Hydrophytic Changes Related To Lake Fluctuation As Measured By Point Transects

In the spring of 1970 and 1971, vegetation transects were run on22,700 acre Lake Tohopekaliga in Osceola County, Florida. The objectiveof this study was to monitor the response of various plant types to a7 foot drawdown and compare results with those from a study done in1956. As a result of dewatering, littoral vegetation advanced lakewara,expanding from an area of approximately 9,000 acres to 10,500 acres, a16% increase. The significance of this plant response, relative to standingcrop of fish and invertebrate fish-food organisms, is discussed. Five of 16 dominant plant types occurred most frequently or hadwidest distribution during a high water period (1970). The remaining11 occurred most frequently or had widest distribution during low waterperiods (1956 and 1971). In the 1956 study it was assumed that water stage duration determinedthe distribution of annual and perennial plants. Data from thepresent study indicate distribution of vegetation within Tohopekaliga'sbasin is determined mainly by prevailing water levels during the growingseason. The lakeward limit of perennial emergents is related tohistorically low water elevations.

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