Explosive regional human population growth, overfishing, and habitat degradation have stimulated system restoration projects that are redefining the quality and functioning of the south Florida coastal ecosystem. Because spotted seatrout are sensitive ecosystem indicators, we developed a spatial biophysical predator-prey model to assess seatrout population risks from exploitation and environmental changes. The model couples the production dynamics of a higher trophic level age-structured predator population (e.g., seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus) to a key prey (e.g., pink shrimp, Farfantepeneaus duorarum) through a dynamic array of biophysical processes. This is done by mathematically linking bioenergetic principles of fish physiology, population ecology, fish-habitat relationships, and community trophodynamics to a regional hydrodynamic circulation and mass transport model. We focused an important model application on the issue of expected ecosystem transitions from changes in freshwater discharges to “tide” under the comprehensive Everglades restoration plan. Specifically, we evaluated impacts to seatrout population productivity, fishery yields, and ecosystem performance resulting from two alternative water management scenarios associated with Everglades restoration; these scenarios are expected to affect the quantity, timing, and location of freshwater delivered to Biscayne Bay, Florida.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Environmental Science(all)