A Natural History of Cumberland Island, Georgia

A Natural History of Cumberland Island, Georgia

by Carol Ruckdeschel


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Having lived on Cumberland Island for more than forty years, Carol Ruckdeschel’s goal has been to document present conditions of the island’s flora and fauna, establishing a baseline from which to assess future changes. Since the late 1960s, she has witnessed many changes and trends that are often overlooked by those carrying out short-term observations. This compilation of data, along with historic information, presents the most comprehensive picture of the island’s flora, fauna, geology, and ecology to date. This volume will satisfy a general interest in the ecology of Cumberland and other Georgia barrier islands. New information on individual species is presented, contributing to its value as a reference for the Southeast.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780881467109
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Publication date: 04/01/2019
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 780,803
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Carol Ruckdeschel first visited Cumberland Island in the late 1960s as a research assistant at Georgia State University, taking up residence in the early 1970s. Sea turtles were her first focus, due to their all too obvious mortality, but her main interest was and is in the terrestrial ecology of the island. Ruckdeschel organized the stranding network (reporting dead or injured sea turtles), which was later taken over by the National Marine Fisheries Service. She has served as a researcher and observer for sea turtle nesting surveys, the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Ruckdeschel is author or coauthor of numerous articles, and the book SEA TURTLES OF THE ATLANTIC AND GULF COASTS OF THE UNITED STATES.

Table of Contents

List of Tables ix

List of Figures x

Foreword xii

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xvii

Abbreviations xviii

Tables xix

Naturalists: Observers and Collectors on Cumberland Island 1

Chapter 1 Geology 4

Setting 4

Geologic History 5

Beach 7

Shoreline 8

Soils 9

Freshwater 11

Intracoastal Waterway 13

Climate 15

Precipitation 18

Tide 18

Chapter 2 Modifications 20

Archaeological Evidence 20

Subsistence 22

Fauna 23

Flora 24

Agriculture 25

European Colonization 25

Spanish 25

Commerce 28

Forest Products 32

Logging 35

Marsh and Waterways 36

Modern Agriculture 37

Carnegies 40

Other Endeavors 41

Fire 42

Chapter 3 Communities 46

Beach/Dunes 46

Beach 47

Primary and Secondary Dunes 48

Interdune 49

Rear Dune 51

Maritime Forest 52

Pine 60

Scrub 64

Freshwater Communities 68

Sloughs 68

Wet Savanna 69

Interdune Myrtle Slough 70

Inland Slough 71

Ponds 73

Whitney Lake 76

Hardwood Swamp 78

Seep 81

Salt Marsh 81

Chapter 4 Species Accounts 87

Introduction 87

This Presentation 88

Fish 89

Species Accounts 89

Amphibians and Reptiles 93

Introduction 93

Amphibians 94

Species Accounts 94

Reptiles 106

Species Accounts 106

Birds 147

Introduction 147

Heronries 148

Species Accounts 150

Mammals 212

Introduction 212

Species Accounts 214

Feral Livestock 275

Impact 280

Personal Correspondence References 283

References 285

Appendix I Vascular Plant List 299

Appendix II Fish Species List 318

Appendix III Amphibian and Reptile Species List 319

Appendix IV Birds 322

A Bird Species List 322

B Avian Museum Species List 335

Appendix V Mammal Species List 352

Appendix VI Parasites 354

A Amphibians and Reptiles 354

B Birds 355

C Mammals 357

Index 365

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