Report of the Higher Trophic Level Research Team Planning Workshop

Miami, FL  June 14, 1999




An ad hoc team meeting was held at the NOAA/NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center on June 14, 1999.  The meeting agenda and list of participants are attached at the end of this report.  The objectives of the meeting were to:


1.  Develop a research plan for model development to assist in the development of performance measures.  Over the short term, the assistance of a post-doctoral researcher will be applied; over the medium term, a research plan/proposal with Dr. Joan Browder as PI will be pursued; and a plan for the long term will be agreed to.


2.  Review and finalize the list of species for short-term efforts.


3.  Provide guidance to Dr. Jim Fourqurean for the development of interpolated water quality fields.


4.  Review the proposal of Dr. Browder et al., and provide guidance on integration of the research into the overall HTL plan.


Workshop Format


Dr. Nancy Thompson acted as the chair for this meeting and initially discussed the objectives with the working group and the expectation that short, medium and long-term research plans and tasks would be developed.  A brief review of the proposed species list resulted in acceptance of the list.   In addition, a time line for the expectation of products would also be developed with the immediate focus on products for presentation at the upcoming Science Conference in November, 1999.  Following this discussion, Dr. Bill Nuttle provided a context for the development of performance measures by defining these measures as related to change in salinity.  Dr. Jim Fourqurean provided discussion/presentation on the ongoing and proposed work which will establish salinity fields and response fields  within the region. Individual researchers then presented their research in progress and results to date which focused on addressing these specific questions: 


1.  How does salinity enter in your existing model?  Can these be used as the basis for a performance measure?


2.  What data exist for the species?  Can these data be analyzed to yield salinity effect/response models?


3.  How can water quality data fields be generated to be helpful to modelers and empiricists


Workshop Results


In answering these questions, objectives 1, 2, and 3 were met.  Individuals and their presentations are listed on the attached agenda.  Tasks were identified which could be accomplished over the short term and included as presentations at the November Science Conference.  These tasks which identify species and some population level parameter as a response variable to salinity changes are:




Short term:       Performance measure: pink shrimp offshore CPUE

Response to:  salinity in Western, N. Central and S. Bay

Requirements:  stand alone and will do with existing data/persons


Medium term:   Performance measure:  annual pink shrimp recruitment

Response to:  salinity and temperature stratified regionally within the Bay




Short term:       Performance measure:  juvenile abundance

Response to:  water flow and habitat type/quantity and salinity

Requirements:  hydrodynamic model and post‑doc; data available include: landings, recruitment, habitat surveys, salinity and habitat maps


Long term:        Performance measure: individual based parameter from Hernkind,

Butler, Hunt model

Response to:  an (or some) environmental parameter(s) as in the individual based model




Short term:       Nothing


Long term:        Performance measure:  habitat suitability index

Response to:  water levels in relative daily fluctuations and some measure of prey especially forage fish and crustaceans

Action:  Thompson needs to set up meeting between Don, Joan, Ed, Jim C. and Allyn to develop approach that links wading birds with forage fish and crustaceans. 



Short term:       1) Performance measure:  condition as a function of total length and


Response to:  salinity

Requirements:  Paul Richards is doing, stand alone


2) Performance measure:  habitat suitability index in hectares

Response to:  predicted salinity fields under varying water flow scenarios

Requirements:  Frank, Jim F. may be able to work with you on this over the short term; I will call you and explore this with you.  Need post‑doc and salinity isohalines


Long term:        1) Performance measure:  distance between nest site and nursery


Response to:  salinity fields as defining suitable nursery habitat

Requirements:  post doc


2) Performance measure: crocodile density along the shoreline

Response to: salinity

Requirements: post doc




Short term:       1) Performance measure:  species richness

Response to: salinity

Requirements:  post‑doc


2) Performance measure:  species distributions (I think I need more here)

Response to:  salinity

Requirements:  post‑doc


Long term:        1) performance measure:  distribution and species richness of filter


Response to:  water quality as measured by nutrient loads, etc.




Short term:       Performance measure:  distributions, biomass of forage fishes

Response to:  salinity

Requirements: Using FMRI and NMFS/Beaufort data, and post‑doc


Medium term:   Performance measure:  daily growth increments

Response to:  salinity/temperature

Long term:        1) Performance measure:  density as a measure of productivity

Response to:  habitat milieu and change


2) Performance measure:  species richness

Response to: salinity variability




Short term(?): 1) Performance measure:  Average weight of sea trout

Response to:  salinity fields and variability

Requirements:  Bill, Jerry, Jim F. and I need to further explore this and how to best accomplish this one.


Long term:        Figure out best way to develop/adapt ecological model to Florida Bay

and data needs.


The final presentation by Dr. Browder of the proposed medium term approach to identifying species to be integrated into the overall research plan and as measures of performance relative to changes and changing salinity was affirmed as being appropriate and would provide further research direction over the long term once species were identified.  In January 2000 it is expected that sufficient progress will have been made in this effort to allow for a review of a preliminary list of species that could be used as performance measures and a review of the methods used in developing performance measures.  A final report would be due to Everglades National Park in June 2000.


Finally, a time line was developed which would provide short-term results to be presented at the November conference and medium term products from the Browder et al proposal.  The time line is:


Aug. 30:           Review results of performance measures and identify tasks that need

                        extra help.


Oct. 4:              HTL team meeting to review performance measure results and finalize

                        November presentations.


Nov. 1-5:         Science Conference.


Jan. 2000:        HTL team meeting to review medium term results from Browder et al.


Jun. 2000:        Draft final results from Browder et al to team members for review.



To view the agenda, click here.


To view a list of participants, click here.