Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research
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Trophic Dynamics & Community Structure Working Group
(Phase II, 2007-2012)

Bull shark in the Shark River
MS student Bryan Delius with a bull shark in the Shark River. FCE LTER scientists are studying whether bull sharks help to mediate upstream transport of limiting nutrients from the Gulf of Mexico into the ecotone region.

The Trophic Dynamics & Community Structure working group has two primary goals: 1) investigating how habitat characteristics and physical factors influence community composition and trophic structure of consumers, especially fishes and 2) studying the role of large consumers in redistributing nutrients from marsh and oceanic habitats into the mangrove ecotone region. Investigators hope to gain a functional understanding of the movements of large consumers and community dynamics with the goal of being able to predict how climate change (e.g. sea level rise) and other anthropogenic impacts (e.g. increased freshwater flow) will influence the consumer community and their ecological role. To do this, a variety of techniques will be used to sample fish communities and conduct tracking studies of representative consumer species (starting with bull sharks, alligators, snook, and Florida gar). Trophic structure and consumer-mediated nutrient flow also will be investigated using stable isotopic analysis and fatty acid analysis. Investigators will take advantage of seasonal and interannual variation in environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, salinity) to determine the impact of freshwater flow on the consumers of the coastal Everglades.
Throw trap
Joel Trexler using a throw trap to sample fish communities

Throw trap
Sampling fish communities using a throw trap

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National Science Foundation logo This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DEB-1237517, #DBI-0620409, and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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