Jennifer Elliott


Cypress domes are terrestrial freshwater ecosystems characterized by the presence of cypress trees (Taxodium spp.) growing in well-defined, dome-shaped clusters throughout the southeastern United States. These systems are one of many ecosystems in Florida facing increasing threats from human expansion and urbanization including fire suppression, logging, and hydrological alterations. This study sought to examine the impacts of urbanization on three cypress domes located on the University of Central Florida Orlando campus. To do this, we measured the defining traits, dendrochronology of Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium, and soil characteristics in each of the three selected domes. The cypress dome defined as most highly impacted had the largest trees compared to the moderate and low impacted domes. With increased urbanization, the soil pH increased while the soil moisture content decreased. Although these results alone are not indicative of the system’s overall health, they can be used in future studies to better explore the relationship between urban interface and the ecosystem. Understanding the impacts of urbanization on these valuable wetland ecosystems can help with long-term protection of these ecosystems, as well as improving natural resource management.

About the Author

We the authors, Jennifer Bennett, Ashley Boggs, Nathan Colonna, Angela Ferebee, and Bruno Kallas, are undergraduate students at the University of Central Florida. Our majors range from biology to environmental engineering, but we all have a common interest in researching natural resources and conservation. We hope that our study will bring a greater understanding of the characteristics of cypress dome ecosystems facing urbanization on campus.

Included in

Biology Commons


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