blue tilapia in the swamp news at corkscrew swamp sanctuary

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The Swamp News is our volunteer newsletter at Corkscrew. The last page is written and illustrated by yours truly! Enjoy if you are down for some light invasive species reading.




    June 29, 2015



    As evidenced by this turn of the century photo, col-lectors and developers in

    Florida have stripped the state of its native orchids. Now, a team of scientists is working to reintroduce the plants to the swamps where they once flourished.

    Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a major participant in this revolutionary effort to ensure the preservation of both ghost and cigar orchids through efforts led by the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in partnership with Fa-kahatchee Strand State Preserve.

    On May 22, seven cigar orchid plants propagated from the highly successful Fakahatchee project were placed at Corkscrew to improve the genetic diversity of the Sanctuary population. Volunteers Jean McCollom, Jim Burch, and Ralph Arwood carefully tagged, documented and placed the orchids at suitable locations along the Boardwalk.

    On the same day, 80% of the

    Super Ghost Orchid seeds previ-

    ously collected in April were

    dispersed back to the


  • Page 2 SWAMP NEWS

    Escape the summer heat and storms helping

    with on-going research projects

    If youre looking for a break from outdoor activities this summer but still want to make a dif-ference here at Corkscrew, our Research team could really use some help with office work. We have a variety of data entry and scanning projects, including:

    Scanning datasheets on the library copier Entering volunteers Daily Sighting data and other research data into databases Helping identify and count mammals on trailcam photos (can be done from home once


    If youre interested in helping with any of these jobs, please contact Shawn ([email protected]) or Mica ([email protected]). We can train you and get you started and you can work independently on your own schedule. This might be a great op-tion for folks on hot or stormy summer afternoons!

    Notes from the

    RESEARCH LOG DrDrDr. . . Shawn ClemShawn ClemShawn Clem

    Environmental Research Scientists Wanted No Experience Necessary!

    Research Manager

    Off the Trail


    May 2: A Florida

    panther with a

    river otter kill on

    Wild Turkey

    Strand Preserve

  • PANTHER Island


    Page 3 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

    Allyson Webb Research Manager

    Panther Island

    Work has begun on Phase 8 of the Pan-

    ther Island expansion. Around the perim-

    eter of this area, there used to be berms

    measuring at 2-4 feet tall. Those have

    been strategically removed, leaving only

    sections where tall pines or oak trees

    are growing. Soil from these berms has

    been used to fill in ditches in other are-

    as. Both these actions will help improve

    the hydrology in the area as well as the

    Turtle Mound area due south.

    Panther Island Mitigation Bank is one of the premier wetland restoration pro-jects in Southwest Florida. Deservedly so, Panther Island was the first miti-

    gation bank included in the designation of a wetland of international im-portance from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

    A primary goal of the expan-sion area is short hydroperiod wetlands. The hope is that this will increase foraging availa-ble for wood storks in order to support earlier nesting. This will in turn also aid other wad-ing bird species (great egrets, white ibis, great blue herons, etc.) and trickle down to sup-port amphibians and oth-er species that rely on the same type of habitat.

  • Page 4 SWAMP NEWS

    The Trail

    Less Traveled Sally Stein

    Director of Public Programs

    Volunteer Field Trip Boardwalk at Night

    Monday, July 6th 8:00 10:30pm

    Join Sally for a summer nighttime boardwalk excursion on a moonless night. We will meet at the Education Office/Library and stroll out onto the boardwalk at the end of the day when the swamp is shifting into night mode, we will talk about night adaptations and walk the whole boardwalk loop looking and listening for night specialists, and then will head for the lake area after twilight where we will have the best chance to see the tiny bioluminescent mushrooms that are often fruiting at that time of year. Sunset is at 8:23 this night. Interested participants should contact Sally at [email protected] for more information and to sign up.

    Corkscrew NABA

    July Butterfly Survey

    Tuesday, July 21 2015.

    9am 3pm

    We will meet in the classroom here at Cork-screw at 9am and get

    started as soon as possi-ble. We divide up into 3

    5 teams, depending on how many participants

    and experienced people we have, covering differ-ent areas of our count cir-cle within the Sanctuary.

