For my Masters, I led research in the Gawlik lab at Florida Atlantic University investigating the influence of water depth and vegetation density on wading bird foraging, as part of the Greater Everglades Ecological Restoration. This research took place in replicated plots within the Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment macrocosms at the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. I utilized replicated 10 x 10 m enclosures within the macrocosms, with controlled water depth, manipulated vegetation density, and daily fish stocking (using mark-recapture to verify densities) to test how environmental characters influence wading bird foraging. My results experimentally demonstrated that wading birds prefer foraging sites with shallow water, and secondarily choose intermediate levels of vegetation within these sites.
Wading bird foraging