FIGURE 1-1 Greater Everglades Ecosystem. Source: Galloway et al., 1999.

and dense vegetation make it extremely challenging to model overland flows in the Everglades at a much finer scale.

There is, however, strong circumstantial evidence that flow affects important physical, chemical, and biological processes in the Everglades. Flow enhances mixing, particularly across the water-substrate interface. Flow, even at very low rates, is likely to transport biologically important materials including nutrients, organic matter, gases, and reproductive propagules such as seeds and spores (Mitsch and Gosselink, 2000). Furthermore, since flux (quantity/time) is the product of concentration (quantity/volume) x flow rate (volume/time), transport rates generally increase with flow rate (unless there are supply limitations).

More importantly, there are major landforms in the Everglades, most notably parallel sawgrass ridges, open-water sloughs, and tree islands, that are ecologically significant and aligned with present and past flow directions (see Figures 2-1, 2-2, and 2-3). This alignment suggests that their genesis and maintenance have been importantly shaped by flow.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement