2nd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Gareth Lagerwall
Session Name Poster Session: Hydrologic, Biogeochemical and Ecological Processes 1
Category Hydrologic, biogeochemical and ecological processes
Poster Number 223
Author(s) Gareth Lagerwall,  UFL
  Greg Kiker,  University of Florida, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department
  Raphael Muñoz-Carpena, University of Florida, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department
  Application of various ecological algorithms to accurately predict Typha domingensis (Cattail) dynamics throughout the Everglades
  The Transport and Reaction Simulation Engine (TARSE) is a flexible, user-defined, module that was initially created to simulate phosphorus dynamics in the everglades. It is a plug-in module requiring a hydrologic driver, from which it obtains values for stage and flow. Due to its user-defined nature, TARSE enables the user to define the complexity of the relationships between its constituents. As an object oriented code base, TARSE allows for additions where necessary, without much change to the existing code. As such, TARSE was selected as the module to use, with the Regional Simulation Model (RSM) as the driver. To test the various ecological algorithms, it was decided that cattail dynamics would be modeled over the WCA2A region at increasing levels of complexity. The two ecological algorithms used are a standard Habitat Suitability Index (HSI), where each cell in the mesh has a probability of cattails existing within them based on various suitability factors; and a diffusionary-front type algorithm, whereby cattails slowly spread across cells with favorable conditions. The three main factors affecting cattail spread are hydrology (depth, and hydroperiod), nutrient concentrations (specifically phosphorus), and fire disturbance. As such the increasing levels of complexity include a stochastic population; a population influenced solely by water depth; a population influenced by a combination of depth and phosphorus concentration; and an interaction with a competing species such as Claduim jamaicense (Sawgrass). The different algorithms and complexities are analyzed and compared to determine the one best suited for application in the rest of the everglades system.