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The Heithaus Lab is constantly working on the conservation of crocodilians. We’ve conducted research on alligators in the Florida Everglades for almost a decade. Our research has focused on the transition zones between saltwater and freshwater areas in the Shark River basin. The goal is to anticipate how these animals will respond to changes in water flow from an ongoing large scale restoration project. The lab is also conducting surveys and experiments to look at the ecosystem-level effects of alligators through their role as ecosystem engineers primarily in phosphorus-poor Everglades freshwater marshes.
The hydrology of the coastal Everglades has been radically altered by humans, but there are ongoing efforts to restore water flow to a more natural state. How these changes will impact the large predators is largely unknown. We’ve initiated studies, using a combination of telemetry, stable isotopic analysis, and experiments to understand what drives habitat use, movements, and interactions of top predators.