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WETLANDS ECOSYSTEMS PANHANDLE FLORIDA
APB - 4934
D. Bruce Means, Ph.D. Professor

SYLLABUS FOR WETLANDS

Purpose.--The purpose of this course is to learn about the diverse variety of wetlands in the Coastal Plain as demonstrated by Panhandle Florida examples. Both lentic and lotic systems will be studied, beginning with lentic systems where water first seeps laterally from stream valley sidewalls to form bogs, then progressing down gradient over ever-increasing stream volume and ending in the floodplains of the three major types of Coastal Plain rivers: alluvial, blackwater, and spring-run. Lotic systems will be studied in three field trips beginning with temporary ponds, roadside ditches, borrow pits, and other small water bodies. Next, the geomorphogenesis of Florida's karst lakes will be studied including the full lake geological cycle from oligotrophic to eutrophic, featuring Lakes Jackson, Iamonia, Miccosukee, and comparing them with a man-made impoundment, Lake Talquin. Decomposition will be studied and how it relates to the process of peat accumulation leading to the formation of swamps. The shallow Monkey Creek drainage basin and its stream swamp will be studied in the Bradwell Bay Wilderness Area and the region's largest swamp, the Okefenokee, will be examined as a single, large, integrated ecosystem connected by water and dominated by organic matter.

The course is a series of six all-day Saturday field trips augmented by six three-hour Thursday night lectures preceding each Saturday (actually the sixth field trip is a two-day, one night field trip). The Wetlands course continues downslope from where the Uplands course leaves off. It addresses all the emergent communities between open, freshwater aquatic environments and true, dry upland soils.

Feild trip itinerary:

Trip # 1. First field stop: floodplain of the Ochlockonee River at Rock Bluff Botanical Area, Apalachicola National Forest, to see the effects of a mixed alluvial and blackwater stream. Second stop: a continental alluvial stream, the Apalachicola River floodplain. We examine the upper drainage basin of Florida's largest river, beginning at the head of a gully eroded stream and progressing downstream into the floodplain of the Apalachicola River. Stops will include learning about floodplain processes and will feature the main channel, levees, oxbow lakes, high energy floodplain forests where the river first leaves its banks at flood stage, low energy floodplain forests where fine sediments are deposited in cypress-gum swamp basins, the natural impoundment of a smaller river (Dead Lakes) by a larger, valley sidewalls, escarpments, prehistoric birdsfoot deltas, and examine ecological processes driving the biogeochemical cycling in the Apalachicola Bay estuary. In addition to learning about the original state of this valuable ecosystem, the heavy impacts at the hand of man will be assessed both to the main channel flow and to the floodplain communities. Supper at Ora’s.

Trip #2. Seepage bogs, savannahs, blackwater and seepage streams: Telogia Creek and New River. The class will travel down a slope/moisture gradient from seepage communities into shrub bogs, then bay hardwood forests along a low-gradient blackwater stream in the Apalachicola National Forest. Then we will examine the New River floodplain at the Florida Road 22 bridge, and possibly Telogia Creek. We will discuss aspects of water chemistry (turbidity, pH, etc.), seine for fishes and invertebrates, and examine floodplain forests and swampy groundcover. The bed of the New River will be explored at several points in the Apalachicola National Forest to view the effects of highly acid waters on trees and other stream biota. A stunted, hatrack cypress forest is the grand finale of the day. Supper at Angelo’s Restaurant.

Trip #3. Spring-run streams: First stop, Wakulla Springs State Park. We will explore the bottomlands adjacent to the main run of Wakulla River. Second stop, Wacissa-Aucilla River floodplains. We will walk from where Aucilla River sinks underground to one of the places down the Florida Trail where the river rises, looking at a hardwood bottomland developed on hardrock limestone. Third stop: We will walk to Sheppard Spring on the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, viewing a mixed loblolly pine/hardwood lowland, and an exquisite cabbage palm/slash pine forest. [Optional: body float the Wacissa River from Goosepasture Landing downstream to its confluence with the Aucilla River at the "race" entering Half-mile Rise. This trip is accomplished by floating and snorkeling downstream with inner tubes, with excursions on foot into the floodplain at several points.] Supper at Spring Creek Restaurant.

