Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a critical part of the Western Everglades, protects 13,450 acres of sensitive wetlands, uplands, and other natural resources that provide excellent habitat for wildlife. These protected acres are also an ideal setting for scientific research. In addition to our in-house research program, the Sanctuary welcomes scientists from around the world to obtain research permits and conduct research that aligns with Audubon’s conservation mission and increases our collective understanding of our resident plants and animals and our region’s unique ecology.
Just this year, we have welcomed research partners from South Florida Water Management District, Collier County Pollution Control, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Florida, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Central Florida, and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service.
There is much to be learned from this living laboratory. Over the years, research from visiting scientists has spanned topics from leaf litter decomposition, botanical inventories, and methane emissions to the effectiveness of invasive plant control methods, genetics of slough crayfish, and the fascinating investigation of ghost orchid pollination.
In light of increased environmental pressures, knowledge gained from this research is used by Audubon and applied by scientists around the world to increase our knowledge of the Western Everglades plants, animals, and ecological processes, and to guide wetland conservation, stewardship, and restoration.