Littoral vegetation of Lake Tohopekaliga: community descriptions prior to a large-scale fisheries habitat-enhancement project

Welch, Zahariah C. (2004) Littoral vegetation of Lake Tohopekaliga: community descriptions prior to a large-scale fisheries habitat-enhancement project. Masters Thesis, University of Florida, 121pp.

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Abstract

An extreme dry-down and muck-removal project was conducted at Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida, in 2003-2004, to remove dense vegetation from inshore areas and improve habitat degraded by stabilized water levels. Vegetation was monitored from June 2002 to December 2003, to describe the pre-existing communities in terms of composition and distribution along the environmental gradients. Three study areas (Treatment-Selection Sites) were designed to test the efficacy of different treatments in enhancing inshore habitat, and five other study areas (Whole-Lake Monitoring Sites) were designed to monitor the responses of the emergent littoral vegetation as a whole. Five general community types were identified within the study areas by recording aboveground biomasses and stem densities of each species. These communities were distributed along water and soils gradients, with water depth and bulk density explaining most of the variation. The shallowest depths were dominated by a combination of Eleocharis spp., Luziola fluitans, and Panicum repens; while the deeper areas had communities of Nymphaea odorata and Nuphar luteum; Typha spp.; or Paspalidium geminatum and Hydrilla verticillata. Mineralized soils were common in both the shallow and deep-water communities, while the intermediate depths had high percentages of organic material in the soil. These intermediate depths (occurring just above and just below low pool stage) were dominated by Pontederia cordata, the main species targeted by the habitat enhancement project. This emergent community occurred in nearly monocultural bands around the lake (from roughly 60–120 cm in depth at high pool stage) often having more diverse floating mats along the deep-water edge. The organic barrier these mats create is believed to impede access of sport fish to shallow-water spawning areas, while the overall low diversity of the community is evidence of its competitive nature in stabilized waters. With continued monitoring of these study areas long-term effects of the restoration project can be assessed and predictive models may be created to determine the efficacy and legitimacy of such projects in the future.

Item Type: Thesis
Title: Littoral vegetation of Lake Tohopekaliga: community descriptions prior to a large-scale fisheries habitat-enhancement project
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Welch, Zahariah C.
Number of Pages: 121
Date: 2004
Department: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Institution: University of Florida
Issuing Agency: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Uncontrolled Keywords: Vegetation; Lake Tohopekaliga; Florida; fisheries;
Subjects: Fisheries
Limnology
Management
Item ID: 4677
Depositing User: Stephanie Haas
Date Deposited: 28 Dec 2010 00:25
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 16:05
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/4677

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