. Hill Mar 2017

Examining Movement And Habitat Selection Of Everglades Fishes In Response To Seasonal Water Levels, Gregory J. Hill

FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Fish distribution patterns and seasonal habitat use play a key role in the food web dynamics of aquatic ecosystems, including the Florida Everglades. In this study I examined the fine scale habitat shifts and movements of spotted sunfish, Lepomis punctatus across varying seasons and hydrologic conditions using in-situ field enclosures and Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) systems. Data on fish use of three dominant Everglades marsh habitats and activity level were recorded continuously from January to August, 2015. Fish were more active and had the highest use of higher elevation habitats when water levels rose during an experimental reversal in mid-April ...


Effects Of Catastrophic Seagrass Loss And Predation Risk On The Ecological Structure And Resilience Of A Model Seagrass Ecosystem, Robert J. Nowicki Nov 2016

Effects Of Catastrophic Seagrass Loss And Predation Risk On The Ecological Structure And Resilience Of A Model Seagrass Ecosystem, Robert J. Nowicki

FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations

As climate change continues, climactic extremes are predicted to become more frequent and intense, in some cases resulting in dramatic changes to ecosystems. The effects of climate change on ecosystems will be mediated, in part, by biotic interactions in those ecosystems. However, there is still considerable uncertainty about where and how such biotic interactions will be important in the context of ecosystem disturbance and climactic extremes.

Here, I review the role of consumers in seagrass ecosystems and investigate the ecological impacts of an extreme climactic event (marine heat wave) and subsequent widespread seagrass die-off in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Specifically ...


Controls On Benthic Microbial Community Structure And Assembly In A Karstic Coastal Wetland, Nicholas O. Schulte Mar 2016

Controls On Benthic Microbial Community Structure And Assembly In A Karstic Coastal Wetland, Nicholas O. Schulte

FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations

The assembly mechanisms underlying microbial community abundance, biotic interactions, and diversity over space and time are unresolved, particularly in benthic microbial mats distributed along environmental gradients. Experimental enrichment of nutrient-limited microbial mats from the Florida Everglades along a nutrient subsidy-salinity stress gradient stimulated autotrophic and heterotrophic metabolism, growth, and diversity independent of autotroph-heterotroph interactions across treatments and space. These results suggest spatial segregation of autotrophic and heterotrophic components within mats. Considering only the diatom component of Everglades mats over space and time, the subsidy-stress gradient controlled diatom compositional turnover at broad spatial scales while environmental and dispersal-based processes structured diatom ...


A Comparative Study Of Concurrent Acoustic And Diver Survey Data, And Fish Community Descriptions Of A High Latitude Coral Reef, Florida, Usa, Adam M. Zenone Mar 2015

A Comparative Study Of Concurrent Acoustic And Diver Survey Data, And Fish Community Descriptions Of A High Latitude Coral Reef, Florida, Usa, Adam M. Zenone

FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Fisheries independent data on relatively unstudied nekton communities were used to explore the efficacy of new tools to be applied in the investigation of shallow coastal coral reef habitats. These data obtained through concurrent diver visual and acoustic surveys provided descriptions of spatial community distribution patterns across seasonal temporal scales in a previously undocumented region. Fish density estimates by both diver and acoustic methodologies showed a general agreement in ability to detect distributional patterns across reef tracts, though magnitude of density estimates were different. Fish communities in southeastern Florida showed significant trends in spatial distribution and seasonal abundance, with higher ...


Habitat Use Of The Key Largo Woodrat (Neotoma Floridana Smalli), Lauren J. Barth Nov 2014

Habitat Use Of The Key Largo Woodrat (Neotoma Floridana Smalli), Lauren J. Barth

FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Key Largo woodrats are an endangered subspecies with an extremely limited habitat. This study sought to understand woodrat habitat preferences in order to guide management. Woodrats build stick nests from natural and artificial materials, so nest distribution and nest occupancy were used as indicators of preference. Distribution was determined by nest surveys, and remote cameras were used to assess occupancy. Forest structure, human disturbance, nest, and animal presence metrics were also collected. More nests were found along abandoned roads than along forest transects and more artificial nests were occupied than natural nests. These findings indicate that woodrats prefer areas with ...


Mechanisms Of Diatom Assembly In A Hydrologically-Managed Subtropical Wetland, Sylvia S. Lee Mar 2014

Mechanisms Of Diatom Assembly In A Hydrologically-Managed Subtropical Wetland, Sylvia S. Lee

FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Diatoms are useful indicators of ecological conditions but the mechanisms driving assemblage distribution are not clearly defined. Understanding the mechanisms underlying assemblage distribution is necessary to make accurate predictions about the effects of environmental change, such as hydrologic management, restoration, and climate change. The examination of diatom distribution and key drivers across a large wetland over several years can provide a resolved spatio-temporal framework for determining the relative importance of environmental and spatial factors influencing assemblage patterns. I examined a 6-year record of diatom distribution across the Everglades, a large hydrologically-managed subtropical wetland. Successful restoration of this ecosystem depends on ...