Trip #4. Lentic ecosystems: ponds (temporary and permanent), lakes, and standing water depressions, natural and artificial. This field trip is devoted to wetlands surrounding the standing water systems of the panhandle, how they are formed, how they change through ecological and geological time, and their distinctive biota. We will visit both ephemeral and permanent small ponds in the Coastal Lowlands in the Apalachicola National Forest south of Tallahassee. Then Lakes Jackson and Iamonia to view large karst lakes and examine how they form and fill in. Field day is completed on Tall Timbers Research Station where we examine temporary ponds and small, forming karst ponds dominated by cypress/water tupelo and by tupelo alone. The hydrologic cycles including an understanding of watersheds and lake level fluctuations will be studied, and the aquatic and wetland vegetation of the lakes and ponds will be examined on site. The fauna (invertebrate and vertebrate) of lakes and especially temporary ponds will be studied in lecture and in the field as opportunities arise.

Trip # 5. Bradwell Bay Wilderness Area. An all-day hike into the hydrologically controlled shrub-bay ecosystems will look at how hydroperiod, fire cycles, microrelief, windstorms, lightning, sunfall, decomposition, competition and predation interact to affect the biota in different sites along the route. As always, the class will see firsthand how severely the hand of man has impacted this "wilderness," which was the poorest forest land in the Apalachicola National Forest. We will walk north from the southern boundary to Monkey Creek and the old-growth slash pine stand. From there we will follow the main course of Monkey Creek eastward, and exit the Wilderness Area via the Florida Trail. The ultimate goal of this field trip is to assist the class to see how the different but obviously contiguous parts of the whole fit together in a larger sense as interactive components of the entire Bradwell Bay watershed.

Trip # 6. Okefenokee Swamp. Properties of the Okefenokee Swamp that we will explore are its primary productivity, decomposition, peat formation, hydroperiod, fire, nutrient cycling, and animal food webs. We will visit and examine all the community types of the Okefenokee Swamp, including emergent vegetation associations along a successional continuum from grassy-forb marshes to evergreen shrub bogs, to bay forests, to remnant forests of 1000+ year old cypresses, the oldest community type of the Coastal Plain and eastern North America.

This two-day field trip is the logical extrapolation of the concepts delineated on previous field trips. The Okefenokee Swamp is an order of magnitude larger in size than Bradwell Bay, but yet is an ecosystem recognizably definable within the drainage catchments of the Suwannee and St. Mary's rivers. Because it is so much larger and because its biotic associations are interconnected by water, it is intuitively obvious that they are parts of a larger whole. Communities and ecosystems are really not so discrete. No matter how large or small they may be defined, they are only part of a larger whole. Ultimately the class should realize the global consequences of this line of reasoning.

Fabulous supper Saturday night at The Cedars Seafood Restaurant in Callahan.

Conclusion

Both courses are designed to teach principles of ecology while illustrating the major terrestrial (course I) and wetlands (course II) communities of the north Florida region (which are in turn the major communities of the Coastal Plain). Although a strong effort is made to identify the most abundant and typical species of plants and animals, the emphasis in both courses is holistic: pattern and process. It is desired that a student should emerge from these courses with a greater awareness of the qualities of local and regional environments and an understanding of mankind's role in altering such qualities.

SUGGESTED REFERENCES FOR WETLANDS CLASS

General

All the references handed out in Uplands class.

Christensen, Norman. 1986. The vegetation of the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. Chapter 11 in Barbour, M. G. and W. D. Billings (eds.), Vegetation of North America. Cambridge University Press (in press).

Clewell, Andre F. 1985. The natural setting and vegetation of the Florida panhandle. Report prepared under contract with Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala. 435+pp.

Hackney, Courtney T., S. M. Adams, and W. H. Martin (eds.). 1992. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States, Aquatic Communities. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Hodgkins, Earl J. 1965. Southeastern forest habitat regions based on physiography. Agricultural Experiment Station Auburn University, Forestry Departmental Series No. 2:1-10.

