Insights into the processing of carbon in the South Florida Cypress Wetlands: a whole-ecosystem approach using network analysis
The aim of this research was to investigate the potential of the South Florida Cypress Wetlands as a carbon-accumulating system. Location
This ecosystem is part of the Big Cypress Natural Preserve, located in the south-west part of Florida (USA) between the Mangrove Swamps that border the Gulf of Mexico and the Everglades. Methods
This investigation was carried out by constructing networks of carbon exchange between the living and nonliving components that comprise this ecosystem. By means of these networks potential for carbon accumulation has been assessed by identifying and quantifying pathways for the transfer of carbon, assessing the efficiency between trophic levels, and evaluating the importance of material cycling. These analyses are commonly referred to as network analysis. Results
Results obtained show that dependency on detritus by higher trophic levels is rather low and so is the trophic efficiency. Yet, less than 10% of the carbon that flows through the system is recycled and the magnitude of internal ascendency reaches only 40% of the total system ascendency. Main conclusions
All these results support the hypothesis that the South Florida Cypress Wetlands are predominately flow-through in nature and that carbon accumulation in this environment is noticeable.