    In case of really bad weather on the 21st , we have planned a backup rain date on Thursday,

    July 30th . Contact Sally at [email protected] for more

    information and to sign up.

    Butterfly Seminar and Stroll

    Monday, July 13, 2015

    9am - 12pm

    Blair Center Classroom

    Enjoy a one hour program followed by a stroll on the boardwalk through various

    habitats to learn more about local butterflies and how to identify common

    species. Great preparation for the Butterfly Survey!

    Please dress for the outdoors, bring sun protection and plen-

    ty of water. Binoculars are

    also recommended.

    Volunteer Training

    July 15th, 16th,

    and 17th

    Contact Sally at [email protected] for more in-

    formation and to sign up.

  • Summer Outreach

    As part of an effort to strengthen partner-ships with other community organizations, I was a guest at CMon...The Childrens Muse-um of Naples. It was a great opportunity to meet families and talk about Corkscrew. Many had never visited here before. My very popular buddy, Baby Gator #1 and I roamed around the museum interacting with the chil-dren up close and personal. An interactive display was set-up in the amphitheater where I spoke with a larger group about the important role alligators play in the eco-system. The kids loved touching the animal pelts, turtle shells and gator teeth. It was a great experience!

    Baby G and I also did a presentation for 2nd and 3rd grade students from St. Elizabeth Seton School at Cambier Park. It was a beautiful, breezy day and the perfect setting my gator display.



    Page 5 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

    Debbie Lotter

    Education Coordinator

    After my trip to the park, I had to stop at

    Wal-Mart for a few things. No responsible

    pet owner or gator handler would ever

    leave an animal in a hot car, so Baby G

    went shopping. This is not the first time for

    him, as Baby G is quite the fashionista.

    Usually he goes unnoticed. If youve been

    in Wal-Mart, you know that there are many

    unusual things to be seen, (mainly of the

    human kind). Well, he was spotted by some

    curious (or perhaps nosy) shoppers and I

    did my very first presentation in aisle 6.

    Quite a nice crowd gathered. It just goes to

    show you that Community Outreach is

    something that can be done anywhere!

  • Hydrology Report

    Page 6 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

    The solid red line indicates daily depth at the B-gauge throughout this hydrologic year. Dashed lines indicate record high and low lev-els. The shaded area indicates the typical depth throughout the year (25th to 75th percentiles).

  • The New Generations at Corkscrew

    Page 7 SWAMP NEWS

    Rich Kunz

    Murray Barnhart

    Christine Cook

    Rich Kunz

    Murray Barnhart

    Murray Barnhart

  • Invasive Species Alert

    Page 8 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

    Blue Who?

    Blue tilapia, Oreochromis aureus, is a familiar face at Corkscrew. With its red-edged fins, vertical striping, and joined soft and spiny dorsal fins, blue tilapia thrives in just about any availa-ble surface water in Florida: agricul-tural canals, brackish and freshwater pools, and even in the shallows of the Gulf.

    The human interface

    Hardy and delicious, O. aureus was originally introduced to the American continent for its food val-ue. It is native to northern Africa and the Middle East, and is tolerant of a wide range of water salin-ities and temperatures. Prized for its flaky, mild white flesh, blue tilapia is still carried in restaurants, at grocery stores, and on the stringers of roadside anglers all over Florida.

    Implications for conservation

    Perfectly suited for aquaculture, this species is less ideal in wild areas where it competes with na-tive species. O. aureuss only criteria for breeding is that the water remain above 68 F (20 C); sa-line or freshwater will do, dirty or clean, sheltered or exposed. Males dig large circular nests in the substrate and defend them aggressively. Females protect the fertilized eggs and (once hatched) fry in their mouths until the young are about 5 days old and continue sheltering them there as needed for three weeks. Through preferential feeding on certain phytoplankton taxa and competi-tion for territory, O. aureus has singlehandedly rearranged the ecology throughout its expanded range, displacing native fish and invertebrates. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is not alone in sing-ing the tilapia blues.


    Blue Tilapia: Oreochromis aureus. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision.

    Oreochromis aure