Jones, J. I., R. E. Ring, M. O. Rinkel and R. E. Smith (editors). 1973. A summary of knowledge of the eastern Gulf of Mexico. State University System of Florida Institute of Oceanography. (ca. 500 pages).

Livingston, Robert J. (ed.) 1991. The rivers of Florida. Ecological Studies 83. Springer-Verlag, New York. xi + 289.

Means, D. Bruce. 1996. Chapter 15. Longleaf pine forest, going, going.... Pages 366-399 in Mary Byrd Davis, ed. Eastern old-growth forest: Prospects for rediscovery and recovery. Island Press.

Myers, Ronald L. and John J. Ewel. (eds.) 1990. Ecosystems of Florida. Univ. Central Florida Press, Orlando. xviii + 765p.

Ware, S., C. Frost, and P. D. Doerr. 1993. Southern mixed hardwood forest: the former longleaf pine forest. Pp. 447-493 in W. H. Martin, S. G. Boyce, and A. C. Echternacht, eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Whitney, Ellie, D. Bruce Means, and Ann Rudloe. 2000. Priceless Florida. Florida University Presses. (To be submitted May 2000.)

Wolfe, Steven H., Jeffrey A. Reidenauer, and D. Bruce Means. 1988. An ecological characterization of the Florida panhandle. U. S. Fish & Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 88(12); Minerals Manage. Serv. OCS Study\MMS 88-0063; 277 pp.

Wetlands

Cowardin, L. M., V. Carter, F. C. Golet, and E. T. LaRoe. 1979. Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service FWS/OBS-79/31:103pp.

Hackney, Courtney T., S. M. Adams, and W. H. Martin (eds.). 1992. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States, Aquatic Communities. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Means, D. Bruce. 1990. Florida Wetlands. Florida Wildlife 44(5):32-33.

Mitsch, W. J. and J. G. Gosselink. 1986. Wetlands. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York. 539 pp. [Call # Sci QH 541.5 M3 M59 1986.]

National Research Council. 1995. Wetlands, Characteristics and Boundaries. National Academy Press, Washington, D. C.

Niering, William A. 1985. Wetlands. The Audubon Society Nature Guides, Alfred Knopf, New York. 638pp [Can be purchased at local bookstores for $14.95.]

Tiner, Ralph W.,Jr. 1984. Wetlands of the United States: current status and recent trends. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1-59.

Apalachicola River

Edmiston, H. Lee and Holly A. Tuck. Resource inventory of the Apalachicola River and Bay drainage basin. Office of Environmental Services, Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Tallahassee. 303 p.

Elder, J. F. and D. J. Cairns. 1982. Production and decomposition of forest litter on the Apalachicola River floodplain, Florida. U. S. Geological Survey Water-supply Paper 2195-B.

Felley, James D. 1992. Medium-Low-Gradient streams of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Pages 233-270 in Hackney, Courtney T., S. M. Adams, and W. H. Martin (eds.). Biodiversity of the southeastern United States, Aquatic Communities. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Garman, Greg C. and L. A. Nielsen. 1992. Medium-sized rivers of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Pages 315-350 in Hackney, Courtney T., S. M. Adams, and W. H. Martin (eds.). Biodiversity of the southeastern United States, Aquatic Communities. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Harper, Roland M. 1911. The riverbank vegetation of the lower Apalachicola, and a new principal illustrated thereby. Torreya 11(11):225-234.

Hubbell, T. H., A. N. Laessle, and J. C. Dickinson. 1956. The Flint-Chattahoochee-Apalachicola region and its environments. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences 1(1):1-72.

Kurz, Herman. 1938. A physiographic study of the tree associations of the Apalachicola River. Proceedings of the Florida Academy of Sciences 3:78-90.

Leitman, H. N, J. E. Sohm, and M. A. Franklin. 1983. Wetland hydrology and tree distribution of the Apalachicola River floodplain, Florida. U. S. Geological Survey Water-supply Paper 2196-A.

Livingston, R. J. 1983. Resource Atlas of the Apalachicola Estuary. Florida Sea Grant College Report No. 55:1-64.

