Alligator Abundance and Hydrology (2003–2013): What Long-term Monitoring Can Tell Us about Everglades Restoration

Figure 1. Trends in alligator abundance from 2003–2012 on state lands (gray areas) and 2003–2013 on federal lands (green areas). ENP = Everglades National Park, NWR = National Wildlife Refuge, WCA = Water Conservation Area.The American alligator is a powerful indicator for Everglades restoration. It responds clearly to environmental change and is easy and inexpensive to monitor. As top predators and ecological “engineers,” alligators affect nearly all aquatic life in the ecosystem. Thus, trends in alligator populations can tell us whether restoration projects are successful. Alligators may be monitored for both short-term responses (body condition) and longer-term responses to ecosystem change (abundance). This 3-page fact sheet discusses trends in alligator abundance. It was written by Rebecca G. Harvey, Jeff Beauchamp, Robin Bijlani, Frank J. Mazzotti, and Laura A. Brandt, and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, July 2014.

Freshwater Turtles of Belize (WEC328/UW373)

Figure 2. Hicatee (Dermatemys mawii) maleBelize, a country rich in natural resources and diverse wildlife, is home to nine species of freshwater turtles. Among these is the critically endangered hicatee, which has been eliminated in most of its range as a result of hunting and habitat loss. Freshwater turtles live in rivers, creeks, and lagoons, and build their nests on the banks. They eat a variety of plants, aquatic vegetation, and fruits. However, little is known about Belize’s unique turtle species. This 2-page fact sheet will help people identify, understand, and conserve these treasured resources. Written by Venetia Briggs, Lauren Watine, Dustin Smith, Robin Bijlani, Rebecca Harvey, William Giuliano, and Frank Mazzotti, and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, January 2013.