Thrust Areas Ecosystem Water Institute Classification Level
Water, Land Use and Ecosystems Water and Climate Water and Society Water Resources Sustainability Springs Wetlands Watersheds Aquifers Lakes Coastal Zone  Water Institute Classification 1  Water Institute Classification 2  Water Institute Classification 3  Water Institute Classification 4

Gastropod Populations and the Control of Algal Proliferation in Ichetucknee Springs
Goals and Objectives
Many of Florida’s 700+ springs have undergone dramatic shifts in autotroph dominance (from submerged aquatic vegetation to benthic filamentous algae), yet the drivers of these changes remain ambiguous. While nitrogen enrichment has been implicated, new data suggest other drivers are at play in these unique spring-fed karst ecosystems.

In research by PhD student Dina Liebowitz, surveys revealed a negative relationship between gastropod biomass and algal abundance across and within springs. Her study expands on these observational findings by conducting in situ grazing experiments to examine three linked hypotheses developed to help explain patterns of algal density in Florida’s springs. These are (1) that the dominant gastropod grazers can control algal accumulation; (2) that there is potential for hysteretic behavior, i.e. once an algal bloom forms, even abundant grazers cannot exert enough grazing pressure to induce a low-algae state; and (3) dissolved oxygen (DO) influences the distribution and grazing efficiency of gastropods.
Available Outputs

Title: Experimental evidence for grazer control of filamentous algae in a spring-fed river. In Prep. 2013.
Authors: Liebowitz, D., M.J. Cohen, T.K. Frazer, J. Heffernan

Title: Poster: Experimental Evidence of Environmentally Mediated Top-Down Control of Algal Proliferation in Florida’s Springs
Authors: Liebowitz, D., M. Cohen, T. Frazer, J. Heffernan

Title: Presentation: Grazer Control of algae blooms in Ichetucknee Springs. At the Santa Fe Springs Basin Working Group meeting, January 12, 2012.
Authors: Liebowitz, D., M.J. Cohen, J. Heffernan, T. Frazer, L. Kohrnak
Project Lead
Cohen, Matthew J
Project Participants
Cohen, Matthew J
Additional Participants
Tom Frazer
Crystal Hartmann
Jim Heffernam (FIU)
Larry Korhnak
Dina Liebowitz
Level 1: WI Affiliated Faculty Project
Water, Land Use and Ecosystems
Grant Award Dates
9/1/2010 to 8/31/2011