Livingston, R. J. 1992. Medium-sized rivers in the Gulf Coastal Plain. Pages 351-386 in Hackney, Courtney T., S. M. Adams, and W. H. Martin (eds.). Biodiversity of the southeastern United States, Aquatic Communities. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Livingston, R. J. and E. A. Joyce, Jr. (eds.). 1977. Proceedings of the Conference on the Apalachicola River drainage system, 23-24 April 1976, Gainesville, Florida. Florida Marine Research Publications No. 26:1-177. (contains 18 research papers describing the system)

Means, D. Bruce. 1977. Aspects of the significance to terrestrial vertebrates of the Apalachicola River drainage basin, Florida. Florida Marine Research Publications 26:37-67.

Means, D. Bruce. 1991. River bottomlands. Florida Wildlife 45(1):11-16.

Means, D. Bruce. 1991. Florida’s steepheads: Unique canyonlands. Florida Wildlife 45(3):25-28.

Schumm, Stanley A. 1972. Benchmark papers in geology: River morphology. Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, Inc., Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

Wharton, C. H., H. T. Odum, K. Ewel, M. Duever, A. Lugo, R. Boyt, J. Bartholomew, E. DeBellevue, S. Brown, M. Brown, and L. Duever. 1977. Forested wetlands of Florida--their management and use. University of Florida, Gainesville. 348pp.

Blackwater Rivers, Bogs, Seeps, Pocosins, Herb Bogs, Shrub Bogs, Savannahs

Christensen, N. L. 1977. Fire and soil-plant nutrient relations in a pine wiregrass savanna on the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Oecologia (Berl.) 31:27-44.

Christensen, N. L. 1979. Shrublands of the southeastern United States. Pages 441-449 in R. L. Sprecht (ed.). Heathlands and related shrublands of the world. A. Descriptive studies. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Christensen, N. L. 1985. Shrubland fire regimes and their evolutionary consequences. Pages 85-100 in S. T. A. Pickett and P. S. White (eds.). The ecology of natural disturbance and patch dynamics. Academic Press, New York.

Christensen, N. L., R. B. Burchell, A. Liggett, and E. L. Simms. 1981. The structure and development of pocosin vegetation. Pages 43-61 in C. J. Richardson (ed.). Pocosin wetlands. Hutchinson Ross Publ. Co., Stroudsberg, PA.

Eleuterius, L. N. and S. B. Jones, Jr. 1969. A floristic and ecological study of pitcher plant bogs in south Mississippi. Rhodora 71:29-34.

Folkerts, George. 1982. The Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs. American Scientist 70:260-267.

Means, D. Bruce. 1990. Seepage Bogs. Florida Wildlife 44(5):34-37.

Means, D. Bruce. 1998. Vanishing natural heritage: wet flats. Conservationist's notebook. The American Gardener 77(1):20-21.

Smock, Leonard A. and E. Gilinsky. 1992. Coastal Plain blackwater streams. Pages 271-314 in Hackney, Courtney T., S. M. Adams, and W. H. Martin (eds.). Biodiversity of the southeastern United States, Aquatic Communities. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Wharton, C. H., H. T. Odum, K. Ewel, M. Duever, A. Lugo, R. Boyt, J. Bartholomew, E. DeBellevue, S. Brown, M. Brown, and L. Duever. 1977. Forested wetlands of Florida--their management and use. Final Report to Division of State Planning. Center for Wetlands, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Wilbur, R. B. and N. L. Christensen. 1983. Effects of fire on nutrient availability in a North Carolina coastal plain pocosin. Amer. Midl. Nat. 110:54-61.

Spring-run Rivers: Aucilla, Wacissa, Wakulla

Rosenau, Jack C., G. L. Faulkner, C. W. Hendry, Jr., and Robert W. Hull. 1977. Springs of Florida. Florida Dept. Nat. Resources, Bureau of Geology Bulletin No. 31, xxvii-461.

Beck, William M., Jr. 1965. The streams of Florida. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum 10(3):91-126.

Hobbs, Horton H., III. 1992. Caves and springs. Pages 59-132 in Hackney, Courtney T., S. M. Adams, and W. H. Martin (eds.). Biodiversity of the southeastern United States, Aquatic Communities. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Odum, Howard T. 1957. Primary production measurements in eleven Florida springs and a marine turtle-grass community. Limnology and Oceanography 2(2):85-97.

