Exploring the temporal effects of seasonal water availability on the snail kite of Florida: Part III

By: , and 

Links

Abstract

The Florida snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) is an endangered raptor that occurs as an isolated population, currently of about 2,000 birds, in the wetlands of southern and central Florida, USA. Its exclusive prey species, the apple snail (Pomacea paludosa) is strongly influenced by seasonal changes in water abundance. Droughts during the snail kite breeding season have a direct negative effect on snail kite survival and reproduction, but droughts are also needed to maintain aquatic vegetation types favorable to snail kite foraging for snails. We used a spatially explicit matrix model to explore the effects of temporal variation in water levels on the viability of the snail kite population under different temporal drought regimes in its wetland breeding habitat. We focused on three aspects of variations in water levels that were likely to affect kites: (1) drought frequency; (2) drought duration; and (3) drought timing within the year. We modeled a 31-year historical scenario using four different scenarios in which the average water level was maintained constant, but the amplitude of water level fluctuations was modified. Our results reveal the complexity of the effects of temporal variation in water levels on snail kite population dynamics. Management implications of these results are discussed. In particular, management decisions should not be based on annual mean water levels alone, but must consider the intra-annual variability.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Exploring the temporal effects of seasonal water availability on the snail kite of Florida: Part III
DOI 10.1007/978-0-387-45447-4_10
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description 19 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Temporal dimensions of landscape ecology: Wildlife responses to variable resources
First page 155
Last page 173
Country United States
State Florida
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N