Wharton, C. H., H. T. Odum, K. Ewel, M. Duever, A. Lugo, R. Boyt, J. Bartholomew, E. DeBellevue, S. Brown, M. Brown, and L. Duever. 1977. Forested wetlands of Florida--their management and use. Final Report to Division of State Planning. Center for Wetlands, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Yon, J. William, Jr. 1966. Geology of Jefferson County, Florida. Florida Geol. Survey, Geological Bulletin No. 48:119 pages + maps.

Lakes, Ponds, Temporary Ponds

Bishop, E. W. 1967. Florida Lakes. Div. Water Res., Fla. Bd. Cons., Tallahassee.

Crisman, Tom L. 1992. Natural lakes of the southeastern United States: Origin, structure, and function. Pages 475-538 in Hackney, Courtney T., S. M. Adams, and W. H. Martin (eds.). Biodiversity of the southeastern United States, Aquatic Communities. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Edmiston, H. Lee and Vernon B. Myers. 1983. Florida Lakes. Dept. of Environmental Regulation, Tallahassee.

Means, D. Bruce. 1990. Temporary Ponds. Florida Wildlife 44(6):12-16.

Menzel, Ronald G. and C. M. Cooper. 1992. Small impoundments and ponds. Pages 389-420 in Hackney, Courtney T., S. M. Adams, and W. H. Martin (eds.). Biodiversity of the southeastern United States, Aquatic Communities. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Moler, Paul E. and Richard Franz. 1987. Wildlife values of small, isolated wetlands in the southeastern Coastal Plain. p. 234-241 in R. R. Odum, K. A. Riddleberger, and J. C. Ozier (eds.). Proc. 3rd S. E. Nongame and Endagered wildlife symposium. Ga. Dept. Nat. Res., Atlanta.

Soballe, D. M., B. L. Kimmel, R. H. Kennedy, and R. G. Gaugush. 1992. Reservoirs. Pages 421-474 in Hackney, Courtney T., S. M. Adams, and W. H. Martin (eds.). Biodiversity of the southeastern United States, Aquatic Communities. John Wiley & Sons, N. Y.

Swamps: Bradwell Bay

Hebb, E. A. and Andre F. Clewell. 1976. A remnant stand of old-growth slash pine in the Florida panhandle. Bulletin of the Torrey Botannical Club 103:1-9.

Hampson, Paul S. 1984. Wetlands in Florida. Florida D. N. R. Bureau of Geology Map series no. 109 (available from Bureau of Geology library at corner Woodward and Tennessee streets, Tallahassee).

Penfound, W. T. 1952. Southern swamps and marshes. Bot. Rev. 18:413-436.

Swamps and Marshes: Okefenokee Swamp

Cohen, A. D., D. J. Casagrande, M. J. Andrejko, G. R. Best. 1984. The Okenenokee Swamp: its natural history, geology, and geochemistry. Wetland Surveys, Los Alamos, NM. 709pp.

Cypert, Eugene. 1961. The effects of fires in the Okefenokee Swamp in 1954 and 1955. American Midland Naturalist 66(2):485-503.

Cypert, Eugene. 1972. The origin of houses in the Okefenokee prairies. Amer. Midl. Nat. 87:448-458.

Duever, M. J. and L. A. Riopelle. 1983. Successional sequences and rates on tree islands in the Okefenokee Swamp. Amer. Midl. Nat. 110:186-193.

Ewel, Catherine C. and Howard T. Odum (eds.). 1984. Cypress swamps. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Fl. xviii+472pp.

Hopkins, John M. 1947. Forty-five years with the Okefenokee Swamp. Georgia Society of Naturalists Bulletin 4:1-69.

Laerm, Joshua, B. J. Freeman, and Laurie J. Vitt. 1980. Vertebrates of the Okefenokee Swamp. Brimleyana 4:47-73.

Parrish, Fred K. and E. J. Rykiel, Jr. 1979. Okefenokee Swamp origin: review and reconsideration. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Society 95(1):17-31.

Wright, A. H. and A. A. 1932. The habitats and composition of the vegetation of Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia. Ecological Monographs 2:109-232.